Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sigma Siggi Red and Sigma HeadLed Lights Review

When it comes to electronics and outdoors, Sigma makes some great ones! They are probably best known for their bicycle products as well, such as lights. Up for review today are two of their lights, one is a bicycle light in the Sigma Siggi Red, and the other is a head lamp for outdoors, in the HEADLED.

Features and specs:
Siggi Red:
USB rechargeable LED front light with MICRO-USB charging port
Integrated lithium-ion rechargeable battery
0.5 W power LED
3 modes: power, standard and flashing
Burn time: 5 h (Power-), 9 h (Standard-), 8 h (Flashing mode)
2-stage battery / charge status indicator
During usage:
- battery capacity < 85% = green LED
- battery capacity < 15% = red LED
During recharge:
- red LED during charging process
- green LED when the battery is fully charged
Fully charged in 3 hours
Tool-free installation with integrated silicone strap
Click switch with tactile ON/OFF response
Water resistant
Weight: 40 g

5 super bright white LEDs
Extremely lightweight (37g without batteries)
Long burn time (up to 60 h)
Up to 15 m viewing distance
3 modes: Standard, energy-saving mode and flashing
Tool-free battery change (3 x AAA incl.)
Water resistant
Weight: 75 g

Both the Sigma Siggi Red and Sigma HEADLED came packed in plastic housing and printed paper with its features and specs. Construction was plastic for both, but was of high quality. Fit and finish of both were very good. They seemed to be well put together. The Sigma Red bicycle light came with the light, USB charging cable, and manual. The Sigma HEADLED came with the light with attached headband. Also included were the owners manual, and 3AAA batteries.

When it came to performance, the Sigma HEADLED did very well. I loved the headlamp design. Just turn it on, put it on your head, and you now have hands free light! The lamp is also adjustable to difference angles. It also has difference settings of low, high, flashing and off. It worked well, and gave great functionality. I would have liked, however for it to be even brighter. But it's brightness did appear to meet it's specs.

For the Sigma Red bicycle light, I absolutely LOVED the design! There are no wires involved. You change the light with the included cable. There is a red LED that glows red until it is fully charged. Once charged, attaching it to the bike was extremely simple. There is a notch/hook built into the housing at the bottom. And at the bottom there is also a rubber stamp with a small hole for the hook. So mounting it on your handle bar was as simple as setting it on your handlebar, and pulling it around the handle bar and attaching it to the hook. Less than 5 seconds and it is mounted securely.

It also performed very well. There was just one button on the top. It cycled through low, high, flashing and off. It's low setting provided a sufficient amount of light. Changing it to high, gave even a further distance that you can see at night. It's a pure white light, is rated at 9 hours on low or 5 hours on high. It lasted to those ratings easily.  I also liked the built-in LED on the top that would turn on green when you were down to 70% of a charge, and then turn red when you are down to 30% of a charge.

Sigma has a history of making great bicycle computers. I'm glad to see that tradition continue in their lights. With an MSRP of $29.99 for the Sigma Siggi Red, and $19.99 for the HEADLED, they are fairly priced as well. If you are in the market, you can't go wrong with Sigma. For more info and complete specs check out their website at

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Kingston SDCA 10 64GB Review

Kingston SDCA 10 64GB Review

Storage for phones, tablets cameras or any other device often is measured in capacity. As the demands for more and more storage increase, the need for faster storage also increases. A phone or camera that can record videos at 120 frames per second will not only need greater storage to record the videos to, it will demand a faster write speed of that storage.

As you shop this holiday season looking for the perfect gifts, we're sure there will be some shiny new toys in there that will fall into the category we've described. Did you just purchase a shiny new Galaxy Note 4? Do you have a new GoPro 4? To get the best performance out of your new toys, the quality of your storage will be important and not all micro sd cards are created equal.


Capacities1 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
Performance2 90MB/s read and 45MB/s write, UHS-I Speed Class 1 (U1)
microSDHC/SDXC Card Dimensions 11mm x 15mm x 1mm
SD Adapter Dimensions 24mm x 32mm x 2.1mm
Operating Temperature -25°C to 85°C
Storage Temperature -40°C to 85°C
Voltage 3.3V

The card comes in sizes with current market prices ranging from $10.99 up to $52.90 on Amazon. If you are unfamiliar with UHS Speed class, it was introduced with SDHC and SDXC. It's another class that identifies the minimum performance of the card. If you take a look at the chart on wikipedia you can see that it has the same minimum speed as a Class 10 drive would have.


If 10 MB/s is the minimum performance of a Class 10 and UHS Speed Class 1 (U1), then how does the SDCA 10 stack up in real world performance? For our tests, we used a USB 3.0 card reader to put the card through the ropes. After that we used the card in a Note 3 plugged in to a USB 3.0 port on our computer to test transfer speeds between computer and phone (more on that later).

From our first test with ATTO we can see right away a couple of interesting things. First off, the jump from the 32 KB speed test up to the 64 KB speed test is extreme to say the least. I was expecting a slightly more gradual increase in speed but that massive jump is nice to see. Another point of interest is that once we get to 256 KB sizes the card levels out in performance with write speeds reaching up around 62 MB/s and read speeds hitting a solid 83 MB/s (Each MB being 1024 KB).

Our real world testing showed signs of write speeds around 70 MB/s and read speeds of 85 MB/s. These numbers were pleasantly on par with the ATTO benchmark in every way.


After using such a fast drive in my smart devices and seeing real world performance gains I don't think I could ever go back to a cheap SD card with slower speeds. There are devices on the market now that demand more from our SD cards. If you're an owner of a new GoPro Hero 4 or a phone/camera that shoots 120 frames a second of video then you will need an SD card that can deliver the speeds required for that much data. We recommend the Kingston SDCA 10 for the job. Of course if you're shooting raw HD videos you will need something capable of writing closer to 100 MB/s; however, most consumer products will be shooting compressed HD video and th Kingston SDCA will be more than capable for the job.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Harman Kardon Nova 2.0 Portable Wireless Speaker System Review

Our portable devices are getting more and more capable of handling multimedia, and this includes audio. Taking advantage of this so many take their music with them on their smartphone. To access the music, we use portable media players. One such player is the Harman Kardon Nova 2.0 Wireless Speaker System.

Features and specs:
• Power supply: 19V DC, 3A

• Power consumption: 57W maximum, <0 .5w="" eco-standby="" mode="" p="">
• Speaker channel number: 2

• Transducers: 2.5’’(63mm) for woofer, 1.25’’(35mm) for tweeter.

• Amplifier power: 2*20W woofer+2*20W tweeter

• Frequency response: 70Hz - 20KHz

• Signal-to-noise ratio: 85dB at rated power (A-weighting)
• Bluetooth® transmitter frequency range: 2.402 - 2.480gHz
• Bluetooth® transmitter power: Max. 4dBm
• Bluetooth® transmitter modulation: GFSK, π/4 DQPSK, 8DPSK

The Harman Kardon Nova came packaged in a good looking box, with photos and specs. Included was the owners manual, power cable, and 3.5 mm cable for a portable device. Materials used in it's construction were mostly plastic, but very high quality. Fit and finish and build quality was very good.

I really liked the design and look of the Harman Kardon Nova. They are simply just two orbs, that connect together. One of them has the connections on the back, with an output connector to connect it to and power the 2nd orb. The connections on the back of the front orb are for the power cord, output for the 2nd orb, and two inputs that consist of 3.5 mm input and optical input. Other connection options are to connect wirelessly through Bluetooth or NFC.

I also really like their look. The front of the speaker has black cloth to cover the dual drivers, and at the rear of each is the passive radiator. I really like the touch controls and the clear plastic that gives a modern look and design. The touch controls include power, source, and volume control, with white LED's on the top to show the volume level. The clear plastic on the top and sides show the internal turbine look that I think is pretty cool.

To test the sound of the Harman Kardon Nova, I turned to tracks from various difference genre and was impressed with the overall sound, especially bass. Highs were crisp and clear, mids were sufficiently smooth, and the lows were deeper than expected and played with good impact. With how good it sounded, I had to verify that it was indeed just a passive radiator at the back, and not an active woofer at the back.

I was very impressed with the sound overall. A lot of is was due to the custom DSP used to tune the two active drivers in each speaker, and the passive radiator in the rear. The highs, such as percussion, was pleasantly crisp and not overly bright. The mids had good detail. For their size, the bass also had good extension and output. The output in volume was also fairly good for it's size. Only when I cranked the volume up all the way did the sound seem a tad stretched with a small discernible amount of distortion.

The Harman Kardon Nova gives a lot of functionality. I can see them being used in the kitchen, den, or bedroom, where you could hook them up to a CD player via optical connector, MP3 player/cellphone/computer via the 3.5 mm cable, or cellphone via the Bluetooth or NFC. I also love the modern look of the round speakers with clear plastic all around that shows off the internal turbine design.

Harman Kardon delivered well on the Nova. With great looks and good sound, the excellent looks provide a synergy that sum up to a great product. Based on it's design, features, quality and performance, the Harmon Kardon Nova 2.0 Speaker System has earned our Editor's Choice Award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at

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GamesterGear Cruiser XB210 Gaming Headset Review

Games keep getting better and better. For example, when comparing graphics of the PS to PS2, to PS3 to PS4, they keep getting better and better. But it is not all about the graphics. Audio is a huge part of the experience. After all, in a war game, if you can't hear the enemy behind you, you're dead! The GamesterGear Cruiser XB210 gives your sense of sound all it needs.

Features and specs:
Superior audio experience:
Delivers an impressive audio quality that intensifies gameplay. Background music and sounds will seem flawless.
Microphone monitor:
Allows the user to hear what they’re saying.
 BASS QUAKE effect:
Engineered with 57mm and 30mm drivers in each ear cup to produce force-feedback which in turn creates a rumbling effect feeling that will make the user feel as if they are in the midst of all the action.
Detachable mic:
Easily removable and reattaches with a twist lock.
Lightweight supra-aural design:
Features on-ear speakers layered in soft cloth and leather padding on the headband.
The Gamester Gear Cruiser XB210 came well packaged in a printed box. It had pictures of the products, and it's specs. Build materials was mostly plastic, but was of good quality. Fit and finish was also good. They are not the most solid feeling, but they also do not feel cheaply made either. Take care of them, and they should last a good long time.

I really liked the design.  The soft cloth ear pads made for comfort during gameplay that most times went on the long side.  The detachable mic made them easy to use without it.  But having a detachable mic is actually fairly common , and not a unique feature.  But what is unique is the use of dual drivers. One of the drivers is full range, and 2nd driver is a bass driver that adds rumble.

When it came to testing them, I was VERY impressed! The highs were crisp and clean without being overly bright. The vocals were clear and sounded natural. And the explosions were extremely life-like with great depth and impact. Everything in the game was articulated very well. The mic was also sufficiently sensitive and picked up your vocals very well, although it was also able to pick up those around you as well. My son and his friends loved it as well, stating it was the nicest gaming headset they have used.

The Gamester Gear Cruiser XB210 performed very well. Based on it's design, features, quality, and performance, the GamesterGear Cruiser XB210 has earned our Recommended Award. And with an MSRP of $99, it is a good value as well. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at

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Friday, November 21, 2014

ASUS ESC4000 G2S Powers World’s Number One Green500 Supercomputer

ASUS ESC4000 G2S Powers World’s Number One Green500 Supercomputer
Fremont, CA (November 20, 2014) - ASUS today announced that its ESC4000 G2S servers have powered their way to the top of the Green500 list of the world’s most energy-efficient supercomputers, as part of the L-CSC compute cluster constructed by the Darmstadt, Germany-based GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung, in cooperation with the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS). The cluster will be used for theoretical physics simulations in the field of quantum chromodynamics.

Driven by 160 ASUS ESC4000 G2S supercomputer servers, 224 AMD® FireProTM S9150 dual-GPU modules, an array of 112 Intel® Xeon® E5-2690 v2 processors and 896 16GB 1.35v DDR3-1600 memory modules, the L-CSC cluster at GSI manages an performance-efficiency ratio of 5.27GFLOPs (5270MFLOPs) per watt — beating hundreds of other contenders to the pinnacle of the prestigious Green500 rankings.

Commenting on the achievement, ASUS General Manager of Server BU, Tom Lin, said: “ASUS has a long, trusted and proud standing in the high-performance computing (HPC) field. With the November 2014 Green500 list we have reached a new level, with the table-topping GSI project using ASUS ESC4000 G2S GPU servers. We're proud to offer our customers solutions that deliver unparalleled performance and utmost energy efficiency. The GSI cluster delivers top-tier performance for critical HPC applications — and ASUS is pleased to be part of the project.”

Dr. Volker Lindenstruth, professor of Frankfurt’s Goethe University, head of IT department of GSI and chairman of Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, remarked: “Supercomputers are inevitable in today's research. The scientific challenges require computers as fast as possible, but we have to keep power consumption and costs in mind, in order to use our available resources as good as possible.” The professor continued: “We're excited to reach the number-one position in the Green500 list with the new L-CSC supercomputer and we thank AMD and ASUS for the excellent cooperation. The L-CSC supercomputer at GSI research facility featuring ASUS ESC4000 G2S servers and AMD FirePro GPUs provides.”

Extreme supercomputing power with extreme efficiency
The ASUS ESC4000 G2S is the enhanced version of the award-winning ESC4000 G2 product family. Based on the dual Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 processor platform and designed for use in environments that demand high-density GPU/coprocessor servers, ESC4000 G2S Series servers feature a highly-optimized thermal design that’s up to 20% more power efficient than the previous version and nine PCI Express® 3.0 (PCIe 3.0) x16 expansion slots.

The innovative design delivers high-density computing power, easy scalability and exceptional energy efficiency, making ESC4000 G2S series servers the ideal choice for applications in the HPC fields of life and medical sciences, engineering science, financial modeling, virtualization and digital content creation — and overall performance that’s up to 10% greater than previous models.

Supercomputing prowess supported by ASUS servers
ASUS worked closely with AMD, FIAS and GSI to support national-level scientific research. Founded in 1969, GSI is a research facility for heavy-ion research, including cancer therapy GSI’s compute cluster was designed and built in conjunction with FIAS, a research institute for physics, neuroscience, life science and computer science. This ASUS ESC4000 G2S-based supercomputing world-leader is relied on by researchers from around the world.

The ESC4000 G2S is available at ASUS authorized distributors.
Full specifications available at

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Eton FRX4 Multi-Powered Emergency Radio & Charger Review

Technology continues to get more and more integrated into our lives. Even outdoor activities such as camping, we bring our devices with us. Up for review today is a great one from Eton. It is the Eton FRX4. The Eton FRX4 is an all-in-one type of device that includes a digital radio, light, and multiple charging options.

Features and specs:
• AM/FM/NOAA Weatherband
• NOAA Weather Alerts
• Digital display
• 1000mAh rechargable lithium battery
• 5V 1A USB output
• Hand crank power
• Rugged1 and IPX4plashproof2
• High efficiency solar panel
• Bright, long-lasting LED flashlight
• Red emergency beacon
• DC power input via included micro-USB cable
• Glow-in-the-dark locator
• Headphone jack
• 3-AAA battery option (batteries not included)

The Eton FRX4 comes in a nice looking color printed box, with photos and specs of the device. Opening the box revealed a well protected device sitting in a molded plastic piece to protect it. Also included were the owners manual, and charging cable. The Eton FRX4 was built mostly of plastic. But the quality was very good, as well as the fit and finish. It appeared well built and solid.

The Eton FRX4 is quite full featured. It included a digital tuner for AM/FM as well as Weatherband, and a telescoping antenna. Also included is an LED light, and multiple charging options. The light was sufficiently bright. The tuner also did a good job of pulling in channels. I really liked the included weatherband. Now if you go camping, especially for extended periods, you can get useful weather updates, such as for storms or flash floods. It even included a headphone jack, so you can listen without using the built-in speaker, and not disturb others around you.

The Eton FRX4 also includes multiple charging options. There is no situation where you would not be able to power the device. The included cable allows for USB charging, for the internal batteries. If you forgot to charge it, no problem; there is a built-in solar panel on the back. And if it's in the evening, you are still covered; there is a hand crank that you can charge the device by hand crank. The Eton FRX4 also doubles as a charger for your electronic devices, such as cell phone or tablet, with the included USB cable.

I was excited to put the Eton FRX4 through it's paces, and see just how well it works. After all, I am also a scoutmaster for a local Boy Scout troop, and do a lot of camping. And I know many others that can use a device like this. It performed very well in all tasks. And while I would not say it's built like a tank, it is well built, feels fairly solid, and should give years of use if taken care of. It is one I would not hesitate to include as part of my gear.

One of the best complements a reviewer can give, is that it worked as agreed. And that is exactly the case of the Eton FRX4. The LED's for the lights worked great. The radio tuner pulled in stations fairly well, and it even has a clock and alarm. There's also no need to continually monitor the weather band. You can just set it for alerts, and it will come on with alerts in your area. And all of the power options worked as they were supposed to: internal Lithium battery, using AAA batteries, solar panels, and hand cranking. And using it to charge any cellphone worked good as well.

The Eton FRX4 is a perfect device that every camper or prepper. With the solar panel and hand crank, you can power it anywhere! It is the perfect gift idea. Based on it's design, features, quality, and performance, the Eton FRX4 has earned our Highly Recommended Award. Kudos to Eton for such an excellent product. If only it had a short band radio as well. Oh wait.... they have that in a difference product. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at

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