Logitech Harmony 650 Remote Review

The Logitech Harmony 650 Universal remote is super easy to program and works great but is a bit underwhelming ergonomically. Ironically, the remote resembles a unit that Comcast issues with its set top box but doesn't feel as good in the hand to operate. There's too many small buttons which makes it difficult to memorize favorites based on feel. That's disappointing for a $79 retail product.

The Logitech 650 Remote could not be any easier to setup. Download the software, enter the model numbers of the devices you want to control, customize the buttons to your liking and hit the synch button. Done.  Our only complaint here is Logitech's user survey kept popping up. Once would be okay. Every time we run the app is obnoxious.

In use the Harmony 650 works really well. It has multiple one touch buttons near the top of the remote that trigger typical TV activities and of course all of these can be customized to have all your devices do any sort of electronic dance you want. Very easy, very cool.

One of the most important features is the ability to control smart TVs such as Samsung and others. Essentially, these type of smart viewing devices offer deeper menus and the access to online services such as Pandora, Netflix, Hulu and also any personal NAS services you may have in the house. Again, the Harmony 650 worked without any hiccups.

The Harmony 650 retails for $79. We think the software and ease of programming help to justify the cost but would like to see better physical buttons and overall feel in the hand.

Visit Logitech for more information and to check out all the features. 

Sony Vegas Pro 13 Review

Sony Vegas Pro 13 feels a lot like Vegas Pro 12 with some minor updates to the UI. It features a new proxy editing mode that could be useful for ENG style workflows, enhanced audio level monitoring and new collaboration features.

The number one thing we were looking for in Vegas Pro 13 is increased performance, stability and exploitation of multicore and GPU heavy systems for real time editing and faster rendering times. Sony makes no mention of any improvements to the fundamental Vegas engine. In our tests it seems to perform very much like Vegas Pro 12. Projects that experience hiccups in 12 performed just the same in Vegas 13.

Our favorite new feature of Vegas Pro 13 is the multi-tool pop up menu that is now located beneath the timeline. It’s a subtle change that’s implemented in a seamless way that feels instantly familiar and is very handy.  

The CALM loudness meters are a nice addition to Vegas Pro that adds a level of confidence when mastering assets for broadcast distribution. However, considering the Vegas pedigree as an audio platform from the beginning, this should be a rev upgrade to Vegas Pro 11 and 12 users anyway.

Project archiving is useful. Despite our best efforts in the past we always seem to be missing a file in our manually created archives. Again, should have been a rev upgrade.

Vegas Pro Connect seems like the product team was told it had to incorporate a mobile app somehow to make the platform more relevant. We think this feature is good intentioned but would require more work on the client side than necessary. A simple conversation to discuss the edit is faster and easier. We don’t think we’ll ever use this and it’s certainly not a reason to upgrade to Vegas Pro 13.   

Overall we’re unimpressed with Vegas Pro 13. The features we enjoy seem like revision rather than release updates. We’re disappointed because Vegas is still one of our favorite NLEs that we use on a regular basis. The feature set is extremely robust and it's still the most intutive NLE on the market.  In our view Sony missed a major opportunity here. Our advice would be to focus on exploiting workstation horsepower and provide the most versatile and stable NLE on the market. Internally the code name for Vegas 14 should be Kevlar.  The CALM meters, Archiving and Multitool menue are all nice additions but please, no more goofy iPad collaboration features.  

For more information and all the specs visit Sony Creative Software.

Samsung 1TB 840 EVO SSD Review

Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD is one of the best values in a high performance SSD. We used it to upgrade a workstation class notebook in two ways. First, we used the included Samsung software to migrate from the existing SSD to the 840 EVO. Next we swapped out the Seagate Momentus drive for the Samsung 840 EVO.

We run multiple video editing programs and the entire Adobe CC suite on our portable workstation. As anticipated the biggest impact was seen after we replaced the 7200RPM with the 840 EVO. A typical editing project may range from a 200GB-600GB. Having the speed of the 840 EVO to more rapidly open, preview and jump around the timeline was certainly worth the added expense.

The 840 EVO does get fairly warm to the touch in operation. Nothing that impacted performance but that speed generates heat. The 1TB features sequential read/write speeds of 540/520 MB/s which is very good and competitive with the highest performing consumer drives available.

Flash memory technology is maturing and manufactures are using creative ways to cram more memory in the same amount of physical space. The 840 EVO uses triple level cell memory. Think of it as an apartment complex with more people living in each apartment. More people in each apartment means more light switches can be turned on and off simultaneously. Of course when you have so many people living so close together things can sometimes go wrong. There's less room to breathe so to speak. That's kind of the argument of why 3D memory might not be as robust SLC or single level cell memory.

The argument is becoming moot as all manufactures are on this tack to reduce costs and stay competitive. Basically, Samsung has found a way for those people, or Bytes of data to peacefully coexist and even thrive in the same amount of space. The 1TB 840 EVO offers a 3 year warranty which is decent for non critical use. With over provisioning and using less of the drive's actual capacity we anticipate good reliability.

Visit Samsung for more information and all the specs on the 1TB 840 EVO SSD.  

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