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Pros: - Incredible Value For The Price
- Surprisingly Capable Processor
- Separate and Removable Battery
- Plenty of Connectivity (USB 3.0, 2.0, HDMI 1.4, Micro SD, Micro USB)
- Portable, easy to hide away
- Makes a pretty solid streaming PC/HTPC
- Cherry Trail GPU has 12 Execution Units
Cons: - 2 GB of RAM cripples an otherwise powerful SoC
- Generates a bit too much heat for comfort (also limiting the potential of the SoC)
- Despite being able to handle 4k, no HDMI 2.0 (stuck at 30hz with 1.4a)
Other Thoughts: This is SO CLOSE to being something amazing, and it still pulls it off in some ways, but the two major problems with this PC (RAM and heat) cripple it to the point that it's usefulness becomes severely limited. For my particular use, I tied it to my tv and connected a wireless keyboard mouse to it, and I use it to easily watch youtube/lynda videos, as well as some light browsing on a large screen when I want to. I've noticed that a good rule of thumb is to have no more than three browsing tabs at a time, or stick with a single tab if you're viewing a video.
InFocus, who makes the Kangaroo, apparently made an upgraded version of this in response to most people saying the same things I did about the RAM and heat. That version has 64GB space, 4GB of RAM, has no OS, costs $170, and has the same thermal issues. It's pretty clear what the problems are here, and it appears that at least on this site, that model is no longer being sold. I would recommend that if InFocus decides to try this again, find a way to reduce the heat (either by adding more venting on the opposite side of the case to improve airflow, or by turning the enclosure itself into a heatsink), bring back the OS and skip the larger capacity in an effort to bring the price back down. This same product with 3-4GB ram and no heat issues would be a powerhouse among mobile PCs.
I've mentioned a few times that the z8500 Cherry Trail SoC is pretty powerful, and to illustrate that, I'll compare it to the vastly more common Z3735 Bay Trail processor. Both pocessors are functionally the same quad-core processor from a hardware perspective, however the 8500 has a slightly higher base speed (1.44 vs 1.33) and a MUCH higher max speed (2.24 vs 1.83) which is one of the benefits of the 14nm die shrink from Bay Trail's 22nm. Memory gets a bit of an upgrade as well, bumping to DDR3 1600 from Bay Trail's 1333. The biggest change however, is in the graphics.
Cherry Trail has a whopping 12 Execution Units, compared to Bay Trail's sparse 4 EU's. From a physical hardware perspective, that's the same amount as a top end Sandy Bridge or a more modern full sized Skylake Pentium core, albeit at half the speed of either of them. This is a whopping amount of graphical power for a low end mobile class SoC, and it does show to an extent with this PC. I'm able to run the Kangaroo at full resolution on my 4k TV at 30hz (only limited by the HDMI connectors) with surprising smoothness. I would be VERY interested to see how well this would run with HDMI 2.0.
Pros: - RGB Lighting
- High build quality (aluminum frame, black anodization, braided cord)
- Cherry MX Red keys
- Surprisingly Great Wrist Rest
- Not everyone will agree, but I really like the media controls (particularly the volume roller).
Cons: - Even as a top shelf keyboard worth paying a premium for, the price is REALLY high.
- The lack of a USB passthrough can be a painful transition if you're coming from a keyboard that had it.
Other Thoughts: Corsair's LED software allows for an impressive amount of customization with the keys. You can change them individually, have them work together in a gradient or ripple effect, or do some amalgamation of both. The LEDs themselves are very bright, but not so much that it's painful. The lighting itself is very even across the keys and lettering, which gives it a very pleasant look.
Having upgraded to this from a 3-4 year old K90 keyboard, I can say a few things:
1. Going from a keyboard that has a USB passthrough to one that doesn't was surprisingly painful
2. The LEDs (which are known for going out quickly) are not as bad in my experience as people believe. The old K90 still has almost all of it's keys lit, with the exception of the F-key bar at the top.
3. I don't know if it's the quality of the keys or if it's better lighting, but the letters on the old k90 have softer edges, and don't look quite as good as the new ones do.
For comparison, the K95 RGB does have the USB passthrough, but also has the extra set of macros on the left side (which I personally don't like). The new STRAFE model (which is a bit lower in price) also has the USB passthrough (and no macro bar), but is made out of plastic and doesn't have the media buttons in the upper right corner.
Pros: If you have a smart phone and know how to use it, you can set this up, no problem.
You can setup the app to only work locally, or you can have it work away from home as well. Great for if you know you're going to be late and want a light on in the house, or you know it's going to be hot/cold and want to turn on a fan/heater a half hour/hour before you get home. Obviously you want to be careful when it comes to a heater, so as to reduce/eliminate any risk of fire.
Also, if you've got a room/porch/patio setup with alternate lighting (LED strips or Christmas Lighting) this is great for making it easy to set the mood before you go out there, without having to hunch over in a corner to switch it on/off or unplug it when you're not using it.
It's a fairly simple product, and it works. There's not much to be said in the way of pros/cons.
Cons: While it's not so bulky that it blocks the second outlet, I kind of would've preferred a two outlet version (with two different power options in the app) or maybe a version with a smaller bottom so you can put a bigger plug on the bottom outlet.
Some people complain about it being limited to 2.4Ghz, but honestly, that's the best place for it to be. 2.4Ghz gives it greater range and isn't eating up a high speed 5Ghz antenna at any point. I consider that to be a good thing.
Other Thoughts: Several people have mentioned it, but it is SHOCKINGLY easy to set this thing up. I plugged it in between a lamp and the wall, downloaded the Kasa app on my phone, and setup an account (literally just put in an email an password). Boom! It found the item without me having to switch WIFI networks or anything. I wish more things (I'm looking at you, WIFI extenders!) were this easy to setup.
It's worth mentioning that there's an HS110 model that tracks energy usage as well, and only costs about $10 more. I could see that being the more useful item in the long run, but I'd like to see the price on these come down a little bit. I'd love to have a house full of these. Honestly, I'd like to see this built into the outlets themselves, so we don't have to have anything in front of them.