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Buying Gadgets and Tech

December 29th, 2008 | Posted by pftq in 42 | #
I'm not going to say which brands or anything are the best (though they're usually the custom or off-brand ones Tongue ) because they're always changing. Below however are usually the sites I check to figure out what I'm buying before I buy them.
Review and Information Sites - Reviews mainly for hardware such as drives and memory. - Detailed reviews on the latest camcorders. Recently seems to be only reviewing a select few; hopefully they start reviewing more often again.
CDFreaks - Articles and a huge forum for tips on CDs, DVDs, and other media.
Digital Photography Review - Detailed reviews on cameras. Reviews are detailed, though also seems to be reviewing less often. However, statistics are always current. Most useful is pixel density; those with some experience will know that higher megapixels are only good if the sensor size also increases (otherwise it just means noisier images).
Notebook and Laptop Reviews - Detailed reviews on latest laptop computers, as well as articles on related items as well. Also a useful forum for further information if you're willing to dig for it.
slashCam Digital Videos - Side-by-side tests and comparisons of the latest camcorders.
Tom's Hardware - One of the best places to find reviews and articles in general. Their focus, however, is on computer hardware parts like hard drives and graphics cards. Very useful benchmarks, graphs, and more.
Techbargains - Would presume that even if you knew what to buy, you'd want it for cheap no? This site compiles a list of all sales ads relating to electronics and software.
Running Shoes Guru - Useful review site for good running shoes. Too many types lately, hard to keep up.

Suggested Brands
Sadly, this post would be pretty pointless if I didn't at least suggest my own biases. Tongue

Camera: Sony RX100 - Hugely beats out the Canon S100 that once dominated the space for pocketability with large sensor size. It's a first generation though, so I will be waiting for more polishing up before upgrading, unless prices come down a lot as well. Last updated 2012
Camcorders: Sony XR500V - Usually Canon beats Sony in terms of image quality and Sony beats Canon in terms of being user-friendly. The lowlight for Sony this year, however, has much less noise due to the new technique with the sensor. In good lighting, the Canon is supposedly better, but both are high-end camcorders (meaning if the Sony is slightly worse, it'd still be much better than most camcorders). Last Updated 2009.
Camcorder Microphones: Rode VideoMic or Stereo VideoMic - assuming you're on a budget. If you had all the money to spend on microphones, you probably wouldn't be here. Tongue Also worth checking out Jack's Music Factory for buying microphones; very low prices for items they offer requests.
Earphones: Etymotic ER4P - Very high noise isolation (different from noise cancelling, no hissing sound) and one of the best sound quality. Some dislike how deep it goes into your ear (though I don't really notice) so you may want to check out the lesser ER6 as well - that would be more suitable to casual wear and it's lighter, less expensive. A competing brand would be Shure, which I've read is just as good if not better - definitely check those out as well.
Desktop Computers: Custom build it. ECollegePC comes pretty close to bare bones cost if you don't want to build it yourself.
Desktop Screen/Monitor: Dell UltraSharp Series. Generally rated for best color, features, and framerate.
Laptops / Notebook Computers: Dell XPS M1330 - This is one of the few laptops under 4lbs with dedicated GPU and specs enough for gaming; keyboard is also very soft and comfortable to type on. Hard to find this combination. Last Updated 2008
Notebook Bag/Storage: Tom Bihn, Waterfield - If you want premium storage for your computer, those are some of the top 2 brands. Waterfield seems to have cheaper/more reasonable prices but both are still quite expensive.
Hard Drive for Speed: Samsung, OCZ Vertex, Mushkin Chronos - Mushkin Chronos is not necessarily the fastest like the other 2 but is pretty close to the top for much lower price. However, if possible, I'd go for an SLC-based drive rather than these newer MLC. Had an older Samsung SLC drive from 2008 and it was still much faster than the Intel 320 SSD I picked up in 2010. <_<
Hard Drive for Storage: Western Digital Cavier GP (500GB, 1TB, etc) - These are designed to be energy-efficient and are rated to stay the coolest as well as consume the least power (energy savings). They also tend to go on sale alot and cost less than other drives.
Hard Drive Enclosure: None. Just grab a SATA-USB cable and you can convert any internal drive to an external for less cash and bulk.
Flashlight: Quark MiniX 123 - Very tiny (2-inch) flashlight that can emit up to 200 lumens. Although it says not to, you can use 4Sevens's rechargeable 3.7V batteries to make the light even brighter (just don't let it overheat).
Glasses: ZenniOptical - Cheaper and better selection than your typical eyeglass store.
Piano Keyboard/Controller: Akai LPK25 - Obviously you can always pay more to get a better fullsize keyboard, so why bother going there? Tongue The LPK25 is a 25-key miniature controller that still has fairly playable keys as opposed to other products in the same range which might have more "clicky" keys.
MP3/Portable Media Players: Cowon D2 - No Ipod here... reasons I chose this instead include mainly the fact it accepts SD cards for storage and because it's supposedly most reknowned for sound quality (though you'd also need pretty good earphones). A competing brand that also is just as popular online is iRiver so that's another option to check out.
Pocket Projector: Optoma PK301 - It is still an LED projector, meaning you have to focus the image, but its brightness goes up to 50 lumens, which beats any other pocket projector so far. Ideally, a laser projector such as Microvision ShowWX or AAXA L1 would be better to avoid needing to focus the image, but the current ones only go up to about 10-20 lumens and are $500 or more. Last Updated 2010.
Portable Speaker: IceTech Duette Speaker - Very small and very loud speaker. Charges by USB and lasts up to a week. The front side can also pop out to provide more base.
Printer and Ink: Ink Republic - Pretty much the only place I go for ink. If you have a printer they support, you almost never run out of ink.
Running Shoes: Nike Lunarfly - Came down between this and the Zoom Elites for lightness and comfort. Zoom Elite's felt a tad bulkier and less lateral support for shuffling if needed.
Scanner: Fujitsu S1300i ScanSnap - Very small and compact, scans both sides of the document using a feed in. Bit more expensive than flatbed ones but worth it if you scan a lot.
Soundcard: Asus Xonar DX - Cleanest sound I've had so far with no filters or added stuff like most other cards.
Last Updated Feb 2nd, 2022 | 956 unique view(s)


  1. nktvnvn said,
    May-08-2009, 07:31pm

    Ah, I want that IceTech Duette Speaker. Simply cute. Thanks.

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