Joined on 08/02/01
Cheap and fast
Pros: My laptop computer is a 13 inch Sony Ultrabook with a 500 GB “hybrid” hard drive. That drive included an SSD component, maybe 20-30 GB. The hybrid drive was a little faster than an old fashioned mechanical drive based on my experience with several completely mechanical hard drives I’ve tested on friends’ laptop computers. So for the price of this drive I figured it would be a substantial performance upgrade for my Windows 8.1 system – and it was. The first job was to clone my old hard drive to this new hard drive. Before I even started the cloning process I created a Windows System image of my old hard drive. It’s good to know that if something screws up you can always go back. I swapped this new hard drive into my Ultrabook and attempted to use the Windows system image just made to the new drive. Windows refused to do this – there was always some kind of error. It might have been because Windows is known to refuse to do a restore to a hard drive smaller than the original. I used Macrium Reflect free online version to clone my old 500 GB hard drive to this new 480 GB SSD. I selected Forensic Clone, and since I was cloning the old drive to a drive 20 GB smaller. I noticed the recovery partition was over 20 GB so I de-selected that portion to be cloned. The process was slow, almost 4 hours, but I popped the newly cloned drive into my Ultrabook and it worked perfectly. Except it ran about twice as fast as before! The most dramatic difference in speed is in starting and waking up. Windows boots from off to desktop in 15 seconds. The Sony Bios takes half of that 15 seconds. Just amazing! Sequential read speed hit the advertised 550 MB/secm, but write speed maxed out at 355 MB/sec, compared to an advertised write speed 485. The only tweaks I made to my system for my new SSD was to turn off the Page file and uncheck Defragment.
Cons: This item includes no mounting hardware, cable, cloning software or instructions of any kind, which is getting to be standard unless you buy a full retail package.
Overall Review: I will never buy or build a computer without an SSD.
Pros: small so it will not take up too much room in the trash. Pretty Blinking Blue light on the receiver?
Cons: Advertised as Plug & Play. This was not my experience. I never got the receiver to communicate with and of my TVs using know good HDMI cables. Tech support was as useless as the product. That's a frustrating hour of my life i'll never get back. All tech support told me to do was just what the online manual says. This might be valuable for illiterate users, but worthless as far as getting any problem solved. I wasted several hours of my life trying to make this work, and I am a computer geek who does not give up easily, but this beat me.
Overall Review: This device is supposed to let you stream a high quality video signal from a device, such as a computer, to your TV. Maybe this was an interesting concept that just does not work. Even if it worked it is only advertised as being useable if you have direct sight less than 30 feet. The receiver (that connects to an HDMI port on your TV) never was able to send a signal that any of my 3 TVs saw. My oldest TV is 2 years old and my HDMI cables are good, so I'm pretty sure the device was faulty. Extremely poor quality and customer service. This was not an inexpensive item, so it would have been nice if their quality control could have caught this dud.
A Mighty Mite External SSD
Pros: An interesting package addressed to me appears at my door once or twice a month. I have no idea what is in the package until I open it and fortunately then I remember ordering the item. Something different happened to me a few days ago. I cut open a mystery padded envelope and found a wee SanDisk portable SSD. I was further delighted when I noticed the drive had a massive one Terabyte capacity. It was less than half the size and a fraction of the weight of a mechanical external USB drive thanks to its M.2 SSD. Cool, I thought; I guessed I might have ordered this late at night and forgotten about it. I soon realized my mystery package was a SanDisk SSD External drive I had volunteered to test for Newegg. YES! I plugged the SSD into my tower using the provided USB-C (external drive end) to the USB Type-A (backward compatible to any standard USB port.) It was instantly recognized. I copied a 2 Gb file from my tower internal SSD to the SanDisk portable SSD external drive, to test the real-world speed of the drive. Compared to the advertised up to 500 MB per second it transferred data at about 120 MB per second, which was about 3X faster than copying the same data to my older external mechanical Samsung external drive. This was a little slower than I anticipated since SSDs generally run from 4 to 10 times faster than a mechanical drive. I should note that my towers USB is the older 3.1 version, which Im sure was a factor. I suspect my disappointment with the speed of data transferred is the result of USB C to USB A cable. Since I do not have a newer USB C to USB C cable, I could not test that transfer speed. The Vault (see the photos) The Samsung external SSD M.2 drive comes with an ingenious encryption scheme they call PrivateAccess with the encrypting software installed on the drive itself. This software will ONLY run off the external drive, further increasing the security of the device. Transferring data to the external drive is a drag and drop procedure, using the drives built-in encryption software. There is no back door into the vault; as you would expect, if you forget your password. The data in the vault is gone forever.
Cons: The drive would be more useful if it came with both USB C to USB C and USB C to USB A cables, instead of just a USB C to USB A cable. Other external SSDs I have seen advertised come with the USB C to USB C cable. I know the and USB C to USB A cable is required for backward compatibility, but new computers today usually include a USB C outlet. USB cable is only a foot long. This is adequate for functionality, but too short for some real-world usage.
Overall Review: This is a remarkable amount of fast external storage for the money.
Not for blade users
Pros: Cordless, lightweight, ergonomically OK, long (over an hour) battery life, small enough for precise trimming but big enough for good coverage. It is good for places where you dont need to be completely hairless The trimmer part of the 7000 worked just fine. My wife trimmed the back of my neck and had no issues. The trimmer by itself was worth the price of admission.
Cons: I have been using a blade rather than an electric shaver all my life, so I was interested in seeing if electric razor technology had closed the stubble gap in the last 30 years. Sadly, I must report that it has not. I wonder if the problem with the Philips Norelco Bodygroom Series 7000 is the compromise that was required with any 2 in 1 product. One end of the 7000 is a hair trimmer and the other is a razor like one you might use on your face, also known as the foil end. I found the foil razor to be very slow, requiring me to go over an area several times to reduce my stubble to a satisfactory amount. Unfortunately, by doing multiple passes you increase the chance of razor burn, or at least that was my result. I also found myself pressing on the razor to remove stubble; this further resulted in damage to my skin.
Overall Review: I should reiterate I am a long-time blade user, a top-of-the-line Gillette 5-blader, so comparing the close smooth shave I get with a blade to an electric razor is unfair. This product is not designed to give you a close, smooth shave. At least, despite the razor burn, I never cut myself with the Philips Norelco Bodygroom Series 7000.
Pros: The idea behind the Devolo Magic2 is improve wo-fi reception throughout you home, and it does a good job of this. The Devolo system I tested consisted of a mall base adapter and two larger wall socket adapters, all solid white. The adapters are all pass-through for electricity; a three pronged outlet on the back of each adapter allows electric device to be plugged into the adapter, so you dont lose a power outlet. Setup should be pretty much plug and play. You plug in the base adapter to a wall socket and connect it via Ethernet cable to your router. The base adapter then transmits the internet signal throughout your home via your electric power system. Every wall outlet becomes a potential extension of you wired Ethernet system. Setup was not plug and play for me since I took plug and play literally, and a first did not trouble myself with reading all of the directions. I had no problem getting the first wall adapter to sync with the base adapter, but when I unplugged the first adapter and tried to connect the second, it would not sync. I looked at YouTube videos and even tried a factory reset but still, no luck. Then I read in the instructions that once the first wall adapter was synced, you had to leave it connected in order to get the second adapter to sync. Once I did that everything fell into place. The system is described as a mesh upgrade since each of the wall adapters, as well as being a powerline adapter, is also a connection point for a wireless system throughout your home. The wireless feature now incorporated into the Devolo system makes it a mesh system. Devolo advertises that because it uses G.hn technology is future proof and provides extremely high speeds, increased stability, and increased range. G.hn is a protocol for home networking that provides data speeds up to 2 Gbit/s and operation over four different legacy types of wire; telephone wiring, coaxial cables, power lines, and optical fiber. I live in a 2300 square foot one story home and had not had a problem getting my wireless signal to the farthest bedroom since I upgraded my router from the AC protocol to the newer AX protocol. When I plugged in one of the wall adapters and connected an Ethernet cable to my laptop I was able to get a signal that was almost twice as fast as my AX wireless system. I did use one of the wall adapters to connect a smart TV to the internet. There is a refrigerator and a microwave oven between my router and the TV, resulting in occasional interference. Using the powerline signal avoided any interference.
Cons: The adapters must be plugged into the bottom plug of a two plug outlet, to avoid blocking the top outlet. It is mostly, but not totally plug and play. Be sure to read and follow the setup instructions. Using the wall adapter as a wireless access point decreased my substantial AX router speed by about 25%, but this varied. I would expect any kind of "repeater" tp slow your signal.
Overall Review: I can imagine if you lived in a very large home and were trying to connect wirelessly to a far-away router, this would be a real problem solver. As I said, I used one adapter to connect a smart TV without appliance interference. Setup should be easy even for those not familiar with setting up a home network.
Great buds, kind of hard to figure out
Pros: I have never started a review praising a product's customer service, but Soundcore has great people who were very helpful. Of course Ideally you would not have to contact customer service, but I'll save that for the Cons, The build and quality seem excellent, and the sound is outstanding. You will not get a true base from earbuds, but that's expected. The sound could not be more clear.
Cons: I'm fairly geeky, but I could not get these to work without a couple of calls to customer service. It seems like a complex procedure - the pairing and connecting via bluetooth, but you have to jump through a few hoops in a certain order, probably at least a couple of times if you're like me. I had to contact customer service 3 times because I did not write down the directions the gave me. They now seem to work flawlessly. There is absolutely NO noise cancelling that I can perceive.
Overall Review: I would recommend these on sale, if you have some spare time.