Consumer Electronics For Home

Power Tools 101: Spend The Money

You Get What You Pay For

Sometimes you can truly spend less and get a deal. Most of the time this is not the case. When you elect to go for a cheaper product, you will either get less of the product or a much lower quality of a product. Whether you need an everyday product for work or just something to do small projects around the house, cheap power tools should be left to those not fortunate enough to have read this article.

In this case, I am referring to the Genesis GCD18BK 18 volt cordless drill. When the drill is fresh off a full charger it works well for a quick job, it comes with the necessary accessories and feels great, looks professional. The problem is, the next time you need to drill a hole and screw in a few screws, the drill will probably not be ready, unless you charge it right before you get started.

I bought the drill way back in 2016 and I doubt that I have used it more than 50 times. I am pretty sure that I have not overcharged and killed the battery. For the $40 I spent, I am not complaining, just saying that this is something you should look out for.

If I were to start a large renovation project, I would probably buy a new drill. Something with a higher capacity battery, maybe even two batteries. I would also invest in a system with a better battery charger as well.

With all said, I’ve lived and learned a valuable lesson. Hopefully, after reading this article, I can save you some time and heartache too. Even if you are only a hobbyist, spend a little money so you can actually enjoy your hobby.


Consumer Electronics

Big Sur: New Life for the Late 2014 Mac Mini

What The Hell Is A Mac Mini?

When people ask me what a Mac Mini is, I say it’s an iMac you can use on any monitor. To be honest, I never really thought about a Mac until the late 2014 Mac Mini came out. While you won’t play top-notch games on it, you can get some work done on it.

When the 2018 Mac Mini’s came out, I went to my local Apple store to see if they had one I could play around with. When I asked, the young lady acted as if she had never heard of such a thing. I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume they where just instructed not to promote is as they did not have one on display at the store.

Subsequent macOS updates have rendered this particularly underpowered Mac desktop almost useless. Updates designed for more powerful computers frequently bogged down the Mac Mini as well as other entry level Mac desktop and laptop computers.

Big Sur Is A Beast

Enter 2020 and Apple’s decision to introduce its own CPUs. While this CPU is being regarded by Apple Fanboys as an Intel killer, Apple’s OS upgrade is simultaneously its most aggressive push towards its iOS mobile platform ever. Apparently within that push is less hardware hungry software. As I am writing this article on the dusty late 2014 Mac Mini running Big Sur, this is the best experience I’ve had on this computer since I first got it back in 2015.

There are plenty of youtube videos and blog posts that slobber over the new features of the new Big Sur OS and the three new Apple Silicon computers. That is not what this is about. I am talking about new like for your existing hardware. I am talking about people who have never had the opportunity to experience the true power of the Mac ecosystem having an opportunity. Having a lower barrier of entry with older lower-powered computers being viable again.

No this is not perfect, just better. It is crazy that in 2020 functionality is celebrated. Thank you, Apple for giving new life to a computer that was purposely underpowered in the first place. Hopefully, my experience continues to be good.

If you have one of the underwhelming Macs that came out between 2014 and 2018 feel free to leave a commit about your experiences.

Consumer Electronics

Can A Tablet Replace A Computer

  What Are You Trying To Do

If you are one of the millions of people looking to downsize your life, or looking to update to a more modern system, a tablet may be a viable option. Tablets are very popular nowadays for many different reasons, one of which is availability.

The short answer to the question is yes or no depending on which tablet you purchase and what you use your computer for. If you only use your computer to browse the internet and check emails, tablets are great. If you play graphically intense games, audio production, video production, etc. a tablet may be underpowered for your workflow.

I have personally never been a fan of tablets as they are nothing more than large smartphones. After actually getting my hands on one for extended use, I now see it as something between a large smartphone and a small laptop. Tablets have become much more powerful of the last 10 or so years. I am actually using a tablet to write this particular article. In the future I will be using the tablet to help in the creation process. You can listen to music or watch youtube while doing real work as I am doing. I can definitely say I have a whole new respect for what a tablet can do.

There is a definitive difference between the tablets that connect to a mobile network and tablets that only work over wifi. While your mobile service provider is more than willing to make a tablet affordable, it may not be a good option. While they let you pay for the device in payments, you’ll have to keep a service plan active during the payback process.


For me, a tablet is a great companion to my desktop. Much lighter than most laptops. Not quite powerful enough for my entire workflow but good enough to keep me working in between time.  It is also an essential for mobile workers.

Consumer Electronics Review Video Games

Havit RGB Keyboard and Mouse

Save Your Money, Budget Doesn’t Always Mean Compromise 

Havit Gaming Keyboard and Mouse Boxes
Havit Gaming Keyboard and Mouse Boxes

Are you subscribed to r/Battlestations? Do drool over those fancy RGB setups that are all the crazy in computer gaming? Are you also short on cash to upgrade your setup? Well, perhaps I have an answer to your lighting lust. Havit Gaming will quench your technolust for a fraction of the cost.

First and foremost, I must admit I am very much a controller fanboy. While I know using a mouse and keyboard are lightning-fast and provide a  tactical advantage, I just can’t put my controller down. I personally am not much of a competitive gamer anyway, and I grew up playing on consoles. But I do like a few games that are either, do not support controllers or controllers are not practical such as Planet Coaster and Cities: Skylines.

While Havit offers keyboard and mouse combos, I opted to purchase them separately as the keyboard and mouse I wanted were not offered as a set.

HAVIT HV-KB391L Gaming Keyboard
HAVIT HV-KB391L Gaming Keyboard


For the keyboard, I purchased the HAVIT HV-KB391L Gaming Keyboard. It is a membrane keyboard, not mechanical. Regardless, it has a great look with 3 lighting modes, rainbow, breathing and off. The keyboard also has the ability to change the directional key location. For me, the biggest challenge of this type of keyboard has been adjusting to larger keys. Outside of that, it has been great.

HAVIT MS760 Pro Gaming Mouse
HAVIT MS760 Pro Gaming Mouse


For the mouse, I went with the HAVIT MS760 Pro Gaming Mouse. I chose this mouse as it has an interchangeable left panel. I particularly like the panel with 6 programmable buttons. If you are willing to program some shortcuts it is a lot like having a controller in my opinion. This mouse also sports 7 dpi modes (dots per inch) which means the sensitivity is adjustable. Each dpi level has a color assigned to it and pressing the plus or minus buttons on the mouse will quickly change the color and level. I could see this feature being useful for individuals who do photo editing or other tedious and intricate tasks. There are also 10 RGB lighting modes and an app you can download to change many of the functions. The biggest downside of the mouse so far is figuring out which drivers you may need to download to get all of the features enabled.


Outside of a few minor issues, the experience so far has been great. For right around $40 USD I have a gaming setup that I truly enjoy. If you have $150+ to spend on a keyboard and mouse setup, knock yourself out. For the rest of us, Havit Gaming has a nice offering.

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Consumer Electronics

Amazon Basics Ergonomic Wireless Mouse Review

Is A Mouse Just A Mouse

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So I had a Logitech wireless mouse that I brought about 6 months ago that I lost somewhere. I needed a cheap mouse to use as I travel around with my laptop. While searching on Amazon I found the Amazon Basics Ergonomic Wireless Mouse for less than $10 and thought, why not try it.

It Just Works

I am not really a “spec geek,” while I do know and understand specifications, I normally like things that just work. To my surprise, this mouse just works. There is nothing really fancy about it. The box is very plain, just a brown box with no writing. All you have to do is plug the adapter into an available USB port, put the one battery into the mouse and it works. It feels pretty good in my hands. The response on the screen is great for everyday use. The buttons are clicky and the wheel is scrolly.

After a few months of using the mouse, it still works just as good as the day I received it. I have carried the mouse around in my backpack and it is still going strong.  The mouse is efficient with the batteries as long as you turn it off when not in use.


If you are looking for a gaming mouse, this is not for you. If you are looking for the highest advancement in mouse technology, this is not for you. This mouse is for people who need to get work done. I actually use the mouse in the creation of this blog post, just hours after I received it. While I would not recommend this mouse for photo editing or other fine detail work but for everything else it is great. The mouse also makes a great replacement for those of us who hate laptop trackpads. For less than $10 the Amazon Basics Ergonomic Wireless Mouse is worth a try.

Consumer Electronics

MPow – Budget Bluetooth Headphones

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Nowadays everybody is walking around in their own world with headphones in their ears. Some of us enjoy bulky over-the-ear studio style and some enjoy teeny tiny barely visible in-ear headphones. For the latter, I took a chance on a surprisingly cheap set of Bluetooth headphones and have a wonderful review in store.
The MPow Coach which retails for 22.99 USD is a lightweight, comfortable headphone. They feature 6-8 hours of battery life with normal use. While not incredibly bassy, they are good for music and very clear for conversations.


The MPow Coach headphone has wonderful Bluetooth connectivity with a range of over 20 feet and works well on airplanes. Conversations are clear and the music sounds nice. These headphones do not complete with $100+ product but they blow competitively priced headphone out of the water.

Agility Bed

The build quality is nice and solid, particularly compared to many other comparable products in this price range. After about 2 months of daily use, the charging port has not broken.

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I would definitely recommend these headphones for casual listening and conversation use. They may work well for exercising but they are a bit heavier and may come out of your ear with during heavy movements.

Consumer Electronics

USB Microphones For Professional Recordings – Yes, No, Maybe

USB Microphones


I decided today that I wanted to start recording a little bit so I decided to go buy a Blue Microphone Yeti. The Yeti is a very popular USB microphone amongst streamers and recording artists alike. (My first trial is the basis for this post, so my opinion may change.)

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Rode Podcaster USB Dynamic Microphone Record high-quality audio and vocals on your computer with the Rode Podcaster USB Dynamic Microphone. The Rode USB Microphone is ideal for vodcasting, podcasting, creating corporate or YouTube videos. It creates a professional broadcast sound quality. Songwriters and musicians may also use this USB audio microphone to record demos for their prospective clients and music producers. The A/D converters and the 8-48 kHz sampling bypasses your computer’s sound controller to produce a high-quality sound that your listeners can enjoy. The Rode USB Microphone includes a tight cardioid pattern for superior off-axis sound rejection that eliminates background noise that can lower the quality of your presentation. The 28mm dynamic capsule makes the USB dynamic microphone easy to hold while you are recording. You can plug the USB audio microphone into your Mac or PC with a USB cable, eliminating the need for an outside digital interface.

As soon as I purchased the mic, I hurried back to try it out. All of the research I had done was based on clarity, and the devices definitely live up to its reputation in that aspect.

MXL Tempo USB Condenser Microphone

What I failed to realize is that these types of devices are not ASIO (Audio Stream Input Output)compliant and does not work well with ASIO devices. Within the software that I use (Reason, Acid Pro), there is no way to mix between ASIO, DX, and other audio input/output formats. With that said, I had no choice but to download ASIO4ALL. With ASIO4ALL I am able to use the Yeti microphone while using my USB interface for monitoring. So far it works decently. I am having a hard time finding the right latency to use.

Blue Microphones ETI USB Condenser Plug-and-play Microphone with Kit


I would only recommend USB recording to streamers and gamers. If you are looking to record and edit, find a great mic to plug into an interface. While the USB mics are just as good, they are not as easy to integrate into the professional recording software. These microphones, while having headphone jacks, are not designed to be monitors. Lesson Learned: The USB microphone is not a replacement for a recording interface.

Blue Microphones Snowball Plug & Play USB Microphone Aluminum with Accessory Kit