Dragon Touch Tablet–High End Hardware–Low End Price


This is going to be a quick and short review.  The Dragon Touch 9.7” Android tablet by TabletExpress (as U.S. company) has fairly high hardware specs considering its low price of $179.99.  Most tablets that size are much more expensive.  But, it’s not just a 9.7” screen tablet, it also has a ridiculously high resolution of 2048×1536 (again, hi res for that price).  It also sports a Rockchips RK3188 Quad Core Cortex A9 CPU at 1.8Ghz per core.


Here are the specs:

  • 9.7” screen
  • 2,048×1,536 pixels “Retina” display
  • Rockchips RK3188 Quad Core Cortex A9 CPU at 1.8Ghz per core
  • Front and rear cameras
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • MicroUSB port (data only, not for charging)
  • HDMI port
  • Headphone jack
  • SD card slot, up to 64GB
  • 12v DC proprietary adapter
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • 16GB internal storage
  • 2GB RAM
  • Wifi

Here’s an unboxing of it:


The Good:

  • 9.7” screen
  • 2,048×1,536 pixels “Retina” display
  • Rockchips RK3188 Quad Core Cortex A9 CPU at 1.8Ghz per core
  • MicroUSB port (data only, not for charging)
  • HDMI port
  • SD card slot, up to 64GB
  • Screen Protector

Remember, this “goodness” is all based on getting this for $179.99.

You almost never see a screen larger than 7 inches for this price.  Remember, the Nexus 7 is only 7 inches, only has a resolution of 1920×1200, same amount of RAM and internal storage, and is only 1.5Ghz and NO SD card slot for expandability and IT costs $229.  Hardware wise, this thing kicks butt, especially for the price.

That screen resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 is insanely high for such a cheap tablet.  Even many more expensive tablets don’t even have that resolution.

The processor is a fairly fast Quad Core with a higher clock speed than what you get with the much more expensive (and small) Nexus 7.

It has an HDMI port so you can view it directly on your computer monitor or HDTV.  That can turn it into a game console or a cheap way to show the family photos and videos while on the go or to give presentations.

The Micro USB port is both a pro and a con.  Since we’re in the “Good” section, let’s focus on the good.  This is pretty standard on Android devices and any device without a MicroUSB port would be a joke.

It comes with 2GB of RAM and 8, 16, or 32GB of storage.  I’m reviewing the 16GB version here.  It also has a Micro SD card slot so you can add up to 64GB of more storage.  “Officially” it supports up to 32GB, but reviews on Amazon.com say that 64GB cards do indeed work.

The build quality is pretty robust too.  It doesn’t feel like a light piece of plastic.  This thing is solid.

It also comes with a screen protector already installed for you!

Google Play:

Yes!  This tablet has all the Google Goodness, including the Google Play store.  I do have to mention this because many tablets in this price range do NOT have any of the Google software and lack the Google Play store.

The Bad:

  • Front and rear cameras
  • MicroUSB port (data only, not for charging)
  • 12v DC proprietary adapter
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

Let me first say that the good outweighs the bad.  I highly recommend this tablet.

BUT!  It’s not perfect.  For example, the front and rear cameras are both only 2 megapixels and the quality is not that great.  So, you’re not going to use this for keepsake photos and videos, but it’s good enough for scanning barcodes and doing video chats.

The MicroUSB port does NOT charge the device!  This is a pretty important thing to note because to charge it, you have to use their supplied, proprietary charger with a  very short 2 foot cord.

Also, the OS is not the latest.  It comes preinstalled with Android 4.2 Jellybean.  Today’s version of Android is 4.4.4 Kit Kat and the next major release, code named “Android L” is just around the corner.  I can’t confirm this, but rumors are that there will be no updates for this.  BUT, Jelly Bean 4.2 is a robust and powerful version of Android and as long as you update Google Play Services from the Google Play store, you’re going to get most of the important updates from Google.

In spite of the powerful hardware, it’s quite laggy and choppy.  My wife hasn’t complained, but my son noticed and I noticed and the reviewers on Amazon noticed.  Read below on “Make it better” for a fix.

The Box Contents:

There’s absolutely no paperwork or manuals in the box.  You get the tablet, the charger, a Micro USB to standard USB (PC to tablet) cable, and a USB PC female adapter cable.  I mean, one end plugs into the MicroUSB data port on your tablet and the other end is an open USB female port so you can plug in things like PC mice, keyboards, and external hard drives.

Make it Better:

For the technically capable… You can root this tablet with TPSparkyRoot.  Once rooted, you can then flash an alternative firmware (more commonly mislabeled as a “ROM”) and reports are that it makes this thing liquid smooth, like butter.


For the money, you’ll have a really hard time finding this much bang for the buck.  With the screen resolution so high, and a decent enough size screen, you can even remote control your high-end desktop PCs with it.   –>Get it here<–

Review: Toshiba Satellite L775-S7309 Notebook PC


Toshiba’s Satellite L775 Notebook PC is a great bang for the buck, so much so that I bought it myself.  I’ve avoided laptops for, well, forever, because for whatever laptop you could buy, you could by much more computing power in a desktop for the same money.  I’m a tech junkie and spend too much time browsing around stores like BestBuy.  Every time I’m there, I examine the notebooks and every time I’m sorely disappointed at the high prices and lack of power.  I’ve never found anything worth using under $800 or so.

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Finally, after years and years of browsing through the laptop aisle, I finally found a laptop with enough power and a low enough price, and, this one’s radically important for me, a high enough resolution (vertically) for me to personally get some programming done.

[Here’s my affiliate link to this notebook on Amazon]

So, let’s get into this PC’s specs:


Feature Value
Screen Resolution 1920×1080
Screen Size 17.3″
Screen Aspect Ratio 16:9 Wide Screen
RAM 4GB DDR3 1333Mhz
CPU Intel Core i3-2330Mhz CPU, 2.20Ghz
Hard Drive 500GB
Mouse Touch Pad w/ Multi-Touch
Keyboard Full keyboard with full number keypad.
Ports 3 2.0 USB, 1 HDMI, 1 RJ11, 1 VGA, Power, Media Card reader
Optical Storage DVD +/-R/RW with LightScribe (The drive can print images on the label of your DVDs if you buy the right kind).

What’s Good about it?

The price vs. performance is the best I’ve found – ever.  With all of the specs above, I was able to get it for under $500.  And, all other notebooks I ran across with a vertical resolution over 1024 were nearly $1,000 or more.  With 4GB of RAM and a 500GB HD and a Dual Core processor, it’s plenty powerful enough for most anything I’d need for a computer on the go.  All I really needed was something with a decent screen size to remote control my home desktop, so power and hard drive space weren’t really all that important for me, but this one’s got enough to use it as an actual computer as opposed to just a remote terminal.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that the touch pad is a multi-touch pad.  Yes, you can pinch to zoom.  It has built in wireless networking (as should be expected by any modern laptop) and a full size, wide keyboard.

What’s NOT to like about it?

It gets HOT…. REALLY HOT!  If you put it on your lap, you left leg will burn.  You’ll get actual flesh burns.  Also, and I find this unacceptable (aside from the low price); where you rest your right palm while typing gets really hot too… hot enough to cause bodily damage.  They actually have warnings about these 2 hot spots.

The volume is pretty low.  You’ll have to turn it up to max for most things to hear it.  And, even though I mentioned the full size of the keyboard and the large screen as an advantage, it makes the whole unit pretty big… a little too big for a notebook, but if a compact size isn’t an issue for you, then this won’t be a problem.  It fits nicely in my notebook backpack.

Installed Software

It comes pre-installed with Windows 7 Home Premium.  They are also guilty of shoveling on lots of other software.  Here’s a list of some of it:

  • WildCoins games.  Lots of fairly decent games, including Pac-Man (you can NEVER go wrong with Pac-Man!)  imageBut, you’re given a handful of virtual coins and can play the games with your virtual coins, but when they’re used up, you’ll have to purchase the games(s) you want.  Also, if you run the game launcher, it’ll install an icon on your desktop EVERY TIME YOU RUN IT!  I like to keep my desktop slim on icons and this stupid thing keeps adding an icon on my desktop, against my will, without asking, without warning.  Shame on you WildCoins!  And shame on youToshiba for lowering your standards to allow this.
  • Corel LabelOnce – This app let’s you design labels to print directly onto your CDs and DVDs (if you buy the write kind of discs made for this).
  • Google Chrome
  • NetZero dial up software?  Really?  What centuryis this???
  • Skype – Not something I’d install for myself and easy enough to download if you want it.image
  • Toshiba utilities – Lots of Toshiba specific utilities, including making your own rebuild media discs.  This is inexcusable to NOT provide the Windows Media discs.  It would cost Toshiba maybe $1.  But since they didn’t it will cost YOU many hours of babysitting the computer while you’re burning DVDs, making many trashed “coasters” in the process.
  • Microsoft Office 2010 – Don’t get too excited… The filesare there, but if you don’t have an install key, you can’t use it.
  • There was some anti-virus demo app on it too… either McAfee or Norton… don’t know, don’t care.  I uninstalled it and installed Microsoft’s free “Security Essentials”.

Battery Life

Of course, no mobile device review is complete without talking about battery life.  Toshiba has pre-installed some software to maximize and monitor your battery and your enabled features.  It will dim your screen, slow down the CPU, stop spinning the hard drive, etc… to reduce power consumption.  It’ll even give you a score of green leaves (a little annoying if you’re not a tree hugger), and a real time graph showing power usage so you can tune things to get a good balance of performance vs. battery usage.


I’ll end this review where I started it.  This is the best value vs. performance notebook I’ve ever seen… so much so that I bought it… I’m even writing this review with it.  Let’s put it this way, on a 5 star scale, ALL prior notebooks I’ve run across would never score more than 2.5 because of the ridiculously high prices and unusable low screen resolutions.  This is the first one I give a higher score to.  I’ll give it 4 stars out of 5.  If it weren’t for the painful heating and lack of install media, I’d give it a full 5 stars.


[Here’s my affiliate link again to this notebook on Amazon]  (I don’t provide affiliate links to products I don’t use myself or that I don’t want myself.  This is one I definitely use myself).

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Review: Acer All-In-One AZ3731-UR21P Touch Screen Computer




I’ve recently downgraded this system from 4 stars down to 2 stars.  Check back soon for WHY.

The most prominent feature of this PC is that it has a Multi-Touch monitor!  Yes!  You can control the PC by touching the screen!  The next most prominent feature is how inexpensive this was.  The ENTIRE set up was cheaper than most touch screen monitors.  I mean, the whole PC, monitor, keyboard, mouse, software, EVERYTHING was cheaper than a single touch screen with no PC or anything else.  This PC retails for $649 at the time of this writing.

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I bought this for my daughter for Christmas 2011.  She was at the house when UPS dropped it off, so it was no longer a surprise, so we went ahead and opened it and gave it to her (no sense in wasting 30 days of a 90 day return warranty!)

Note, the actual warranty is a 1 year, limited warranty.

Note that we’ve had about a month and a half experience with this at the time of this writing.  So, let’s get started:


It came in one box about 4 feet wide, 2 feet tall, and 8 inches thick.  There was a box with the mouse and keyboard in it and there was the computer between two large Styrofoam protectors and wrapped in a cushy bag.  The keyboard and mouse are wireless and came with a tiny USB receiver.

Note that this is an all-in-one PC.  That means the monitor and the PC are one piece of hardware.  Just as the picture indicates, you’ll have 3 items on your desk.  The PC, keyboard, and mouse.  That’s it, which was nice not having tons of cables and junk to mess with.

Hooking it up

This was, by FAR, the easiest set up of a desktop PC I’ve ever had!  There’s only ONE cable!  ONE!  And that’s the power cable.  I plugged in the wireless receiver to a USB port on the right side of the monitor.  I pulled the tab from the battery compartment on the mouse and turned on the mouse.  I added the provided batteries to they keyboard (2 AAA) and I plugged in the power cable.

When I turned it on, it recognized the wireless keyboard and mouse and booted into the Windows 7 Home Premium desktop.  I created my admin account and my daughter’s user account.  It found my wireless network and I entered the credentials and was online in seconds.

That’s it!  DONE!  And it’s nice having only ONE cable!  I can’t express now nice that is!  Really!  Look at MY cable set up on my own PC (Note:  This is NOT the cables of the Acer PC in this review… This is to show how bad things can be without the Acer PC in this review!!!)


And this is AFTER a MAJOR clean up!  This is as good as it gets with my PC!


“ShovelWare” or “CrapWare” is crap software that computer makers like to load up your new PC with.  Most of it is usually trial software for anti-virus software, games, and utilities.  Most of it is usually CRAP!  Many times it slows down the booting of your PC and interferes with the performance while using it.

PC Magazine defines it as:

“Refers to the many “extra” programs pre-installed on some PCs that offer little value (they are “shoveled” in without regard to quality). Also called “crapware,” shovelware is geared to first-time buyers, who think they are getting more for their money. The term first appeared in the mid-1990s when tons of shareware programs were copied onto CD-ROMs and advertised in magazines or sold at computer flea markets.

UrbanDictionary.com defines it as:

“an array of haphazard software emphasizing quantity rather than quality

This shit is totally half-assed. Who assembled this shovelware?

This computer is no exception.  I won’t list the junk that’s on there, but there’s plenty of it.  I uninstalled all that had no redeeming value.

What’s Unique, Software-wise?

It is nicely configured for touch capability with oversized title bars and buttons on the title bars of all windows (easily user configurable since the early 1990’s, BTW).  It has an icon in the upper-right on the desktop.  When you touch it, it slides out a touch interface for several touch programs and settings.  It’s pretty nice.  BTW, if you haven’t tried Google Earth with a multi-touch monitor, you’re missing out on life!

There’s a touch, video keyboard to and you can even use it to log into Windows.  It works well.

Windows Paint, which is not an awesome paint program by any measure, works very well with touch, and even with multi-touch.  Let’s go ahead and define multi-touch.  That’s the type of touch interface that can respond to multiple touches at the same time, as opposed to touch screens, like the older Windows Mobile phones (and most others in the pre iPhone era) that could only recognize ONE touch point on the screen at a time.


I won’t repeat all the specs here.  If you want a full spec sheet, click here for it on Acer’s web site.

In short, it has:

  • 64bit Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Intel Pentium E6700 Dual-core 64bit 3.2Ghz processor.
  • 4GB RAM (you can max it to 8GB)
  • 1TB Hard Drive, 5400RPM
  • DVD-RAM/+-R/+-RW optical drive.
  • Full HD monitor (1920×1080)
  • Full Multi-Touch capability on that monitor.
  • Gigabit Wired Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n wireless.
  • WebCam built into top of monitor, like a notebook, with mic.
  • 6 USB 2.0 ports.



I didn’t run any benchmark tests on it, but it is plenty fast from my own, personal testing and I’m an overclocking geek with a QuadCore CPU on my own desktop (NOT THIS COMPUTER that I’m reviewing!)  Games and graphics software and the whole user experience is very zippy.  I noticed no lags on anything important.


  • Sliding your finger across the screen to say, drag a window is kind of difficult at times as your finger tends to be kind of sticky on a slick surface and bounces, losing contact.
  • There appears to be a membrane in front of the monitor made of a thin, flexible plastic and it seems to NOT be attached and almost wrinkles while sliding your finger across the screen.


My daughter is highly pleased with it and spends an awful lot of time on it both browsing the web and using the paint software.  I also installed several other graphics programs for her as she is a bit of an artist.  I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of set up and the fact that there’s only ONE cable!  That just astonishes me!  The performance is great.  The multi-touch screen is awesome.  It comes with plenty of RAM and hard drive space, and the low price is fairly shocking considering what all you get.  I’ve always been pleased with Acer hardware.  They tend to have the best bang for the buck and they didn’t disappoint with this computer.

My daughter, who uses it much more than me says she’s “really likes it” and the only problem is the touch on smaller items is difficult to touch the right thing.

I’m giving it 4 out of 5 stars.


The only thing holding it back is the shovelware and the wrinkly film on the touch screen.

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