Profile for Shane O. Laake > Reviews

Browse

Shane O. Laake's Profile

Customer Reviews: 530
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,770
Helpful Votes: 2330




Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Shane O. Laake "camera nerd" RSS Feed (Columbus, OH)
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Sharp LC-70EQ10U  70-inch Aquos Q 1080p 240Hz  Smart LED TV
Sharp LC-70EQ10U 70-inch Aquos Q 1080p 240Hz Smart LED TV
Price: $2,197.00
19 used & new from $1,899.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very impressive, but at a price, July 18, 2014
Being a bit of an AV geek I occasionally get asked for recommendations and setup help, and since I was in the market myself, I jumped at a chance to test drive this set while helping them out.

We picked this particular set based on reviews (here and reviews of similar Sharps elsewhere) and a preference for the Sharp brand. I'm partial to Panasonic plasmas, but since they're a dying breed I wanted to see what this had to offer. In the end I got the whole experience, minus the shipping, as it was still in the box (and just barely beyond the threshold) when I got there. Nothing elaborate, understated even, but it did the trick. After a quick inspection, we removed the old TV (a plasma I recommended) and moved it downstairs and prepped this for mounting. We held onto the rather sturdy stand (a good idea which we somehow neglected to do with the plasma that we moved). Mounting the TV was a breeze, as the existing mount was rated to hold the weight of this TV (the 65" plasma weighed much much more than this). Another good idea is to invest in a sturdy mount that exceeds your current needs, but a good mount needn't cost a fortune either. Anyway, it was up and running in no time. The wealth of inputs definitely is impressive, but the AV setup really only used a HDMI port (plus power).

Once we fired it up, we got the usual setup, which left us with an image better than in the store (well truer, better is a matter of taste), but it still was quite a bit away from reality and my preference (somewhere in between). AVS forums has loads of suggested settings as well as a means to go through the process on your own. We settled on "SooperGreg" 's settings. Coming from a plasma, the blacks and contrast were a tiny bit of a let down (way less of a let down than I'd imagine), but the glare was much more controlled. In the summer where it can still be light until after 10pm this is a huge plus, but the tragically short winter days may see the plasma come ahead. Either way, the picture is great. There are a bunch of other features, but we mostly went with a simple quasi-calibrated monitor (sound via home theater receiver/speakers) and let the HTPC handle Netflix and local media.

If I had to criticize this TV, and do note I'm being rather critical, as this is a very good TV, it's the price and the lack of local dimming. I ended up going with a Vizeo that won out in both regards, but the Sharp does have it's own look that's hard to beat.


VIZIO M652i-B2 65-Inch 1080p Smart LED TV
VIZIO M652i-B2 65-Inch 1080p Smart LED TV
Price: $1,499.99
7 used & new from $1,499.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No need to pick either value or quality--you can have both!, July 17, 2014
Note this review is for the 65" VIZIO M652i-B2 model

When I started looking for TVs to replace my trusty 65" Panasonic plasma, I was initially saddened by the abandonment of plasma and the rich contrasty images I grew used to. Having went from CRT to plasma, I didn't think anything without a phosphor would do. I was wrong. The best LCDs with local dimming LEDs lighting them can really deliver. Typically this means a price tag close to twice this price, but Vizo has done their magic. They've brought value to the high end display market, which is awesome!

The unit is slim, unassuming, and even attractive in it's own way. Being a 65" model it's rather big, but it's surprisingly light and compact (as much as a 65" TV can be). I mounted it to the wall, but the stand seems nice enough. Like the stand, the speakers have seen minimal use with my home theater setup. Setting it up was a breeze, though I wasn't terribly happy with it's initial settings, not that I've found most TVs to look good out (to my liking) of the box. While the menus could use some help, I was able to adjust the settings to my liking by starting with some recommendations and tweaking them a bit. I was surprised with how well the blacks look. Not as good as the best plasma, but hardly an issue. Likewise the uniformity and off axis viewing is quite outstanding. The only area where I really missed my plasma is with motion blurring as well as the means the set uses to address it. You ever have blur or a soap opera effect. It's a matter of preference, and I've yet to see a LCD that means my wants. All in all it's not a big deal, and it's an amazing set for the price.

I definitely enjoy this set, and I look forward to many years of enjoyment.


[AYL® Best Garlic Press Stainless Steel] ★ SALE! BUY 1 Garlic Press AND GET 1 Black Cleaning Brush FOR FREE! ★ Make Your Own Freshly Crushed and Minced Garlic and Ginger from Unpeeled Cloves and Ginger ★ Enjoy the Amazing Health Benefits of Garlic - Great for Garlic-Mixed Cooking Spices, Herb & Garlic Marinade Recipes - Now You Can Easily Add it to Every Dish of Food! ★
[AYL® Best Garlic Press Stainless Steel] ★ SALE! BUY 1 Garlic Press AND GET 1 Black Cleaning Brush FOR FREE! ★ Make Your Own Freshly Crushed and Minced Garlic and Ginger from Unpeeled Cloves and Ginger ★ Enjoy the Amazing Health Benefits of Garlic - Great for Garlic-Mixed Cooking Spices, Herb & Garlic Marinade Recipes - Now You Can Easily Add it to Every Dish of Food! ★
Offered by Accessorise Your Life
Price: $49.99
2 used & new from $15.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to use and to clean, June 30, 2014
I'm trying to eat fresh foods and rely upon natural herbs and the like, and while the big jar of minced garlic in some mysterious fluid lasts for months in my fridge, eating fresh garlic is probably a better idea. I've minced garlic by hand and used a few presses before. Doing by hand does take a bit of time (usually while I've got a lot going on in the kitchen) and my other garlic presses either require iron fists to press or worse, never seem to clean.

Thus I'm trying this. It's sturdy, feels great in the hand, and makes quick work of garlic. It doesn't strain my hands to use, and the garlic does a good job of making it through the other side. That last bit is crucial, as it helps with the cleaning, which is a breeze. It's dishwasher safe and comes out clean (without any lingering residue). All in all, I'm very pleased with my experience, and I'm more inclined to eat fresh garlic.

A product sample was provided for review purposes.


Bonavita 1-Liter Variable Temperature Digital Electric Gooseneck Kettle
Bonavita 1-Liter Variable Temperature Digital Electric Gooseneck Kettle
Offered by Pavilion Electronics
Price: Click here to see our price
31 used & new from $59.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for pour over coffee or tea, June 30, 2014
Coffee and tea can taste good with near boiling water. More precise control is required for greatness, and you get that here. It heats up fast, as do many electric kettles, but unlike many, you can set a temperature. Beyond that, the temperature is spot on what is indicated on the controls. You also get a goose neck on the kettle, which also helps with the tea and coffee. The build quality is good, but not phenomenal. I'm a bit concerned about rust given other reviews, but all in all, I'm delighted thus far.

Highly recommended for coffee and tea aficionados, and recommended for all who desire boiling water.


ASUS CHROMEBOX-M004U Desktop
ASUS CHROMEBOX-M004U Desktop
Price: $169.00
62 used & new from $144.59

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for OpenELEC (XBMC), June 29, 2014
The Chrome OS has come a long way since it was first announced, and I'm using more and more web apps than ever before. This box really is a great way to take advantage of those converging trends. I however use this box run XBMC, a powerful and versatile media center that runs real well on this box.

I followed one of the many guides online to run OpenELEC, a custom Linux distribution to run XBMC on boxes like this. The Celeron inside can handle any of my high bit rate 1080p files served on my lan perfectly. It likewise can handle more advanced skins with aplomb. The only issue (just to be clear this is specific to running XBMC not the standard Chromebox setup) is Netflix and Amazon, which hardly work at all on XBMC and not really on Linux. I boot to the standard Chrome OS for those. I haven't had any issues there.

The hardware is all rather nice. The CPU is plenty fast, it stays cool, and the price is hard to beat.


Dolica LX600B502DS  Ultra Premium Professional 60-Inch Lightweight Aluminum Alloy Tripod (Black)
Dolica LX600B502DS Ultra Premium Professional 60-Inch Lightweight Aluminum Alloy Tripod (Black)
Price: $165.58
27 used & new from $164.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice affordable compact travel tripod, June 28, 2014
There are better tripods: more compact ones, lighter ones, sturdier ones, cheaper ones ...

This is among the best compromises for me. It's plenty sturdy for my Fuji X-E2, and it works with my Nikon D7100 (straining the ball head a bit). It's very compact, robust enough for casual use, and lightweight enough for an already heavy heavy setup. I wish the ball head were a bit better, but good ball heads can cost as much as this setup. My bracket allows me avoid using the ball head on its side, which puts the most strain on this.

If I used this more, I'd invest more in a tripod, but for my uses (1-3 times a year), it's a great value.


ASUS Transformer Book T100TA-C1-GR(S) 10.1" Detachable 2-in-1 Touchscreen Laptop, 64GB (Grey)
ASUS Transformer Book T100TA-C1-GR(S) 10.1" Detachable 2-in-1 Touchscreen Laptop, 64GB (Grey)
Price: $399.00
8 used & new from $367.36

47 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful with the right expectations, June 27, 2014
This charming device has won over my heart, not because of it's immense capabilities, rather because of it does a few things very well, and it can do the rest in a pinch.

It's a great Windows 8 tablet (still an emerging ecosystem) and quite usable as a laptop. It can run most any Windows program, including Office (included), Photoshop, etc... It can also run any number of less well know apps, utilities, etc... plus access USB drives, printers, network drives etc... This flexibility does appeal to my needs as a tinkerer, as even an unlocked Android tablet can't do what a PC can. Here you have a PC. That being said, realistic expectations should be set. It runs a relatively modern Atom processor and has limited RAM. Multitasking, running apps that demand a ton of memory (Lightroom and even Chrome), or advanced games may push this system too far, but for me, it's OK.

I do wish there were more "Metro" Windows 8 apps, but clever use of Google Chrome and Chrome Apps can recreate missing apps (Pocket, Pinterest, etc...). That's not Asus' problem, and it will continue to get better.

The build and battery life exceed my expectations, but fall short of amazing. Do recall that full license costs of Windows and Office used to be higher than the price of this whole device! It's a great deal.


WD My Cloud EX4 8TB: Reliable Network Attached Storage featuring WD Red Drives
WD My Cloud EX4 8TB: Reliable Network Attached Storage featuring WD Red Drives
Offered by TigerDirect, Inc.
Price: Click here to see our price
50 used & new from $638.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding storage solution for a small network, June 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really like this little device. Build is first rate with redundant LAN and power connections as well as the best drive mechanism in the class which forgoes caddies while securely locking the drives in place. You also get a LCD display up front, though honestly I've never used it. It's all rather quiet, and thus far has offered bullet proof reliability. My needs have me using this as a storage server, not for real time use. I've found that I can get 40MB/S writes consistently, which is well below my Synology (8 drive array, so not a fair comparison). That being said, it's still rather fast, but I wouldn't want to run a database off of it or edit media files stored on it. Neither really seems to be the intended use.

Compared to Synology (I have an 1812+, but others work similarly):
Pros
* Available with WD Red drives (great drives) or bring your own
* Easy drive installation without caddies (best I've seen)
* Much faster initial setup
* Simpler interface
* Redundant power & lan (vs redundant lan only)
* Significantly less expensive

Cons
* Limited extended functionality & apps
* Not expandable to additional enclosures
* Traditional RAID (0, 1, 10, 5) as opposed to more scalable solutions
* No file manager
* Much slower (I can use the Synology for my Lightroom files, which I cannot with the WD)

note some of these cons can be quite significant for some users and not at all an issue for others

Compared to Seagate Business Storage Windows Server 4-Bay NAS (more of an apples to apples comparison)
Pros
* Easy drive installation without caddies (best I've seen)
* Much faster (and easier) initial setup (Seagate requires a keyboard and monitor)
* Simpler interface (Seagate's Windows Storage Server 8 can become quite overwhelming)
* Redundant power & lan (vs redundant lan only)
* Significantly less expensive

Cons
* Limited extended functionality & apps
* Traditional RAID (0, 1, 10, 5) as opposed to more scalable solutions
* No file manager

Compared to a two drive array (like the WD My Cloud EX2)
Pros
* More efficient redundancy of raid 5 (lose 25% of capacity vs 50%)
* Faster reads and writes (no scientific testing, but I own and use both)
* Redundancy of LAN and power connections
* Greater capacity

Cons
* Higher price

I highly recommend that people back up their data and they do so with redundancy (using RAID isn't a backup in itself, but your backup should have redundancy).


Gillette Fusion Proglide Power Men's Razor With Flexball Handle Technology With 1 Razor Blade
Gillette Fusion Proglide Power Men's Razor With Flexball Handle Technology With 1 Razor Blade
Price: $10.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A nice razor, but not that ground breaking, June 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've used Fusion razors extensively, though every cartridge purchase makes me shrug at the woeful economics of the endeavor. I've never found the shave lacking, but I nonetheless transitioned to old school safety razors to save money.

Now I'm trying Fusion again. This is a good, albeit initially weird handle. It does what it claims, specifically allowing for somewhat unique pivots to reduce wrist gymnastics while delivering a great shave. At first the benefits were a bit limited, as my old habits were hard to break free from. In the end, I got a better shave than with a traditional handled Proglide with less effort. I think that's the whole point, and since it uses the same cartridges, it's a one time investment.

I'll go back to my double edged safety razor and $.10 (or less) blades. That's my choice, but you may enjoy Gillete's work, especially if you're already using Proglides.


Samsung WB2200F 16.3MP CMOS Smart WiFi & NFC Digital Camera with 60x Optical  Zoom, 3.0" LCD and 1080p HD Video (Black)
Samsung WB2200F 16.3MP CMOS Smart WiFi & NFC Digital Camera with 60x Optical Zoom, 3.0" LCD and 1080p HD Video (Black)
Price: $373.99
23 used & new from $303.91

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smart features with sound compromises, June 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There is a sea of decent "bridge" cameras that offer more image quality than a phone (though honestly not much) or compact (all but eclipsed by cell phones) while offering a zoom that not only greatly eclipses the biggest of SLRs but also obliterates the magnifications offered by cell phones. 60x zoom! How does this camera stand out? A balance of "smart" features and sound compromises.

As stated before you won't be blown away with the image quality, though if you're happy with your compact, cell phone, or current bridge camera, you won't be disappointed either. It's solid and a step up, but you'll need a SLR or one of the new premium bridge cameras (Sony RX10 or Panasonic FZ1000) to really deliver outstanding image quality. All in all this camera does a great job of balancing cost, size, and image quality. The real genus comes in the details of the zoom lens. While a 60x zoom is impressive, the fact that you start at a genuinely wide angle perspective opens up real possibilities. No matter where you are in the zoom range, images are generally sharp, and there is decent contrast. The built in image stabilizer and nice gripping surfaces allow for shake free images in most conditions. The zoom and autofocus speed could definitely be faster, as they stand as the greatest limiting factors in catching shots, but neither is atypical for this type of camera.

As for the smart features, Samsung has made great strides in mobile hardware, digital cameras, and most recently software and integration. The work isn't done, but it's not half baked either. The built in WiFi and smartphone connectivity does allow you to post pics to Instagram, Faceboox, etc... More and more this type of functionality comes in handy, and this is coming from an old school film photographer.

Beyond these specific areas, the rest if generally good. Build quality is better than average for the class of camera, though quite a bit below a mid range SLR or a premium bridge camera, Battery capacity is good, maybe even above average. AAs would be a better solution given the cameras robust size and the general availability of them. The integrated charger is a mixed bag. You can charge with your smart phone charger, which is a plus, but there is no ability to charge the battery externally. The screen and EVR are decent, though not remarkable. Again a compromise to help hit the price point with the other features.

All in all, I like this camera. It's not as polished as a Panasonic FZ series (they've been making these types of cameras for a decade), but it's hardly a flawed camera. I have no problem recommending this camera, though if you already have a bridge camera for the past couple years, this won't be a huge upgrade.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20