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Mark B.'s Profile > 
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  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

4 out of 5 eggs I Love This Thing 12/12/2013

This review is from: NVIDIA® SHIELD™ Portable

Pros: Excellent build quality
Good screen
Comfortable and familiar controls
Runs Android w/update and no bloatware
Some Shield-optimized games are fantastic
Control mapping utility makes phone games more fun
Streams PC games at high framerates
Works hand-in-glove with Steam's console mode.
Surprisingly good battery life, especially in PC streaming mode
Works when plugged in.
Has microSD slot that for up to 32GB extra storage.
Flawlessly runs emulators for popular, but discontinued consoles
Tegra 4 chip is a responsive and graphically impressive
Can be plugged into TV for "console mode"
No other product does what Shield does out of box.

Cons: Screen only 720p and a tad small
Limited selection of high-quality Shield optimized Android games
Not all phone games work well with control mapping software
PC streaming requires Kepler-based video card
PC streaming requires fast router (dual band AC or N)
Accessories are expensive and inflate cost ($40 carry case, $20 for non-ugly "shield badge" for lid)
Price is a bit steep compared to competing handhelds
16GB internal memory is too small.

Other Thoughts: Reviews are quick to point out that Shield is not for everyone. They are correct. It is a niche product for people who already have a fast PC, have or plan to buy a Kepler-based Nvidia graphics card, and have or plan to buy a wireless AC or N router with dual-channel capability.

Fortunately, I already had all of these things (and a bazillion Steam games), so buying Shield was a no-brainer, even at near MSRP. I considered other, cheaper, more popular handhelds, but it was really no contest once realized I could play my old ROMs in emulation, run virtually any Android application without issue, play dozens of PC games at desirable frame rates from my couch, and destroy entire weekends playing Asphalt 8 (seriously, a game that I think is OK on tablets, but ascends to dizzying heights when played on Shield.)

My only complaints about this device can be addressed in future versions. It could use a larger, higher-resolution screen, and at least 32 GB of internal storage. Of course, the next Tegra version won't hurt, either.

IMHO, the Shield is worth the money for the Android game/app/emulation capabilties alone. The ability to stream Steam games is a huge bonus, that I use more than I thought I would. The build quality is impressive, and the controls are very sturdy. Everything folds up nicely into a clamshell.

Shield isn't for everyone. But if it's for you, it's REALLY for you.

Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 
 High-power 2.1 PC Speaker System
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

4 out of 5 eggs Great for gaming, good for music 12/11/2013

This review is from: Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 High-power 2.1 PC Speaker System

Pros: Good value under if obtained for $225 or less.
Clear highs
Strong, if somewhat muddy bass.
Capable of high volume without much distortion
Handy volume/setting pod
Easy setup

Cons: Not as good with music reproduction as some reviews would claim (i.e. not "audiophile").

Other Thoughts: I've had the SP 2000 for a month, and I really like it. It replaces another 2.1 setup, a Boston Acoustics system purchased retail for $100 in 2001.

I chose this system primarily as a gaming and music system in my office. I have absolutely no complaints with its gaming capabilities. Paired with a good gaming soundcard (I use ASUS Xonar STX and Xonar DGX), it produces clear, positional sound for when I tire of headphones.

It does not shine as brightly for audio reproduction, however. This is a point worth emphasizing as a counterpoint to some of the glowing reviews in various tech publications. This is a good audio system, but not a substitute for even a good mid-range receiver/tower setup. It is merely very nice 2.1 audio kit worth every penny of its (relatively) modest price, particularly if you are a gamer first and a music fan second. Although the subwoofer is twice the physical size of my BA’s, and the BA’s satellites lack the tweeters included here (satellites are otherwise same size), it’s actually difficult for me to decide which sounds better when listening A/B. The decade old, inexpensive Boston Acoustic is much warmer and sweeter, while the Corsair is more accurate, but less engaging (like a really nice boom box).

What’s wrong for music? As far as I can tell, is the plastic housing surrounding the satellites. At high volumes, it reverberates with a "plasticky" thumpiness/buzziness that will instantly remind you that this is indeed a 2.1 setup with limits (especially if you fell in love with the clarity and depth provided the small woofer/tweeter setup at lower volumes.) The satellites would likely benefit from more solid housings, and being placed on a solid wood desk.

Bottom line: Despite my criticisms, is a great setup if you are on a budget. The SP 2000 will blow away almost anything at a big box retailer’s computer audio section. But they will leave you wanting more if you really want a tool for appreciating music. They’re probably worth the risk of ordering. Just know that, depending on your ear, you might end up returning them for a set of speakers you can get lost in.

SanDisk ReadyCache SDSSDRC-032G-G26 2.5
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

3 out of 5 eggs Good Product So Far; But One Unit Missing Activation Code 12/05/2012

This review is from: SanDisk ReadyCache SDSSDRC-032G-G26 2.5" 32GB SATA III for Windows 7 and Windows 8 -based PCs

Pros: Simple installation process. Noticeable speed improvement during boot-up and when launching frequently used applications. Inexpensive alternative to starting from scratch with new SSD.

Cons: One of two units I purchased did not include an activation code for the ReadyCache software (the sheet of paper was blank where the code should have been printed). Tech support is difficult to reach, and solutions the issue could not be immediately resolved.

Other Thoughts: It is too early for me to provide an overall review of the product. I am noticing a marked improvement in load times on the one computer (an old Intel E8400/Win 7 Pro 64/7200 rpm HD) after three days' use. Installation was a snap. I withheld one star simply due to this being a brand new install. I am withholding another star because one of two drives I purchased did not include an activation code, which is required to use the product. Although I have seen several postings online complaining about this issue, the SanDisk support site does not adequately address, except to suggest calling 1-866-SANDISK. I do not recommend this, as I could not reach a human and was instructed to leave details about my problem by recording. I tried SanDisk livechat this morning, and was told I will be emailed a new activation code. It could not be provided on call. My total time investment pursuing the missing code has been over an hour so far, which is disappointing (and more costly than the sale discount). For this, I subtract a third star. Hopefully, this drive will be working later today.


Mark B.'s Profile

Display Name: Mark B.

Date Joined: 11/29/04

  • Reviews: 23
  • Helpfulness: 11
  • First Review: 04/04/08
  • Last Review: 12/12/13
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