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Hardware Reviews

I really like toys.  Electronic toys.  Sometimes expensive toys.

I will do some reviews in this area of my computer related toys.


Dell Inspiron 15, Touch Screen

I am creating a whole page about this computer.  You can find it in the Hardware Reviews menu, or you can click HERE.

Inspiron 15
Samsung Laptop

Samsung 300U

This little notebook was another spur-of-the-moment purchases a couple of years ago.  My faithful Dell Latitude had failed (the video on the mainboard gave up the ghost), so I had to replace it, and this one was on close out at a price I couldn’t pass up.

  • It has an 11″ screen with 1366x768 resolution, so the stuff on the screen is really small.
  • It weighs in at 1.5 lbs, so it travels well and easily.
  • Intel Core i3 processor (2nd generation)
  • 4gb of memory, not upgradable.
  • 320 gb hard drive and NO CD or DVD drive.  It is, after all, an ultrabook.  I haven’t missed the external drive but once when I wanted to install Photoshop Elements.  I was able to install across my home network from the desktop, so it wasn’t a problem.
  • Windows 7 Home Premium, and it came with Microsoft Office Home and Student included (what a deal).

I really like this little computer.  It runs well, takes up almost no space, and weighs practically nothing.  I can stick it in an envelop type case and take it with me to appointments or on trips, and I hardly know it is there.

On the downside, one of the USB ports seems to be failing.  It works part of the time, but at other times it doesn’t recognized devices that are plugged in.

I’ll be keeping this computer since I need one that travels well, and I like it so much.



Dell XPS 9000

Purchased in 2009, this computer was my shot at “bleeding edge” technology.  It has one of the first generation i7 processors, 8 gb of memory, a fancy 3D monitor (that has since passed on to a better world), 3D glasses (that I sold on ebay because they gave me a headache), and a huge 1TB hard drive (that failed in year 3).

The first year was a nightmare.  It has shipped with Vista and a free upgrade to 7 when it was released.  From the time I put 7 on it, it would intermittently freeze.  After at least 3 clean reinstalls of Windows (various versions), 2 new mainboard/processor/memory modules, and finally (as it turned out the cause of the problems) a new video card, it has worked flawlessly every since.   Long, sad story, but it has worked fine since Dell finally listened to me and replaced the video card.

I use 2 monitors, and it supports them well with two DVI outputs.  I really like the machine, but I wish it had been a bit less of a headache the first year I owned it.  I will say that Dell stuck by their warranty through 3 visits by a tech to install hardware (I refused to do it myself since it was under warranty).  While not the bargain the 2 laptops have been, it is a workhorse and I have no regrets about buying it.

Dell XPS 9000
logitech wave keyboard

Logitech Wave k350 Keyboard

Purchased in 2009 the original keyboard replaced a couple of Microsoft Internet Keyboard Pros that I bought in 1998 or so just before Windows 98 came out. I alternated them and have been removing keys and cleaning them a couple of times a year since then. They are ps2 keyboards, though, and modern computers are ALL USB driven, so replacement was in order.

I installed the mouse first and then all I had to do was run the software again to connect the keyboard. I’m not sure I’ll like everything about it, but I like the slight wave arrangement and the feel of the keys is excellent.

The battery (it takes 1 AA battery) lasts over a year.  I don’t know how that happens, but so far, it is lasting well.  I replaced the original keyboard after about 2 years (I spilled tea in the first one).  Then last Christmas I bought another one that is still in the box on the workroom shelf just in case.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this keyboard.  It is responsive and quick, and the batteries simply aren’t an issue.

They are still out there on the shelves, so apparently I’m not alone in liking the sturdiness and shape of them.  (My husband hates it and won’t type on it, oh well.)

Logitech Performance Mouse MX

I got this at the same time as the keyboard, and it was replaced under warranty after about 9 months.  I’ve used the second one for over 4 years with no problems.  It is still on the first rechargeable battery that lasts about a week between charges.

It recharges from a USB cable, and the reason I got it is that you can also use it plugged in while it charges.

The shape of the mouse is odd, and it really fits my hand perfectly. The forward and back buttons weren’t where I was used to finding them, but they are fairly intuitive and easy to get used to.

I really like this mouse.  After 5 years, I’ve gotten spoiled by it, and I suppose at some point I’ll have to replace it.  I plan to buy another one just like it at that point.  They aren’t cheap, but they seem to really last.

Logitech Performance Mouse MMX