PC Peripherals

The MSI Wind

Today I bought a black MSI Wind U100LX and promptly ditched the Linux installation in favor of an nLited Windows XP install. This brand new baby is bigger than I thought it would be, but it is still very small and lightweight. In fact, it is even lighter than the Asus EEE PC 701! That was extremely surprising. I think it is because the battery is only a 3-cell battery compared to the EEE’s 4-cell.

Regardless, the larger screen size is wonderful and by itself is almost worth the price of the admission. The other important thing is the 160GB Hard drive which will allow me to keep all the anime downloads in one place.

It’s almost perfect, but I noticed a few issues. Aside from the obvious fact that it is larger than the EEE 701, which is a huge sorepoint for me, there are some nagging issues I can’t help but wonder about.

First off is the apparently flimsy build quality. Unlike the EEE which I felt I could carry around, drop, abuse, and otherwise treat in a very rough manner, the Wind seems a lot flimsier in comparison. While it does look sleeker and far classier than the EEE 701 (or any of the EEEs except for the newest business class model that is yet to come out) I don’t feel like I can treat this unit roughy. I feel like I have to baby it. And cost is not the reason behind it; first off the screen constantly wobbles from its hinge. Unlike the EEE which was rock solid, I feel like the Wind’s lid is liable to be blown off at any moment. If you move the screen it bends a bit and you can see the LCD discoloring at the point of flexing. That can’t be good.

The other problem is the very annoying position of the Fn key. They put the Fn key where the Ctrl key is supposed to be, and I’ve failed quite a few cut and paste attempts as a result. While the keyboard is nice, big and roomy this is a definite no-no.

Related to user input, the Synaptics touchpad that came with the device is godawful. Unlike the one that came on the EEE which is a “touchpad” according to Window’s device manger, this one is a “pointing device” and for the life of me I cannot find a scroll pad option on it. Unlike the touchpad on the EEE which had scroll pad options, point regions, and all sorts of very convenient effects, the Wind’s touchpad is simply a two-button, nothing more, nothing less. While this isn’t all that inconvenient the lack of a “scroll wheel” makes it a lot less usable, like going back from a wheel mouse to a normal two-button mouse. It is a very glaring issue.

My final problem is with the Atom processor, which is a bit hyped it seems. I cannot seem to get it to work properly with CoreAVC to decode 720p h264 files properly. I guess I will simply need to work on this more but hopefully I can get it to work soon, this was a big selling point of the Atom for me. If not for this, I would have just gotten an EEE PC 900 which had the same small factor as the 701, a very nice Synaptics touchpad, a very good battery and the same big screen resolution as the Wind.
Ah well, I’ll play with my new toy but somehow I don’t feel as blown-away by the Wind as I was by the EEE 701.

The G602: Why do I keep buying Logitech Mice?!

Time and again, I keep promising myself I’ll never buy another Logitech product.  Every single time, they fail me within a year. I’ve bought the Logitech Wave keyboard, the Logitech DiNovo Mini, the Logitech Solar K750, the G7 (TWICE!), G700, and who knows what else I’ve forgotten over the years.

Each and every one of these wretched pieces of plastic failed me within a year of buying them. Either the wireless goes bonkers, a button starts double-clicking, the battery just fails, or whatever other stupid excuse for lousy quality control. And every single time, Logitech refuses to honor my warranty. I think they discriminate against Filipinos? Who knows.

And yet, I keep buying more of these products. Why is that? They’re elegantly designed and very useful, for starters. Six months ago, I bought the Logitech G602.

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And what a great mouse. It’s wireless, but lasts for months at a time on single AA battery on one charge. It would last even longer if you used a non-rechargeable battery, but I prefer to recycle my energy.

It sports an awesome 2500DPI on an optical sensor — and before your stupid groans of horror at a mouse having less than 6000DPI and not sporting a laser sensor — 2500 DPI is more than enough for anyone not playing on a 4K monitor (and even then I think it’d be good enough). I typically only used 1800DPI on a 1080p display using my Razer Naga Epic: way less than its rated 5600DPI sensitivity. And you know what? It was perfectly fine! Laser or Optical — anyone who says they can tell the difference in performance between laser or optical mice is kidding themselves. Maybe under extreme conditions like a bad wooden table surface there’d be a difference — and ironically it’s the optical sensor with an LED lighting the surface that performs better most of the time.  But most people will be using these mice in “normal” environments — like a mousepad — and there is no difference between the two technologies.

And you know what really makes me love the G602? Those six awesome thumb buttons. Six!!! The biggest problem with the G7 was it had only 1 thumb button. The Razer Naga had 12 — far too many. Six is just right. Six is perfect.

Look at those sweet six thumb buttons!

The G602 also has a very gratifying grip. Unlike the G700 which had a lousy tapering edge on its right that made gripping it with your ring and pinky fingers painful in the long run, the G602 is perfect for palming the mouse and it’s light enough (with just one battery) to really glide across your mouse pad with the deftest of flicks.

And with the improved Logitech Gaming Software that is low on bloat and high on features like Macros and all that crap, this is a mouse lover’s orgasm come true.

And so it was for me… until it broke six months later. The middle wheel button just stopped working all of a sudden while I was playing Skyrim, and after that the x and y tracker just stopped working! Absolutely no tracking whatsoever, although all the other buttons worked just fine. I mean, what the frack?!

Such an epic fail of a mouse. So beautiful, so elegant, so perfect… until it breaks down. And yes, Logitech failed to honor my warranty AGAIN. I’m such a masochist. I should stop buying these Logitech mice, if only they lasted more than a year. I can’t justify buying 3000 to 6000 peso mice over and over in a span of six months.  Damn you Logitech and may you rot in hell.

Razer? Logitech? Bah! Roccat!

I just bought a new gaming mouse. My old Logitech G7 was an excellent gaming mouse… or so I thought. It had a great shape, great performance, very nice swappable battery, and felt really good to use. Until the left mouse button started double-clicking! All of a sudden, if I click on a window in the status bar it would maximize and minimize all in one click! One click on an folder opens it instantly. Let’s not even get into accidentally opening a game when I just want to go through my documents!

Well enough was enough. I decided to buy a new mouse. It’s the Roccat Pyra, a wireless gaming mouse designed for mobile use.

Well I have to admit. It looks like a Razer. It’s small, as small as my Logitech bluetooth netbook mouse, but thinner by a bit.

And therein lies the rub. I mean, I like it. It is a basic mouse with five buttons, with an optical sensor (goes up to 1600dpi) and a 2.4Ghz wireless connection. That just means it’s good and has no wires! But the thin profile… it lacks support for my palm. So when I use it, it the crook of my hand gets tired.

Me, when I think mice, there’s some things I like to have. No wires. I can’t stress enough how nice having no wires is. The freedom it brings is unparalleled. I hate snagging the wire on things on my desk. No wires is such a relief. I hope everyone who uses a PC gets to use a wireless mouse at least once in their lives. Say no to wires!

So as such I had to get the Roccat. But I’m kind of regretting it because it’s not so comfortable.  That’s another big consideration. It’s such a shame. It would have been a good mouse otherwise.

But all in all I find it’s a good mouse, just not a good fit for my big hands. I suppose someone with smaller hands would like it.

The Anti Logitech

Logitech is a horrible company. They somehow succeeded by building a brand that is perceived as the Porsche of keyboards and mice, but the shoddy worksmanship of their peripherals betrays their true form.

I have an MX3200 desktop set and the keys feel so spongy, it’s like there was a mound of dirt beneath them that you squish every time you type, and it sticks so they pop back a little slowly. The effort needed to press the buttons is above what other keyboards require.

Their mice, all of which have been following the MX700/MX300 form factor for ages now, may be good for people with big hands who like to palm their mice, but for gaming using your fingers for precision is often the better method, but all these palm mice they churn out just don’t make the cut compared to an el-cheapo A4-Tech mouse that handles flawlessly at a third or sometimes even a fourth of the price.

My poor G7 mouse was only with me for 3 months before the left mouse button started having double-click problems. And yet my A4-Tech mice have been with me for 5 years and have never had clicking problems.

Let’s not even get into how often their batteries die out for all their cordless mice, and I’ve owned quite a few of them. Logitech is highly disappointing, I’ve been burned too many times buying their shoddy products. You could say I’m the fool for going back to them time and again, fooled by the brand name, but sometimes I just gotta learn.