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Tag Archives: Reviews

OhGizmo! Lightning Review: The Puffit Vaporizer

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No matter how free and open minded the society you live in is, there are times when lighting up can be frowned upon. Not to mention the byproducts of combustion are carcinogenic, and often painful in the lungs. So, more and more people are turning towards vaporizers, since they get the job done without actually burning anything; there’s less smell and no traditional “smoke” to speak of. The Puffit vaporizer from the company DiscreetVape is designed to look inconspicuous, allowing you to consume your herb of choice in settings you normally would not. The following is a quick run down of my impressions with the device.

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OhGizmo! Review: The DR500GW-HD Dashboard Camera

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If you’ve spent any time on the Internet lately, you will have probably noticed the increase in dramatic video footage from in-car dashboard cameras depicting everything from road rage incidents to asteroids breaking up in the sky. Most of these come from Russia, where owning such a device is common in light of the frequent insurance fraud attempts. But it’s a good idea to own one anywhere, because you never know when having video proof of what happened in front of you will come in handy. With that in mind, we set out to look for the “best” dashboard camera and kept coming across the Blackvue DR500GW-HD camera from Korean company Pittasoft. So we reached out to them for a review unit and the following article will look at how it performs. Hit the jump for details. Out here we’ll tell you this: it’s an outstanding product of superior build quality, with a few relatively minor flaws. Whether that’s enough to justify its high price is up to you.

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OhGizmo! Review: The SWITCH Portable Bluetooth Speaker

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Earlier this year, Native Union introduced their new SWITCH wireless portable speaker into a market that is already saturated. However, we still agreed to sit down and take a look at it for any of you considering purchasing such a device.

The SWITCH is more than just your small party wireless sound system; it serves both as an external battery and as a conference call unit. It comes with a full duplex microphone that allows all participants to converse simultaneously for up to 16 hours. The battery life is quite impressive, considering it features three speakers, “including an active sub-woofer with an enhanced bass-reflex system.” This results in an unexpectedly crisp and distortion-free sound, even at high volume, making it the perfect candidate for a small apartment, office, or picnic gathering.

The SWITCH has a simple, yet practical and appealing design, with an intuitive multifunctional button and a large volume control wheel. After some extensive use, it remains tight and there is no sign of looseness. The brick-like shape of the device lets you use it in a vertical or horizontal postion, depending on the needs. To top it off, the rubbery material coating that comes in several colours gives it a high-quality feel.

Native Union is selling the SWITCH for what initially seemed like a hefty price tag: $149.99. Getting to play with the product, however, made us feel like the price was somewhat justifiable, especially for someone that will use all of its features. As mentioned before, it would work great for personal use, but also in a corporate environment, where both conference calls and socializing events take place.

[ Product Page ]

Mimo Magic Touch 10-inch USB Display Reviewed. Verdict: Fully Windows 8 Future-proof

Mimo is a company that puts all its eggs in one basket – USB display. It has made its name known with bus-powered monitors that allow users to add an additional screen to a PC even when there’s no power outlet available. The latest mini monitor to further expand the Mimo’s niche product line is the Magic Touch. As the name suggests, the display supports multi-touch interaction, tracking up to 4 fingers. The display also gets all the power and connectivity it needs from a single USB 2.0 cable.

Setting the Magic Touch is a no-brainer. You only need to download the driver from DisplayLink which handles automatic firmware update after installation. The display itself is as vibrant as it gets with excellent video quality. Interestingly, the latest driver hooks into your existing GPU for the heavy lifting. This dramatically reduces CPU usage and at the same time increases the 2D & 3D performance of the 10″ USB screen. It’s also a pleasant surprise to see the monitor can handle some casual gaming even though that isn’t what the Magic Touch is designed for in the first place. One caveat is that the glossy screen is prone to glare, making it uncomfortable when used in some bright environments. The best use for this display may well be for developers of multi-touch apps and perhaps a touch screen panel for Windows 8 desktops or HTPC. Get all the details of the Mimo Magic Touch 10-inch USB monitor in the full review below.

[Full Review @ Everything USB]

JLab B-Flex X-Bass Laptop Speaker Reviewed. Verdict: Surprisingly Good

On-board audio quality on notebooks and most all-in-one computers leaves a lot to be desired. Sometimes the audio quality is so bad users can barely hear anything without resorting to headphones or a bulky set of external speakers. Something that notebook or netbook users wanting improved sound may want to check out is the JLab B-Flex X-Bass Laptop Speaker reviewed at Everything USB. This rather unique one-piece speaker connects to computers via a USB port and is on a rigid flexible arm which means no excess cable on your desk and allows you to place the speaker for the best use of available space.

The B-Flex X-Bass integrates a tiny passive sub-woofer, which is great for improving bass – something that is typically very lacking in on-board audio. The reviewer is also pleased with the surprising amount of sound it pumps out. The crisp highs and solid lows are equally impressive, considering the driver size. The X-Bass does have a few caveats such as lacking mid-range sound, minimal stereo separation due to the speaker’s design and it lacks an analog input for MP3 players. The little speaker sells for about $40, and is worth checking out.

[Full Review @ Everything USB]

Targus USB 3.0 Dual Video Adapter Reviewed. Verdict: Silky Smooth Video in HD and Beyond

For people with all-in-ones, small form factor PCs and laptops, if they want an additional screen (or two), the best bet is an external video adapter which works work well for PCs lacking the space for an additional video card inside. Granted, some of these machines come with a HDMI jack but even with that, you only get two displays at most. The Targus USB 3.0 Dual Video Adapter is worth checking out if you want scalability. It simply needs one USB 3.0 port and has both DVI and HDMI to drive resolution up to 2048×1152 which is good display up to 24″. Should you want to further expand desktop estate, you can always get another one. USB 3.0 has plenty of bandwidth for applications like this. The Targus employs the DisplayLink DL-3900 chipset as it’s the only one in the DL-3xxx series to boast dual head output.

Installation on Windows PCs is very easy and the adapter even gets HDCP 2.0 certification for Blu-ray and iTunes movies alike. The USB 3.0 video adapter can also carry 16-bit 48kHz 5.1 surround audio through its HDMI port. Another big plus is the DisplayLink USB video chipset being able to offload all of the heavy lifting of HD video playback and 3D rendering to the GPU. During Everything USB’s tests, the Targus adapter is actually able to render 3D game graphics as capable as the system’s main GPU.

The USB cable, tethered to the adapter however, is strangely short and stuttering with 24p playback was noted. Despite the caveats, the Targus works well for most users and sells for about $99, making it reasonably priced by most accounts. Anyone looking to add monitors to their notebook or desktop computer for increased productivity will want to give this adapter a closer look. That is assuming USB 3.0 port is available.

[Full Review @ Everything USB]

HighPoint RocketU 1144A 4-port USB 3.0 Card Reviewed. Verdict: 20Gbps Bandwidth at Your Disposal

The best you’ll do on most modern desktop computers for USB 3.0 ports today is one or two at most. Yet many PCs don’t even come with a USB 3.0 port. To take advantage of the massive SuperSpeed USB external storage and flash drives out there, desktop PC users don’t necessarily have to be looking to buy a brand-new rig to get additional USB 3.0 ports. Many motherboards have an x4 PCI Express slot tucked away inside that goes unused. HighPoint has a 4-port USB 3.0 PCI Express 2.0 card that pops into that forlorn slot and that provides a much needed USB 3.0 upgrade for a desktop PC.

The only downside to cards like this for some users is that the computer has to be opened up, which could void warranties. The HighPoint RocketU has 4 discrete ASMedia ASM1024U controllers integrated giving each port full 5Gbps bandwidth. That means each port has access to the highest potential USB 3.0 speeds. Theoretically, this particular card offers a total of 20Gbps of data throughput. It has out-of-the-box support for both Windows and Linux; Mac Pro users looking for Snow Leopard or Lion support will have to check out the Mac version of the RocketU card. During everyday use, Everything USB found the ports are a bit too close together for multiple flash drives to use at once, but the card is still impressive. Read all the details in the full review.

[Full Review @ Everything USB]

OhGizmo! Review – Dyson DC41 Animal

By Chris Scott Barr

Vacuuming is a normal, everyday chore that needs to be done to prevent your house from looking like slobs live there. The only problem is, it takes forever to get the regular junk off the floor, let alone all of that teeny tiny debris that has been ground into your carpet for who knows how long. Which is why having a good quality vacuum will make things that much easier on you and your household.

If you hear Dyson, and vacuum being used in the same sentence, there’s a good chance the topic is about how well they work, and that whole, “never losing suction” thing. As a cleaning aficionado (aka neat freak), I was certainly intrigued by all this talk of fancy vacuums, and wanted to see if they were up to par. Lo and behold, a Dyson DC41 Animal arrived on my doorstep, and the results were astonishing.

This vacuum is appropriately named “Animal” as it simply amazing at picking up animal hair. It’s suction powers have the capabilities to pick up the normal stuff, and even somewhat remove what one might think were stains. It can easily move from carpet to hardwood floors without sucking up the carpet, and it has kept its word of not losing suction.

Any old regular vacuum can only move back and forth, but with the ball design, you can flawlessly roll and pivot around any obstacles you may face. The ball does make it a bit bigger than other vacuum heads, which makes it difficult to vacuum under things, unless you get an additional attachment. However, it still does it’s job quite well, so that’s not as much of an issue.

Assembly is super quick, with only three main pieces to put together. The canister for this vacuum is rather large at 0.55 cu. ft., the hose can go to the top of the stairs, so there is no lugging involved, and it’s rather lightweight at only 17.4lbs. Not to mention the cord is exceptionally long, which is great for anyone who lives in a larger home. You’ll only need one outlet per floor, which is a pleasant thing, as you would normally have to hunt to find optimally placed plugs in the wall so you don’t have to spend time plugging and unplugging the cord.

It does make a bit of a racket, but it’s no worse than any other type of vacuum. Although it is pretty energy efficient, keep in mind that this is pretty heavy duty vacuum, so having multiple appliances still plugged in is not the best of ideas. Unless of course you want to blow a fuse.

Having experienced both bagged and bag less vacuums in the past, it was nice to know that the canister was going to be a mess to clean out or smell after multiple usages. The canister empties out at the bottom, which although very convenient, was not apparent to me in the beginning. (oops!) Overall, this is a great vacuum, and has very few flaws. It’s weight, although very light, may be a bit much if you can’t lift more than 10 or 15 pounds, but I would definitely recommend it to others, provided you’re willing to dish out $600. However, I’d much rather spend that, than buying and replacing cheaper ones that won’t last, or perform nearly as well.

[ Dyson ]

Corsair Vengeance 1500 Gaming Headset Reviewed. Verdict: Outstanding.

It’s very seldom that virtual surround gaming headset gets such high approval but the Corsair Vengeance 1500 headset proved to be a real head-turner. This latest gaming-centric but still multipurpose headset has garnered high marks for sound quality and compatibility. Almost every physical feature of it has been upgraded. The padded ear cups fit better and are more comfortable than previous models and do an excellent job of sound isolation without actually requiring noise canceling features. The cable has a nylon mesh wrapping for tangle free flexibility but warns against unwanted feline affinity.

The 5.1 and 7.1 audio driver flexibility seems to be the key feature of this headset allowing for compatibility for many old and new games alike. The 1500 provides game changing environmental awareness for games but movies and music are similarly enhanced. They appear to be very evenly balanced without favoring treble or bass. The reviewer actually seemed to struggle to find flaws with the Vengeance. In fact, the only complaints seemed to be around some of the nuances of microphone performance. Gamers that use the microphone for in-game communication are rarely concerned with music hall performance so that should be a non-issue for most. See the entire review at Everything USB for more details on this new prodigy from Corsair.

[Full Review @ Everything USB]