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Six Month Review: BTS Giveaway Package

Last August, I participated in the Back To School: Better Together computer promotion sponsored by HP, Microsoft, Timbuk2, and Syncables which include two reviews and giveaway of four products: the HP Pavilion Dv6 with Windows Vista, the HP Mini 110 with Windows XP, a Timbuk2 computer bag, and Syncables computer synchronizing software. Today’s post is a six month review of all these products.

When I wrote my first reviews last August, I said that I planned to write a series of three more reviews.  Unfortunately, due to unexpected busyness and major upcoming changes, I will not be able to write as many reviews as I originally planned.  Instead, this six month review will be my only long-term review.

This review post is divided into four sections: one for each part of the Back To School giveaway package.

HP Pavilion Dv6

As I said in my first review of this computer, I am continually amazed by this powerful computer.  I have used it as my primary computer during the last six months, and I estimate that I have spent more than 400 hours operating the Dv6.

Pros

I have truly enjoyed using this computer.  Some of my favorite features are:

  • Fast Speed – It nearly always operates very quickly. (Although, ironically, it just froze as I was typing this.)
  • High-Quality Audio – I use the speakers frequently to play the Bible on CD as I go to sleep at night.  The built-in speakers on this computer are so good that I do not remember never needing external speakers!
  • Turn-Off Light – I have continued to enjoy the light that tells me when the computer is turned off.
  • Normal Number Pad – This computer comes with a normal sized number pad that has been very handy for entering book ISBN numbers into my reading software.

Cons

  • Fingerprint Reader – Although the fingerprint reader on this computer works well, I have not found much of a need for it.
  • Getting Slower – I have had a few problems with my computer getting slower over time.  However, after I defragmented and cleaned, it seems to be back to normal.
  • Hard To Open – I have been somewhat frustrated by the difficulty of opening this computer.  Because it is so light, you have to use both hands to open it.

Other Thoughts

  • Fan Noise – In my original review, I mentioned a loud fan noise.  I do not notice that problem any more, so it may have been related to the heat wave, or I may simply be used to it.
  • Volume Clicking – I originally had a problem with a clicking noise when I adjusted the volume.  One of the commentors has sense shown how to fix it.

Overall

I am very pleased with this computer, and I strongly recommend it.

HP Mini 110

Although I have not used the HP Mini nearly as much as the Dv6, I have been very impressed by the power contained in this little, ultra-portable netbook.

Pros

  • Battery Life – This computer has superb battery life which makes it perfect for a college student who needs a battery to last all day.
  • Non-reflective Screen – The screen on this netbook does not reflect, so you can use it even on a sunny day.
  • Ultra-portable – Because of its small size (10 in. by 7 in.), you can carry it virtually anywhere.

Cons

  • Operating System – Because this computer runs Windows XP, it is starting to be very outdated.  So far, however, I have not run into any compatibility problems.
  • No Built-In CD Drive – This can make it difficult to install new programs or download new information unless you get an external drive.

Other Thoughts

  • Different Keyboard – Although I originally had some frustrations with the slightly different keyboard, I have since become accustomed to it.  It just takes a little time.

Overall

This computer has worked perfectly for all my word processing needs.  Although I have never used any other netbooks, I think this computer must be one of the best netbooks available.

Timbuk 2 Hemlock BagTimbuk2 Hemlock Backpack

Although I have not used this bag much, it has performed quite admirably.

Pros

  • Perfect Size For Laptop- The HP Pavilion Dv6 barely fits in the laptop compartment.
  • Plenty of Extra Space – In addition to the laptop compartment, this bag contains a large section for textbooks and other things.
  • Key Storage – This backpack even contains a hidden pocket for key storage!
  • Perfect for Bicycling – If you do much biking, you know the frustration of storing a heavy, clumsy U-lock.  This backpack has a pocket specifically designed to hold it.

Cons

  • Frustrating Top – The main compartment is accessed by unrolling a long piece of extra fabric.  I am sure this has some use, but I have not yet found it.
  • No Chest Strap – This backpack does not have a chest strap which can make it more uncomfortable to wear.

Overall

I have not used this enough to give a strong recommendation, but I am pleased with its performance so far.

Syncables Software

The last part of this package was file transfer software.  Although this could potentially be useful, I found it more frustrating than helpful.

Pros

  • Transfers Files – It does move your files from one computer to another.

Cons

  • Requires Registration – To use this software, you have to register an account and sign in every time you transfer.
  • Too Big For The Netbook – This program is too big for the netbook’s screen unless you minimize the task bar.
  • Requires Internet Access – Before you can transfer, both computers must have internet access.  For me, that means using unsecured Wi-Fi.

Overall

I have not been happy with this product, and I would recommend simply using a USB drive to transfer files.

Wanted: Your Feedback

If you have used any of these products, I would love to hear what you think about them!

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