Date Joined: 09/11/05
Cons: I made the mistake of buying a few sets from one of my wholesalers for sale in my PC repair store.
* 650 watts? I've heard USB powered speakers without a subwoofer that are louder.and have better sound quality.
* About a 50% defect rate. Luckily I could exchange the bad ones locally. Having to ship a set back via UPS would have cost as much as the speakers themselves.
Overall Review: Avoid these like the plague.
If there was a zero egg rating, these would have earned it.
Pros: Compact. Great if/when it works.
Cons: I purchased one of these from a local retailer last June. It worked fine for about 7 months until it every PC connected to it (both XP and 7) stopped responding and indicated the USB connection was malfunctioning.
I returned it and exchanged it for the same model. Three weeks later, same problem.
Overall Review: I own a PC repair shop. Having a working KVM switch is a necessity, not an option. The time and hassle this model has caused me to upgrade to a pro-grade KVM (different brand).
If you value your time and don't want to play Russian Roulette with your KVM switch, stay away from this model.
Pros: Digital readout, Easy to connect
Cons: Error codes poorly explained in manual.
Overall Review: I've had this model for over a year and really liked it, until today.
The tester gave me an "HH" code with two beeps. When I checked the one page instruction sheet (poorly written in "Engrish"), it stated the "HH" code and two beeps indicated an over voltage power condition (the test readings of 11.9V, 12.1v, 3.3v and 5.0v are within normal tolerances and don't seem to indicate any "over voltage" issue).
Coolmax's web site is no help whatsoever on figuring this out.
Pros: * Larger screen than watching TV on a cell/smart phone.
* Decent tuner if close to TV tower
Cons: * Does not come with 12-volt/car adapter
* Rechargable battery only
* Not good for "fringe" signals (40+ miles away)
Overall Review: A small battery-powered TV is a must for power blackouts caused by hurricanes or other severe weather.
If you have an older (2+ years) portable TV, it's time to replace it if it only picks up old "analog" signals. Now that all TV signals in the USA are digital, it'll be useless.
A close friend of mine received one of these for the Holidays. It has an adaquate picture quality for a portable unit; slightly better than some off-brand models I've seen.
The only downside is it cannot use alkaline batteries in the event of a long power outage. Unless you have a UPS or other backup 120-volt power source, watch it sparingly as you'll only get a few hours of viewing time per charge. A 12-volt car adapter would be a nice option if available.
If you don't want to add a USB TV tuner card to your notebook PC, this is a decent option.
Pros: * ASUS brand reputation for DVD burner quality
* Plug & Play Install
* Plays/Records all formats except Blu-Ray
* Insanely low price
Cons: Cons? They're people locked up in prison - but that isn't important right now. <g>
Overall Review: As a tech who moonlights, I always keep a spare on hand for upgrades or replacements.
Great quality -- so far I've never had to replace or RMA one (knocking on wood).
Pros: see below
Cons: see below
Overall Review: In response to reviews wishing this unit had an HDMI connection, here is something to consider:
HDMI supports DRM (Digital Rights Management) technology. Using an HDMI cable, devices from DirecTV, Dish, cable providers and TiVo can sense you are attempting to record or transfer a program from their box and block the attempt to do so. If Hauppauge or any other manufacturer attempted to bypass this using an HDMI connection it would be considered a “hack”, resulting in lawsuits and huge damage awards under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Composite video is a legal loophole. Although the connections are more cumbersome and the video quality may be a bit lower, it is currently the only legal way to build and sell a device for this type of HD transferring and copying.
Pros: * Low Price
* Works Great With Windows 7
* No Driver Issues
* Gigabyte's Reputation (Quality Product)
* Choice of SVGA, DVI or HDMI output
Cons: * 1 of 13 purchased had bad HDD controller
* Location of USB, Audio and SATA ports is tricky if using an especially small case where the drive cage or PSU is above the board (such as CoolerMaster 1000)
Overall Review: I'm using these boards to build Point-Of-Sale terminals. So far, the DOA board noted above is the only issue I've had out of about 20 Gigabyte boards purchased during the last 12 months. Were it not for this one issue, this would have been a 5-egg rating. (Don't be turned off by one bad board out of 20 - I used to work in a PC store and have seen competitors' boards with far worse DOA percentages).
I also like Gigabyte boards because they aren't very picky about what brand of memory you use. On this board I have done builds with Corsair, Patriot and PNY: all work fine.
Pros: It duplicates hard drives.
Cons: Poor quality: The second time I pushed the "power" button, both the "power" and "start" buttons came loose and partially caved into the chassies. It works for now; however loose buttons and switches are not a mark of quality.
Owners' Manual/Documentation could be a lot better. If you click on the manufacturer's product page you'll see. Other than a poorly written quick start guide, there are no instructions or use tips. I tried copying a 320GB HDD with only 20GB of data to a new 250GB HDD. The "quick" guide makes you think this is possible. In reality, it isn't.
Overall Review: I needed this in a hurry for an IT project and bought it locally. Given the questionable quality, I'll be returning it within a few days.
Pros: Simple no-brainer setup.
Unlike most competitors, Cradlepoint lists this unit as compatible with Cricket's 3G USB devices. I haven't tried Cricket; however - if available in your area - $45/month for unlimited use with no contract is a lot less than what the larger 3G carriers charge.
Cons: Antennas aren't removable/upgradable.
Overall Review: This is the easiest Wi-Fi router I have ever set up. No CDs. No hassles. Plug in the 3G card, type the router's IP address and set the security password. Done.
For locations requiring broadband without available T1, Cable or DSL options this product is a life saver. I set this up in a new building where the T1 won't be installed for several weeks. Six of us are able to share one Sprint 3G card for e-mail, vendor sites and software updates that would be hard (if not impossible) to accomplish using Blackberry or iPhones.
I'm knocking off one egg due to Cradlepoint's marginal (and non-removable) antennas. Average is 3-4 bars over a 2,000 sq. ft. area; signal is basically useless beyond 40 feet or three walls, whichever comes first.
If I had the option of installing high gain antennas, the range would be much better.
Cons: Much below typical Antec quality: Low grade metal, no easy-mount options for drives.
Overall Review: Until seeing this case, I would have purchased any Antec product sight unseen based on their reputation for quality and previous good experiences. No more.
At best, this case has the quality found in a pre-built PC sold at a "big-box" store. The metal is wafer-thin compared to other Antec cases I've used. Unlike Antec's Sonata or "P" series, you dont get easy drive mounting options, silicone drive mounts to reduce HDD noise or any sound/acoustic noise reduction built-in.
If you want a Spartan case with great cooling, spend the extra bucks for the Antec 900 - it lacks the Sonata's creature comforts but has an excellent fan array pre installed. If you are looking for a basic case in the $50 price range check NewEgg's reviews - there are many better choices for building an entry or mid-level PC.
Pros: Low price, ergonomics, very small USB dongle.
Cons: Does not work with XP, horrible driver support.
Overall Review: I found this on sale at a local store. Since it had a very small USB dongle and a very low price I thought it would be a great addition to my old Toshiba notebook PC.
After loading the included drivers the mouse worked; however I kept getting a popup from the taskbar in XP stating there was a device driver problem. Within a few minutes the mouse stopped responding. Removing and reinserting the USB dongle fixes the issue for a few minutes before it repeats.
Went to Pixxo's web site for driver updates. There is not a specific XP driver for the mouse; only a Keyboard/Mouse/Webcam combo driver. Useless.
Since I'll be getting a new notebook soon I'm going to keep it - hopefully it will work better with Windows 7.
If you need a mouse for an XP rig, skip this model
Pros: Low price, good image quality, HDMI output, decent keyboard layout.
Cons: I purchased this model for a client needing a decent PC running the XP Pro downgrade.
The PC started and ran flawlessly with the pre-loaded Vista; however, when I started the XP Downgrade CD, things rapidly went wrong.
About 3 minutes into the downgrade the PC crashed to a grey BIOS screen with an unusual error message. Per their support site, I downloaded their diagnostic program, burned it on a CD and used it to boot the Lenovo. The tests revealed keyboard errors (strange - the keyboard worked perfectly). Next step - per Lenovo - erase the HDD using their diagnostics and attempt to do a fresh install of the XP restore CD.
It gets worse. At this point, the ONLY CD the Lenovo will recognize and load is their disgnostic disk. Any attempt at recognizing Lenovo's XP CD on either the internal CD or an external USB drive is a no go.
Buried on Lenovo's support site is a BIOS upgrade. Sadly, it only installs thru Vista, XP or DOS - none of which can now be loaded.
Overall Review: This is going back to the local store where I purchased it tomorrow for replacement. I spent 5 hours on this; on the replacemnt I will flash the BIOS upgrade BEFORE attempting the XP Downgrade. The BIOS update was posted (buried deep within) Lenovo's web site 5 weeks ago - plenty of time to warn retailers and consumers of the XP downgrade issue.
Bottom Line: Once Lenovo gets the BIOS issues fixed and preinstalled, this has the potential to be a good PC. Until then (especially if planning to downgrade to XP), buyer beware.
Pros: Low price, small size, relatively quiet, easy setup, decent color & text, availability of lower-priced aftermarket toner.
Cons: Not as fast as more expensive color laser printers. Photo quality is decent, but not equal to high-end inkjet prints on photo paper.
Overall Review: With its small size and quiet operation, the CLP 300 is a winner. Setup and driver installation is a snap - less than 10 minutes from opening the box to printing the first page - and, unlike some other brands, Samsung's drivers don't tax your PC with bloated add-ons.
The first night I printed 200 full-color flyers for a client with no problems. The "draft" mode gives a quality equal to standard modes on most inkjets. Photo output is good, but not equal to high-quality inkjet/photo paper prints.
Since this printer uses toner-only (not toner/roller) refills, aftermarket pre-filled cartridges and refill kits are readily available - usually 50% less than Samsung OEM.
Pros: Extremely quiet compared to OEM power supplies. Cables are good length, well constructed and plenty of power plugs. 80+ efficiency rating will save you $$$ on your electric bill.
Overall Review: If you're considering trying to save a few bucks by buying a bare bones OEM-grade power supply, you might want to reconsider - especially if your electricity rates are launching into orbit like those here in Houston.
Buying a unit with an 80+ efficiency rating could easily cut your monthly power bill by a buck or two compared to a cheap power supply. Multiply this by 36 or more months, and this unit could literally pay for itself!
This model is very quiet. The cords are long enough to easily reach any drive or accessory in a mid-to-large case and - with 4 SATA connections - you won't be digging for adapters to connect new drives.
Pros: Built Well, FAST!
Cons: Deeper front to back than many other brands - only an issue if you are using a very small case.
Overall Review: Although a few bucks more than other drives NewEgg offers, it's worth every extra cent.
It's quieter than the "Brand S" drives I've purchased over the past few months.
It actually burns a DVD at 16x - something I've never been able to do with competitive brands!
It's deeper (front to back) and somewhat heavier than most other brands - not an issue with a standard case; however beware of this in mATX builds or if you're replacing a drive in a retail PC with a smaller tower or desktop box.
P.S. Remember to order a SATA cable - this is an OEM unit and doesn't come with one
(6550 dual core, XP SP3, ECS board, 2GB DDR2 800mhz)
Pros: Easy setup, network ready, small footprint, aftermarket toner options available
Cons: Slow color printing, initial set-up instructions may be confusing for novice users.
Overall Review: I purchased this for a client to replace a monochrome laser AIO. Aside from slow (4 ppm) color printing, this seems like a decent machine.
It takes up less desk space than many competitive color laser (and even some inkjet) AIO units. The printer drivers load automatically from the CD; you don't have to use the "Add Printer" function in Windows XP.
On the negative side, the one page set-up poster is lame; it doesn't cover basic things such as unlocking the scanner bed or installing the toner cartridges. On the positive side, it's easy: remove the tape, remove the orange plugs in the fuser and insert the color-coded toner tanks.
This is one of the few color laser printers that doesn't rip you off by requiring "chip encoded" toner refills. The toner refills are seperate from the drum - given this, it's easy to find quality aftermarket toner options for this unit -- often at less than half the cost of OEM.
Pros: Excellent protection. Low Price. Easy to install and update. Uses much less memory/system resources than competitive anti-virus software.
Overall Review: Although I can get a well-known anti-virus software suite free through my cable ISP provider, it's worth every penny for the little I spend to go with AVG.
If you're a PC novice, AVG is a snap to install (just remember to follow the instructions on uninstalling your old anti-virus software before loading it). On a Cable ISP, automatic daily updates take around 30 seconds. Unlike many competitors, AVG requires almost no attention; it doesn't force you to figure out specific settings for e-mail, Internet browsing and other common tasks.
AVG also uses a lot less memory and system resources. If switching from the "free" or "trial" anti-virus that was loaded on your PC when purchased or provided by your ISP, your PC will be noticably faster - especially if you have a slower processor and/or less memory.
Pros: Quiet, easy to install, XP recognizes drive immediately without having to search for or download drivers. Have used Samsung drives for a few years, have never had one arrive DOA (keeping fingers crossed <g>).
Cons: Tray is a bit flimsy; it is possible to insert a disc off center to the point that the tray will close yet the drive won't recognize the disc (if this happens, just eject it and try again).
This is an OEM drive - it does NOT come with an IDE cable (not an issue if you are replacing an older drive, but you'll need to have one if you are adding to or building a PC).
Overall Review: At NewEgg's price, buying this drive is a no-brainer. The "big box" retail chains sell an almost identical retail boxed Samsung drive for more than twice what NewEgg charges for this one. Even if you have to order an IDE cable, it's still a huge savings
Pros: Huge 7" screen, ease of use, audio/video extras.
Cons: No built-in battery or USB connection.
Overall Review: This model has a 7" screen - about four times the viewing area of most other GPS units in this price range. As such, its not only easier to see while driving; its also much easier to type in addresses on the touch screen (notebook size keys versus those on a PDA phone).
Maps/directions are acceptable to good. The default route given isn't always the fastest; however the unit is excellent at re-routing if you miss a turn or hit a detour.
The manual is a bad Chiniese translation; not a big issue since the controls are easy to figure out. The RCA A/V jacks are unusual, but a nice touch if you want to view camcorder footage. Map updates require a card reader; no USB hookup is supported.
The only things keeping this unit from a 5 egg rating are the lack of a built-in battery and no external antenna jack. Otherwise, it rocks!
Pros: Works great; I have always had excellent performance from Samsung products.
Overall Review: Although the 3.5" floppy seems to be on the endangered species list, having one installed on your PC can save you time and trouble. In the event of a major crash, emergency booting from a floppy can be a lifesaver if CD and USB functions are not functioning. In addition, you never know when you may want to open or transfer an archived document stored on a floppy (or a file Aunt Martha copied for you from her antique Win98-based PC onto a disk).
For just a few bucks, adding a floppy drive to your new or existing PC is like putting a fire extinguisher in your home: You may never have to use it, but it can prove invaluable if you do.
Pros: Cheap fix for damaged or defective sound card; decent sound quality; two-minute install (including driver CD).
Cons: Pre-defined EQ settings in software are horrible; english translation of software features needs improvement; occasional pop/hiss issues from website based audio feeds.
Overall Review: After accidentally breaking off the mini-plug inside the audio jack on a brand new Intel motherboard (ouch!), I needed a quick fix that would not require internal install (all my card slots are already in use).
To borrow a line from a certain insurance company, installing this is so easy a caveman could do it - if you can plug in a USB device and load a CD, you're done (just be sure your CD drive accepts 3" mini CDs, as this is what the drivers are on).
If it only came with a better software/driver package (specifically, the pre-defined EQ settings are hideous!), it would rate five stars. Given the low price; however, it is an overall bargain.
Pros: Easy install of drives (no screws or tools needed), easy access, professional styling.
Power supply sold separately (yes, this is a pro - see below)
Overall Review: The sliding clips that lock drives in place work great. Of 7 drives I installed, only one required two auxilary screws to lock the drive in place -- a huge time saver!
The power supply isn't included. For anyone building a mid to higher end system, this is a plus: It allows you to choose one strong enough to power higher end video cards, versus crossing your fingers and hoping that a pre-installed entry level power supply will do the trick.
If you want a case that's both easy to set up and easy on the eyes (clean lines, solid and without the bling-bling styling of many "gamer" cases), look no further.
Pros: We purchased 4 of these for use with PS/2 game units in a retail store enviornment. Overall, a great monitor. Have purchased 30+ Samsung displays for our company over the past three years -- zero defects, zero dead pizels and a rock-solid three year exchange warranty through Samsung.
Cons: To get a decent quality picture using a PS/2, an upgrade to an S-video hookup (apx. $15-$20) is mandatory. Display seems to wash out in bright lighting compared to PC-only monitors like the Samsung 740 or 920.
Overall Review: If you're looking for a PC/TV combo -- or even for a small TV for use without a PC -- this is an excellent choice. Even with its few display issues noted above, its overall picture quality blows away similar size LCD TV only screens that sell for up to twice the price.