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Category Archives: Recommended

Corsair Flash Voyager GTR Reviewed

By Ian Chiu

Even though USB 3.0 is starting to appear on high end PCs and notebooks, the rest of us are still stuck with slow and old USB 2.0. There’s no point in investing in something that you couldn’t even take advantage of for now. This is especially the case with USB 3.0 flash drives which get a massive boost in performance, but they come at a jaw-dropping price premium. So, there’s still a market for USB 2.0 flash drives even if the room improvement is small.

Corsair’s latest Flash Voyager GTR flash drive – backed by a generous ten-year warranty – comes in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB. What makes them special isn’t the sequential read or write speed (which is already bottlenecked by USB 2.0), but the small file write. This is noteworthy since transfer rate tends to drop as file sizes get smaller. The Flash Voyager GTR is able to maintain a respectable 21MB/s during 2MB write test, twice the speed of other drives. The large file tests are equally impressive. All in all, it makes sense to check out write performance as most companies primarily focus on read.

[ Everything USB - Corsair Flash Voyager GTR Flash Drive Review ]

MS Arc Keyboard Reviewed. Verdict: Aesthetically Pleasing as it is Versatile

By Ian Chiu

MS Arc Keyboard seems to have something for everyone. Whether you need a miniature wireless input device for your HTPC or an easy-to-carry laptop keyboard replacement, the Arc looks like it can serve these roles just well enough to get by. The keyboard itself has a familiar layout for touch typists, and has acceptably low latency to satisfy casual gamers. Though, the D-pad is a pain to deal with during text selections. There’s also no built-in mouse controls which may not be particularly important in a home theater PC environment.

The lightweight Arc keyboard measures just 12″ x 6″, making it extremely portable especially with the bundled nylon pouch. A tiny USB receiver can be quickly stowed into an open compartment on the underside of the keyboard. It’s a shame however that the keyboard and the Arc mouse couldn’t share the same nano USB dongle, unlike Logitech’s Unifying receiver. As the Arc is primarily made to save precious desktop space and to minimize carry weight for road warriors, the miniature keyboard with a slight curvature lacks a lot of advanced features found on similarly priced alternatives yet it should fit nicely in various environments.

[Everything USB - MS Arc Keyboard Review]

Seagate BlackArmor PS 110 USB 3.0 Drive Kit Reviewed. Verdict: USB 3.0 Should Have Come Sooner

By Ian Chiu

[ The following article is syndicated with permission from Everything USB ]

USB 3.0 is here. While not everyone has immediately hopped on the bandwagon yet, several major motherboard and storage manufacturers have been actively pushing out SuperSpeed USB devices, and one of them is Seagate BlackArmor PS 110 Performance Kit. Bearing an ambitious name, the BlackArmor PS 110 is one of the industry’s first portable USB 3.0 2.5″ drives. The kit – backed by a generous 5-year warranty – comprises of a 7,200-rpm 500GB drive that now becomes the performance bottleneck instead of the USB interface; a single-port USB 3.0 ExpressCard/34 card; an auxiliary power cable; and a backup software suite.

Obviously, what makes this drive so special is the speed. The on-board USB 3.0-to-SATA bridge chip boosts average performance to consistently high between 60 to 95MB/s. This is up from 30MB/s range registered by USB 2.0 FreeAgent Go. A review by Everything USB confirmed that the BlackArmor PS 110 USB 3.0 is indeed the bottleneck as a 3.5″ 1TB drive inside a WD My Book 3.0 easily bumped speed even further to 110MB/s. Keep in mind BlackArmor PS 110 3.0 is only first generation product. So it could take a year or two before the potential of USB 3.0 is fully realized. Read on for the full review for all the benchmark data and usability test results.

[ Seagate BlackArmor PS 110 USB 3.0 Review @ Everything USB ]

Mophie Juice Pack Air Reviewed. Verdict: Cures iPhone Battery Woes

By Ian Chiu

Mophie Juice Pack Air iPhone Battery

The iPhone 3G may be as powerful as a netbook or a Sega Dreamcast, but that doesn’t help improve the device’s battery life. For those who are displeased with this fact, there are already plenty of battery extenders which may alleviate the problem as long as you remember to bring them with you. It does seem somewhat inconvenient to carry an extra accessory around, so Mophie has made Juice Pack Air – an add-on battery pack that doubles duty as an iPhone case.

Encased in the Juice Pack Air is a 1,200mAh Li-polymer battery that is rechargeable through its micro-USB jack – the de facto interface for cellphone charging. The Juice Pack Air does add bulk to the phone, but the tradeoff is worth the additional 5.4 hours of Wi-Fi, 4.5 hours 3G data transfer and an equal amount of talk time. Everything USB recently reviewed the battery extender case hybrid, and found it to be a lifesaver for serious iPhone 3G and 3GS users alike. It can take a 20% remaining iPhone 3G back up to nearly 100% in one short hour. The reviewer was impressed by the build quality as well as the glossy finish which is only about as scratch resistant as the curved back of iPhone 3G. He did however point out the Juice Pack Air’s inability to power the iPhone without recharging it. This means your iPhone 3G couldn’t draw on the Juice Pack Air’s external power directly to save some of its internal battery charging cycles.

[ Mophie Juice Pack Air Battery Extender for iPhone Review @ Everything USB ]

OCZ Slate SSD Reviewed. Verdict: ExpressCard & USB 2.0 Make Quite a Team

By Ian Chiu

We laptop owners can easily run out of storage space since most 2.5″ drives are still relatively small in capacity. Other than paying notebook vendors for over-priced hard drives to keep our warranty and then spending a beautiful weekend afternoon on drive cloning, there is a simpler and time-saving way to expand storage without breaking the bank. This is where OCZ Slate SSD comes in. The USB-based Slate is basically like any other flash drives except it is housed in an ExpressCard. The design allows the storage card to fit snugly inside the ExpressCard slot without the risk of it breaking off. On the opposite side of the ExpressCard connector is a mini USB 2.0 port which can be used for hooking up with desktop PCs or older laptops.

The Slate performance is decent with read speed topping at 30MB/s and write speed hovering between 15 and 17MB/s. The card doesn’t have a native PCI Express interface so USB 2.0 will always remain the bandwidth bottleneck for this product. Everything USB discovered the Slate to be particularly useful for storing music, video & photos as you can easily relocate them to the card and Slate’s speeds can easily handle even multiple 1080p HD playback. Overall, if you’ve an unused ExpressCard slot on your notebook, and don’t plan on getting a 3G wireless modem card, the Slate is something you should check out as an effortless storage option.

[OCZ Slate SSD ExpressCard Review @ Everything USB]

Samsung YP P3 Reviewed. Verdict: Audiophile’s Choice

By Ian Chiu

Samsung’s P2 from 2007 has been universally praised as the most successful MP3 player in the history of the Yepp series. One can only expect a follow up to the formidable flagship touch-screen player. Well, the wait is over. The YP P3 has arrived with a number of improvements over its predecessor. The most notable addition is the Immersion’s TouchSense haptic technology (a.k.a. rumble vibration). When you touch the screen, the P3 will rumble a faux “click” as if you’re actually depressing the button and feeling it spring back. The P3, however, isn’t multi-touch so it won’t let you pinch to zoom in and out. It will detect single finger gestures like circle and flick. Missing from the P3 are built-in Wi-Fi and accelerometer, which were probably taken out by Samsung for the rumble feature.

Everything USB has taken an in-depth look into the P3 with mostly good things to say. The reviewer really likes the sound quality (praises to DNSe), audio format support (FLAC lossless, OGG Vorbis), intuitive UI (custom themes, widgets), native DivX / MP4 support, haptic technology, and the metal body as well as Bluetooth stereo streaming. Last but not least, the P3 also got a Recommended badge from the USB fan site.

[Samsung YP P3 Review @ Everything USB]

Elgato EyeTV Hybrid 2009 USB TV Reviewed. Verdict: Sound Investment for Mac Owners

By Ian Chiu

Elgato – a long time Apple peripheral maker – has been making FireWire and USB TV tuners since 2002. Its EyeTV Hybrid USB TV has now received a third update, bringing Clear QAM, reportedly improved HD reception and better EPG to Mac couch potatoes. Despite being called a hybrid, the EyeTV is not a “dual” tuner, meaning you cannot watch analog and digital channel at the same time. Its software fortunately supports a second tuner if you get a EyeTV-compatible model.

Everything USB in its recent review has tried to watch two live 1080i HD streams on a 2Ghz Core Duo MacBook just fine, but ironically, switching both tuners to analog resulted in lack of USB 2.0 bandwidth error due to the uncompressed video format used by EyeTV Hybrid. The USB gadget site also praised the hardware quality; improved TV recording software; and Wi-Fi streaming capability to iPod touch & iPhone. Though, be prepared to come up with 7.5GB of HDD space for every hour of 720p HD program.

[Elgato EyeTV Hybrid 2009 Mac TV Review @ Everything USB]

MS Arc Mouse Reviewed. Verdict: An Excellent Travel Companion

By Ian Chiu

For road warriors going on a business a trip, the second most important thing other than a notebook is a mobile mouse, which can greatly affect productivity. Having said that, Microsoft has had numerous laptop mice over the years that are both functional and portable, but none of them is more eye catching as the Arc Mouse. The aptly-named Arc sports a hinged semicircular shape that allows it to close to nearly half-size for travel, and to unfold to a full-sized mouse. The mini USB dongle is also hidden in a crevice on the underside of the folding wing, which becomes the mouse’s palm rest.

After Everything USB spent nearly two weeks with the Arc, surfing the web and checking emails, they found the mouse to be spot-on for most tasks while preventing fatigue. The rubberized sides also allow you to get a good grip since the surface of the Arc is in gloss paint with a glass-smooth finish. In the end, while there are certainly some minor flaws in usability and set-up, the Arc mobile mouse is praised as “an excellent travel companion” that is well worth the price.

[ MS Arc Mouse Review at Everything USB ]

Buffalo Turbocharges USB Hard Drives

By Ian Chiu

USB hard drives are mostly slow and drain too much CPU resources. Yet, they sell like hot cakes as they offer both true portability and universal compatibility. So, what if someone makes a USB hard drive that addresses the two major problems? That would be a great product.

Buffalo wants to do just that with its Turbo USB external hard drive, with special Turbo mode. It claims that the speed in turbocharged mode is around 64% faster than a standard 4200-rpm drive. To shift into high gear, you will need to install a special tweaked driver that basically kicks in whenever it recognizes Buffalo’s drive. According to the reviewer at Everything USB, the improvement was reportedly only 13% better than without Turbo USB. The drive operating under normal mode is actually fairly quick, topping at 34.7MB/s. Taking into account that most USB drives operate at the 25 to 30MB/s range; the Turbo USB is icing on the cake. Also, higher speeds in USB drives are often associated with an increased CPU usage. In the case of the Buffalo, CPU utilization dropped in half from 11% to 5% after Turbo USB.

For full review, hit the link below.

[Buffalo Turbo USB 320GB Drive Review @ Everything USB]