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All posts tagged "reviews"

Monday, June 27, 2011

Samsung's SH100 Brings The Internet To Your Camera

Posted by Angelina Purpura in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 10:00 AM

Product Category: Digital Camera (Point-And-Shoot Variety)
Manufacturer: Samsung
Where to Buy: [USA, Affiliate] / Best [Canada]
Price: $199.99 CDN
System Requirements: Wi-Fi connection (Supports B, G, and N)
Specifications: Provided by Samsung


  • Simple and quick wireless media uploading;
  • Amazing photo quality;
  • Impressive battery life;
  • Amusing photo editing options.


  • Complicated menus slow down useability;
  • Video quality leaves a little to be desired;
  • Limited destination options for uploading photos.

Summary: It was more than four years ago that I first heard mention of Wi-Fi enabled cameras. It was theoretical technology at the time, and I was intrigued. Imagine being able to upload your pictures right from your camera! So when presented with the opportunity to try out one of these mythical beasts my excitement was boundless. And it absolutely lives up the expectations I had. Unfortunately, those expectations were from a time before the iPhone, before smartphones in general. Camera phones existed, sure, but they were of no notable quality. These days however we have phones capable of taking HD video and sending it out into the world instantly. This camera can do that too, but only with a Wi-Fi connection. That can actually be surprisingly limiting at times. For example, uploading pictures from a party is simple (What sports bar or apartment building doesn't have an unlocked connection these days?) vs trying to upload them while out in public (Can't find a Starbucks? I guess it'll have to wait). I found myself thinking that it would be better if it was 3G enabled, to really let you upload anytime, from anywhere. And then I considered that, really, we already have our smartphones for that. And they can make phone calls, too. This camera comes pre-installed with a number of picture editing programs that are incredibly fun to play with, but I have also already seen countless apps that offer the same functions. That's not to say I haven't very much enjoyed my time with it - its picture quality is fantastic and the touch screen is very nice. But I know that, while the cameras in smart phones are not quite there yet, it's only a matter of time before their quality improves enough that I worry the SH100 will have to fight hard to keep its place in the market. But in the meantime this camera is one of the most fun to play with I've ever used. From a point-and-shoot, it's hard to ask for more.

A note before I get started: as I have previously stated I am not a professional photographer. I take a lot of pictures, but with no degree of training. If you're looking for a detailed technical review of the camera then I'm afraid that this is not it. This is a review of the camera's useability and functionality for the average recreational photographer. Read more...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Nikon Coolpix P300 Reviewed by Digital Photography Review

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

"Although at first glance it looks a lot like the Canon Powershot S95 and Olympus XZ-1, the P300 is a significantly different camera in a couple of important ways. It offers higher resolution, at 12MP rather than the 10MP common in that class. It also offers Full HD video (1080p as opposed to 720p), but its true colors are betrayed by a lower price-point, a smaller sensor (1/2.3" as opposed to 1/1.6" or 1/1.7"), and the inability to record RAW files."

When the P300 was first leaked, it looked like a LX5 or S95 competitor; turns it it is closer to a glorified IXUS competitor. A compact camera with a bit more features than a compact point-and-shoot, but not as fully-featured as a premium compact. I am not sure where Nikon is going with this half-and-half strategy, because I think point-and-shoot users would want something simpler to use (or their phones, for the matter), while more advanced users will not want a P300's smaller sensor and lack of RAW. The P300's images are actually not bad, which makes me wonder what Nikon could have done with a better package surrounding the sensor.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Vogel's RingO: A Universal Tablet Mounting System

Posted by Eric Juillerat in "Apple iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad" @ 10:00 AM

There are 15,873,213.5 iPad cases and stands, and dozens of iPad mounts. While that statement may not be completely accurate, it would be fair to say there are a lot. So what's with another review of the same old stuff? In a word, "System". A complete and comprehensive eco-system of compatible cases, stands and mounts for tablets. And as far as I can see, there may only be a few tablet "Systems" in existence. We're going to look at one - Vogel's RingO Universal Mounting System. Welcome to the Pros, my friend.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The New Intel Z68 Chipset Reviewed

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 11:00 AM

"Architecturally Intel's Z68 chipset is no different than the H67. It supports video output from any Sandy Bridge CPU and has the same number of USB, SATA and PCIe lanes. What the Z68 chipset adds however is full overclocking support for CPU, memory and integrated graphics giving you the choice to do pretty much anything you'd want."

Premium motherboards come with lots of nice bells and whistles. From overclocking (Overclocking is an OK feature now?) to hardware acceleration. I find Intel's Smart Response Technology interesting though, which sounds a lot like a souped up ReadyBoost. I also have to wonder whether someone who is interested in a high end motherboard such as this would be skimping on their storage options. I would most likely already be using a SSD as my system/application drive and use high capacity HDDs for media.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fujifilm FinePix X100 Reviewed by Digital Photography Review

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:00 AM

"The large-sensor, fixed-lens compact isn’t a new idea, of course, and both Sigma’s DP series and the Leica X1 have already visited this territory... So the big question is whether Fujifilm has managed to refine the concept, and produce a camera that’s as compelling to shoot with as its specifications (and looks) suggest."

Here is a very detailed review of the Finepix X100, and it caught a few interesting issues that I did not encounter during my brief time with it. In fact, a few is an understatement: This is the first review I have seen that has an appendix dedicated solely to the bugs and quirks in a camera. Despite the brilliant image quality, I am not sure if I can live with that many flaws. The really odd one is that the camera remembers ISO for each different program mode. So if you were shooting in P at ISO 800 and decide to go to A and shoot at ISO 100, going back to P will have the ISO set at 800. Amazing oversight, if you ask me, as this is the kind of "feature" I do not want in my cameras! Hopefully Fujifilm fixes this, because the images produced are very good indeed.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The LapDawg X4: A New Breed You Can Cuddle With

Posted by Eric Juillerat in "Laptop Thoughts Accessories" @ 09:00 AM

When life's circumstances breed new technology, great things happen. The LapDawg X4 is a good example. If you use your laptop to get your email in bed, browse the Internet from the chaise longe, or work in non-office environments, the LapDawg X4 is for you! Or, if you are just looking for the ultimate in ergonomic adaptability, you need to read on. Read more...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Digital Camera Resource Page Reviews the Fujifilm Finepix X100

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:30 PM

"In a world of me-too compact cameras, Fuji has come up with something decidedly different. Their long-awaited FinePix X100 is a rangefinder-style, fixed lens camera with an APS-C sensor and unique hybrid viewfinder. They're not the first manufacturer to do the fixed lens / big sensor combo (Sigma's been at it for several years), but the FinePix X100 is a lot more professional in terms of design, features, and performance."

DCResource has got their Fujifilm X100 review out, the conclusion is not too far from my own impressions on the camera (read my hands-on for a detailed breakdown on the issues I had with the user interface). The photo quality is more impressive than I expected. I wonder if Nikon's D300 follow-up is going to be as good? Read the review to find out more, and check out the high ISO samples: They are very good for a camera using an APS-C sensor!

Verbatim Store 'n' Go SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive

Posted by Chris Sacksteder in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:00 AM

Verbatim Store 'n' Go

Product Category: Portable Disk Drive
Manufacturer: Verbatim
Where to Buy: Amazon [Affiliate]
Price: $75.24 USD
System Requirements: USB 3.0 port
Specifications: Available in 500GB, 750GB, and 1TB capacities. Size 121mm x 80mm x 15mm. Weight: 115g. Supplied cable: 62cm.


  • Small and light.
  • Good value.
  • Great warranty (seven years)


  • Not close to "transfer speed up to 10x faster than USB 2.0"
  • Supplied cable is rather short.

Summary: At last, USB 3.0 devices are becoming widely available and at prices close to 2.0 disks. With transfer rates theoretically 10X as fast as USB 2.0, should you consider a USB 3.0 disk for backups and data transfer? Yes, but don't get your hopes too high. Your backups won't be going 10 times faster. Read more...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Nikon D5100 Reviewed by Digital Photography Review

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:30 AM

"The D5100 has a very similar 16.2MP CMOS sensor to the excellent one seen in the D7000 but, understandably, loses out on that camera's high-end build and feature-set. So there's no wireless flash control, magnesium alloy build or 39-point AF system but the underlying image quality is all but identical. As has become standard for a Nikon at this price point, the D5100 offers a single control dial, pentamirror viewfinder and no built-in autofocus motor. However, it gains 1080p video capability (at 30, 25 or 24fps), saved using the efficient H.264/AVC codec, and a 920,000 dot fully articulated LCD panel to help shoot it."

Nikon's D5100 looks like a very nice DSLR for the price and feature set. The 16 megapixel sensor from the D7000 certainly helps; with usable results up to ISO 3200, and for non-critical photos, even 12,800 (HI1) can be used with some post-processing. I am not too keen on the revamped layout to accommodate the articulating LCD however. Traditionally Nikon DSLRs have four to five buttons on the left hand side of the camera, where the hinge currently is located. The downside is slightly less refined controls compared to the D7000. Still, I hope Nikon eventually works out the UI for this line, because I would like to see the articulating LCD become standard; that way I can leave the right-angle finders at home!

Engadget has additional coverage if you want a mainstream tech review. Personally, I'm still baffled why 11 AF Points is a minus. In my time, we had just one, and walked both ways uphill in the snow to take photos!

The Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS: The Ambitious Beginner's Camera

Posted by Angelina Purpura in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

Product Category: Digital Camera (Point-And-Shoot Variety)
Manufacturer: Canon
Where to Buy: Amazon [Affiliate Store]
Price: $143.96
Specifications: Provided by Canon
  • Pocked-sized - perfect for on-the-go photo ops;
  • Wide array of customizable settings;
  • Light without feeling flimsy.
  • Poor performance in low-light conditions;
  • Slow processing at times.

Summary: This is not a technical review of the camera. This model has been out for a while, and has been examined in its full photo-taking glory by many experts. Instead this is a review of what it's like for a total amateur to own and operate this camera.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nikon Coolpix S9100 Reviewed by PhotographyBLOG

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:00 PM

"The Coolpix S9100 is Nikon’s third travel-zoom camera, featuring an extended 18x zoom lens with a very versatile focal range of 25-450mm. Other key features of the slim S9100 include a 12 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, high resolution 921k dot 3 inch LCD screen, full 1080p high-definition movies with stereo sound, sensor-shift Vibration Reduction, a shooting mode dial and a fast auto-focus system."

Looking for a compact zoom camera? Not happy with the cameras in the last round-up we linked to? Here is another option; the Nikon Coolpix S9100. Though Nikon is not as well-known as some other companies in the compact segment, I certainly can't fault them for not trying (doing well is another thing). Surprisingly the review is a favourable one, but between a Nikon and a Panasonic, I know which one I would normally go for!

We Want You: Thoughts Media Review Team Seeking Writers

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Thoughts Media Status Updates" @ 09:00 AM

Do you enjoy using new hardware, software and accessories, then sharing your experience with others? Then join us on the Thoughts Media Review team! We're looking for individuals who find it fun to test hardware, software, and accessories then give their honest opinions about them.

Our areas of focus include laptops, netbooks, slates, tablets, Windows Phones, the Microsoft Zune, Android phones, the iPhone, iMacs, Macbooks, iPad, and other digital devices such as digital cameras, video cameras, photo editing software, printers, scanners, video editing software...and pretty much anything else related to creating, editing, and sharing anything digital. Oh, and don't forget about headphones and nearly any other gizmo out there from portable batteries to memory cards to power bars. We focus on the Windows and OSX platforms, along with Windows Phone, iOS, and Android for mobile platforms.

If it's technology-related, odds are good that it can be covered on one of our sites - and that means you can write about it. It's important to understand that you won't be writing for a single site - you can review any product you want as long as it fits into one of the areas of focus that our network covers. That gives you a lot of freedom to cover exciting stuff!

We're looking for people with a solid grasp of the English language, but you don't have to be the next John Grisham to qualify. Impressive writing skills are less important than having an appetite for thoroughly testing technology and sharing your thoughts with others. Part of the review team application process is writing a trial article, and we'll get a good feel for your writing ability from that.

Interested? We have more information on this page, including a FAQ that's worth looking at. I'm looking to add at least a dozen new faces to the review team, so if you're interested, please apply! I'm also happy to answer any questions you might have that aren't covered in the FAQ, so please post them here and I'll respond.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Canon Rebel T3/EOS 1100D Reviewed by Digital Photography Review

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:35 PM

"The 1100D takes a series of familiar-sounding components and folds them together in a distinctly conventional but still capable-sounding package. So there's a 12MP CMOS chip that is likely to date back to the 450D/XSi, coupled with Canon's now-standard 9-point AF system and the 63-area iFCL (Focus, color and luminance sensitive) metering system first seen in the EOS 7D."

The Canon Rebel T3/EOS 1100D is something I thought I would never see. After letting the predecessor languish in obscurity for a good two years, it looked like Canon had given up on the ultra-budget DSLR. With the T3/1100D, it looks like they have not. On paper it looks like a competent if slightly rehashed. Still, the low price means it should sell well. I am rather amused by the red; pity Canon did not come up with a matching lens! For you die-hard 1st gen Zune lovers, there is also... brown. Coloured up versions available at our affiliate store.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

GPS Ultra Zoom Camera Roundup

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

"One of the most popular digital camera genres in recent years has been what some have called the "travel zoom". These compact cameras have typically featured lenses of around 10X - 14X, large LCDs, and HD movie modes. In 2011, camera manufacturers really put the "travel" in travel zoom, by adding GPS receivers to their cameras. So, not only do you now have a camera which can go anywhere, but you'll know exactly where you took the photo."

One advantage of dedicated cameras is the ability to offer a zoom lens, so huge zoom factors are still pretty much a selling point. Combine that with a compact size and the result is a camera that still sells pretty well in this age of smartphones. I was a bit surprised at the winner of this shoot out, but I won't spoil the surprise, other than saying that the initial debut of the line was very lacklustre to begin with. Well done C... I mean, camera company!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Viovio Photo Books Reviewed: Free Your Photos!

Posted by Eric Juillerat in "Digital Home Printing" @ 08:00 AM

Product Category: Photo Books and Printing
Manufacturer: VIOVIO
Where to Buy: VIOVIO
Price: $5.99 USD and up (varies)
System Requirements: Internet Browser, Laptop or Desktop computer
Specifications: N/A


  • Massive library of templates;
  • Excellent customer support;
  • Impressive printing and pricing options.
  • Internet based application can be slow;
  • May not be compatible with some browser plugins;
  • Finished project may not have the printing option you want.

Summary: Am I the only one who has gigabytes of photographs gathering digital dust on my hard drive? I'm not, right? And why? Because ink and photo paper is expensive, and it would take me forever to print them out! And then what? Invite the family over for a sit-down where you pass one photo hand-over-hand to the person on your right, over and over? No, no, this can't go on, and that's exactly what went through the brilliant minds over at Viovio. What if you could pick up a book, and inside have your photos displayed on high quality photo paper? And what if it had interesting notes and text, amid a visual playground that didn't just display your photos, but presented them? Viovio turns Family-Vacation-Photo-Night into an upper scale gala, thick with praise and hyperbole, but more importantly with love. And speaking of love, hidden in this review is a 20% off coupon for you to use! Read more...

Monday, April 4, 2011

Canon Rebel T3i/EOS 600D Reviewed by Digital Photography Review

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

"The new kid on the block can most succinctly be described as a 550D with an articulated screen, that also incorporates many of the beginner-friendly features we first saw on the more enthusiast-orientated EOS 60D. Perhaps most notable of these is 'Basic+', a simple, results-orientated approach to image adjustments in the scene-based exposure modes, that allows the user to change the look of their images and control background blur without needing to know anything technical about how this all works."

Canon, the masters of the incremental upgrade, have done it again. I think the above paragraph sums up the EOS 600D nicely: A 550D with a swivel LCD and some software changes. Still, that makes it a pretty decent camera, as the 550D was no slouch to begin with. For someone looking for a new DSLR in the Canon camp, it is hard to go wrong with it. I wonder though, if Canon is going to make anything exciting ever again...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Whose Browser Will Reign Supreme?

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 04:00 PM

"Our goal is to figure out which of these three is the best vehicle for navigating cyberspace. We’ll be paying particular attention to new features, security, privacy, and of course performance. We’ll even throw in a few power user tips for each one. And for those of you who roll with Opera and Safari, don’t worry, we’ll cover the latest versions of those, too. In the words of Michael Buffer, “Let’s get ready to rumble!” "

There are a lot of people that do not really care which web browser they use. It could be argued that you could change the browser on them and they would not even notice. This review is not for them. Some of us are quite picky about our browser. We like things a certain way, with certain plug-ins or features. After a while, the browser, which we probably use more than any other application at this point, becomes like a comforting friend who holds your hand while you travel through the wonderful world of the Internet. Of course, there are also times where we have second thoughts. The magic has faded and we start to find ourselves frustrated with our companion. Frequent crashes. Laggy behaviour. Rendering problems with specific websites you visit. So you eyes start to wander and look for something fresh and tasty. Then this review is right up your alley! A good overview of all the major browsers (admittedly only for Windows users) lets you taste each one before you commit to a new relationship. Personally, I have been using Firefox for many, many years and it has served me well, but lately, I have been finding that it is becoming a bit bloated and taking up considerable amounts of memory. The new release of Firefox 4 may help with that. If not, I guess I will have to find something better! Do you have any preferences? What browser do you evangelize?

Synology DS1511+: Up To 45TB Of Network Accessible Storage

Posted by Philip Colmer in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 PM

Product Category: Network Attached Storage
Manufacturer: Synology
Where to Buy: Amazon [Affiliate]
Price: $1,360.80 USD
System Requirements: Gigabit Ethernet for maximum throughput
Specifications: Holds up to 5 3.5" or 2.5" SATA drives with connectivity for two further 5-drive bays. Size: 157mm x 248mm x 233mm. Weight: 4.25kg. LAN: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet. More specifications available.


  • Very fast;
  • Very flexible;
  • Very capable.


  • Quite expensive;
  • Doesn't completely go to sleep if unused.

Summary: A solid unit delivering up to 45TB of network attached storage, with some additional functionality that makes it useful to both home and business user alike. Read more...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's World Backup Day, Have You Done Your Part?

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home Software" @ 03:50 PM!5787368/its...table-disasters

"World Backup Day isn't an official holiday, but it is a day of remembrance-as in, if you don't back up your important data, you will be remembering one day how stupid you were for not doing so."

Have you ever lost a file? Or worse, a whole drive? If you have, you know how crucial it is to have a proper backup plan. If you haven't, consider yourself lucky.

Today is World Backup Day. Its a great time to familiarize yourself with the different types of backup available. Take a look at Lifehacker's article to see which option works for you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Look at the Drobo In Depth

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:00 PM

"Matt's not alone, either—we're coming to a point where everyone and their dog has at least a digital music and photo collection, and tons of folks (especially folks in the Ars reader demographic) have collections of ripped movies and TV shows on top of that. All that stuff has to reside somewhere, and to that end there's a huge array of network attached storage devices—NAS boxes, as we in the biz say—that can keep the data safe, with redundancy and protection that you wouldn't get from storing the collection on your computer's main hard drive or on a single external disk."

I have always tended to think of Drobo as a higher end NAS solution from a consumer perspective. However, with the apparent death of my reason to go with Windows Home Server, a careful re-evaluation of my options makes Drobo a strong consideration, despite its cost. There are cheaper options, but many of them tend to require a certain amount of tinkering or upkeep, and I am that point where I just want something that I can set up once and not have to worry about managing. Do you have a preference for a NAS solution? Do you like one where you get down and dirty, or do you prefer one that is more hands-off?

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