Consumer Tech

Laptop Review — Dell XPS 14z

Great post by HandzStudios, I encourage you to check it out.

Handz Studioz

Recently I decided that my old laptop from 2007, with its 2 GB of Random Access Memory (RAM) and a mere Intel Pentium Dual Core CPU, was going to have an ‘exploding CPU (processor) hazard’ as I like to call it. One of my interests outside of coding is making short films, and the program I’ve been using is Sony Vegas. Now as you can imagine, my computer was getting REALLY hot. I actually burned myself once after a while. Now this wouldn’t be all that bad, except that wasn’t from video editing — it was from web browsing. I decided I needed something better, and although my original plan was to build a high powered desktop, I thought, “Why not just buy a high powered laptop?” The problem with that was that high powered laptops are expensive. My answer to the problem came in the form of the…

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M-Disc — What is it?

Very interesting post from HandzStudioz, I hope to see this become mainstream very soon so that the price can go down for the average consumer.

–The Bengal Review Editor

Handz Studioz

Shucks. You hear it — the sound of a dying hard drive; the click-clack-whir of an unreadable DVD. It makes you wish had done that backup last Saturday… but that information is lost forever.  So what does that have to do with M-Disc?  M-Disc can solve those problems — permanently.

M-Disk is essentially a really souped up DVD. Where DVDs have a polycarbonate coating for protection and a dye layer to capture information from the laser, M-Disk has a glass coating for protection and a stone-like layer (made out of compounded metals and minerals) to collect information. They are a pretty expensive (about $3 per disc), but the manufacturer performed tests and claims a 1,000 year life…quite a bit longer than the 10 year life of a normal DVD. M-Disk’s two main parts are the glass, and then a stone/particle layer that is much more reliable than the dye layer…

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New Year’s Resolution? Chrome might do the trick..

New Year’s Resolution? Chrome might do the trick…

Sorry for my absence of posts lately! The holiday season was hectic as usual.

Just wanted to briefly mention an online service I’ve gotten more and more involved with over the past year, Google’s Chrome interface. It is the only browser I ever consider using because a) it is screaming fast (usually) and b) because it is so compatible with everything else technological I use. I don’t have it for iOS, but my Dell PC is practically a Chromebook with all the Chrome related stuff I’ve put on it. These features include:

  1. Integration with Google Apps such as Drive and Calendar- I love the fact that all my Drive files are in a folder on my PC. It’s very seamless integration for an altogether awesome online service, Google Drive. Check it out at drive.google.com. Also, Google Calendar directly syncs with iOS Calendar, which has been remarkably useful.
  2. Chrome Extensions- A lot of browsers have extension capabilities these days, but none like Chrome. Almost every legitimate web service has an extension for Chrome, it seems, with some of mine being Avast Online Security, Skype. EasyBib, TechSmith Snagit (tool for screenshots), Swagbucks, and Pocket. Plus, these extensions are available at the click of a button at the top right of the screen.
  3. Apps- Chrome has thousands of apps, from games to productivity to image and video editing. All Google features come as apps from the start, including YouTube, Google Drive, Google Docs, and Gmail, to name a few.
  4. A Google Chrome App Launcher and search box available for desktop and the toolbar in Windows.
  5. The countless other features that you would have to look at a full review to read……..

To be honest, I can’t think of a reason not to download Chrome, unless you’re a Get-Rid-Of-Google or a Firefox Fanatic. Now to convince Apple to put Google back into iOS…

—-The Editor

Samsung Galaxy Gear

Samsung Galaxy Gear

galaxygear

A few months ago we did a post on whether the iWatch, a product supposed by some to be Apple’s next big product launch, would be a good idea for Apple. View the iWatch Article However, looks like Samsung got to it first, with the new Samsung Galaxy Gear Smart Watch.

Samsung announced their new smart-watch with another interesting ad campaign, following their usual slogan, “The Next Big Thing is Here”, and this time they might be right. Paired with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which was released alongside the Galaxy Gear, Samsung is trying to keep users from having to pull out their mini-tablet of a phone to check key notifications.

From my understanding, the Note 3 is so big that the Galaxy Gear is a downsized extension of the phone. So, instead of looking at features of the Galaxy Gear (which are basically the same as we projected in the iWatch article), I’d like to project whether this new product will be beneficial to Samsung, and, if so, to what extent.

Galaxy Gear is pretty pricey. At $299, this smartwatch trumps its main competitor, the Pebble Smartwatch, priced at $150. Its big brother, the Galaxy Note 3, is $750 to boot, but Galaxy Gear comes much cheaper when bought together with the Note 3.

The Galaxy Gear does work with other Samsung devices, specifically the Samsung Galaxy SIII and S4, as well as the Galaxy Note 2 and 10.1. This means if you are buying the Galaxy Gear to pair it with your older Samsung device, you will have to pay the hefty price. If you want to buy the Note 3 and the Galaxy Gear together, you will have to pay $600 outright, not even counting the price for a two-year contract. Ouch!

This heavy price, I believe, will cause the average tech consumer to neglect the Galaxy Gear. Even though it is a great idea and has a spectacular design, the price will cause anyone but die-hard Samsung fans to turn away from Galaxy Gear. In order to appeal to average consumers, Samsung needs to chop the price of the Galaxy Gear, or say goodbye to potential buyers.

Thanks for reading, and make sure to follow!

–The Editor

iHome iB45 Headphones

iHome iB40 Headphones

As a gift from some kind relatives, I received a pair of nice-looking iHome iB45 Headphones. These headphones are a crossover between those cheap, unusable and fall-apart headphones and high-end, top of the line models like Beats by Dr. Dre. However, the quality of these headphones is closer to the cheap model.

The first of my misfortunes with these headphones happened in January of this year. After I got home from an event, I left the headphones on the floor of my car. Bad idea! Unfortunately, one day I sifted through the backseat of my car to find the earphone section of the product broken off, probably crushed by an unwary foot. However, thanks to the magic of Duct Tape, they were again resealed to the head band.

Because these headphones were a gift, I decided to buy a new pair and hope they lasted longer than the previous one. Now, up to this point I was unaware of the pricing for this model, and I was shocked to discover they were $30 plus tax. Ouch! I decided to buy a purple pair, which is shown in the photo below.


Due to my experiences with the previous pair, I decided to be extra careful and meticulous with this one. I stored it hidden away from any danger in the included travel pouch in a compartment of my desk, and then moved them to my bedside for easy reach when relaxing. Another bad idea! Turns out, after a couple of days I found that the headphone plug-in part was bent! I tried forcing it back into shape, but it still requires me to push it into my iPod’s jack if I want any audible sound to come out of the device! I checked the warranty, but I really don’t feel like going through that whole process again just to replace non-deserving product.

Just a few days before publishing this article, the headphones were left in the car a second time. Yes, it happened again. The earpiece broke off, and I reconnected it with duct tape. This could be considered a fashion statement, but I’m not biting.

I’d also like to go over some additional specs for this product. While it does provide an inclusive, drown-out sound experience, the quality of the sound isn’t up to par for this kind of product. Also, the ear-covering parts of the product are ridiculously small. Trust me, my ears are smaller than average, but these headphones still don’t fit! This results in an uncomfortable, cramped listening experience.

This product comes in 4 colors: red-and-black, solid red, purple-and-white, and solid purple. I found my second pair at Target, but you can also ship them from iHome’s Online Store for $40.

Overall, don’t buy this product. It would be more worthwhile to look at another model. Thanks to the relatives, but no thanks to iHome on this one.

 —–The Editor

External links:

Link to the iHome Shop for the iB40 heaphones

iWatch: Good or Bad Idea for Apple?

iWatch: Good or Bad Idea for Apple?

Over the past month, images and other details have been leaked about the iWatch, Apple’s newest product branch. This multicolored device would supposedly allow the user to access notifications from their iPhone, but on their wrist. Of course, Apple is very private, and has not released official images, pricing, or release dates, but the goal of this article is not to predict features of the iWatch, but to analyze if it will be a success or failure for Apple.

To start, I want to briefly share what the iWatch would do. Basically, it would be an extension of iPhone notifications that could be easily accessible from your watch. The iWatch could also hold Siri, music, SMS messaging, and other accessories. For a more in-depth analysis on iWatch features, please see the external links section below.

Now, to the business analysis section. Let’s start by making the common statement that Apple is kind of just sitting there. They haven’t released a new product or branch since November, and their stock and presence in the smartphone market is slowly but steadily declining. Like others, I’d say this is definitely a serious problem. So, a new launch would probably stimulate growth and product sales for Apple. As this device would be a helpful accessory for iPhone, it could also encourage same-time sales for iPhone and iWatch. iPhone is a top-selling product for Apple, so this would definitely make iWatch popular.

The only question is: Would people want the iWatch? Is it worth the potentially substantial price? iPhone is already so fast and accessible that you can see your notifications easily as long as your iPhone is within reach. So, why would you need the iWatch? This is the question many gadget experts are asking. As this is a more opinionated article, I would like to state my belief about the iWatch. I believe that Apple should pursue another product, like a new iPad or iPhone, instead of manufacturing the iWatch. I personally don’t believe that this is a good investment for apple, but hey, you never know. Look what people said about the iPhone.

 External Links and References:

MacWorld article on iWatch