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Before You Buy 107
Show Tease: Just in time for tax time, we’ve got a scanner for all your receipts and magazines, books, and newspapers too. A couple of Kobo readers, an Ultra-book and stand back, because here comes the Attacknid. It’s time to watch, Before You Buy.
Net casts you love, from people you trust. This is TWiT!
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Leo Laporte: Hey, welcome to Before You Buy, the product review show on TWiT, where we get all the latest and greatest products, and then we parcel them out to all the staff here. And they’re going to give you what it’s like to really use them as a human being, as a real person. We’ll kick things off with our editor and chief, Tony Wang. Tax time is coming, I’ve actually used the Fuji 2 snap scanners for some time, they’ve got a new one, the VF 600, which says you can not only scan receipts and documents, but you can also scan books and newspapers, without taking them apart! Is that possible?! Let’s see.
Tony Wang: I’m Tony Wang, for TWiT and Before You Buy. And I’m reviewing this Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 Desktop Scanner. The ScanSnap SV600 is designed for scanning books and it comes with a specialized mat that tells the scanner where the book is located, so that the software that’s provided with the scanner can automatically crop to the size of the book. The ScanSnap also comes with the software that lets you auto correct any curve you have on the edges of books you’re scanning. The scanner comes with a depth of field lens, along with the two scanning lenses it has. So it knows the depth of field of your book. So just like most scanners out there in this category, you can scan to an emal, folder, to a printer, to a PDF and even to mobile devices, if you’re running the appropriate software on your phone or tablet. You can scan to Evernote, Dropbox, Google box or even IPhoto, if you’re running a MAC. The scanner will import anything from a business card up to an A3, which is about an average size of a book opened up. Pros of the SV600, you can scan anything you like. It’s designed for books, but anything that can fit in this mat, an A3 or smaller, 3D or 2D , it can scan it. The built in software is easy to use and the auto cropping is pretty impressive. Cons; this scanner is a little pricey. MSRP is $795 and the street price is about less than $600. So buy, try, or don’t buy for the ScanSnap SV600 by Fujitsu. I’m going to give it a try. For a contactless scanner, you can have a lot of fun with this scanner, I know it’s designed for scanning 2D documents but the things you can scan that’s 3D and it’s contactless, is endless. This is Tony, from Before You Buy and this is the SV600.
Leo: Thank you Tony Wang, Editor and Chief, at the Twit network. Our producer Shannon Morse, SNUBS! Is here. She’s the host also of, producer of Know How, and Host of Coding 101. That’s going great, loving it! Teaching everybody how to code!
Shannon Morse: Thank You! One of the top ones on ITunes right now!
Leo: Are you absorbing?
Shannon: I am! I love learning about codes. So interesting!
Leo: yes! It’s a great habit!
Shannon: Yeah, it is.
Leo: Or hobby I should say. A habit for some a hobby for others! You are also the reader reviewer.
Shannon: I am. I’m kind of a bookworm. I don’t know, it started with Goosebumps when I was a kid.
Leo: You like to read?
Shannon: I do. I read every night.
Leo: Good. So you know, Amazon and Kindle really dominates this marketplace.
Shannon: It does.
Leo: We’ve looked at others from Barnes and Noble, the Nook, and so forth, This is the Kobo. This is kind of like, I’m always kind of rooting for them. They’re the little guy out in the corner there.
Shannon: Yes, this is the Kobo Aura. Which is, basically the predecessor to the Kobo glow, which I reviewed last year. The Glows main thing was it could brighten up. It had this front light on it, it was very nice to use.
Leo: So it’s not like the Amazon Paperwhite, where it’s coming from the back. That’s coming from the front.
Shannon: No, it’s coming from the front! Yeah, that’s completely different thing for them. If I turn it on and we can use the overhead shot.
Leo: It’s pretty legible without it. So it gets really bright and nice.
Shannon: So one thing I like about this is they have like an actual physical light button instead of having to go through the menu and click it. So say its dark out…
Leo: You can feel it.
Shannon: …this is totally obvious, you can just click the button instead of having to go through the menu. So if I click that, you can see it brighten up and this is only about halfway brightness. And it gets about that bright.
Shannon: So it’s nice and bright. It’s very clear. This one is a step down from there Aura HD, which we’ve also reviewed. This one only has a 212 PPI display, which matches the paper white. So that’s a very compatible device. You can do most of your reading on it just fine. But you can definitely see the difference between it and the Aura HD.
Leo: That’s even a higher resolution?
Shannon: Yeah, that one is a 265 PPI display, I believe. So it’s definitely HD, and this one you can see a little bit of Pixels on there.
Leo: It’s a little jaggy.
Shannon: A little bit.
Leo: You know what I like though, this is so nice and light and…
Shannon: I know! It is!
Leo: You wouldn’t have a lot of fatigue reading this.
Shannon: It’s nice! Yeah.
Leo: And of course, I can make the fonts bigger and all that, right?
Shannon: Yep, Everything that you can do on their past products, on the Kobo line, they still have all the books available, it’s wirelessly downloadable. So you can access all their books in their library on there, and they have over 4 million books in there, all of the top sellers.
Shannon: Their library is going too. I noticed a whole bunch of newer ones, as well as some I use to couldn’t find on here. Like some comics and what not. So they’re definitely growing their library and that is a definite plus for them as well. Because I know a lot of people are saying “No, don’t want to get a Kobo because I know Amazon has more than them.” Which they do.
Leo: Well, they do. So did you as you browsed the library, see gaps in things that you wanted that you couldn’t get?
Shannon: Not necessarily now, as much as you use to.
Shannon: Now I’m noticing a lot more than I use to. So it’s a definite plus. One thing to mention though, on this one. It is $149 which is $30 more than the Paperwhite with the ads on it. I have a PaperWhite at home, and I noticed that the size is a little bit different, but the screen is the same. So this one is 6 inches, so it’s a very nice screen size and very light weight.
Leo: It looks nice, I have to say.
Shannon: So you can just stick it in your purse and go. And the flipping of the pages is just fine. It’s very quick. There’s a little bit of a response problem. I noticed sometimes I had to press it twice for it to turn. But otherwise it looks pretty well, and lets up to about two months.
Leo: Can I get books on there through SD card, through USB, and wireless, or just USB?
Shannon: There’s a micro SD card slot right here, so you can fit up to, I think they said 3000 or 30,000 books, I’ll have to see.
Leo: A lot of books.
Shannon: Yeah, I’ll have to check that to make sure.
Leo: More than you’ll ever need!
Shannon: Yeah, so you can fit as many books as you could absolutely read, and then it charges from micro SD.
Leo: It doesn’t have the Amazon wireless capability though, does it? You have to connect to a USB to a computer.
Shannon: No, it doesn’t. You do have to connect to USB but you can access wireless on here.
Leo: Oh it does have wireless?
Shannon: Yeah, it has WiFi, right there.
Leo: Oh WiFI! Okay, great! So not 3G, but WiFi.
Shannon: Yes, exactly.
Leo: Great. And do you need to run a special program on your computer to do that?
Shannon: They do have an application for computers but you don’t, you can just download books straight from here if you want to. It’s very easy.
Leo: Oh ok, great. So it has its own store and everything.
Shannon: Yeah, it has its own store and everything. So my pros and cons on this one; Since it is $150, keep that in mind. The pros; It’s compact, it’s very easy to grip, the back is more of a rubberized texture, instead of that quilted background they use to have. The light button is awesome. On the con side; The price, being $30 more than the PaperWhite, is a definite negative. And the 212 display is noticeable from their HD version, which costs $169. So it’s a little bit more expensive from the HD version.
Leo: So did you play with the HD? Did you try reading a little bit with that?
Shannon: I did! I played with the HD last year, and you could definitely see a difference with the pixel density on that one but, to be honest, whenever you’re reading every night. It doesn’t really bother you over time. So I would give this one a Try.
Shannon: Mostly because of the price.
Leo: Do you use an Ereader instead of books?
Shannon: I do! I use a PaperWhite.
Leo: And you use a Kindle.
Shannon: Yes, I do.
Leo: And every night you read with the kindle.
Shannon: Every single night, yes. And one of my favorite things about it is that back lighting on it. I can fall asleep right next to my spouse and he never wakes up because I can just lower the lightening on it.
Leo: You know, that is actually a nice feature.
Shannon: Yeah, I love it.
Leo: You can’t necessarily do that with a transmits screen, or like the iPad.
Shannon: That’s true! So the second one I have for you is called the Kobo ARC 10HD. They have a 10 and a 7 inch version. This is the 10 inch.
Leo: Ooohh. So this is like the fire. This is their color, tablet style.
Shannon: Yes! Exactly! So this is the main page right here. You’ll notice automatically, it does run Android 4.2. But it’s totally skinned. And it’s skinned because they’re focusing on books. So the first thing you get to is the bookstore. So this is their own Kindle store. This is the books that I have on my own.
Leo; Kobo Store.
Shannon: Yep Kobo store, excuse me. These are all the books I have downloaded, so I can click on the audio books if I want to. And turn up the sound on here.
Leo: And these aren’t Audible audio books. These are their own Kobo stuff.
Shannon: Sound on. So I don’t know if you can here that, but… Isn’t it cute!
Leo: Good for the kids though.
Shannon; Good for the kids, yes exactly. So let’s click out of there, and I can show you what a book looks like on here.
Leo: This looks more like Android than the Amazon KindleFire.
Shannon: Very much! It’s a lot more Android, you can access the entire Google play on here too.
Leo: You can?!
Shannon: Yes, you can.
Leo: Ah, so it’s AOSP
Shannon: Yeah, which is great.
Leo: That’s good yeah.
Shannon: Nice screen on this one. I really like the screen its a 20X16 by 1600 resolution screen, so it’s…
Shannon: So it’s comparative to the HD X8.9. So about the same as that, and even though this one is 10 inches and not 8.9.
Leo: It looks good.
Shannon: you really don’t see the pixels. It looks very, very nice and clear and crisp. Really easy to read books on here. I like the fact that you can access the google play store on here as well.
Leo: Yeah, because now we’re thinking this is an Android tablet, as much as a reading device.
Shannon: Yes, but they’re definitely focusing on reading. They have these different things right here…
Leo: Your bookshelves, right.
Shannon: Your book shelf, want to read magazines, Kobo collections, getting started, to get you started with the Kobo. So I really like how they displayed it. I did have a problem with the actual size of the device though. Even though it’s 10 inches, it weighs 22 ounces. It’s really heavy compared to other ones on the market right now.
Shannon: Like the Samsung Galaxy tab 3, it’s only 13 ounces.
Leo: That’s almost a pound and a half.
Shannon: Yeah, it’s very heavy, you can tell.
Shannon: So that would get bothersome to me, over time. If I were reading every night, I wouldn’t want to hold this in my hands for hours and hours. But the screen is nice, the speakers are pretty clear, they get kind of muddy if you turn them up too loud. They’re on the back right here, there’s two speaker on both sides. There is no micro SD slot either, but there is a front facing camera so you can make Skype calls, and it’s pretty average. Its 1.3 megapixels and 720 P for any kind of video.
Leo: And it’s 16 gigs?
Shannon: Yep, it is.
Leo: For 400 bucks?
Shannon: Yeah, it’s $400. It’s $399.99. So my pros and cons on this one are, it’s a really beautiful screen. I very much like that. And you do get lots of internal storage, mainly for books. So if you put too many applications on here, obviously, you are going to run out pretty quick. The cons; no micro SD slot, which I would have loved, and the price, it is pretty pricey at $400. That’s expensive.
Shannon: So same with this one, I would give it a try. It’s a good tablet, but they’re pricey!
Leo: It’s challenging too, because you’re in a very competitive marketplace. I mean that’s priced almost to the IPad price, and it’s more expensive than the Nexus. And that is priced very competitive. So it’s almost the most expensive in the marketplace. You don’t really stand out, you don’t have as many books as Amazon. This is a very tough market for Kobo.
Shannon: It is!
Leo: I’m rooting for them, because they’re the little guy!
Shannon: Me too! I always root for the little guy.
Leo: Yeah, I just… I’d have a hard time recommending this for people when there are big products...
Leo: …from Amazon, and Apple and among others, Google too, to compete directly. Thank you!
Shannon: But I still like checking them out!
Leo: Shannon Morse, she is the producer of this show. You can catch her on Coding 101.
Shannon: Yes, which we love. Coding 101 is Thursdays…Not quite yet.
Leo: Okay! Thank you Shannon. (Laughs) just pretend that didn’t happen.
Shannon: New things happening soon.
Leo: I think I played with this, didn’t I? On the Giz Whiz? The Attacknid.
Shannon: Yes! You did, you did.
Leo: Am I wrong? I was never able to get it working but fortunately, we have somebody very smart here, Brian Burnett, our technical director, who figured it all out. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the combat creature, Attacknid.
Brian Burnett: Hey TMS team, this is HQ, we have reports of hostiles inbound in your area. Send recon to report, quarter nets follow. Roger that. Recon team, heading out now. There appears to be a combat creature enacted doom Razor. I’ve got a bad feeling about this sir. J gins, you’ve got a bad feeling about everything! Oh my God! Is that a Doom Razor? I didn’t think Attacknid would have that into full scale production for at least another year! Recon team, do you have anything to report? Sir, I see it! It stands about 12 inches tall! Ohh! We’re going to need backup! Get the Corgi! Sir, the Corgi won’t even approach the creature, it’s too powerful! Well, boys, if you’ve got a God, I’d suggest you start praying to him. It’s probably come for our batteries! It runs on six double As. We’ve got to protect them at all costs. Two batteries for the remote control and four for the actual mechanisms. Sir, yes sir! Sir, it appears to have 360 degree rotating hand with some kind of disk mount firing mechanism. It’s coming right at us! With those legs it can walk over all kinds of Terrian! Gravel, grass, and carpet. Stand tall man, its firing! Everyone firing now! Give it a belly full of led! Oh sir, We’re losing men left and right! I’ve been hit! It looks like it can target from up to 25 feet away! This where we make our stand! It’s getting closer, we need to retreat, now! No Carpo, we hold the lie, we’ve got to protect these batteries! Fire for the legs, it’s weak point. With my last breath, I take off its armor, which pops off very easily. What kind of entel do we have on its strength? Well sir, the firing mantel seems easy to load. I’d say ages 5 and up could reload that thing easily. What kind of weaknesses have we learned? Well the armor is kind of hard to get on, the controls can be kind of hit or miss, and it is expensive. Sir, I can’t feel my legs! That’s because they’re not there anymore! Oh no! It’s time for me to make my last stance sir. I’m going in alone, If I’m going down, I’m taking you with me! If any military word to try, buy, or don’t buy this mech. I’d have to give it a buy, after all the carnage I’ve seen this day.
Leo: That’s Brian Burnett. He’s a great editor and technical director, runs the board. Is he running the board right now?
Brian: Uh Yeah!
Leo: How did you do the review and re….? I,…He’s amazing! Just keep your eye peeled for an Attacknid. Radford Castro is here. We seem to be giving him all the laptops.
Leo: We need to be careful not to typecast you Radford. But you just, you seem to be the guy who likes the laptops. You like light laptops. This is Toshibas Protégé, it is a time honored mark in the light laptop area. They’ve been making really, really light laptops for longer than anybody else. Now we have this Ultrabook category. Is this Toshibas Ultrabook?
Radford: yes, this is one of Toshibas many ultra-books.
Leo: Tell us about it.
Radford: They have a huge portfolio of Toshiba lineups and this sits right in the middle of it. Just to give you a quick jest on it too, this is not touch, and this is not full HD this is 1366 x 768. 13.3 inches display. So…
Leo: Kind of low level specs for a laptop in that price range.
Radford: Yeah, exactly. So that by itself, already is kind of hard to…
Leo: I see a finger print reader. It sounds like it’s into the business market.
Radford: Yes, and I wanted to get into that point. But before we do, I wanted to show a little bit about the specs.
Leo: Please do.
Radford: We have 8 gigabytes, and 128 gigabytes of SSD harddrive space. And again, of course, you’ve got your other things, like camera, and stuff like that. I’ve sent some screen shots of the ports that are available on there. Some things that are harked back to back in the days are LGV out and HDMI out. You’ve got a couple of ports, most of them being USB 3.0. It’s a pretty light laptop. It looks pretty good when you close it, but when it’s open, it looks, it’s a little bit, it feels a little bit outdated. Mostly, because of the fact that you’re seeing a touch pad that’s a little bit off. You have two sets of buttons here, so you have a right click and left click on the bottom and at the top, for whatever reason. And you also have….
Shannon: Well that is for, from what I’ve read, whenever you use the pointing stick, you use the top buttons.
Leo: Oh! So whenever you use the pointing stick, you have the buttons near. That makes sense.
Leo: So instead of down at the bottom of the….
Radford: I’m use to pressing it this way, though. It’s not, I’m not use to… It’s something back in the Thinkpad days that I’m not use to seeing, but for the most part, it’s decent. I mean, performance wise, when you’re playing with a laptop, you can do all the normal things you would expect it to do. But the thing that really sticks out most, again, is the finger print. The finger print, I guess, is another thing that’s decent, it works okay.
Leo: Is that it off to the left there?
Radford: This is it right here.
Leo: So it’s right on the track?
Radford: Yeah, it’s right on the track. Well, no, not necessarily on the track, it’s just right below.
Leo: It’s just out of shot a little bit, can you move it? There! Now I see it.
Radford: Right here. But yeah, I have some screen shots, because you can’t really see on this kind of screen.
Leo: I guess the real question, how accurate is it? Reliable?
Radford: It’s very reliable.
Leo: You would trust it to have it be the only way your machine is locked.
Radford: Right, and this is how the interface looks like, so you select which finger you want and it goes through the whole step of you going through the fingerprint process over and over again. The laptop is decent, it’s 2.6 lbs. Outside, the keyboard feels pretty good, it’s supposedly spill resistant, which I haven’t actually tried to do, obviously, because it’s a review unit. I haven’t dunked it or anything, but it’s okay. But for this kind of price, it’s not…
Leo: It’s an I5 right?
Radford: It’s an I5
Leo: Okay, Windows 7?
Radford: It’s a windows 7, but it also has 8.1 license, so you can install either.
Leo: Okay, so you get your choice, that’s nice.
Radford: You get your choice, yeah.
Leo: And you said it’s Hazwells 4th generation core.
Radford: And it comes with one year of online Office as well.
Leo: Hazwell gives you pretty good battery life, right?
Radford: Yeah, I tested it and it has about 10 to 12 hours on it.
Leo: Oh! I like that!
Leo: Well, I’ll tell you my disappointment is the screen. And the weird lay out of the track pad.
Radford: Yes, I’m also disappointed in the fact that it doesn’t have the drive. I guess I’m excepting something with more aminities at this price.
Leo: 1,250 bucks you should have more.
Radford: Right, you’re looking at almost gaming laptop type of price.
Radford: For something like this, which is your typical, casual laptop.
Leo: Pros and Cons…
Radford: Pros and cons. Pros, is that it’s nostalgic. It feels nostalgic!
Leo: (Laughs) I remember the Portege!
Radford: And it has a few things, the fingerprint obviously is another thing that’s cool. The cons; it’s out priced, outdated, and behind the times in terms of what it needs to be in terms of like portability and…
Leo: Right, I like it on Toshiba page, on the screen it says, as a selling point. “No integrated webcam or microphone.”
Radford: But it does. This is actually the 1300.
Leo: Oh you can order it updated.
Leo: You know there are people, who that is a selling point. They’re like, “I don’t want a camera, because I’m just going to tape it over anyway, I don’t want it!
Radford: Right. It’s just crazy because when you go to Toshibas website, they just have tons, and tons and tons of,
Leo: You can skew it like crazy.
Radford: Tons of skews. But unfortunately, at the very end, I have to give this a don’t buy.
Leo: I think price alone. Maybe 800 bucks, this would be a buy, you think?
Radford: Yeah. I mean, it stocks at 800 bucks but even then, its lowest end is not up to par in terms of like what it’s going after.
Leo: I haven’t seen a VG8 port in a laptop in a long time!
Radford: Yeah, it’s an RGV VG8 port.
Leo: That’s hysterical!
Radford: It’s crazy!
Leo: Radford Castro, our director of engineering. Unfortunately, sorry Toshiba, a do not buy. On the Portege G30.
Radford: Yeah, sorry. But send us some more!
Leo: Hey, I’m sure they have other great stuff.
Shannon: More coming!
Leo: We have one last review. In fact, this one is a newbie! Victor Bognot, is our newest editor. We hired him not so long ago. Less than a month ago, and did you have to like bang on him, Shannon, to get him to do reviews?
Shannon: I didn’t! He was totally Gung ho about it!
Leo: He was ready?
Shannon: He was ready! I just gave him a few tips and said go for it! And he did a great job!
Leo: Alright, this is Victor’s first review. The Dockum Iprop and Koala mount for tablets. Hit it Victor!
Victor Bognot: Hi! This is Victor, from TWiT, and I’m reviewing two products from a company called Dockum. And one of them is the Koala mount for your tablets, and the other one is called the IProp, also for your tablets. The IProp is the mesh bag, with bean bag inside, and a silicon shelf 35 mm. wide to hold anything up to 17 mm thick. This includes all iPads, Samsung Galaxy tabs, Amazon Kindles, and more. The Iprop can be disassembled, and the mesh bag is machine washable. The zipper on the bottom can also double as a compartment store for any small accessories. The IProp can be used to stand on its own, but what sets it apart from another other stands, is the ability to use it on your lap while sitting, or if you like using your tablet in bed. This may take a little bit of time figuring out the best way to sit on the shelf without your tablet falling forward. But once the bean bag is in the right shape, it works like it says. Pros, it does what it claims, and it holds up your device. It’s versatile and you can use it on any surface or on yourself. For clean freaks, it can be disassembled and the mesh bag is machine washable. The zipper compartment is also a nice plus. Cons; It may take a little adjusting to get the bean bag to stay up right. And if you have any kids or friends that see it, their first impulse is to unzip it and take out the bean bag, which means you have to adjust it again, which can be kind of annoying. So for those of you that need a stand for a soft surface, like a couch, or a bed, or if you like to use your tablet in bed and want to free your hands from holding the device, this is definitely a buy. If you ever wanted to mount your tablet to the wall, or to the side of your desk. Dokum also makes a Koala mount. This works for tablets that are under 11 mm. Which are all IPads, Samsung galaxy tabs, google nexus tablets and more. It uses an easy to find, 3 m command strips to stick to any surface. The brackets are very light, they come in chrome, white and black. Installation is simple. You use the alcohol prep pad to clean the surface, apply the strip to the brackets. Once applied, they say to wait an hour before you use it. My Galaxy tab 8 fits very snug and does not rattle around when pressing the screen. The pros; It’s easy to install, looks clean, and sturdy. There are also holes in the sides so that you can plug in your charging cable. For cons, it’s made out of plastic, so you may want to be careful when you try to take it off. But with that said, it definitely does what it says, so it’s a buy. So there you have it, both buys for the Dockem IProp and Koala mount. This is Victor from TWiT, for Before you Buy.
Leo: Nice job! Victor Bognot, one of our newest, in fact, I think our newest employee here. One of our newest employees anyway. It’s hard to tell, we keep adding new people. Hey, thank you Victor! Thank you Radford, Shannon, Bryan Burnett, Tony Wang, all of our reviewers. Thank you for being here. We do this show live, if you want to watch. It’s kind of a quick version of the show on Tuesday afternoons, but you can always get by, Tuesday evening, you can always get a copy of the show at twit.tv/byb. We also put it on our youtube channel. Not just the whole show, but our individual reviews, so you can share them with your family or friends. That’s it, youtube.com/beforeyoubuy. Right?
Leo: Email us at twit.tv/byb, if there is something you’d like to see us review. I thank you for joining us. I thank you for being here. We’ll see you next time! Remember, you’ve got to watch, before you buy!