Statistics are crap when it comes to plugging in a USB peripheral. What we mean by that is, statistically speaking, you have a 50 percent chance of choosing the correct orientation as you fumble around the back of your desktop or try to plug in a USB flash drive into your notebook in the dark. Why then, does it always seem like it takes two tries to get it right? Such an annoyance will be a thing of the past when USB 3.1 arrives with USB Type-C connectors.
We tackle the five most pressing problems in each major component category!
It’s happened to us all. You get home from a long day at work and you want to blow off some steam with an hour of gaming or maybe browsing the web, but when you tap your mouse button or punch the power switch, the unthinkable happens. You’re SOL.
Note: This article was originally featured in the July 2013 issue of the magazine.
The Adata drive is one of the sexiest USB drives we have ever tested, and is certainly the thinnest USB drive too, at just 8.9mm thick. It might not sound like much in today’s world of super-thin everything, but this puppy is thin. In fact, our research indicates it is the thinnest USB drive currently available.
If this roundup were a beauty contest, the DashDrive would easily win.
In this group, the Toshiba Canvio initially came across as the vanilla stepchild—nothing to get excited about, at least in this company, given its bland exterior and specs. We tested the 1.5TB version of the drive, which is the highest capacity offered by Toshiba. Surprisingly, it’s almost as thick as the 2TB WD drive despite its 500GB capacity deficit, so the lesson here is that if you’re going big on a USB drive, prepare to be toting around a Hot Pocket-size enclosure. The 1.5TB drive is only available in black, a decision we are just fine with since we don’t need nor want fancy colors on our USB storage. If you favor a splash of color attached to your USB port, you’ll have to get by with less capacity, as only the 500GB and 1TB models are available in red, blue, and gray (as well as black, natch).
The Toshiba drive wins the contest of lamest names for devices and software, but is still the best drive here.
Three USB hard drives: WD My Passport vs Toshiba Canvio Plus vs Adata DashDrive Elite
There are times when a USB key can’t handle the action we’re throwing at it and we need something bigger to step in and get the job done. Like a police officer calling for backup, it’s at these times that we summon a USB 3.0 hard drive. This latest batch of drives offers something for everyone, from WD’s huge 2TB jobbie to Adata’s super-thin, sexy little thang. Toshiba’s 1.5TB drive is thrown into the mix, too, for folks looking for a basic, affordable, high-capacity solution.
Note: This article was taken from the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
Desktop machines typically come with two or more display outputs right out of the box, but as the world becomes increasingly mobile, finding a way to plug in your extra display’s when using a notebook has always been a challenge. Sometime even if you’re fortunate enough to have a laptop with more than one output, they don’t all work at once. Thankfully Diamond has been hard at work on the problem, and late last week they let us know that their new lineup of USB powered display adapters are ready to ship.
Intel has reportedly begun shipping its next generation Haswell parts to PC builders in preparation for a launch later this quarter. Right now you can file that tidbit under "R" for "Rumor," though the Santa Clara chip maker is expected to announce its fourth generation Core processor line at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Beijing next week. That's the good news. And the bad?
Is that a 1TB flash drive in your pocket or...oh, it IS a 1TB flash drive!
Psst, hey you. Yes, YOU! Take a look at that thumbnail picture over there. Do you see it? Groovy, but do you know what you're looking at? Well, yes, it's a flash drive, but not just any flash drive. That just happens to be the world's largest USB flash drive. It's the Kingston HyperX Predator, and it holds a whopping 1TB of data, which is more than most Ultrabooks. Pretty crazy, right? Come closer and we'll tell you more.
When we hear hype that something is the “easiest” thing in the world to set up, we usually put on our hip waders and prepare to slog through a waist-high pile of dung, because 19 times out of 20, it's usually a load of crap.
Well, believe us when we say that the Dropcam HD is the easiest Internet camera we’ve ever set up. We mean it. To set up the Dropcam HD, you just plug the camera into your PC via USB. The setup files are stored in flash, which kicks up a configuration utility. This lets you create an account with Dropcam and connect the device to a Wi-Fi network. Once you’ve done that, you unplug the Dropcam HD, move it to the area you want to monitor, and plug it in via the included 2-amp wall wart. That’s it; you’re done and streaming 720p video to the Internet in about two minutes flat. The lens is a wide 107 degrees, which is enough to let you see most of a room. The video quality is good, and while certainly far better than QVGA surveillance cams, the compression is heavy enough that you won’t be picking out license plates with it.
The Dropcam can be removed from the unique mount, if needed.
One of the biggest pet peeves in a technology enthusiast's life is the plethora of proprietary power cables that plague the consumer market, each with a slightly different design. Can't we all just get along and charge via USB? That utopian vision took one step closer to becoming reality yesterday, as the USB 3.0/2.0 Promoter Groups announced a USB power delivery spec that makes the every-port capable of delivering up to 100W of pure power. Yep, your PC can now charge a notebook. Heck, a laptop could even theoretically charge another notebook.