Yamaha MSP5 Studio Monitor Review

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Best Hard Drives for your NAS or DAS and Video Editing

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Crucial MX500 1TB 3D NAND SATA 2.5 Inch Internal SSD Review

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JBL 306P MkII Powered Monitor Review

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Genelec 8030C 5” active monitor Review

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funkyfresh electronics

iPad mini Versus Kindle Fire HD



The Kindle Fire HD is an appealing product and a great choice if you consider it a media consumption device first and full featured portable computing device second. If you’re looking for a full featured portable computing device first and media device second it’s worth paying the premium for the iPad mini if it’s in your budget.




























The Kindle Fire HD is great for kids and has additional features that aren’t available as part of the app for the iOS. So it’s better than just downloading the app and running it on your iOS device. Amazon has created a compelling full-featured device, although, based on our recent Southwest flight we anticipate the primary uses will be reading books and playing games, and not necessarily in that order. Amazon Prime customers benefit from a library of content that can be “loaned out” or viewed without an additional charge.

Amazon still has a long way to go on it’s design. The front facing camera resembles the button at the bottom of an iPad. Everyone we showed the device to repeatedly pressed the camera lens as if it was a button. And once they figured out it was the camera couldn't understand why it wasn't on the other side of the device. The on/off and volume buttons on top of the device could be improved to make them easier to use as well. Again, for the price the Kindle Fire HD is hard to beat but don’t expect the elegant design of the iPad mini.

The iPad mini is a beautiful device. This is what Apple does better than any company on the planet. We’re all used to the way iOS devices work. So whether you pick up an iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, iPod…whatever, it works the way you expect it to. Plus all apps are thoroughly vetted and best of breed.

You can read countless reviews comparing the specs of the iPad mini, Kindle Fire HD and Barnes and Noble Nook for that matter. There are differences in the display technology, processors, expandable memory…etc., but we consider most of these differences negligible in real world use. What the Kindle Fire HD needs is two cameras.

We’ve yet to see anybody in our testing community complain about screen resolution, memory or processor speed. What they complain about is, “How do I take pictures on the Kindle Fire” or “where is the app that let’s me do x or y”. With the digital convergence of all our mobile computing devices we’ve come to expect full functionality from all our devices no matter the price point.

So if you want a full-featured computing device with the best design pay up for the iPad mini. If games, books, other entertainment are the primary uses and budget is a concern the Kindle Fire HD is a great option. The content perks that come with an Amazon Prime membership also gives the Kindle Fire HD an edge as a consumption device.

The Roku 2 XS Review



The Roku 2 XS is a great gift for anyone with a high speed Internet connection that wants to get into streaming movies, TV shows and other content but may not be the most technically savvy person in the world. For example, if you have an Amazon Prime account but aren’t quite sure how to access all that content you should be looking at Roku.

The box is small, consumes very little power and cleverly designed with Ethernet, HDMI and analog connections so it works with just about any TV. And the microSD slot allows you to expand the memory of the device very inexpensively. The Roku lineup ranges from $40-$100 with the XS offering support for games such as Angry Birds.

Roku has to keep evolving because “Smart TVs” from Samsung and other leading consumer electronics companies are already offering similar capabilities on HDTVs. The most common bundled services tend to Netflix, Pandora, HULU and other well known services. However, on the Samsung TV we tested Amazon Prime content was not an option. Also, steaming services and apps built into TVs tend to be clunky even by leading manufacturers such as Samsung. We should see significant progress on this front at CES 2013.

So for the wannabe streamers in your life the Roku 2 XS is one of the best options whether or not their TV has built in streaming or not. It’s extremely simple to use and has one of the most complete lineup of services available on any device. Roku has also done a good job making the design fun and friendly.

Visit Rolu for all the specs and current lineup of services availalbe on the Roku 2 XS

 

Fuji XP50 Waterproof Camera Review


























The Fuji XP50 waterproof camera is an affordable option that takes pretty good photos both in and out of the water. The camera provides a decent overall value in the $150-$175 price range. It comes in a variety of fun colors, we love the green and orange,  and is very easy to us. However, we were disappointed by the durability of the camera.

We recently tested the Fuji XP50 in Maui while snorkeling in the ocean and relaxing in the pool. Basically anytime we went in the water the XP50 was put to use. In general we found the camera easy to use with fast start up times and one button video access.  The battery generally lasted a full day with regular use.  One design flaw is it's possible to insert the battery incorrectly into the camera and shut the protective door.  It's an easy mistake to make even with the color coded battery.

Picture quality is just okay for a camera approaching $200. The gallery below includes a couple of shots from the snorkeling trip that should give you an idea of the quality you can expect from the XP50 underwater with good visibility at about 11am. The camera takes decent pictures on land as well. The image tends to be a little soft but reasonable for a ruggedized camera in this price range.


Our main concern with the Fuji XP50 is durability. We suspect that anyone that buys this camera will expect to use it quite a bit in whatever body of water happens to be nearby.  What you sacrifice in picture quality you would expect to make up in versatiliy.  We suspect those with pools and fresh water lakes may have a better experience than we did in the Pacific.

After just 1 week of use, the gasket sealed door on the XP50 used to protect the SD card and battery from water would no longer open properly.  It had to be forced open.  We found this disappointing for a product that bills itself as waterproof.  We rinsed the camera with fresh water everyday in an effort to minimize the effects of the salt water.

Still, at this price the XP50 is enticing and if you’re looking for a ruggedized camera for casual water use it may hold up better than our ocean experience. The best bet would be to buy it from a retailer with a solid return policy so you can test it for yourself. Costco would be a good choice and of this writing offers this product as a special bundle for $159 that includes a nice package of accessories to sweeten the deal.

Visit Fujifilm Global for more information and all the specs on its lineup of waterproof cameras.

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