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This review is from: Logitech G35 USB 2.0 Connector Surround Sound Headset
Pros: Amazing sound. I have done comparisons with other headsets in the $100 price range (turtle beach, steelseries, razer), and it outclasses them in this regard. Very comfortable, and it does a decent job at noise isolation.
Cons: Software/Hardware issues. After 9 months of use, the plastic started cracking around the rivets on the right ear cup. Apparently this is a common occurrence- which is even worse. There is a serious design flaw that puts the longevity of this headset into question. However, I fixed this problem with some super-glue and epoxy without a hitch. To add to annoyance, in some applications the headset does not function in stereo, and the surround sound must be enabled or virtually no sound is produced from the left cup. Reinstalling/updating driver software did not alleviate the problem, and the only solution seems to be complete removal of said software, upon which the stereo function is 100%. That's not to say it doesn't work at all, just certain applications such as Pandora. Did I mention it's heavy?
Other Thoughts: Looking at how negative my review is it seems illogical to rate it at 4 stars, but I really do like this headset. There are some problems which must be addressed; in my case, these issues detract from satisfaction, but not from value. This headset is very sturdy, with one exception. The software is fully functional, with one exception. Did I mention it sounds amazing? It sounds amazing. Oh yeah, and it comes with all kinds of gimmicky stuff that you'll rarely, if ever use.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: Lenovo IdeaPad U410 59351632 14" Ultrabook
Pros: At $529, this was a steal. It is the cheapest 14" i5 ultrabook I've found. That being said, it certainly isn't constructed poorly. The outside casing is aluminum, with hard plastic inside. The keyboard is very nice, and doesn't have the flex that others have mentioned. The touchpad is very smooth and relatively responsive. Personally, I like windows 8, and I have no issue using it on a non-touchscreen laptop; it simply isn't a problem.
I would also not that there was little bloatware installed, which is atypical for something in this price range. Probably the most significant factor for me is the start/wakeup speed. It returns from sleep in 1-2 seconds, and from cold start only takes about 15 seconds to log in and get into the start menu. The USB 3.0 is a welcome addition as well.
Cons: There are a couple of immediate problems that I had on first boot. The first being the touchpad, I had to turn off a setting that caused my application to swap any time I brought my finger from the left edge inward. Obviously, the start menu is in the bottom left, so every time I got into start I was being forcibly placed back onto the desktop. No more problems with the touchpad thereafter. This WiFi adapter has driver problems in windows 8. I had the same issues with my desktop adapter until I got a driver patch for it. Same thing here: on the Lenovo site there is a driver download page for the U410, and downloading the Windows 8 driver made all the difference. Now for the long term problem- the battery life. Lenovo describes optimal battery life as 7 hours, I believe. I get 3.5-4 on the balanced profile with a conservative screen brightness. Using power saver nets me 4.5-5.5 hours. This is the result of word processing and web browsing. Turning the WiFi off gets me up to 45 minutes more, though even then, not the 7 hours as advertised.
Finally, though not a strong con, it is appropriately listed here: the NVidia 610 graphics chip. The chip is vastly underpowered, and while marginally better than the integrated solution, also requires extra power. This converts to a 2.5-3 hour battery life on performance settings doing some medium intensity gaming or media editing. The chip is useful in its own right, though it's not a capable gaming processor, it has utility for video encoding and the like. However, I am a student, and I am not a media graphic design major, so it's relatively useless to me. Furthermore, as it's only about 10-15% better than the integrated graphics for gaming, it's hard to justify it being there at all. Thankfully, I can turn it off in the power profiles, and it shouldn't draw a noticeable amount of power while off.
Other Thoughts: This thing is like most sub-$1,000 ultrabooks in that it doesn't have graphics capabilities for modern games. It can do arcade games, though even something like "The Binding of Isaac" lags if not on a performance power profile. Beyond that, anything more graphically demanding than League of Legends on medium settings, or StarCraft 2 on low pull unplayable framerates. This isn't a con as it was not the purpose of the purchase, and I expected as much. If gaming is the objective, one can go out and buy an HP with an AMD-A10 or A8 processor for about the same price, and would be twice as capable. The ultrabook advantage is the form factor and battery life. On a side note, I am not sure what's up with the mSata drive, but I guess it's got Intel Rapid Start or some equivalent partitioned out, as the size is strange. It would definitely account for the fast boot time, and the disparity between the 24gb it now has, as opposed the 32gb it used to be advertised as.
Notes on the screen and audio:
The screen is a typical TN panel, and the color/contrast is nothing to write home about. It looks fine as far as I am concerned, but in comparison to my $300 Acer Netbook, it is actually lacking. With some tweaking in the Intel Control Panel software, I adjusted the screen to be much more vivid. The built-in speakers are okay, but again, the idea of "you get what you pay for" is still in effect. There is a bit of static on headphones, but it's unnoticeable unless it's silent. The Dolby HD audio software is actually quite nice, however, and succeeds in alleviating any issues with the audio. To compare it to the Beats audio software on my HP this has replaced: it is roughly equivalent, as Beats had more dynamic settings, but the Dolby HD has an intelligent equalizer that is very easy to set up, and very satisfying.
Bottom line here:
If you're tech savvy, or patient, this ultrabook is fantastic for the price, but if you don't want to deal with some initial hassle- fish out a bit more cash and go for a Dell Inspiron 14z or something along those lines.
Pros: Very pleased with everything about this card.
It came factory overclocked @ 920MHz core clock up from 860MHz.
I managed to push it further to 985MHz core clock, and 1300MHz memory clock up from 1200MHz.
The shroud is visually appealing and functions very well.
Cons: This went out of stock a couple of days after purchasing it, and after it came back up, the price dropped from $260 to $230.
Other Thoughts: Still going strong. Currently running in crossfire at stock clock speeds. Even on my awful FX-8120 processor, I pull over 80FPS in Crysis 2 @ 1920x1080 resolution. Every setting at maximum, DX11 tessellation and HighRes textures packs enabled, as well as hardware enabled 4xSSAAREAD FULL REVIEW