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Tomas R.

Tomas R.

Joined on 06/16/07

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 29
Most Favorable Review

Great if on sale

FREMO P130 13000 mAh Power Bank External Battery Charger for iPhone, iPad Air, mini, Galaxy S5, Note, Galaxy Tab, Nexus, HTC One, One 2 (M8), PS Vita and other Smartphones and Tablets (made by SCUD)
FREMO P130 13000 mAh Power Bank External Battery Charger for iPhone, iPad Air, mini, Galaxy S5, Note, Galaxy Tab, Nexus, HTC One, One 2 (M8), PS Vita and other Smartphones and Tablets (made by SCUD)

Pros: - 2 amp output for charging the devices (my 2300mAh HTC Evo V battery indicator was going up nearly in real time, even after wiping the battery cache.) - Superb construction feel; brushed aluminum outer casing feels metallic cold to the touch, almost like handling a high-end i-device. - Ultra high capacity. If this had more outputs, it could serve as a laptop charger/universal backup battery. - Works well with most USB-hubs for extra synergy and charging of higher number of devices. - When fully utilized, does not get hot or even warm. Probably largely thanks to its aluminum outer shell, which doubles up as an efficient heat dissipatior.

Cons: - Pointless power button. It makes zero sense to have it on a device like this, nor does it do anything other than show the remaining charge. - Does not come with wall adapter for charging itself. That's alright, because I can use my phone or tablet wall chargers to plug this baby in. - USB self-charging cable it comes with is only about 7-8 inches long. This makes it very awkward when trying to charge off of computer. High quality USB extension cable solves this issue. - Only has USB-out for charging stuff. Sure, it can be rigged into charging other types of outputs using various adapters, but manufacturer shouldn't have much difficulty adding extra ports, namely regular wall socket hole with at least 5a@3.7v rating.

Overall Review: While most places in the world will have either a publicly accessible wall socket or a public USB charging station, this battery bank is a life saver if traveling through developing countries, or hiking on the mountainside. High quality cells provide charging far far longer than one would expect. I was able to charge my 1st generation Nexus 7 and HTC Evo V with extended battery, combined milliamps of 7570, from 3-5% up to 100%, and the battery bank charge indicator light only went down by 1. (around 75% of the charge was apparently still remaining, magic?) This would probably allow your electronics to survive a week or two in the wild. Not sure if $100 or higher is appropriate price for it, but it is certainly a steal if it's on sale under $50. Depending on how it fares during my next camping trip, I may grab another for my fiance.

Most Critical Review

Good idea - room for improvement

Seagate FireCuda Gaming SSHD 500GB SATA 6.0Gb/s 2.5" Notebooks / Laptops Internal Hard Drive ST500LX025
Seagate FireCuda Gaming SSHD 500GB SATA 6.0Gb/s 2.5" Notebooks / Laptops Internal Hard Drive ST500LX025

Pros: Inexpensive, as non-system disk, was able to mostly hit speeds using synthetic tests (140.6 MB/s sequential read, 128.5 MB/s writes)

Cons: In real world tests, it fared much worse. While I didn’t use it in a laptop, I was replacing a 7 year old 7200 RPM disk in an attempt to speed up reboot cycles. Shortly after windows booted, the speeds were 22.14 MB/s and 22.88 MB/s read and write, respectively. The queue length shortly after logon was frequently over 30. After waiting for a few days, so that there wasn’t anything else going on, the speeds were better, at 121.2 MB/s and 116.1 MB/s read/write, but queue length still skyrockets on program launch.

Overall Review: I tested this on two systems, one a 2 year old motherboard with the Intel SATA III ports (where I got mostly advertised speeds), and the system I was hoping to speed up, a 6 year old computer I use as a server. That Motherboard (the Asus) doesn’t have Intel SATAIII ports. The add-on Marvell ones used a controller that doesn’t provide a good speed. I actually saw speed improvements moving to the SATA II port over the SATA III and an Internet search showed that isn’t uncommon. In all cases, the SATA ports were in AHCI mode. All tests were done using CrystalDiskMark 5.2.1. (Non-system disk in newer computer –MSI z87-G45 Motherboard on SATA III Port in AHCI mode) The Seq Q32T1 read speed is 140.6 MB/s, and the write is 128.5 MB/s. The 4K Q32T1 is Read is 1.640 MB/s, and the write is 1.577 MB/s. The Seq read is 139.9 MB/s, with the write being 130.7 MB/s. The 4K test is 1.408 MB/s and write is 1.538 MB/s. This is close enough that I’m willing to say that the speed it can get is as advertised (140 MB/s) Now we get to the computer I was hoping to speed up. (System Disk 5 minutes after logon on Asus Sabertooth X58 Motherboard on SATA II port in AHCI mode) The Seq Q32T1 read speed is 22.14 MB/s, and the write is 22.88 MB/s. The 4K Q32T1 is Read is 0.945 MB/s, and the write is 0.224 MB/s. The Seq read is 35.23 MB/s, with the write being 6.082 MB/s. The 4K test is 0.385 MB/s and write is 0.139 MB/s. This computer has quite a few startup items (it’s a normally headless server), but this is taken 5 minutes AFTER hitting enter on the logon screen. It’s still chugging a LOT of data, with queues over 30. Trying to use the computer at this point is frustrating. It gets better after a couple of hours, and I took another test two days later. (System Disk 2 days after logon on Asus Sabertooth X58 Motherboard on SATA II port in AHCI mode) The Seq Q32T1 read speed is 121.2 MB/s, and the write is 116.1 MB/s. The 4K Q32T1 is Read is 0.983 MB/s, and the write is 1.353 MB/s. The Seq read is 121.8 MB/s, with the write being 118.1 MB/s. The 4K test is 0.288 MB/s and write is 1.271 MB/s. Doing things with it in this state still sends queue length over 15 occasionally, and still feels sluggish. Pure benchmarks don’t tell the whole story for anything. Yes, the benchmark scores 5 minutes after boot is bad; however, if the performance of the system were good at that point, then I’d be happy with it. Good speeds when it’s not being used isn’t all that useful. While the price is good, I’d rather have a 7200 RPM HDD. The 8 GB Flash isn’t enough (and the adaptive caching didn’t seem to help. After 10 reboots, there was no difference in times), and once you get onto the HDD portion, it feels incredibly slow. As a second drive, this might be ok for the money, but I don’t recommend using this for a system disk. I’d rather have a larger disk if I’m not getting the performance of a SSD, and I don’t see “middle of the road” performance out of this that the flash cache supposedly provides, at least not on older hardware that this was supposed to speed up.

Well priced entry ring light

Rosewill 2-in-1 Portable Streaming Tripod with Ring Light and Phone Holder | 3 Light Modes, 10 Brightness Levels, 360 Degree Rotation, USB Powered (RABH-20018)
Rosewill 2-in-1 Portable Streaming Tripod with Ring Light and Phone Holder | 3 Light Modes, 10 Brightness Levels, 360 Degree Rotation, USB Powered (RABH-20018)

Pros: Comes with a lot of accessories that allows easily adapting it to other tripods. Convenience of USB power Comes with a telescoping tripod that can be used for other things Three color temperatures (white, blue, orange) Intuitive remote

Cons: The light is a bit dim. If this ever gets a product revision, the brightest setting brightness should be the dimmest setting.

Overall Review: I wish controller was close to USB plug, but that's situational, as I have mine plugged into my keyboard, and within reach. Considering the amount of accessories (tripod head, phone mount, etc), this package is a value that's hard to beat for an entry-level ring light kit. I recommend getting two, or three of these for optimal results. If the tripod seems like it's wobbly, you need to extend the legs further apart, so that the base isn't touching the floor. This bit can take some force.

A solid "dual-display," mid-tier laptop, with good upgradeability.

ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 Thin & Light 15.6" FHD, Intel Core i7-8565U CPU, GeForce MX250, 8 GB DDR4 RAM, 256 GB PCIe NVMe SSD, IR Camera, Windows 10 Home, S532FL-EB71, Transparent Silver
ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 Thin & Light 15.6" FHD, Intel Core i7-8565U CPU, GeForce MX250, 8 GB DDR4 RAM, 256 GB PCIe NVMe SSD, IR Camera, Windows 10 Home, S532FL-EB71, Transparent Silver

Pros: Has a second screen that has touch support, and doubles up as a trackpad. Can be used for anything that a typical 2nd monitor could. Awesome keyboard layout - easy to type on accurately. In my opinion, even better than my MBP! Way better than my gaming laptop, too! Brand name components (Kingston SSD, Samsung memory) - means ASUS didn't try to cut any corners. Always a welcome sight. Solid design - I didn't experience any chassis flex. Comes with m.2 SSD by default. Has a 2nd m.2 slot, for an additional SSD. Decent gaming performance Customers can easily physically access SSD, and at least 1 memory slot for upgrades. Utility and usability of the trackpad screen is surprisingly better than expected Amazing main screen quality, especially for watching movies. Accurate, bassy speakers, though could be louder. Generous I/O, especially for a portable laptop by today's standards.

Cons: Only 8GB of RAM. Nvidia 250MX can use system memory when it runs out of the dedicated 2GB of VRAM. 8GB is a bit low for a modern system. Luckily memory can be upgraded in about 5 minutes. I recommend at least 16GB (2x8GB) dual channel kit. Even putting 1x8GB or 1x16GB stick in the easily accessible slot will improve overal system multitasking capacity significantly. Note: Only one memory slot is visible upon removal of back cover. I’m assuming that 2nd RAM slot is under the keyboard, which may or may not be tricky to get to. Based on visible stick capacity (4GB) we can infer that this laptop has two RAM slots, as system memory is 8GB, which is a good thing. Despite being amazing at face unlock, webcam quality is abysmal. It looks like 0.3mp IR camera on my P4 – low bitrate, and heavily pixelated. This won’t be an issue to most people, as this laptop comes with a loaded I/O assortment, which allows us to use a high quality USB webcam. Comes with McAfee bloatware trial – recommend to uninstall first thing. Mine came months out of date. Not sure this qualifies as a con, but I had to spend about two hours updating Windows before no further updates were available. Comes with Windows 10 Home, which lacks some power user features, such as connecting via RDP. This can be upgraded by the user down the road.

Overall Review: Despite both, CPU AND GPU being relatively low power consumption, they appear to reach performance that’s close to mid-tier gaming laptops. U-series Intel CPUs generally consume little power in most use cases. They can, however, can self-overclock (Turbo) for short bursts, or single core Turbo for extended sessions when there is a demand, such as gaming, encoding video, streaming, and so on. Game performance: Nvidia 250MX cranks out 60-100 FPS on mid to high settings in most meta games, such as Fortnite, LoL, CS: Go, DOTA 2, etc. Face unlock: I absolutely love Windows Hello. As a Pixel 4 phone user, I’m used to face unlock, and now actually prefer it to the fingerprint/password method. Accuracy and speed on this laptop camera completely blew me away. It’s actually on par with Pixel 4 – wow. Display: Crisp and sharp 1080p@60hz. Based on characteristics, I’m betting it’s an LG IPS panel. Thin modern bezels. Netflix via Edge looks amazing at 1080p. Not quite OLED levels of of dynamic range, but definitely top tier by IPS standards. Touchpad display: This display has higher resolution than the main display, and is actually a genuine second “monitor.” You can do anything with it that you would do with a second monitor. Image quality and screen brightness are awesome. This has been one of the best performing trackpads I’ve experienced on a Windows laptop. It’s on par with my MBP, which is saying a lot. Palm rejection has been flawless when typing, and accuracy is better than trackpad in my much more expensive gaming laptop that uses Windows precision driver. Audio: While not the loudest speakers I’ve experienced on a laptop, Harman Kardon module has amazing sound reproduction accuracy. In a quiet room, you can feel each drum hit, and hear individual instruments. This is certainly much better than loud, low quality speakers. Most people using this laptop will be using headphones, since it comes with a 3.5mm jack, standard. This laptop has awesome thermal and ergonomic design. When you open the screen, the hinge causes the rear to lift, dramatically improving the cooling performance. I wish my GTX 1060 gaming laptop had that, as it gets pretty toasty/loud. General performance: Pretty decent PassMark scores across the board. CPU 7600 2D 300 3D 2800 Memory 2400 Disk 10,700 Keep in mind that these numbers, and peak performance/power target can likely be tweaked by ASUS down the road via BIOS updates. Laptop came with a surprisingly low amount of bloatware – a huge plus. Other thoughts: Bizarre choice to only include micro-SD card reader, as opposed to industry standard SDXC/MMC slot. Not a huge issue, as you can still connect your fancy USB card reader. Touchpad should default to touchpad mode out of the box, and every time laptop is awakened, or turned on. Now, it defaults to 2nd display. Not a huge deal, more of a minor annoyance since it’s actually an amazing touchpad, which makes getting a mouse for this laptop not a requirement, but an option. Not a huge battery, but components included consume fairly little power. Based on rate of decay while watching Netflix for 10 minutes, I expect the battery to last around 4 hours under medium load, but I personally mostly used it while plugged in. I may revise, and update this review in the future as I continue to familiarize with, and use this laptop.

Good value if you need extra configurable buttons

CORSAIR NIGHTSWORD RGB  Performance Tunable FPS/MOBA Gaming Mouse, Black, Backlit RGB LED, 18000 dpi, Optical
CORSAIR NIGHTSWORD RGB Performance Tunable FPS/MOBA Gaming Mouse, Black, Backlit RGB LED, 18000 dpi, Optical

Pros: Extra buttons are placed more intuitively than previous multi/macro-button mouse iterations I've experienced.

Cons: Teflon feet are extremely smooth, which means, like with most new mice, it will accelerate easier than it seems on most surfaces. Personally, this causes me to miss my target location until I get used to it. Using a rougher (or soft, like fabric based mouse pad) surface for a while can help.

Overall Review: I'm really starting to like the side wing, which serves as a thumb rest for me. It also helps accessing the side-buttons because you get used to their relative distance from the rest position. The feel: Due to being mostly plastic, relatively speaking this mouse is pretty light, even when including full weights. This is compared to the big chungus that is Corsair M65 Elite (cheaper, but mostly metal construction), which is my daily driver. Despite plastic-centric construction, it still feels top notch in terms of durability. Braided USB cable looks like it will endure years of abuse. Since the cable is pretty stiff, I recommend getting a gaming mouse bungee (my favorite is Cougar) to save a ton of frustration. The performance: 18,000 DPI sensor gives you a wide range of flexibility. AFAIK, unlike most options up until new, this unit allows ultra-fine sensitivity increments, I believe as low as 1 DPI(wow!). I personally prefer playing using medium-low sensitivity. Nevertheless, wide range present is bound to satisfy wide spectrum of players. This isn't a simple plug & play mouse. Full potential and usability isn't unlocked until you install Corsair's iCUE software. The software itself is not bad. This includes RGBcontrol (or turning it off completely), custom macros, and fine-tuning sensitivity for each mode. This mouse has several RGB zones, which can be configured individually and independently using the previously mentioned iCUE program.

Has been great in Precision T3500 Win 10 Pro, and now Ubuntu on Lenovo X230

Toshiba OCZ TR200 Series 2.5" 240GB SATA 64-layer 3D BiCS Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) THN-TR20Z2400U8
Toshiba OCZ TR200 Series 2.5" 240GB SATA 64-layer 3D BiCS Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) THN-TR20Z2400U8

Pros: I've been using this disk for several months now in my Lenovo X230 12.*" laptop. In synthetic benchmarks and real world use (feel) it performs on par with Samsung 850 Pro. I previously used it in Dell Precision T3500 tower as OS and "fast load" disk. It loads games like Witcher 3 and GTA5 at about same speed as Samsung 850 Pro. This little guy already has 1.6TB of host writes, and still reports in Good Health across the board. No noticeable loss of performance, either.

Cons: Biggest con, and the reason I'm taking away one egg: Not sure if this is still the case, but this particular drive model did not qualify for disk cloning software from Toshiba. I had to use a hardware disk cloner to clone my old desktop and laptop OS drives. This is big because last I checked, Samsung offered free cloning program for all of their SSDs. Not really a con, but for uber performance and loading times, I still prefer using my PCIe SSD.

Overall Review: While it performs on par with other top SATAIII SSDs, the real question is: Will it last as long?