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Tag Archives: Reviews

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 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.

[JLab B-Flex X-Bass Speaker 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.

[Targus USB 3.0 Dual Video Adapter 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 speedy 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 USB 3.0 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.

[HighPoint RocketU 4-port USB 3.0 Card 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 Gaming 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.

[Corsair Vengeance 1500 Gaming Headset Review @ Everything USB]

OhGizmo! Lightning Review: The Shure SE215 Earphones

By David Ponce

The Shure SE215 earphones are not exactly a new product, but we were recently sent a pair for testing and would like to take a short bit of time to give our impressions for anyone considering them.

Shure is known for their quality products and some of their earphones can fetch up to $500+ (like the triple driver SE535). But the SE215 feature a single driver and a much more modest price of $100. And for that amount of money, they deliver a sound almost on par with competitors at $200… like the Beats by Dr. Dre Tour In-Ear Headphones, which we also recently acquired. To be clear, the sound quality is less bass heavy than the Beats and the highs and mids are more crisp. We’d describe it as well balanced and distortion free even at higher volumes. But the more impressive aspect of these earphones are twofold: the sound isolation and the snug fit.

To understand what we mean, hit the jump.

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Corsair Flash Voyager GT 3.0 Flash Drive Reviewed. Verdict: Ho-hum

Corsair’s Flash Voyager GT line used to be the bee’s knees of ultra performant flash drives. Their SLC based 8GB Voyager GT from 5 years ago sat at the top of the USB 2.0 food chain for a long time. Sullied only by releasing an MLC based successor in 16GB (much slower than the 8GB) Voyager GT owned the land speed record nearly maxing out USB 2.0′s 40MB/s bus speeds. Fast forward to present day with USB 3.0 well at hand and the latest Corsair Flash Voyager GT 3.0 arrives, not with a roar but with a whimper. Boasting almost only above average read and write speeds for placing it just above the middle of the road at 135MB/s and 83MB/s respectively.

While this is certainly faster than most of the junk flash drives you will find on most shelves, Corsair is an enthusiast drive maker and has to be held to higher standards. They are currently leading the pack with their Force SSD and Revo drives, they should show flash drives some more love. Mediocre USB 3.0 speeds aside, all the other time tested features of the Corsair Voyager line remain. The durable rubber coating still seems protective enough to survive multiple trips through the dryer without a glitch. It’s still too big to share close quarters with other USB devices but it’s not supposed to be compact and cheap, it’s supposed to be big, fast and spacious for very demanding users. To get a full report on where its speed compares to other market devices as well as form and function head to Everything USB.

[Corsair Flash Voyager GT 3.0 Flash Drive @ Everything USB]

Wacom Bamboo Capture Multi-touch Tablet Reviewed, Verdict: Loaded Bargain.

There are two types of technology advancements that make headlines; new things that no one has ever seen before and breakthroughs in price that generate novel ways to implement existing technology. The Wacom Bamboo Capture tablet is the latter, thanks to its groundbreaking low price. At under $80, this will be the first tablet that many aspiring artists can afford. Most pressure sensitive graphics tablets start well over $500 and that price can keep people using pen and canvas. The combination of software and hardware package with the Create is impressive.

Somehow, Wacom has managed to stuff high end graphics tablet features in this inexpensive package. The tablet responds to both the included pen and finger touch. It can detect up to 1024 distinct levels of pen pressure for dark or light strokes on the fly. It has 4 buttons that are programmable but unfortunately not application aware. The big value-add shows up in the software that’s included with the tablet. Besides the custom Wacom that’s included, you also get Adobe Photoshop Elements 8. The list of software and features goes on. If you’re interested in what else is included or how it performed, check out the review at Everything USB.

[Wacom Bamboo Capture Review @ Everything USB]

Optoma GT750E Reviewed

By Chris Scott Barr

If there’s one thing almost every gamer wants, it’s to game on the biggest screen possible. For a lot of people, that means hooking up their console or PC to the TV in the living room. Sure, a 40 or 50-inch TV is nice, but wouldn’t it be great if you could take up an entire wall? That’s where projectors come in. Of course, not every projector is meant to be gamed on. Most of them are built for either viewing boring charts, or movies. Well Optoma has a few that are aimed straight at gamers.

The Optoma GT750E is a gaming projector that can display games at a native 720p, and in 3D, no less. It’s also a short-throw projector, which means that you don’t have to set it clear on the other side of the room. In fact, during testing, it only had to sit a mere 50 inches from the screen to produce an 80-inch (diagonal) picture. The real question is whether or not it performs. Head over to GamerFront for the full review, and find out for yourself.

[ Optoma ] VIA [ GamerFront ]