Posts tagged with "Review"

An honest review of the Surface Pro 3

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I bought a Surface Pro 3 in November 2014, I haven’t wrote anything at all about my thoughts on it since purchasing it, I figured it was better to wait until I had actually been using it for a significant amount of time and give it an honest review. A year and a half I figure to be more than enough time.

So this post is going to be structured in the following way, condensed Pro/Cons. for you speed readers and then just my personal thoughts on things I’ve come across while using the device.

Pros

  • Amazingly portable, very light and much easier to use on your lap than a traditional laptop.
  • Can run pretty much all software, Photoshop, Jetbrains products, Office etc all work well.
  • Can run certain games, Hearthstone works great, older games like Warcraft aren’t an issue. Processor heavy games like Starcraft II will work but become extremely laggy when lots of units are out.
  • Touchscreen is very satisfying to use for browsing the web etc.

Cons

  • WiFi is a complete joke. Sometimes after resuming from sleep you won’t have WiFi anymore. I’ve had the WiFi just completely disappear on me and ended up having to wipe & restore the entire device.
  • Overheating is a serious issue, even when running just a browser the surface can become incredibly hot, some people are combating this by having an external fan pointed at the device.
  • The chargers connection to the Surface is pretty much the worst design ever. Unless you constantly make sure it’s not bending in any way whatsoever prepare to replace your charger every 6 months. The chargers are not cheap either!
  • You constantly need to change the scaling of the resolution depending on what you’re running. Coding in an IDE scale up, games scale down. Changing scaling requires logging out and back into Windows, kind of awkward but could be worse.

Well that’s the basic pro and cons down, now lets get into why I actually bought the Surface and my personal feelings on it.

I bought the Surface because I needed a semi-powerful laptop that I could bring back and forth to work, having never owned a tablet the idea of the Surface appealed to me, being both a laptop and a tablet. I was not looking for a gaming laptop, but a laptop that could at least play some games. Mainly I needed a laptop that would allow me to do programming, wherever and whenever.

Success wise, portability worked out as expected. But I will say you really have to consider when buying the Surface for that reason how often are you going to be using it in that fashion. When I actually use the device on a table, I always get the feeling that I would be better of using an actual laptop. I do however find the tablet aspects of it nice, just being able to disconnect the keyboard and have a powerful tablet for browsing the internet or playing touchscreen games is very nice.

Failure wise, I have no idea what the WiFi’s problem is half the time, it’s extremely frustrating to have to deal with it disappearing completely. I’ve tried a bunch of solutions on Google and there really isn’t any set answer to it, sometimes simple fixes will work, other times you have to wipe and restore the Surface completely. It’s without a doubt the biggest downfall of this device. The power cable is also a real nuisance to deal with as mentioned above. Another point is like every other device the battery gets worse over time and since there is no way of replacing the battery in the Surface your only solution is to buy another one.

So overall I would rate the Surface 30/42. I’m not entirely satisfied with it and I certainly will not be buying another one. I think it would be more suited to journalists or perhaps artists who would make more use of the pen.

If I could time travel and talk to myself before I bought it I would be telling myself to either buy a Lenovo or a MacBook instead.


Posted on June 11, 2016

Esprimo Mobile v5535 and Ubuntu 10.10

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So I ended up picking up a cheap Esprimo Mobile v5535 a few days ago, long story short; laptop broke, Argos have sent it off for repairs that will take 2-3 weeks, that’s the last time I buy a laptop from Argos.

Anyway the Esprimo Mobile isn’t exactly a cutting edge laptop, if you said it was outdated you wouldn’t be wrong. When I got it the OS installed was Windows Vista, “ambitious” I thought, of course I can’t have any kind of computer without tinkering with it endlessly to find out the best way performance wise for it to be running, Ubuntu was in my head from the start but an apparently broken CD-drive was putting an end to that.. I’ve never tried to install Ubuntu from a network and I wasn’t going to start now, (USB wasn’t an option in boot) instructions on Ubuntu’s Support don’t make a network install look simple!

A few Registry edits later, (one too many in-fact) I had the CD-drive working but Windows locked in that state of “somethings missing, would you like to use Startup Repair?” and then when using Startup repair just rebooting the computer into the same cycle. No worries though at this stage I just began installation of Ubuntu. I was surprised to see that the Wi-Fi worked from the get-go, is nDiswrapper ever needed any more? 😛 The only issue was the resolution seemed to go no higher than 800×600.. Of course a few google searches later and I found this article which explains how to install the drivers for SiS Graphics.

Using their default Xorg.conf and driver I rebooted only to find the machine now screwed graphic wise, lines all down the screen changing.. I originally thought it was the refresh rate but hell this is Linux, you could set every setting to the absolute worst one possible and still be able to change back, where is that option Windows? So I switched to a terminal window (Ctrl + Shift + F5 (any F key) for those interested) opened up Xorg.conf and using sudo nano changed what seemed to be affecting the graphics; Option "UseTiming1366" "yes" to Option "UseTiming1366" "no" (didn’t know yet if it was the problem) rebooted and finally got a 1280×800 resolution!

So the point of this story is; It’s great how in Linux you’ll mess something up and still be able to repair it via a terminal window, and if you need better resolution on your Esprimo Mobile click this link .


Posted on February 04, 2011

The Sony Ericsson Elm

elm_front_metalblack_latin42090.jpg So I’ve finally gotten a new phone, the Sony Ericsson Elm which is a part of Sony Ericsson’s “Greenheart” family. So far I’ve been using the phone a week I am extremely pleased with it. It’s made from recycled plastics and is free from hazardous chemicals – and comes with a low power consumption charger, reduced packaging, some eco-aware apps and an e-manual on the phone instead of a printed guide.

It also comes with built in Wi-Fi and A-GPS technology, HSPA high-speed mobile network data capability, a 5-megapixel camera and a full of multimedia features. Measuring up at 110 x 45 x 14mm at its thickest, and weighing 90g, the Elm feels slim in-hand and pretty lightweight.

The buttons are familiar to Sony Ericsson’s, with a rectangular central navigation D-pad surrounded by more comfortably curved buttons. Although it comes with decent music player software, Sony Ericsson hasn’t built in a standard 3.5mm headphone socket on this model, relying on its Sony Ericsson multi-connector socket on the side. A camera button is included on the side, along with volume keys, while the camera lens on the back panel is accompanied by a small LED flash.

The home screen has a simple widget system, currently allowing a Facebook app, a calendar app and the Sony Ericsson Walk Mate Eco pedometer application. Once selected, these sit on the home screen, and you can switch between them, so you can see regular updates from whichever of the widgets you use.

Email set up and usage is also a now-familiar routine. An email wizard enables you to get started with email by adding just a few details – name, email address, username and password. Settings are downloaded automatically if you’re using popular POP3/IMAP4 email account, and messages from your regular accounts are downloaded to the inbox.

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The Elm is powered by a 1000mAh lithium-polymer battery that Sony Ericsson claims can deliver up to 446 hours of standby time or four hours of calls on 3G networks (or 430 hours’ standby or 10 hours’ calls in GSM-only coverage). However if you have WI-FI constantly on like myself you’ll notice the battery last’s about a day and a half. (Not bad considering)

Among the more eye-catching of the other applications pre-loaded onto the Elm are applications that use the onboard A-GPS satellite positioning gadgetry, plus a selection of applications that emphasise the green message behind Sony Ericsson’s “Greenheart” initiative. Google Maps also comes pre-built into the phone and supports street and satellite viewing. Other applications included are Youtube, Accuweather, EcoMate, Neoreader and Wisepilot.

Overall I love this phone, the camera is great and really I’ve just been searching for an affordable phone with WI-FI for quiet a while, this fits that need. The built in browser isn’t amazing but you can fix that by downloading Opera Mini .

Finally the cost I hear you ask? Well I picked it up on o2 pre-pay for €169, I’ve tried to check other provider’s websites for it, Vodafone do not seem to carry the model and the meteor store seems extremely broke at the minute! I’ll update here if that changes!


Posted on June 06, 2010