As we take a look around the various suite and stands at CES, we always want to expand the number of vendors that we work with and this year sees us meeting up with the team at Diamond Multimedia. Now going by just the name alone we would expect Diamond to be showcasing products for the home entertainment market as well as the business sector, however as we find, presumptions such as this should not always be made.
It turns out that Diamond make quite a large number of wireless products as well as various other connectivity devices for the home along with the graphics cards that Pete took a look at during our suite tour.
Wireless range extenders – as I’ve detailed in the past – are one of the easiest ways of filling in any wireless dead spots in the home, especially those which have solid walls as I’ve personally found out. Whilst some range extenders simply do little more than just extend the range of the network coverage, Diamonds wide range of items pack a variety of additional features to add extra functionality and convenience along the way.
The WR300NR range extender as seen to the left in addition to extending a wireless network, also packs in the full functionality of a wireless router with two Ethernet ports on its underside of WAN and LAN connections. For for some users who are always on the go, carrying around a bulky router is simply not practical and this compact unit packs everything into a single unit for convenience and portability.
In addition to wireless range extenders, another way of connecting to locations together in the home is over a powerline network. Since the early days of powerline – where I had little faith in the technology (to be perfectly honest) – the number of vendors offering up powerline kits has expanded considerably, especially as the technology has been refined and made more reliable. Diamond had two powerline kits on show in their suite; the HP500AV which offers up a 500Mbps link speed for a simple point-to-point connection and the HP500WEK (as seen below) which, in addition to the specs of the kit above, also features a wireless range extender to give the benefit of powerline technology to both wired and wireless devices.
The last networking device we see on show stands out from the crowd – not because of its functions, but due to its bright red colour. It’s safe to say that Diamond want this router to stand out from the crowd and whilst it is not available on the market as of yet, the WRD7000 packs all the features that we would expect any wireless router to pack these days, along with two USB3.0 ports for connecting external storage devices or printers to the router for sharing across the network.
Moving along from the network devices and accessories, Diamond also have a host of display adaptors to show off, including a USB to DVI adaptor which easily allows for a secondary display to be connected to the likes of a ultrabook or laptop with a single display output.
Whilst VGA outputs are a rare sight on most desktop systems these days, we still tend to find them cropping up on tv’s and projectors and when we look at the latter – in most cases projectors are mounted to a ceiling and bridging the gap with a cable is not always practical. The ‘WPCTVPRO’ solves this conundrum with a simple two-piece kit that comprises of a wireless enabled VGA adaptor and a USB adaptor for the host device to connect to. Like the USB adaptor above, this adaptor is sutable for virtually any desktop system, whether it has a display output on it or not.
Moving away from display adaptors and back over to network adaptors, I find yet another item that pulls my attention as something a little different. Alongside a USB to Gigabit LAN adaptor, Diamond also have an Ethernet adaptor combined with a SuperSpeed USB3.0 hub giving the benefit of a Gigabit Ethernet port on ultrabooks or systems such as a Macbook Air, but also an additional set of USB ports for connecting cameras, and storage drives to. Like everything else that I’ve seen here from Diamond Multimedia, it is simple yet practical.
The last item that I found in the Diamond suite has certainly stirred my interest. Whilst the concept of a laptop docking station is not new – Dell for example have been providing their own proprietary units for a number of years now – many users today, turn to laptops as their main workstation and by the time we take a secondary monitor, network, and other peripherals into account, the number of cables that we need to connect up becomes quite an inconvenience. Add on the fact that ultrabooks are becoming more and more popular and we also realise that there is not the same range of connectivity options on hand to work with. This is where the DS3900 comes in to play. Through a single USB3.0 connection, this docking station provides four USB2.0 ports, Gigabit LAN, HDMI, DVI on the rear and on the front, two USB3.0 ports and dual 3.5mm ports for microphone and headphone connections; all in all, everything that most users will need to get their desk connected – all through a single USB cable. This is something that I’m eager to get in for review and I’ll certainly be contacting Diamond after the show to get a sample arranged.
Stay tuned as we have still more content for you to see from our sweep around the Diamond Multimedia suite and the rest of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.