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  • Chris 10:21 pm on July 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Tiny Speaker   

    Bytech Portable Mini Speaker 

    Review updated: 07.21.09 – see end for update

    Up this week is a product that I found a week later than I actually needed it the Bytech Portable Mini Speaker from Best Buy in the mobile phone department for $19.99. It is a 2 inch speaker with a rechargeable battery and accordion type “subwoofer”.

    In the box:
    2 inch speaker with 3.5mm connector
    3.5mm extension
    2.5mm adapter
    USB cable
    “user manual” (using the word manual very loosely here)

    The USB and 3.5mm extension cable are convenient and retractable and stow easily, the 2.5mm adapter on the other hand is something that if you don’t need immediately will most likely make its way to the back of your junk drawer never to be seen again.

    Not sure what to expect from a 2.8 watt speaker that fit in the palm of my hand and featured an accordion subwoofer I was actually very unimpressed when I pulled it out of the box and plugged it into my iPhone, mainly because the GSM noise coming from it, this was sold in the mobile phone section. I promptly unplugged and added the 3.5mm extension and turned it on with earplugs firmly in place, no need to flare up the tinnitus if I don’t have to. Once again, not really that impressed, I was glad that I bought it local and not online so I wouldn’t have any problem taking it back, but I decided to give it another go, turn down the volume and let it run for a while and see if a little break-in period would help. I’m glad I did, the speaker actually doesn’t sound that bad and that’s fully closed so I unlock it and ready myself for the accordion subwoofer to shake the room and well, it didn’t but it did add some depth to the sound and was quite pleasant. For what it is and what I need it for, basically chucking it in my backpack for a little music relief this summer when out in the world, it is small, doesn’t require much space and it can be used with the items I normally carry around if needed. It is far from the sound quality of a decent set of headphones or speakers but for a 2 inch speaker it pumps a nice volume level.

    My walking around pack has a Solio charger (and adapters), iPod/iPhone cable, and now the small speaker with retractable cables and they all fit in a tiny pocket with an energy bar and my lucky platypus and I still have room for the odd Clif Bar or two.

    + price, in the grand scheme $20 isn’t that much and it is small, I’ve seen other versions for around $10

    + you could plug it into an iPod and put it in your pocket playing music at a low level all day and when people ask if you hear that music you could look at them and say “what music” as you pull out your phone that isn’t playing music
    + if you are a cubicle dweller and “the man” frowns upon you using company equipment for entertainment it is easily slid into a desk drawer 

    + battery life is pretty impressive
    + the possibilities for use are actually pretty open
    + the retractrable cables are convenient for other items, the USB adapter is USB to mini-USB

- requires a small break-in period to sound good
- GSM noise if you don’t use the extension

    • it would have been nice instead of a retractable extension 3.5mm cable if the retractable extension was built into the unit

    Final: Recommended Conditional Recommendation*

    *UPDATE – As I stated above this was bought in the mobile phone department of Best Buy which is unfortunate since it suffers from an annoying GSM static feedback issue with prolonged use and this is with the 3.5mm extension cable, it should be sold in the portable audio section, it pairs well with an iPod or other portable player but not with an iPhone.


  • Chris 9:01 pm on July 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Review – Mini-DisplayPort to DVI adapter 

    With the purchase of the new MacBook Pro last month it also meant the need to purchase a new dvi adapter since Apple switched from mini-dvi to mini-displayport.  This is normally one of those $30 accessories you just buy when you buy a new Mac, but I decided that I’d try a little experiment. I found a dealer on eBay selling a “generic” mini-displayport to dvi adapter for under $14 shipped. I went into this endeavor not having high hopes for it because I’ve seen reports of the official mini-displayport adapters having problems, but $15 is a small price to pay to see if I saved $15 from buying the official one or if a $30 adapter would actually cost me $45.

    The “generic” ones are plentiful on eBay and range in price between $10-$25 but the bulk of them ship from China, most for free but still take about a week to get to you, especially if you live in the great northeast like I do. I found a dealer in Denver had one for $13.95 shipped, so I ordered and three days later I got it.

    The first thing you notice about it is that the packaging is almost identical to the official apple one but the color of the adapter isn’t white and it isn’t as rounded. The color is more light beige, think classic pc parts, the dvi connector is a rounded rectangle and is a bit fatter. I remove it from the package and hook up the monitor, put the MacBook to sleep, close the lid, plug it in, hold my breath and say “oh mighty MacBook please awaken from your slumber” like I do every time I wake up the MacBook and voila, I’m looking at my desktop magically taken from the actual MacBook to the beautiful widescreen color corrected monitor. No defects, no odd lines no fuzzy text, just a crisp clear image…test one, pass. Then I open up the MacBook and see if it will pull off a mirrored and extended desktop to see if I get the same results…test two, pass.

    In the end, I actually can’t say anything bad about the “generic” mini-displayport to dvi adapter from Betamacs-Sales in Denver, Colorado, the offered free fast shipping on a product that did what it is supposed to and it saved me a couple of large lattes.

    + price, a net savings of over $15 over the official version
    + it works
    + true plug and play


    • it isn’t white
    • it is a bit fatter

    The negatives aren’t really worth mentioning unless you are a true Apple “i” person who feels that their current product is rendered obsolete by the introduction of a new or refreshed product.

    Final: Highly Recommended

    • jack 4:25 pm on July 16, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking you feeds also, Thanks.

    • Henry 10:13 am on August 31, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Can I ask how long is the cable length? It looks about 6″ so did you have an issue with the distance from the MacBook to the monitor?

      • Chris 9:47 pm on October 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Henry. Sorry for the late response, it is about 6 inches long and actually this plugs into the monitor DVI cable. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Sterling 6:47 pm on November 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Chris. Happy to have found your post as I’m troubleshooting my adapter now. I picked one up a few weeks ago. Awesome out of the packaging, but now my MBP refuses to detect my monitor, or flickers blue to black in the way it does as it usually moves to monitor spanning mode, only it never makes it all the way, just flickers and then turns blue.

      Have you had any problems or know any tricks to try? Have tried all manner of restarting/plug-in/etc combinations I could come up with.


      • Chris 10:01 pm on December 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Sterling.

        Sorry about the late reply to this but I’ve been using mine for quite a while now with no issues. The only thing I could think of is to head on into the Apple Store and see if they can test your mini-DisplayPort connection, if that’s not an option you could always buy/borrow a different adapter and see if you have the same problem. Other than that it could be the actual DVI cable.

        Thanks for stopping by.

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