Fitbit Inspire HR Smartwatch Review

I purchased the lavender Fitbit Inspire HR Smartwatch a few days ago at Best Buy. This is not a sponsored post. I just thought my readers may be interested in learning more about Fitbit Inspire HR Smartwatch too.

I chose the Fitbit Inspire HR Smartwatch for the following reasons:

I mainly just wanted a watch that could count my steps. Yes a phone does that too, but my phone might not always be with me.

When looking at prices of such Smartwatches online, the black version of Fitbit Inspire HR seemed super reasonable, about $65. read more

Tamagotchi On Review 2019

I just recently purchased the Fairy Pink Tamagotchi On from Barnes and Noble. Here’s my thoughts after the first 24 hours. I did a lot of research prior to purchasing Tamagotchi On. Tamagotchi On is also known as Tamagotchi Meets in Japan and Tamagotchi Some in Korea. The Tamagotchi Meets has a lot of bugs which were all fixed for the English Tamagotchi On. The bugs included things such as draining the batteries in just a day or Tamagotchis getting glitched when they evolved.

I also read that a lot of people received used looking Tamagotchi On from amazon who had badly scratched screens despite being brand new. Luckily mine was in perfect condition. I don’t know if the scratched screens were just from Amazon, or maybe a bad batch, afterall it’s been out for about 2 months now so my tama is from a different manufacturing batch.

I chose to purchase from Barnes and Noble because you can get 30% off your first toy order when you join the free kid’s club. Tamagotchi On are pretty pricey around $50-60 so saving 30% is a big deal.

I also prepared for my Tamagotchi’s arrival by buying a “case” which as far as I can tell is just a decorative touch. It might offer some protection but not much. When it comes to Tamagotchi “cases” there’s 3 basic types. Silicone which is what I bought – I picked out a pink Pusheen case which still isn’t here. Crochet cases from places like Etsy – many of which have cat or rabbit ears. And Bath and Body Works Hand Sanitizer holders which people are using mostly as wrist straps. Unlike the original Tamagotchis of the 90s, the new ones are not keychains. They do have a place you could attach a chain, wrist strap, or lanyard though. Or just pop your tamagotchi into the Bath and Bodyworks hand sanitizer.

The other ways I prepared for my Tama’s arrival include buying a tiny screwdriver and some rechargeable batteries. The battery door is secured with a tiny screw. I bought an eyeglass repair kit. If you live in the united states you can buy these at the dollar tree store. It comes with 2 screw drivers that fit the tiny screw and a cleaning cloth that you can use on the screen. And it only costs a dollar.

I dunno about you, but I am a 90s kid. I grew up with the original Tamagotchi. The new Tamagotchi On is very similar to its 90s counterpart. The basic concept of the game remains the same, you navigate the menus with 3 buttons. The first button toggles through the menus, the 2nd button confirms your selection, and the third button cancels and goes to the previous screen.

The gameplay also has not changed much on the surface. You feed, play with, and clean up after your virtual pet. The big differences between Tamagotchi On and the 90s version are that the Tamagotchi On is in full color and has a backlit screen. The Tamagotchi On also features some new gameplay elements, the biggest of which is the ability to connect to the Tamagotchi On app and play minigames to earn coins, or meet other players from around the world. Once your Tamagotchi is an adult, you can even marry another player’s Tamagotchi and have babies, including twins. The genetics of the parents pass down and there are over 1 million different combinations and ways that your Tamagotchi can look. You  can use the coins from the minigames to dressup your tama, decorate your room, buy toys or food for your tama, or put your Tama in a daycare so you can take time away, perfect if you have to leave your tama when you go to work or school.

If you have 2 Tamagotchi they can have playdates or communicate when you connect via infrared. You may want 2 Tama anyways because there are 2 versions *and more in Japan* with exclusive places you can unlock and a few Tamagotchi exclusive to each version. And in some cases (in Japan) there are rare genes in the special versions. The two places you can visit right now are Magic Land in the Purple or Green Magic Tamagotchi On US versions, or Fairy Land in Pink or Blue Fairy versions. The fairy version has more cute type Tamagotchi while the Magic version has more cool type tamagotchi. So which version you get may be influenced by what type of Tamagotchi you like best. If you like cute things like unicorns, or cool things like bats, vampires, witches, etc. But in the end it really doesn’t matter since you can marry and have babies and get the genes from all of the versions, even the Japanese exclusive versions, so you should just go for the shell color you like best. The white Magic one was limited in Japan but it’s now going to be an amazon exclusive in the US and Canada.

There are also many special events that happen. Like right now it is fall time and sometimes a tamagotchi will visit mine and they will go harvest fall food from the trees. Sometimes my tamagotchi will play hide n seek, or play with bubbles, or try to talk to me to get my attention.

It is a simple cute game with the object being to reach adulthood and breed and aim either for genes you like, or for rare genes that you want to collect.

Is it worth the high price? It faces a tough market, saturated with apps on the phone, some including other virtual pets, or even more complex games, all for free. each day new apps release, and kids have cell phones these days. But maybe Bandai never intended to target kids in the first place; perhaps they’re banking on people like me who collected the first tamagotchi to be willing to pay for the new Tamagotchi On.

What I like about Tamagotchi On is the feeling of nostalgia, the cuteness, both of the graphics, and the outer shell, and the ability to breed and see genes pass down to the babies. I also like that I only need to spend a few minutes a couple times a day checking in on the Tamagotchi. It doesn’t require much time, effort, or thought. It’s just a simple cute game. I like the feel of the egg in my hand, and the buttons are comfortably placed. This Tamagotchi is larger than the 90s version and seems a perfect fit for my hands. The color backlit screen is also a big improvement over the 90s version.

What I don’t like about Tamagotchi On is no built in keychain/wrist strap/lanyard mechanism, and sadly, I think I’ll enjoy the game for a few weeks and then bore/tire of it quickly because it’s just too simplistic. But on the plus side I do think I will revisit the Tamagotchi from time to time, whenever I feel like playing a cute and carefree game.

Honest Godaddy Review – Why I Left Godaddy After 20 Years

I joined Godaddy back in 1999. Aside from some other free very early websites back in the early 90s, like Geocities, Godaddy was the only web host provider I ever had. And I was perfectly happy with them. Any time I had an issue, which honestly, in and of itself was pretty rare, the support team was quick to fix it. I didn’t like the overly sexualized sensationalized advertising, but as a marketing professional myself, I understand that sometimes sex sells. I didn’t care – and honestly didn’t know – about the questionable ethics of both the company and of its founder. All I knew is my websites worked and it was cheap and that was good enough.

So why after being a happy customer for over 20 years would I choose to leave? Because of a few recent interactions over what should have been a very simple issue. It opened my eyes to how poor the support team really is, and how money hungry the company is, and most importantly, how they treated their most loyal of customers who have been with them since almost the founding of the company. How little they did to try to save my business and how little I mattered to them. I will not be treated like that. And money talks, so I put my money where my mouth was and I chose a new web host who is almost triple in price what I paid to Godaddy, but I don’t mind. Honestly, since moving my site about a month ago now, I notice it’s so much faster and performs so much better. And the few interactions I’ve had with the support team, were all handled professionally and quickly.

So what was my issue? A recent update of wordpress required an update to PHP versions. This should be simple enough. I am a technical person. I went to the settings in Godaddy… and… I was already on the most “current” version… php 5.6 – a version that was over 5 years old and for which support had stopped almost a year ago…. With no way to access a higher version, I contacted Godaddy.

They informed me that my “Deluxe Linux Hosting Package” could not be updated to a higher version of PHP…. Not so “Deluxe” is it? But they told me I could switch packages to one that was cheaper, had the same unlimited bandwidth and unlimited storage, and actually costs less. Great! Let’s do it, I told them.

But the catch, I would have to back up and move all of my websites myself – I had about 12 of them, or they could do professional migration for $99 per site. And to put a cherry on top of it all, despite having just one CPanel, and one hosting package. Godaddy insisted that I had to pay $99 per domain name. I am just a hobby blogger – where on earth am I going to get over $1000 to migrate all of my sites?!! I make maybe one check from google ads a year, an affiliate commission here or there, and a few sponsored posts a year.

I know backing the sites up and moving them is not a hard job, anyone can get on FTP backup the files and reupload… But I live in a very rural area where there are amish people and more cows than cars, and internet connections are slow, and unstable. And I did try to FTP my sites myself but it kept timing out – 20 years worth of files, even just for 1 site takes hours if not days, on my connection, and the time outs had me worried about corrupt files or losing my data. I asked Godaddy if they could please waive the migration fees and was told that “We can’t work for free” by a manager. – I asked several reps and eventually spoke to a manager and the answer was the same. Nothing they could do unless I paid.

Well guess what? There are hundreds of webhosts who WILL migrate me for free!! So you have just lost a customer. A happy customer who has been with you for 20 years and probably would have been with you another 70 years – or the rest of my life… But you didn’t care… you didn’t care I paid money monthly for the hosting, or annually for the domains, you couldn’t see that you would have EASILY recouped that 99 dollar fee in less than a year.

If you’re curious what host I chose. I chose Siteground. I considered a lot of other options, but I feel good about my decision. I almost chose Fastcomet. Their prices are hard to beat, but I read they have some issues with site uptime. Most reviews don’t tell you about this, but I found 2 or 3 more honest reviews out there.

When shopping for a new webhost, you have to be careful, because a lot of reviews are sponsored or affiliate reviews and will be more glowing and you get pulled in and then “stuck”. Luckily, a lot of web hosts want your business and will migrate you away from whoever your “bad” host is. So you’re never really stuck.

Don’t settle for a web host provider who doesn’t value you as a customer. Let your money speak, just like I let mine speak to tell Godaddy I had enough. I know I’m just one small customer in part of a multimillion dollar company, but I work hard for my money, and if they don’t want my business, there’s plenty of other hosts who do.

It is unacceptable that 1.) I was on an old plan and never had any notice about PHP being depreciated. They stopped support completely last year meaning I didn’t even receive security updates or etc. And my version was so old probably a lot of plugins/themes/and in fact the newest version of wordpress itself isn’t compatible – It shouldn’t be my problem or expectation on the customer to fix this issue. I know how to update PHP but if there’s no option to update it – that should fall on Godaddy to move me to a plan that has at least a current supported version. 2.) And equally unacceptable that no one did anything to help lower the costs, etc. I can go migrate to hundreds of other hosts for free, but Godaddy can’t move me to a different plan or server with the correct PHP for “free”? It’s not “free” because I’m a paying customer. No one is asking you to do anything for “free” I’m just asking for my websites to work, which were broken by their lack of proper PHP.

I will never recommend Godaddy to anyone again. Previously I always recommended them, we even use them at my work because of me and have probably about 80 domains and multiple sites. I won’t tell my work to leave Godaddy either — but I will warn you blog readers – Godaddy doesn’t deserve my business, and they don’t deserve yours either.

Siteground is running a promotion right now, if you pay for a year of Go Geek hosting up front, you get it for slightly more than what it’d normally cost for 3 months. It works out to under $12 a month. Siteground has a free wordpress migration plugin that lets you flee your bad hosting company for free. They’ll also move one site for free for you with their professional migration… Or if you need them to move your site, it’s only $30, not $99 like Godaddy…. I actually had to have them move one of my sites for me because it was having an error when I tried… but fine, I spent an extra $30, instead of $99 (or 1,000+ for all the sites that Godaddy ridiculously wanted).

Siteground has an affiliate program too; remember what I told you about affiliate programs, you have to be wary of what you read, do your research and make your own decisions. I applied but as of time of this post am not yet in their affiliate program.

I can however refer them and earn a free month of hosting, so if you’re interested in a new host, and want to check them out, especially with their awesome special pricing right now, here’s a link to do so. https://www.siteground.com/recommended?referrer_id=8158484.

Update: 10/12/19: I’m now an affiliate of Siteground – full transparency and disclosure here, if you use this next link I will make a commission: https://www.siteground.com/index.htm?afcode=1a41a164ae9c30dc54ffe5a58032f16c

Or if you don’t want to use my affiliate link, you can always just visit siteground.com

Hopefully this review will spare someone the heartache, anger, frustration, and time that I spent with Godaddy. All I can say, is stay as far away as possible from these crooks.

There may come a day some day where I am dissatisfied with Siteground too, but honestly, I’ve been happy so far, although it’s only been a month or two since I migrated. Do your own research, talk to a lot of people, and take into consideration the factors that are important to you. I would strongly discourage you from joining GoDaddy, but I can’t tell you what’s best for your web hosting needs, I can only tell you about my own experiences with them.

Roku Express vs NVIDIA Shield TV Gaming Edition. Which Streaming Media Player Is Best? The Answer Might Surprise You.

I picked up the NVIDIA Shield TV Gaming Edition on sale for $159 at Best Buy on Black Friday, regularly $199. I also had a $100 gift card to bestbuy from previous sponsored posts I’ve done for them. This is not a sponsored post. This is me providing my initial feedback of the device as I’ve now had it for five days. My end cost was $59.99

Earlier this year I purchased a Roku Express for I believe it was $29.99. It is the most basic cheapest Roku device, in hindsight I wish I’d purchased one with voice controls which I believe start around $49.99. I’ve had my Roku for about six months.

I thought I’d be “replacing” my Roku with the NVIDIA Shield TV Gaming Edition… but that’s not the case… Roku is superior in almost every single way. NVIDIA Shield is only for very technical people, with very fast internet connections, and the only real reason I will keep and not return the product is because of GeForce Now their cloud gaming Streaming service that lets you play games you already own such as from Steam or Battlenet on your tv and on lightweight non gaming PCs without linking to another PC a direct contrast to solutions such as how steamlink works letting you mirror your screen from your gaming pc, in the case of GeForce Now you do not need an expensive gaming pc or any pc at all.

But the service is not without flaws. Everywhere I’ve read the hype, how there’s no lag, and everything is smooth, yeah sure maybe if you have a good internet connection. I do have cable internet but I live in extremely rural areas where I have no choice who my provider is. I don’t think my internet is terrible. It gets around 15mbps, but let me tell you… GeForce Now is almost unplayable for me… don’t believe the hype! It’s not any different for me than PlayStation Now, another Streaming service I use, in fact, PlayStation Now has far less lag for me than GeForce Now. I had to disable my steam authentication token because it was physically impossible to use the controller and onscreen keyboard to type the code before it refreshed and changed. Games stutter, lag, jerk, and freeze… and I wasn’t even playing super new AAA graphically intense games. The first game I tried was Battle Chef Brigade, a 2d simple indie game.

Ok lag aside, there’s some other flaws:

I thought I could play games from the google play store… I can… sort of… but very very few of my favorites are available for “android tv”. Here’s where being a tech wizard comes in, you can sideload apps from a usb stick. Not included of course. They didn’t even include an HDMI cable. I’m using the HDMI cable from my Roku, cost $250 less and provides me everything I need out of the box.

I’m not tech illiterate but the NVIDIA Shield is ridiculously needlessly overly complicated… every other Streaming Media player on the market just works out of the box in minutes… it took me three hours to set up and troubleshoot my Shield. Mostly due to generic unknown errors and series of reboots and updates…

Games aren’t the only thing missing, several of my favorite tv channel apps are not compatible with android tv, such as TLCGo. Roku has far more apps and a much more intuitive user interface and setup takes only seconds even when needing updating not hours…

Hell google themselves don’t even seem to want to support their crappy Android TV as Google Chrome isn’t even compatible with it!

If you want to spend $200 for hours of updates, then have to find or buy your own hdmi cables and usb sticks, then fart around side loading apps from your pc to the stick to your Shield, and have a laggy choppy gaming streaming experience well that’s up to you…. keep in mind NVIDIA will begin charging for this service soon too and has not released any pricing details. From what I’ve seen, I won’t subscribe.

I would take my Roku any any any day of the week. GeForce Now is an exciting and interesting concept. I became excited and interested reading reviews of how it had no lag and performed perfectly as if you were playing it right on a pc gaming rig, but my experience left much to be desired.

I haven’t tried side loading anything yet. My instincts and speculations tell me that Apple TV has far more compatible apps and a better interface than Android TV.

I tried watching kissanime and TLC on my Shield using Puffin.TV, TLC had audio but no picture, kissanime would play about ten minutes then tell me filetype is unsupportable. I’m now watching the same anime on my Roku using a mirror from my iPad and iWeb TV (to be fair this probably exists on Shield too I didn’t check) and having zero issues, TLCGo and other apps are all at my fingertips the interface looks more pleasing intuitive less cluttered and just works. For a tenth of the cost…

For me, the answer is clear, love my Roku, and shockingly disappointed in my NVIDIA Shield TV.

E-Win Racing Gaming Chair Review

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Special Thanks to E-Win Racing who sent me this awesome gaming chair to review for my blog. Although I received the product for free, opinions expressed in this article are my own.

Pros:

  • Very sturdy! Supports my weight at 5 ft 4, 216 lbs. Has a steel frame, and memory foam.
  • The memory foam is extremely firm, and even at 200+ lbs, there is no “sinking” feeling – it offers great support!
  • Adjustable base to fit your height
  • Seat back reclines to almost any position
  • Cute design with bright color accents. Many different colors to choose from. And I love how the chair’s wheels look like little race car tires with rims/spokes. So cute!
  • Ergonomic and comfortable! Perfect for gaming, graphic design, web development, programming, or office use. Any task where you will be at the computer for several hours straight.
  • Affordable! E-Win Racing’s chairs start at $379. Many competitor’s Gaming Chairs go for 3 times this much! E-Win Racing also has sales and special promotions and has graciously provided a special discount for our readers for 10% off any order with code “sweetie”
  • The team at E-Win Racing is knowledgeable and friendly and very responsive to any questions or concerns you might have.
  • read more

    LG Appliances Twin Wash and SideKick System Review

    Here’s a scenario for you:

    Your kid comes home from school and tells you at the last minute they need their uniform washed. Or your husband needs his suit for an important meeting, or your friends call and invite you out, but your favorite dress is dirty. You don’t have time to wait for a full load of laundry to finish. What do you do?

    LG has the answer with its new LG Twin Wash and LG Sidekick System. 

    The LG Twin Wash includes a full size front load washer and works with the LG SideKick smaller pedestal washing machine. You can now wash two loads of laundry at once. The large full size front loading washing machine is designed to tackle heavy loads, while the SideKick pedestal washer right beneath it can quickly handle those last minute “need it now” items.

    The LG Sidekick is also perfect for items that require delicate washing and extra care. And when not in use, the LG Sidekick closes behind a discrete panel, and slides out when ready to be used again.

    The LG SideKick raises your front load washer to a more convenient and comfortable height, and it matches perfectly with the LG Dryer.

    The LG SideKick can be operated by remote control, allowing you to start and stop the SideKick easily from afar.

    The SideKick is also backed by LG’s 10 year warranty.

    Combined together, the LG Twin Wash and LG Sidekick offer 6.6 CU of space to tackle any size loads, large or small.

    The LG Twin Wash is more efficient and ergonomic. The TurboWash 2.0 feature saves up to 30 minutes on larger loads. The door is designed at an angle for ease and comfort, and the door also features all of the controls in a convenient LED panel built right into the door. On the inside, the LG Twin Wash features a recessed soap tray to avoid any messy spills.

    What is your favorite feature?  How would you use the LG Twin Wash System and Sidekick in your household?

    Learn more about the LG Twin Wash and SideKick System at Best Buy: 

    https://www.bestbuy.com/site/clp/twinwash-sidekick/pcmcat748300973166.c?id=pcmcat748300973166 

    From 1/11-4/25 receive up to $500 off a LG laundry solution for your home.

    The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

    How to Protect Your Retro Gaming Collection

    video game insurance
    video game insurance

    Are you a retro video game collector? If so you know how expensive, or hard to find, some games and console systems can be. Many 16 and 32 bit games now sell for more than a hundred dollars for a single cartridge on the second hand market. This can quickly add up to thousands of dollars for even a modest sized retro game collection. If you’re a serious collector, you may be interested in purchasing insurance to help protect your gaming collection.

    Did you know you can add your video game collection to your Condo/co-op or Renters Insurance? This way, should anything happen to your home, such as fire, flood, theft or other events, you can rest easy knowing your video games are covered by the insurance.

    Many people find that researching and trying to make sense of the many insurance options available to them, to be too time consuming, and too much of a hassle. But lately, there are many online companies who want to make understanding and selecting the right Condo/co-op or Renter’s Insurance an easy and fast process with just a few clicks.

    Jetty is one such company that will allow you to add your video game collection to your Condo/co-op or Renter’s Insurance. Jetty’s website immediately looks and feels different from other insurance companies. The site is clean and modern feeling with lots of images and animation, humor, and way less legal jargon. It’s also completely mobile friendly, so it makes purchasing Condo/co-op or Renter’s Insurance something you can even do on your lunch break or on the go.

    Jetty considers themselves to be an insurance company for people in “cities” and they want to help busy city dwellers get set up quickly with the right insurance. Jetty even makes it easy for young folks to get started in their first Condo/co-op or apartment with their Jetty Passport system which replaces the need for a security deposit or cosigner.

    I went through the Jetty App which took less than 10 minutes, and honestly, I was surprised how affordable it can be to get basic Renter’s or Condo/co-op Insurance AND insurance for my gaming collection, all for less than $20 a month. Oh I also added the optional electronics insurance for just $2 a month which protects things like Iphones and Laptops from drops, spills, water damage. Way cheaper than the insurance offered by your cell phone carrier or electronic retail stores.

    Here is my experience using the App. 🙂 With pictures. Everyone loves pictures.

    The first thing it’s going to do is ask for your address and some basic info like how much your monthly rent is, and if you live alone or with a significant other, etc. This is all used to calculate your basic insurance.

    Next, here starts the fun part. You can add optional insurance to protect your valuables and electronics (like that retro video game collection, or your $2,000 gaming Laptop).

    First, try to decide how much your collection is actually worth. Think about those games that are rare, out of print, obscure, hard to find, or imported from other countries. You can research amazon and eBay or even google to see how much the game is worth. Consider also the condition your games are in. Are they in mint pristine condition with manuals and original packaging? If so that may make them worth more. By the way, Jetty doesn’t have a button for video games (yet) so you should just add them to “Special Collections”.

    I estimated my collection to be worth about $3,000 (not counting my gaming laptop, because I wasn’t thinking of it at the time and focused on the retro game portion of my collection. If I added the new gaming laptop in, that would make the collection value closer to $4,500).

    After calculating the value of your collection, you’ll also be offered a chance to add that sweet Electronics Insurance, I mentioned above which will help protect your phone or laptop or gaming PC from accidental damage from drops, slips, spills, falls, etc. This is a really good value and much cheaper than going with insurance from your cellphone provider or electronic retail stores.

    Finally, you’ve reached the end. On the next screen they will show you how much your insurance will cost and it will be broken down to help you understand exactly what you’re paying for, such as basic insurance, your collections, and electronics protection.

    As you can see, for my $3,000 retro video game collection, basic Renters Insurance, and electronic’s protection, I’m looking at about $18 a month. That is a really low price for some peace of mind!

    You can also use the collections feature on Jetty to protect your dolls, figures, toys, and other geeky collections. Check out Jetty’s website to learn how to protect your retro video game collection or anything else that you’d like to insure.

    ASUS ROG Strix – Asus – ROG GL502VT 15.6″ Laptop – My New Gaming Laptop and My Recent Experience at Best Buy

    Nvidia Laptop Graphic Cards April 2017 http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
    Nvidia Laptop Graphic Cards April 2017 http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/

    Please Note: This is not a sponsored post. I am not being compensated by Best Buy to write this. I did receive an email from Best Buy wanting me to complete a survey (for a chance to win a gift card) regarding my recent purchase. But then I thought, the comments I made in the survey, might make for a good Blog Post for my readers here, especially if supplemented with some info about the Laptop itself.

    It’s tax refund time. Like most Americans, instead of saving, investing, or putting this money to good use, it’s time to go have FUN! (yes, I know, not smart or responsible of me lol.) My last laptop was purchased at Sam’s Club for around $750 back in 2013. It was just a “mid-range” “budget” laptop. In no way was it a “gaming” laptop, except that I researched and selected a model with a dedicated graphic card and enough RAM to play most games at the time back then on “medium” settings.

    Prior to that laptop, I did in fact have an Alienware and it did last 7 or 8 years, compared to 3 to 4 years, being able to play newly released games on medium settings. However, I paid over $2000 for said Alienware. So then it occurred to me, that I could just buy “throw away” laptops, for less than half the cost, and just upgrade (to another “throw away” or “mid-tier” laptop every few years as needed.).

    So when I got my tax refund, I set out to find just such a laptop. a mid-tier “throw away after 3 years” “gaming” laptop. My goal was to stay below $800. I was not expecting much in this price range. I was not looking for a “true gaming laptop”, just something that could “play without crashing” on medium settings.

    What I got for under $800 is so much more than a “throw away” laptop. It’s actually a legit Gaming Laptop!! Not only can this system play a 2016/2017 AAA gaming title on “medium settings” without crashing; it can even play them on high settings.

    I purchased this item as an open box (former store display) from my local Best Buy. Here is the same model available online – and where you can check to see if it’s available as an Open Box either online or at your local Best Buy. http://www.bestbuy.com/site/asus-rog-gl502vt-15-6-laptop-intel-core-i7-12gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive-black/5090905.p?skuId=5090905

    I would say, keep an eye on Best Buy’s pricing even if you do purchase this item and after bringing it home. Here’s my little Best Buy story. I purchased the Asus ROG Strix on 3/28/2017. At that time, the price on the “Satisfactory” Open Box model at my local Best Buy store was listed at $806. When I went to checkout, the associate working at Best Buy told me that the price was actually $899 (still before taxes, etc. After taxes it was actually $960 (which yes, was over my expected budget.)

    I still thought $899 was a good buy for a $1200 gaming laptop with great reviews all over the internet (some of which reviews I will share with you later in this article). So I didn’t give too much push back on that price and just accepted it as is.

    The associate had tried to tell me it was the same computer / same model / everything, but that they had 2 or 3 in the store and had sold the one listed at that price. But my receipt still said “Satisfactory Open Box”, and that’s what the pricing on the website supposedly reflected – for my specific store location even. I felt somewhat jaded but still happy to save $300.

    The next day, I was once again reading the reviews about the laptop on Best Buy’s website and I discovered the item was on sale now, and as such, the price on all models, new, or open box, had been lowered.

    I called and asked if they would be willing to price match the newer pricing. I was told “yes” but I was still skeptical because they wouldn’t even honor the original supposed price on the website (it was not a website price; it was for my local store “In-store only” price for an open box model available at my store marked as being in the same condition as the one I purchased.)

    It is a 45 minute drive to my nearest Best Buy, so after work, I made the journey back to my Best Buy. This was yesterday, on the 29th of March 2017, with hopes that they would in fact honor the new lower pricing. It did take a bit for them to lookup whatever they needed to in their computers, and I could sense some resistance, but overall, both the manager and cashier at customer service were polite and professional. And I walked out of it feeling respected and valued as a customer, and with a refund of $201.69 to match the new lower pricing.

    Now today when I view the item, it’s up to $765 instead of $711.

    So that’s why I’m saying, keep an eye out for this. I guess their prices change every day??? It’s strange to me, and kinda shady, but you can’t deny the awesome savings you get by shopping at Best Buy.

    If you print out the website pricing for your local store, as well as show them your order history on their own website/app on your mobile phone, there’s little they can do to argue (IE they can’t tell you it’s a different model or part number, because it’s right in your order history on your phone, etc).

    Overall, I would shop at Best Buy again, especially for Open Box products. I also was in a few months ago and snagged a Sony HDTV open box model for under $120 and have been very happy with that purchase.

    One thing I absolutely love about Best Buy is their return policy. They let you take home any product in their store for 15 days, try it out as much as you’d like, and return it for a full refund within 15 days (or 14 days for cellphones). This is amazing when buying a gaming PC, because you can actually make sure your games are going to run the way you expect!

    Per Best Buy’s description this model features the following gaming specifications:

    Nvidia Geforce 970m Graphics Card

    6th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-6700HQ mobile processor

    12GB RAM

    1TB Hard Drive to store all your games

    And best of all, it weighs less than 5 lbs!

    I know this laptop is NOT “future proof” — The Nvidia 970m graphics card now ranks at number 11 overall according to http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/ — making it well on its way already to becoming a “mid-tier” gaming rig. But for the price I got the open box Asus ROG Strix for, at just $711, it still blows anything else in that price range out of the water.

    Here is a look at the Nvidia 970m performance when comparing to the newer Nvidia 10xx cards. This information is from http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/compare.php?cmp%5B%5D=2981&cmp%5B%5D=3595&cmp%5B%5D=3548

    And according to Notebookcheck.net which I always heavily rely on when looking at new laptops, the 970m is still considered to be a “high-end” Graphics card. – So while it is in no way as powerful as the Nvidia 10xx cards, it can still hold its own on nearly any game out there right now. Interestingly enough, the benchmarks on Notebookcheck.net show the 970m performing on nearly equal footing with the Nvidia 1050 Ti.

    Notebookcheck.net also lists the FPS (frames per second) for popular 2016 and 2017 games for the Nvidia 970m in the following chart. This chart shows that Nvidia 970m can play many 2017 games on high or even ultra graphic settings while achieving 40+FPS.

    Notice on some games, you’ll want to lower the graphic settings to medium to achieve 40FPS. While on other games, you can play in high or ultra and attain 60+FPS. It’s subjective as to the type of game. Not all games “need” 60FPS.

    For example, if you play a lot of First Person Shooters or Action games, especially ones with PVP against other players online, you will want higher Frames Per Second so you can out perform your competition. But, if you mostly play RPGs – which I assume is true for my readers here, 40FPS is a perfectly acceptable frame rate without any lag or choppiness. Anything below 30FPS will be noticeably laggy and possibly unplayable.

    We all know that processors are not the main thing to consider when shopping for a Gaming PC. Intel is getting ready to launch their 8th generation of Intel Processors, deemed Coffee Lake later in 2017. This follows up Kaby Lake which was released last year. However, my ASUS ROG Strix has a chip from 2015 called Sky Lake. But according to Networkworld.com, “Intel’s new Kaby Lake processors: No performance gains The new chips are pretty much even with the last generation.”Source: networkworld.com http://www.networkworld.com/article/3155403/computers/intels-new-kaby-lake-processors-no-performance-gains.html

    Still my ASUS came with the Intel I7 Quad Core, compared to the similarly priced Dell XPS that I was considering which had less RAM and only an I5 Processor (but a slightly better graphics card): 

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/dell-inspiron-15-6-laptop-intel-core-i5-8gb-memory-nvidia-geforce-gtx-1050-1tb-8gb-hybrid-hard-drive-black/5709801.p?skuId=5709801  read more

    Best Laptops for PC Gamers That Won’t Drain Your Bank Account!

    Editor’s Note: Today’s Guest Post comes from one of our readers, Marie Miguel, who shares with us some awesome prices for “gaming” laptops. Not all of the laptops on her list are suitable for “Core” gamers because some of them have intel integrated graphics cards – however, quite a few on her list do have Nvidia or AMD dedicated graphic cards – and all of them on the list would be suitable for casual gamers who enjoy indie or retro games. Check out her suggestions below, and leave a comment about your gaming rig – or about other great deals for affordable gaming laptops – in our comments section below. read more

    Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge Comparrison

    Image via Flickr by Răzvan Băltărețu

    The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones have a lot in common. A casual observer might not even spot differences between the two devices. There are, however, some subtle variations you should think about before deciding which version to buy.

    In this smartphone showdown, you’ll learn about what makes each of these smartphones unique so that you can buy the one that best matches your needs.

    Body and Screen Size

    The Galaxy S7 measures 5.61 × 2.74 × 0.31 inches. The S7 Edge’s dimensions are 5.85 × 2.85 × 0.30 inches. Samsung, in other words, gave the S7 Edge a slightly larger body. The difference won’t matter to most people, but others may find a larger or smaller size enticing. It’s worth noting that the S7 Edge only weighs 0.18 ounces more than the Galaxy S7, so the larger size doesn’t feel heavy in your pocket.

    The S7 Edge’s larger size gives it room for a bigger screen. The S7 has a 5.1-inch screen, while the S7 Edge has a 5.5-inch display. Again, this isn’t something that will make a significant difference to most people. Those who pay attention to the details, however, need to know these things.

    The S7 Edge does have an innovative display that extends to the phone’s side edges. This makes it possible for Samsung and other app makers to add edge panels for easy access to favorite apps, shortcuts, news, and other goodies. This is an creative development, but a lot of users don’t seem to care about it. In the end, it just depends on your preference.

    Verdict: Depends on your preference.

    Battery Life

    Consumers tend to focus on battery life when choosing smartphones. No one wants a mobile device that runs out of power halfway through the day. After some complaints that the Galaxy S6 didn’t keep up with expectations, Samsung devoted itself to finding a better option for the S7 generation.

    The S7 comes with a 3,000-mAh battery that can last an entire day with normal use. The S7 Edge’s larger size, however, means it can hold a 3,600-mAh battery. That’s not a huge increase, but it may matter to people who constantly use their smartphones.

    Realistically, reviewers find that either phone will give you first-rate battery life. At the end of the day, though, the S7 Edge will have about 10 percent more power than the S7.

    Verdict: S7 Edge, but only slightly

    Cameras

    The Samsung Galaxy S7 has a 12-megapixel rear camera capable of taking brilliant pictures in low-light conditions. Perhaps more important, though, it is the first smartphone camera to feature dual pixels, resulting in faster autofocus. The camera also stands out for its 4K video capability and light-gathering f/1.7 lens.

    The front camera’s 5-megapixel design obviously can’t compete with the 12-megapixel rear camera, but it’s good enough for selfies.

    Samsung gave the S7 Edge the same-resolution cameras as the S7, so there’s not much to compare in this category. Either model, however, can arguably take better pictures than its competitors.

    Verdict: Tie

    Processing Power

    Samsung wisely decided to give the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones identical Snapdragon 820 quad-core processors. The Snapdragon 820 stands out as one of the fastest mobile processors available, so you can expect both phones to stream and run most apps flawlessly and download quickly.

    Verdict: Tie

    Price

    You have to think about price when comparing two of the top-selling smartphones. The Galaxy S7 retails at $699, and the S7 Edge sells for $799. Considering that the S7 and S7 Edge tie in nearly every category, you have to wonder whether the larger screen and innovative edges are worth the extra $100. Of course, you can often get lower prices through some service providers, so if you can find a good deal, go for it.

    Verdict: Galaxy S7

    The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have a lot in common, but that doesn’t mean you won’t prefer one over the other. Before you decide which one to purchase, take a careful look at the features and consider how they will affect you. The average consumer may not see significant differences, but smartphone aficionados will likely find one of these designs more attractive than the other.

    Should You Upgrade From Iphone 6S to the New Iphone 7?

    Should You Upgrade From Iphone 6S to Iphone 7?

    Apple just revealed the new Iphone 7 at http://www.apple.com/iphone-7/

    I just recently joined the millions of users addicted to Apple Iphones when Iphone 6S came out. (Though I had wanted one for a long time before that as well due to all of the amazing games on the app store.)

    The Iphone 7 improves the Retina HD display by using a larger screen that’s 25% brighter and boasts a wider color range than the Iphone 6S.

    The Iphone 7 has a 4.7″ screen with 1334 X 750 resolution while the Iphone 7 Plus has a 5.5″ screen and 1920 X 1080 resolution.

    But the biggest most exciting improvement is the camera. The Iphone 7 Plus has 2 cameras – One with a wide-angle and Another with a telephoto lens – each capable of 12MP. They also have all-new-depth-of-field effects which I assume are like Bokeh effects which we see in DSLR photography. This is a technique that’s used to focus on the subject in the foreground and blur the background, creating sometimes circles or dots of light that give it a dreamy, fantasy-looking glow like quality. – which would be great for doll photography by the way, if you collect ABJD such as myself. the zoom on the camera has also been improved with optical zoom at 2x and digital zoom up to 10x for photos and 6x for video.

    It’s also the first Iphone to be water resistant, which opens up even newer possibilities for photography enthusiasts or hobbyists who like to travel / snorkel / swim or splash and play while on vacation and documenting their vacay photos with their smartphones.

    The other big enhancement is the processor speed. It is 2 times faster than the Iphone 6. They are claiming it is the most powerful processor ever in a smartphone.

    This Iphone also has the longest battery life ever in a smart phone. As an Iphone 6S owner, I love the long battery life. I can go 2 or 3 days sometimes without recharging, even when browsing the net, playing apps, or using navigation for 2+ hours a day sometimes. — I can’t immagine the battery life getting even better, but that’s definitely always a good thing!

    The sound system has also been redesigned. It now supports stereo sound and is 2 times louder than the Iphone 6S. You can connect Apple EarPods with the lightning connector or use the brand new wireless Airpods.

    They’ve also made significant improvements to the speed of LTE connectivity and roaming (although I don’t really understand how because this seems like it should be a carrier specific issue.) – It is 3 Times faster than the Iphone 6 and over 50% faster than the Iphone 6S – and LTE supports up to 25 Bands.

    If you’re thinking of upgrading the Iphone 6S to the Iphone 7 – you can get up to $250 immediate credit when you trade in your 6S. Learn more at http://www.apple.com/iphone/trade-up/ Which helps to take a small bite out of the hefty $649 pricetag of the new Iphone 7.

    The Iphone 7 releases next Friday on September 16 in over 20 countries around the world.

    Are you going to upgrade to the new smartphone? Or hang on to your current model?

    As much as I would LOVE the new cameras and faster internet connection, I’m still happy enough with my Iphone 6S — so I will wait this one out! Unless I win one for free or win money or giftcards towards covering some of that cost. I bought my Iphone 6S Out of Contract, and would do the same if I were ever to upgrade to a new model again.

    Apple does make it tempting and hard to resist the need to have the latest and greatest smartphone.

    But my favorite thing about Apple Iphones is the app store, which all of the Iphones can access 🙂 so whether you upgrade, or stay where you’re at, you really can’t go wrong being an Iphone owner!

    Which PS4 Should You Buy in 2016? PS4 Slim or PS4 Pro?

    This week Sony announced their two new PS4 Models.

    The first model the PS4 Slim launches next week on September 15th, 2016. This is the model I plan to purchase myself. It will debut with a price tag of $299 and be almost identical in specs to the current PS4’s already on the market. This model will be taking the place of these “old” PS4s from here on out. It features a more slender design with all matte finish. The new design is 16% lighter weight and 30% more slender in appearance than the previous PS4. It has rubber grips on the bottom to make it more stable, and it boasts energy savings of 34% compared to the original PS4 design. Like it’s predecessor, the PS4 Slim also has a 500GB hard drive. Although a 1TB HD version of the PS4 Slim exists in Japan, they have no plans to release this version in North America.

    So in essence, nothing significantly changes with this model. We see a very small price drop from $349 for the “current” PS4 to $299 for the new Slim. I’ve recently saved up enough to finally purchase a PS4, and was going to purchase one regardless of if these new consoles came out or not, so hey, I’ll take a $50 pricedrop, that can buy me a game for the system :).

    The other, more expensive and exciting model is the PS4 Pro. It will debut on November 10th, 2016 and cost $399. The PS4 Pro is designed for “hardcore gamers” (read: FPS (first person shooters, etc). The PS4 Pro is equipped with  an 8 core processor, and 4.2 teraflops graphical processor. This will allow the system to deliver better frame rates in high definition graphically demanding games (such as first person shooters). It’s also able to take advantage of 4k TV sets. I personally have no desire to upgrade to a 4k TV set any time soon – they are nearly 5 to 6 times more expensive than regular HDTVs! These higher CPU and GPU components also better equip the system to take advantage of the virtual reality headset and games designed for PSVR. I have a mild interest in this peripheral but not enough to justify the extra cost of the PS4 Pro. The PS4 Pro also has an additional USB port and an Optical port for connecting things such as PSVR or Streaming devices, etc.

    ALL PS4 consoles including ones released even prior to the announcement of these 2 new models will be receiving a significant update to allow them to take advantage of new HDR technologies that allow HDR capable TV sets to display colors in more true to life fashion. So no matter which PS4 you get, your games are going to look a lot better after this firmware update.

    Keep in mind that ALL PS4 units will play the same games, and have access to the same content. Sony has confirmed that they will not develop exclusive games NOR exclusive game-content that is system specific. — Also all of the systems will work with PSVR – it’s just that the performance of PSVR will be improved significantly on the PS4 Pro – just like the HTC Vive and Occulus Rift require a very high end computer for the best gaming performance.

    So which PS4 will you get? My take on it is this: If you enjoy games where frame rate really matters and impacts your performance such as online and multiplayer games or first-person shooters, OR if you have a 4K TV set, OR you’re REALLY into virtual reality save your money and go for the PS4 Pro. If you are a “hardcore gamer” who cares about overall game performance, the PS4 Pro is your go-to system.  Except wait… the Xbox Scorpio is going to blow the PS4 out of the water, and if you’re a “hardcore gamer” the types of games that you like and purchase are very likely available on Xbone. So maybe you should wait and get the Xbox Scorpio. — And I’m not an Xbox fangirl. In fact, I don’t like it. I owned the original and 360, and I see nothing exciting (game release wise) to make me want an Xbone or Scorpio. So this is just my honest opinion that if you are a core gamer, you might as well wait and get Scorpio. You’ll be better off.

    However, if none of that really matters to you, like me, and you just want to play all the Sony exclusive games, and you tend to favor RPGs and other more “casual games” then the PS4 Slim is your go to console. You save $100, and you can go out in 6 more days and buy it off the shelf – which I plan to do. — If you already have a PS4 – don’t buy the Slim, it’s not meant for you. It’s meant to be a low price model for people who do not yet have a PS4, such as myself.

    Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Now Available at Best Buy

    Best Buy Mobile Plan Compare Tool
    Samsung Blog Her Best Buy 2016

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    I’m really excited about the new Samsung Galaxy Note 7. I had an old Samsung Note 2, and I loved it. It’d been awhile since I’d played with a newer Samsung smart phone so I was really excited to get to check out the new Samsung Galaxy Note 7 at Best Buy‘s Booth at Blog Her. I found a lot of improvements have been made over the years in this device.

    My favorite improvement is how responsive and natural the new and improved S Pen has become. It makes navigating websites or controlling apps a snap. It’s great for artists too! As a web developer and graphic artist, I would totally use this phone and the mobile adobe apps to work easily on the go. Writing texts or notes and reminders also feels very natural now with the improved stylus sensitivity and responsive new feel. The new S Pen is super light weight now too! It’s much more comfy to write with or use for long periods of time.

    In fact, the entire phone is MUCH lighter than my old Note 2. As technology in general keeps shrinking and becoming thinner, the new Note 7 weighs just under 6 ounces.

    As always, one of the best features of the Samsung Note handhelds is the large screen. And the CURVED Dual-edge, 5.7 inch Quad HD Super AMOLED screen on the new Note 7 makes watching movies and playing games an amazing experience! As a gamer, the new screen truly is amazing. And with Google’s Open Play Store, there are millions of games to play, many for free! Or apps to watch your favorite shows like Netflix, Crunchyroll, Hulu, or Dramafever.

    Of course, that would drain your battery, but fear not, because the new Note 7 also has greatly improved its battery life and also implemented quick charging to keep your device going longer and working harder than ever before.

    The Galaxy Note 7 also really improved the camera – especially in low light settings. I love to take pictures when I’m out with friends and family. The new and improved camera makes capturing fun memories easier than ever and makes those memories look brighter, crisper, and clearer than ever before.

    Best Buy makes shopping for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, and choosing the best wireless plan for your new smartphone, super easy too! You can visit any Best Buy store to use their Mobile Plan and Compare tool. This tool will help you save money on your wireless plan by guiding you through understanding what features are most important to you! This doesn’t always mean just choosing the cheapest plan, but instead, choosing a plan that provides enough data, texts, minutes, long distance calling, visual voicemail, or other options that you regularly use. If you just go for the cheapest plan out there, you might be disappointed when your internet speeds are suddenly throttled, or worse yet,  receive a huge bill from overages when you exceed your data limits.

    It also helps you determine which features you don’t need so you don’t pay for what you won’t use. About 50% of people overpay on their cell phone bill.  See how Best Buy can help. Best Buy lets you easily compare plans from a wide variety of different carriers including Verizon, Tmobile, Sprint, and ATT. They also offer numerous prepaid plans and options for those who wish to bring their own device.

    The Mobile Plan and Compare tool at Best Buy helps you understand the different tiered data plans offered by carriers such as Verizon and ATT. These allow you to pay a set fee for how much data you or your family expect to use each month and then charge an overage fees for any additional data use. If you don’t want to worry about overages, many of the new smart phones have built in controls to turn off wireless data when you near your limits, or you can explore various prepaid or unlimited data plans if you are a heavy data user.

    The Mobile Plan and Compare tool also helps you understand the new installment type plans that most of the big carriers offer. With these plans you pay a small fee every month in addition to your other wireless charges to essentially “lease” the cellphone which then allows you to upgrade sooner than you would in a traditional contract.

    Best Buy offers this Mobile Plan and Compare tool in every Best Buy store. They also have resources available via bestbuy.com to help you calculate your estimated data usage.

    Best Buy is also offering a special deal on the new Samsung Galaxy Note 7 which includes a Free Gear Fit2 or 256GB memory card when you purchase and activate the Samsung Galaxy Note7. Plus, you can get $20 in rewards with your first qualifying Samsung Pay purchase.

    Disclaimer:  The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.