Before You Buy 174 (Transcript)

Father Robert Ballecer, SJ:  Today on Before you Buy, the best / worst monitor ever, power your iPhone forever, listen to your music forever and store your stuff forever.  You’re going to watch Before You Buy, forever.

Narrator: Net casts you love from people you trust. This is Twit! Bandwidth for Before You Buy is brought to you by Cachefly at

Fr. Robert:  Before You Buy is brought to you by Harry’s, for guys who want a great shave experience for a fraction of what you’re paying now, go to  Get $5 off your first purchase by entering the code BEFOREYOUBUY when you check out.  And by Prosper.  Prosper is a peer to peer market lending place that connects people who are looking to borrow money with those who have money to lend.  Visit and receive a $50 VISA gift card when you get the loan. 

Fr. Robert:  Hello, and welcome to Before You Buy, its TWIT’s product review show, where we take the gadgets and the gizmos that we get here at TWIT brick house in Petaluma, and we give it to members of the TWIT staff.  That’s right, all of the engineers, the hosts, the people who know best how to give you an honest review.  I’m Fr. Robert Ballecer, the digital Jesuit, and joining me is Mr. Mike Elgan, our news director.  Now Mike, you’ve had this for a good month.  This is not an off the cuff review.  This is something that you’ve been using on a day in day out basis.

Mike Elgan:  And I’ve been avoiding this review for a month.  That’s why I’ve been using it.

Fr. Robert:  Ok, well, you’re jumping ahead of the review here.  This of course is a Samsung, but it’s a special Samsung.

Mike:  That’s right.

Fr. Robert:  Because it’s got a curved screen.

Mike:  That’s right, it’s got the coveted curve, and best of all, the best thing about this curved display is that it’s cheaper than your average curved display.  When you see a curved display, you start thinking dollar signs.

Fr. Robert:  I’m thinking like that ten thousand dollar one that Leo bought.  Which is nice.

Mike:  I hope so, right, at those prices.  But this one is only $399.  $399 for a curved display, and it’s a 27” display. That is an amazing price.  It’s more expensive than a flat display that you can get of the szme size, but it’s cheaper than any other display that’s curved at this size.

Fr. Robert:  Now, I don’t get it.  What’s the big draw to curve?  Is it actually better, or is it just because it’s curved, it’s different from anything else.

Mike:  In my opinion, it’s not that much better for ordinary use.  However, there is a use that you can conceive of that makes the curve super awesome.  And that is you buy three of them.  And you put them side by side.  And that curve becomes really, really sweet.  Also, if you know you’re going to be gaming at just the right distance, in just the right environment, it can be fine for gaming.  That curve actually has a minor benefit.  But if you step back a foot, or move in a different way, the curve actually becomes a detriment.

Fr. Robert:  Right, and this is just basic psychics.  This is a parabola.  And so there’s a focal point.  There’s a point, on this it’s going to be actually quite far out, maybe about here, at which every pixel on the screen is equidistant to your eye. 

Mike:  And you have to keep in mind, if you’re going to do gaming with more than one person, this becomes a problem.  If you’re going to be gaming by yourself, you know exactly what you’re going to be doing, in other words, if you’re already doing this, and wanted to swap in this monitor for the one that you’re using, that curve is great.  It’s actually kind of nice.

Fr. Robert:  Well, the other question I had about this is, I have a 50” 4K screen that I use as a computer monitor.  And what I noticed is that it is so big, and I’m at a distance where the colors actually shift towards the edge of the screen because I’m getting it at a much different angle.  That’s what curve is supposed to solve for, yes?

Mike:  Yes, and this has a vertical alignment technology which is similar to IPS, and it gives you 178 degrees before the colors start to whack out.

Fr. Robert:  Shift on you.

Mike:  And, that’s not bad.  It’s better than I would have expected.

Fr. Robert:  Bryan, go to the forward facing camera, the wide shot.  Let’s see.  So, you start to see color shift right about there.  That’s not bad.

Mike:  Yea, and in actual use, it’s not an issue, it’s not a problem.  Yea.

Fr. Robert:  Especially at this size.  I mean, you’re not dealing with a 50” screen, this is, this is what?  This is a 27”?

Mike:  27” screen, yea, yea.  And it’s got a 1920 x 1080 resolution, which is lower than you might think.

Fr. Robert:   I would expect 4K, for a modern 27” monitor.

Mike:  Yes.  And so, but again, this is the budget, this is the bottom of the line in terms of price for a curved display.  So that’s, you can’t expect, in fact, generally speaking, it’s a no frills monitor.

Fr. Robert:  Well, it’s strange to combine no frills with a curved monitor.  You’d think you’d want all the frills before you add in the curve.  Like for example, the inputs look a little scarce here in the back.  There’s not a whole lot.

Mike:  Yea, exactly, it’s got a HDMI display port and a VGA, that’s it.  No USB, and it’s got audio ports of course, 3.5mm audio ports, so you’re going to want, and by the way, I don’t know if this is getting a little bit into the evaluative part, but you’re going to want to use headphones because it’s got 5 watt speakers in this thing, which don’t sound good.  In fact, you were doing your previous show and I accidentally blasted it.  You probably could tell from across the room that it didn’t sound very good.

Fr. Robert:  I didn’t pick it up.

Mike:  Ok, good.

Fr. Robert:  Now, I did notice that it does have a VESA mount, but the VESA on here looks a little chincy.  It’s basically just four holes in the back of the plastic. 

Mike:  That’s right.

Fr. Robert:  Which is good because I’m noticing something here.

Mike:  Yea, and that’s a big, big problem with this display.  It’s got a flimsy stand.  It’s plasticy, and it’s really like, we can really get this thing going, and, you know, it’s a problem if you’re going to be moving the desk at all, it sort of, you lose confidence in it because it is not really solid.  So that is a problem with this, in fact, everybody that I’ve seen talking about this monitor, that’s one of the first things they say, that strikes them that the stand is really flimsy.

Fr. Robert:  Right, and I always put my monitors in a stand, because of the setup I use.  I have a multi-monitor setup.  I would suspect that if you’re going to get this because you’re using it with two or three monitors, you’d also want to have it in a stand rather than just lying in your desk.

Mike:  Exactly, exactly.  Now there’s another interesting feature about this that I think is really cool.  It has a joystick on the back to control, so it’s right here, so you reach around there and there’s a joystick.  And at first, for the first like minute or so you think, well this is a little weird.  But then you realize, this is a superior interface for controls.  If you have multiple buttons, you’re always afraid you’re going to push the wrong button, and you’re like, where am I, you’re lost in the settings and so on.  With this joystick control, once you get used to it, it’s really great for doing all the settings.  And so I really like that joystick a lot.  It’s really a great feature.

Fr. Robert:  Actually, you’re absolutely right.  Normally I’m reaching around the side of the monitor, or the bottom of the monitor, or just trying to find the buttons, and then I’m trying to figure out, ok, that’s forward and back, that’s select.  A joystick is kind of a no brainer.  You push it in, select, and you navigate.  Ok.  All right, so that’s something they did right.

Mike:  Yea.  And they did other things right as well.  The screen is actually very bright, it pumps out a lot of light, which, for some people, is very, very good.  And, again, this is optimized for gaming, and there is no ghosting at all.  You can’t make this monitor ghost.  So it’s like…

Fr. Robert:  What’s the refresh?

Mike:  60.

Fr. Robert:  Oh, it’s 60.

Mike:  And so it’s really good in that sense.  And, again, the sort of uber benefit of this is that it’s cheap.  It’s $399.  And you can probably get a better price than that as well.

Fr. Robert:  And $399 is actually good for any 27” monitor, you know, regardless of the curve.  So yea, it’s definitely in budget territory.  Give me your pros and your cons.

Mike:  Ok, well those are the pros, the joystick is awesome, it’s bright, no ghosting, and it’s cheap for a curved display.  The cons are that the image quality overall is not good, it’s, generally speaking, pretty bad.  If you’re going to use this for anything other than gaming, it’s just terrible.  If you’re just going to do e-mail or something, it’s too pixely and too bright and washed out, it just doesn’t feel good for anything other than certain types of gaming.  Again, it has a flimsy stand.  You can’t adjust this much, you’re, the degree to which this thing will adjust is almost zilch.

Fr. Robert:  When you adjust, it creaks.  I don’t know if you picked that up on the mike, but that’s not the sound I want to hear when I’m moving my expensive monitor.

Mike:  Exactly.  And that’s the sound of plastic.  And so it, again, has no DVI connection, no USB.  There’s no fine tuning for gamma, there’s no fine tuning for color temperature, so you’re pretty much stuck with the options in the menu.  You can’t really go in there and really tune it.  And the sound is terrible.  You don’t even want to use these speakers at all, for anything.  It’s just horrible.

Fr. Robert:  That’s a big list of cons.

Mike:  It’s a big list of cons.  It absolutely is.  Now the only use that I could recommend this for is gaming.  For people on a budget.  And especially if you’re going to put the three monitor, the multi-monitor configuration.  That can be really cool.  I mean that’s expensive, you’re going to start buying monitors by the gross.  You want it to be a low price.  And so you know, for $1200 you could have a really sweet setup.  If you try to do multiple curved display monitors with another brand it’s going to set you way back.

Fr. Robert:  Yea, but I mean, still, $399, it’s at that price point where just a tiny bit more, just $50, $60, gets you a really nice 27” monitor.  Maybe not with the curve, but it will have more inputs, it will look better, it will mount better, it will feel better.  I got to ask, buy, try or don’t by.

Mike:  Do not buy.  Do not buy.  And again, I totally agree with what you’re saying.  The curve isn’t worth it.  Get a better quality display that’s flat, and wait until the curved displays are better quality at this price.

Fr. Robert:  And you have it from Mike Elgan, our news director here at TWIT.  You can find him every day, every morning weekday, at 10:00 AM if you want to find out what’s going on in the tech world.

Mike:  You’re not going to find me on the weekends here.

Fr. Robert:  Not on weekends, no.  Oh well, we’re working on that.

Mike:  Not in the morning, anyway.

Fr. Robert:  And his advice is, don’t buy the Samsung, the LS27D.  He says leave the curve for your really expensive big screens.  I’m sorry to hear that.  This was the first, affordable gaming curved monitor that we’ve had in the studio, I had high hopes for it.

Mike:  So did I, and when it came out in the box, I thought, ok, this is going to be awesome.  And it wasn’t.

Fr. Robert:  There you go.  Well, I’ll have to try to get you another one, hopefully we can get you a buy for a curved gaming monitor, but we don’t have time for that, because now, we need to take a look at Interop.  That’s right, we took a chance to drop by the Synology booth at Interop, and take a look at their DS414 Slim.

Fr. Robert:  I’m Father Robert Ballecer, the digital Jesuit, here at Interop 2015 in Las Vegas for Before You Buy.  And we’ve got a first look.  I’m standing with Franklin Hua, who’s going to explain why your next NAS may be slim.  Franklin, thank you very much for talking to me.  Now, you released a product back in 2014.  It completely passed my e-mail box, I didn’t hear about it, but I love it.  Tell me about the 414Slim.

Franklin Hua:  Alright, so let’s take a look at the new DS414Slim.  So as you can see right here, the DS414Slim, it’s a four bay, 2.5” solution.  So it uses four 2.5” bays, you can use mechanicals or SSDs, you can do up to, we currently support up to two terabyte mechanicals right now in this guy, and it is a Synology NAS, it still has the great functionality of Synology DSM, retails under $400 US, but yes, it is a four bay solution.  The fan only turns on when it needs to, so if you use a pure SSD environment, it is very, very quiet.  It’s silent.

Fr. Robert:  I had been toting around two and four bay NAS-es when I really need to.  When I’m doing an offsite project.  But the idea that I can carry something in my backpack.  And yea, Synology NAS-es are already pretty light.  But something this small, this slim with that much capacity, and that much, well, redundancy.  That makes it just really, really nice.  How have these been selling?

Franklin:  These have been selling very good.  We have a lot of customers that are interested in these, and some of them are interested in like home environments, and also in business environments, even remote offices.  Sometimes you get a project site, you go to one site set it up, get your network running.  Alright, do your project.  Ok, done.  Close the site and move to the next site.  Put it back up, get everything going, close it, move on.  We have a lot of customers that do use the 414Slim for that specific application because you do pure SSDs, it’s rugged. That’s the key thing, like it’s rugged, you don’t have to worry about dropping it or shaking it like this.  This will probably damage mechanical drives from doing this.  But with SSDs, pure SSD environment, it’s, you don’t have to worry about mechanical problems.

Fr. Robert:  We are definitely going to want to get a 414Slim on Before You Buy, but here’s the funny part.  That’s not even my favorite bit about this first look.  Because inside of every Synology NAS is an operating system that is feature packed.  And I want to talk about one of those features, and that’s the surveillance station.  It’s with every single Synology NAS that you ship today, what does it do?

Franklin:  So, Synology’s Surveillance Station, it basically turns your Synology NAS into a network video recorder.  And I’m going to take a little demonstration right here.  So this is what you normally see with Synology DMS, but I’ve already installed the Synology Surveillance Station app, so I’m going to click, tap right here, and I’m going to load Surveillance Station, and it’s already loaded right here.  So I’m going to jump into Surveillance Station, and then I’m going to turn on my live view.  I’ve got this nice, I’ve got a camera right here, and this is the live view from that camera, let me just get it loaded.  And I can do tap around.  So basically, with Synology Surveillance Station, it turns everything, it turns this into a network video recorder, put this on your network, you have a network video recorder.  So you can record, we are compatible with over 3,000 different IP camera’s from over 80 different brands.  We have PTZ support.  We have it where you can, where you can record high definition cameras, standard def, up to 30 frames per second.  We’ve got it all.  And also we’ve got notifications built in.  So if you turn it on, say, motion recording, you can get an alert that someone has tripped a certain area of your perimeter, and you can get the alert on your phone.  We also have time view manager, what is it, time line manager?  So you can do multiple streams concurrently, you can track what has happened.  How about, we also have it where, if I’m wearing a hat, and I’m walking around in the frame wearing a hat, you can setup Surveillance Station where start searching all the video indexes of oh, where is this guy with this hat?  And you can figure out how many times they’ve been in your building.  So it’s great for the home, great for businesses, if you want network video recording, we got it.

Fr. Robert:  Ok, I was wrong.   This is not just for Before You Buy.  We’re also going to have to show this on Know How, because I know there’s been a lot of people asking about DVRs, and this kind of capability.  Well, maybe, you could just get it when you get your next NAS.  Franklin, thank you so very much for talking to us.  Now, if they want to find out more about Synology, where do they go?

Franklin:  So, for any of our customers who want to learn more about Synology products, please check out the website,, that’s  You can click on Surveillance Station or the Surveillance Station Solution on top of the menu, you’ll see everything I talked about right here.  If you’re interested in the DS414Slim we got, just click on the product link, click on the DS414Slim.

Fr. Robert:  That’s Synology DS414Slim and Surveillance Station and this has been, your first look.

Fr. Robert:  You know, the funny thing is, Bryan, is, it reminded me of two things.  One, I always have to tell the people I interview to slow down.  Because they get very excited and they speed up.  The second thing is, I always forget to tell them that, I’m going to take this mike, and I’m going to shove it straight into your face, and if you keep backing up, I’m going to keep pushing it forward.

Bryan Burnett:  You’ll just keep following them across the floor.  Wasn’t that like the first thing you did that day or something, so the guy was like really energetic about it?

Fr. Robert:  Yea, and afterwards he told me like, I had had six cups of coffee and two Jolt Colas and a Red Bull.  Yea, ok, well, just relax.

Bryan:  The experiment I would like to see, is you do that same interview at the end of the conference and see how he, if his energy level is still there.

Fr. Robert:  (laughing) it would have been a forty minute interview, it would be, yea, this is it,  Oh, but seriously, I am a fan of Synology.  And that 414Slim really has me thinking.  I want to fill it with SSDs.  I want to see how fast it can be.  Because, you have to remember with Synology, you’re not just buying a NAS.  And if you have SSDs, that’s going to be a near silent NAS that’s nearly resistant to all damage.  And it’s also a portable data center.  Because you can run Docker on Synology’s OS.  It will be an interesting experiment when it finally gets into the brick house to take a look.  Now Bryan, when we come back, I want to take a look at a way to power your device forever.  And some headphones that you might want to be wearing for your next big review.  But before that, let’s talk about something that is near and dear to your heart.  Bryan, I see you’re a little scruffy there.

Bryan:  Yea, I’ve been holding out for a little while.  It’s almost about time to shave again.

Fr. Robert:  Yea, yea, you know, I’ve don’t that too.  I don’t grow out my facial hair nearly as good as you.

Bryan:  You can grow facial hair?

Fr. Robert:  Like, this is like a week.

Bryan: (laughing) yea, I see, the neck beard.

Fr. Robert:  No, but I remember when I first started shaving, it was just something that I had to do, because I looked, I don’t look good with any facial hair.  It’s just not, it’s not a me look.  I can’t pull it off.  But it’s a chore.  And it’s a chore because I didn’t have the right tools.  Now, we’ve got here, on this show, Harry’s.  Now Harry’s is a way to get a great shave with some great tools and some great resources at a fraction of the cost.  Now, Bryan, you’ve had the experience of having to go into a supermarket, and ask someone to “Please unlock the vault, sir, so I can get my blades out of Fort Knox.”

Bryan:  Yes, I have.  I already don’t want to have to go into the superstore, and like a place to get blades, and that just makes it worse, yea.

Fr. Robert:  Absolutely.  Well, you don’t have to do that with Harry’s because they’re going to deliver it to your home.  What you get is this beautiful kit.  A beautiful handle.  You get a great shave, because they make their own blades in their own factory.  They get to cut it to their specification, which means you can take care of your personal grooming the way that it needs to be taken care of.  Now, they’re engineered for sharpness, they’re shipped for free, and because they make their own stuff, they get to control the quality that you receive.  Bryan, I’m telling you, this is the way to shave.  Because it’s no longer a chore, it’s an experience.  I’ve been using Harry’s for almost a year now, actually, I think since they first came on the network.  It gives me a clean, close, comfortable shave.  It makes me want to shave.  It makes it feel good because, now I do things like, I use the proper cream, I use aftershave and I actually smell good, which, you know, is kind of new for me.

Bryan:  That’s a plus.

Fr. Robert:  Well, folks, if you want a clean, close shave, an experience of shaving, go to and get five dollars off your first purchase with the code BEFOREYOUBUY.  That’s Harry’s, and enter they code BEFOREYOUBUY at checkout.  And we thank Harry’s for their support of Before You Buy.  Now let’s go ahead and jump straight back into the reviews.  This time we gave Megan Morrone the EnerPlex Surfr, I already like the name, Solar Case.  And we asked her to make her devices go.

Megan Morrone:  Hi, I’, Megan Morrone Morrone from iFive for the iPhone, and iOS Today, and Tech News Tonight, and I am going to review the EnerPlex Surfr.  I got inspired this week by Elan Musk’s announcement of the battery that can charge your house, connect your solar panels, I thought it was awesome.  And the EnerPlex Surfr does that for your phone.  Sort of.  So this is the case, here’s the solar panel, and it’s, unless you spend all your time outside, you’re going to have to sort of think about the solar panel part of this being an emergency power.  What we really need to do is connect to the micro USB here with the micro USB cable that comes with it.  And mostly you can just charge that if you want to keep this on your phone and then keep it charged for the day.  And once it’s fully charged, then it will give you 2,700 milliamps of power which is sort of doubling the power.  But that’s not through the solar panel, that’s through the grid, the micro USB.  So here’s how it pops in and out of the case.  It’s pretty easy.  That top slips off and then connects here.  It leaves rooms for your speakers which is great.  It doesn’t leave room for your headphone jack, which is unfortunate.  And you just turn it on and off.  The red light means it’s charging.  It can charge by the sun and also a really bright light.  There it turns on, and these blue lights show how much it charges.  So, it’s $99, which isn’t outlandish, but it’s not cheap, either.  The pros are that you get to be a little bit off the grid and use the sun as your power.  It’s pretty.  It takes most impacts, not all impacts, but you know, and for a charging case it’s not that heavy and it’s not that thick.  The cons are that the headphone, your headphone jack doesn’t go all the way in there, you need, I guess, an adapter for that.  Another con is that it is a little bit thicker than you might want your iPhone to be, maybe a little bit heavier.  It’s a little bit difficult to get to your volume buttons, it’s not as easy as some cases that I’ve used.  And the, it’s $99, which you might not want to spend.  Other than that, I really like it.  I’ve been using it for a few weeks, and it works for me and makes me feel good about myself and my care for the environment.  And that is it.  I am Megan Marrone, thank you.

Fr. Robert:  There we have it for the EnerPlex Surfr Solar Case.  Megan Marrone gives it a Buy.  That actually might be an interesting product to take out this summer if you’re going to be going out into the great outdoors.  I won’t be doing that, I’ll be staying inside, so I probably don’t need it, but if you want protection and power, you may want to check it out.  Of course, you can find Megan Marrone every weekday at 4:00 for Tech News Tonight, in fact she’ll be right after this program, right after Before You Buy.  As well as for iOS Today and iFive for the iPhone, make sure to find her here, on the TWIT TV Network.  Now we decided we wanted to have a truly refined experience of listening to music, so we gave our very own OMG Chad a set of the Marshall Major II Headphones, and this is what he thought.

Chad Johnson:  Hello, my name is Chad Johnson, I’m with TWIT and Before You Buy, and today I am reviewing the Marshall Major II Headphones, the second in the line of Major Headphones.  These are on the ear headphones, so the cups will not go all the way around your ear, they’ll rest on top of them, which gives you a little bit of sound isolation when listening to music.  The construction is, we have some leather on the top and the bottom here, some leather here on the cups, and then plastic on the outside of the cups.  The cord has a microphone and a remote for your computer.  There’s a coiled bit, which is very stretchy so you can have a kind of a long cable if you need to stretch it out, or a short one by default.  And there is a 3.5mm jack on the end which has the extra pins for the microphone.  Inside these headphones there are some custom drivers made by Marshall, and it’s a little bit bass-y, some very punchy bass, and good mid-tones and some good high tones as well.  So this is, these headphones are perfect for something like rock, but they might not have enough bass, enough punch for something like R & B.  They come in three different colors, and this is the black color.  They also come in white and also in brown.  Now when I put these headphones on, they are a little bit tight.  After kind of an extended period of listening to them my ears did feel a little bit like they were getting squished.  But they are actually a lot better than the previous Major Headphones from what I’ve read in reviews.  Another nice thing about this cable at the bottom is you can switch either from left or right, depending on where you plug it in on the bottom of the cup.  These headphones will also fold up, just like this.  Now they do not come with a carrying case, or any sort of case at all, even though they do have a price tag of around a hundred dollars.  Let me get to the pros and cons of the Major IIs.  On the pros, I liked that I could do either a left or right on the audio jack on the cup.  I really liked the coiled cable and the phone mic and remote.  On the cons, they were a little bit tight on my head, and also, the cheap plastic make these feel a tiny bit on the cheap side.  The cost is MSRP of $119, but you can find them in a lot of places for around $100.  So buy, try, don’t buy for the Marshall Major IIs, I’m going to give these a try.  Definitely go in, listen to them, see if the bass is right for you, see if the size of the cups and the tension on your head is right.  Other than that, there wasn’t a whole lot of cons and I’d recommend them, but I want you to go try them to make sure that they fit you perfectly.  My name is Chad Johnson, I’m with TWIT and Before You Buy, thanks so much for watching.  Bye!

Fr. Robert:  It’s a buy for the Marshall II Major Headphones, thanks to OMG Chad.  Now you can find Chad on the interwebs.  Find him at, and  He’s brought his show on the road.  Please, if you like his content and you like what he does, go and support him.  Now, we will be moving on to a parting shot.  Actually this is going to be more of a parting first look shot.  But before we do that, I want to thank the 2nd sponsor of this episode of Before You Buy.  Hey, Bryan, let me ask you something.  Have you ever had to borrow money?

Bryan:  I have, for buying my first car.

Fr. Robert:  How’d you do that, Bryan?

Bryan:  I went to a bank, and fortunately my dad was there with me, and it took all day, and I was able to buy my first car after that, but it was a pretty big ordeal.

Fr. Robert:  Yea, I don’t really like doing that.  You know, some of the things that just struck me when I had to do a loan, now I was running my own business.  At one point, we had plenty of contracts, but we kind of needed a bridge loan to fulfill the contract to get paid, and then everything would be good.  But I remember trying to explain to someone who I thought really didn’t care about all the numbers that I was giving him, and I was like, wait a minute, there’s got to be a better way to do this.  Bryan, have you ever borrowed from family?  Because that’s fun.

Bryan:  I have, I haven’t enjoyed it at all, yea.

Fr. Robert:  Well, let’s face it.  There’s just not a lot of really good ways to borrow money these days.  Yes, you can borrow from friends, you can borrow from family, you can go to the bank and deal with that rigmarole, but no, that’s not how I’m going to do it.  The way I’m going to do it is the way that we’ve developed into.  Crowd sourced lending.  And that’s Prosper.  Now, what is Prosper?  It’s a brand new way to borrow up to $35,000 in as few as five days.  Now, that’s just because it allows you to pay off high rate credit cards, fix up your house, maybe even put you in business that you’re going to want to take a look at them, but it’s more than that.  It’s more than just about getting money, it’s how you get it.  Because Prosper puts people that have money to lend in touch with people who need that money.  Prosper’s Online Marketplace connects those people so that they can invest in you.  Or maybe you can invest in somebody else.  Don’t rack up more debt on your credit card, pay them off with Prosper.  Do that project in the home that you’ve always wanted to do.  Maybe put yourself into that business so that you could work for yourself, that lifelong dream.  To check your low rate instantly without effecting your good credit, go to  That’s  Now and for a limited time, Prosper is offering TWIT viewers a $50 VISA gift card with your low interest loan.  You can get up to $35,000 in your account in as few as five days and a $50 VISA gift card.  Go to  That’s for this special offer just for our viewers.  And we thank Prosper for their support of Before You Buy.  Now is the time where I get to look at some, some gadgets that maybe don’t need their own full review, or maybe we just want to take a first look at them to see if they’re worth reviewing here on the show.  In a few weeks, I’m going to be taking a trip.  It’s not vacation, I’m actually going to be working, but I’m going to be driving across the United States, and then I have to go, I have to go, I’m being forced to go to Hawaii to do a wedding.  I know, it’s the, you know, I’m in the mine, I’m a worker there.  But, I needed power.  And so I called up some of my friends, the people that I met over at CES at Ventev, and I asked them, what do you have that I can take with me, on the road, that you think will actually last through my travels, that will power my devices, that you think will make a believer out of me.  And they sent this.  Bryan, go ahead and go to the overhead.  This is a nice assortment of what they suggested for my travels.  Now we’re starting with, of course, the basic wall plug.  This is the Ventev Wallport Q1200.  Now this is 2.1 amps of output, it’s got a no-tangle cable, which is one of the things that I really liked for Ventev.  You could buy one of those cheap cables, or maybe get those micro USB cables that you find a dollar a dozen.  They’re ok, but you never know exactly how safe they are, you never know how much power they push through.  In fact, have you ever started charging your device on a new charger, and you realize it charges so much slower.  It’s probably not the charger, it’s probably a really cheap cable.  And Ventev makes sure that you get these no-tangles.  Now there’s also this, the Ventev Dashboard Q1200.  This is for my drive.  This again will output 5, 9 or 12 volts, up to 2.1 amps, which means I’m going to be able to charge my phone, my tablet, all my USB devices.  But then, the real big part of this, is both of these devices will charge these.  These are, let me see if I can get them, these are power banks.  This is the power cell 3015.  It’s sort of a standard battery.  It’s got one charge, one port for charging it, it’s got one port for taking power out.  I can get up to 1.5 amps of output, so it’s good for phones, not great for tablets.  It’s about 3000 milliamp hours.  But the big one, this is the one that I’m going to be holding with me, this is the Ventev PowerCell 6000+.  This is a battery and a wall charger.  So you don’t have to carry an extra device, you can just carry this one little device.  It’s 6000 milliamp hours, one port will deliver one amp of USB power, the other 2.1 amps of USB power.  Now, what I like about this is I’m going to be able to take this on the road, and I told them, look, I’m going to torture them.  I’m going to use this like I would any other gear.  I’m going to throw it in my bag, it’s going to get scuffed up with all my other gear, it’s going to make it across the Pacific Ocean, I’m probably going to lose some of this before I finish the review, but I want to see how it actually survives summer travel.  Now the wall part, this thing, sells for about $33 - $34, the little car charger goes for about $27, the PowerCell 3015 goes for about $35, and the wall charger, the 6000 milliamp hour battery goes for about $67.  So it’s comparable in price to other products that you’re going to find, I do want to see, though, if it’s going to survive my first look.  Well, folks, that’s it, I’m sorry, that’s all the time we have for this episode of Before You Buy.  I want to thank all the reviewers, especially to Mike Elgan who came in studio to give us that nice look at the Samsung curved monitor, to Megan Marrone who took a look at a solar power pack for iPhones, and of course to OMG Chad for giving us a look at some Marshall Headphones.  Don’t forget that you can find all of our episodes at TWIT.TV/BYB.  That’s right, if you go there, you can find all of our back episodes and you’ll also find a way to subscribe to our shows.  If you want it automatically in your device of choice, your laptop, your desktop, your Mac, your Windows box, your Android, your iOS device, we give you easy links so that you can subscribe.  Also don’t forget that we do this show live every Friday at normally about 2:00 PM Pacific Time, we normally don’t make that, but we’re going to try to, we’re going to try to get closer and closer to that.  And as long as you’re watching us live at, why not jump into our chatroom at  I want to thank everyone that makes this show possible, to Carson my super producer, to Lisa and to Leo for letting us do it, and of course my TV Bryan.  Bryan, can you please tell the folks where they can find you on the TWIT TV Network?

Bryan:  Well, we do on Thursdays, me and you do Know How, we have a lot of fun with that.  And MakerFaire is this weekend, so we’re going to get some segments with that, right, for Know How?

Fr. Robert:  I can’t tell you that.

Bryan:  That’s secret?  That’s super-secret?

Fr. Robert:  That’s secret sauce.

Bryan:  And you can also find me tomorrow, actually it’s going to be the new Screen Savers, episode 3, so you’re going to be on that too, right?

Fr. Robert:  Yea, I should probably tell people that.  Tomorrow at 3:00 PM Pacific Time, I will be the third guest for the new Screen Savers.  And I can’t possibly see us talking about quad copters at this point, no.

Bryan:  No, that doesn’t really come up that often.

Fr. Robert:  No, I’m not a big fan of quad copters, so.  Until next time, I’m Father Robert Ballecer and remember, you’ve got to watch Before You Buy!

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