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Tag Archives: Reviews

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.

[Full Review @ 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.

[Full 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 ]

Lenovo Multimedia Keyboard with Remote Reviewed. Verdict: Decent Upgrade for the Price

Lenovo recently updated their paddle HTPC keyboard and the changes aren’t subtle. It already had a hit on their hands with the first generation of this very hand-friendly Multimedia Remote Keyboard and trackball. The tiny trackball has been replaced with an optical sensor that first made waves on the Raon Everun a few years back. The very responsive sensor also doubles as left click mouse button for very relaxed use. The nano dongle and the key layout are mostly unchanged. Most of the device has also been upgraded from slippery gloss finish to a more gripping rubber texture, only the keys remain glossy.

Other improvements include automatic backlighting and raised bumps on the keys for tactile navigation. The mouse buttons have been widened for larger hands to operate without adjusting their grip. The nano USB dongle can be stored in the battery compartment for travel which may be the only time you ever open it. The very strong wireless connection boasts a battery sipping 3 months of life. Other similar keyboards suffer from weak signals but the Lenovo Remote shows no sign of losing connection at even extreme ‘same room’ distances. Check out the full review at Everything USB if you are interested in how the remote fared after extended use.

[Full Review @ Everything USB]

Hitachi Touro 3TB USB 3.0 Drive Reviewed, Verdict: Superior Real World Performance.

Hitachi has rolled out a few external hard drives that boast business class speed in a consumer form factor. While not as sleek as some other available externals, the Hitachi Touro 3TB USB 3.0 is big enough and fast enough to justify the missing sleek. It does seem to be much improved over the previous versions and many of the aesthetic concerns are explained by the need to dissipate heat on this caliber of drive. The high platter count and 7200-rpm spindle speed require design concerns that supersede fashion.

The Hitachi Touro also tops out most charts for single drive read and write performance. There are better performing drives out there but not at this price point. Besides being a genuinely good buy, the drive shows above average performance with small files. Tiny files, which are what most average users deal with pose a big challenge for hard drives. This drive shows signs of having been tweaked with extra cache to make it handle real world file use much better as opposed to artificially created large test files. If you are in the market for a beefy external drive of the USB 3.0 variety, you can get more details in a review at Everything USB.

[Full Review @ Everything USB]

Logitech G300 Gaming Mouse Reviewed. Verdict: Left Handed Home Run.

The market for gaming mice is very healthy these days. Anyone making gaming devices, wishing to garner more than a sliver of purchases from the gaming world at large has to do something pretty amazing, or do something subtle really well. Logitech has tackled the latter with their latest G300. The gaming mouse doesn’t have an excessive amount of buttons or an obscene amount of DPI resolution or wildly adjustable parts. What it does have is class and the ability to suit both left and right handed players without looking like a cybernetic monstrosity. “Less is more” doesn’t do the G300 justice as they do more with less, better than most competitors do with “way too much”.

The G300 sports 9 programmable buttons, much more than can usually be supported by ambidextrous enabled devices, and doesn’t waste time on excessive programming support. Many of us gamers getting into our golden years don’t have the time or the patience to deal with tweaking to that level. Maybe it does it more justice to call this a mature mouse than an unsophisticated one. It has clean lines and an almost too narrow body that help fingers easily locate all the buttons. The G300 does add an uncharacteristically gamer-ish backlighting which is giving more sway to the Razer style that Logitech normally does. The only other ‘tamed’ feature that might actually be missed is the 1990′s era scroll wheel.

[Full Review @ Everything USB]

SIIG USB 3.0 Card, Hub Upgrade Kit Reviewed. Verdict: Good not Great.

If you plan on getting one or two USB 3.0 devices, then you need to shop for an USB 3.0 add-on card. SIIG has a USB 3.0 card kit that is worth checking out. The biggest draw of the kit is the included 5.25 and 3.5″ hub bay. This gives you all the function of a USB 3.0 hub, providing 4 fully powered ports on the front of your computer. Buying long USB 3.0 cables and a hub just to be able to use another USB 3.0 card gets expensive fast. SuperSpeed peripherals aren’t readily available yet nor cheap so this kit definitely offers some advantages for the all-in-one purchase.

The only major caveat of this setup is in some of the cheaper choices that could affect performance. USB 3.0 requires a huge data path, one that many manufacturers struggle to fully enable. The SIIG card only has a PCI Express x1 lane while other cards have opted for an x4. The front facing hub draws power hassle-free from the internal power connectors of your system but all 4 of the USB 3.0 ports have to share 1 connection to the card. These choices could affect “intense use” performance. Everything USB’s review has some detailed findings on what you can expect out of this card for casual and intense use alike. General opinion is that it’s more than capable but might not be all that you’d expect for the price tag.

[Full Review @ Everything USB]

Logitech C910 HD Pro Webcam Reviewed, Verdict: Nice Evolutionary Upgrade.

Logitech has advanced its webcam line recently with the release of the C910 HD Pro Webcam. They continue on with their core line of peripherals and while not being able to boast of any exciting new hardware features they have polished and refined their latest with considerable software improvements. While the current ‘best’ resolution for video is 1080p, current bus, bandwidth and hardware limitations have made this a bit of a unicorn for shared video. The technology base just isn’t available to reliably support that much streaming data. Logitech has opted to stick with refining 720p software solutions. Their hardware, Carl Zeiss Tessar lens and 5 megapixel sensor, could easily do 1080p but our USB 2.0 systems and bottlenecked Internet providers just can’t keep up. The vastly improved image software makes the best of whatever video signal you can muster and adjust light levels quickly and effectively.

This latest, the C910 HD, adds the “Pro” moniker in deference to the business software that’s been included. In the past, many webcams have been targeted at friends and family video chats but many businesses are now adopting person to person video conferencing as a daily part of your job. Logitech has answered this new direction with the inclusion of a trial version of FastAccess, a facial recognition and security software. While the results of the first round of tests have been mixed on the security, the over feeling is that Logitech has continued to move their product forward. For an exposé on all the new functions and any glaring weaknesses, head over to Everything USB for full review.

[Full Review @ Everything USB]