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Panache Air PC Review – A PC for the 21st century

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When I was a small kid, My dad bought me a PC, It was maybe an Intel Celeron powered machine backed by 356-MB of RAM and 40-GB of internal hard disk, The only portable device I knew was a floppy disk. That PC used to be a big hefty machine and required patience and a lot of strength to move it here and there. Fast forwarding 15 years and today we have a super – portable Pendrive sized PC which can be hooked up to a screen and can do all the tedious tasks with no hassle. You can’t get a gaming Rig of that size, but It can easily be great for people who use a PC for some light to medium usage, like web browsing and creating documents. Can the Panache Air PC be your next buy? Let us find out!

Panache Air PC 16GB Review

Box contents

Panache Air PC comes in a small and compact box. Opening the box, the first thing we get is the PC stick itself, other than that we also get a power adapter which has a micro USB port, An OTG cable and an HDMI extender. We also get a warranty card which is applicable for the first year.

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I would have liked to see a wireless mouse as well as a keyboard in the box as It would make the setup process more streamlined and complete. I have also used the iBall splendo and I really liked the fact that it comes with the keyboard and a mouse.

Ports

If you go on Google and search for “PC stick” you will get a lot of very similar product like this. Almost all the PC sticks will have the same layout the only difference will be the logo on it. This means, every PC stick with the same number of slots which is kind of disappointing.

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You get a Micro USB port for charging and a micro SD card slot on one side while a USB port and a micro USB port on another side. So you get 2 functional USB ports in total as the Micro USB can be converted to USB by the OTG cable provided in the box. Nowadays 2 ports are pretty standard on an ultrabook or a netbook. In fact the netbook on which I am writing this also has only 2 USB ports but a laptop is different from a PC stick, If you need a functional PC setup then you would need a keyboard and a mouse and after connecting both of them, you get no ports available which is personally a bummer for me. In my testing period, I had to copy some images to my Pendrive and for that simple task I had to lookup for a USB hub. Which is no simple task either, I had to turn off the PC stick, disconnect it from the TV, attached the cable of the USB hub and then again turned it on. If Panache could have provided 3 functional USB slots then it surely would save a lot of time and effort.

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Like all the other PC sticks, the Panache Air PC has a male HDMI port the can be inserted on your TV/ Monitor. As it is a pocket sized PC I would not ask for a VGA port but would have liked to see a 3.5-mm jack. The Air PC relies only on HDMI for the sound interface which for some people might be a disappointment.

Personally I wold have liked it, if the Air had a couple of more ports like another Micro-USB port and a 3.5-mm jack. Also they could have provided an HDMI to VGA converter so that users who don’t own an HDMI monitor can also use this PC.

Performance

This being a very tiny device, you may think that it won’t perform good at all, but that’s not the case, this device over performs for the price you pay. I have an AMD PC which I bought for around Rs.10,000/-, It has an AMD Sempron and a Biostar motherboard. It is big, bulky and performance wise it sucks. Also, it did not have any Windows copies at the time and I had to buy a copy of Windows which bought up the total cost to about Rs. 16000. Now let’s come to the Air PC, I have played GTA San Andreas and I got an FPS read-out of around 50 which is seriously unbelievable. I also played some graphic-heavy titles like Need for speed most wanted and the games was very much playable at high settings, when tinkered the settings down, I was able to play the games flawlessly. I was also able to play COD4 at around 20FPS which was not at all expected as even my laptop can’t run it. This is maybe because of no bloatware OS and compatibility of DirectX11 on windows 10.

I also did a Geekbench 3 benchmarking test and you can see the result below-

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As you can see the Air PC has a great processing power but is somewhat lacking in the memory section with just 1000 Mhz DD3 RAM.

Storage

The Panache Air PC comes with 32-GB of Internal storage out of which we get around 18-GB of free space. Now you can store thousands of songs in the 16GB or tens of Movies in it but If you want some more storage you can always attach a micro SD card. Though any micro SD card will work. Microsoft suggests using a class 10 memory card on a windows machine for optimal performance.

Capture

Here is a screenshot of the C drive with only one program and some files in it.

OS

The Panache Air PC is the first such portable PC which comes with windows 10 out of the box. It has a 32-bit genuine pre-activated copy of Windows 10 which just requires a little set up during the first boot similar to a laptop.

NOTE : If by chance the initial setup is interrupted, you can recover the windows by pressing shift when starting up the device

Windows 10 is the latest version of Windows from Microsoft. It eliminates the ‘Live Tiles’ start menu and brings back the good-old trusty start bar. Windows 10 assures that both the desktop as well as tablet users get the most out of it, unlike Windows 8/8.1 which was more tablet-centric and Desktop users often find it as a clutter.

A screenshot of Windows 10

Verdict!

The Panache Air PC is idle for people who do mediocre tasks like word processing and web browsing, It can also be used as a Living room PC or a backup PC. The Panache Air PC provides the best value for the users money, It is portable, powerful and comes with Windows 10 out of the box. This can surely be a Diwali gift for the techy in your family!

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Wearables

PlayFit Smart Band – The best Fitness Band in the market?

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Recently Play, an Indian brand which focuses primarily on wearable tech and accessories launched its two new products, The PlayGo which is a bluetooth headset and the PlayFit which is an activity tracker/smart band. So we got a chance to review the smart band and here it is. We will be discussing various aspects like design, build, software, accuracy, battery life etc.

PlayFit Smart Band Review

 

Design and build

A watch is as important as any other apparel one would wear. This one looks much better than any other smart band in this price range. Kudos to PlayFit design team for inculcating ritzy neon green stripes with a gentle grey accent. The rubber material used is flexible and fits nicely on hand. The belt has 15 slits which should be enough to suit most hands. It’s lite and compact form does favour a distraction-free workout session

Coming to the front, it has a Colored touchscreen display spanning 0.98-inches diagonally. This display felt small for our liking. Another pain point is the outdoor legibility, which is a major miss here. You have to hover your hand to view the screen contents, which is rather stone age-ish at this point. Even the display was hasty to go dark, which was always annoying. But on the flip side, this might aid a better battery life. We also appreciate the fact that the device is IP68 Dust and Waterproof certified.

UI & UX

Even though we would wish to have android wear in the smart bands someday, the PlayFit comes with its own custom UI. The UI makes the full use of the coloured display by having every item coloured differently. we really enjoyed the UI though sometimes navigating between the different screen was not easy. There are a limited number of watch faces, 4 to be exact with 2 of them being just a change in colour. The default watch face is the only one which we really liked. In the default screen, if you tap once you will get the heart rate, then the steps and then calories.

While if you swipe from the top, you will get a menu with different screens which include the notifications. Speaking of notification, PlayFit syncs your call and smartphone app notifications on its display along with vibration alert. These are some of the apps it support – SMS, WeChat, QQ, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Messenger, LinkedIn, Email, Calendar, Skype, etc. In our testing, certain features like the remote camera access didn’t work as advertised. There is an option to control the music navigation from the wrist band itself. However, it works with selected apps like Google Play Music only. No support for Spotify, it seems! All that said, a fitness band will still get our approval if it does well where it’s supposed to. Here’s how it performs on fitness grounds. There is also an option of more options in which you have settings like lift-up display, camera, alarm etc.

Overall the UI is great and the UX is also very user-friendly. Even for people who are not really tech-savvy.

Connectivity

The device is compatible with android (4.4 & above) & iOS (9.0 & above) devices. It is equipped with Bluetooth version: 4.2. Sorry, No 5th gen here! The pairing is pretty easy using the PlayFit app downloadable from the Google or Apple app store.

Once you sign in to the app, you’ll be welcomed by a pleasing user interface. It presents real-time and progress on 14 activities (which will discuss in the next section), your sleep routine, and your heart’s health. It also exhibits periodic stats of your activities, sleep, and heart health on different useful metrics. There is even an activity logger to custom-meter any activity.

Features

This is where I think this device shines the most. It has more than 10 sport modes like Walking, Running, Cycling, Skipping, Badminton, Basketball, Football, etc. Now, you may already know that the fitness bands, for the most part, project guesstimates. But, we didn’t understand the lack of swimming mode, even though it has waterproof certification. Further, like many of its peers, it also fails to detect our erratic daytime naps. Similarly, PlayFit 53 confuses vehicle rides for walking, which is also something that cripples other bands. But in all due fairness, the fitness tracking functions accurate enough to be useful. And as aforementioned, it covers every major sports activity. The Sedentary Alert lets you know of your prolonged inactivity.

Battery Life

Play claims that this device would last for more than a week however in our usage, it lasted for little more than 4 days which is average is these bands. Do note that the bluetooth connection was always on and we get a lot more notifications than a standard user. So if you are intending to use it moderately, it might last you for about a week.

Final Verdict

Overall we are very impressed by the device, at this price, It has to compete with some of the veterans in the field like the Mi Band. If the brand continues to provide support and updates, it can easily make a fair share in the fitness bands market.

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Tech News

EaseUS Data Recovery Software Review – The Best one!

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We all have been in this situation where we mistakenly or unknowingly delete important data. This can be files of some office work, old pictures of a trip you took with your girlfriend or just cute pictures of cats you downloaded from the internet, any data that you really want to keep and gets destroyed hurts a lot. A file once deleted is almost impossible to retrieve, this is something that we all used to think or at least I used to. Well not anymore. Recently while deleting some junk, I mistakenly deleted a photoshop template that took more than 10 hours to make. I was in no way in a mood to make it again so went on the journey of “Data Recovery”. If you search for data recovery software on Google, you will be bombarded by thousands of companies claiming to be the best and capable to retrieve any data. Well most of them were just a result of massive advertisement budgets and nothing else. So in my quest to find a reliable data recovery software that my Macbook supports, I came across EaseUS Data Recovery. They seem to have spent all their money on making the product work well instead of the advertisements. Hands down this is the best recovery software you can buy for your machine. Let’s dig a bit deeper-

Check out Logitech X50 – Logitech X50 Bluetooth Speaker Review!

EaseUS Recovery Software Review

When you first open the software you are asked to select the drive you wish to perform the recovery on. On Macbook generally, there is only a single drive so select it. Once you select it, wait for a while so that the software can scan the drives for the data. The time it takes depends upon the type of drive and the size. Data recovery takes time and you should be patient enough and let the software do its job. Even if the scanning is midway you can navigate the files and select the folder which you wish to recover. Along with this, you can even navigate on the basis of the data type. You can filter down on the types whether its audio, picture, video etc.

EaseUS provides trial versions of its software, which can be used to recover up to 2GB of data on PCs and Macs. A trial run will help you determine if your lost data can be recovered prior to purchasing the software. The premium version which has no restriction costs 70USD which is value for money. After using the software for a week or two if you feel like it is not working as you expected you can get your money back! EaseUS recovery has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Once you have selected the folder or the files you wish to recover just press on “Recover Now”. This will pop up a dialogue box for selecting the location. It is recommended to select a different drive to save the data as recovering and saving data at the same time could be dangerous. So what will those people do who have just a single drive? Well, EaseUS has taken care of us by providing a feature of storing the recovered data on the cloud. This shows the amount of work they have done for the software.

Once the recovery process is complete you will be able to see all the files that you had deleted in the past.

Features at a Glance

  1. Quick Scan
  2. Deep Scan
  3. Sort by File Type
  4. Partition Recovery
  5. Store in Cloud
  6. USB/ External Drive recovery
  7. 24/7 Support
  8. 30 Day money-back guarantee

Final Verdict

If you are in a situation where you require to recover your lost data then EaseUS data Recovery would be an ideal option. With features like sort by file type, partition recovery, store in the cloud, great UI, the software has a lot of advantages when compared to the rest. With the sweat price of just 70$, Everyone who deals with important data should own a license of it be it photographers, designers or programmers.

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Reviews

1MORE iBFree Bluetooth earphones review!

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There was a time when you would have to shell out 10-12 thousand rupees to get a good pair of Bluetooth earphones. It 2018 now and the scenario has changed. Now, you can get unbranded bluetooth earphones from 700rs and upwards. I have tested a lot of Bluetooth earphones and almost all of them have some problem, it could be the battery life, standby time, ergonomics or just the sound quality. 1MORE is a popular brand based out of Shenzhen which has its market all over the globe. 1MORE is also known for the piston earphones they make for Xiaomi.

I have been listening to iBFree from 1MORE. Apart from the name, How good actually are these earplugs? Well, we will find that in this review!

Box Contents
In the box, you get following things-

  • Earphones
  • USB A – Micro-USB
  • 2 extra tips
  • 2 extra hooks

The unboxing experience of these was great, The quality and the design of the box is well thought off. However, India is a competitive market and most of the bluetooth earphones here come with a solid case which these lacks. If not a case, 1MORE could have included a pouch at least. Anyway, moving forward.

The earphones are made up of solid metal and are very well built. You can throw these around, drop them and even step on them, They will continue working. The design is exceptionally good as well and gives a premium look.  There is a rubber tube to provide support to the wire. The wire is also thick enough and can easily handle the normal wear and tear. According to the 1MORE website, these aren’t officially sweat proof but in my usage, they haven’t given me any problem while using them at the gym or in the rain. If not deliberately destroyed, These can easily last long.

iBFree are sports earphones and to ensure that these don’t fall out, 1MORE has provided ear hooks as well. And believe me when I say this, Once they are inside your ear, they are not going anywhere. The ear hook is tilted which might be the reason for such snug fit.

Talking about sound leaking, The design of the ear tips is such that, very minimal amount of sound gets leaked so If you have to wear these in subways/metro then rest assured, Your co-passenger won’t be hearing your songs :p. Also, If you do gym, then these will also reduce the outside noise in the gym if your gym plays their own songs, It won’t be a problem.

Talking about the sound quality, These are downright the clearest sounding earphones. The highs on this are a bliss to listen. You might have to tune the equaliser to get the best out of these. If you are into bass, then you might dislike these initially. Let them run for 4-5hours and they will burn-in into something incredible. For the size of these, They produce excellent sound.

The audio controls are on a small remote attached to the wire. The middle button is used to play and pause as well as to turn on and off the earphones. the right and left switch can be used to increase or decrease the volume and Next and the Previous song if you hold them for two seconds. The earphones come with MEMS microphone which eliminates the noise while you are on a call.

These come with Qualcomm aptx technology which ensures that there is no latency while you are playing songs or watching movies. This feature is only available on Android phones with Qualcomm processor.

These charge in less than 2 hours on a 2A charger and last for about 5-6hours is medium volume. Do note, that these are very loud and you will end up listing on the low volume.

Conclusion

If you are looking for bluetooth earphones for the gym or normal commute than these are best earphones to go for under 4,000INR. You get great battery life, Awesome sound and durable body.

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