Google Pixel Fold Review: I’m Sold on Foldable Phones.. If Only They Didn’t Cost So Much!

I recently had the opportunity to review the new Google Pixel Fold smartphone, and I must say, it’s an intriguing piece of technology. This is the first foldable device I’ve tested and I really like what Google has put together here. The downside is that it costs a ridiculous $1799. See my full review here and you can find the phone for sale at Best Buy here (compensated affiliate link).

The Pixel Fold is powered by Google’s tensor G2 processor, the same chip that can be found in their more traditional phones like the entry-level Pixel 7A. It boasts 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. There is no SD card slot for storage expansion unfortunately.

The displays are impressive. The front display is a 5.8-inch OLED, while the inside reveals a 7.6-inch OLED. Both displays offer a 120 hertz refresh rate, ensuring a smooth user experience.

One thing that stood out to me was the phone’s compactness. I am a “small phone” guy and prefer a more compact device that’s easily pocketable to a larger one. The Fold fits comfortably in my pocket, and when unfolded, it offers a larger display, which is great for browsing and multitasking. It’s close in size to an iPad mini or other 8 inch tablet. Unfortunately, there’s a visible crease down the middle of the screen, which some might find distracting. I noticed it, and while many say you get used to it, I found it constantly catching my eye.

The Pixel Fold’s dual-display design offers a unique opportunity for app developers to enhance the user experience. Some apps have been optimized to recognize the device’s foldable nature and adjust their interface accordingly. For instance, the YouTube app adjusts the video playback area when the phone is partially folded, nudging the content to fit perfectly above the fold, essentially turning the bottom half into a stand. Similarly, productivity apps like Google Docs and Photos can run side by side, allowing users to drag and drop content between them.

However, not all apps have been optimized for this dual-display setup, and some might require manual adjustments to fully utilize the available screen real estate.Like other Android tablets and phones, most apps can run split screen even if they’re not optimized for larger screens.

The camera system is versatile. The back of the phone houses three cameras: an ultra-wide, a telephoto, and a standard 48-megapixel lens. The photos I took were sharp, detailed, and the colors were vibrant. There are two front facing cameras, one for when the phone is folded and another when unfolded. The folded selfie cam is the better of the two. Google also has a neat mode that turns the rear camera system into a selfie cam.

Gaming on the Pixel Fold was fun. From Android games to retro gaming, the experience was smooth. The larger screen real estate made gameplay more immersive. However, when compared to devices like the iPhone, the Pixel Fold’s gaming performance could be better.

In conclusion, the Pixel Fold is a promising device. Its foldable design offers a unique user experience, and while there are some areas of improvement, it’s a solid first-generation attempt by Google. The price might be a deterrent for some, but if you’re looking for innovation and a fresh take on smartphones, the Pixel Fold is worth considering.

I hope the industry finds some ways to bring the price point on these foldables down to make the technology more accessible. Smartphones have become quite stale these last few years so anything new and exciting would be a welcome boost to the industry.

Disclosure: Google provided the phone free of charge for my review. However they did not review or approve the content before it was uploaded nor did they offer any additional compensation.

Making My Own Merch! HTVRont Button Maker Review

I recently got reacquainted with the Amazon Vine program where I am finding all sorts of cool gadgets to explore. This one isn’t electronic necessarily, but it does let you make your own button pin merch for your YouTube channel so it qualifies! You can see my full review on here.

I first of course made myself a “Lon for President” badge and was impressed by how easy this was even for somebody inept with craft projects like me. I then figured out a way to print my logo out and make some official Lon.TV buttons.

The button maker, surprisingly, worked quite well. It’s not without its flaws, but for a beginner like me, it was a fun experience.

Inside the box, you’ll find enough supplies to make 110 buttons. Given that there’s a learning curve, the extra supplies are handy for any mistakes you might make. The kit also includes some paper for your designs and a cutter for use on things you might print out. A word of caution: the cutter is sharp, so it’s definitely not for kids. I’d recommend getting a cutting board to avoid damaging your surfaces.

Creating a button is relatively straightforward. I found some online templates for a 58mm button, which I used to design my own. The cutting process requires some precision, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier. After cutting out the design, the next step is to assemble it in the machine.

The machine has two molds. You start by placing a flat metal piece, your design, and a plastic piece on right-hand mold. After rotating the mold under the press and pressing down, the design gets stuck in the press, ready for the final step. You then attach the pin piece, press down again, and voila! You have your button.

While the process is simple, achieving perfect alignment between the front and back can be a bit challenging. But for a beginner’s kit, it’s a fun way to get started. If you’re looking to create buttons for an event or even a fun personal project, this button maker is a great place to start.

Disclosure: this product came in free of charge through the Amazon Vine program. I had no contact with the manufacturer, no one reviewed or approved this video before uploading, and no other compensation was received.

Plex Update: Plexamp Now Free for Everyone

In this month’s sponsored Plex video I share the news that Plex’s awesome music player PlexAmp is now free for everyone! Before it was available to Plex Pass subscribers only.

While some features remain exclusive to the Plex Pass, most features are now accessible to everyone. If you’re already using the Plex app on the free tier to listen to music, I’d highly recommend switching to Plexamp especially if you have a large personal music library.

For those unfamiliar, Plexamp requires a connection to a Plex personal media server. This could be your own server or one shared with you by a friend. The app also integrates with the Tidal music service.

Plexamp supports most of the popular music formats out there including large lossless FLAC audio files. I’ve been on a personal mission to store all my CDs from the ’90s in lossless Flac format on my Plex server. The audio quality is significantly better than the compressed tracks on other platforms.

One of the standout features of Plexamp is its focus on music discovery. It’s designed to help you find and enjoy tracks from your library that you might have forgotten about. There’s a unique “stations” feature that lets you listen to the oldest tracks in your library and then progresses to newer ones. There are also mood-based and decade-based stations, allowing you to tailor your listening experience based on your current mood or nostalgia.

The app displays a visualization of the song’s waveform, and you can jump to different parts of the track with ease. There are also some cool visualizations that sync with the music, adding a visual element to your auditory experience.

However, there are some limitations on the free tier. For instance, offline playback isn’t available, meaning you need to be online to use Plexamp. Some advanced features, like the artist mix builder, are also locked behind the Plex Pass. But the free version does offer a lot, including the ability to transcode audio, which is especially useful if you’re trying to save on bandwidth while streaming on the go.

Plexamp is available on multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and Linux. The Android and iOS versions work with Android Auto and Carplay respectively. There’s also a “headless” version for the Raspberry Pi, which I’ll delve into in a future post. And for those who want to cast their music, the free tier allows you to send audio to any Chromecast-compatible device.

If you haven’t played around with Plexamp yet, give it a try!

TechHive Picks Up our ATSC 3.0 Encryption Story

As many of you know Tyler the Antennaman and I have been on a mission to inform the public about the rapid encryption of what used to be free over the air television. To date we’ve had 7,600 people sign our petition to the FCC and added 2,000 new comments to the FCC’s docket about the issue.

TechHive this week covered the issue with an extensive piece that uncovers just how restrictive the DRM will be:

  • For DVR, broadcasters can set expiration dates on recordings or even block them outright. It’s unclear if broadcasters will do this, but ATSC 3.0 gives them the capability.
  • ATSC 3.0’s DRM has latency restrictions that effectively block out-of-home viewing from networked tuners such as the HDHomeRun Flex 4K.
  • Users will need an internet connection to stream local broadcasts around the home, for instance from an HDHomeRun tuner to a Roku player, and an occasional internet connection might be required for external tuner boxes.
  • Recordings won’t work without the original tuner that captured the programming, effectively preventing users from transferring programs they’ve recorded on a DVR to other devices, such as a laptop or tablet for away-from-home viewing.
  • With an HDHomeRun tuner, third-party apps must get independently certified to play encrypted ATSC 3.0 content. It’s unclear if programs such as Channels and Plex will do so.

It’s clear to see that broadcasters are eager to only provide the bare minimum live viewing experience to antenna viewers who don’t want to pay their exorbitant broadcast fees.

Let’s not forget that these stations don’t own the public airwaves that they want to turn into a toll road. We the taxpayers do. How does this serve the public benefit?

Read more in the TechHive article.

iBirdie’s 50 Foot Fiber Optic HDMI Cable Goes the Distance with No Lag

HDMI is not friendly towards long cable runs so when going beyond 15 feet you often need some kind of active amplification of the signal to get it reliably delivered. I’ve found fiber optic HDMI cables to be the best and simplest way to do it – especially for gamers who do not want input lag introduced into their games.

The other day I received a new 50 foot fiber optic HDMI cable from iBirdie that is performing exceptionally well. It’s the subject of my latest review.

This iBirdie cable feels very nicely constructed with solid metal connectors at each end. The cabling also feels decent but you should be careful not to significantly bend fiber optic cables like you would a more traditional copper-based one.

Also in the box is a small power injector that plugs into a USB port to power the fiber optic transmitter and receiver. The injector can be attached to either end of the cable. I did run into some difficulty with this as the cable for the injector’s USB connector sticks out of the side. If you have neighboring cables on your television or output device this could make it difficult to fit.

Once everything is connected the cable feels just as good as a regular HDMI connection. For video formats I successfully drove 4k 60fps video streams including streams with HDR10 or Dolby Vision. Lossless audio formats like TrueHD/ATMOS and DTS-X also passed through to my home theater receiver without issue.

Additionally the cable supports sending remote control commands back up the cable via HDMI CEC. I successfully controlled my Nvidia Shield using my television remote control. HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) also works.

I was surprised that I could not measure any significant gaming input lag on the cable. To test lag I use a specialty retro game console called the Analogue NT Mini that is by far the lowest latency video game console I own. I shoot my tv screen at 240fps and see how long it takes for a button push to register on screen. The results were close to what I get with a traditional HDMI cable with maybe 4-5ms of added lag. I was able to play some Super Mario Bros without any noticeable lag in the game play.

So in short this long fiber optic cable works just as well as a shorter regular one. If I have any long term issues with it I’ll come back and update but so far so good.

Plugable USB-C NVME SSD Enclosure Review

Plugable sent over their USB 3.1 Gen 2 NVME SSD enclosure for me to review and I decided to put it to use after I upgraded my production system’s Samsung 970 EVO NVME to a new 4TB drive. You can check it out in the latest video on my Gadget Picks (formerly Extras) channel.

While you will likely experience a drop in performance due to the speed of NVME drives vs. the slower USB data rate, the convenience enclosures like this offer is the tradeoff. These enclosures are especially useful if you’re looking to migrate from a smaller NVME to a larger one.

The price point is quite reasonable, hovering around thirty dollars. The package includes the metal enclosure and two USB cables: one for USB-C equipped PCs and the other USB-A. The assembly process is straightforward and does not require any tools. Just pop the drive in using its rubber stopper to hold it in place, and slide the metal cover back over until it clicks.

I tested the enclosure on a Lenovo Yoga 9i’s Thunderbolt port. After connecting the drive, I was pleased to see all my old production drive popped right up just like any other external drive would.

Performance is decent too. The Blackmagic disk speed test revealed a consistent sequential read and write speed of over 900 megabytes per second – effectively maxing out the Gen 2 USB connection the drive supports. The CrystalDiskMark test further confirmed these results and also showcased some impressive random read and write capabilities.

In comparison to other USB-C drives I’ve tested, this DIY solution with Plugable’s enclosure and my Samsung NVME drive performed competitively, even outpacing some on random reads and writes.

If you have an NVME drive lying around after an upgrade, this enclosure from Plugable is a fantastic way to repurpose it. Just remember, it’s designed specifically for NVME drives, so M.2 SATA drives are not be compatible.

YouTube Needs to Fix the Subscriptions Tab!

I’ve been a part of the YouTube community for about 18 years, starting as an avid viewer and transitioning into a content creator over the last decade. Over the years, I’ve observed the platform’s evolution, especially the algorithmic recommendations on the homepage. While these recommendations often present me with content I’m genuinely interested in, there are times when I miss out on channels I want to catch up with.

I think YouTube can fix this problem by updating their “Subscriptions Tab” to make it easier to organize and navigate subscribed channels. This is the subject of my latest video.

Last year I delved deeper into RSS feeds, a standard for content distribution that can be used with an RSS feed reader to aggregate content from various sources into one organized space. This exploration was an eye-opener as I discovered I was missing content from many of my favorite creators including some larger ones.

Apparently if you don’t religiously watch a creator you’re effectively “shadow unsubscribed” and rarely see their uploads on the recommended home page.

This discrepancy led me to revisit YouTube’s subscriptions tab which gives users the “fire hose” of everything uploaded from subscribed channels in the order in which those videos were posted.

The experience varies across devices. On desktop, it’s a mix of live channels and a chronological list of videos from subscribed channels. On a TV, there’s a semblance of organization with frequently watched channels appearing at the top but no way to control what channels get pinned to the top of that list. The mobile version offers filters like ‘Live’ and ‘Continue Watching’, but the overall experience remains cluttered – especially if you’re subscribed to channels that dump a whole bunch of content at once.

The subscription tab on TV pins frequently watched channels to the top.

One feature I appreciate on YouTube’s algorithmically generated homepage is the topic-based organization of its recommendations. It would be beneficial if such a system were integrated into the subscriptions tab, allowing users to view content from their subscribed channels based on specific topics.

To experiment with this idea, I set up my own RSS reader dedicated to YouTube. Using FreshRSS, I organized channels into topics, creating a streamlined content consumption experience. This approach allowed me to view content from local news stations, hyper-local channels, and other niche interests, all in one place.

In addition to subscribing to channels YouTube also allows the generation of feeds for playlists too. For example I added the playlist for Wil Wheaton’s “Ready Room” Star Trek interview show on the Paramount+ as that’s about the only thing I watch from their channel.

The best part about the RSS approach is that it’s more efficient from a viewing perspective and lets ME choose what not to watch vs. having an algorithm do it for me. Being able to see what I’m passing over is preferable to not seeing it at all IMHO.

While I appreciate YouTube’s efforts in content recommendation, there’s room for improvement in the subscriptions tab. As both a viewer and a creator, I believe that refining this feature will enhance the user experience, ensuring that we never miss out on content from our favorite creators.

My Second TEMU Haul Didn’t Go So Well..

Recently, I received another package from TEMU (affiliate link), an online store known for super cheap stuff including tech gadgets. Although I was excited to explore the contents given our relative success on our first experience, this haul didn’t quite meet my admittedly low expectations. You can see it all in my latest video but here’s a rundown of my experience with the items I received:

1. Key Finder Device ($1.89) The first item I unpacked was a key finder device. Unlike popular key finders that work with Apple’s Find My network or the Samsung and Google equivalents, this one operates with its own app. After downloading the app and pairing the device, I found its functionality to be quite basic. It relies on signal strength to determine proximity, and if the device gets disconnected, it emits a loud alarm. However, I had reservations about the app constantly running in the background and its less-than-stellar reviews on the Google Play Store.

2. Portable Mini Thermal Printer ($16.49) Next up was a portable mini thermal printer. After setting it up and connecting it to its designated app, I took a picture and printed it. The result? A grainy, one-bit image reminiscent of old faxed photos or the Game Boy Color printer. While the print quality wasn’t impressive, the speed at which it printed was pretty good and I could see how this might be a fun gadget for kids. I do wish it printed on stickers vs. the thermal paper it came with, however. That said the consumable cost is quite low, a pack of five replacement paper rolls costs less than $4.

3. X6 Drone ($37.39) The most expensive item in the haul was the X6 drone. While the drone looked promising, it proved to be a challenge both in its configuration and operation. After charging its battery and attempting to fly it, I quickly realized it was nearly uncontrollable. It didn’t stay in place, constantly veered in different directions, and the Wi-Fi connectivity for the camera didn’t work. Ultimately, the drone ended up in the woods, and I decided it wasn’t worth retrieving until the winter when the poison ivy goes away.

This TEMU haul was a mixed bag. While the thermal printer had some potential, the key finder raised privacy concerns, and the drone was a complete miss. Stay tuned for the next one and in the meantime you can visit Temu using my affiliate link here.

Disclosure: TEMU sent the items to review free of charge but did not review or approve the video before it was uploaded.

Oraimo USB-C Gan Charger & Power Strip Review

I had the opportunity to test out a couple of affordable chargers from Oraimo in my latest Extra’s Channel review.

These are GAN chargers, known for their compact size yet powerful output. My initial interest was piqued by their competitive pricing, especially when compared to some of the other Gan-based alternatives on the market.

Both chargers I tested have three USB type-C charging ports and one USB type-A port. The power strip model brings with it a short extension cable and two additional AC outlets on either side, making it a handy companion for travel. However, a point to note is that this model is designed for 120-volt outlets, making it suitable for use in the U.S. only. The other charger is compatible with both 120 and 240-volt outlets.

Oraimo claims that each of these devices can output up to 120 watts across their USB ports. In my tests, when a single device was plugged into the USB-C port, it could draw up to 100 watts. However, when a second device was added to the mix, the power distribution changed, with each port delivering a maximum of 60 watts.

The power strip model offers an added advantage with its AC outlets. It can pass through up to 1250 watts, making it suitable for devices like gaming laptops. I tested this feature, and it worked seamlessly.

However, things get a tad more complicated with the third USB-C port. Unlike the first two ports, which can deliver up to 60 watts each when both are in use, the third port maxes out at 30 watts. Power reduction on each of the ports reduces further when three or more devices are attached.

Oraimo has this helpful set of images on their Amazon product page that delineates the distribution combinations:

One other challenge I encountered with the small “wall wart” GAN chargers is their tendency to fall out of outlets due to their weight and density. The Oraimo version here is no exception. This can be particularly problematic when traveling. My solution? Use a small extension cord. This ensures the charger remains securely in place, especially when plugged into older or looser outlets. Oraimo’s power strip version does not have this problem as it has an integrated cord already.

In conclusion, I’ve been quite pleased with the performance of these Oraimo chargers, especially given their price point. They’re efficient and versatile, though it’s important to understand their power distribution nuances especially with high performance computers. If you’re in the market for a reliable charger that won’t break the bank, these might just be worth a look.

Disclosure: Oraimo sent the products free of charge but did not review or approve this before it was uploaded

Kamrui Ryzen Mini PC Review

As the computer component market is becoming less and less constrained we’re starting to see A LOT of cheap but nicely performing Mini PCs flood the market. We looked at a couple of “Ace Magician PCs” over the last couple of weeks and my latest review is of another sub-brand of theirs called Kamrui. This particular model is geared for gaming.

The Kamrui Mini PC is priced around $500, which can vary based on promotions, coupon deals, etc. For this price, it’s impressively equipped with a Ryzen 7735HS processor, 32GB of DDR5 RAM, and 512GB of NVMe storage. The device is user-friendly when it comes to upgrades. You can easily swap out the NVMe or upgrade the RAM to 64GB. Additionally, there’s a SATA storage area for adding a 2.5-inch notebook hard drive.

In terms of ports, it offers a good variety, including USB-C, USB 3, HDMI outputs, and more. However, the USB-C port isn’t full-speed USB 4, and while it supports video output, it doesn’t support an external GPU. The device also features 2.5 gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth.

Upon booting, I was pleased to find a clean, licensed copy of Windows 11 Pro. The Mini PC has RGB lighting on top, which currently can’t be turned off, but software adjustments are expected soon. There’s a performance rocker switch on the device, allowing users to adjust between performance, auto, and silent modes. This switch slightly adjusts fan noise and performance. While the fan isn’t overly loud, it does run almost constantly.

In terms of performance, web browsing is swift and responsive. However, I did notice minor frame drops when running 4K 60fps videos on YouTube. Video editing on DaVinci Resolve with a 4K 60 video project showed some stuttering, especially with cross dissolves. For live streaming, I tested vmix, which worked decently for 1080p projects but struggled with 4K.

Gaming is where this device truly shines. Games like Red Dead Redemption 2, No Man’s Sky, Doom Eternal, and Ace Combat 7 performed well at 1080p with low settings. Emulation, such as the PS2 game Outrun 2006, also ran smoothly. It performed well in my benchmarks but the 3DMark Stress Test indicated potential performance reduction during extended gaming sessions.

I also tested Linux on the device, using the latest version of Ubuntu. Everything, from audio to video, was recognized and performed well.

In conclusion, the Kamrui Ryzen 7735HS Mini Gaming PC offers good value for its price point, especially considering its RAM and processing power. However, potential buyers should be aware of its limitations, especially during extended gaming sessions. While the quality level I’ve seen from this company so far is good, long-term support for such no-name brand PCs can be a concern. Still, for those seeking a well-performing secondary or primary PC at a low price, this is a solid choice.

Disclosure: Kamrui provided the PC to the channel free of charge for this review.

First Impressions of the Pixel Fold

I recently had the opportunity to unbox and get a firsthand look at Google’s Pixel Fold, their entry into the foldable phone market. This is the first foldable device I’ve ever had the pleasure of handling. My latest video is a rundown of my initial impressions.

As I unwrapped the Pixel Fold, the first thing I noticed was its weight. It felt heavier than the standard smartphones I’ve used, likely due to its dual screens.

The phone sports a screen on the front and unfolds to reveal a larger display. One thing that immediately caught my eye was the visible crease when the phone was fully opened. It’s more pronounced than I anticipated but it’s a characteristic of the current foldable tech.

Both OLED displays are vibrant and crisp, and the concept of transitioning from a standard phone display to a larger tablet-like screen is intriguing. The device isn’t overly thick, but it’s certainly chunkier than a regular smartphone.

Google included some tips for maintaining the screen’s integrity, emphasizing the importance of avoiding getting sand and other materials caught in the crease and not removing the pre-installed screen protector. The box also contained a USB-C charging cable, an OTG adapter, and a SIM popper. However, a notable omission was the charger itself. The phone charges over USB-C and works with Qi compatible chargers too.

The Pixel Fold boasts a Tensor 2 processor, 12GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. There’s no SD card slot. It has a fingerprint reader integrated into the power switch for unlocking the device quickly. The Fold is equipped with multiple cameras: a front-facing one and another inside for video calls, along with three on the back. The rear camera includes a 48MP primary camera, a 10.8MP ultra-wide, and a 10.8MP telephoto lens.

The Pixel Fold is an exciting piece of tech, and I’m eager to delve deeper into its features and capabilities. The ever-present crease might be a point of contention for some, but it’s a small trade-off for the versatility the device offers. I’ll be spending more time with the Pixel Fold and will share a comprehensive review soon. If there’s anything specific you’d like to know, drop a comment, and I’ll do my best to address it in my upcoming review.

Disclosure: the Pixel Fold was sent to the channel free of charge by Google.

ATSC 3 DRM Update – We’re on the FCC Docket!

Last week, I asked you to submit your thoughts to the FCC about why encrypting free over the air TV is a bad thing, and many of you have done so. We’ve seen some significant progress, and I want to share that with you in my latest video.

If you’re new to this topic, I recommend checking out my playlist with previous videos on this topic. The issue at hand is that broadcasters in the United States are encrypting their signals on the new ATSC 3 broadcast standard. This limits how you can watch and record television, essentially confining you to a television connected to a box, rather than the freedom we’re used to with our video consumption.

Here’s the latest on the campaign:

Our petition on is nearing 7,500 signatures, and the momentum is still going strong. However, the most significant development is the increase in submissions to the FCC docket. Last week, the docket had 1,634 submissions. As of this morning, we have over 2,812 submissions, most of which are from concerned citizens like you. This is fantastic progress, and I want to thank everyone who has made submissions. If you haven’t yet, please consider doing so.

In terms of news, another network in my home state of Connecticut has joined the encryption club. WVIT-TV, Connecticut’s NBC affiliate, is now encrypting their broadcasts. They did this right in the middle of a recent severe weather event!

In other news, the company responsible for certifying devices for encryption, Pearl TV, has certified the Zinwell tuning box – the first box they’ve approved since rolling out encryption over a year ago. However, this box only allows you to watch the encrypted signals on a single television, with no recording or in-home streaming capabilities. And its price remains a mystery.

But there is some movement happening on the network tuner side. HDHomeRun devices have received a new firmware update that includes their Next-Gen TV certification release candidate. However, this doesn’t mean you can start watching encrypted channels just yet. The powers that be have to certify the HDHomerun to be able to decrypt content. Once they get approval, you’ll likely be able to watch these channels, but DVR capability is still a big question.

Unfortunately, this certification process and the ongoing cost of remaining compliant is likely out of reach for these groups, which could stifle innovation and competition in the cord cutting space.

We need to keep the pressure on. If you haven’t already, please consider submitting your thoughts to the FCC docket!

I Upgraded the Storage on my Production PC with a Great Crucial NVME Prime Day Deal

Ever since I switched my production workflow to 4k I’ve been meaning to upgrade the internal storage drive on my Vmix computer to a higher capacity drive. It’s not unusual for a single recording session to rack up 200GB or more of raw footage.

I’ve been using a 1 TB Samsung SSD for the job and it has performed admirably since I built my system three years ago. But during Amazon Prime Day I got a great deal on a 4 TB Crucial NVME drive. It’s still pretty reasonably priced now too.

Crucial has carved out a nice segment of the SSD market for people looking for high capacity storage that don’t necessarily need the fastest performance. This drive is very much in that market segment, delivering reads and writes at “only” about 2.6 gigabytes per second.

Newer drives running on the Gen 4 and 5 standards are almost exponentially faster, but this much capacity in drives that fast are prohibitively expensive for this YouTuber who works out of his basement. And as you can see here this low spec device can easily handle the 4k 30 video I record and beyond too.

Crucial also makes portable SSDs in this lower cost market segment. For example their X6 drive is priced very close to similar capacity spinning hard drives and delivers many of the speed advantages of an SSD. Are they as fast as some of the gaming and professionally oriented drives out there? No, but for many consumers they are more than adequate for the task.

Crucial is a sub-brand of Micron Technology, a well established chip maker that was founded in 1978. Micron manufactures the flash memory in their drives which helps keep costs in check. They used to make some pretty nice and affordable PCs in the 90’s too. In fact my very first PC laptop was a Micron XKE-233 that I reviewed a little while back on the channel.

I’ll be shooting some video on this new drive tomorrow so we’ll see how it holds up in the production environment. Stay tuned!

Walmart’s $159 Onn 11″ Tablet Pro Packs a Lot of Value

Last week I took a look at Amazon’s new 11″ Fire Tablet and was impressed by its performance and features for the price point. Viewers suggested that I also take a look at Walmart’s 11″ offering, the Onn 11″ Tablet Pro (affiliate link). It is the subject of my latest review.

Unlike the Amazon tablet that runs a custom Android derived operating system, Walmart’s offering runs Google’s official Android 13 operating system, allowing use of Google’s apps and the Google Play store for finding others.

The $159 tablet has an 11-inch display running at 1200 by 2000 resolution. The display is essentially 1080p, although a bit wider, which gives you a lot of screen real estate for browsing through web pages, documents, and books. The text looks very nice and legible on this display. I did find the color temperature of the display was a little on the colder side vs. the Amazon offering.

The tablet is well-constructed, weighing about a pound or 490 grams. It has a metal back and glass front, giving it a premium feel. Inside, it’s powered by a MediaTek MT8781V/N A processor, has 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. Additionally, it has an SD card slot for expandable storage.

The tablet doesn’t have a fingerprint reader for unlocking, so you have to type your PIN code in every time. However, it does have a headphone jack, which is a nice addition. It also has a USB Type-C port for charging and data devices. But that port only runs at 2.0 speeds.

The tablet has two cameras, an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera. The camera quality is passable for the price point, but don’t expect it to rival more expensive tablets. The front camera is good enough for doing conference calls with Zoom and other apps.

The tablet supports split-screen, allowing you to have two apps open side by side. It also has a kids interface, which is age-appropriate and gives parents a lot of control over what kids can and can’t do on the tablet.

In terms of performance, the tablet handles basic tasks like web browsing quite well. It also runs games like Roblox and Minecraft smoothly, although the visual quality is reduced to ensure smooth frame rates. The tablet also does a great job of streaming games from services like Xbox Game Pass. I was also able to run some less demanding Gamecube games using the Dolphin emulator.

The battery life is decent, with Walmart claiming about 16 hours of battery life. In reality, you’ll probably get around 12 to 13 hours of battery life if you’re sticking to basic tasks.

After posting my review many viewers asked about whether or not it has GPS built in. In a follow-up that I posted as a YouTube Short I found that it does indeed have a GPS radio on board allowing it to pinpoint its location even when away from an active Wi-Fi connection. In the past many cheap tablets relied upon WiFi based geolocation vs. having dedicated GPS radio receivers on board.

Overall, I’m really impressed with what $160 can get you in 2023. This tablet feels more expensive than it is and is quite functional. It offers a very pure Android experience, with no unnecessary Walmart stuff thrown at you. If you’re looking for a budget tablet that’s functional and offers good value for money, the Walmart Onn 11″ Tablet Pro is definitely worth considering.

Wansview G6 Light Bulb Camera Review

One of the challenges of setting up a low cost security camera setup is the mounting and installation. Of late manufacturers have been looking to solve this problem by repurposing existing outdoor lighting fixtures as mount points. My latest review is of the Wansview G6, a camera that screws into a lightbulb socket.

It boasts a 2K resolution with night vision and audio recording. The built in speaker isn’t very loud, but it’s sufficient for someone in your vicinity to hear and hold a conversation through their app remotely. It’s a pan and tilt camera, meaning the camera swivel in 360 degrees as well as up and down. There’s also an SD card slot for continuous or motion event recording which allows you to avoid their subscription fees.

The camera plugs into a socketed light bulb and supports 120 and 240 hertz outlets. It’s designed to hang upside down, which is how many light fixtures are configured. However, it can work in the other orientation as well but you’ll need to adjust the setting in its app to flip the image. It’s IP63 rated, meaning it’s relatively weatherproof, but it’s best to have some covering or housing around it for optimal protection. The camera does have a built-in light for illumination but it’s not nearly as bright as the bulb you’re replacing likely is.

The visual quality of the camera is good in regular light and it can deliver about 15 frames per second at its 2k resolution. It feels very similar to the Wyze and Blink cameras we’ve looked at earlier.

It has a two options for night vision. The color night vision mode works well in areas with some ambient lighting although it will be very grainy. The infrared night vision mode provides a clearer black and white image, although the camera’s infrared illuminators don’t reach very far.

To use the camera, you need to install and run their app. The app allows you to control the camera’s position, turn the lights on and off, and communicate with someone in front of the camera. The app also has motion detection features but I found the alerts come much later than the actual event took place.

One of the features of the Wansview G6 I was most excited about is its support for RTSP & ONVIF. This means it can work with other security recording systems, adding a layer of versatility to its usage. For instance, during my testing, I was able to connect the camera to my Synology NAS using their surveillance station software. The camera was automatically detected on my network due to its ONVIF standard support.

But prepare for disappointment. The camera still needs to phone home to Wansview’s servers first, even when using RTSP. Also, the pan, tilt, and zoom controls do not work with third-party applications, only with the Wansview app.

Overall, the Wansview G6 is a nifty little security camera, especially given its price point. But I’m concerned over its insistence on phoning home even when using it with other security software.

Live Replay: A Fun Prime Day Stream with Plugable

Plugable makes A LOT of different PC accessory products mostly centered around USB hubs, docks, and other nifty little gadgets. During my Prime Day extravaganza I brought on Plugable CEO Bernie Thompson to talk about the company he founded and look at some of their devices that were on sale.

Even though Prime Day is over you might still find this interesting! You can see the replay of the livestream on my Amazon page.

Happy Prime Day! Livestream Schedule

It’s Black Friday in July as the Amazon two-day sale event has kicked off. I will be livestreaming on Amazon today at 10:00 a.m. eastern for a great deal on a Ryzen 7735HS 32GB RAM Mini Gaming PC followed by an unboxing of some neat Plugable Accessories at 2:00 p.m. eastern complete with a live interview of their CEO, and we’ll wrap things up with a 7:00 p.m. stream detailing Amazon devices – including a live demo of their new 11″ Max Tablet. 

You can follow me on Amazon by clicking any of the above links or visiting my Amazon page here. I’ll also be simulcasting on the YouTube channel. 

The makers of the mini gaming PC passed along an additional 5% discount code which brings its price well below $500. If you can’t wait for the stream the code is LONTVLLC.  You can find the PC by going to the livestream page

The FCC Responds to my ATSC 3 Encryption Complaint – They Want To Hear From You!

The FCC reached out to me and is asking all of you who signed the petition to also file a comment in their docketing system for the ATSC 3 petition. This is very easy to do and will just take a few minutes. So far there are only about a dozen or so complaints filed. We can do better!!

I discuss this in my latest video.


1. Click this link to be taken to the FCC filing form.

2. On the first line for proceedings type in 16-142 . The system will then display the text “Authorizing Permissive Use of the “Next Generation” Broadcasting Television Standard.” Click on that to lock in the docket number. Here’s what it looks like:

3. Fill in your information. A US address is required and note that this will be part of the public record.

4. Write your comment in the comment section. It’s important to provide some detail especially how this change will make it difficult for YOU to consume over the air television.

Below is what I submitted, you are free to re-purpose this for your own submission but DO NOT COPY AND PASTE. The commission values feedback on how this transition will impact consumers and each unique story helps build the case better than a form letter.

I am writing in opposition to DRM Encryption being part of the ATSC 3.0 standard. Over the last several weeks broadcasters have aggressively rolled out encryption on their ATSC 3 signals throughout the United States. At the moment this restricts most currently available tuners from being able to tune ATSC 3 content.

The standard’s voluntary rollout began with much promise. Prior to ATSC 3 being enabled here in Connecticut I could not reliably receive ATSC 1.0 content. When ATSC 3 spun up last year I could finally receive reliable over the air signals at my home. That was until WFSB-TV encrypted their broadcast and I’m now blocked from watching that station.

Encrypting over the air signals goes against the spirit of serving the public’s interest. Encryption adds an additional and unnecessary point of failure for receiving important information during emergency situations.

There are anti-trust implications too. Encryption restricts the consumer’s right to watch content from the public airwaves using tuners and personal recording equipment of their choice. With ATSC 1.0 consumers have many choices for watching and recording over the air television. With ATSC 3 only equipment blessed by the broadcasters through an arduous, opaque and expensive process will be allowed to tune content. One broadcaster, E.W. Scripps, purchased a manufacturer of tuning and recording equipment giving Scripps an advantage in the marketplace over competing products.

The broadcasters have said encryption is important for copy protection or other nonsense about protection from hackers and “deep fakes.” But the reality is they are trying to protect broadcast retransmission fees that now make up a significant portion of their revenue.

Lawyers for the broadcasters have effectively stopped every large scale retransmission effort making encryption unnecessary to protect their broadcast exclusivity rights. What this is really about is making it more difficult for everyday consumers to watch free over the air TV in an effort to push us back onto paid subscription services.

You can also find what other people have submitted by visiting this link to browse through the public filings.

It’s really important if you care about this issue to make a submission. It doesn’t have to be long – just long enough for you to convey the impact that DRM encryption will have in accessing broadcasts on the public airwaves.

I still plan to drop this petition off with the FCC and congressional stakeholders in person with the Antenna Man. But the more of us who tell the FCC directly the better!

The Turbo Everdrive Pro and EDFX Breathe New Life into the Turbografx 16 & PC Engine

I recently picked up the Turbo Everdrive Pro and EDFX, two new products from Krikzz that work with NEC’s Turbografx 16 & PC Engine gaming consoles. The Turbo Everdrive Pro is a flash cartridge that can load HuCard games but also CD-ROM based titles without the need for a CD add-on device. You can see my full review here.

The EDFX plugs into the back of PC Engine and Turbografx consoles, providing a super clean component RGB or composite video output along with stereo audio.

The US Turbografx lacked any built in A/V output but it does provide it through some of the pins on the rear that the EDFX connects to. On the US Turbografx 16 CD audio from the Turbo Everdrive Pro will not work without an A/V connection like the EDFX attached.

The EDFX’s video output connector follows the standard Genesis 2 pinout making it compatible with high quality cables like those from HD Retrovision (affiliate link).

One of the games I tested was the largest Hucard game ever released: Street Fighter 2 Champion Edition. This Japan-only release booted up without issue on my American hardware through the Everdrive. The video output was clean and the audio was pretty good, with only a slight bit of noise in the background when reading from the card.

The Turbo Everdrive Pro supports save states for card games which allows a system snapshot to be taken so you can return to the saved point at any time. Krikzz says that not all games are compatible with this feature but I didn’t come across any that didn’t work in my testing.

But where the Turbo Everdrive Pro truly shines is in its support for CD games. I loaded up Rondo of Blood, a Japanese-only CD-ROM game, and it worked flawlessly. The game loaded up quickly, and it can even saves games to the SD card. Each CD game gets its own memory space for save games.

Another game I tried was Sapphire, another Japanese-only game that required the Arcade Card, an add-on that added additional memory to the system. The Turbo Everdrive Pro handled this without any pre-configuration. It automatically let the game know that there was an arcade card in there for that RAM expansion, and the game loaded up quickly and played perfectly.

You can see some captured footage of the Turbo Everdrive Pro and EDFX in action from my Extra’s channel here.

The Turbo Everdrive Pro and EDFX have allowed me to explore a system that I didn’t appreciate back in its day. Although the PC Engine outsold the Sega Mega Drive by more than 2 to 1 in Japan its sales were weak against the Genesis and SNES here in the USA. As a result we didn’t get many ports of some the amazing Japanese titles that appeared on the PC Engine during its run.

The Turbo Everdrive Pro can help you explore these games on original hardware even if all you have is the American Turbografx 16. While it does carry a price premium vs. emulation or a MiSTer, there is something special about playing these games on the actual hardware they were written for.