Best Ways to Track Your Children

While the title may lead some to think that article is for helicopter parents, it’s made for an innocent reason. In some cases, your children may get lost while wandering around the park, or even on the way home from school depending on their age. This idea can strike fear into parents as in the past there were not a large number of ways to find your child unless they had a cell phone. While nowadays, it is rare to see a child without one, there are alternative ways to find your children in a speedy, safe, and reliable manner.

Listed below are some of the top rather tracking devices for your children that are non-invasive and efficient.

LG GizmoGadget – $149.99

This device is created for families who use Verizon Wireless as their cellphone provider. This smartwatch is perfect for the younger children as it will allow them to quickly and easily get connected with thier parents by allowing a text option as well as a voice option. It comes in a variety of colours and has a comfortable design which kids will enjoy sporting.

JioBit – $99.99

This tracking device is on the more cost-efficient side. This device is easy to use and only requires a Bluetooth – which serves as a perfect way to measure the distance of how far your child is wandering off. The Jiobit has a small and simple design that is hardly noticeable as it can attach to any piece of clothing, or to a bookbag, and will ping a parent’s phone to show the location.

AngelSense – $99.99

This tracking device is perfect for parents who are extremely worried about having an excited child run off. What makes this tracking device unique is that it was created with the idea of being catered toward children with special needs. It comes with multiple parts that can connect easily to a wheelchair or the child, as well as additional parts which will increase the security.

DokiWatch S – $159.20

The DokiWatch S is perfect for children who can handle having a smartwatch and phone combined into one. It is catered towards families that use AT&T. It has a colourful and comfortable design and a system which will ping a child’s location as well as give the child a way of communicating with the parent.

B’zT Washable Tracket T-Shirt – $39.00

This tracking device is precisely what the name of it says. It’s a t-shirt that will allow parents to track their child. While it has a Bluetooth feature, it isn’t the most functional option as it doesn’t tell you where your child has gone, only how far – which is still just as helpful.

Republic Wireless Relay – $149.00

This tracking device takes the form of a child-friendly walkie talkie which can connect the child with other children as well as a parent. It allows for easy and almost immediate communication as well as GPS tracking abilities. The only downside is that the walkie-talkie cannot call emergency services and won’t provide a geofence to help locate your child.

Samsung UN48JU6500 48-Inch TV with HW-J6500 Curved Soundbar Reviews


  • Refresh Rate: 120CMR (Effective)
  • 42.4 – Inch 300W (6.1 Ch)

Product Reviews

“and the quality is AMAZING. It also has a lot less glare from …” – CS “christos1975”
Score: 5/5 Source:

I am giving this TV a 5 star rating based on quality and price. I really think for this size, this quality, under $1,000 dollars this is a 5 star TV. I did have some issues as other users mentioned on previous posts, but this has nothing to do with the two factors above that I mentioned. Yes I was not able to connect to my WiFi even after changing the encryption method several times and resetting my router and modem, but a short call to Samsung tech support and a firmware upgrade everything worked as a charm. The one thing you should be aware of is the SmartHub. It is not the same as in previous models so do not look for YouTube videos or old manuals. From what I understand, this new version of the SmartHub is based on a new operating system (Tizen) and it looks totally different. Initially very few apps were available, but every day there are new ones popping up. Netflix is now available as is AmazonPrime. I am still waiting on Skype.
Also, before you talk about quality, make sure you watch a real 4K video. I have used the YouTube app to search and play 4K video samples, as well as connected to my laptop that can produce 4K hdmi output, and the quality is AMAZING. It also has a lot less glare from my old Samsung which had a “regular” glass. This one, mounted above a fireplace, and next to a very bright bay window that brings sun in all afternoon, and you still watch TV without having to close the shades. 5 stars all the way … *****
“Great picture, Amazing Value” – delorend
Score: 5/5 Source:

I purchased the 48″ version of the JU6500, To address the wifi issues the other reviewers raised, my TV came with a USB drive and instructions on how to update the firmware and connect to wifi. Very easy, non issue.

Physical appearance 5/5 The tv is very slim, with a semi gloss screen. The tv looks better at night, but reflectivity is pretty low during the day even with windows near the screen. The stand is sleek and minimal. There are several HDMI and USB ports, along with optical sound output.

Apps: 4/5 When I last checked there were over a dozen apps. There was no HBO Go which was disappointing. I do not know if that will be added or not.

Picture Quality 4/5 When I first setup the tv the picture quality looked pretty mediocre. I discovered that this is due to extraneous settings that overprocess the video. Once I adjusted the settings, bluray and over the air channels looked amazing! I will post my settings at the end of this review. FYI, this is a 60hz panel, although I dont perceive any motion issues. Black levels and colors are great. Plus 4k content is gorgeous (netflix, youtube, amazon).

Value 5/5 For $1000 you cannot beat this tv. The next model up, the JU7100 is $500 more and the only really difference is it is a 120hz panel.

Picture mode: movie
Backlight: 8
Contrast: 96
Brightness: 45
Sharpness: 0 (only makes image worse. remnant of analog tvs)
Color: 65
G/R: 50/50
Dynamic contrast: off
Black tone: darker
Flesh tone: 0
Color Tone: Warm1
Digital Clean View: High
MPEG Noise Filter: High
Film Mode: Off
Auto Motion Plus: Off (you can turn on if you want,but it turns down the backlight in order to pulse the light to increase apparent refresh rate)

“Good picture, apps still in development” – aquarist
Score: 5/5 Source:

My first impression about this TV wasn’t good. The picture just didn’t look good compared to the 10-year-old HDTV I was replacing. The picture looked washed out and highlights were blown out. I played with various settings and eventually I figured it out: Reducing backlight from a maximum of 20 to around 6 seems to solve the problem. The picture looks good now. TV shows don’t look much better than on 1080p TVs though. Broadcast TV is limited to either 1080i or 720p. Upscaling is supposed to make such content look good on this 4K TV, but it doesn’t seem to have much effect.

This is supposed to be a Smart TV, so software quality is the other aspect to evaluate this TV on. The settings menu of this TV is usable, fast and pleasant to use. YouTube and Amazon Instant Video apps are slow to start (about 10 to 15 seconds, which is twice as slow as the $69 AppleTV) but once started they seem to work well. Many apps including Hulu are still in development. The icons are present but when you start the app you get a “Coming soon” message. There is no Netflix app, nor even a “Coming soon” message for it. I am able to watch Netflix through AppleTV, but AppleTV is limited to 1080p.

Overall this TV is probably not worth the price today. But when the software updates become available and as more 4K content become available hopefully I will not regret paying extra for this TV.

Update: Netflix and Hulu have just become available via a software update. All apps work well. (But I had to do “Reset Smart Hub” via the TV’s menu to get the apps to work after the update.) Playing Neflix movies via the app looks very good, and I am also getting good surround sound audio through my receiver (using the Anynet/”Audio Return Channel” feature). I am now happy with this TV, so upping the rating to 5 stars.

“Update Firmware First! Follow All Instructions and You’ll Have No Problems” – FL TechSmith
Score: 5/5 Source:

Outstanding picture and easy to use. Read the instructions to update the firmware before you begin any other setup or configuration. Those having problems appear to be early adopters and those who do not follow instructions. I had absolutely no problems setting this TV up once the firmware was updated.
“Excellent TV for the price and mine has functioned flawlessly …” – Kbo
Score: 5/5 Source:

Purchased this tv and received last weekend. Excellent TV for the price and mine has functioned flawlessly so far. Waited a week to post review since I wanted to give it a run through first. The one negative thing I heard was about motion blur was more noticeable and set my auto motion to custom and got it dialed in. Just watched the new Hobbit movie and no motion blur and not too much Soap Opera effect. Also have streamed 4k and was flawless picture. Amazing! Super happy with my purchase. :). I also upgrade cables from rocket fish to audio quest and it has made a noticeable difference.
“Shame on Samsung” – RFBlake
Score: 1/5 Source:

The 2015 edition doesn’t work with Direct TV’s 4k RVU. Given they supposedly partner with Direct TV, that would have been some good information to know. So I’ve basically purchased a very expensive ultra definition TV that has to run in standard HD mode. In Excusable. Shame on Sansung for selling a product that wasn’t ready for primetime. Samsung told me to check back every week to see if the software update was available to fix. You’d think they’d call me. They offered me nothing. I’ve basically paid $4000 for a $1000 picture.
“Disastrous CEC Implementation” – David
Score: 1/5 Source:

While one might think this TV would be able to play well with devices from other brands, they would be incorrect. From the moment the TV is turned on, it switches my Denon receiver to “TV audio” even though I source my audio directly through my receiver. Once I switch back to TV/BR/AV on the receiver, 60 seconds later and periodically during use, it switches back to TV audio. NOT helpful!! Also when I turn the TV on, one of the CEC signals results in my DTA being completely reset, therefore I have to set my DTA back up EVERY time I turn my TV on!!

While this is a common problem for Samsung televisions with ARC connections, this one is worse: while my previous model would at least switch to TV audio when I used the Netflix app, then released it back to TV upon exit (exactly as it should), this device never switches to TV audio upon activating an app! So while it frequently switches to TV audio during TV/BR/AV usage, it DOESN’T when I actually want it to!!

Additionally, they’ve removed the “universal remote” feature, which is a (mostly) helpful feature which not only allowed the television’s remote to act as a remote for my DTA, it also allowed me to view and program a guide for my cable lineup. This is notably absent in this model, while the guide button is on the remote to make a potential buyer THINK it is present.

Basically, as abysmally as my previous model functioned, this one is worse by far. Unless you plan on switching inputs on your TV (i.e. not using a video pass through/ARC-compliant receiver), I DO NOT recommend this (or really any) Samsung television.

“First I couldn’t connect to the Internet. Had to …” – Wesley Brown
Score: 2/5 Source:

First I couldn’t connect to the Internet. Had to take my tv and set it next to the router and hardwire it. Did the firmware update and could connect to the Internet. Netflix app doesn’t work. Have been on the phone with Samsung for two hours. They blame it on Netflix. Netflix obviously blames Samsung. Taking the tv back. Too many bugs in the less than 24 hours I have owned the television.
I dont understand the bad reviews” – Drop
Score: 5/5 Source:

I bought this TV from Best Buy. I like Samsung TV’s and have owned many in the past, so even after reading all these reviews I purchased this TV. They said that if I dont like the way it looks or performs that I can return it. After playing with the settings for 30minutes it was amazing. There are a few settings that are best to be turned off. Great TV for action movies, PS4 game play. I received a small USB to upgrade the firmware with the TV so had no issues connecting to the internet like most people state.

I am actually very surprised that this TV has bad reviews.

“Upgrade to 4k: Not totally convinced I should have but glad I did” – A. Cox “Artist, Musician, Physicist and Cook”
Score: 5/5 Source:

I purchased this after my 6 year old 52″ 1080p LCD died on me.
It’s about 15lbs or so lighter than my previous model, even given the size increase to 55″. It is thus even thinner and feels a little flimsy. The surface is not glossy but reflection is noticeable in dark scenes during day time viewing, but not terribly so.

I connect directly to the router for best performance and have a 25Mb line. Cable, Roku and PS3 for BluRay (which I have never played a game!) are my main sources. The Roku stays for HBO. Looks like HBO will be here soon, at least Smart TV is advertising the currently unavailable GoT. And I can’t comment on it’s WiFi connectivity.

Initially Netflix wouldn’t work and it appeared to have a problem downloading the latest firmware. However, it did download it and I updated my Netflix subscription to the (limited) UHD service. The fact being that Daredevil, House of Cards and Breaking Bad, plus Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (which I own on BluRay) will keep me occupied for the next few months. It’s takes about 5-6 seconds to load the app.

The interface is nice, I like that I can see detail without having to click on the item highlighted, unlike the Roku! The Amazon interface is nice too.
The ‘Your content’ app, my stuff is stored on a NAS, didn’t stream well at all. I kept getting pauses and then it moaned at my network connection. Never have that issue with my iPad. I’m going to store my content on a USB drive and connect directly. Which I intended to anyway!

I sit about 9 feet from the screen and I can easily say I have no issues with the picture quality: it’s excellent and all content looks better than on my previous TV, though that might be the improvements made since 6 years ago. The App streaming quality is excellent and I’ve experienced no delays or stuttering when viewing Netflix or Amazon UHD.

Lucy: BluRay/PS3 (sort of fun but absurd movie). Mr Freeman’s skin tone was near perfect.
Gravity: BluRay/PS3 Earth looked fantastic
Interstellar: BluRay/PS3 It looks great and the IMAX scenes are well… Stellar, Blacks are black! The space scenes are the best ever put in a movie!
Crouching Tiger: Netflix UHD and BluRay. UFD looks pretty similar to BluRay content, lovely detail and color.
Priscilla Queen of the Desert (excellent and fun Aussie Movie) HD: Amazon Streaming looked good, slight soft, good detail and color.
Good UHD on YouTube is hard to find, mostly static images or badly filmed. There is, however, no doubting the quality of the image though. Some of the TV maker demos are good, but a (good) movie trailer would be nice.

Please note: Netflix suddenly stopped working. In the end I did a hard stop/start and that seemed to solve the problem, for now! I think that if Netflix App is not fully unloaded when switching apps this may sometimes cause a problem.

So in conclusion: I like the TV; a lot. Stunning picture with UHD material. Great detail on lesser material, good features and, excepting note above and the Your Content App, streaming on Netflix and Amazon is very good, better than my much used Roku. However, there’s not much content worth watching, or it’s expensive if buying on Amazon, and given the quality of streaming you’d be better off buying a BluRay player and getting the cheaper disks, but it’s nice to have at least BluRay quality for streaming, and it looks like the latest exclusives from Amazon and Netflix are 4k. So there’s stuff there I want to watch.

And finally, of dear my cable TV HD now looks a little dull!


Rockwell RK3441K Compact Circular Saw Kit Reviews


  • Compact Size for excellent maneuverability, portability and control
  • Smaller, thinner blade for less tool strain, resulting in full-size circular saw cutting speed and performance
  • Easy set depth-gauge lever for quick setup and cutting adjustments
  • Quick and easy cut depth adjustments up to 2-Inch
  • 4-1/2-inch blade, 5-Amp and weighs less than 5 pounds

Product Reviews

“Easy to handle, plenty of power” – David Markun
Score: 5/5 Source:

This review is for Rockwell RK3441K Compact Circular Saw Kit .
I really like this saw. Because of the smaller blade and light weight It’s much easier to handle than a traditional circular saw. It seems to be well made and there is plenty of power. A three year warranty seems quite bold for a ten year old company making tools in China selling at low prices, this tells me that they are serious about making high quality tools. (To get a three year warranty you must register your saw, otherwise, it’s a two year warranty.)

Yes, this is a ten year old company. It’s not the same legendary Rockwell from Jackson, Tennessee which produced fine professional tools in the 60s and 70s. This new company purchased the Rockwell name and is manufacturing a new line of tools in China. I own several of the original, older Rockwells (or Porter Cable) and, to me, it looks like the new Rockwell has done a good job capturing the style and quality of their progenitor. But it is hard to evaluate things like brushes and bearings and switches in a new product. I wonder if I’ll still be using this saw in thirty years along side the older tools which last a lifetime.

I had good results cutting 1/2 inch and 1 inch plywood, and 1-1/2 inch oak (two pieces of 3/4 oak flooring cut together) was no problem. The dust collection port works well but the supplied adapter didn’t really fit any of the various hoses and adapters I have around. I ended up using duct tape. One thing I noticed when using a long, straight-edge cutting guide on plywood, the cuts weren’t quite as true as they are when I cut with my 7-1/2 inch circular saw. The long cuts with the small saw were acceptable but not excellent. I find this a fair tradeoff for the ease of handling and versatility the little saw provides. I expect the small, thin carbide tipped blade will wear out much sooner than we are used to with the large saws. But this, too, is a fair tradeoff and the blades are easy to find for ten dollars. It’s amusing Rockwell calls this a “kit” when all that’s included is a small edge guide and vacuum attachment. Thankfully, they didn’t throw in one of those cheesy, useless bags that get instantly tossed. Instead, they include a Velcro cord wrap that is actually useful.

I’ve read several negative reviews about the saw on various websites mainly complaining about the wobbly shoe assembly (more on this later). Yes, this is definitely a flaw in this model. I guess it’s understandable. Because of the immense pressure to produce high quality at low prices, something has to give way and designers shave assembly costs wherever they can. Where else have they cut that I can’t see? It is sad though because I would have paid thirty dollars more for a bit more quality, but perhaps most people don’t think like that.

I was originally going to rate it 4 stars because of the shoe assembly looseness but I decided on 5 stars for the following reasons.
1. The three year warranty is quite good. Plus, Rockwell has a 30 day Satisfaction Guarantee.
2. There is nothing like it on the market except for battery models (the older Porter Cable trim saw is no longer being produced, and the Makita 5-1/2 inch saw costs over twice as much).
3. The power and quality are very good for a saw at this price.
4. I was able to modify the shoe assembly so the saw works now like a 5 star model.

The flaw in the shoe assembly is in the loose fitting attachment points. There is a pin at the front and a rivet at the back. Both are quite sloppy so the shoe wiggles a little when cutting. I replaced both attachments with screws and the shoe is now very solid so cutting has become a pleasure. I have details about this modification on my blog, if you would like to read more, search for “DIY: Shoe Modification for Rockwell Compact Circular Saw”.

“Great saw for smaller jobs…earned a spot in my inner circle of tools.” – carefulShopper
Score: 5/5 Source:

I’ve used a larger 7 1/2 inch Dewalt circular saw for years. But now it’s getting cobwebs because of this Rockwell RK3441K compact saw. This compacts saw is so darn handy, lays easily in my tool bag, is more convenient than my larger traditional circular saw to tot around that it’s becoming my go-to saw for small to intermediate cuts in wood and metal.

It has a nice /precise /quality rip fence and angle cut feature and the knobs are quick and secure to set any angle cut. I particularly love the blade being on the left side of the drive. This dramatically increased my vision over the cut so it’s safer, more accurate, user friendly and better results.

My hands are average size (size 8-9 glove size Large) and I find the grip size /surface & design easy to hold on to and user friendly. For small hands this might be a challenge. The trigger pull is less complicated that other saws this size with makes this model Rockwell easier to operate and control while cutting than all other saws this size…in my opinion.

The blade turns as a slower RPM than my full size Dewalt, but if you slow down your feed this saw handles anything I throw it’s way giving a clean crisp cut and does not bog down. For big tough jobs simply use a bigger saw. The blade I found Best for all around cuts in wood /metal /longevity was a Freud D0436X Diablo 4-3/8-Inch 36 Tooth ATB Cordless Trim Saw Blade that I’ve used with no issues at all.

I am not easy to impress, but this compact medium duty Rockwell has earned its way into my inner circle of tools. I am Very pleased with the quality features, portability and durability of this handy saw. Recommend this without reservations and consider the hundred dollar cost a fair value.

Have used this Rockwell saw for several months now and and it’s still rock solid. No issues at all. The adjustable guide fence is real handy,…quick and secure adjustment lever,…easy to make quick /secure fence adjustments.

I’ve also used this saw in unconventional situations where I had to remove material from wood in such a way I was able to turn the saw over, expose the blade and carefully angle the wood into the blade to free-hand & create a router type effect. It was the only way to finish a particular cut and this saw has the flexibility to help. Never know what you’ll run into during a project and glad this saw has extra flexibility to adapt. Continues to earn my unqualified recommendation!

“LOVE!” – Brandon111 “tech junkie”
Score: 5/5 Source:

I don’t just love it, I LOVE IT! Anytime I get my own power tools at home, they disappear to my husband’s shop. That wasn’t a problem when we lived next door to his shop, but we moved to live next door to my parents and now when things disappear, I’d have to drive 14 miles to reclaim them. Then there’s also the rigamarole of “that’s not yours, that’s mine” because everything is the same brand… which is any brand carried at big box hardware stores. Enter Rockwell. Well made, affordable, and a brand to which my husband doesn’t have access at the local big box. I particularly like the size of this saw as my main cutting is 2″ depth or less (I don’t need the big bladed saws). This Rockwell suited me over the other Rockwell that Amazon offers, not just because this one is cheaper but because the other one (I forget the model, but the fancier infomercial one with the laser) doesn’t cut as deep of wood as this one. This saw is a bit heavy for a girl with normal sized girl hands, but I got used to it quickly enough. It is a bit of a stretch (pain in the tookus) to reach with my right thumb to push the safety whilst also pulling the power trigger with my right pointy finger (forefinger?), but it’s not impossible and not worth deducting a star.
“Outstanding Saw” – Lew
Score: 5/5 Source:

I was looking for a circular saw that was considerably smaller than my full-sized saw, to get into spots the big saw couldn’t. This saw fits the bill perfectly. It is incredibly easy to adjust and easy to operate one-handed. But I’m not a big fan of the lock location. It’s difficult for me to reach when using my left hand on the saw.
“Trigger lock release is to hard to reach using saw one-handed. Very awkward and uncomfortable.” – Butch W
Score: 2/5 Source:

I bought this saw instead of the the 3440 model because of the larger blade. Now I’m wishing I had bought the 3440. Although it cuts well enough I find the grip to be awkward and not comfortable at all. For a right handed person with average size hands the trigger lock release – mounted very low on the left side – is nearly impossible to reach with the thumb while pulling the trigger and still maintaining a tight grip on the saw. More often than not I find myself having to use my other hand to release the trigger lock so I can keep a firm grip on the saw. That means I have start the saw holding it off of the material I’m cutting. For that reason, I would not call this a “one-handed saw.” I believe left handed people will find the trigger lock release in an awkward position as well. For many people, trying to use the saw one-handed will create an unsafe condition. Unless I can find a way to modify this trigger lock release I intend to get rid of the saw. On another note, I am disappointed in Amazon for listing this as a “kit.” I’ll accept responsibility for not checking first, but with every other seller who markets these saws as “kits” the deal includes three saw blades and a tote bag. A minor complaint maybe, but I think the description in the header is misleading and Amazon could do better toward it’s customers.
“If the shoe quality/design was better so as to lessen the slop” – Tom
Score: 4/5 Source:

The on/off button is hard to press as indicated on other reviews and the shoe needs to be better quality controlled. Hole for mounting the shoe to body was oversized and retained by a split pin. Not the most accurate way to design and produce a quality product. It does have plenty of power. If you make a special washer, you can attach a 4.5 inch tile/concrete diamond blade. I used it to cut quartz countertops and it had plenty of power. With the carbide blade, it can cut 2x4s and other materials.

If it came with the washers to adapt other blades, or had a standard arbor size so I didnt have to adapt it, I would have given it an additional star. If the shoe quality/design was better so as to lessen the slop, I would also give it another star. Lastly, if the on/off button was easier to grasp, this would be the perfect portable saw….Hope Rockwell will take into consideration these comments. I’m giving it only 3 stars of 5 because I really don’t think it is a 2 star product, but those are 3 items to improve.

I use to travel to china and test power tools for Portacable, Sears, Makita, etc. I just notice they came out with a concrete tile blade, so I will up my rating, but wish they kept to a standard arbor hole size.

Test Engineer

“Rockwell RK3441K Saw Kit” – Video Buster
Score: 5/5 Source:

I previously used a regular 7 1/4″ circular saw for remodeling or new projects. Now I use this saw most of the time. It cuts easily and is lighter. The only dislike I have about the saw is the location of the safety button you have to press to pull the trigger. Took some time getting it to work. Otherwise, it is a great little saw that I wish I had available sooner.
“disgusted and disappointed” – David A. Januszewski “dwm”
Score: 1/5 Source:

after using this saw for a few months, I find it to be totally inadequate for any sawing task… I bought this to cut 3/4 plywood, to date it can’t follow a straight-edge, there is way too much flex in the shoe and its connecting brackets/hardware…. Wandering to and fro, even loses the 90 degree setting as it flexes…. the blade is too thin and wants to follow the grain of regular lumber… as you can see, I’m disgusted with this product, I have spent more time correcting faults than actually cutting plywood…. this is money poorly spent on a tool that can be engineered and built better, the idea is sound, but the execution is woefully lacking… I could never recommend this tool to anyone…
“Handy, handy, handy.” – Tangerine
Score: 4/5 Source:

This 4.5 inch circular saw is quick and effortless to use compared to a reciprocating saw and leaves a cleaner cut.
Quieter and lighter than a 7.5 circular saw and easy to handle with one hand.
For renovating and detail work it’s the cat’s meow.
I disabled the aggravating trigger lock since I’m capable of handling the tool safely without it. Still, I may fashion some sort of trigger guard which is what it should have been equipped with in the first place.
“Everything I needed.” – John K. Lee
Score: 5/5 Source:

I purchased this along with a number of other tools to lay in a floor in my attic. I found myself using this tool before anything else if I need to cut anything and the job is almost completed. I could have made do with other tools but having this one made my life a lot easier. It did everything as advertised.


URBAN ARMOR GEAR Case for Microsoft Surface Pro 3, Black Reviews

  • Fits Microsoft Surface Pro 3
  • Compatible With Microsoft Type Cover Keyboard.
  • Feather light Composite Construction and Impact-resistant Soft Core
  • 5-position adjustable aluminum stand
  • Air Vents Keep Things Cool
  • Easy Access To Touchscreen & Ports
  • Frog skin Water-resistant Grip Material
  • Meets military drop-test standards (MIL STD 810G 516.6) when used with Microsoft Type Cover keyboard

Product Reviews

“If Urban Armor and Spiderman teamed up, this is what you would get!” – Jesse San Nicolas™ “Super Saiyan Geek”
Score: 5/5 Source:

This is what happen’s when you merge Spiderman’s suit with Urban Armor. You get the most solid, robust case the world has ever seen. Seriously, this is the best looking case I have ever seen for any device in my entire life. I’m not kidding. If the red case is Spidey’s suit, then it’s safe to say the black case is the Venom version!

And here are the answer to your questions! How nice of me right?

1. YES….. it works with the type cover keyboard on. Actually, it’s like a match made in heaven.

2. YES….. you can fold back the type cover keyboard write on the SP3 like a notebook. It actually feels even more comfortable with the Urban Armor Gear case on and keyboard folded behind it.

3. YES….. the 5 angles are almost perfect and cover almost the whole spectrum of the SP3’s kickstand. The SP3’s 5 viewing angles are roughly (eyeballing it) 80 degrees, 70 degrees, 60 degrees, 50 degrees, and 40 degrees.

4. YES….. the material they used is of another world… or at least of a supreme quality in my opinion. The kickstand is actually made of METAL.

5. YES….. it will will protect your SP3 from a nasty drop… At least it seems like it will. Sadly, I don’t plan on testing this feature out, at least not on purpose.

6. YES….. you have access to all ports (minus the microSD slot), and the cutouts seems perfect. They even cut slots all around the case for fan ventilation.

7. YES….. It makes the SP3 heavier, and it is noticeable, but that is the nature of the beast. I measured it weighing in at 14oz. Here are the exact weights that I weighed myself using a scale:

SP3 Naked – 1.12lbs
SP3 w/ Type Cover and Pen – 2.7lbs
SP3 w/ TC/Pen and UAG Case – 3.5lbs

Ok now that those questions are out of the way, here is my take on the case:

I LOVE IT. POINT. BLANK. PERIOD…. Enough said right? Just kidding. Enough rambling, I will let my pictures I took do the talking for you

Lastly, would I buy it again is always the real question right? My answer is a huge, enormous, astounding YES. YES… and YES again!

I would even pay the full MSRP asking price, over and over again, like that Nelly and Tim McGraw song! And I did, because I purchased it directly from Urban Armor, which is how I was able to make this review.

After all that you would have thought I bought this case for my SP3 right? WRONG! I actually bought it for my fiancee, since her favorite color is red, and she already had the red type cover, and is prone to dropping stuff, like expensive phones (cracked Galaxy Note 2) and laptops (Red Alienware m14x).

Since receiving this case, I have already placed another order via Amazon for the black version, for myself of course. I’m a big Spiderman fan, but even bigger Venom fan!

“Great Case!” – G. Willikers
Score: 5/5 Source:

What a fantastic case! My office recently began the process of migrating certain groups to the Surface Pro 3, and getting this UAG accessory has given everyone else a case of case envy. It has a rugged, yet stylish, appearance and, although I have not tested it, it’s good to know I can take the laptop everywhere it needs to be without concern for its safety. The rubber edges are especially nice as the SP3 can be disturbingly slick.
One concern I had after reviewing the photos on the Amazon site was that the magnetic keyboard had to lay flat on the table when the case was installed. I’m happy to report that the keyboard easily shifts and locks into the inclined position just as it does without a case.A small detail the designers took into account was the need to better hold the keyboard in place when folded up. The computer holds the keyboard flat magnetically, but even moderate handling can cause it to open unexpectedly. UAG included a tiny bungee cord in the upper corner to better fasten the unit.
Well done UAG, indeed!

“Excellent product, very happy with my purchase. check out my video review of it. […]” – michael akers
Score: 5/5 Source:

I have had this case for about 2 weeks now and love it. It is the best and only case I could find for my surface Pro 3. If you want to see how it fits and looks check out my video review. […]

“YouTube Channel Viewers’ Q & A concering UAG’s SP3 Case” – Tinfoot
Score: 5/5 Source:

When it comes to protecting my tech toys, especially expensive ones, from my small herd of sometimes crazed cat-ninjas, UAG has demonstrated to me in the past as one to rely on. This case for the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 continues to do so.

**Questions asked by a YouTube channel viewers**

“Will this case work with the Docking Station?”

Very good question. Not having the docking station myself (perhaps down the line when the price drops a bit), I did look around for extremely specific dimension specs.

The case itself adds 3.5mm thickness, using a digital caliper, to the sides (they are slightly inset from the corner ribs) and have all ports open, including the charging port. I never did find the specific dimensions I needed, the width of “play” the sides/back of the docking port would allow, but the very significant rear padding of this case would likely put the charging port out of reach. I had to use my slide rule caliper as it was the only one that would fit through the top cutout for measuring the back; it measures at 9mm of thickness, including the back ribbing. So no, I do not think this case would work at all with the Microsoft Docking station.

UPDATE 23Oct14 – Thanks again to Stamatos for giving feedback and confirming: No, the MS Docking Station will NOT work with this case. Simply too snug of a fit.

“Working the kickstand?”

The kickstand is adjustable. However, I initially thought it wasn’t… simply because it take a bit of extra effort to click the stand into the various positions. More effort than I was initially used to, more effort that I was initially prepared to experiment with. But it IS adjustable (and kind of loud – LOL)! The keyboard does work at the raised angle.

“Can I flip the cover around the back?”

There isn’t a front cover integrated with this case as it is designed to be joined with the keyboard cover. Once again, although I hadn’t realized it at the time of choosing, I find this an aspect I hadn’t considered in terms of the keyboard anyways, so it’s actually a boon. Plus UAG added in a small bungee corner strap to keep the keyboard in its closed position (nice!).

The keyboard cover can flip all the way around the back of the case so you can use your SP3 as a tablet. (Thanks to Chuck for asking and Stamatos for answering!)

I do love the feel and color contrast of the red/black, and this case is lighter than even I anticipated (I weighed it at 14 ounces) even with a metal kickstand, being about the same weight as a much smaller casing I use for my Samsung Tab 3. Another design choice that I haven’t seen in other cases are the heat-vent holes around the edges, and I am a bit surprised UAG doesn’t mention this in their product description.

All in all, I look forward to when my Surface Pro 3 finally gets to me from it’s continual back-order purgatory, and I can place it in this UAG case, confident that it will be protected from Matrix-Flipping cats. 🙂

— I received this as a complimentary review product with the aim of hopefully elucidating features and drawbacks that may help you ultimately decide what fits your needs and budget best.

“Surface Pro 3 (SP3) screens are thin & fragile, this is a must have!!!” – TechRep78
Score: 5/5 Source:

Bought this after the screen cracked on my SP3. Buy a warranty when you get this tablet people!!! The glass is razor thin to save on weight!! I was scared even pushing my new SP3 into this case because of how snug it was, but I felt a lot better after getting it installed. I thought I wouldn’t like the stand as much as I do because it is smaller, but it does a good job. If you use it on your lap a lot you may miss the stability the wider SP3 stock kickstand provides. This is actually one of the nicest cases I have ever owned for a tablet. For the price I was expecting something of a lesser quality, but I would say it is the best choice after using it.
“Industrial protection, may not be for people just looking to basic protection” – Stephen Lerch
Score: 5/5 Source:

Before you buy this for your Surface Pro 3, you need to decide a couple of things.

First, are you willing to deal with the extra weight? If you don’t want to add what feels like 1/2 a pound to your SP3, don’t buy this.

Second, are you willing to lose the endlessly angled SP3 kick stand for something not nearly as nicely engineered? It does offer all of the best angles, or at least all of the angles I tend to use, but it’s not as smooth a motion to put in place and it is LOUD. It makes a lot of noise when you deploy the kickstand on the UAG case.

Third, if you want to use this without the type cover keyboard, you will be lacking a bit of protection given the large cut out in the front of the case for the keyboard.

So why would someone buy this? For me, it really only makes sense if you travel a lot or want to put this into an industrial style use. Not everyone needs MIL STD drop test protection. It really is quite hardcore in the amount of protection it is offering. And I have to be honest, I am taking UAG’s word here. I have not, and will not, do a real MIL STD style drop test on MY Surface Pro 3. This is my life blood and I don’t want to be without it. In this, I am a pansy.

In terms of protection, the corners are robustly covered, the vent holes on the SP3 are open, and the charging port is simple and easy to get at. The power button, volume buttons, miniHDMI, front and read cameras, and USB port are wide, wide open. Charging definitely works, plugging a display cable in works, and my USB drive works perfectly. I can no longer easily get to my MicroSD slot though. That’s fine for me though, as I really just use it as a second permanent drive in my system.

The keyboard seems to be expected to be on the SP3, otherwise there is a large cut out of the front of the case. In all honesty there will be people who complain about this, as they may just want to use the SP3 as a tablet. This case will NOT be for you as there will be some missing protection.

The keyboard also still easily and quickly attaches/detaches and also sticks to the Surface with the magnet as you expect.

In the end, don’t buy this if you don’t want a bit of Otter Box oddness to go with your SP3. Only buy this if you really, really want the protection.

Five stars because it’s a great option to have, especially for industrial style use. For normal users that just want elementary levels of protection, I’d say this is more like 3 stars.

Sample provided for review purposes by UAG.

“The case is great. They type cover is able to be used …” – Matthew B.
Score: 5/5 Source:

The case is great. They type cover is able to be used in the raised position, extending the kickstand allows Surface to be used in portrait mode, the clicking of the stand becomes less annoying every time I use it. Simply a great case worth every penny. As others may have said, the first few times you install it, it is a bit rough to get all corners on but after a few times it gets easier as the material gets broken in a bit. Very satisfied with this!
“Flexibility defended: Easy to take off actually” – Lam
Score: 5/5 Source:

A robust yet flexible gear for Surface Pro 3. Robust — no need to add any words. A widely recognized fact. Flexible? Many people fail to see that, and complain it’s hard to install and, more important, uninstall and make it hard for them to use the docking system. The fact is, You can install it and take it off in seconds if you do it the right way. For me, I just slide the Surface in to the right-hand side of the case first, which will take care of the upper and lower right corners. Then use your nimble fingers press the Surface into the upper and then the lower left corners. Though those rubber corners are hard and sturdy, the surrounding area of each corner is actually flexible and will yield when you slowly press the Surface into it. Press against the two sides of each corner and your machine will snap in. It won’t harm or scratch your device. Reverse the procedure to take the case off. It’s just that easy.

I saw someone complain that his screen protector was displaced by the gear case. That only means the protector is not that secured. I recommend the Invisibleshield Glass. It really stays once getting on the Surface. It works perfectly with this case.

To many people, including me, the only downside is this case sacrifices the original kickstand — one major selling point of the device. If this is a deal breaker for you, you should buy the Moko case instead, the only one as I know that genuinely allows you to use the kickstand, although far more flimsy and not as stylish. Yet UAG makes a not bad compensation for the loss of the kickstand. The metallic stand that comes with the case has 4 adjustable nice angles and is of very high quality. It is a stand far more flexible than other average cases you can find in the market, a second best stand I would say just next to the original kickstand. If superb protection (plus great look) with outstanding flexibility is what you need, this is the one you should use.

“Screen cracked from an 18 inch fall. UAG says too bad.” – Jeff R.
Score: 1/5 Source:

The UAG case is great looking. Seemed tough. Until it needed to be. Bought it with my SP3 and thought I was protected. Then last week my SP3 fell 18 inches. Not very far. But instead of being saved by a supposedly Military Grade Spec case, my screen cracked. The touchscreen no longer works with touch. The crack is there and UAG refuses to back up their claims. Here is their response:

“Thank you for contacting us. We are sorry to hear of the issues you are experiencing. Urban Armor Gear Cases are approved by Met Laboratories, Inc., a NEBS Certified testing laboratory. This testing confirms devices protected by UAG cases are compliant with MIL-STD-810G 516.6. To achieve this certification, a device must be dropped from a height of 48 inches, on each face, corner, and back. The device is dropped a total of 26 times and must function properly after the test, while not sustaining any damage to the touch screen or buttons.
While our case is drop tested there are many factors that play a part in protecting a phone, especially the screen that are beyond our control. Should the screen become impacted directly unfortunately the case does not have an opportunity to fulfill its job in protecting the device. This is only one of the many scenarios where the case would not be able to protect the device. Because of these outside factors that are outside of our control unfortunately we do not cover the devices themselves in our warranty. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. ”

Don’t rely on the hype. When it comes down to it, if it won’t save the screen from a basic 18 inch fall, what good is it. The SP3 fell flat. Nothing was there to hit the screen. It just hit the flat floor. And now I need to have the screen replaced. And since I purchased the case at Microsoft, UAG will not take it back. So I have a worthless case and a broken screen. UAG will not stand behind their product. Lots of lame excuses, but no action and no substance. I would say that while the case is designed to look tough, and it does look tough, it will NOT protect your screen in a fall as short as 18 inches. I am very disappointed and very mad. WIll not be buying any UAG products in the future.

“Better than I expected…” – DRich57
Score: 5/5 Source:

Very well made product. Pleasantly surprised that it accommodates the Pro 3’s keyboard with regard to the crease which allows the keyboard to be at an angle – I was prepared to have to use it ‘flat’ as it is with the Pro 2. Also, all buttons and connection ports are accessible. The kickstand on the Pro 3 is covered, but replaced by one on the case itself, but it seems sturdy and has a range of motion that allows multiple angles. Venting does not look obstructed.

The case doesn’t make the device much more bulky, but it is slightly heavier – a trade-off I am willing to make for protection. This case isn’t waterproof, nor does it prevent dust/dirt as it is open in several places and the front of the Pro 3 is open, but it serves well to protect from bumps, short drops and the like. This case, along with a good screen cover (tempered glass perhaps) Should keep a device from most harm. There aren’t many choices for a protective case right now as the Pro 3 is relatively new, this one seems to be the best – in my opinion.

How to Increase Your Character’s Stats in GTA Online

With the PC version of Rockstar Games’s critically acclaimed Grand Theft Auto V, players new and experienced alike have jumped into the updated world of GTA Online to race, complete missions, rob banks, and interact with other players in the living, breathing city of Los Santos. While veterans of GTA Online can import their console accounts and continue causing mayhem, first time players are still learning the ropes and adjusting to the game’s mechanics.

One mechanic that seems to be surrounded by a lot of confusion is the character skill levels in GTA Online. The stats of Driving, Shooting, Strength, Stamina, Stealth, Flying, and Lung Capacity all play an important role in your character’s development, and raising these skill levels can enhance your character’s performance in online events.


So how exactly do you raise these skills? Simply put, you do activities related to the skill. To increase Stamina, players need to run. To increase Flying, you fly. All of the character skills will increase naturally as you play the game. The best way to level your skills is to simply enjoy the game and have it come naturally.


However, the best way of doing something isn’t always the fastest. GTA Online is designed to be a game that offers hundreds of hours of entertainment, and attempting to naturally increase your character’s skills can take quite some time. Luckily, there are strategies to speed up the process so you can enjoy the benefits of high skill levels early on in the game.


How to Increase Strength in GTA Online

Strength is the amount of damage your unarmed and melee attacks do. Additionally, with a higher Strength skill, players can climb ladders faster, increase performance in sport mini games such as Tennis and Golf, and reduce damage received.


  • Strength is increased by 1% for every 20 punches that inflict damage


A good way to level this skill fast is to either visit Grapeseed Farms and repeatedly punch cows or have a friend sit in a car while you punch it. In total, players must land 2,000 punches to completely max the Strength skill.


Players looking to naturally increase their Strength skill can play sport mini-games and use physical combat during gameplay.


How to Increase Stamina in GTA Online

Stamina is the ability to run, jump, and swim without stopping to catch your breath. Players who have a low Stamina skill may find their characters running slow due to fatigue and possibly losing health due to overexertion. Maxing out this skill will allow the player to sprint, swim, and cycle indefinitely.


  • Stamina is increased by 1% for every 17 yards your character runs or cycles
  • Stamina is increased by 1% for every minute your character swims


The fastest way to level your Stamina skill is to buy a cheap bicycle on the internet and ride it around town, as players move faster when on bikes and therefore can cover more ground faster. Maxing this skill requires you to cover 1,700 yards or about 5,100 feet.


How to Increase Stealth in GTA Online

Stealth is a very handy skill to master, as it allows you to remain invisible on the minimap during deathmatch and other game moves. While in stealth mode, players can also perform takedowns on other players.


  • Stealth is increased by 1% for every 40 yards the player sneaks
  • Stealth is increased by 1.5% for every successful stealth takedown performed


The fastest way to level this skill is to hook a rubber band up to a controller and allow your character to sneak in a circle whilst you do something else.


How to Increase Flying in GTA Online

The Flying skill allows you to pilot aircraft more effectively. A high level Flying skill will make it easier to land and takeoff, manage turbulence, and performing maneuvers in the air.


  • Flying is increased by 1% for every 10 minutes that you pilot an aircraft
  • Flying is increased by 1% for every bridge you fly under
  • Flying is increased by 3-5% for every gold medal earned in Flight School


The fastest way to increase your Flying skill is to play the Flight School missions and aim for gold medals. These missions will give you an initial boost in the Flying skill. From there, simply fly your aircraft under bridges repeatedly until you max it out.


How to Increase Shooting in GTA Online

The Shooting skill aids the handling of all firearms, essentially making them more accurate. Players who max out the Shooting skill can expect a considerable increase in gun accuracy. The skill has no bearing on reload speed.


  • Shooting is increased through inflicting damage with guns
  • Shooting is increased through inflicting headshots
  • Shooting is increased by 3/2/1% for every gold/silver/bronze medal earned from Shooting Range Challenges.


The fastest way to increase your Shooting skill is to invite a friend to the Ammu-Nation Shooting Range and repeatedly play the challenges. This must be done with another player, as playing the Shooting Range by yourself does not reward a skill increase.


How to Increase Driving in GTA Online

The Driving skill affects car and motorcycle handling, as well as handling of airborne cars. Players with a maxed out Driving skill can expect an easier time handling vehicles at high speeds.


  • Driving is increased by 1% for every second your vehicle is airborne
  • Driving is increased by 2-3% for every stunt jump completed.
  • Driving is increased for driving vehicles without colliding with other objects
  • Driving is increased for driving in oncoming traffic without colliding with other objects


The fastest way to level the Driving skill is to complete all 50 stunt jumps. In addition to the skill increase rewarded for completing the stunt, you will also gain a skill increase for every second your car is airborne.


How to Increase Lung Capacity in GTA Online

The Lung Capacity skill affects how long your character can remain underwater before he begins to lose health.


  • Lung Capacity is increased 1% for every minute spent underwater
  • Lung Capacity is increased for practicing yoga (mini-game)
  • Lung Capacity is increased for diving


There is no preferable way to level this skill. Due to the limited activities in which this skill gains experience, the only real way to level up your Lung Capacity is to swim underwater and practice yoga.


How to Increase Max Health in GTA Online

While not directly listed as a skill, you can increase your character’s maximum health level as you level up. Max health increases by 20 points every 20 levels, requiring players to take part in the various activities around Los Santos.

LaCie Porsche Design P’9220 1 TB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive 302000 Reviews

  • USB 3.0 interface for rapid photo, video and audio file exchange and transfer
  • 3mm of strong aluminum casing to protect your data
  • Includes Wuala online storage and LaCie Private-Public software to protect your data
  • Features eco-mode to lower your drives power consumption by up to 40% when not in use
  • 1 TB storage capacity
  • USB 3.0 interface for rapid photo, video and audio file exchange and transfer
  • 3mm of strong aluminum casing to protect your data
  • Includes Wuala online storage and LaCie Private-Public software to protect your data
  • Features eco-mode to lower your drives power consumption by up to 40% when not in use
  • 1 TB storage capacity

Product Reviews

“Good But Has its Weak Points” – GLerner
Score: 4/5 Source:

This hard drive is definitely eye candy. It goes perfectly with the aluminum design of the Mac book Pro. It is small, holds a lot, and is relatively fast good enough for gaming. Don’t expect the rubber feet that comes with it to last a week, they are rubbish. The usb seems loose, and sometimes I will move the hard drive and it will become disconnected with the computer. This is quite annoying when you are working on something or playing a game. If you havent saved, you’ve lost everything you were doing. I would, however definitely recommend this hard drive to fellow Mac users. It looks stunning, its worth the price, but the connection is iffy.
“Best portable hard drive I have ever seen!” – 5.0 Engine
Score: 5/5 Source:

This LaCie Porche hard drive is perfection in any way one could measure.

The design is just a work of art, no other way to describe it. It has an elegant brushed aluminum exoskeleton, with edges that come to crisp points, and sharp corners.

You connect to your old USB 2.0 or the newer 3.0, and the drive spins up, except you can’t hear or feel it. I was so vibration free, and quiet I couldn’t even tell it was running, but it was, and it was blistering fast. I am not kidding here, the drive I received had ZERO vibration, and no noise, and I have never seen that in any mechanical hard drive in the 25 years I have been using them. It was almost as if it was an SSD.

On usb 2.0 on a decent Dell tower I got 33MB/sec read, and somewhat less on write. (write has to read too, which is slower for any drive). I did not have an usb 3.0 to test it on.

Drive comes formatted in NTFS, and a number of software programs.

It comes with a USB 3.0 cable, but you could use a cell phone type usb 2.0 cable (the one with the really small connector), and just connect it to the small half of the USB 3.0 socket on the drive. It will work fine.

I had no problem using the drive without any additional power source. It worked on ONE usb port. The drive ran so cool, that I could not imagine it taking too much power.

I did not use the software it came with. If you want encryption software I strongly recommend trucrypt, and use a very long password or keyfile.

Again, this drive is a work of art. LaCie you did well!

I have recently bought other portable hard drives bought from Toshiba and Western Digital both of which vibrated, made noise, and felt and looked cheap. The WD failed, and with the Toshiba 1TB is running like a weak back vibrator. It won’t last either. I am now considering buying another LaCie Porche.

“Excellent product; compact and well-designed” – Ken
Score: 5/5 Source:

After several years, my old exterior hard drive which I used for backing up my MacBook failed completely. It was until then very dependable, and (I thought) very compact and tidy (although it had a firewire connection and needed its own power source). So, I looked around and found this and decided to give it a try. My opinion is that it’s very good.

It is extremely compact and very good looking. It attaches to the MacBook using a USB 3 cable. My MacBook is not USB 3 enabled, but not a problem, inasmuch as the drive works very handily with USB 2 as well. The setup takes about 5 seconds: plug the USB port into the MacBook, plug the other, dedicated USB 3 end, to the Drive, and click. I had 58 gigs worth of data to transfer and it took a little less than an hour using Time Machine on the Mac. Since then, updates take about 30 seconds each. Works with Windows too, apparently.

Verdict? I’m going to buy a second one to keep with me when I go to the office or travel.

“Great buy!” – mercks
Score: 5/5 Source:

I am very happy with this drive. The installation only took me a couple of minutes, I’ve also set up the automatic backup in literally no time. The drive is very easy to use. I like everything about this model, from the software interface to the solid aluminum enclosure, and AES-256 data encryption.
“Beautiful, quiet, fast” – Wunderschoen
Score: 4/5 Source:

I just got this drive as a replacement for my old backup drive (which, at 100 GB, was not nearly enough space). The previous drive was a LaCie as well and has lasted me 3-4 years with no problems, as has my LaCie flash drive. This drive, P9220, is beautiful and feels very heavy and well-made. It is absolutely silent and does not heat up at all if placed on a table. I was transferring files through a USB 2.0 connection (my laptop is about 3 years old and does not have a USB 3.0) and it took maybe 10 hours to transfer 260 GB of data. To me this seems very fast, considering the USB 2.0 connection. The drive worked wonderfully with my Mac and I had no problems with setup using the LaCie assistant or with setting it up as my Time Machine drive. I did set it up as a Mac-only drive, which lets me have more space and store larger files, but it is possible to set it up as a Mac/Windows-compatible drive or to make a partition and have both formats. I didn’t use any of the included software. If it stops working I will update this review, but since this isn’t going to be used continuously I doubt that will happen anytime soon.
“Lacie Porsche 1TB” – PrettyEddie
Score: 5/5 Source:

Let me start off by saying that aesthetically there is no comparison to this hard drive. It’s quiet, it’s fast and it’s reliable. Even if you don”t have a USB 3.0 connection, this thing blows the competition away. I opted to buy the 1TB due to the minimal price difference. And as a tip, if you’ve got this drive connected, make sure you don’t leave it in the case or pouch you buy while connected. Since it’s all aluminum, it can get rather warm quickly.
“WD WD10TPVT 1TB drive inside” – munna
Score: 5/5 Source:

If apple made external hard drives, this is how it would look. 5 stars for design. This mounts as a 1TB Western Digital WD10TPVT drive when connected to the computer.
“Great Design & Storage Capacity” – Tek9
Score: 5/5 Source:

I’ve been storing our family digital images since 2002. Back then our bulk of pictures were still taken with a film SLR camera & only about 30% of them were taken with our first 2.1mp point & shoot. Not that big of a deal with storage problems on a PC. Fast forward 10 yrs and we have two DSLR’s (21mp & 18mp), three point & shoot (14mp – kids), two smart phones (12mp & 8mp) and two HD camcorders. With my shutter happy family this has resulted into about 80GB worth of media on a yearly basis, thus the increase for more storage.

I work in Information Technology (IT) for a living so redundancy is a habit of mine. I Have a 1TB Seagate Desktop HDD & recently purchased this Lacie 1TB Portable HDD as a backup for my backup(the seagate). I got tired of having my backups backup split on two separate 500GB Pocket Western Digital. This Lacie is heavier then the WD but it’s expected due to the extra platters added for the extra storage space. It’s also more convenient for me to just take one HDD drive with me than two 500GB. The construction of it is solid & not flaky like the plastic 500GB WD units I have. Transfer speeds are fast when using a compatible 3.0 USB connection. I love that I have the ability to have 10yrs of digital memories at arms reach where ever I go. If I want to show family & friends pics I just plug this baby right into my tablet or netbook.

Overall: Solid build. Great Design/flashy in my opinion (if you look at that kind of stuff). The enclosure is more rugged than the cheaper plastic Western Digital & Seagate models out there. Has USB 3.0. Plenty of storage space in a pocket size format. Uses USB 3.0 cable so make sure you don’t loose it, they’re not as easy to buy/find as your typical USB 2.0 to mini cable, then again, you can find anything on

“Awesome drive” – G.C.
Score: 5/5 Source:

This LaCie drive works and looks awesome. It runs quiet and fast, there’s lots of storage space. I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a quality portable drive.
“Beautiful” – Bi
Score: 5/5 Source:

Perfect design, and I think it’s not expensive if you see its design and function. It works well with any PC run XP, Vista, 7 and any Mac from Leopard.

RuggedTec RoqBloq Portable Bluetooth Speaker Outdoor Rugged Water Resistant Dust & Shock Proof (Black/Black) Reviews


  • IPX3 Water Resistant Rating – tightly built with a rubber gasket that protects the charging and AUX input ports.
  • Dust/Shock Resistant – RoqBloq is built tough and feels bullet proof when you hold it. It will withstand being knocked around and isn’t afraid of a little dirt.
  • 8 Hour Battery Life (1800 mAH Battery)
  • Built-in microphone allows for hands free calling. Receive calls right through the speaker!
  • Wireless Bluetooth or AUX Line-in Connections

Product Reviews

“Good audio with protection against shock and water spray” – J. Chambers
Score: 5/5 Source:

After checking out the RoqBloq, I’m impressed it as a water resistant portable speaker. I was very pleased with the audio quality, its ease of pairing with my tablet and phone, and its ruggedness.

By my own measurements, the RoqBloq is 6.2″x2.4″x1.9″, and weighs 12.2 ounces. As such, it’s small and lightweight enough to drop in a bag or backpack without weighing you down too much, and the smoothly rounded edges won’t poke holes in anything. I didn’t drop it or give it any hard knocks to test how shockproof it is, but it appears to be solidly made, and the silicone covering adds some cushioning to the frame.

The RoqBloq paired easily with my Kindle Fire HD 7″ tablet as device “Ruggedtec.” I used one of my playlists to check the audio quality, which was quite good for a speaker of this size. Also, the sound is true stereo from the two internal speakers separated by about 3½”. I used a couple of stereo setup MP3s to test the channel balance and separation, which was very good. For controlling the audio, the buttons on top of the unit control the volume, play/pause, next track, and previous track. The RoqBloq also plays when connected to an audio source by an audio cable, but the only control function that works in that mode is the play/pause button (other functions must be controlled from the source).

On the rear of the RoqBloq is a section that contains the 3.5mm audio jack and the charging port for the internal 1800mAh battery. The manufacturer claims up to 8 hours playing time on a fully charged battery. When the ports are not in use, they’re covered with a silicone flap to keep out splashing water.

Having seen and used the RoqBloq, I believe that it’s reasonably well protected against dust, vibration, shock, and splashing water. About water resistance, it’s only recently that I’ve learned about the International Protection Marking codes, also known as IP codes, which classify and rate the degree of protection provided against the intrusion of water by mechanical casings and electrical enclosures. The IPX3 rating for the RoqBloq is fairly low (IPX3), providing protection against spraying water for a limited time and volume of water.

The RoqBloq should not be used as a shower speaker or in any situation where it’s continuously exposed to splashing or spraying water. In damp, humid environments with occasional direct exposure to water, it should be water resistant enough to survive undamaged. It may also be a good choice for activities like boating where it may get splashed on but won’t be submerged.

A product sample was provided for review purposes.

“Nice unit but overpriced” – Stephen M. Charme
Score: 4/5 Source:

[3/20/14 Note: In response to my review below the company changed the product description from “waterproof” to “water resistant”. Therefore I upgraded my review from 2 stars to 4 stars].

I received this in black/red at no cost in exchange for writing a review. If you keep it away from water, it’s a nice sounding unit–though no better than other units that cost half the price. But calling this “waterproof” is a joke. Let me explain how this got a two star rating.

1. This comes in an expensive looking box, which makes this look nice as a gift, but not sound any better as speaker that costs half the price and comes packaged in a simple box. It comes with a micro USB charging cable and an audio cable for a direct connection–but so do less expensive speakers.

2. It was effortless to pair this with my iPhone 4S. For a speaker this size it was very powerful and the music sounded great–but again not better than speakers that cost half the price.

3. This is advertised as an “Outdoor Rugged Waterproof” speaker, which is presumably why it sells for twice the cost of a comparable speaker that is not geared specifically for the outdoors or is waterproof. I agree that it is ruggedly built with a protective rubber casing around the speaker. But it failed my waterproof test.

4. When somebody tells me that an electronic product is waterproof, I put it under running water in the sink or shower for 30 seconds to see how it works. Items that are truly waterproof pass the test with flying colors. This product failed, meaning that the 30 seconds of running water in my sink zapped it, so it no longer works at all–no bluetooth connection and no sound using an audio cord connected to my iPhone. It’s basically “fried”.

5. I was really surprised that my water test zapped this “Rugged Outdoor Waterproof Speaker”, but then something in the product description caught my attention: this is “IPX-3 Waterproof”. I had ignored the reference to “IPX-3” because I thought I knew what “waterproof” meant. However, I did some internet research and discovered that there are different degrees of “waterproof”. Sure, I knew that certain waterproof items can’t be submerged, but it turns out it’s a lot more complicated than submersible and non-submersible waterproof items.

6. There are 9 “IPX” waterproof ratings, with IPX-0 meaning no protection, with IPX-7 and 8 protecting against submersion and IPX-4, 5, and 6 protecting against splashing water from any angle, low pressure stream from any angle, and high pressure stream from any angle, respectively.

So what does IPX-3, which is what this product is rated, do? “Protect against spraying water when tilted up to 60 degrees vertically.” Huh? So you better make sure the water hits at just the right angle and is not too strong or this “Outdoor Rugged Waterproof” unit will be zapped.

7. Calling this “waterproof” may be technically correct because the company references the IPX-3 standard, but I think most consumers, like me, will be mislead into thinking this provides a lot more waterproof protection than it really does. In fact I had never heard of “IPX” designations before. Most companies just tell you whether or not you can submerse something. For this kind of deceptive marketing I deducted two stars.

Also, the rubber gasket on the back will keep out dirt and dust from getting in, but not water. Unlike the gaskets on truly water proof items, this provides no seal whatsoever against water.

8. Since this product isn’t really what most people consider waterproof, I deducted another star because without the waterproofing ability, it should not cost any more than comparable speakers selling for half the price.

Bottom line: This looks very nice, but is overpriced for an ordinary bluetooth speaker. In addition, to market this as waterproof without expressly disclosing this means you can’t even splash water on it (that requires an IPX-4 rating) is a joke, especially because the picture on Amazon shows this being used at the beach.

Update March 20, 2014: In response to my review the company emailed me that they had Amazon change the description of this product from “waterproof” to “water resistant.” Since the description is now accurate and not misleading, I am changing my initial 2 star rating to 4 stars. I am still deducting 1 star based on pricing (which the company also emailed that they lowered from $79.00 to $69.00 based on my review). I have brought non-water resistant bluetooth speakers to outdoor locations without any problems, just like I bring my non-water resistant Nexus 2013 tablet and iPad. They sound just as good but none sells for more than about $50 (see the ARCTIC S113BT NFC/Bluetooth 4.0 Stereo Speaker, AAC/aptX, Build-in Microphone for Hands-Free Calls, Black, which also has a protective rubber covering around it). The “water resistant” feature on this product is not worth an extra $20 to me, though perhaps it is to other people.

“Very distinctive look; great features and performance” – Comdet
Score: 5/5 Source:

I’m impressed with this bluetooth speaker. It’s clear some thought went into the design, both from the standpoint of aesthetics as well as functionality.

It looks great. The case is a rubberized material that provides excellent anti-skid properties. It holds fast even when it is on a tilted surface. The speaker grills are metal and have exposed fasteners (sort of mini bolts) that give it an industrial look. The grills are in front of a red colored backing which also adds to the overall look. In short, it looks and feels much better than the typical mini bluetooth speaker.

I’m also impressed with the packaging. Rather than the usual blister pack, it comes in a very nice box with foam padding and a magnetic-closing top. No, that doesn’t add anything to the product performance, but it does tell me that some thought and care went into the presentation of the device, which usually means care went into the building of the device.

The controls are simple and all located on the top. Just 4 buttons with a nice positive click to them. My only quibble with the controls is that the function icons (on/off, vol up/down, phone pickup, etc.) are molded into the buttons in a black-on-black situation. While that keeps the visual clutter down, I’m more of a fan of well-marked buttons. But, with only 4 buttons to keep track of, it’s not a significant problem.

Pairing was simple and straightforward with a couple of devices I tested it with (tablets and phones). It also has direct-connect ability with a 3.5mm cable.

The sound quality is quite good. As expected given the size, this is not a room-filling sound, but there’s a good amount of bass and pretty clear mid-range and treble. It does get a bit harsh at very high volumes, but at normal listening levels the sound quality was very good.

Although it is “rugged” it’s not a leave it out in the rain type of device. It’s ideal for taking along in a backpack since it’s built to deal with bumps and bruises. The rubber case and flap for the charge port/aux port keep it secure from incidental elements (dust, moisture, etc.) that you’d encounter outdoors. But, it’s not something you can dunk into the pool and have it survive.

I’m finding the battery life is a little better than the claimed level of 8 hours. It has a 1800mAh battery, which is pretty good for a device this size. Alas, the battery is not user-replaceable.

All in all, I think this is an excellent bluetooth speaker. Granted, you can spend less and get a speaker that sounds just as good as this. I’ve used several that sound great, but look really plain. I like speakers with a some visual style as well as a good sound. This fits that bill perfectly, plus has a better, more solid build quality than cheaper speakers.
[Sample provided for review]

“Decent sound from a water-resistant speaker” – Yarii “fifty shades of blonde”
Score: 4/5 Source:

*Resistant* is the key word here, not waterproof. I don’t think it would hurt the speaker to get an occasional sprinkle on it, but a sure-fire way to fry the speaker would be to accidentally drop it in water or leave it outdoors during a heavy thunderstorm – don’t do it! I love the soft rubbery feel of the speaker. Good build quality. Since it has a built-in mic, you can also place and receive calls from your cell phone. The sound is decent, but a little light on bass. The bluetooth connection beep is loud and obnoxious. [review sample]
“fm) would cut out for a couple micro seconds every few minutes which quickly became annoying. So i contacted the company” – mark manuel
Score: 2/5 Source:

My music stream ( would cut out for a couple micro seconds every few minutes which quickly became annoying. So i contacted the company. They asked if I was listening to the speaker via my wifi and I stated yes. Their suggestion to eliminate the music gap…wait for it…use cell data. Um no, returned.
“Great sound for the price” – Raymond
Score: 4/5 Source:

Took it to the beach for a true test. Great sound for the price. Does seem to have higher treble at higher volumes. The surf and crowd noise didn’t drown it out. The only reason I gave it four stars is because the charge light stays illuminated even after a full charge. I brought it to work and a few co-workers are ordering some.
“Good speaker!!” – Diego Chavez
Score: 5/5 Source:

Really good bass and sound quality, the only problem I have is that my devices (iPhone 4 and Kindle fire hd 8.9) have pretty crappy range, I only walk like 10 or less feet and it starts cutting off. This speaker feels good in your hand but tbh it looks smaller than what it looks like in the picture.
“… the boat on the 4th of July because I loved it. Awesome sound quality and I never had …” – sara demory
Score: 5/5 Source:

I wish this didn’t fall off the boat on the 4th of July because I loved it. Awesome sound quality and I never had any issues with connecting my phone. R.I.P. little buddy
“Great little boom box that sits on my desk at …” – John Smith
Score: 5/5 Source:

Great little boom box that sits on my desk at work. The speaker phone is a plus and works well.
Very nice sound for such a small box. I would recommend this product.
“He LOVES it!!!” – EB
Score: 5/5 Source:

Bought this as a christmas gift for my hubby and he can’t get enough of it. Takes it everywhere now. Awesome product. Super fast shipping, came right on time.


2015 Newest Model Dell XPS13 Ultrabook Computer – the World’s First 13.3″ FHD WLED Backlit Infinity Display, 5th Gen Intel Core i5-5200U Processor 2.2GHz / 4GB DDR3 / 128GB SSD / Windows 8.1 Reviews

  • The World’s Frst Infinity Display of 13.3″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) Backlit WLED Screen
  • 5th Generation Broadwell Intel Core i5-5200U 2.20 GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 2.70 GHz
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM / 128GB SSD / Intel HD Graphics 5500
  • Exceptionally Long-Lasting Battery Life up to 15 hrs
  • Windows 8.1 (64-bit), light weight only 2.6 lbs

Product Reviews

“Dude, I got a Dell!!! And it’s Awesome!!! (Google for the Dell Dude reference. lol)” – Quentin Moore “The Tech Ranker”
Score: 5/5 Source:

Like everyone else, I saw all of the positive press the Dell XPS 13 received during CES 2015. Since the XPS 13 was made available for ordering right after it was announced, and since I needed a new laptop to replace my failed Microsoft Surface Pro 3 experiment, I decided to take a plunge and buy the latest and greatest thing.

I like the Surface Pro 3, but I need a laptop that has good performance + a good keyboard + long battery life. So far the XPS 13 appears to have answered all of my prayers. Here are some of my quick thoughts on the device thus far:


– Beautiful “bezel-less” screen. Wide viewing angles. Can be viewed in direct sunlight
– Thin screen bezel allows this 13″ laptop to fit within an 11″ laptop size chassis
– Build quality is solid. There’s no flex in the keyboard or the bottom of the device
– Thin, light weight, and ultra-portable. Its soft touch carbon fiber material looks and feels premium
– Performance is good for a low power, Intel core processor
– You can opt to save money and battery life and get the 1920×1080 non-touch screen model, or you can upgrade to the 3200 x 1800 touch screen model
– HD Video looked good and worked as you expect it to
– While researching Ultrabooks, I found many to have trackpad issues. The XPS 13 doesn’t have this problem. Its trackpad is accurate and nicely sized
– The trackpad allows you to perform some gestures (scrolling, pinch and zoom, etc.) that will help you miss the touch screen less, should you go with the non touch screen model
– It includes 802.11ac dual band Wi-Fi for maximum wireless performance. Bluetooth 4.0 is included as well
– It has a backlit keyboard
– Battery life is great. Plus you can add a small external battery to increase battery life even further
– Low starting price, although I would suggest that most upgrade to the i5, 8GB ram unit.
– It has a full size SD card slot, which should make photographers happy. Note that 1/3 of the SD card protrudes from the slot
– Includes a display port. Optional Dell adapter allows you to add HDMI, VGA, and Ethernet ports. Or you can get a cheap HDMI adapter
– Optional docking station supports up to three external monitors, including 1 4K monitor
– The PCIe M.2 SSD drive is upgradable. Unless you need 512GB, the Dell $100 upgrade to 256GB is a good value.
– You can plug the AC adapter into the optional external battery, then plug the external battery into the XPS to charge the XPS and external battery simultaneously.


– The fan kicks in when you are taxing the system. If you use the High Performance power setting, the fan seems to run constantly
– The screen on the touch-screen version is very glossy. I don’t mind glossy but some people will.
– Key travel on the keyboard is a tad bit shallow. It’s not bad but it’s worth noting.
– Due to the thin bezel, the web cam is under the screen. As a result, your fingers may show up on the webcam while you type during webcam sessions
– The body can get warm, although I have yet to experience uncomfortable warmth
– Air vents are on the bottom so be careful about resting the XPS 13 on your bed or rug
– The speakers are on the sides instead of the front and sound tiny
– The low entry price increases quickly once you add a few upgrades
– No HDMI port, although you can add one via an optional Dell Adapter
– No Stylus pen support.
– No 4G option as of this writing
– Don’t expect to play 3D games with this laptop as its integrated graphics can’t handle it


– Just like with all Windows Computers, before you begin using your XPS 13, run Windows Update. Repeat running Windows Update until there are no more updates available.
– If you have the Ethernet equipped Dell adapter accessory, consider using the Ethernet port to speed up the update process.
– If you encounter a failed update, restart your computer and try again. Another thing to try is a clean restart before performing the update. (Google: windows 8 clean restart)
– I find that I get the least amount of fan noise when I use the default Dell Power Settings. In High Performance mode, the fan runs constantly.
– Unless you need 512GB of storage or more, get the Dell $100 256GB SSD upgrade. It’s more economical than an after market upgrade to 256GB (unless you can sell the 128GB PCIe M.2 SSD drive you are replacing)


– The Dell Power Companion 12,000 mAh external battery works great. Plus you can charge it and your XPS 13 with the AC Adapter at the same time
– The Dell Adapter adds these ports to the XPS 13: HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, USB 2.0. I got it primarily to add VGA and Ethernet ports.


Non Touch Screen
+ Cheaper! 🙂
+ 15 hours of battery life
+ Matted Screen minimizes glare
– Will not be able to use touch centric, Metro apps
– Lower resolution (1920×1080 vs 3200×1800), although, I doubt most people will miss the bigger resolution

Touch Screen
+ Fully compatible with touch centric, Metro apps
+ Higher resolution screen (3200×1800 vs 1920×1080)
– More Expensive
– Glossy screen leads to more glare
– Less battery life (12 hours) than the other model (15 hours)

✔ Dell XPS 13 vs Lenovo LaVie Z HZ550

Yes, the LaVie is very light but the battery life is only 6 hours. If you are always near a power outlet, this may not be an issue for you. Personally I don’t see the point in having a light and portable laptop that only gets an OEM rated 6 hours of battery life. Real world battery life will likely be less.

The LaVie also has a higher starting price than the XPS 13 ($1299), although, I generally recommend getting at least the $1299 XPS 13. Note that you can often save on Dell laptops via coupons, cash back offers, and finance deals. The LaVie’s high price coupled with the smallish battery makes me think the XPS 13 is the clear winner in this battle of early 2015 Ultrabooks.


Between work and personal laptops, I’ve probably used over a dozen laptops over the years. This includes the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 that was supposed to replace laptops but missed the mark (at least for me). Without a doubt, the Dell XPS 13 is my favorite of all time. It’s beautifully designed, it’s light and thin, and it has a solid build. It’s both functional and cool. Depending on whether or not you need the upgrades, it can be had for relatively cheap ($799 minus coupons, cash back offers, and other deals).

My favorite feature is the combination of long battery life, and the ability to further extend its longevity via an optional, small external battery. I purchased this thing for its ability to handle long travel days, long meeting days moving from conference room to conference room without a power cable, and long work sessions at Starbucks. So far, the XPS 13 has worked well for my personal use cases.

There are a few compromises to be aware of, such as the glossy screen, webcam location, and tiny speakers. Also, 3D gamers should definitely choose something else. If these issues do not matter to you, I suspect you will love the Dell XPS 13. It’s a premium device and probably one of the best mainstream laptops Dell has released in years.


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** Did you find this review helpful? I hope so! If you have questions about the XPS 13, please post a comment. **

Quick Review” – Wayne Ngo
Score: 5/5 Source:

My configuration: Core i5, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD, 1080p matte display at $899 (Microsoft Store)

Things I Like:

The aluminum finish is extremely clean. It’s a tad darker than Apple’s aluminum finish and both the lid and bottom are solid with that cold metal feel upon touch. The palm rest area has an interesting carbon fiber pattern that adds a unique look and has a very nice soft touch finish. The Dell logos on the lid and beneath the screen is tidy and minimalist.

+Size & Weight:
I considered the MBP 13″ Retina to be one of the smallest 13″ notebooks but the XPS 13 is even smaller thanks to the extremely thin bezels. The XPS 13 may not be the thinnest but it has the smallest foot print of any 13″ notebook – it’s basically the size of the MacBook Air 11″. I am very much enjoying the compact size and the associated lack of weight (2.6 lbs for my model).

Fit and finish are impeccable. Despite the small size, the XPS 13 feels extremely solid. The carbon fiber palm rests feel sturdy and rigid and there is no creaking when I put pressure on them. The hinge is nice and tight and there is no screen wobble when typing. There are no gaps between the carbon fiber deck and bottom panel nor are there any between the screen and bezel. The keyboard is rigid on the perimeter and has minimal flex in the center.

I chose the 1080p non touch option because for me, 1080p on a 13″ screen is more than enough. Additionally, it’s matte! I’d pick the matte 1080p panel over the 3200×1800 glossy panel on any day of the week. Having no glare and gaining ~4 hours of battery life is worth more to me than an (unnecessarily) high resolution.

At $899, I was expecting the 1080p screen to be a cheap TN panel, but it’s not! The colors are pretty vibrant and the horizontal and vertical viewing angles are wide. Adjusting the screen angle produces minimal color shifts. With the default scaling to 150% DPI, text is sharp and easy to read. Overall, this is a much, much better panel than that of the MacBook Air’s – I’m absolutely impressed at what you get for this price.

Also, I’ll note that the screen tilts back at a farther angle than the previous model. Standing and using the XPS 13 is comfortable.

Most Windows PC touchpads are not so great but Dell has cooperated with Microsoft to make their “Precision” track pad for the XPS 13. Basically, the responsiveness is very close to the MacBook track pads and I haven’t experienced any errant cursor jumps while typing. Coming from a Mac, I got situated pretty easily – the only thing I miss are the touch gestures of OS X.

Pressing on the track pad actuates a rather loud click and the left and right buttons are marked by a painted line. I use tap to click on all track pads so the noise isn’t an issue for me. This is much better than the track pad on the Surface Pro 3’s keyboard cover. The XPS 13’s track pad has less friction and is bigger compared to the coarsely textured track pad of the SP3’s cover. The XPS 13’s track pad is thus much easier to use.

Speaking of typing, the keys offer decent travel for the thickness of the machine. I’d say the key travel is similar to the Macbook Air models but slightly shorter. The keyboard is definitely full sized despite the XPS’s compactness and I got used to it very quickly. I’d be pretty satisfied with this keyboard for long periods of work.

The top function rows are inversed – meaning if you press f1 you will mute the volume instead actually activating f1. The f1 key is activated by pressing fn + f1 and so on for f2, f3… I consider this a nice touch that saves time when wanting to adjust basic functions like display and keyboard brightness. However, if you wish to inverse this behavior, just press fn + esc to set the function keys as default.

My Core i5, 4 GB RAM, and 128 SSD model performs perfectly. I’ve not experienced any hiccups or crashes. I mainly use the XPS 13 for MATLAB, CAD through remote desktop connection, MS Office suite, and general internet and email browsing. I also watch the occasional YouTube video but I don’t play any 3D games.

Compared to my Surface Pro 3 (Core i3, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB SSD), the XPS 13 is smoother in every day operation. The Surface Pro 3 suffers from throttling with the Core i5, i7 models so I opted for the lower end Core i3. The Core i3 SP3 unfortunately stutters from time to time and 1080p YouTube videos are slightly choppy. With this experience in mind and the fact that Broadwell only offers at most a 10% performance increase over Haswell, I would steer clear of the Core i3 XPS 13. The $100 upgrade to a Core i5 is a must if you want absolutely smooth performance.

There are people who clamor for 8 GB or 16 GB RAM minimum, but in my experience, you don’t really benefit unless you are doing rendering or other heavy workloads. There is a point of diminishing returns with RAM and this is another debate for another day. For my tasks on a laptop, 4 GB is more than enough. I’ll leave the heavy lifting to a workstation PC.

On a side note, the Intel HD 5500 is capable of driving a 3840 x 2160 (4K) display at 60 Hz through DP 1.2.

+Heat & Noise:
Heat is very minimal even when watching 1080p YouTube videos. While doing lighter tasks like writing this review, I’ve noticed no heat from the palm rest area or upper keyboard deck. Because the lack of heat, the fans have stayed off for the majority of the time I’ve used the XPS 13.

Also, I can report that there is no coil whine for those who used the previous model.

Battery life has been stellar so far. I couldn’t kill the battery in a day with light tasks. Dell rates the battery for the 1080p model at 15 hours but I’d say a more realistic number would be around 11-12 hours. Your mileage may vary of course. I’ll update this section with more usage details and numbers after a week or so.

Update: After 3 weeks of using the XPS 13, I can confidently say the battery life lasts at least 10 hours for moderate usage. I define my moderate usage as using 5+ web pages open with multiple PDFs, Word docs and Excel sheets open at the same time. I can easily get 10 hours using the XPS 13 to code on MATLAB while having reference documents open. To get the 15 hours Dell claims, you would have to be doing light tasks like word processing or browsing the web with a few tabs open while having brightness at 20-30%. For those light tasks, I can easily get 12 hours. I usually always use 50% screen brightness.

I believe the 1080p model has the most value of any model. Compared to the MacBook Air 13″, this $899 model has more bang for the buck because of the better screen and smaller size. I would say their battery life are similar but remember that the XPS 13 is driving a higher resolution display at 1920 x 1080 vs. 1440 x 900.

I bought my XPS 13 at the Microsoft Store and used the 10% education discount. On top of this, you can text MSSTORE to 295-02 to get a 4.5% off coupon for any purchase. Basically, I got about $130 off which is a steal. Dell also has $100 coupons (just Google “Dell Coupons”) if you prefer to shop on their website.
Things I Don’t Like:

Backlighting only has 2 settings: high and low – not a big deal to me but may matter to some.

Only mini Display Port – you will need to carry a dongle around if you give presentations often. However, an SD card reader is included unlike last year’s model!

The angle is awkward because you can see you fingers if you type while video conferencing.

Unfortunately, the XPS 13 has an air intake at the bottom. This means you shouldn’t use it on your carpet or bed if you want to avoid overheating. There is a ridge that helps raise the intake above the floor but I’m not a big fan of this design. I much prefer the MacBook Pro’s side intakes and back vents.
However, I think this should be fine for using on your lap – I’ll update this section in a week or so.

These aren’t the loudest but serviceable for my tasks. They fire from the sides if that helps anyone.
Conclusion as of 1/19/15:

As an engineering student heading into the field and running a business on the side – I can whole-heartedly recommend the XPS 13 for anyone needing an ultra-mobile computing package. It’s small, it’s light, and the battery goes and goes.

I think Dell has really stepped up their game in manufacturing and design. Fit and finish are top notch and they refined the previous design by removing the thick bezels and increasing battery life. For me, the 2015 XPS 13 ticks all the right boxes because Dell nailed the core functionality (performance and battery life) and user experience(matte screen, good keyboard and track pad).
Update 2/10/15:
After using the XPS 13 for 3 weeks, here are some of my thoughts:

+ I wish they made an extrusion at the front of the laptop so you can lift the screen up easily. Opening the lid is usually a 2 handed operation.
+ I haven’t had any overheating problems using this on my lap. I looked at the tear-down of the XPS 13 and there is 1 small fan positioned at the left edge of the underside vents so there is plenty of room for air to be sucked in thanks to the sheer size of the intake vents.
+ Under similar workloads, the XPS 13 is cooler than my Surface Pro 3 with Core i3. The excellent thermal management of the XPS 13 is well documented in if you want a more detailed review.
+ The exterior finish is free of scratches and dents. No wear of the carbon fiber deck or track pad.
– The track pad can sometimes get confused when you click on something and would register as a double click. This is disappointing because the multi-touch gestures work pretty well. I hope that Dell will release a firmware update for this. Fortunately, this happens only occasionally.
– The display has automatic dimming built in that you can’t disable. This is very hard to notice, but if you are looking for it, you will notice. Apparently, this helps increase the battery life by dynamically darkening or brightening the screen based on the colors displayed. This dimming is very gradual and isn’t noticeable during regular usage.

XPS 13 – 2015 – Signature Edition from Microsoft Store” – Robert Francis
Score: 5/5 Source:

Other reviewers have dealt with specs. I’d like to share more general impressions.

This machine strikes me as the most unusual, unexpected, and exciting development in the laptop market since the Macbook Air debuted in 2008 and perhaps before that when the Titanium G4 Powerbook appeared back in 2000. (A close runner up would be the X1 Carbon from Lenovo.)

There are several things about this computer that haven’t ceased to impress me from the time I brought it home a week ago.

I can’t overstate the pleasure of the “infinity display.” The effect is something like the vastly greater sense of immersion people felt when first using the iPad and its full-screen apps. But here it’s different. It’s not the full screen effect so much as a kind of “levitating” screen effect. It’s as though you’re staring at a screen and nothing else. There is no edge or border to it. When you expand an app to take up the whole screen, you see the app and nothing but a thin black line edging the screen—not quite “framing it,” but edging it. Everything looks punchier. Cleaner. More elegant.

The next most noticeable feature is the size and scale. Staring at the screen, I see that it’s bigger than other computers I’ve used—the surface, the 12.5” thinkpad yoga–but at the same time, it’s much smaller. It’s a strange optical illusion. I see more screen, but feel less computer on my lap or in my hands. Carrying it also feels so much lighter than the 13” Air or 12” thinkpads I’ve used.

I also really like the keyboard, and this too was a pleasant surprise. When I tried the display model at the Microsoft Store, I found the keyboard distractingly shallow. It was almost a deal-breaker for me. Many of the reviews complained about the shallowness of the travel but said it isn’t as bad as the keyboards on macbook airs or pros (which are very shallow). Despite being sensitive to this detail, I thought I’d take a chance and just buy the machine and return it if I didn’t like it.

I may have ended up with a great specimen, by luck, but I suspect not. In any case, the keyboard is fantastic—and oddly enough, it’s one of my favourite features. The travel is not as deep as it is on a thinkpad, but as I discovered here, it’s the quality of the travel that matters. (I know I’m getting very geeky here!) I think in this case it has to do with the nature of the materials used in the XPS, the seating, the casing, etc – whatever it is, the keys have a really satisfying springiness and clack to them, such that even though they don’t travel far, they feel great to type on. The backlighting is a nice touch too, though I’m disappointed to see that the lights don’t stay on (even when plugged in). It would be nice if they did, but it’s not fatal.

There has also been some discussion in the forums about the adaptive brightness issue with the screen. This is certainly an issue, and I would prefer that the screen didn’t have this odd quirk. But given how many other things they got absolutely right with this machine – and how unique it is – I’m prepared to overlook this. It’s also not bad enough to be all that distracting. It’s noticeable, but slight.

I have the 4gig, 128 model, with matte screen. If I could pay another $100 or two to have 8 gigs of ram, I might think about it. But so far, 4 hasn’t been an issue. (I use it only for typing, email, and light surfing.) Even if it were an issue, though, I’d be reluctant to return the model I happen to have, because I’m inclined to think I got an especially good one and wouldn’t want to take my chances…

If you appreciate good design and true innovation in tech, check this out. It’s a genuinely new experience as far as laptops go—and pictures don’t do it justice. The changes here are slight in theory but significant in practice. It’s a gem of a computer. Kuddos to the designers and engineers.

beautifully designed, but flawed and buggy” – pjs
Score: 3/5 Source:

The laptop is beautifully designed, has great specs, and is a good value. If all went well, this would be the ideal laptop. I switched from Mac just because of this model. But the fan is absurdly loud. It runs virtually non-stop, even when the laptop is not used for CPU intensive purposes. (It’s louder than my desktop fan.) The touchpad is overly sensitive, jerky, intermittent, and sometimes non-responsive. The battery life isn’t anywhere close to the advertised duration. The keyboard is nice, but oftentimes doubles a pressed key (e.g. two letters instead of just one). Maybe future generations of this laptop will have these issues resolved. In the meantime, though, these design flaws really undermine the full potential of this product.

UPDATE 4/1/15

Dell replaced the laptop, and the replacement is much better. The trackpad is solid, and the keyboard is much sturdier. The keys still sometimes double up, but less frequently. The fan was screaming out of the box, but a BIOS update seems to have calmed it significantly. So, it seems that Dell are working out the kinks. I will post a further update once I’ve had more time with the new machine.

UPDATE 4/29/15

The fan noise appears to be fixed. The BIOS update helped, and you can further control it with the power management settings. It hasn’t been a problem for me in weeks.

The remaining weak spots are the trackpad and keyboard. The trackpad is much better than on the first generation model but still nowhere close to Apple’s: it’s jerky, not as precise as the name “precision trackpad” would suggest, and if you rest your thumb on it by accident, it doesn’t respond when you try to control the pointer with your other finger, whereas the Mac trackpad is smart enough to overlook the resting thumb. Maybe future driver updates will fix this. The keyboard seems too sensitive, and doubles up many of the keys. I type fast and press the keys pretty hard, but I’ve used hundreds of keyboards in my life, and I’ve never had this problem before, so I don’t think the fault is entirely mine. I suspect future generations of the keyboard will have this resolved, too.

Other than that, this laptop is a beauty. If it weren’t for these remaining imperfections with the keyboard and trackpad, I’d give it 5 starts.

The laptop that finally switched me back to Windows” – Y. Zhou
Score: 5/5 Source:

I have been using Macbooks for the last 5 years as my main laptop preference. I have tried Windows laptops over the years but never really found one that I preferred over a MacBook. I was running with the MacBook Air 13″ 2014 before buying this, but have used the pro and retina models as well. Here is a pros/cons and comparison to my old MacBook.

I bought the i5, 4gb, 128gb, and 1080p model.


– Lightweight. It’s a little thicker than my MacBook Air but it’s smaller in width and length.
– Screen. A lot better than the TN panel on the Air. Viewing angles are great! Very bright screen. I like that it’s a matte over glossy but that’s a personal preference.
– Bezels. The bezels just makes everything look sexy about this laptop. I changed the Windows theme to black to match the laptop.
– Battery Life seems decent. Not as much as my Air’s but it gets me through the day. I’m estimating about 8-10 hours or realistic usage.
– Charger Power Brick. Dell seemed to have copied Apple’s MacBook charger. They made the charger so that you can directly plug the power brick into the outlet. I always like this feature on the MacBook chargers so that I don’t have to lug around an extra wire with me along with the brick. Just seems more simpler this way. They also give you a wire if you’re used to that. They also have a light at the tip of the charger so you know where it is in the dark.
– Sound. For a laptop this size, the sound is surprisingly loud. Speakers are on the left and right side of the laptop. Don’t expect quality audio though.
– Keyboard. Some people complain that there’s flex in the keyboard. I didn’t really notice any.
– Price. When Dell first introduced this laptop with the thin bezels, I thought they would jack up the price unreasonably high for early adopters. When they announced that it was starting at $799, I was really surprised. There is definitely a premium to pay for the touchscreen and higher res models. Be warned: the higher res touchscreen models will noticeably reduce your battery life.


– Microphone. I had a Skype chat but it was hard for the other person to hear what I say. He said my voice went in and out and was inconsistent.
– Trackpad. Coming from a MacBook, I may be spoiled by their trackpad. This one just can’t compare. The XPS’s was decent for a Windows trackpad though. Two finger scrolling jumps around a lot making me miss things on webpages.
– Opening the lid. There is no real place for you to put your finger under to open up the laptop. It’s almost always a 2 handed operation. It only requires 1 finger to open up pretty much every MacBook built after 2009.
– Connectivity. The only video output it has is a mini-displayport. I can’t really blame them due to the small size but I rather take an HDMI port.
Comparison to Macbooks:
– Much cheaper.
– Build quality is slightly below a MacBook (small keyboard flex), but more stylish.
– Louder speakers
– Better screen than non-retina macbooks
– More portable than most Macbooks
– Worse trackpad, worse lid mechanism, worse battery,

Despite the cons, this is the best laptop in the market for the price. I do not think the premium higher res models are worth it though. If you’re a long time Windows user, this laptop is the best portable option out there that provides a complete package. If you’re coming from a MacBook, I wouldn’t say this laptop is a huge upgrade, so it really depends on your OS preference. I chose to go back to windows mainly because of its compatibility with games.

A very nice ultrabook spoiled by a wonky trackpad” – Jeff2468
Score: 3/5 Source:

I really wanted to like the new XPS 13 1080P non-touchscreen model that I tried with Windows 8. The computer is sleek and light, had a very nice screen and a very usable keyboard for a computer this thin and light. I had all day battery life and liked that the media keys were the default rather than requiring the use the fn key, which is reversible in the BIOS if you prefer. Backlit keyboard was well done. The 256GB solid state drive I ordered was very fast and boot times were only a few seconds. The wireless 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0, Dual Band 2.4 & 5GHz, 2×2 radio was very slow and short range on 2.4GHz, half the speed and significantly less range than my old VAIO on 2.4GHz, but the 5GHz radio was as fast as my VAIOs 2.4 GHz with a little less range providing approximately 50Mbps+ down and 25Mbps+ up. I have an old Belkin dual band router with Comcast cable and was therefore unable to test the AC radio.

Unfortunately I was unable to live with the trackpad which has known issues. Dell already posted a firmware update that I flashed which improved the trackpad a little but it was still too wonky for me. The cursor doesn’t react until I move my finger a mm or so and then jumps past where I want to be if I am trying for just a small movement. In addition, the cursor often jumps off the button or location I am trying to select when removing my finger from the trackpad. Palm rejection when typing seems non-existent with touch select for the trackpad turned on in PC settings and still unacceptable when touch select is turned off. The cursor is very sensitive to location on buttons and doesn’t recognize a button unless exactly centered on the button. Also, there are only a few multi-touch features available on this “precision touchpad,” it doesn’t have the option to swipe for forward or backwards on websites or recognize 3 or 4 finger gestures. The home button requires holding the fn key to go to the top of the page. Because of these trackpad deficiencies I returned the computer to Dell yesterday. I don’t know how many stars to give, if it weren’t for the trackpad I would give this computer 4 or 4.5 stars, for me personally it is unusable and therefore 1 star.

Un-upgradable RAM” – Roda Ruus
Score: 4/5 Source:

Almost perfect computer in any way BUT for some reason the DELL people decided to make it almost completely un-upgradable
you can upgrade the SSD drive ( you need to take all computer apart in order to do so – but still – it’s doable)
but you CANT upgrade your RAM.
So if you buy it with 4gb it will stay forever this way.
There is no expansion slots for it.
And initial RAM is build in on the motherboard.
Review from a Computer Science Major (Student)” – kindle fire
Score: 4/5 Source:

I ordered the UltraSharp QHD (3200 x 1800 resolution), 8gigs of Ram, Core i7 version of this beautiful laptop with Windows 8 Pro (over $1600).
I sold my 13” Macbook Air (2014 edition) for this and I can honestly say I’m satisfied.
But before I sold it, I tested both of them first to see if I truly loved it. First noticeable differences…- Speakers: The Dell is definitely louder than the Macbook Air. Granted, at full volume, the speakers’ sounded a little statically so it’s best it on a littler lower setting.- Screen: Soooooo much better than the Macbook Air. And the brightness is better too. I have this device on 20% brightness whenever I’m at a coffee shop doing my assignments. I do get a little bit of glare from the ceiling lights, but you can angle the screen more than the Macbook Air by a good extra degrees.

– Body: I love the fact that it’s carbon fiber inside and it doesn’t get cold like my Macbook Air. I can open this and rest my palms on it right away so I can start working (my house is usually 60 degrees). The aluminum is darker than the Macbook Air by a few shades sort of like a lead color on a piece of white paper. This weighs lighter but only a few grams. If both of them are laid out on the table, the Dell is slightly taller than the Macbook but the body is smaller like the Macbook 11” Air. The compact design is great.

– Keyboard: The backlight only has three modes: High, low, off. I usually have it on low and the backlight will switch itself off if left untyped after a few seconds (to conserve battery). Since the inner body is all black, the backlight keyboard gives off a nice glow. Typing on it is good. It did take a bit of a learning curve to get use to typing on a compact size. I don’t have thick fingers so if you have man hands then it might be a problem.

– TrackPad: It’s alright. I got to admit, I do miss the Macbook trackpad a lot on this area. It does have some of the features but I find myself struggling to have some reaction to it whenever I touch it. I later discovered that the finger should be placed directly in the middle if you want to scroll or pinch.

– Performance: It may vary depending on what is loaded in your computer and the CPU/RAM that is installed. Since I got the highest end model, so far no hiccups or lags whenever I load in my program. I use Firefox as my browser so it works great on this laptop. But I am concern about how much RAM it takes up whenever I’m using it… This could take away battery life.

– Battery: I was informed that 15 hours battery life is possible on this laptop, 12 hours if it’s the touch screen and QHD model (which I have). I don’t know if it’s my Core i7, or my antivirus (BitDefender) constantly running in the background along with my Firefox, but on average I get about 7-8 hours of battery life. I had to get the Dell battery companion just so I can get 2-3 more hours out of it. So together, basically 9-10 hours average. The Macbook Air is better at this topic, I got 10-12 hours without a battery companion so I will miss that a little. I usually stay at a coffee shop for 8 hours when I’m doing my assignments so don’t worry about finding an outlet if this is you.

Overall, great purchase. I was hesitant at first since this is an expensive laptop. But once I got used to it, I let go my Macbook Air go. There is one thing I will miss about Macbook the most…. Opening it with one hand. When opening the Dell, there’s no lip for the fingers to grasp on. I usually have to open this laptop vertically with my thumb grasping each plate. It’s not much of a struggle but gosh… I will miss that the most.

Good ultrabook with some trade-offs (vs ThinkPad X1 Carbon)” – The GOAT
Score: 4/5 Source:

I bought the new Dell XPS 13 despite having always preferred ThinkPads (mainly because of the quality keyboards and “UltraNav” dual trackpad and pointer). I decided to go with the Dell because of the innovative packaging and the lower price. The Dell was about $300 less than a comparable, and bigger, ThinkPad X1 Carbon (14″). I originally lamented the lack of an i7 option, which was available on the ThinkPad (for even more money). Now I think the i5 is sufficient, and it appears Dell plans to offer an i7 XPS 13. I’m not convinced I made the right choice yet, but so far the good outweighs the bad.

First, my system specs. I decided on the base model matte FHD (1920×1080) display because of better battery life and the fact that I hate touch screens. (I don’t want to see finger smudges while I’m trying to work.) I got an i5 5200U (which runs 2.2GHz) with 8GB RAM and the 256GB SSD. The dell product page gives most of the necessary info:

Full specs can be downloaded here (which shows an i7 option):

Before the good, is the awesome… the physical design, size, weight, and screen. The new XPS is gorgeous. It looks like a little MacBook, and that’s not a bad thing. The exterior, both top and bottom, is real aluminum, not painted plastic. It’s not flimsy either; about 1.5mm thick all the way around the edge. There’s also blessedly little clutter and stickers. There’s an “Intel inside CORE i5” sticker on the palm rest and that’s it. The bottom has a magnetic, spring-loaded metal latch that covers the mandatory government info. There’s a single, long vent that runs along the bottom and eight exposed screws (more on those later). I’ll include a picture of the bottom since there isn’t one on the Dell website.

The size and weight are self-explanatory from the specs, but you really have to see this next to other laptops to appreciate it. My former ThinkPad X300 was the smallest laptop I’d used prior to this. The XPS 13 makes that ThinkPad (Lenovo’s first response to the MacBook Air) look clunky. The screen is only 4mm thick. The front edge is also 4mm, although the bottom angles away so the laptop is actually 15mm thick at the front (and 20mm at the rear). Dell’s specs are smaller, but I suspect they’re ignoring the rubber pads on the bottom.

The screen is the other bright spot for the Dell. The comparable ThinkPad (1920×1080) comes with a TN display, rather than an IPS panel like the XPS 13. Even at 40% brightness on battery power, the screen is great at every angle. I don’t know why someone would pay extra for the QHD+ (3200×1800) display, especially since Windows and many software programs do not scale well. If you’re the type who insists on 20 mega pixel cameras to post pictures to Facebook, you probably don’t mind spending extra (money and battery life) for “the best,” but the FHD display is plenty good. (If you want a touch screen, you have to go with a QHD+ screen… and a heavier laptop.)

Other goodness that surprised me include Dell’s customer support, the relative lack of bloatware, battery life, and the speed/silence of the hardware. I had issues with the website, but each time I wrote an e-mail, I was promptly contacted by customer support and they resolved the problem. They even sent me recovery media (on an 8GB USB3 flash drive). It’s not the factory image my XPS 13 came with, but it gives you a clean version of Windows 8.1 with only two installed programs (Dell Rescue and Recovery and My Dell), and no drivers… a great option for DIY-types.

While Lenovo is having some issues with Malware, Dell has surprisingly little pre-installed software (based on my previous experience). Sadly, one of those is McAfee. I wish Dell offered an option to exclude this. Instead, you get a choice of 12 months or 36 months (for an extra charge). It can be removed, but you have to go to the McAfee website to download an uninstaller. Here’s a list of all the pre-installed software (not including drivers):

– Dell Applications:
— MyDell (PC Doctor)
— Dell Backup and Recovery
— Dell Data Services
— Dell Digital Delivery
— Dell Foundation Services
— Dell Product Registration
— Dell Update
– Dropbox
– McAfee LiveSafe (with 12 month subscription)
– Microsoft Office 2013 (which you have to pay for if you want to use it)

The Backup and Recovery software can be used to create factory restore DVDs (needs two DVDs), but that’s about it. It constantly bugs you to pay for an upgrade, which can be used to create images and manage software backups (all of which Windows can do anyway). The benefit (I guess) is that you can store your images and backups on Dell servers. I’m not sure it uninstalls cleanly, because I’ve seen the icon appear on the system tray.

There are a lot of people complaining that battery life on the XPS 13 doesn’t match the advertised 15 hours. I don’t think they read the fine print. Dell says the 15 hours is for web browsing on the FHD display at 40% brightness. I haven’t sat at the computer for 15 straight hours, but I think that number is pretty close. I did read a review that showed only 6 hours of battery life, but that was playing HD video. BTW, the Dell has a higher capacity battery than the larger ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

One of the first things I noticed was the eerie silence when I first booted up the XPS 13. The i5 doesn’t even break a sweat in day-to-day computing (Word, Excel, web, etc.). I’ve only heard the cooling fan turn on once in two weeks and even then, it wasn’t very loud. That includes several factory restores as I played with installing and uninstalling various things.

Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine with the XPS. The operating system and keyboard make for daily frustration. The XPS 13 only comes with Windows 8.1. You can still get a ThinkPad with Windows 7, but you have to pay $50 extra. I wish there was a way to disable the Metro interface and all the associated worthless apps. I have “Classic Start Menu” and can almost exclusively stay on the desktop, but every now and then an app will load and I have to use Task Manager to kill those memory hogs. Another annoyance is the lack of DVD or Blu-ray capability. I know Microsoft has to pay for the licenses, but it was only about $2 for Windows 7 to play DVDs. I’m disappointed that Dell didn’t provide codecs, even if it was an optional charge. I would’ve paid to avoid a third-party player.

If you need your laptop for a lot of video chats, you may want to avoid the XPS 13. The cost of the fancy display is a bottom-left mounted camera. The people on the other end will mainly see your left hand, and when that’s not in the way, they’ll get a good view up your nostrils. Fortunately, I don’t need the camera so it’s not a big deal to me.

Another annoyance is the lack of a “stereo mix” record option. I’m not sure if that’s Windows 8.1, or Dell modifying the RealTek driver options. I used to use “stereo mix” to capture sound bites on my old computer (RealTek HD audio codec), but the only option on the XPS 13 is microphone. The system uses an I2S controller and RealTek HW audio codec. I couldn’t find a standalone driver from RealTek.

I definitely miss my UltraNav pointing stick, which serves for both scrolling and cursor movement on a ThinkPad. It allows you to work much more efficiently, without having to take your hands off the keyboard. I can almost deal with not having a pointing stick, but the Dell keyboard is horrible compared to a ThinkPad keyboard. It’s not nearly as tactile or smooth, but the design itself is what drives me nuts. The compromises for the smaller size seem to be from designers who don’t actually use keyboards. The lack of dedicated scroll keys (Home, End, PgUp, PgDn) definitely slows down my productivity.

Another issue with the XPS 13 is the lack of a true port replicator. Dell offers a USB port replicator, but that’s not as elegant as the ThinkPad solution (which uses a single connector to the laptop). I use my XPS 13 as a desktop replacement, but I have to connect three cables: power, USB and mini-DP (both to my Dell U2415 monitor). That also means I can’t turn on my computer without opening the screen, which then changes my display resolution.

One more positive note for the Dell… maybe, because I won’t know for sure for two or three years. Those exposed screws on the bottom of the XPS 13 mean it’s somewhat easy to open up and replace the battery. The folks at go through all the stops to completely disassemble the XPS 13 and they conclude it’s reasonably easy to work on for such a small laptop. I’m hoping Dell makes batteries available whenever it comes time to replace mine.

After all that, should you get an XPS 13? That depends on your priorities. A friend of mine insists on a 17″ screen for his “laptop.” Unless you’re an NBA player, that’s not really a laptop. Portability was key for me even though I use this as my daily computer. If your time away from a real keyboard is limited, the XPS 13 is definitely the way to go. Ask me again in a few months if I ever get over the frustrating keyboard.

Dell XPS 13 with Infinity Display (2015)” – THOR’S HAMMER
Score: 5/5 Source:

It’s been roughly 3 years since I’ve last upgraded my laptop, which is long overdue considering the progressive leap in technology in recent years. My main criteria for my next laptop consists of:

– Portable thin and light (3 lb or less)
– Stylish design, not boxy
– At least 1080p screen resolution
– 4GB of ram minimum (prefer 8GB)

Of course, most of the things listed above can be found in most ultrabooks these days. However, it is Dell’s latest model that really shined in this year’s CES show in Las Vegas.


First thing anyone’s going to notice from this laptop is it’s stunning, nearly bezel-free Infinity Display. Notably, this is not the UltraSharp Quad HD 3200 x 1800 resolution model featured on the higher specced variation. Despite this, the 1080p display still retains the thin, thin 5mm border and sleek form factor and very impressive bright viewing angles. More importantly, I was able to see noticeable improvements in battery life over the higher resolution counterpart.


The XPS 13 is comprised of high quality materials like the aluminum lid and carbon-fiber palm rest. Despite being under 3 lbs, the laptop was still considerably solid, with virtually no flex to the keyboard. Speaking of which, the keyboard is chiclet styled with the much appreciated backlight. Another appreciated feature: there is a battery indicator light located on the left

The large clickpad-style touchpad is similar to what’s been used on many other high-end systems. It works fine for basic navigating and tapping or clicking. Since there’s no touchscreen here, this is important.


This is one of the very first 2015 laptop models to feature Intel’s latest 5th gen. Broadwell Core i5 (5200U) processors. I saw a considerable boost in speed, responsiveness, and multitasking prowess in most mainstream tasks, like Microsoft Office, HD Twitch streaming, Photoshop, and iTunes. The sluggishness experienced on the Core M variant chips are absent here, thankfully.

No Like:

– Webcam is relocated to the bottom left portion of the display due to the thin bezel
– No touchscreen feature for this model
– Only 2 USB 3.0 ports (none of the new USB standard)
– Display port instead of dedicated HDMI port
– Built-in speakers are a bit tinny at higher volume levels (common among many Ultrabooks)
– Only 128 GB SSD and 4GB ram for this model
– Only one color choice available so far

Overall, I still find this to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing and good performance portable laptop of early 2015. Recommended!

NETGEAR ProSAFE GS728TP 24-Port Gigabit PoE Smart Switch 10/100/1000Mbps Reviews

  • 24 auto-sensing Gigabit RJ45 ports + 4 SFP Gigabit Fiber Ports
  • 24 Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) ports including 8 PoE+ (803at) ports, 192w total PoE budget
  • Comprehensive networking features such as VLAN, QoS, IGMP and MLD snooping, Static Routing, Link Aggregation, ACL
  • Auto Voice/Video VLAN speed up VoIP and IP Surveillance deployments
  • Easy to use Web management GUI, IPv6 management supported
  • LIFETIME Advanced Tech Support via chat

Product Reviews

“Great PoE Switch” – gray-eagle
Score: 5/5 Source:

The main reason I selected this switch was the energy budget of 192 watts. I did not need half this much but the next size down fell short by about 10 watts. When you first power up, it takes longer than non PoE switches to boot. It has to look at the power demands in addition to IP address and other constraints.

That said, I installed this switch three months ago to connect to and to power multiple wireless access points for a large multi story building. Configuration is accomplished via browser. After several reboots during the configuration it has not been necessary to reboot or in any other way deal with this switch. If I do have to deal with it, it has it’s own IP address so I can log into it remotely.

“Great PoE for the price” – FLI IT Dept
Score: 5/5 Source:

we bought two of these for a new place and they work perfectly. They are connected with a fiber backbone and one of them is connecting and giving power to 12 Cisco access points, the second one connects 6 access points and 6 phones with the PoE.
We couldn’t be more happy about them.
“Switcharama Powerama” – Brian Flores
Score: 5/5 Source:

One of our favorite 24 poet POE switches. Install the crap out of them. Powers polycom phones, Access Points, and IP cameras. And, has 4 SFP GBIC ports. Getcha-sum.
“Another happy Netgear customer” – James Mullen
Score: 5/5 Source:

This is probably overkill for my home network but more and more devices are supporting POE so I justified the upgrade. I have a few cameras and will soon be installing a few POE access points within the next month. As near as I can tell this switch has plenty of capacity for my power needs and I’ve had it running for about a month without any issues.
“Excellent PoE Switch!” – D. Matheny
Score: 5/5 Source:

We have been using a Netgear ProSAFE GS752TP 48-Port Gigabit PoE Switch to power the network and VOIP phones in our office for the last year.

It’s worked extremely well; so, when we expended into a new section of the office, we decided to use this smaller version to expand our network.

Fortunately, the performance of this GS728TP is just as good as the original switch – and our phones and network are continuing to run perfectly.

Here are the things we like about these switches:

1) The performance is excellent. We’re running a total of 21 IP phones as well as computers and servers through these two switches without any hick-ups.

2) They auto-detect whether a device needs power or not, and automatically supply power if needed. There isn’t any problem with running PoE and non-PoE equipment through the same switch.

3) The GUI isn’t perfect; but, it isn’t bad either. I can only access it using Internet Explorer in ‘Compatibility Mode’, so keep that in mind – Chrome doesn’t work at all.

Even though I’m definitely giving the router a well-deserved 5 stars, there are some issues to be aware of:

1) The VLAN stuff isn’t very intuitive, and it’s spread between several different menus – which makes it even more complicated. Even the Netgear support people had trouble figuring out what the settings should be to get it working…

2) This switch absolutely did NOT like Netgear’s own Prosecure UTM-9 Router. Originally, I thought the problem was with the switch; but, we ended up moving over to a Peplink Balance 305 Router, and the problems completely went away. With the UTM-9, our IP phones were almost unusable with this switch; but, they’re working better than ever with the Peplink 305. (We did work with Netgear support on this, but they couldn’t figure out what the problem was either.)

I know this switch is expensive (at least compared to the switch we were using); but, if you’re looking to get good bandwidth, combined with reliable PoE capabilities, I would highly recommend it. This has been well worth the money for us – and we’re able to discard all those irritating power bricks that came with the phones. 🙂

“Quality Unit” – R. Foy “Techsity”
Score: 5/5 Source:

Easy to install and works like a charm…PoE is the way to go! I have 20 IP phones connected no power adapter needed
“Good price on a just what I needed to switch …” – A.P. Henderson
Score: 5/5 Source:

Good price on a just what I needed to switch office over to VOIP using PoE ports which this has plenty of. Also has automatic configuration of vLANs to separate the phones on the network. Very easy setup, no problems.
One minor issue which I’m not deducting for in this review but which should not have happened: there was a slight noise when first powering on the device. I didn’t have time to send it back so, reluctantly, I opened it – which didn’t require breaking any seals. With the cover off it was easy to see that the noise was coming from a wire that had apparently moved during shipping and was interfering with the cooling fan. I rerouted the wire and the noise disappeared.
“Noisy fan” – D. Coral
Score: 4/5 Source:

This switch has some wonderful features but.. the two fans on the side are unusually annoying sounding even when there is no PoE load when no cables are plugged in. It sounds like grandma’s old refrigerator from across the room. Although it’s not super loud, even the “gentle” fan noise becomes rather annoying when it sounds like mini gears turning plus a metallic tunnel sound of a whirring fridge compressor. I didn’t want to risk the noise again, so when I decided on a replacement I went with the Cisco SG300-10MPP which is fanless and has 10 PoE+ ports and super reliable as well.
“The unit was easy to set up and work great” – Staybright
Score: 5/5 Source:

I bought this to provide a central switch for my home ethernet system. The unit was easy to set up and work great. I love the fact that you can see with a glance whether the interconnected units are running at gigabit speeds or not.
The web interface is very intuitive and easy to use as such.
The fans are fairly quiet but I am glad I mounted my rack in the garage. Putting this in an out of the way closet or the garage like I did is the best way to go I believe.
“Works” – Lauren C
Score: 2/5 Source:

Works as described. Sometimes the web interface loads, sometimes it takes a long time to load, sometimes it doesn’t load at all, which is annoying. Interface has a couple confusing sections. For instance, there is no “firmware upgrade” section, you have to “download” the firmware to the switch, then choose the newer image under the “dual image configuration.”

Yamaha NSIW960 2-Way Speaker Review

  • Crossover Type-2-way;Minimum Frequency Response-50 Hz; Physical Characteristics-Weight (Approximate)-6.20 lb.;
  • Crossover Frequency-6.50 kHz; Maximum Frequency Response-28 kHz;
  • PMPO Output Power-150 W;Impedance-8 Ohm;
  • Dual 6.5″ Kevlar cone woofers
  • 1″ titanium swivel dome tweeter
  • 150-Watt maximum input capability
  • High-capacity, high-quality customized crossover network
  • Gold-plated push-type speaker terminals

Product Reviews

“Great sound” – Anthony
Score: 5/5 Source:

I purchased 3 and hooked them in a LCR setup for my basement 7.1 theater and I’m amazed with the clear sound I’m getting out of the 3 front speakers and the 4 NS-IW470- 6.5″ surround speakers also Yamaha, I would recommend this set up to anyone.
“Solid, high quality speaker” – Dave
Score: 4/5 Source:

Recently upgraded my receiver and wanted to clean up my home theater space so I decided to get rid of my bookshelf speakers and mount something in the wall. Having always been a fan of Yamaha, I took a look at their in-wall line and liked the look of the 760s and 960s. Specs were very similar between their single-woofer models and the duals and I thought that I’d like the look of the duals a bit more; and for slightly more ($20 per speaker) the 960s add 20W of power and have Kevlar woofers, which I am hoping may last a little longer than the coated paper.

Have had them for several months now so they’ve had time to break in, and these are nice, natural-sounding speakers. I listen to music CDs or concert DVDs more than movies and, when in pure stereo mode, these 960s have a very life-like staging. If you have a passive subwoofer or one with relatively low power, you may want to opt for an 8-inch single-woofer model, like the Polk MC85, that will give you a deeper response; if you have a decent sub and need your fronts to concentrate on the mids and highs, the 960s should be quite pleasing. And with handling of 150W, they can fill a decent sized room with no problem.

As far as installation, these were a breeze. Supplied is a template – simply trace it and cut out your drywall. Attach your speaker wire to the binding posts, press the speaker into the hole and tighten the 6 screws. And if you’re painting them before installation, Yamaha includes a plastic tray that fits snuggly into the groove where the grill fits – just put that in place and spray paint the frames, and do the grills as well. I’d suggest spraying both sides of the grill to make sure you’ve covered the inside of the holes. I matched them to my wall color and they blend into the decor nicely; if you’d rather paint them black to compliment your flat-screen monitor, I’m sure that would look great as well.

In all, the 960s are a solid flush-mount speaker. Good power, nice sound and simple installation. Decent buy at $199 each, but a great buy from Amazon at under $100 each.

“Great speaker – but hard to install as a center” – Do-It Yourselfer
Score: 3/5 Source:

We selected this speaker as a center channel for our home theater system. The sound is fantastic, but because of the size, it won’t fit between two studs, so you end up having to cut studs and frame around the speaker. It would be a 5-star product for vertical installation (which would be EXTREMELY easy, but for horizontal installation…Let’s just say that I would probably choose something else if I were to do it again.
“great center channel” – Amazon Customer
Score: 4/5 Source:

First let me start by saying this thing sounds great. The bad thing is most houses have 16″ stud spacing. If you are actually constructing a room, plan for this. You’ll need 24″ stud spacing. Now, if this fits the bill and you’re able to fit this, you’ll love it. The clarity is excellent. You hear every bit of what you should with a center channel. The dual kevlar woofers are well built, the tweeter is crisp, construction quality is top notch, and the grill is elegantly curved versus flat. I didn’t use the “glue” to hold the grill on. It stays on without the mess. The color, like most in wall or in ceiling speakers, is more off white, so don’t expect brilliant white. I gave it a 4 star because of the width restriction.
“Yamaha NS-IW960 In-Wall Speaker” – David B. Katz
Score: 5/5 Source:

This is an awesome speaker as a whole. It serves as my center channel directly below my 50″ Panasonic plasma. The sound quality is very good. Installation was easy if you are technically inclined. This speaker was a bit longer than other LCR speakers I looked at in this price range. I decided to go with it partially for that reason (so it wouldn’t look so small under the tv). I hand painted the trim in less than 10″ with a brush. The grill took two coats with a home depot handheld sprayer (cartridge type, $10). The paint was diluted with water at least 10 fold. If a whole fills with paint simply blow on it to pop it out. The speaker is visible, but blends right into the wall. Given the inexspensive price and all of this, I couldn’t be more pleased.
“Yamaha in Wall speakers!” – K. Arnold
Score: 4/5 Source:

These speaker cabinets are not small for in wall applications, so pay attention to the product dimensions. The sound is very good for the price. Installation requires that you pay attention to directions, it is easy enough to break off the plastic clamps that hook into the drywall behind the speaker if you use a power screw driver so exercise some care with this detail! These are used for side and rear speakers on a 7.1 surround sound Pioneer Elite sound system at 110 watts per channel with good results. Finding a reasonably priced speaker with decent sound for use at these power levels is not always easy and these Yamaha’s fit the bill nicely.
“yamaha quality” – Scott P. Peevy
Score: 5/5 Source:

Great product. Yamaha quality in every aspect. These are being used as left and right front speakers and the sound matches well with the center channel (yamaha ns-c225) and rear surrounds (yamaha ns-iw360c).
“Great Unit – Size larger than expected for horizontal mounting.” – LotusEater
Score: 5/5 Source:

Works great as my center channel. Be aware that it is wider than typical 2×4 spacing if mounting horizontally. I had to remove a part of a stud and build a header to support this as vertical mounting was not an option.
“Excellent as a center speaker.” – Toolmanjsp
Score: 5/5 Source:

Great sounding speaker to my ears. I use one of these for the center channel in an office training room (7.2 surround system) and it seems well suited for this. No distortion all the way up to max volume when the amp starts to clip. Voices and center channel sounds very clear.

If you are putting them horizontally in a stud wall, you will need to cut at least one stud out to get the clear width needed to put these in the wall. Mounting vertically they will of course fit within one stud cavity but this didn’t seem right for the center channel.

I had trouble with two of the six clamps. It could be because I was installing in a commercial building with 5/8″ drywall (instead of standard 1/2″ in a house) because when I loosened the screw far enough to get clearance two of the toggles refused to turn to the clamp position (friction between the screw and the toggle is supposed to make it turn so it clamps the edge of the hole). Nonetheless 4 clamps seem to hold it well enough and I give it 5 stars for the appearance and sound. I’d take off 1/2 star for the mounting system if Amazon allowed it.

“Excellent buy. Good bang for your buck.” – Charles Williams
Score: 5/5 Source:

Really nice speaker. I have Klispch and Polk speakers too. I have installed all 3 in customers homes. I went with the NSIW960 version because I liked the Kevlar cone. I use it as a center and 2 for fronts in my den 18X32X8. The sound is full and clear. The power handling is accurate. I am powering my speakers with the Pioneer VX 1123K and a Pioneer VX 1124K. I also have Yamaha 6.5 3 way as my rears. You will not find a better speaker for the price. Dollar for dollar these these Yamaha speakers are as good as Martin Logan in this price range. They are better than Polk or Klispch at a lower price. Let me be clear. These are not just entry level low grade speakers. They are of excellent construction and a great crossover.