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HP Envy 34″ Curved All-in-One Review! (2017)

One of my most anticipated reviews of 2017 so far: This the HP Envy 34″ Curved All-in-One

Thanks to HP for sponsoring this video and allowing me to review this.

If you’re watching this then you’re either generally intrigued by this being the world’s widest curved all-in-one and you want to see it up close and personal, or you’re actually in the market for an all-in-one desktop. So I will say if you’re looking for the best alternative to an iMac, this may be your answer. The model I have was released in early 2017, and it’s currently $1899 on Amazon which I will link to in the description below.

The first thing you’ll probably notice is the huge 34″ curved display. It’s an ultra-wide Quad-HD LED-backlit micro-edge display with a screen resolution of 3440×1440 and let me tell you, this is a cinema lover’s dream. Watching movies and videos, especially ones that are shot in 21:9, is an immersive experience. The slight curve to the monitor along with the thin bezels, the anti-glare matte finish and just how wide the display is really makes you feel like you’re a part of whatever it is you’re watching. I’m not a gamer by any means, but playing games that don’t require an extremely powerful PC is a blast on this 34″ screen. On the other hand, I do edit a lot of videos and that’s where the HP Envy Curved all-on-one truly shines. The amount of screen space I have when editing videos is so convenient. It’s a Technicolor Certified Display so the colors are vibrant and bright but still true to life. Since this is a larger display, it does not have as many pixels per inch as the Retina iMac, for example, so you are sacrificing pixel density for the bigger screen, but there’s no doubt that the 34″ curved display is one of the best features about this computer. If you’re a multi-tasker like me who always has at least one YouTube video on while working in Evernote and doing other things, you’ll love how much space this display gives you. Just make sure your desk will be able to fit it. That’s important because this thing is big.

When I first saw the HP Envy Curved All-in-One, the design really stood out to me. It’s impressive how elegant yet simple they made this. The display is connected to the base by a sturdy aluminum stand which allows you to tilt the display forward and backwards but be aware that you cannot swivel it from left to right or raise its elevation. A nice touch is the 720p HD webcam that’s hidden by default. You can pop it out by pressing down on it, and then you can press down on it again to keep it hidden if you are taking part in private matters. But I am a little disappointed that that’s not a 1080p full HD webcam because that just would have made more sense with such a big display, but on the other hand it does have an infrared camera that’s great for signing onto Windows using facial recognition, something that I wish MacOS had.

Now, the base is where all the computing parts live as well as the sound bar. It’s packing some nice specs too: A Quad-core 7th Generation Kabylake Core i7 processor with 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a dedicated AMD Radeon RX 460 with 4GB of memory, and one of my favorite features: a 256GB Solid state drive alongside a 1TB hard drive. So with these high specs you’re definitely getting fast performance along with ample storage space. It also has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth and comes with Windows 10 pre-installed. Now the first thing I do recommend you do if you get this is to update all the drivers along with the BIOS because updating the drivers will help reduce the fan noise when the computer is hard at work. With the old drivers the fans seem to make quite a bit of noise during intensive tasks like gaming and rendering HD videos, but updating to the latest drivers should help with that. But from the fast bootup to loading apps very quickly and managing multiple browser tabs with ease, the performance has been very snappy.

On the back of the base there are four USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI out, one HDMI in, a display mode switch, an Ethernet port, power in, and a security slot. On the right side there is a headphones jack, a memory card reader, and a Thunderbolt 3 port. HP also put in a Qi wireless charging pad on the base so if you have a compatible smartphone unlike me you can place it there to charge wirelessly.

Other than the design and the display, my other favorite feature is the built-in sound bar made by Bang & Olufsen who are known for their high quality audio products. This soundbar is made up of quad front-facing speakers along with two passive radiators mounted upwards at a 45-degree angle so if you position yourself right in the middle you’ll get a brilliant sound experience. The speakers sound rich and full but most of all they get super loud. Like really loud. And a very convenient bonus is the circular touch-dial on that base that you can use to quickly adjust the volume, which actually works really well and it’s my preferred way to turn the volume up or down.

My biggest pet peeve, and you can take that literally, biggest pet peeve is the hefty power adapter that powers everything. On one hand I love the fact that with an all-in-one there is only one cable coming out of the back. However, this thing is pretty massive and it’s not easily hidden so keep that in mind.

The HP Envy Curved All-in-One does come with its own wireless keyboard and wireless mouse. The mouse is powered by the included AA batteries and despite the thin plastic top, it feels pretty good and decently solid when using it. The keyboard is rechargeable and can be charged using the included USB cable. It’s a condensed laptop-style keyboard so if you want to game you’ll be better off getting a separate full size keyboard, but for most it does the job well.

So if you’re looking for a well-designed Windows alternative to the iMac or you’re just looking for a fast elegant all-in-one desktop for watching movies, listening to music, playing mid-tier games, or doing any type of productive work, the HP Envy Curved All-in-One is something to definitely consider. The link will be in the description below if you want to check it out. As always, give this video a thumbs up if enjoyed it and subscribe if you want more tech videos like this in the future. Thank you for watching. My name is Andy, and I will see you in the next one.

 

HP OfficeJet 4650 All-in-One Printer Review

Check out my review of the HP OfficeJet 4650 wireless all-in-one printer!

7 Years of YouTube Cameras

Dell XPS 13 Review: Better than a MacBook?

Best price of Dell XPS 13 on Amazon

So you’re wondering about the new Skylake Dell XPS 13 ultrabook? As a primary Mac user I replaced my MacBook Pro with the Dell XPS 13 for the past month, and I’m here to share my experience and full review with you right now. Full Disclaimer: Dell did send this to me at no cost, but these are all my honest opinions. The Dell XPS 13 9350 was released in late 2015 and starts at $799. The model I have comes with Windows 10, Intel’s 6th generation Core i7 6500U 2.5Ghz processor, 16GB RAM, 1TB PCIe solid state drive, Intel HD 520 Graphics, and a 13.3″ Quad HD InfinityEdge touch display.

The Dell XPS 13 is currently the world’s smallest 13″ laptop, fitting a 13.3″ display into a typical 11″ laptop frame thanks to the nearly bezel-less display. The outside is made of silver aluminum that definitely shows off its simple yet durable design. The inside of the laptop has a smooth carbon fiber finish which looks nice but feels even nicer. The left side has the charging port, a new USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port, a USB 3.0 port, a headphone jack, a battery guage button, and the left speaker grill. The right side has a lock slot, a USB 3.0 port, an SD card reader, and the right speaker grill.

When I first saw this laptop I immediately thought “Yep this is definitely Dell’s attempt at a MacBook killer.” But it’s hard to determine exactly which MacBook is closest in similarity to the Dell XPS 13. It has a stunning screen like the 12″ Retina MacBook. It has the portability and slimness of the MacBook Air, and it has the power and ports comparable to the 13″ MacBook Pro. Obviously my 2009 15″ MacBook Pro is slower and bulkier than the Dell XPS 13, but I did install an SSD and more RAM in my MacBook Pro a few years ago so that’s why it has lasted me this long and still works perfectly. So let’s see how well the Dell XPS 13 performed for me during the past month.

Let’s start with the InfinityEdge touch display because it’s one of my favorite features. The 3200×1800 QHD screen is absolutely gorgeous. It’s boasting 5.7 million pixels. That’s 276 ppi compared to the 2015 Retina MacBook’s 226 ppi. The colors are rich with just the right amount of contrast, and since it is an IPS panel it has good viewing angles. It can get really bright too. As a YouTuber I love watching HD videos on full screen mode, and I’m sure photographers and graphic designers would love this display. The only downsides are that some apps haven’t updated to accommodate such a high resolution screen so those apps can appear as lower quality, and since the display has such a thin border Dell had to put the webcam in the bottom left which is kind of awkward. But hey, at least it’s an HD webcam unlike some other laptops. The touch screen is a glossy finish with scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass, but they do have a matte finish option for their non-QHD model if that’s what you prefer. Speaking of the touch screen capability, it’s definitely not necessary but it is fun to use and actually convenient to have. It’s very responsive. You’re probably saying “Andy, no way I would ever need a touch screen on my laptop.” But hear me out.

Let’s talk about one of the best yet most frustrating features of the Dell XPS 13: the touchpad. I’ll start by saying this is the best touchpad I’ve ever used on a Windows laptop. One of the reasons I immediately fell in love with my MacBook Pro when I first got it was the trackpad and mainly the 2-finger scrolling. Apple really mastered their trackpad, not just with the physical smoothness of touching it but with the smooth buttery 2 finger scrolling and multi-gestures. I’ve never had any problems with the Apple trackpad. For the most part, the Dell XPS 13 touchpad does a good job at implementing these features (I’ve especially enjoyed the three finger tap and swipe gestures) and the touchpad is comfortable to use.

However, the touchpad has big problems with certain apps, most importantly Google Chrome. This may be a Chrome issue or a Windows 10 driver issue because the touchpad works great in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer. In those apps the 2-finger scrolling is almost always smooth. But in Google Chrome the touchpad constantly causes the page to jump up and down when trying to 2-finger scroll. I tried changing any relevant touchpad setting in Windows and nothing seemed to fix this problem. It’s extremely frustrating because I need precise smooth scrolling when responding to my YouTube comments one by one. I thought it was just me but it seems others are experiencing the same problem. So hopefully this gets fixed soon with an update. But that’s why the touch screen is convenient to have because I can scroll with the display instead of with the touchpad if needed. On the other hand, I love the keyboard. It has backlit chiclet style keys which I got accustomed to on my Mac and I seem to be able to type super fast like Bruce Almighty on this thing.

Now let’s talk about where the Dell XPS 13 really shines: mobility and performance. It weighs less than 3lbs and is super thin, making it one of the most portable laptops out right now. It’s much easier to carry around compared to my 15″ MacBook Pro. It has a 56 watt hour battery that lasts a decent amount of time. I’m getting around 6-12 hours of battery life on a single charge, closer to 6 hours when I’m streaming Spotify and watching YouTube videos the whole time and closer to 12 hours when I have the brightness down and I’m just browsing the web or typing notes. It takes about 2 and a half hours to fully charge the battery while using the laptop. In addition, you can purchase the separate Dell Power Companion which is a portable battery that can charge your XPS 13 and other devices in case you need some extra power for a special trip.

On the performance side of things, with Intel’s 6th generation Core i7 Skylake processor and 16GB of DDR3 RAM, the XPS 13 is a speedy machine and can handle nearly any day-to-day task. The 1TB PCIe solid state drive has considerably fast read and write speeds which you will notice when the laptop starts up from a cold boot in about 10 seconds flat. I was able to copy 16.5 GB of video files from my SD card onto the Dell’s SSD in 3 minutes 31 seconds compared to a copy time of 3 minutes 14 seconds on my 2012 Mac Mini’s Fusion Drive. Like with any solid state drive, apps load very quickly and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten stuck with the spinning circle of death. I tend to have a ton of browser tabs open at the same time and the XPS 13 was able to handle it just fine, no stuttering or freezing up. It scored a 3279 for single-core and 6868 for multi-core on the GeekBench benchmark tests. So even though this ultrabook was primarily designed with mobility in mind, it is still fast and powerful. Don’t expect to edit 4K videos or render 3D graphics without struggling, but it can definitely handle casual HD video editing and other multimedia work like Photoshop. Another exciting feature is the new USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port, which has transfer speeds up to 8x faster than USB 3.0 and is twice as fast as Thunderbolt 2. The USB-C port has the ability to charge the XPS 13 and power up to two 4K displays. If you need more ports, you can purchase the Dell Adapter which can turn the USB 3.0 port into a single hub for Ethernet, USB, HDMI, and VGA ports.

As you can see I really do enjoy this new Dell XPS 13. Even with its minor flaws like having to uninstall bloatware and McAfee right out of the box, or having to manually update the drivers and BIOS to solve screen flickering and battery problems, or the speakers making a slight popping sound every now and then. Those types of inconveniences usually don’t happen with Macs since the software and hardware are from the same company. Not saying they never happen, but it is just a different experience. So is the Dell XPS 13 better than the MacBook or MacBook Air? That totally depends on what you’re specifically looking for out of a laptop. For me personally, I own an iPhone and as a video producer I use Apple’s Final Cut Pro X to edit all my videos so it just makes sense for me to use a Mac unless I want to start using a completely different video editing app. So a Mac would be best for you if you’re like me and you’re already invested in the Apple ecosystem, maybe you own an iPhone or iPad and you want the additional benefits of owning a Mac because of the tight integration between iOS and OS X. One of the features I really missed when I was using the XPS 13 was the ability to respond to texts from my laptop. You can do that with a Mac if you use an iPhone. So that’s just one example. The biggest thing holding me back is Final Cut Pro. As long as I’m using that exclusively I can’t permanently move to a Windows laptop.

However if you’re not already invested in the Apple ecosystem and you’re looking for a small, compact, yet fast laptop that looks good and feels solid then you should definitely consider the Dell XPS 13 9350. Other than it being the best Windows ultrabook of 2016, if I had to pick one word to describe the XPS 13 it would be: Productivity. This is perfect for people who are always on the go but still need a strong machine to help them get things done quickly. That’s why I’m keeping mine and will continue to use it as my go-to travel laptop when I don’t need to do any video editing.

The Dell XPS 13 gets a thumbs-up from me. What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know!

Best Ergonomic Mouse? Logitech M570 Review

Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball Review: Best ergonomic mouse?

If you’re like me then you are constantly using a computer. These days it’s hard not to. One of the biggest consequences of this, however, is wrist pain and even carpal tunnel syndrome caused by doing the same wrist movements over and over. I was concerned about this because I edit a lot of videos and the process of video editing can take hours and even days. So I decided to do some research and I went out and got the best ergonomic mouse I could find. This is my Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball review.

The Logitech M570 is currently less than $30 and has an almost perfect 4.5/5 star rating on Amazon. It’s not just for people who are specifically looking for an ergonomic mouse, but in my opinion everyone who uses a computer on a daily basis should own this mouse. Here’s why. It’s actually not labeled as a “mouse”. Instead, Logitech calls it a wireless trackball because instead of moving your arm like with a traditional mouse, with the M570 you are rolling this ball around with your thumb to move your mouse across your screen. Having said that, I will still refer to this as a mouse and trackball throughout this video.

Right out of the box, the Logitech M570 works with Windows and Mac. Just connect the unifying receiver to a USB port, turn on the trackball, and you’re ready to start using it. The wireless capability is one of its best features. It can work upwards of 30 feet away from the computer. Also since the tracking sensor is built inside the mouse, it can literally be used on nearly any surface. Or no surface at all. I also love how lightweight it is and the long battery life. It comes with a Duracell AA battery and Logitech claims that one battery can last up to 18 months. I’ve owned this mouse for a few months and I still haven’t needed to replace the battery yet, but I usually turn the mouse off when I’m not using it anyway. The ergonomics is also one of its best features. The way its designed lets your hand rest at a more natural position which should help relieve any wrist pain when using it for long periods of time.

For me, the trackball was very smooth right out of the box. However if it’s not as smooth as you’d like you can pop the ball out and wipe it down with a cotton cloth to make it even smoother. The rubber grips on the bottom give it a sturdy placement on the surface it’s on so the mouse itself doesn’t accidentally move when your hand is resting on it at an angle. The mouse feels great in the hand. On the top it has standard left and right click buttons and a scroll wheel. It also has quick access to forward and back buttons which can be programmed as custom triggers using the free Logitech software. There’s also a battery light indicator as well. The bottom where the battery goes has a slot for the unifying receiver in case you are traveling and don’t want to lose the USB dongle. Pretty convenient.

Really, the only downside is that this trackball is only designed for right-handers, like most mouses. Having said that, for right-handers this is one of the best purchases you’ll make. The Logitech M570 is my go-to mouse when I need a break from my trackpad or my Logitech MX Performance. It is a smooth, long lasting, and comfortable wireless mouse that works great. I highly recommend it because for less than $30 you could potentially avoid long-term pain or damage to your wrists. If you have any questions leave a comment below and give this video a thumbs up if it helped you out. Thanks for watching and I’ll talk to you in the next video.

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