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BenQ ZOWIE XL2735 Dark-Grey 27
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

Pros: Before you open the box you can tell from the packaging that this is a quality monitor. Construction is all around solid, and while it isn't the thinnest display out there, the heft actually makes it feel professional. I'll go over the nice exterior features first. On the left side, in addition to dual USB 3.0 ports and a headphone and mic jack, there is this cool headphone hook that pops in and out so it can be hidden when not in use. This is super cool and I haven't seen it anywhere else. It is super useful especially if your rig is under the desk or out of the way as you no longer need to run those ugly cables from there- I have mine connected to the monitor now and hanging off of it when I'm not using them. Second, the stand has these built in sliders that you can use to remember your height adjustment and swivel settings. Very simple feature that is super useful- how has someone not thought of this yet? Very useful since once you get your perfect position settings (very very important for ergonomics), you don't need to do it again if they get lost.

Naturally actual gaming performance is fantastic. If you've never experienced 144Hz refresh rates before- it is awesome. The human eye can most definitely perceive refresh rates past 60Hz- it's just that it's not as great of a difference as, say, 30Hz to 60Hz, but you can definitely feel it. Games feel completely different and way more immersive. It's one of those things where you didn't know you needed it, but once you tried it it's hard to go back. No amount of explaining can replace the experience though, so you have to just take my word for it and see for yourself. Resolution is also a nice upgrade from my old 27in 1080p monitor. At 27 inches the resolution difference is a lot more noticeable and 1440p is definitely superior. Colors are also fantastic with this monitor (once you set it up correctly, see cons)- this is the best I've seen considering this is a TN panel (basically, TN technology sacrifices color quality and viewing angle for responsiveness, as opposed to IPS, which has better colors and viewing angle but is less responsive).

Cons: Expensive. That is the single biggest con and (imho) the Achilles' heel of this monitor. Just a bit of background on what I am basing this off of- I am upgrading from a BenQ XL2720Z, which I got for less than half the price of this monitor. A quick summary: that monitor is 27in, 1080p with 144Hz refresh rate. The clearest difference between the two is the resolution. Otherwise, personally I think the monitors are very similar and you are not getting a whole lot considering you pay twice as much.

For the 700$ price tag (at time of writing) I'm pretty surprised that it does not support G-Sync or Freesync. Apparently the DyAc feature is BenQ's own blur/tearing reduction feature that is supposed to replace it, but there is not much description on what that feature actually does, and I could not find a clear answer searching online. The benefits of G-Sync or Freesync are very clear and obvious and while the performance of this monitor is fantastic I think those features could've made it better.

A very minor complaint: the colors are not set up very well out of the box and the presets did not seem to work very well in my home office environment. It took a bit of tuning with test patterns (available widely online) to make the monitor look good. I know a lot of monitors are like that but I could totally see novices just using a preset and sadly not getting the full potential of this great monitor. Be sure to set it up properly- if you are a techy I even recommend buying a color calibration tool (I have one and it has more than paid for itself for all the displays I've tuned).

Other Thoughts: Keep in mind that to get full 144Hz your graphics card needs to be rendering 144fps at 1440p. You may be surprised how taxing this is. I had a GTX 970 running Overwatch on 144fps no problem at 1080p but I definitely had to tweak some settings to maintain that at 1440p. On more graphics intensive games this difference will be even more noticeable.

Make no mistake you are paying for the brand name. Having the same monitor that you see esports pros using at tournaments comes at a price. In my opinion a lot of the features are kind of overkill (but I guess you expect overkill for a tip top of the line monitor). For example, the privacy flaps really are not that useful, especially since they block the left hand side ports and headphone hook when extended. I don't have mine installed. Similarly, the S-switch, which is basically a controller that can be used instead of the buttons on the monitor, is useful the first time when setting it up and then you will pretty much never use it again. Unless you're configuring tons of settings all the time, it's cleaner to just use the buttons. Just like the flaps, my S-switch is still in the box. I would gladly have traded some of these things for G-Sync or Freesync compatibility.

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HP OfficeJet Pro 7740 (G5J38A) Duplex 4800 dpi x 1200 dpi wireless/USB color Inkjet All-in-One Printer
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

Pros: The best feature is how fast this thing prints. Everyone knows how slow an entry level inkjet printer is and knows what it's like to wait and watch it crank out a page line by line. This inkjet is more on par with some laser printers- count to four or five and the print is done. It also doesn't take very long to get started on a print job- I remember how some inkjets took a while to set the cartridge in the right position etc, but this one gets started quick. Very impressive.

Very well featured for the price, it has most features you would want out of a higher end printer. Many many connectivity options: USB (both for hooking up to a PC or plugging in a flash drive with files), wifi, ethernet, even a phone cord jack for faxes if you still send and receive those. You can also print to it from a smartphone using an HP app, some third party apps are compatible as well (Apple Airprint for example). You get some nice print and scan features that are usually on only higher end printers as well- double sided ADF (automatic document feeder) so you can just leave a pile of papers in the tray and it'll scan both sides, two print trays so you can have different paper sizes (including wide format so you can print bigger than your standard 8 and 1/2 by 11 sheets, etc. Also has a traditional flatbed scanner so you can scan stuff like books as well.

Print quality is very good. Colors are great and would make a decent photo printer as well.

Cons: Probably the biggest con is how big this is- but I won't take off an egg for that because with a printer this well featured, it is actually pretty compact. The kinds of features you get are usually seen on printers much much larger so the fact that they managed to cram everything into something that will fit on top of an albeit large desk is pretty good. But do keep in mind that because it is a wide format printer, the pictures can be deceiving- those sheets are not letter size you see in the pics so keep that in mind. It is quite heavy (40 something pounds I believe) and the package it came in was surprisingly big.

The touch screen could be a bit bigger. I didn't really have any issues with it, but I already consider myself to have smaller hands but even then it felt a little cramped. It does pop out for a better viewing angle at least and I won't be using it too much since I mostly print from a computer so not a dealbreaker.

Finally, while I haven't printed that much with it yet, I'm not entirely sure how long the ink will last compared to a laser printer. Based on cost per page estimates, this thing can still more expensive to run than a laser printer. HP advertises 2.1 cents per black and white page and 8.1 cents per color page which apparently is pretty good but some laser printers are advertised as half that. I do like however that the three colors are in different cartridges so you don't need to waste the other colors if you only use up one.

Other Thoughts: Great printer for a small business or office. This printer is a bit large for home and a lot of the features probably won't be used too much in a typical household but I can see it being a better alternative to one of those huge copiers that are a size of a cabinet.

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Seagate BarraCuda ST500DM009 500GB 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

5 out of 5 eggs Reliable traditional hard drive 12/13/2016

This review is from: Seagate BarraCuda ST500DM009 500GB 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive Bare Drive

Pros: Does exactly what it needs to. No frills drive with barebones packaging but that's exactly what I need for some builds and I don't want to pay extra for accessories I don't end up using. Runs cool and quiet so it should have good longevity. I've been using BarraCuda drives for years without a problem so I expect this one to be the same. I see there are already a bunch of benchmarks uploaded so I'll skip that part, but the performance is pretty much what you would expect from a hard drive.

Cons: Price could be a little more competitive for the capacity. It's not too hard to find a bigger drive or an SSD for a few bucks more on sale. If you are building an absolute budget machine though and can't spare any more cash, this definitely fits the bill. I would avoid using used hard drives too, even if they're cheaper unless you're ok with losing whatever is on it- you never know what kind of abuse they've been put through.

You're not going to get close to SSD performance out of it obviously but I put it into a PC that will be used pretty much just for web browsing so for that it's perfect.

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Date Joined: 08/04/09

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