This has been an exciting year of gadget reviews here on this blog. I’m a gadget guy. The opportunity to try out and write about the numerous gadgets that come my way has been most enjoyable. No, I did not buy them all. I’m most thankful to the many companies who have sent evaluation units for review.
As 2014 comes to a close, I’d like to reflect on the gadgets that have been reviewed. I’m not listing them in any particular order, although I add some further thoughts and commentaries to some of them.
Last year, I bought the parts and built my own mini-ITX PC to serve pfSense router. I didn’t have time to blog about them until the beginning of this year. The hardware specs is a little dated by now. There are faster processor and chipset options if you’re thinking of building your own.
- M350 Universal Mini-ITX Enclosure Review
- Jetway NF9D-2550 Review
- Jetway AD3RTLANG Daughterboard
- picoPSU Review
We all need storage to store the bits and bytes of our digital life. I built my own cloud storage box, using Btrfs as the underlying filesystem, and ownCloud to front the cloud service. Many people don’t DIY their own box, but prefer to buy storage solutions. I’ve reviewed several products in this storage category, many from Western Digital. I happen to really like many of their simple standalone portable hard disk drives.
- WD My Cloud EX4 Review – If you can afford it, it’s a pretty good cloud-enabled NAS. Not that there are better bargains out there. Unless, of course, you build your own.
- Western Digital Black2 Dual Drive
- Western Digital My Passport Pro Review
- WD My Passport Anniversary Edition – This is just a beautified version of the classic My Passport. But hey, some people don’t mind collecting
- Western Digital My Passport Wireless
- Seagate Backup Plus Slim Review
I reviewed a couple of smartphones. All budget friendly ones, though not necessarily all entry level.
- OnePlus One Review – It may be cheap, but it has flagship specs, and seeing how many accolades it has picked up, I’m clearly not among the few that think this is a really outstanding smartphone.
- The Redmi Comes To Singapore
- OPPO Neo 5 Review – 4G, and really compact, good option for those who dislike the big screen sizes of other smartphones.
- OPPO Find 7, 7A and OnePlus One – OPPO Find 7 and 7A are really close cousins to the OnePlus One. They are really good too, and still considerably cheap compared with other brand name offerings. Just not as cheap as the OnePlus One though.
Looking back, I’m quite surprised at the number of audio related products that I reviewed. It almost looks like I have a particular interest in audio gear.
- Fiio X1 Music Player Review – Fiio makes good and cheap audio amplifies, DACs, and DAPs. The X1 is their entry level model, launched after their earlier higher-end X3 and X5 models. Build quality is great, apart from a lousy LCD screen.
- X-mini CLEAR Review – This is an attractive centrepiece for your party with its clear, transparent body. Sound quality isn’t as outstanding as its looks though.
- X-mini KAI2 Review
- X-mini WE Review – I was awfully impressed that a tiny minuscule speaker like this could push out such impressive volume, bass, and overall sound quality.
- Jabra Sport Pulse Review – I really like the heart rate monitor built into the earbud. Unfortunately, I don’t like carrying a smartphone while jogging. But otherwise, I’m sure people who are already used to the idea of carrying a smartphone with them on their fitness activities will appreciate this Bluetooth in-ear headphone.
- Jabra Stealth Review
- Jabra Motion Review – I used to own a BT250v from a long long time ago. The Motion brings back those memories, and surprised me with how good Bluetooth headsets have become.
- Jabra Rox Wireless Review
- Sennheiser Launches URBANITE Headphones – I’m not fond of headphones that go over my head. But sonically, the URBANITE sounds great.
- Sennheiser MM 30G In-Ear Review
- SonicGear Pandora 3 Review
- Logitech X300 Mobile Wireless Speaker Review
I’d love to review more notebook computers and tablets, but just only a few came by.
- ASUS MeMO Pad 8 Review – I would compare this with the Nexus 7, which is also made by ASUS. It’s a good tablet, very portable, and affordable.
- First Look ASUS Zenbook NX500 – Awesome as a multimedia desktop replacement. This is a pre-production model that I reviewed. It was hot and noisy, and hopefully improved by the time it goes on sale.
- ASUS Unveils Transformer Book T300 Chi – Outstanding thin-ness.
- Acer Chromebook 13 Review – This is part 1. There’s part 2.
There were a number of computer peripherals or accessories. I’m sure some of these will turn out useful to you.
- Razer Goliathus Speed Edition Review – I got the large mat, so large that my notebook sits on it with plenty of space on both sides. I’m not a gamer, nor do I use Razer mice, but this mat is really nice.
- Logitech Keys-To-Go Review
- Logitech K480 Review – This is really useful as a desktop docking station for your tablet. Or phablet. Or super large smartphone.
- Rapoo E6500 Bluetooth Keyboard Review
- Strontium Nitro Plus Micro SD Card
- Sony Microvault USB Flash Drive for Smartphone Review
- USB 3.0 to SATA III Dongle – These dongles are convenient for attaching SSDs as a portable USB 3.0 drive to a notebook.
- Rosewill USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Dongle
- AmazonBasics USB 3.0 Hub
Finally, although certainly not the least, here are the things that I could not fit into any of the above categories, and they are too few to put them into new categories, so they are all just summarised below.
- Mi Band Review – Probably the cheapest fitness and sleep tracker out there. I’ll be comparing it with the Fitbit Zip in the coming year.
- Mi Power Bank – This stands out as perhaps the most affordable portable power bank. Since this review, Xiaomi also made both smaller and larger versions of this power bank, and they are also both selling at bargain prices.
- Netgear R6300 Wireless Router Review – This is now the primary wireless bridge in my home. I don’t need it to be a router because I use a DIY pfSense router.
- Tomato Router On Linksys E3200 – This serves as the secondary wireless access point in my home.
- Dell S2340L Monitor
- WD TV Media Player Review – This is very similar to the WD TV Live which I own.
- D-Link DCS-930L Network Camera Review
- Intel Launches Xeon Processor E5 v3
- TrackR by Phone Halo – This is really useful if you’re in the habit of losing your stuffs.
- Firefly Blue Laser Lamp
- Flying the Micro Drone 2.0 – Drones have become the rage in 2014, both because they became really affordable and they are actually useful (really flyable and with camera).
There were more posts that would have qualify as reviews, such as the one on UnoTelly, the Coffee Bean mobile app, or Android L Developer Preview. I wrote about LEGO toys too. But just so that this post will not become a year-in-review summary, I’ll leave these out since they don’t really count as a techie gadget.
It has been a really busy and exciting year. I’m looking forward to more review opportunities in 2015!