Stories by Jon L. Jacobi

  • Samsung 850 EVO review: 3D NAND and insane endurance for the masses

    By Jon L. Jacobi | 09 December, 2014 03:27

    It's been only a few short months since Samsung's 850 Pro delivered the company's long-lasting 32-bit 3D NAND to the high-end/corporate market. Now it's available to mainstream consumers in the form of the 850 EVO. The EVO is cheaper, and its warranty is only half that of the Pro's, but that's still a hefty five years--what most vendors provide only for their premium drives.

  • Epson Expression Premium XP-520 review: $US130 printer delivers beautiful output and surprisingly affordable ink

    By Jon L. Jacobi | 08 September, 2014 23:10

    If something does what it does really, really well, and doesn't cost you and arm and a leg, you tend to forgive, or even forget its foibles. That's what you have with Epson's new Expression Premium XP-520 color inkjet multifunction, which offers copy/scan/print capabilities for $130. The output from its five-ink Claria system is so good, it's easy to overlook its squinty little display and less-than-intuitive controls. And, get this: You can print a four-color page for 12.5 cents. Not as cheap as a business inkjet, but practically unheard-of cheap for a low-volume, low-cost multifunction.

  • The Toshiba Q Series Pro SSD delivers top performance at a discount

    By Jon L. Jacobi | 17 January, 2014 16:03

    Many capable SSDs are out there, but don't overlook a relative newcomer: Toshiba's Q Series Pro. Toshiba's drives are among the very fastest we've tested, and in an unusual development, we saw no drop in performance in its smaller capacities. Throw in heavy online discounts, and you have an excellent bargain in a top-performing drive.

  • Toshiba Satellite P75-A7200: A fast, easy-to-upgrade desktop replacement

    By Jon L. Jacobi | 15 November, 2013 15:22

    With tablets and ultraportables garnering so much attention, you might not have noticed how thin and light desktop replacements have become. You'll need an extra-tall backpack to accommodate the Toshiba Satellite P75-A7200 with its 17.3-inch display, but this machine actually weighs two ounces less than Dell's Latitude E6540, which has only a 15.5-inch screen.

  • SanDisk outs a pair of portable, streaming-ready Wi-Fi drives

    By Jon L. Jacobi | 22 July, 2013 16:11

    Double the pleasure, double the fundamentally flexible storage options: SanDisk announced not one, but two portable, flash-based multimedia Wi-Fi drives on Monday in the Connect Wireless Media Drive and the Connect Wireless Flash Drive. Both battery-powered devices serve as a mix of portable storage and mobile multimedia hotspots, sharing data and stream multimedia wirelessly via 802.11 b/g/n.

  • HP's OfficeJet Pro 276dw is a worthy inkjet alternative to small-office lasers

    By Jon L. Jacobi | 17 June, 2013 14:21

    Inkjets, which are losing some of their cachet among consumers, are finding new jobs in small offices and workgroups. We've tested enough business models over the past couple of years to prove that a high-quality inkjet multifunction is faster and cheaper to operate than a comparably prices laser product in the sub-$500 space. A good place to start is with HP's $400 OfficeJet Pro 276dw. It is expensive to buy, but it's also an excellent inkjet multifunction whose enhanced manageability features lets it play nice even in the corporate environment. The 276dw also installs easily, produces nice output quickly, and ink costs are low.

  • Intel vs. AMD: Battle of the world's smallest PCs

    By Jon L. Jacobi | 19 March, 2013 15:21

    The desktop PC isn't dead, it's just shrinking. There's a new breed of miniature marvels on the market, and they boast a nonexistent footprint when attached to the back of a display. Unlike some micro-size, micro-priced computers - the $35 Raspberry Pi, for example - these incredibly small machines provide more than enough processing power for all but the most strenuous computing chores.

  • Samsung Series 7 All-in-One: Beautiful design, but average performance

    By Jon L. Jacobi | 13 March, 2013 14:35

    Samsung possesses one of the better design aesthetics in the industry, and it shows in the design of the 23.6-inch display model of the Series 7 All-in-One. This $1000 PC will draw many an admiring look, and its Core i5 CPU helps it deliver smooth everyday performance and wonderful movie viewing. But gameplay is strictly low-res, and as with most all-in-ones, you're paying a lot for the form factor.

  • HP Spectre One: Not quite all-in-one

    By Jon L. Jacobi | 24 January, 2013 15:03

    HP's Spectre One is in large part, a successful all-in-one design. But unlike some of the similarly-priced competition, it lacks a touchscreen and a TV tuner. The latter is a popular option for all-in-ones, which often double as entertainment centers in space-challenged abodes. That said, you can add TV via USB, and there's an HDMI input, so if you're not hooked on fingerprints all over your display, it could quite possibly fit your needs

  • Acer S7-391: a serious edge for Windows 8

    By Jon L. Jacobi | 21 November, 2012 22:00

    Acer isn't kidding when they describe the $1699, S7-391 ultraportable as cutting edge. This Windows 8 laptop is so thin (11.9 mm) and stiff, it could double as a weapon in the wrong hands. Did I say wrong hands? Assuming you can afford it, there are no wrong hands for this laptop. It's forward thinking in its design, eye-catchingly attractive, travels light, and is a heck of a performer.

  • HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4: Fast, capable but heavy Windows 8 Ultrabook

    By Jon L. Jacobi | 09 November, 2012 23:26

    The HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is a cleanly designed, good performing Windows 8 laptop with a nice array of ports and good input ergonomics. The only issue is weight--the digitizer for the touchscreen, support for it and the overall build quality adds quite a bit of heft to the unit which travels at 5.3 pounds with AC adapter. That's heavy for a laptop with only a 14-inch display.

  • Lenovo ThinkPad X230: Pricey, new, tried and true

    By Jon L. Jacobi | 08 June, 2012 23:36

    Fans of the classic ThinkPad won't be disappointed with the X230. It's the X series ultraportable laptop you love with the same rugged styling and construction, eraserhead cursor control, and comfortable keyboard--with a few innovations. The X230 will never be an avatar for thin and sexy, however. If that's what you seek, look elsewhere (toward Lenovo's U-series, for example).

  • MSI GT70 review: Large display, long-Lasting performance

    By Jon L. Jacobi | 17 May, 2012 10:29

    The MSI GT70 is a formidable everyday performer, as well as an excellent gaming machine. When the unit's closed, it even looks the part. Flip it open, and MSI might have been better off shooting for an under-the-radar aesthetic rather than incorporating what look like elements from a Cadillac body kit. Appearances aside (beauty is in the eye of the beholder), the GT70 is a very powerful laptop with only minor foibles.

  • Canon Pixma MX512: Nice output, pricey black ink

    By Jon L. Jacobi | 18 May, 2012 07:51

    The $150 (as of April 16, 2012) Canon Pixma MX512 inkjet multifunction printer (copy/fax/print/scan) is a bit of a mixed bag. Print quality--aside from color graphics on plain paper, which suffered from an excess of orange--seemed very good. Output speeds were easily fast enough for a home office, and the unit sports Wi-Fi as well as an automatic duplexer. On the other hand, the control panel is inefficient and black ink is expensive.

  • HP Photosmart 5520 e-All-in-One review: A welcome replacement

    By Jon L. Jacobi | 09 May, 2012 23:17

    The $US129 (as of May 9, 2012) HP Photosmart 5520 e-All-in-One color inkjet multifunction (copy/print/scan) is a decidedly welcome replacement for the HP Photosmart 5510 e-All-in-One--a handsome but disappointing product that lacked manual duplexing and layout support. The Photosmart 5520 makes amends big-time, offering an automatic duplexer as well as both booklet and multipage printing. In other aspects, the units are virtually identical.


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