Monday, October 23, 2017

Tech Review: Rexing V1P

Due to driving an hour to get to work, an hour to get home, and drive between buildings at work, I supposed it best to get a dash cam. Not to mention getting rear-ended on my way in to work not more than a few months ago. So after browsing around, I settled on the Rexing V1P for the low price and additional rear camera. I got the camera itself without doing real in-depth research, a fatal flaw of mine to jump on a reasonable price and good ratings. So here's my review after a week of owning one.

The first thing to note is that you need loop recording enabled because after an email from Rexing, you can only have a 4GB single file, which is roughly 40 minutes. No major drawback there, and having the separate 10 minute files is easier to find events. If you let it hit the 4GB file, it tells you the SD card is full and stops recording. I was also advised to avoid a SanDisk Ultra SD card, after I bought one with it because Amazon recommended it. So far, I haven't had any real problems with it, but I figured I would mention it. They recommend some Lexar SD card.

So the part I think is most important, is installation. I've now installed one in a 2010 Toyota Prius and a 2016 Toyota Rav4. Installation itself is super easy, I just did the normal charger as apposed to a hardwire because I'm still a little nervous about what the actual impact would be as far as the fuses itself and I already hard to replace a fuse for a plug and USB adapter. Now the installation was very easy, but of course it depends on your car. With both cars, I was able to pull paneling away and pop the gasket out of the runs to get the wires behind everything, including behind the airbag. I was worried if I put it in front of the airbag, it could cause a problem. To drop the power to a plug, I dropped it behind the glove box where there's already an exposed hole. To get the rear camera wire from door to door required getting a rigid wire and some tape.

To attach the front camera, rather than stick it on the windshield and worry about the 3M pad getting wrecked by the sun and heat in Georgia or needing to replace it if the windshield needs to be replaced, I bought the suction cup mount. All seemed well, but there was one final problem. My windshield has a low angle and I'm over 6ft tall. The screen has a low angle viewing and I can only seem to manage a high angle.

Despite the random problems I've run into, I've been very happy with the camera. Now I'll tack on some video for the front and rear with an example of why I need a dash cam. I pulled some clips from the front and rear for both the daytime and night/early morning.

So as a final rating for the dash cam... I would say it's great for the price with a simple install.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tech Review: Denon AVR-S530BT

So, recently in the process of moving stuff from an entertainment center into one built into the backside of a closet, the failing sound system that was previously being used failed completely. It was just turning itself off at random, but now it just says "Overload" and turns off. So began the quest to find a cheap replacement that would require as little effort as possible. And that meant me not having to run new speakers or mount anything again or make cable ends.

So the first step of the quest took me to Amazon, where I was spectacularly disappointed by the prices and offerings. I have a limited budget with plenty of unexpected costs and just spent around $100 punching a hole in the wall for the start of this project already. So I decided to go on to Google and Best Buy came up as the top result. Personally, I have been avoiding Best Buy because the majority of the store just seems like a bad joke to me. My in-laws have had their crews install systems for them to be given an unmanageable mess.

You see, I have very simple standards. Get from A to B in as few steps as possible. I don't want to turn on the TV, then a system, then the sound, then select the input. I use HDMI control so that I turn on a device, it turns on the TV, the TV then routes the sound via S/PDIF optical and I didn't have to do much of anything. Now I digress back to the quest.

Upon looking at Best Buy, they had a Denon AVR-S530BT for like $250 with the right inputs and outputs I needed to do as little work as possible. The price and the effort plus a rating above 4 stars was an instant sold! By now you should realize, I didn't read up on any of the features or specs. You see, as long as the sound isn't too much treble or bass when I get it adjusted, I'm fine. Seriously, people that just crank up the bass as high as it goes to "show off" their sound system piss me off. You need to balance the bass and treble.

So fast forward to the system being home and installed. First thing to get out of the way, the auto setup is a piece of trash. It did not work. At all. That being said, the sound system works and it sounds just fine. So, let's fast forward to the features found on it.

First thing I noticed was that it was connected with an HDMI cable as well. Could it be? Could I finally have gotten a sound system that turns itself on and off with the TV and use the TV remote for volume control? In the settings I found HDMI Control, turned it on and we were in business. So the TV turns it on, off, and adjusts the volume.

The next thing to notice was the bluetooth options. That means I can play music from a phone without turning on the TV. That's okay and all, but the more interesting part was that it has a bluetooth remote control. That makes it even more worth it since my phone is generally within arms-reach... unless someone may be calling, then it's in another room where I can't hear it.

Another added benefit to the sound system is the HDMI ports on the back. The TV has long since been out of HDMI ports, but with the extra ports it is now like having even more ports! Some other features I don't really care about them being there are an AM and FM radio.

The main point and conclusion on the device it that it works well and at the price, you really can't beat it. I'd say it's a great value.

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