Friday, August 20, 2010

iSkin Solo for iPhone 4

- iSkin Solo was my favorite case for my iPhone 3gs so I've been waiting for them to finally come out with an iPhone 4 model.
- It was half price ($15) direct from their site. I think the deal is good until the end of the month. Shipping is a bit high at around $7.
- I picked up the black one for myself and the pink one for the wife.
- This is a very nice TPU case. I really like the feel. It has a very nice texture around the edge to give it a nice grip without being sticky. The back has that standard TPU feel (slightly grippy but doesn't stick or pick up lint that easily).
- The entire case is slightly translucent to give it that smokey look. The back is properly frosted so it looks great with no weird glass meets plastic watery marks. It's pretty shinny.
- There is a bit more lip now over the front which I like. This way it will NOT interfere with screen protectors like my awesome power support crystal film set ($20). It's also just thick enough to give some protection to the front of the screen if you lay it face down. There are some slits in the top corners to help you get the iPhone in the case.
- Buttons are very easy to press. The cut outs match very well. There is plenty of space around the camera (no flash issues). The only flaw I found was the strip underneath the connector is a bit close and may interfere with 3rd party sync cables like the one I pictured above. You have to pull the case down a bit to get the cable to fit. It's a bit inconvenient. The original sync cable fits perfectly. This is only an issue with 3rd party cables that have a bit more plastic around the connector. Fyi, you can get apple oem sync cables for around $4 shipped on ebay.

Highly recommended. iSkin pretty much gets everything just right. Their attention to detail is near perfect except the aforementioned very minor bottom connector issue. After 6 cases I'm finally happy. iSkin solo + power support crystal = complete protection, great looks, and a great feel.

Belkin Shield Micra iPhone 4 Case

- This was the free case I picked that you get from Apple.
- It's a hard plastic case. It has just enough flex to it to allow you to slip your iPhone 4 in. The plastic is pretty hard but doesn't seem too brittle. It would probably hold up pretty well.
- It's very thin and looks pretty good. The back where the glass meets the plastic can still leave some odd looking watery marks.
- The top and bottom are almost completely exposed.
- Space around the camera is good
- It does NOT interfere with screen protectors. The sides barely come up over the front of the screen.
- There are cut outs for the mute and volume switch. I found the volume switch a bit too recessed and hard to reach.
- It's very slippery. I feel like the phone is going to fly out of my hand.

Not Recommended even for free. It offers too little protection/coverage, and it's too slippery to hold.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Samsung SyncMaster P2770H

- So the Westinghouse 24" died after only two years. It died the same way the first one I had (which died in 30 days) where the screen goes all pink. It has a crappy 1 year warranty too so I'm hosed. I'm done with third tier producers. Never again!
- So I was looking for a replacement. 27" seemed like it would be a nice upgrade and I've been very happy with my previous samsung hdtv's and monitors. Newegg had this model on sale for $315 shipped 3 day.
- I noticed most monitors these days are only 1920X1080 vs 1920X1200. I kind of miss the additional vertical resolution but I can't complain about the price.
- It has hdmi and a dvi-i inputs and audio outputs which pulls audio from hdmi. It does not have speakers. The stand is not very adjustable. All you can do is tilt it a bit. It does not swivel or have height adjustment.
- It comes with a dvi-dvi and dvi-vga cable.
- I'm primarily using this for gaming and some programming. It's a TN panel but I really don't care. I'd rather have the quicker 2ms gtg response time and reduced input lag. View angle and color reproduction are secondary to me.
- Backlight is pretty uniform with no obvious bleeding. I didn't find any dead pixels.
- HDMI worked fine with the 2 computers I'm using it with through a monoprice hdmi switch. On the nvidia 8600gt it looked fine without any adjustments. My ATI radeon 5850 hd though defaulted with a lot of underscan. It's a little hard to find in the catalyst drivers. Look here for some nice directions on how to turn underscan off so you get 1:1 native resolution without any scaling. Text is very clear.
- I'm sure a gaming console would work nicely with the HDMI too. Also, there is the P2770HD model for about $40 more you get a nice hdtv/monitor hybrid with a built in tuner, speakers, remote, and a lot more input options.
- Under setup | PC/AV Mode: Set it to PC Mode. Also set Auto Source to manual so sleep works properly.
- I tried some world of warcraft and call of duty modern warfare 2 on it. The size is pretty overwhelming at first but in an awesome sort of way. I quickly adjusted to it. Picture looked great with no ghosting or input lag.
- It has a very subtle red touch of color which matches my 46" samsung hdtv in the same room quite nicely. It also uses the same touch controls. There are no physical buttons. You just touch specific spots in the lower right corner and the area lights up with menu, arrows, etc for you to touch for each function. It's very aesthetically pleasing but some people might prefer physical buttons. My samsung hdtv is the same way too.
- 3 year warranty.
- I'm still messing with the picture settings but I already like what I see.
- No mounting holes on the back.

Highly recommended. For $315 you would be hard pressed to find a better panel. Sure some frills and features had to be cut but for the price and size it's an amazing deal.

Logitech PlayStation 3 Cordless MediaBoard Pro

- So I'm a big fan of the old Logitech Cordless Mediaboad especially for htpc use. I have several of them. I decided to give this newer Pro model a try. I picked it up from amazon for $55. It's very similar to the old model except it's bluetooth. It's primarily designed for the playstation 3 but it works fine with other devices like computers and iOS as long as it has bluetooth since no dongle is included. I was just basically looking for a nice generic full size bluetooth keyboard, and the touchpad is a bonus.
- The key layout is nice and normal. I really like the feel of it. If you use it with windows or osx just note that there is no windows or command key but you can remap some other key if you want in the OS.
- It works really well with my iPhone 4. Just note that none of the extra keys or any of the navigation keys outside of the arrow keys and ctrl + arrow work. That means no home button key or any of the media controls for ipod player work. The touchpad obviously doesn't do anything either.

Recommended. It's a better value than the apple wireless bluetooth keyboard though this is a more generic keyboard so it's not going to have any OS specific keys. It feels great to type on and works well with your iOS devices. Plus you get an integrated touchpad.