Monthly Archives: November 2012

  • The Best Tech Gifts for Cyber Monday 2012

    Curtis Taylor Curtis Taylor
    Posted on November 23, 2012

    The Top Tech Gifts for Every Type

     

    Ultimate Tech Gift Guide for 2012

    There are great tech gifts out there for every type of person you can imagine.  Here at RepairLabs.com, we thought we’d make out a list of our favorites for your approval just in time for Cyber Monday. If you're sick of the same old gift ideas, you've come to the right place. Everybody knows an iPad mini or a Nexus 7 tablet would be an awesome gift. But sometimes that's just not the right gift, the perfect gift, the magical rainbow unicorn of gifts.  Actually a tablet is a pretty personal choice. Instead give them a tech gift that they're certain to love, no matter what type of person they are. Here's where you can get your creative juices revving:  you’ll find gifts from $8.00 - $800, and something that certain to tickle the techie fancy of someone you love. We’re sure you’ll find an idea that you love.

    Dad:

    inflatable universal car rack from RepairLabs.com Tech Gifts Guide 2012

    • If the car doesn’t have luggage racks, this is an ingenious solution. Inflatables! Now dad can haul nearly anything up top.  Universal roof rack $89.99. Buy it here.
    golf swing analysis tool  from RepairLabs.com Tech Gifts Guide 2012

    Mom

    kalediscope  from RepairLabs.com Tech Gifts Guide 2012

    EyeVac Crumb vac from RepairLabs.com Tech Gifts Guide 2012
    • Eye Vac, just sweep the crumbs in its direction and it sucks them right up.  $99 Buy it here.
    Towel warmer  from RepairLabs.com Tech Gifts Guide 2012
    • Towel warmer for her spa day, or to warm the kids’ hats, mittens and gloves:  $89.99

    Boyfriend:

    Tankbot smartphone cubicle toys from RepairLabs.com Tech Gifts Guide 2012

    • Smartphone controlled tankbot for his cubicle; he’ll entertain his office buddies for hours.  Buy it here  for  $24.99

     

    Girlfriend

    Teen

    Portable Bluetooth Speaker from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

     

    Kid

    Bike Wheel Lights from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • Bike wheel lights, graphics synthesizer, generates thousands of changing colors and patterns. Kids will ADORE this gizmo. And extra safety and visibility for parents’ peace of mind. A perfect tech gift! $50

    New Parents

    Self-folding Origami Stroller  from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • This stroller folds itself. FOLDS ITSELF. It also is lighted and charges your iPhone. Is there a tech gift new parents could love any more?  Oragami Stroller http://www.4moms.com/origami  $849.99

    Baby

    HTML for Babies Book from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    Gentleman

    Gentleman's Travel Charger Kit from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    Geek

    Ultimate Charging Stationfrom RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • Get them the ultimate recharge station, the Kaynex Sydnee Smart Charging Station $149. It holds everything.

    Potterhead

    Team Don't Read Crappy Books Sweatshirt from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    Hipster

    Instant Digital Polaroid from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • It’s instant! It’s digital! It’s awwwesome!  $159. Your own personal hipster WILL want this instant digital camera.

    It Girl

    Subtle Sparkle iPhone Decoration oid from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • For the girl who has everything? Give her something no one else has. Custom Cemented iPhone Jewels in Subtle Sparkle.  $103 US dollars, but she’s gotta send in her phone across the pond, for this perfect tech gift. http://www.crystalskins.co.uk/atelier.html

    Motorhead

    Slime Flat Tire Emergency Repair Kit from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • The easy answer  when your favorite gearhead and motor-er gets a flat: Slime Safety Spair:$38 this special sealant will get them safely to somewhere they can replace a flat tire, in only 7 minutes!

    Caffeine Junkie

    8 Bit Heart Mug from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    Prepper/outdoorsman/Camper:

    Kinetic Power Charger for Devices from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • Whether he’s getting ready for the zombie apocalypse, or just likes to keep his device with him out in the wild, this kinetic device charger: http://www.npowerpeg.com/ is the perfect find. $199.95

    Health Nut :

    My Blend Bottle Blenders  from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • They need to blend up their smoothie on the run? This blender actually attaches to the bottle, so they can grab and go.  My Blend Bottle Blender.  http://www.oster.com/myblend/  $29.99

    Foodie

    Digital Measuring Spoon from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • Save time and energy measuring and weighing with this little doodad. Digital Spoon Measure - the  link to buy is  at the bottom - $25.85

    Pet

    Sensor Pet Water Fountain  from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • Let your lil sweetie get a cool drink whenever he wants with a Doggie water fountain: $79.50. It senses when your pet comes up to it, so he can always have fresh water. Really great for labs who love to drink from the hose!

    Jock

    • Jawbone UP activity tracking wristband. Works with your smartphone to track sleep cycles and activity levels and goals 129.99 https://jawbone.com/up

    Belieber

    Heart Headphone Splitter from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • Heart iPhone earbud splitter. Because where there’s one Belieber there is always another.  And they need to be able to share the beats too. $18

    Designer/Artist

    Inkling digital sketch pen from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    Gamer

    iPhone Joystick from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • For all of the retro joy of 8bit games! A guaranteed hit.  iPhone Joystick  $13.49

    Mr./Miss OCD

    Neatdesk description from RepairLabs.com 2012 Tech Gifts Guide

    • Neatdesk  $349.88 Scans business cards, receipts and full sized sheets of paper, and then instantly organizes them! SWEET.

     

    *All prices are accurate at the time of publishing, but we can’t guarantee that they won’t change. Good Luck, and Happy Shopping for great tech gifts that they will LOVE!

    by , Tech Expert, Freelance Writer.

    This post was posted in Opinion, Tablets, Gifts, Tech, Blog Candy, Geek, What We Do, iPhone, iPad, Uncategorized and was tagged with every, person, type, gizmos, gadgets, Cyber Monday, gift, tech gifts, guide, Gifts

  • The Proof is in the Pixels--Displays: iPad mini, Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7

    Curtis Taylor Curtis Taylor
    Posted on November 7, 2012

    Pixels under Microscope: Nexus 7 vs  Kindle Fire HD vs iPad Mini from www.repairlabs.com

    The elite scientific RepairLabs team had so much fun testing tablet displays under the microscope that they decided to test some non-Apple (Android) devices for pixel density as well: the Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7. Our last excursion under the microscope was such a hit we thought we’d check out a couple more devices.

    Though in our last post we didn’t find the iPad mini’s display to be terribly offensive in comparison with the Retina Display of the 4th generation iPad, it has been a major disappointment to some. And when the Android devices of the same size are available at much better prices, with far superior display specs, the average consumer faces a problem.   John Brownlee sums up the problem in his review of the iPad mini for Cult of Mac,

    “It’s maddening. Why did Apple release the iPad mini with a screen this terrible, especially when it’s competing with devices like the Kindle Paperwhite, the Kindle Fire 7 and the Galaxy 7 that aren’t just much cheaper but have displays that are so much superior for reading text?”

    In his article, Brownlee also calls out “optical fatigue” and text display as the major problems plaguing the iPad mini’s display. Granted, the display is less impressive, with iPad mini’s pixels roughly 1/3 larger than those of the iPad 4th generation.  But is it enough to be a deal-breaker when you’re deciding which 7-inch tablet you should buy? We put the three little tablets under the microscope to find out for ourselves whether there was really a difference.

     Nexus 7 vs. iPad mini 

     

    Pixels under Microscope: Nexus 7 vs iPad Mini from www.repairlabs.com

    The pixels of the Nexus 7 are noticeably smaller

    Let’s talk pixels per inch (ppi). The iPad mini has 163 pixels per inch, while the Nexus 7 clocks at 216. There’s a marked difference between the two, though the screen sizes are very similar, in that magic 7-inch range. And it bears out under the microscope. The two contrast starkly.

     

    Kindle Fire HD vs iPad Mini

     

    Pixels under Microscope: Kindle Fire HD vs iPad Mini from www.repairlabs.com

    A similar result to the Nexus 7...but could it be better?

     

    Another 7 inch tablet facing down the iPad mini. The Kindle Fire HD far outperforms the iPad mini’s display in terms of pixel density.  This time the Kindle Fire HD has 254ppi, and of course the mini’s resolution remains the same at 163ppi, and the story’s the same as with the Nexus 7 under the microscope.

     

     

    Kindle Fire HD v Nexus 7

     

    Pixels under Microscope: Kindle Fire HD vs Nexus 7 from www.repairlabs.com

    These 2 look mighty similar, but look close, the Fire's pixels are a teeny bit smaller.

    Testing the Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7 side by side under the microscope shows that they’re nearly identical. The Kindle Fire HD is indeed technically larger at 254 ppi, and the Nexus 7 has 216 ppi, or pixels per inch.  Under the microscope, though, they look pretty identical.

     

     

    BONUS: Kindle Fire HD v iPad 4th Generation with Retina Display Pixel Comparison

     

    Pixels under Microscope: Kindle fire HD v iPad 4 with Retina Display from www.repairlabs.com

    Surprisingly similar: Kindle Fire HD at 254ppi and the Retina Display at 264ppi

     

    Here’s the real kicker. Our blue ribbon winner for pixel size and density is the Kindle Fire HD. If you were paying attention to ppi from above, with 254 pixels per inch, it’s barely distinguishable from the drool-worthy iPad Retina Display of the 3rd and 4th gen iPads. That’s right, kids. Kindle Fire HD has a WAY better display and is $130 cheaper than then iPad mini.  However, the Nexus 7 isn’t far behind at 216ppi.

     

     

    Conclusion

    Granted, there are loads of other factors to consider in addition to simple pixel density to determine just how good a screen is. You must take into account viewing angle, color saturation, screen reflectance, color gamut, contrast and the depth at which the images seem to land on the glass of the displays. Some of these are intangibles are not easy to quantify or measure. But out of sheer pixel density and viewed up close, we can see a clear winner: for 7-inch tablets Kindle Fire HD is the best in display and price.

     

    Pixels under Microscope: Nexus 7 vs iPad Mini vs Kindle Fire HD from www.repairlabs.com

    And for those of you who like to see a side by side comparison.

     

    Additional Sources

    http://www.cultofmac.com/199749/the-ipad-minis-display-doesnt-stack-up-well-against-the-competition-but-theres-still-hope/

    http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/28/nexus-7-review/

    http://www.techradar.com/us/reviews/pc-mac/tablets/amazon-kindle-fire-hd-7-1095316/review/2#articleContent

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2409367,00.asp

     

    by , Tech Expert, Freelance Writer.

    This post was posted in Opinion, Tablets, Tech, What We Do, iPhone, iPad Accessories, iPad Tips, iPad, Uncategorized and was tagged with 7-inch tablet, screen resolution, screen, Nexus 7, pixel density, Kindle Fire HD, display, pixel, microscope, Retina Display, pixels, iPad mini

  • Retina Display Test: Under the Microscope

    Curtis Taylor Curtis Taylor
    Posted on November 2, 2012

     

    Here at RepairLabs.com, we thought we’d have some fun with the new iPad, iPad mini, and the microscope. With the long-awaited iPad mini going on sale today and with some of the rumors and hearsay flying about regarding its screen resolution, we thought we’d put all of the iPad generations under the microscope to see what’s really going on with the different display resolutions.  People are worried that once they have the Retina Display on other devices they’ll be spoiled and be unhappy with the iPad mini. And they may have a point. Anecdotes abound  of people giving up their lightweight and portable notebook computers in favor of the beautiful Retina display:

    “In short, I have become a pompous pixel ass. Thanks to Apple,” says Brooke Crothers @mbrookec, in his article describing the joys of Retina Display.

    We, as a screen consuming culture, thanks to Retina display, have come to recognize jaggies: those little jagged edges that the human eye can perceive on fonts and pictures where the individual pixels are visible, even if only just slightly, or if you have your nose to the screen.  And the real kicker is that once you start seeing pixels and jaggies, you can't stop. I’m seeing them now, typing.

    To illustrate the pixel difference though, presents a bit of a problem. Most of us still use screens that aren’t Retina Display, so showing you a picture from a Retina screen versus one from a standard screen will give you the same results. Jaggies.  So how can we illustrate and test the actual difference that you will see? We zoom in as close as we can go. In fact we’ve zoomed in to the actual pixels of each of the iPad screens to give you an idea of what you’ll be looking at.

    Under our 150 times zoom microscope, you’ll see each block of Red, Blue, and Green (a square of RGB, 3 blocks). Each of these three block are equal to one pixel.  The difference in displays is due in part to how many of each of these tiny blocks Apple can squeeze into one inch, or pixels per inch (ppi). (The other part are some very tricky and clever innovations on Apple’s part of how the screen actually functions.)  We’ve compared the Retina Display with each of the previous iterations of the iPad along with the new mini in order to give you an idea of what the difference between them is.

     

    iPad 1st Gen vs iPad with Retina Display (4th Gen)

     

    iPad 2nd Gen vs. 4th Gen with Retina Display under a microscope www.RepairLabs.com

    It looks like Pac Man vs Tron! Left: iPad 1. Right: iPad 4th Gen with Retina Display

    Here is our most dramatic example. You can see that the pixels of the  iPad 1st Gen are nearly double the size of the 4th with Retina Display. For every one grouping of the RGB block on the 1st Gen, you can see that 6 blocks of color (2 RGB groupings) fit into the same space. What does this add up to? Pixel density. The Retina Display packs more pixels in every punch.

     

    iPad 2nd Gen vs iPad with Retina Display (4th Gen)

     

    iPad 2nd Gen vs. iPad 4th Gen with Retina Display, pixels under a microscope www.RepairLabs.com

    Just check out the difference in pixel size!

    Again in this instance we can see that the iPad with Retina far out preforms the iPad 2nd Gen.  The displays on this device and the iPad 1st Gen are basically the same:  132 ppi.  On the iPad with Retina Display (4th Gen)  the pixels per inch are again 264. It’s literally double the amount of pixels than the earlier versions.

     

    iPad (3rd Gen) with Retina and iPad (4th Gen) with Retina.

     

    iPad 3 Gen vs. 4th Gen with Retina Display under a microscope www.RepairLabs.com

    Same size. Surprise.

    The much-maligned and befuddling 3rd Gen stopgap iPad is not all bad. Hated due to its inferior power and how quickly it became obsolete in in the wake of the 4th Gen announcement, it’s no slouch when it comes to display. In fact the displays of the two are identical, with identical resolutions of 2048 x 1536.  (The difference you see between these two pictured is that the 3rd Gen screen is displayed upside-down. Just to keep you on your toes.) At exactly the same magnification, the displays are identical.

     

    iPad mini vs 4th Gen.

     

    iPad 1st Gen vs. 4th Gen with Retina Display under a microscope www.RepairLabs.com

    At this point it looks like a major, deal-breaking difference, but wait...!

    The iPad mini is where things get interesting. Its smaller size necessitates a few sacrifices, and the Retina Display (at this point) simply cannot be made to fit the new small chassis, so to speak.  But lo! The difference between the iPad 4th Gen and the iPad mini is not that huge when examined under the microscope.  In fact, the pixels of the Retina Display are only 2/3 the size of the iPad mini. In the older iterations, the pixels of the 4th Gen are ½ the size of the older versions, or .50. Here, they’re a full 16% (.16, since the 4th Gen’s pixels are 1/3 or .66 of the size of the mini) larger in comparison. This means the difference between the two, is less noticeable. In fact, to the naked eye, it’s negligible. Why is this? Since it’s a smaller screen, the pixels are packed much more densely.

     

    iPad mini vs. 4th Gen with Retina Display under a microscope www.RepairLabs.com

    iPad mini pixel size breakdown, compared with Retina Display

     

    BONUS:  iPad mini vs. 2nd Gen

     

     

    iPad mini vs. iPad 2 (no Retina display on either) under a microscope www.RepairLabs.com

    A surprising difference here! Left: iPad mini. Right iPad 2nd Gen.

    But if you buy and iPad mini, are you going to be sad that you don’t have the glorious Retina display?

    So the question remains. Which device is the best to purchase, based solely on displays?  If price point is your major consideration, you’ll be choosing between the iPad mini, which costs $329, and the iPad 2nd Generation, a larger size for $399,  but without Retina Display. In theory, these displays should be basically equivalent.

    But when viewed under the microscope, you can see that the pixels of the mini are much smaller, it looks a little over half the size of the 2nd Gen (it measures in 81% of the 2nd Gen’s 132 ppi, to be exact).  The mini boasts 163 ppi, more than the 1st and 2nd generation iPads.  The pixels are packed much more densely into a smaller screen.

    “No, this isn't Retina, but maintaining the same resolution as a 10-inch display shrunken down to 7.9 means a necessary boost in pixel density: 163ppi,”

     

    says Tim Stevens of Engadget in his  review of the iPad mini.

     

    In Conclusion:

    We must keep in mind that, as Gary Marshall (@garymarshall) points out  in his definitive article on Retina Display:

    “When Apple talks about a Retina display it's not referring to a worldwide standard or a set of specifications. It's actually just a marketing term, and it simply means that the screen has sufficient pixel density, so that when you look at it normally, you can't make out all the individual pixels.”

     

    We must remember that viewing distance is always a factor, and what looks pixelated at 2 inches from your nose won’t look pixelated 15 inches away. So between all these devices it’s generally agreed that Apple has mastered the art of creating a beautiful screen.  What’s the difference between devices? Much smaller pixels, packed much more densely into an area. That’s basically what you’re getting when you’re paying for Retina Display. And many will swear up and down that it’s TOTALLY WORTH IT.  After all, Retina Display boasts as many as 3.1 million pixels, better than an HDTV.

     

     

     

    Additional Sources:

     

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/11/1/3585082/13-inch-macbook-pro-with-retina-display-review

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/14/2870533/ipad-review

    http://www.apple.com/ipad/design/

     

    UPDATE: Sorry for the confusion, folks. I managed to "dyslexic" my right and left on that last image there. I've updated it, so that now it is correct.  Thanks, astute readers!

    by , Tech Expert, Freelance Writer.

    Retina Display Test: Under the Microscope

    This post was posted in Opinion, Tablets, Tech, What We Do, iPhone, iPad Rumors, iPad, Uncategorized and was tagged with display, Retina, Apple, pixel, density, microscope, Retina Display, pixels, iPad mini, LCD, tablet, iPad

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