Date Joined: 05/11/04
Pros: This is a great item for the price. I popped in a mechanical drive salvaged from an old laptop, and got it just worked. Writes happened at over 80 MB/s (which seems the limit for the hard drive itself, and not the enclosure).
Cons: The only negative is the fact that this design is screwless. What kind of person can salvage a hard drive from an old laptop and not have a screwdriver lying around? Because of this, this design is NO good for road warriors. If your drive will travel the country in carry-on luggage, then find a different solution, as I doubt that this one will survive. However, for use around an office, this is just fine.
Pros: Once this thing is set up, it works great. It is small, capable of sucking power from a standard USB port (higher current port is a great idea), four jacks, and provides a rock-solid connection. I use to to connect an Obi-100 box. Works like a charm. Having two separate antennas is nice, and an upgrade over other clients that I have owned.
Cons: Well, the setup is a little finicky. I could not get WPS to work at all. However, after resetting the router, this thing connected like a champ after I manually entered the password.
Pros: I love the design of this thing. Simple, minimalistic, and it lets you put the fans exactly where they are most needed.
Cons: Well, the quality of the fans could be better. Out of the two fans, one of them sounds like a jet taking off due to bad bearings when it is first turned on. Typically, is makes a LOT of noise for about a minute or two. After that it quiets down.
Overall Review: Great product when it works properly.
Pros: This is a great 2nd monitor. The size is nice for throwing in a laptop bag. The fact that it can be used portrait or landscape is a nice bonus.
Cons: The brightness is not adjustable -- not really a big deal, but I thought that I would mention it. The stand does not allow much adjustment of the viewing angle -- once again, not a big deal.
Overall Review: Some people have bashed this thing for the mini-USB port breaking. I have used this monitor rather heavily for the past four months. I have babied this thing -- kept it in a case, been careful not to pull on the cord, etc. It is still going strong! I simply understand that the jack may be a weak spot, so I am treating it accordingly. No problems so far.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this is a PRODUCTIVITY monitor. Not movies, and not gaming. This uses a standard DisplayLink chip. The fact that you can get video so good over USB is amazing. Simply stated, USB 2.0 does not really have the bandwidth to support high-quality video and gamine. That is not the fault of DisplayLink, or this monitor. That is the fault of USB 2.0. Great monitor if you keep your expectation real.
One more hint: there is a great piece of software called "DisplayFusion" that puts the menu bar at the bottom of all of your screens, along with fancier stuff. Using that, along with the keyboard shortcuts built into Windows 7 and above -- "Win" key combined with the cursor (arrow) buttons -- makes for a great combination.
Pros: My wife got one of these. Think of this as a "budget ultrabook." It is small and light. If you are looking for a traveling companion that won't weigh you down and doesn't cost a lot of money, this is a good choice. The speed is adequate for general-purpose and office stuff.
Cons: There ARE a few bad things, but most of these are simply because this is a very tiny, light machine. First is no optical drive. But if they added an optical drive, it would not be this size. The second is that the battery life is only around two hours, but this is a because, once again, such a small frame simply does not have room for a larger battery. It is also not easy to open up to install upgrades, but there is not really much to upgrade, so no big deal. The processor in this thing can support two channels of RAM, but there is only one memory slot, so some memory performance is left on the table. Once again, the fault of the small size. Finally, the touchpad is kind of annoying. In order to grab and drag, you cannot just tap on the pad, you have to push hard enough to activate the switch underneath. Kind of annoying, but nothing that an external mouse can't fix.
Overall Review: Another "minus" is that this comes with Windows 8, but does every other machine, so I can't knock them for that. Install "Classic Shell" and use the registry hack to disable the Win-8 swipe gestures and it will work just like Win-7.
The screen is only 1366x768, but that is true of almost every laptop under $1000.
Yes, there are some trade-offs associated with the size, but the good thing is the size!
Pros: Great construction. Has a front-zipper pouch for holding mice, power adapter, flash drive, etc. Shoulder strap is peremenantly attached, but when set to minimum length, it wraps around the bottom and stays completely out of the way.
Cons: The front zippered pouch does not extend the entire width of the case (stops at the burgandy fabric), so with a mouse, security cable, power adapter, earbuds, and a pen in there, it starts to get rather full. This is a minor nit, however. If this bothers you, you can get a similar model (also called Sherpa), with more space, but it costs more)
Overall Review: Great bag. Built like a tank, and holds my 15.6" HP budget laptop perfectly, with an inch or two left at the top.
Pros: Seems easy to set up, and can be configured as an access point OR a client. Great!!! Three fairly decent (but non-removable) antennas.
Cons: First, it claims 300 Mbps, but it only has 100 Mbps ports on the back!!! The only way to even get close to 300 Mbps as a client is to hook up three or more computers to it. Also, the firmware is a few years old, and I cannot find a product page anywhere with updates. The final con (not really a huge deal) is that to configure this thing, you have to read the manual to get the initial IP address, and then give your PC a static address. A built-in DHCP server would have been nice for initial setup. Not a huge deal, but could cause problems for newbies. It would also be nice if they included the initial IP address on a label on the bottom.
Overall Review: BAD POWER ADAPTER. The plug on the power adapter is very flaky, and I am not the first reviewer to notice this. Be prepared to get a new one.
Pros: Works perfectly.
Overall Review: I just got an HP G6 laptop with an AMD A4 processor. It only came with one RAM module, so I wanted to increase the bandwidth and use both channels. According to CPUZ, the existing ram (Micron) had SPD voltages of 1.27, so I figured that I needed low-voltage RAM. This Samsung RAM matches the SPD values exactly!
Pros: This thing just works as expected. What else can I say? I just plugged in a Logitech Unifying receiver into the keyboard USB plug, and the keyboard and mouse just works, including the extra multimedia keys on the keyboard (volume, e-mail, power, etc.). It drives my 2560x1600 display perfectly.
Cons: Well, the only real problem that I have has is that on ONE computer (AMD processor and chipset), sometimes USB is not connected, and I have to unplug and replug the USB cable into the computer. But that only happens on a single computer. It seems to work flawlessly on the other three computers.
Overall Review: While the wireless keyboard/mouse combo works perfectly, it is NOT recognized by the Logitech drivers, so if you need drivers to get your keyboard to work, then you cannot plug it into the keyboard USB jack. Instead, plug it into the switched USB port, and just use the front-panel buttons to switch computers. The down side is that it will appear to the computer that you are unplugging and re-plugging the keyboard/mouse in whenever you switch computers. However, if you need to use a gaming keyboard, this is probably acceptable.
Also, plugging a ROKU box into an input (through HDMI to DVI adapter), it would not drive my monitor past 480 resolution. I do not know why this is, as HDMI can support 1080p. I suspect that this is because this KVM probably does not support HDMI-style encryption.
Pros: This is a regular bluetooth headset. The controls are pretty much where you expect, and works pretty much as you expect. However, this thing has one killer feature that is hard to find in other one-ear headsets: streaming. You can pump your music, audiobooks, or game sound to this thing -- WOW! OK, the sound is not nearly as good as headphones, but it does work! It also comes with a spare ear clip, and replacement rubber pads that let you attach this to your ear without the clip. I have big ears, so I worry about if falling out, but it is a nice option.
Cons: It could be a little bit louder, and the tiny speaker is not great for music, but does an acceptable job given the size and the price.
Overall Review: They cover the micro-USB charging port with a cheesy rubber cover. This makes it a little harder to charge with cables that have the plug-end a little fatter than normal.
Pros: If you can pair this with a desktop computer, it is a decent mouse. The tracking seems pretty good, and the receiver is TINY!
Cons: This is a 1600 DPI mouse. When you first plug it in, your pointer will scoot all over the screen until you turn the sensitivity down. This is OK for a desktop, but with a notebook, you will want to turn the sensitivity back up when using the touchpad! Because of this, I will say that this is OK for desktop use, but not so much for a laptop.
Overall Review: Without the included software, the left/right scrolling will not work. When you install the software (not available on the web site, so don't loose the disk), you will get yet another tray icon. Using XP Pro, I could not set the new tray icon to be always hidden. Every time I rebooted, the tray icon was always there. Pain in the rear. If I were to use this full time, I would completely skip the included software, even if I could not scroll left or right.
Pros: This give you a single USB connection that provides a 5-port USB hub, a USB-audio, and a USB-network interface in one package. That is it! If this is what you need, then this products works great!
Cons: It is designed to sit under the tail-end of a laptop. If you want to put it on the side, it is kind of large. I wish it came as a small rectangular brick.
I also wish that it had audio line-inputs. The only audio input is a microphone jack.
Overall Review: If you catch it on sale, this is a great product. Keep in mind that it does NOT generate video, and it will NOT charge your laptop. If that is what you want, get something else.
Pros: It is small, and works exactly as expected. I can boot Linux and Windows CDs with i (using my Acer Aspire One netbook). Burned CD-Rs work just fine.
Cons: No bundled software (if you care about this). The top is a glossy finish. It will show every fingerprint and scratch. Also, be sure to use the included "Y" cable. Otherwise, the burner may not get enough power when buring.
Overall Review: I have not tested the Lightscribe feature.
Pros: This is an awesome little printer! It is fast and the quality is quite good for a home/office workhorse printer. The print cartridges are expensive, but if you stick to the "XL" cartridges, the cost per page for the life of this printer will be quite low compared to almost any other inkjet that you can find. It also has some nice touches, such as the built in web server (if you connect it via Ethernet). You can check the status through its web page (including ink levels and page count), and even do a scan where the web server returns a jpg file (no preview, though) -- Wow! The automatic duplexer is a nice tough, though it does slow down the printing process, as it has to wait for the ink to dry before sucking the paper back into the printer. Also included is a document feeder (nice touch) and fax capability (which I do not need or use). As a bonus, you can completely replace the print heads in about 5 minutes. There are two heads, and they run for under fifty dollars each.
Cons: Others have reported that they have had problems paper jams. I have not seen this, but my printer is still new, so everything is fine so far.
This printer is also large, and kind of noisy when operating. However, this is a work horse, not a show horse. I would rather it be slightly loud and be fast instead of quiet and slow.
Overall, I highly recommend this printer to anybody who needs to do a lot of printing. It might not be the best photo printer, but it is awesome for general utility work.
Overall Review: Some people have reported problems with the driver install. I found the following steps to work great (network install):
1) Disable your software firewall.
2) Download the latest drivers from the HP web site.
3) Install the driver package, but ONLY choose the printer driver, imaging driver, and maybe the OCR software. Do NOT install anything else.
4) Once the driver is installed, restart your computer. Re-enable your firewall.
5) If you use Windows built-in firewall, the install should have poked holes in the firewall for you. If you use some other firewall, poke the holes according to the included documentation.
This procedure worked perfectly on three installs of XP (one Pro, two Home). I cannot comment on Vista or Win-7. Since it uses PCL3, it should work great on Linux (but I have not had the time to test this yet).
Pros: This unit works great. It receives ATSC (digital broadcast TV), QAM (digital cable), NTSC (analog broadcast TV), FM radio, DIgital FM Radio (unable to test this in my area), and Composite + SuperVideo (good for video game systems). It runs great on my 1.6 Atom netbook (running XP home). The manufacturer even supplies Linux drivers on the web site. Installing into Ubuntu simply requires running one script as root. The Linux part just installs drivers. You are still stuck trying to use the Kaffeine player (which I still have not figured out how to use, so I have not fully tested Linux compatability. Kaffeine did auto-scan and find all local channels, so I assume that it works).
Cons: The included antenna is not very good. Of course, this has to be the case, since it is small. Bigger antenna = more signal = more to carry. Everything about antennas is a compromise between size and strength, so I think that the antenna is fine for its intended purposes. I can pick up all local stations from the top story of my house. The unit also does NOT report any sort of signal strength. This will make is somewhat harder to orient the antenna for maximum signal. Not a big deal, though. Lastly, the included software is kind of clumsy, but it is functional.
Overall Review: Overall, this unit does pretty much everything I expected, and then some. I am glad that I got this unit. It does get a little warm while in use. Software is mediocre. They provide a short USB extension cable, which you SHOULD use, since the unit is much larger than a USB drive, and too much pressure could break your USB port.
Pros: The hardware is brilliant. No complaints whatsoever. However, if all you are interested in is the hardware, get the non-"PC" version and save yourself $15 or so. If you buy this version, it is because you want to hook it up to your PC.
Cons: The software is poor. To make a long story short, I have to install, uninstall, re-install, and update the Olympus drivers and software. I hook the unit up to a USB hub on my desk, but it only works on ONE USB port. If I plug it into a different port, the driver causes a BSOD. I can forgive non-linux compatability, but drivers should not crash my box when I plug the device in. Poor showing, Olympus.
Overall Review: As somebody else said, Linux users should not even bother (are there any voice recorders that work with Linux?).