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Ethan T.

Ethan T.

Joined on 05/27/03

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 11
Most Favorable Review

Amazing little gadget

Canon VIXIA HF100 2.7" LCD 12X Optical Zoom High Definition Camcorder
Canon VIXIA HF100 2.7" LCD 12X Optical Zoom High Definition Camcorder

Pros: Image quality is great for such a small little camera, and with a single CMOS chip (not 3 like some others). With a fast SDHC card you'll never have to wait for the camera to write video while filming. 30p mode is great for those of us who hate interlacing; even though film is 24p, this camera's 30p mode still gives everything a film-like feel. The standard battery supposedly lasts about 1.5 hours, so I opted for the BP-819 that has about double the capacity.

Cons: There's a bit of purple fringing when the aperture's wide open, so contrasty scenes at night (say, a baseball game) tend to make it most apparent. It's not a big issue, though. The UI needs a little tweaking - deleting a single clip takes too many steps, but maybe this will be cleaned up in a future firmware revision. The remote control is not very strong, so if you want to watch videos on your HDTV (and believe me, you will), you'll probably want to train your universal remote to run things instead. The package doesn't include a mini-HDMI cable, but you can grab one for single digits online. 24p is recorded with a 3:2 pulldown as 60i (probably because many video editing packages can't handle 24p), so you'll have to do an inverse telecine to get native 24p in post-production. These are mostly small issues to me, though, and they generally take a back seat to how the camera performs while capturing.

Overall Review: I imagine that cameras like this will soon become the standard, so I see this one as a pioneer in its field. It's one of the first (if not the first) to record AVCHD to SDHC cards in full 1920x1080, and I think the usability features mentioned above will disappear as this family of cameras evolves. The bottom line is that if you want an HD video camera for three digits without playing the waiting game (there will always be something better in the future - don't waste life waiting!), I don't think you can do much better than the HF100 right now.

Most Critical Review

Usable After Calibration

SAMSUNG 226BW 22" WSXGA+ 1680 x 1050 D-Sub, DVI-D LCD Monitor
SAMSUNG 226BW 22" WSXGA+ 1680 x 1050 D-Sub, DVI-D LCD Monitor

Pros: The image is crisp and the refresh rate is good. Overall I'm willing to accept the monitor's performance after the battles described below, but I would have returned this LCD if it weren't for Newegg's non-refundable policy. It's a good monitor for gaming and casual use.

Cons: I got a monitor with a 3rd-party panel (mine was made by AU Optronics) that clearly isn't the best of the best. I frequently process photos and I was very disappointed with the color fidelity of the monitor. A friend loaned me his Spyder2, which was able to configure the monitor in a much more accurate way. I sometimes see a strange, inverted-ghosting effect in certain situations, as if the display is overcompensating to improve its refresh speed. It's not too distracting, though.

Overall Review: If you plan to use this monitor for anything that requires color accuracy, you should add the cost of a Spyder2express to your budget. If you get a non-Samsung panel, you will need it. A better idea, however, is simply to look elsewhere.

Great modem

MOTOROLA SURFboard SB5101 Cable Modem 38Mbps Downstream, 30Mbps Upstream USB and Ethernet 10/100Base-T DOCSIS 2.0/1.1
MOTOROLA SURFboard SB5101 Cable Modem 38Mbps Downstream, 30Mbps Upstream USB and Ethernet 10/100Base-T DOCSIS 2.0/1.1

Pros: I bought this modem to replace my identical rental from Comcast. The rental worked great for the entire time I had it, so I figured it was time to buy one and quit paying the rental fee. The new one works just as well, and I consistently get my full allotment of bandwidth. These things can take a beating.

Cons: None, really.

Overall Review: If you think you'll be using cable internet for more than a year, you might as well buy your modem. You'll be able to make up the difference by reselling it. If your cable provider is renting a different modem to you, you've got even more reason to buy this.

Good budget case

Rosewill R101-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Rosewill R101-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Pros: I've been a fan of Antec cases for my serious machines, but this Rosewill case is great for smaller server-style projects that don't need such fancy equipment. I used this case to build a 4-drive NAS and it's just fine for that job.

Cons: Cooling on the front drive bays seems a bit weak, so I installed another fan on the front. I'm also not a big "fan" of the CPU tube that comes installed on the side of the case; I prefer instead to let the case's interior airflow cool the CPU HSF.

Overall Review: I've never understood the extra vent at the bottom of the case's side (under the CPU tube). All this does is serve to dilute the case's interior airflow (especially near the front of the case, where the hard drives live). I prefer to remove the CPU tube and put paper over these two unhelpful vents. MicroATX! Don't accidentally buy this with a normal mobo.

Performs!

Western Digital Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive
Western Digital Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive

Pros: No complaints here. I recently installed four of these drives in an Ubuntu-based file server using standard Linux software RAID 10 and they're performing admirably.

Cons: Of the four drives I bought, SMART shows 1 UDMA CRC error on one drive, and 2 UDMA CRC errors on another. There are no other SMART errors. Of course, this is after a transfer of about 650GB worth of data to the RAID 10 array, so it's hardly anything to worry about.

Does Its Job Well

Canon BP-819 1780mAh Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Battery
Canon BP-819 1780mAh Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Battery

Pros: This battery supplies roughly twice the juice of the default BP-809 (which is inadequate itself), so it's a must-buy for most HF100 and HF10 users. These batteries are physically tiny, so the power that they end up providing is pretty impressive.

Cons: Like the other users have mentioned, it's black, so it won't match the color of the HF100. It pokes out the back a bit from the camera's rear (about 3/4"). These issues are very minor and don't bother me at all.

Overall Review: While I acknowledge the other users' complaints that the larger battery makes it tough to plug in the DC adapter, I've never had to remove the battery to do so, so that might just be a user preference.