Tag Archives: review

iRocks IR-4600 USB 2.0 Hub 4 Υποδοχών

iRocks IR-4600 USB 2.0

Με τις μόλις 3 θύρες USB του Thinkpad (το ASUS Ζ71 είχε 5!) έγινε επιτακτική η ανάγκη για εξωτερικό hubάκι. Μετά από λίγο ψάξιμο, βρήκα στο newegg το iRocks με 13 δολαριάκια και τσάμπα μεταφορικά. Τεφαρίκι.

Έχει 3 υποδοχές στο μπροστά μέρος και μία επάνω όπως φαίνεται και στη φωτογραφία. Υπάρχει αρκετός χώρος και δεν γίνεται συνωστισμός. Στην πίσω μεριά βρίσκονται οι υποδοχές τροφοροσίας και σύνδεσης με τον υπολογιστή. Πρόκειται για αρκετά καλή κατασκευή, δεν πιάνει πολύ χώρο και το βασικότερο για μένα που δεν το έγραφε πουθενά, είναι ότι ο μετασχηματιστής του είναι 100-220 Volt. Και φυσικά δουλεύει μια χαρά και χωρίς αυτόν αν οι συσκευές σας δεν έχουν μεγάλες απαιτήσεις σε ισχύ.

Το καλώδιο σύνδεσης με τον υπολογιστή είναι mini USB και το μόνο κακό είναι πως και το μήκος του είναι σχετικά mini: κάτι λιγότερο από μέτρο! Λίγο μεγαλύτερο δεν θα έβλαπτε, αλλά με τόσες USB συσκευές που έχουν περάσει από τα χέρια μου σίγουρα κάπου θα έχω καταχωνιασμένο ένα μεγαλύτερο…

Sandisk Sansa e260: Quick review

I had bought this for my girlfriend sometime before Christmas. It was a real bargain then: $125 when in Greece it cost double! I used it for about a week and promised myself that once my really old RCA Lyra died I’d get one of these. And so I did…

Sandisk Sansa

I found it for $199 at Amazon about 10 days ago, so I ordered it. Let me clarify here that e260 is the 4GB version. It has also a miniSD slot, so you can boost its capacity by 50% so far (I haven’t seen any miniSDs larger that 2GB). The player externally looks really beautiful (although this is really a matter of opinion). I like the black colour and the design in general. The screen is large enough for a unit of this size. The part I really liked was that the back cover is metallic, giving a very sturdy feel and the battery is user replaceable (by removing 4 small screws). The scroll wheel and buttons are not too well placed though and it makes it slightly harder to use (see below).

The interface is pretty straightforward and well-organized. The menu responce is quick. I can’t tell you anything about the bundled software because I didn’t use it (apart from the firmware updater). I haven’t used Windows Media Player to add songs either; I just changed the connect option so that it would be recognized as a USB drive from my PC and I just dragged & dropped my files in the /music directory (I use linux, hence the /).

I had a problem with the first unit I got for myself though: Every once in a while (about 1/15 I opened it) instead of music it’d produce only static, or only the left channel would play. Luckily no such problems appeared with my girlfriend’s Sansa till now, otherwise I’d get suspicious. I talked with Amazon customer support and immediately got a replacement. And what a surprise! I (think I) got a “new gen” Sansa – they had changed the wheel and the buttons. Now it’s much easier to navigate. Anyway, this unit worked just fine.

The only drawback I discovered: Sansa has issues. It doesn’t recognize songs with ID3 tags v.2.4.0. I contacted customer support and they verified it. They also said that they are not sure if they intend to fix this. This means that I’ll have either to somehow change all my 2.4.0 ID3 tags to 2.3.0, or learn to live with some of my songs’ tags not to be recognized.

Overall, I’d give it an 8/10. If there wasn’t that tag issue it’d get a 9.

Final random notes: Oh, and in case you wondered, battery life is really good. They promise ~20 hours and I can verify that that’s about what I got. Of course only music playing, not videos. And videos play okay, although the small screen is not suitable of course for long viewing. They have to be converted using the provided video converter so that they are resized and recompressed to a format that Sansa’s hardware can reproduce. After converting though keep in mind that you may end up with a file much larger that your original one – the compression rate is really low because the less the compression, the less powerful hardware you need to reproduce the video.

That’s all.

My Canon PowerShot A620 review

Canon PowerShot A620. My new digital camera. Below, you’ll find my experience with it after one week of playing with it.

After a lot of research (I was also considering PowerShot S80) I finally bought it from ZipZoomFly along with a high-speed 1GB Kingston SD card. I prefered A620 for its better price (around $100 less) and (slightly) better optical zoom (4x vs 3.6x). One more important thing was that the S80’s converter for extra lens didn’t make me feel very confident by the way it looked.

It is not my first time with a Canon. My first digicam was a PowerShot S50 which now is being tortured at the hands of my brother :). I also bought a PowerShot A520 for my girlfriend a few months ago.

Yes I am a Canon fan and YES I do like the PowerShot series. Well priced-cameras packed with features.

Also, my experience with ZipZoomFly was excellent. After all, I had already bought stuff from them before. Their packaging is good and delivery even better (2nd day free!). Also, their prices may not be the cheapest, but very close to the lowest ones I found. Don’t hesitate buying from them.

Going back to the camera, I must say that compared to my S50, A620 feels more bulky. It certainly cannot fit my jeans pocket (at least not without risking tearing it!). However, it is not that big to make you feel uncomfortable or as if you’re carrying a brick. The grip of the camera is good and the controls are well-placed. If you’ve ever used a PowerShot, the software is the same (meaning easy-to-use and straightforward). Also, the use of AA batteries is a + for me. They are easy to find everywhere and I am still with my first set of NiMH since day 1. And, trust me, I’ve been playing with it a lot the last week!

As for the photos, I may not be an expert in image quality, but I know that I like what I see. The pictures I took are crystar clear with very good colors. A620 carries Canon’s new processor DigicII which means more effects (the color swapping thing is great!) and faster operation. It also means that it can record video at 640×480 @30fps without a glitch. The unfortunate thing is that Canon insists on uncompressed video which means LARGE files. We’re talking for approximately 1.7MB/sec!

The only bad impression I had so far was from Canon’s software which I already thought as useless. With previous versions at least I had no problems with the recognition of the camera by the software. Now, starting with ZoomBrowser EX v 5.5 there is a new OS service added called Canon Camera Access Library. And that change obvioulsy affected lots of other components because the software doesn’t work with my camera (on my pc – I installed it in a computer with Windows 98 and it worked). I am already working with Canon support on this but without any luck so far. I’ll update any changes in the status of this. Actually, the only thing that I wanted to change was the owner’s name (which I did) so now I don’t really care since I use a card reader to transfer the images.

I had the perfect opportunity to try my new camera during a recent farm visit (thanks Amanda!). You can find (resized) sample pictures here. Full-resolution sample pictures are easy to find.

Razr cut (or Mini Motorola Rarz review)

A month ago I decided that I couldn’t bear any longer with my current cell phone (and carrier). Moreover, I had enough with all those bulky cell phones that can do almost everything (mp3, organizer, game-machine etc etc and yes… also phone calls). I didn’t have to look much. I already knew about the Motorola Razr hype… I wasn’t entirely convinced though. I started looking everywhere… forums, reviews, motorola modding websites…

(Almost) everywhere I was reading positive opinions about Razr (v3). To name a few:

  • Design (did I really need to mention that?)
  • Reception (I need that! – who doesn’t actually?)
  • Durability (changing phones too often is not my kind)
  • Modding (I hate “sterile” phones that have everything locked)

So, after some research and not too much thought I ordered it. Amazon had it free after rebate so that was my pick. It arrived and the very first day I received it I had updated its firmware, changed the English menus to Greek (besides being my mother tongue it also confuses everybody else to use it!), used the USB port to import all my contacts and was feeling happy for my choice.

Some remarks now on my general opinion about razr’s usage:
The keys have a very nive feeling, although it seems pretty awkward in the beginning I got used to it really fast. I don’t like the feel of the SMS viewing… my old siemens still feels unbeatable. The organizer is really good and the outlook synchronization flawless. The phone catalog is ok, but during synchronization the Greek names were “cut” after the 11th character. Also, the multiple-phones-per-record system does not work or look that good…
The reception of the phone holds up to its reputation. I didn’t like the volume of the earpiece (too low for my ears) but it is easily customizable with software (P2KTools — if you have Razr it’s a must).

Let’s mention the bad things now: After 3 weeks of usage the phone suddenly started behaving weird… the screen wouldn’t turn on, or if it did, the phone would freeze after a while, or if I pressed the 9 or # keys. I had read complaints about such issues but not from many people. I emailed Amazon and they swapped my phone right away (considered dead-on-arrival I suppose).

Overall I am satisfied with Razr but I am still concerned about what happened with my first one and how will this turn out to be. I shall update later if anything comes up…