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All posts tagged "reviews"


Monday, November 14, 2011

Hardwarecanucks Examines Intel's Sandy Bridge-E Core i7-3960X CPU

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:39 AM

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/foru...cpu-review.html

"The flagship Core i7-3690X Extreme Edition is a 32nm six-core/twelve-thread processor with a 3.3Ghz default clock, but which never ever dips below 3.6GHz and tops out at 3.9GHz in single and dual-threaded workloads. Accompanying these six cores is 15MB of L3 cache, the most of any desktop processor, and a new beefed up memory controller that features a quad-channel DDR3-1600 interface which is theoretically capable of 51.2GB/s of bandwidth."

A Sandy Bridge 6 core CPU starting at 3.3 Ghz sounds impressively fast, but I am not sure many are willing to shell out the $990 list for it. I suppose it is only for the most hardcore users (or those whose work heavily depends on fast encoding of videos); for the rest of us, a nicely overclocked i5-2500K will do quite well for many things.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pentax Q Reviewed by Digital Camera Resource Page

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:30 PM

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/pentax/q-review

"Your eyes aren't playing tricks on you: the Pentax Q is actually smaller than this compact Canon ELPH! How did Pentax manage to make such a small interchangeable lens camera? The secret is in the sensor: the Q's sensor is exactly the same size as what you'll find on the ELPH in the above photo: just 1/2.3". That makes it significantly smaller than APS-C, Four Thirds, and even Nikon's new 1-System cameras."

The review begins with the above comparison which neatly shows how small the Pentax Q is. Of course, the sensor is just as tiny in comparison, with a 1/2.3" sensor, making it even smaller than those found in enthusiast compacts like the Panasonic LX5 or the Canon S100. I am not sure where Pentax is going with this. Even the lens lineup shows a pandering towards toy camera users, who can get their kicks from crappy image quality for a tenth of the cost of the Q. Overall image quality is nothing to shout about either, as you can see from the review. I still believe this is some April Fool's prank from Pentax!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

DigitalRev Reviews the Nikon V1

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 PM

DigitalRev takes a look at the Nikon V1; Kai's not so optimistic about it. Highlight of the video for me is when Kai fumbles on the proprietary shoe's cover. I did almost the same thing when I tried the V1 myself. That cover is too loose and slippery, and since it's proprietary, good luck if you lose the thing!


Monday, October 31, 2011

PhotographyBLOG Reviews the Ricoh GR Digital IV

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 PM

http://www.photographyblog.com/revi...ital_iv_review/

"The Ricoh GR Digital IV is a brand new compact camera with a fixed 28mm lens that’s aimed firmly at the serious photographer. Virtually identical in design to the two-year old GR Digital III model, this latest version has a brand new Hybrid auto-focus system, image processing engine, sensor-shift image stabilization, a refined optical filter and a higher-resolution LCD screen."

When I was still shooting film, the compact camera I wanted was the Ricoh GR1V. Small and with my preferred 28mm lens (instead a focal length of 35mm), I never got around to getting one. In the digital era, however, Ricoh's GR Digitals use tiny compact camera sensors, of which I have never been quite enamoured with Ricoh's execution. The GR Digital has many improvements, but despite the review, I can't quite imagine using a camera that starts smearing detail at ISO 400. Maybe next time Ricoh?


Sony's SLT-A77 Reviewed by Digital Photography Review

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:30 PM

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonyslta77/

"After a four-year wait, Sony has returned to the enthusiast/semi-pro end of the DSLR market. Having made little impact in that market with the A700 that very closely resembled the conventional DSLRs made by Canon and Nikon, Sony has spent the intervening time developing something a bit different."

DPReview takes a look at the Sony SLT-A77, which features a 24 megapixel CMOS sensor in their special pellicle-like mirror DSLR. While the camera performs admirably in many ways, the high ISO performance is not very good, and the noise reduction efforts by Sony are rather ham-handed. I suspect that robbing some light away from the sensor might prove a bit too much for a sensor of this density. Have a look at the review and tell us what you think!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Playing 'Smarter' with the Samsung BD-D6500 3D Blu-ray player

Posted by Don Tolson in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

Product Category: Internet connected Blu-Ray player
Manufacturer: Samsung
Where to Buy: Amazon [affiliate]
Price: $199.99USD, but on special for $114.95
System Requirements: Plays Blu-Ray, 3D, DVD +/-R(W), CD DA, CD-R(W) discs
Specifications: Dimensions - 17in (430mm) x 8.2in(209mm) x 1.3in(33mm); Weight - 3.8lbs (1.7kg); Outputs - HDMI, Component Video, Composite Video, Optical Digital Audio (Dolby/DTS 7.1), Analog Audio (2ch).

Pros:

  • Small, compact and light;
  • Plays just about any type of video disc;
  • Internet capable, via wired or wireless (b, g, n) LAN.

Cons:

  • Not able to easily connect/share with other network PC's;
  • Limited content available in Canada;
  • Only cable provided is for 2 ch stereo and composite video.

Summary: When Samsung first approached us about doing a review of the BD-D6500, I was very excited about the fact that here was a Blu-Ray player with built-in Wi-Fi connectability. The stars in my eyes forsaw a possible replacement for my big, bulky media PC -- using this player to access all the music, video and pictures on my home network -- as well as having a really cool, sleek blu-ray/DVD player. Did it work? Let's take a look... Read more...


Monday, October 10, 2011

Nikon J1 Reviewed by Digital Camera Resource Page

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/nikon/j1-review

"The Nikon 1 J1 (priced from $649) is the entry-level model in Nikon's brand new line of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. The 1-System cameras feature a new 10 Megapixel CX-format sensor, which is smaller than Micro Four Thirds and APS-C, but larger than what you'll find on compact cameras and the Pentax Q. It also uses new CX-mount lenses, which have a 2.7X crop factor. Image stabilization is built into select lenses, rather into the body itself."

DCResource.com has a review of the Nikon J1 up, and the samples here look much better. Image quality is quite close to a Micro Four Thirds camera, but dynamic range seems to suffer a bit. The "small" sensor does not look so bad now, does it? The camera really is quite small, as you can see. Nikon really needs to release a set of zoom lenses that can match the size of the camera, just like what Panasonic has done. Read the review for all the details, including the performance of the hybrid AF system built in to the imaging sensor!


Nikon J1 Reviewed by Digital Camera Resource Page

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/nikon/j1-review

"The Nikon 1 J1 (priced from $649) is the entry-level model in Nikon's brand new line of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. The 1-System cameras feature a new 10 Megapixel CX-format sensor, which is smaller than Micro Four Thirds and APS-C, but larger than what you'll find on compact cameras and the Pentax Q. It also uses new CX-mount lenses, which have a 2.7X crop factor. Image stabilization is built into select lenses, rather into the body itself."

DCResource.com has a review of the Nikon J1 up, and the samples here look much better. Image quality is quite close to a Micro Four Thirds camera, but dynamic range seems to suffer a bit. The "small" sensor does not look so bad now, does it? The camera really is quite small, as you can see. Nikon really needs to release a set of zoom lenses that can match the size of the camera, just like what Panasonic has done. Read the review for all the details, including the performance of the hybrid AF system built in to the imaging sensor!


Nikon J1 Reviewed by Digital Camera Resource Page

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/nikon/j1-review

"The Nikon 1 J1 (priced from $649) is the entry-level model in Nikon's brand new line of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. The 1-System cameras feature a new 10 Megapixel CX-format sensor, which is smaller than Micro Four Thirds and APS-C, but larger than what you'll find on compact cameras and the Pentax Q. It also uses new CX-mount lenses, which have a 2.7X crop factor. Image stabilization is built into select lenses, rather into the body itself."

DCResource.com has a review of the Nikon J1 up, and the samples here look much better. Image quality is quite close to a Micro Four Thirds camera, but dynamic range seems to suffer a bit. The "small" sensor does not look so bad now, does it? The camera really is quite small, as you can see. Nikon really needs to release a set of zoom lenses that can match the size of the camera, just like what Panasonic has done. Read the review for all the details, including the performance of the hybrid AF system built in to the imaging sensor!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Surrounding yourself with the Samsung HW-D550 Audio Bar

Posted by Don Tolson in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

Product Category: Home theatre audio
Manufacturer: Samsung
Where to Buy: Amazon [affiliate]
Price: $499USD (regular, but now on special for $310)
System Requirements: wall power for both the sound bar and the sub woofer unit; digital audio (HDMI / optical) or analog sound source.
Specifications: Dimensions: Soundbar - 1056mm(41.6in) x 80mm(3.15in) x 45mm(1.77in); Subwoofer - 178mm(7in) x 360mm(14.2in) x 295mm(11.6in). Weight: Soundbar - 2.06kg(4.5lbs); Subwoofer - 5.3kg(11.7lbs). Power (total): Soundbar - 2 x 80W; Subwoofer - 150W. Total Harmonic Distortion - 10% at reference. Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20KHz.

Pros:

  • Compact unit which can be easily wall mounted under the TV screen;
  • Wireless Subwoofer can be placed anywhere without cables showing;
  • Multiple audio inputs available (and selectable with the remote) to allow this to become the audio 'hub' of the home theatre.

Cons:

  • Only two HDMI inputs;
  • Midrange is emphasized a little too much (for me);
  • 'Surround' sound is more reverb/delay than actual repositioning via sound processing.

Summary: For a guy who is used to a separate amp, speakers and tons of interconnecting wires, working with an 'all-in-one' sound unit like the Samsung HW-D550 was quite the treat in some respects. But how does it compare where it counts? How does it sound compared to the separate components? All-in-all, it wasn't spectacular, but not too bad. Let's take a closer look and listen.... Read more...


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Engadget (Sorta) Reviews the Nikon J1

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 PM

http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/03/...1-review-video/

"Nikon isn't targeting pros or even advanced amateur shooters with its latest addition to the interchangeable lens camera family. Instead, the company is marketing its J1 to soccer moms (and dads), fashion-conscious young folk, and casual shooters who want some of the versatility of a DSLR, but are willing to sacrifice excellent image quality for a more compact design. But what about the rest of us? Will Nikon one day reward our patience with a true class competitor? Perhaps, but that's definitely not what we have here."

Well, I have ranted before that Engadget may not do the best camera reviews, and I am sure you guys have read my thoughts on the Nikon 1 system, so I will just skip those and say that this time, I have discovered that Engadget does post full size samples, bundled in a zip file located at a link at the bottom of the review, that goes to... Megaupload. After struggling with that abomination of a download site, the samples are not encouraging. Instead of images that look better than its sensor size would suggest, it is the complete opposite: They look more like something from a much smaller sensor. I will be looking out for other reviews as well, but the early signs are not looking good.


Monday, August 1, 2011

iTwin: Your Missing Link Has Been Found

Posted by Chris Sacksteder in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

iTwin first picture

Product Category: File Sharing Utility
Manufacturer: iTwin, Inc.
Where to Buy: Amazon [Affiliate]
Price: $99.99 USD
System Requirements: Windows 7, XP or Vista (32-bit or 64-bit)
Specifications: Size: 90mm x 21mm x 8mm; 50g. Symmetrical USB (2.0) connectors, LED activity lights.

Pros:

  • Easy to use.
  • Can connect two computers to copy files when other means don't work.
  • Easier than connecting to a remote file share.

Cons:

  • May not be as good as connecting to a file share.
  • Needs access to company's server to operate.
  • No local help or trouble-shooting options.

Summary: This is a unique little device that enables secure file sharing between two (and only two) computers, and may be just the thing you need when other methods are blocked by company firewalls or home routers, or are simply too difficult to set up by a novice user. The company's slick marketing-oriented web site may over state its features, but it works well. Read more...


Friday, July 29, 2011

Digital Photography Review's Travel Zoom Roundup

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:30 AM

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/q31...lzoomgrouptest/

"The so-called 'Travel Zoom' category was effectively invented by Panasonic, with the Lumix DMC-TZ1. Released in 2006, the TZ1 was the first camera with a 10x optical zoom lens that could truly be called 'compact', and although Panasonic had the field to itself for a while, it wasn't long before other manufacturers started to move into the same space. Fast forward to 2011, and almost all of the major camera manufacturers offer compact cameras with at least 10x optical zooms, up to almost 20x in some cases."

The travel zoom area is probably the last major growth area for compacts in light of compacts getting squeezed from smartphones at the low end and cheap DSLRs and cute mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras on the high end, so it would be nice to see some more innovation in this area, instead of so-so image quality tacked to a design that has not changed much from the TZ1's launch in 2006. Still, they are still popular enough, and DPReview takes a look at some of the latest round of travel zooms, and there's a surprise winner in the round-up. Hint: The brand starts with an "N". I always thought their compacts were on the lacklustre side, and in fact, the sample images are not very inspiring in some cases; the camera gets a win mostly in the way it handles and operates. Hit the link for the roundup!


Digital Photography Review's Travel Zoom Roundup

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:30 AM

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/q31...lzoomgrouptest/

"The so-called 'Travel Zoom' category was effectively invented by Panasonic, with the Lumix DMC-TZ1. Released in 2006, the TZ1 was the first camera with a 10x optical zoom lens that could truly be called 'compact', and although Panasonic had the field to itself for a while, it wasn't long before other manufacturers started to move into the same space. Fast forward to 2011, and almost all of the major camera manufacturers offer compact cameras with at least 10x optical zooms, up to almost 20x in some cases."

The travel zoom area is probably the last major growth area for compacts in light of compacts getting squeezed from smartphones at the low end and cheap DSLRs and cute mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras on the high end, so it would be nice to see some more innovation in this area, instead of so-so image quality tacked to a design that has not changed much from the TZ1's launch in 2006. Still, they are still popular enough, and DPReview takes a look at some of the latest round of travel zooms, and there's a surprise winner in the round-up. Hint: The brand starts with an "N". I always thought their compacts were on the lacklustre side, and in fact, the sample images are not very inspiring in some cases; the camera gets a win mostly in the way it handles and operates. Hit the link for the roundup!


Digital Photography Review's Travel Zoom Roundup

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:30 AM

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/q31...lzoomgrouptest/

"The so-called 'Travel Zoom' category was effectively invented by Panasonic, with the Lumix DMC-TZ1. Released in 2006, the TZ1 was the first camera with a 10x optical zoom lens that could truly be called 'compact', and although Panasonic had the field to itself for a while, it wasn't long before other manufacturers started to move into the same space. Fast forward to 2011, and almost all of the major camera manufacturers offer compact cameras with at least 10x optical zooms, up to almost 20x in some cases."

The travel zoom area is probably the last major growth area for compacts in light of compacts getting squeezed from smartphones at the low end and cheap DSLRs and cute mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras on the high end, so it would be nice to see some more innovation in this area, instead of so-so image quality tacked to a design that has not changed much from the TZ1's launch in 2006. Still, they are still popular enough, and DPReview takes a look at some of the latest round of travel zooms, and there's a surprise winner in the round-up. Hint: The brand starts with an "N". I always thought their compacts were on the lacklustre side, and in fact, the sample images are not very inspiring in some cases; the camera gets a win mostly in the way it handles and operates. Hit the link for the roundup!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Engadget... "Reviews" the Sony NEX-C3

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:11 PM

http://www.engadget.com/2011/07/20/...-nex-c3-review/

"Traditionally known as DSLRs, interchangeable lens cameras (ILC) have always promised excellent image quality, speed, and versatility."

Umm. So the Engadget review opens with one of the least accurate (or poorly written) statements I have seen in a review for some time. The scary thing is that with Engadget's influence, many are going to look for it as a source. Still, the review does have some real sample photos, so if you're interested in the Sony, you might want to give it a look. The sample photos are shrunken down for the web, so they are essentially useless. Umm, read the review for a user's impressions?


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Panasonic Lumix G3 Reviewed by Digital Photography Review

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:30 AM

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicdmcg3/

"The G3 heralds the start of Panasonic's third generation of mirrorless cameras. In some respects it's a refinement of previous models; its electronic viewfinder and hinged rear display screen are identical to the G1 and G2, for example. However, behind the aluminium front panel of its slimmed-down, externally-simplified body lies a completely new 16.7MP sensor. This makes it the first mass-market Micro Four Thirds model to move beyond Panasonic's 12MP chip."

This is one of those good news and bad news cameras, if you ask me. The image quaility is good, but the decrease in external controls and reduced grip means a lot of Panasonic's own lenses are harder to use. Still the price is not too bad (it is cheaper than the G2) and the improved image quality means it can hold its own against entry-level DSLRs, while providing a user interface that is more accessible to casual users. I am now waiting to see what Panasonic does with the GH3. Will they dumb it down like the G and GF series, or will they bump it up a spec to compete with the 60Ds and D7000s?


Friday, July 8, 2011

Read Your eBooks Where You Want, When You Want

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

http://lifehacker.com/5818038/hamst...between-devices

"You may remember Hamster Soft's drag and drop video converter, which we've mentioned before. Their new eBook converter is very similar: drag and drop an eBook onto the app, select the destination device or file format, and click convert. The app also supports batch file conversions from multiple formats."

Whether you have a Kindle, Nook or iPad, eBooks are a great way to pass the time and there are an increasingly wide range of options to get your reading love. The problem is that not all eReaders are equal, and you can find yourself in a situation where you absolutely must read every Harry Potter book now that its gone digital, but find that your eReader spits it back out as if it were Twilight. Being able to convert your eBooks might be handy, but just be aware that if you got anything to read that is DRM-laden, your optoins may be limited.


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Olympus Announces PEN E-P3 Camera

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:17 AM

http://www.dcresource.com/news/news...tem.php?id=4333

It is a big day for Olympus here, as they launch a total of THREE new Micro Four Thirds cameras. The first is the leading PEN camera, the E-P3. This is a bigger overhaul than the "upgrade" that the E-P2 was. There is a new 12 megapixel sensor (with the by-now usual Olympus sensor-shift stabilsation), an upgraded AF engine with 35 points that is touted to be even faster than the phase detect systems used in SLRs, a very nice 3 inch OLED touchscreen with 614k dots (I still am not certain of the resolution yet), 1080i60 movie mode with manual controls, a popup flash handy for daytime fill flash, and a removeable grip when you want the camera to look sleeker. DCResource.com has a review up, so go check it out. I think it is looking very promising, and might even be an upgrade for GF1 users or photographers looking for something like the GF1. Ships in August at US$899 for the camera and a kit lens, with a choice of either the 17/2.8 pancake or the 14-42/3.5-5.6 zoom.

More Coverage:

DPReview.com


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

PhotographyBLOG Reviews the Sony DSC-HX100V

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:30 AM

http://www.photographyblog.com/revi...c_hx100v_review

"The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX100V is a feature-packed super-zoom camera, offering a 30x, 27-810mm zoom lens, 16.2 megapixel back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor, built-in GPS tracking complete with a compass, full 1080p high-definition video recording with stereo sound and HDMI output and 3D Sweep Panoramas and 3D Still Images."

The Sony HX100V is a good example of the current state of superzooms. It is well-made, takes good photos, has huge amounts of zoom in a small package, and is not too expensive. I just wonder who will still buy them? This is probably what I call a refined end-game product; there is nothing much to go on beyond this without significantly breaking the mould. I just wish camera makers will hurry up and see the signs on the wall and do something about it already!


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