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Peter S.

Peter S.

Joined on 06/28/05

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product reviews
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Most Favorable Review

A mix of better and worse than expected

ASRock AB350M AM4 AMD Promontory B350 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
ASRock AB350M AM4 AMD Promontory B350 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

Pros: * With a BIOS update, two of the USB 3.0 ports function as 3.1 (Gen2). Not too often is a product better than advertised. * Overall good layout and easy to set up. * For a cheap board, the BIOS/EFI is very in-depth * I haven't tried overclocking, but the 8-pin CPU connector, VRM heatsink, and sufficient OC options make this board a good option for those who want to overclock on a budget. However, I wouldn't expect people to breach 3.8GHz. * The BIOS has a built-in network update tool, which is convenient (especially for something as young as Ryzen). But, you have to use Ethernet and you'll want to use the European servers - as of writing, the US one doesn't work. * BIOS has QR codes to reference an online manual which is a fancy idea, but...

Cons: * ... the manual doesn't contain all of the features. There are a handful of new things I've never seen before with no documentation as to what they do. * BIOS menu layout has room for improvement. It's not bad, but can be a little cumbersome or confusing. * BIOS also has some typos in it. * Only two of the 3 fan connectors have variable speed, of which are strictly limited to PWM (4-pin) fans. If you have a 3-pin fan, it will run at full speed and there's nothing you can do to slow it down; programs SpeedFan don't work anyway. This isn't the first time I've had this issue with ASRock boards, so this problem didn't surprise me, but it's still annoying.

Overall Review: * It's plain - there are no cheesy themes, it's not flashy, it's not in-your-face. It's very neutral. Sometimes I feel awkward building a PC for an older couple when the computer greets them with flashy logos acting like it's some classified military weapon or a turbocharged car. * There was PLENTY of room to fit jacks for the rear, side, and center/sub analog channels, yet they didn't include those. It's awkwardly blank below the audio jacks. * I don't know why ASRock didn't make this a DTX board. Swap the PCIe slots, chop off the last inch or so of the board, maybe solder some components to the back, and this would've fit in many ITX/DTX cases. Seems like a major loss in potential sales. Despite this board being a very good value and working great, I was very close to docking an egg because so much about this seems very rushed. It feels as though this board is just a functional prototype.

Most Critical Review

Poor quality control

Lenovo B40-80 80LS0018US 14" Notebook - Intel Core i3 i3-4005U Dual-core (2 Core) 1.70 GHz, 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM RAM, 500 GB HDD, Intel HD Graphics
Lenovo B40-80 80LS0018US 14" Notebook - Intel Core i3 i3-4005U Dual-core (2 Core) 1.70 GHz, 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM RAM, 500 GB HDD, Intel HD Graphics

Pros: * With Linux, it performs great and all hardware works out-of-the-box (though wifi needs some modprobe tweaks for a stable connection). * Most (not all) of the structure is very sturdy, though pretty thick too. * Very easy to work with the hardware; decent expandability. * Cooling fan is very quiet and effective (when running Linux - it was loud with Windows). * Speakers are on top. (I don't like bottom-mounted speakers).

Cons: * Windows was a COMPLETE disaster. Before I even reached the desktop, the trackpad was badly glitching out and made a 3-minute profile setup process take 10 minutes. Once I reached the desktop, I plugged in an external hard drive, which kept connecting and disconnecting non-stop. For whatever reason, closing Explorer seemed to make it stay connected. I was also chronically greeted with error prompts. * The keyboard is really "spongey" and wasn't installed properly. I had to take it out and sandwich some paperboard between it to prevent it from sinking in so much. This helped enough, though not as much as I'd like. * The battery pack was disappointingly small. I replaced the HDD with an SSD, and with regular use I could get around 2.75 hours of use. If I turned off wifi and bluetooth I'm sure I could get 3 hours. Thankfully, the battery pack is replaceable. * The trackpad buttons have a lot of wobble to them. You have to press them in the center to make them click. I have a feeling they're not going to age well.

Overall Review: * The BIOS has a feature where the Fn key is considered always pressed that is on my default. This could get confusing, as you're trying to press F2 to get into BIOS but you're really just controlling the volume. * It came with software for hardware the laptop didn't come with, primarily DVD or fingerprint reader related. * The length and width of this could easily be reduced by at least 1x1 inches without making any sacrifices. * The trackpad is slightly on the small side, but if the 1x1 reduction were done, it would've been a good fit. * The arrow keys are a little awkwardly placed, but just takes some getting used to. * It's a little on the heavy side but that comes with sturdy construction. * The speakers are just "ok", but this is a business-class laptop so you shouldn't expect much anyway. I have encountered computers overrun with malware that were more usable than the Windows setup this came with. If I intended to stick with Windows and didn't have a way to replace it, I would have returned this and given it 2 stars. If the Windows setup this came with wasn't a dysfunctional mess, I'd have given this 4 stars. Even though I'm not using Windows, it was still part of the product, and I'm rating this product the way it was intended to be used.

It's fine, when it works

Crucial BX500 2TB 3D NAND SATA 2.5-Inch Internal SSD, up to 540 MB/s - CT2000BX500SSD1
Crucial BX500 2TB 3D NAND SATA 2.5-Inch Internal SSD, up to 540 MB/s - CT2000BX500SSD1

Pros: It's a lot of SSD storage for the money. Performance is to be expected for a budget SATA drive so no complaints there. I don't appear to have any issues with data retention.

Cons: I don't know if it's bad solder joints or what but the drive just randomly fails to work. If I unplug it and plug it back in, there's maybe a 50% chance it'll work fine. Once it does work, it stays working for days, weeks, or even months at a time. Connecting it to other systems doesn't necessarily improve anything.

Overall Review: If you are CONFIDENT you will be putting this in a system that will not move, it's fine. Otherwise, perform backups a little more often than you normally would.

Ticking timebomb

ADATA 32GB Premier microSDHC UHS-I / Class 10 V10 A1 Memory Card with SD Adapter, Speed Up to 100MB/s (AUSDH32GUICL10A1-RA1)
ADATA 32GB Premier microSDHC UHS-I / Class 10 V10 A1 Memory Card with SD Adapter, Speed Up to 100MB/s (AUSDH32GUICL10A1-RA1)

Pros: For at least a few days, it works just fine. I did a complete disk stress test and everything checked out.

Cons: One week later, the disk *completely* failed. It somehow turned into a 7.61GB drive and can't even be formatted. I put less than 6GB worth of data on it; this should not have failed like this.

Overall Review: Really disappointing. I expected more from ADATA.

Exactly as advertised

ATGOIN Bluetooth 4.1 Magnetic Wireless Sports Earphones W/Mic HD Stereo Sweatproof in Ear Earbuds Noise Cancelling - Black
ATGOIN Bluetooth 4.1 Magnetic Wireless Sports Earphones W/Mic HD Stereo Sweatproof in Ear Earbuds Noise Cancelling - Black

Pros: I got these so I could listen to something while I mow the lawn for ~2 hours. Because this is a sweaty job, I didn't want headphones, but I needed something that would drown out the noise of the engine while also staying in my ears (comfortably). This did exactly that. Even while listening to a conversational podcast at a normal volume, I was able to hear it just fine. They give you an assortment of different sized ear pieces, so if you find something doesn't fit right, just swap it out for something else. The battery life is plenty long enough. I personally find the volume loud enough. Audio quality is fine; nothing special but I found nothing noticeably bad either. I could see the small bag and magnetic ends make these easy to travel with, but I haven't done so.

Cons: For the price, none.

Overall Review: Although I haven't listened for myself, I think the mic must be good enough because while on a phone call, the other end was able to hear and understand me just fine. I was skeptical of the brand and price, but I find this very much worth getting.

Works fine

JacobsParts USB-C Multiport Adapter USB 3.1 Type C to HDMI 4K with USB 3.0 Port and USB C Charging Port for MacBook / Chromebook Pixel / Dell XPS13 / Samsung Galaxy s8 / s8 Plus
JacobsParts USB-C Multiport Adapter USB 3.1 Type C to HDMI 4K with USB 3.0 Port and USB C Charging Port for MacBook / Chromebook Pixel / Dell XPS13 / Samsung Galaxy s8 / s8 Plus

Pros: It does what it says. I'm able to charge and use *either* USB or HDMI at the same time, but not both. However, I'm not sure if this is a limitation of my laptop or the adapter. Regardless, I really just got it so I could use USB and charge at the same time, with HDMI being a nice bonus if I need it. The cable is thick enough that it ought to hold up to everyday use pretty well, and not overheat from a more powerful charger (knock on wood).

Cons: The male end of the USB-C connector seems slightly crooked. Not a big deal - it still works and it isn't flimsy.

Overall Review: For the money, it's pretty good. These things get beat up very easily so I couldn't justify spending more money on something nicer.