Date Joined: 11/03/05
Pros: Eliminates some clutter from my desk -- I had a 3-outlet extension cord with wall warts sticking off it, and now i just power my devices from one convenient box. Two 2.4A USB charging ports are superb (though see cons). Two regular surge-protected outlets... excellent. These also have mirrored orientation, which is great (though see cons).
The operating LED is just plain tiny, and I love it. I don't need the room lit up like an xmas tree by any more power LEDs than I do already. It's about 0.5mm diameter...entertainingly small.
Portability is fine
Cons: Why just two 2.4A USB ports, guys? Why not make all four to this spec? Are there devices that must not be charged above 1.2A? Maybe so...?
The 120V outlets smartly have mirrored orientation but unfortunately they have grounds toward the center of the box, rather than 180 degrees from how they are (grounds out toward the edges of the case). The few polarized chargers I have would cover both outlets, which defeats having two.
I think these cons merit a 1-star dock. If these items were rectified in the next product release cycle, this would be superb.
Overall Review: So far so good. I hope this lasts a good long while.
Pros: Pretty packaging that you don't have to destroy to open it. Product appears to be solidly built, and the LED goes on.
Cons: Fails to provide drive information to Linux (Ubuntu 14.04.3). Product page unfortunately fails to state compatibility requirements. If you're running Linux, don't waste your time on this. If you're running windoze, it'll probably be pretty darn cool. Went to the Bytecc website after it didn't work, and that clearly states Win only, as does the packaging. Bad me for not doing enough homework, and bad product specs that don't show this.
Pros: * Booted right up, no errors
* BIOS is easy to use and not quirky (but see cons)
* Hardware assembly is easy (but see cons)
* Decent speed, enough to handle 1080p movies with no jerkiness or pauses, and handle reasonable processing demands
* Extremely quiet, almost silent; it is significantly quieter than Lenovo Thinkpad W-5xx series laptops (for comparison)
* Runs Ubuntu 14.04.1 just fine with all hardware detected on install (did not test S/PDIF)
* Thoughtful screw-down bracket to hold the internal drive steady
* Power brick is compact and works fine, has decent-length cabling with a 90-degree barrel connector near the rear of the unit
* Decent-quality audio, no interference or static
* Very lightweight and conveniently compact
* Very low power consumption -- off/sleep: 0.0W; on, idle: 8W; under load: 13W. Tested with a Kill-a-Watt, with a 240GB SSD and 16GB RAM installed.
* The brick is overspecified (a good thing) at 3.4A. The computer uses nowhere near that much under normal loads, though I was not able to measure transient load
Cons: * No eSATA port -- this will keep me from using this device more, because the USB3.0 interface from my drive tower is unreliable (but eSATA works perfectly)
* Memory slots are rough and require an unnecessary amount of insertion force, worse than all laptops I have ever owned
* DVI and HDMI ports are directly adjacent and crowd each other, making the dual-monitor capabilities of this device very difficult to put into service without cable mods or purchase of very slim cables
* Apparently no wi-fi yet there's a wi-fi indicator light (??) -- an odd choice that should be investigated further
* The user manual is very sparse. It doesn't need to be a thick book since this unit is so simple to assemble and use, but it should have better diagrams for the internal components and a clear list of what is included (especially clarifying whether wi-fi is or is not supported, and explaining why the indicator light). The manual does not explain the BIOS options at all, though these should mostly be familiar to seasoned builders and tweakers.
* Does not offer a side-mount option (as in, attaching to a panel), but the shape of the case includes a H bevel all around it that would protect against a strap pressing buttons
* Did not boot off a netbootin-created bootable USB stick that was chosen in the BIOS boot list. Booting the Zotac appears to require either an internally connected drive, or an outboard CD or DVD drive. The instructions say use the outboard DVD drive, but failed to state that USB boot is *not* supported. This isn't a big deal, but should stand as warning if you are hoping to perform a live install of Ubuntu straight from a USB stick. A SATA-to-USB 3.0 interface adapter worked fine for installing Ubuntu using a temporarily re-connected internal DVD drive.
* Not especially vehicle-friendly (think semi-permanent use in a camper). Voltage requirement is 19V DC, so it requires either a 120V inverter (to use its brick) or a DC-DC converter to run off 12V DC in a vehicle.
Overall Review: Great little desktop computer. I was hoping it would not require an OS reinstall (Ubuntu 14.04.1) onto the SSD, but it did. The previous install was for an x86-based laptop, so it's not surprising that the Atom hardware was very foreign. The reinstall went quickly with an outboard DVD drive, after I gave up on booting the ISO off a USB stick that I had located in the BIOS and specified as the only boot device. All hardware appears to be detected, and both HDMI and DVI work for video output. The HDMI is highly aliased like HDMI outputs all seem to be, but it works without any complaining. DVI is anti-aliased as one would expect, and looks great. I did set the aperture and max video memory to 512MB in the BIOS.
Pros: * Safely packaged (but see cons)
* No product damage
* Worked immediately, no futzing
* Acceptably fast
* No errors
Cons: * Retail packaging was uncommonly tight and it should be very carefully removed to avoid breaking the modules.
Overall Review: Put into service in a Zotac ZBOX-BI320-U, and they work great.
Pros: * Aluminum construction (not plastic)
* Decent fit (camera side, lens side)
* Comes with end-caps that fit properly (not cheap ones that unscrew and fall off on their own)
* Does indeed AF and permit the user to select aperture settings that work
* Good looks (got the red set to go with my L lens)
* Release buttons lock the sections together, which is important so the lens doesn't twist off accidentally
Cons: * Slight scraping on the lens mount side, but nothing that inhibits locking or sounds like damage
* Release buttons are slightly fiddly to release (but they do work)
* Does not 100% tighten once the release buttons click (but due to the secure release buttons, this is not an issue)
Overall Review: This replaces a 75% cheaper and waste of money fully manual extension tube set that fails to permit user-selected aperture (a crucial failure for macros). That one will be headed to the recycle bin.
I tested this AF tube set with three lenses (50/1.8, 28-70/2.8L and 70-200/2.8) and it works fine with all of them. Note that the range of AF is restricted to the usable range of depth of focus. Thus, don't expect to hold it ten feet from the subject and have it AF -- this is simply not within the capabilities of the entire system because for macros, since your depth of focus is best measured in mm, not feet. To AF, move to within the focal range and then tweak your AF as you see fit.
Acceptable shipping time from HK. It took 12 days to get here -- within the window specified on the product page.
Pros: * Very fast -- I get up to 115MB/sec which is about as fast as my hard drives manage
* Reliable -- no data loss so far
* Love the retractable connector -- no more stupid caps to lose
Cons: * Needed to be reformatted on arrival; was flaky and wouldn't be recognized in all USB 3.0 ports (but after reformatting, works great)
Overall Review: At first I was feeling pretty disappointed due to the initial unreliability, but after the reformat, it's excellent. The speed is unsurpassed, and it's basically like a slow-ish SSD on a stick.
I've been using it daily for over a month, and it works perfectly.
Pros: Impressive features
Good fitment (no misalignments, etc.)
Built the way boards *used* to be built -- thick and sturdy
100% stable -- no BSODs whatsoever
Win7 did its usual 3x restart after swapping in a new board, but other than that, no issues, no reinstall.
Cons: Minor nit: onboard audio does not have a capture mode. This wouldn't stop me from buying the board, but just so you know...
Overall Review: I'm quite impressed with Gigabyte's products. They're putting out some excellent boards, and I'll stick with 'em for all my builds, and recommend them to friends.
Pros: Packaging easy to disassemble
Lots of it
No dead modules
Cons: Zilch. No complaints.
Overall Review: Amazing value. An aside: I remember buying 32 (8x4) megabytes for $110 per module. If my figures are right, that's 2933x more expensive than this. Crazy, crazy, crazy.
Pros: •Provides effective cooling
•Sliding fan tray to customize cooling
•Lightweight yet strong
•Nice surface finish
Cons: •A few sharp edges
•Fans are blocked if you sit it on your lap (versus using a lower plate as a standoff)
•No USB ports (only available on a higher model)
•Storage bins (rear) do not permit passthru of cables from side to side
•No lateral movement of fans (may look into a mod for this)
Overall Review: Cons are pretty minor, but worth considering, for instance whether you want to just kick out the extra $$ to get four USB2.0 ports in the higher model. Having just two in this would have been super.
Gave it the several-hour stress test today via a whole-disk optimization, which normally gets the laptop dangerously hot. This time, the temp was very manageable and I had no concerns about allowing it to finish in one segment, versus stopping and restarting over a couple days.
Pros: Durable -- has lasted three years so far (semi-permanent installation in a car stereo)
Easy to use -- just insert the MicroSD and then it's a USB card
Configurable -- remove one MicroSD, insert another
Cons: Only one minor thing: the orientation of the MicroSD card is not indicated -- and one could accidentally force it in upside-down.
Overall Review: Great adapter. I would happily get another should the need arise.
Pros: • Works fine in my Canon 550D / T2i. No freezes, slow-downs, etc.
• Works in my USB3 card reader
• Works in my laptop's built-in reader
• Exceeds the Class 10 rating by a healthy margin (31 MB/sec read versus the 10 MB/sec minimum for the class)
• Write-protect tab stays in place on inserting into the card-reader (unlike another brand, which has tabs that slip and prevent writing)
Cons: None. Every Patriot SD card I have works every time, zero failures.
Overall Review: The first one of these in this order was destroyed in shipping, which I find astounding, but newegg handled the internal RMA expeditiously, and eventually the replacement arrived. Lesson learned that ordering these early (e.g. well before a trip) is smart.
Pros: Solid construction, pretty simple to install, holds the laptop steady, doesn't bounce excessively
Cons: The laptop is secured to the platform via straps. This isn't a criticism of its reliability (I know they are plenty strong), but rather, that the front strap is far less effective than a pair of clips would have been. It *is* secure, but the front strap gets in the way of certain keys unless carefully positioned.
Overall Review: The entire unit is heavy-duty, very well made. The joints are strong, and so long as the base is firmly attached to the seat post or alternative mounting point provided, it's really reliable. Having one other point of contact to something solid makes the whole thing not move at all (except when offroading, when of course things shift a bit). I'm quite pleased with everything except the minor strap issue. Still a good 5-star rating for excellent durability, strength, effectiveness and maneuverability.
Pros: Easy to deploy. Compact. Good reception for all local stations and ones located appx 60 miles away. Has a built-in splitter. Amplifier produces a solid, reliable signal.
Cons: None noted.
Overall Review: Nice antenna for low-tech parents too cheap to get 500 channels of junk cable stations. Works in an attic just fine -- doesn't need line of sight or exterior exposure.
Pros: Does precisely what it's supposed to do. I have rock-solid 1920x1200 video with good color, no artifacts and no sync issues, shimmy or up/down rezzing.
This replaces a similar HDMI unit, which I erroneously assumed would be higher quality than VGA.
Cons: Not a one. This is what I should have ordered in the first place.
Overall Review: I'm running a dual HD monitor setup off of my Lenovo T410 ThinkPad. Both are stable @ 1920x1080 (for one) and 1920x1200 (the other), according to their max resolutions. The HDMI converter this one replaces had video driver incompatibilities that caused very ugly distortion of the signal such that I could not complete precision work on it and had to constantly rearrange my desktop and apps to put graphics apps on the other (less convenient) monitor. Now I have full use of both, with crisp, accurate lines, no ghosting, and no asliasing issues.
Pros: Uses standard USB plugs, rather than jumper-style mobo connectors
Black, no waste on silver or white add'l faceplates
Indicator light glows on use
Straightforward insertion of media -- no upside-down trickery
MicroSD doesn't get buried in the slot
All slots that I can test, work
Cons: Small plugs to inhibit accidental insertion of media into slots one never uses, would have been appreciated. A second USB slot would also be nice, but nothing inherent to it is malfunctioning. It handles all of the media I own.
Overall Review: Tested CF, SDHC, MicroSD and front USB slot.
Pros: Installation was straightforward and worked the first time
No BSOD, lock-ups, etc
Non-USB3 cards, devices go faster on it than usual
Cons: None yet. Hopefully it stays stable.
Overall Review: Not really sure just how fast everything I have is rated to go, so I won't speculate. It does speed up USB2 devices, which is a perk.
Pros: worked immediately out of the box to help fight today's blackout insanity in my neighborhood. contrary to some assertions in reviews at other stores, it didn't need 24 or 48 hours of precharging before use.
it did not smoke, did not display an error code. plugged in a router, cablemodem, phone and laptop, they powered up (or for the laptop, started charging the battery), and i got back to a conference call and being productive. 'nuff said.
Cons: a bit pricey...felt like i'm paying for the APC name.
Overall Review: full disclosure: i was in a hurry today and didn't get this from newegg. normally i would have.
Pros: no instructions needed setup. just plug and go. does exactly what it is supposed to do.
Cons: see 'other thoughts' (not a con about this product)
Overall Review: with intel and ATI, HDMI on a monitor is a minefield of disappointing results. i thought (my error) that a digital signal would trump VGA every time, and that is just not true. HDMI is detected as a TV, not as a monitor, and both ATI and intel apply an underscan that at least with my monitor cannot be worked around (yes, i've extensively googled and tried many things).
so, the adapter works very well, no issues, and if you aren't a stickler for good-quality graphics, you will probably be happy with this. if i had this to do over, i would go with the same brand but get a displayport to VGA adapter instead, because at least then the quality would be high (but not quite DVI quality).
Pros: super-easy setup. worked at 1080p after the standard reboot in win7. running in dual monitor setup and it's flawless. well almost (see cons). zero real issues. i'm not a gamer so can't comment on that, but use it heavily for photoshop acceleration, and for that it's quite good on two 1080p monitors especially at its price-point. no issues except the one very minor con.
historically i've been very pleased with the geforce line. i have every intent of staying with nvidia for this and all future cards, since they always work for me, first time and every time.
Cons: mouse pointer shadow creates a few small artifacts below certain cursor shapes, using the very latest drivers and a clean reinstall. disabling mouse pointer shadows (windows mouse cpan) alleviates this and there's no issues at all.
Overall Review: glad i got the card. the artifacts were a bit disappointing but the workaround is easy and results in virtually no loss of usability.
nvidia's geforce website has the same drivers for this card as the somewhat less efficient EVGA site offers, so just grab 'em from geforce. EVGA support (i contacted them about the artifacts) was quick to respond with polite but not especially creative or effective suggestions. i found the no pointer shadow workaround for the artifacts through my own experimenting.
Pros: bright, sharp display with sturdy stand. DVI works fine, as does VGA. ZERO dead pixels (yaay). color reproduction and luminance range is quite good. warm-up time is pleasantly short (10-20 sec for full color range). no outright flaws outside of those that are designed in.
Cons: is not GTG (i know that is not its design specification, but still, the off-axis color reproduction is terrible, like an old laptop). 1080 vs. 1200; finicky, poorly planned menu controls. just be aware that if you want to view content from the left, right and top at an angle even up to about 70°, it's pretty good. from the bottom (which for me is the left, given that i'm using it vertically), it is disappointingly bad -- e.g., 15° off-axis and the image is nearly obliterated.
Overall Review: got this as a second monitor to sit vertically next to a semi-pro samsung GTG (245T). for the price, pretty decent. however, the difference in off-axis quality is stupefying. i had expected at least some progress in the last few years in terms of off-axis viewability, but apparently that's not the case in non-GTG models. my mistake. on-axis performance, once adjusted, is pretty decent. off-axis performance on three sides is also pretty good. if you intend to use this in a multi-monitor array, think twice about where you intend to place this monitor so the "left" (bottom) viewing in vertical mode isn't a distraction for you. i suspect for 99% of users who just want one landscape-oriented 24" 1080p monitor, this should be pretty enjoyable.
Pros: Lightweight but not junky feeling
Decent enough key feel
"00", backspace, tab, etc keys
All obvious features work fine
Does what an external numeric keypad should, except....
Cons: Bought to complement a laptop with inconvenient numeric keypad functionality. However, this product does NOT work with the Windows alt-keystroke schema to enter symbols. This was a major reason for buying it, and well, now I have a nice hub with some keys on it. Perhaps if Alt were on it, it would work.
Overall Review: Pretty disappointed with the standard driver for the above purpose. If you simply want a keypad, this is nice enough, and the driver does exactly what it's supposed to. If you're really looking for alt-keystroke compatibility, this is not for you.
Pros: Very good response -- deep bass, and treble probably higher than my ears can hear, now.
2D / left-right separation is excellent. I routinely hear more details in music than with a pair of over-the-ear cans that cost 20x what these did on sale. I get the "new song" experience with old favorites, using these, due to hearing new details.
Clarity -- sound is clean, pure and (when the earphones are positioned well) pretty flat. A little dip in the midrange, a little bass boost, maybe a bit tinny, but nothing to write home about.
Portability -- of course something this small is portable. The case supplied with them is perfect for them, and is easy to stow in a pocket.
Cons: Tip-Ring-Ring-Ring (TRRR) construction (which is necessary for the mic, I realize) is not fully compatible with all MP3 players, for instance, or many 1/8" stereo connectors and adapters. This likely accounts for many peoples' "horrible sound" comments -- it's very easy to have the plug inserted too far into a non-TRRR compatible jack, and what results is hearing only the stereo component of the signal without the mono component as well. It's also easy to have the plug too far out out of a TRR jack, which results in mono or even one ear only playing.
Ear positioning is highly critical -- without perfect angle and depth in the ear canal, sound quality is profoundly affected. When it's right, the sound is quite impressive. When it's wrong, the sound is noticeably degraded until you reposition the earpieces.
Overall Review: I wrote a review shortly after receiving these, and thought a followup would be in order, given that I know more now about using them than I did initially.
TRR - TRRR adapters are very difficult to find. Thus if you have a phone such as an iPhone or droidX, these are a great ear canal earphone for you. If you only have legacy equipment, look at other MEElectronics headphones that have the TRR.
MEElectronics should supply (or at least sell) a TRRR > TRR audio-only adapter so a wide range of people can enjoy the earphones' superb sound quality.
Choice of the correct set of vinyl earcups is important so they stay in your ear canals. You may need to use different ones if your ear canals are differently sized. I found that while removal is easy, putting new ones on takes a little strategy. The blunt metal eraser protector on a mechanical pencil is about the right diameter to gently stretch it over the end of the earphone emitter shaft, which allows you to slide it into place.
Pros: good fit (no looseness or issues inserting), nice quality housing. no complaints from either the outboard device or the various chargers (including computer, which can be wedged by a bad usb shorted connection, btw)
Cons: zero. it's exactly what i needed at a reasonable price.
Pros: easy install, works fine under win7, sufficient amplification yet low noise. significantly outclasses the built-in onboard sound from the mobo, and doesn't have a buggy driver.
Cons: a little pricey but that's a nit. no actual cons about the hardware itself, the installation, the drivers or anything else. it's been working great for a couple of weeks, and i have no concern about its longevity.
Pros: Compact, lightweight (2.1 oz), easy to use.
I ran both my Zen and DroidX down to 0% (until they powered down). The first fill charged the MP3 in 35 minutes (noticeably faster than powered USB) and still had 3 of 4 lights remaining. The same charge filled my DroidX to 90% before it gave up. It took about the same time as with powered USB (~2 hrs), so, pretty decent.
Comes with a nice black velvet-like storage bag that attracts cat fur from across the desk.
Cons: I had hopes of getting two DroidX charges (from 0%) out of each battery charge, but that could have been dreaming. It will easily do one full charge, and that's why I bought it.
As has been noted several times, the adapter selection is pretty good but lacks a micro USB. There is a universal female so everyone should be supported if you have your specialized cable. It would however have been nice to supply a micro USB. It is becoming more and more common and would be a smart selling point.
USB power passthru via a second port would have also been nice, for those with a single USB power source, but that's a nit.
Overall Review: Love the free shipping.