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Category Archives: Reviews

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]

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]

Creative X-Fi Gaming Headset Duo Reviewed. Verdict: As Good As Simulated Surround Can Get

By Ian Chiu

Headsets come to mind when you often play late at night, or at a LAN fest with a cadre of other gamers. In the latter scenario, headsets even become a necessity as speakers aren’t allowed in the venue. Thanks to all manner of 3D APIs, you don’t really have to worry about losing out on positional audio even when you limit yourself to a pair of cans. Creative recently brought us two USB gaming headsets united by the use of X-Fi as their sound processor to create emulated surround sound.

Despite this similarity, the HS-1000 (left) and HS-1200 (right) are largely different in that the latter is wireless – relying on lossless compression to deliver richer sound than Bluetooth. The HS-1000 wired USB headset however is reminiscent of the analog original Fatal1ty analog headset endorsed by none other than Johnathan Wendel. Everything USB has taken an in-depth look into both headsets, and provided comments on aural experience during gameplay of three different games, including Call of Duty 4, Mediveal II: Total War and Battlefield 2142. They found out that both headsets perform equally well in games that rely on OpenAL, EAX X-Fi as well as X-Fi CMSS-3D emulation. But since they don’t include any Dolby processing, just don’t expect these cans to replace other surround options when listening to music or watching movies.

[Creative HS-1200 Review, HS-1000 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 ]

Logitech Z Cinema Speakers Reviewed. Verdict: Terrific SRS TruSurround HD Emulation

By Ian Chiu

When room space is in scarcity, not everyone can afford a 5.1 surround system for their computer entertainment system. That however doesn’t mean one has to miss the theatrical experience. SRS earlier has come up with TruSurround HD which in essence allows for virtualization of up to 6.1 channels on a 2.1 speaker set. Their processing techniques create phantom speakers that trick you into thinking that sound is coming from a certain direction when it is in reality coming from the front. While the technology is specifically for mid-range and high-end TV market, the SRS TruSurround HD has made its way into Logitech’s Z Cinema.

The Logitech 2.1 speaker set also benefits from this proprietary audio enhancement, but since the TruSurround HD requires multi-channel input (for virtualization), USB is employed to replace the analog audio cables. Each satellite puts out 35W RMS, with right speaker doubling as a receiver for the bundled Vista MCE remote as well as LCD screen for status display. In Everything USB’s review, the Z Cinema was praised for doing its job right; the reviewer felt a more submersive experience with the surround sound emulation enabled. He tested it with Transformers (the movie), 300, Half-Life 2 and Call of Duty 4. The only disappointment came from the lack of volume produced and the price which, as of this writing, is $220.

For full review, hit the link below.

[ Logitech Z Cinema Review @ Everything USB ]

OhGizmo Review: Virgin Mobile’s Kyocera Wild Card Phone

Kyocera Wild Card

By Evan Ackerman

I’m not much of a cell phone person. I’d like to be, but I’m not… The phone I have now (some sort of Samsung slider thing) exists for the sole purpose of making phone calls. Novel, I know. And until I got a chance to spend some time with a phone that does a little more, I didn’t really have any idea what I was missing. Read my full review of the Kyocera Wild Card cellphone, on Virgin Mobile’s 3G network, after the jump.Continue Reading

OhGizmo Earth Day Review: Solio Magnesium Hybrid Solar Charger

Solio

By Evan Ackerman

Solar power is definitely the new sexy when it comes to renewable sources of energy. The Solio solar charger combines form and function and is designed to charge just about any gadget you own, and look good while doing it.

Read the full extra-special Earth Day review, after the jump.Continue Reading

OhGizmo Review: Logitech MX Air Mouse

MX Air

By Evan Ackerman

You might remember that I wrote about Logitech’s MX Air last July, under the headline “Logitech’s MX Air Mouse Is Real, Spectacular.” I think spectacular might be an understatement now that I was finally able to wrangle myself a review unit to try out for a little while. The idea behind the MX Air is that you can use it as a normal wireless laser mouse, or you can pick it up and a gyroscopic sensor will kick in, letting you use it just as effectively in mid air. It’s hands down one of the sexiest peripherals I’ve ever had the pleasure of fondling, and unlike a lot of things that look this good, it’s intelligent and functional. But is it worth the $150 asking price? I think I can probably convince you… Read my full review, after the jump.Continue Reading

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]