This might be a bit different from what we’re used to here at Gamer Splash. However, it’s gaming-related!
I’ve decided to review the Super Mario Cereal, a fun collaborative cereal from Kellogg’s and Nintendo! It’s a bit like Lucky Charms, but with a fun Mario Twist, and even an amiibo built into the box! I really liked it, though the amiibo on my box didn’t work.
Watch the video for the full review:
Hope you enjoy it and find out if the cereal is for you!
Today, we are reviewing the GeChic On-Lap 1305H Portable Monitor.
Before we begin, let’s talk about how I came across the product. Upon getting the Nintendo NES Classic (and later the Nintendo SNES Classic,) I loved the item. It lets me play classic retro games I played in my childhood, and discover new ones I hadn’t played before. A crisp high definition resolution and nifty saving features make the game experience even better than the original.
However, I hadn’t played the mini-consoles much since I got them, because part of the concept just… didn’t make sense to me. A tiny, palm-sized console displaying 8-bit retro games didn’t beg to be played on my large-screen 4K TV. I already have several consoles and other devices taking up precious space in my home AV setup, as well. I’m the type of guy that tends to be much more willing to play games if they’re portable, rather than needing to be tied down to my TV to play them. So I decided, I wanted to play these portable consoles, well… portably. So the search for a suitable portable screen came up. After looking through several wonky and sub-par solutions on YouTube and Amazon, I have finally come across, undoubtedly, the best portable monitor available on the market.
Read on my for my detailed impressions and review.
The GeChic 1305H is a 13.3-inch portable monitor designed to be taken anywhere. It is thin and light, with a spacious screen, and runs on mere USB power, meaning it can be powered by a portable battery bank, like the ones commonly used to charge phones and tablets on the go. The screen is a novelty in the market, being one of the only ones to boast full HD resolution, and FFS screen technology.
GeChic is an interesting company. Based in Taiwan, the company specializes in making portable monitors. When a company’s entire product lineup is composed of portable screens, you expect them to be of good quality. Thankfully, the screen did not disappoint. This review aims to cover all of the bases necessary for one to make an informed purchase decision.
First off, we need to discuss how good this thing will look when you’re using it on your desk. No one wants to use something that just sticks out like a sore thumb. With this screen, you’re in luck. The GeChic 1305H is sleek, thin, and light. The screen measures only 7mm thick, with bezels at 1.3cm, and weighs in at only 1.51 lbs (or 2.01 lbs with stand). With a matte screen texture, fairly-sized bezels, and a gunmetal gray finish, this screen fits right in to a modern room setup. When on the go, the screen doesn’t make you feel like the geek in the room, so to speak. You’ll feel comfortable taking this one to your local coffee shop for a meeting, and feel stylish doing it.
This product is unique in the market, in that it is one of the few portable screens to actually feature a full 1080p resolution. Most other portable screens in this market segment, from the likes of Asus, GAEMS, and Hori, run at a meager 720p HD, barely passable in today’s market where 1080p is the standard and 4K the new king. So, with a sizable 13.3-inch screen, you expect 1080p. Here you get that and more.
In addition to a stellar true 1080p resolution, you also get a FFS display (no, not that FFS). If you’ve heard of IPS, you know it is the display of choice for non-HDR displays, because of its wide viewing angles and great color accuracy. FFS, being an improvement to IPS, takes things a step further, and improves the contrast of colors even more (1000:1), along with 178 degree viewing angles, so images look even more vivid and lifelike on the screen.
In terms of connectivity, the screen is stripped down from the company’s previous models, offering just two HDMI inputs (one for horizontal and one for vertical placements), and a headphone jack that supports optical audio and 5.1 surround sound. Neat.
The product does not offer built-in speakers, so the audio output jack is the only option for outputting sound from the screen. Bring those headphones if you need to listen to your content on the go.
In previous models, there would be separate ports for USB power and HDMI inputs. The 1305H does away with these and instead introduces proprietary ports which combine HDMI and USB into a single cable port going into the screen. It certainly helps keep the screen looking sleek, without too many cables getting in your way.
On the other end of the proprietary cable are a standard HDMI connection and USB-A connection for power. Also included in the box is a USB to AC adapter for plugging directly into a wall, if needed.
The screen features a detachable back cover that doubles as a kickstand, allowing you to adjust the angle of the screen. The kickstand uses a unique proprietary mechanism involving a magnet, which you can remove and reposition, then slide up and down to achieve the desired angle for the screen.
All of the physical features are very well thought out, from the size of the screen, to the visual aesthetic of it, to the layout and design of the ports and included kickstand case. This design is testament to the company’s experience developing portable screens, culminating in a very evolved and well-thought out product design that is easy and intuitive to use.
Once using the screen, you will find standard TV options in the software menus, such as brightness, contrast, color saturation, color tint, and sharpness. Other nice options are also included, like color temperature and multiple viewing modes.
The viewing modes consist of options such as “Standard,” “Sports,” “Cinema, “Photo,” and “Game” modes.
Navigating the menus was not so fun. Have you ever lost a TV remote and had to use the buttons on the TV itself to navigate the menus? Remember how frustrating that was, and how much you missed having that remote? That’s exactly the experience GeChic opted for to control the menus on this screen. Once you learn how to navigate with the Settings, Volume, and Up and Down buttons, it’s fine, but you wish they would have included a remote or smartphone interface to control the screen settings. Luckily, if you’re like me, you will just set it and forget it, not needing to touch the settings again for a long time.
Overall, GeChic threw a lot into the package here, and it all works cohesively, which is not to be taken granted in the world of tech.
What good is a product if it doesn’t perform its intended functions well? Thankfully, this product not only does the job, but exceeded my expectations.
The screen’s buttons feel solid to touch, and are well placed. The detachable back cover works well, and is easy to attach and remove quickly. The movable locks are a great feature, making sure the screen doesn’t fall out when being moved. The kickstand’s design takes some getting used to, but once you’ve learned how to reposition it, it makes changing the screen angle a piece of cake. I do wish the tilt angle was more, given it only offers 40 degrees of variability, but it is sufficient for most cases.
Using the cover stand with the screen in vertical mode works, but not as well as in the horizontal mode. Taking the screen out and putting it back into the case vertically makes it stick out, which not only looks a bit awkward, but doesn’t offer the same stability as in the horizontal mode either. Most people don’t need to use a screen vertically, but for those that do, this may be a letdown, as the included kickstand only works horizontally. At least, the cover stand case can hold the screen vertically if you remove and replace it vertically, but I think the company could have done more and incorporated a second kickstand that works vertically into the design.
Once the product is set up properly, powering up is quick and simple. A press of the power button boots up the screen and displays whatever HDMI signal is being fed to it. If there is no signal, the screen will automatically turn it’s display off after a few seconds, but the screen will remain powered on. Turning the screen on for the first time was pretty awesome. The screen was actually exceedingly bright, so once I turned the brightness to my ideal level, all the settings were perfect from the get-go. The color settings were already perfect as they were, so after messing with other settings, I found I didn’t need to change any other settings.
I tested all of the settings on the Nintendo Switch, and found the only picture mode options that looked accurate were the “Standard” and “Game” modes. The other options, surprisingly, left color tints that were too saturated, or made the image look too blue or orange. However, testing on the SNES Classic, other screen modes actually looked better. Likewise, your preferred screen mode may depend on the input source.
Adjusting the other settings also yielded unsatisfactory results – not because the options didn’t work, but actually, because the screen was already most accurate with the default settings.
This is a testament to the quality of the product, in my opinion, as it appears the screen’s colors are already most accurate (and perhaps calibrated) out of the box. The only setting I had to change, then, was Brightness. Once I adjusted the brightness to my ideal level (around 40 for me, down from the default of 50,) I was set and the screen was ready to go.
Once the screen was set up, the viewing experience was great. Coming from a high-end 4K HDR TV, the black levels don’t get as deep, meaning you can still slightly notice the backlight in dark scenes. However, the black levels are still better than most laptop screens I have seen, minus exceptional screens such as Microsoft’s Surface line.
The colors were very natural and vivid, and actually made me enjoy playing my Nintendo Switch more than I ever have before in such a short period of time. What was initially meant to be a short testing session turned into a few hours of me playing Breath of the Wild on my Switch, and then watching a few episodes of TV on Hulu. It may be that the native 1080p presentation of the Nintendo Switch with no upscaling makes the Switch content look better, or maybe the smaller screen size, but even without adding any sharpness to the screen, the Switch looked better than it ever had on my high-end TV. That’s saying a lot.
The viewing angles were also great, as promised. I could look all the way to the side of the screen, and the image was still highly visible. The anti-reflective screen texture also helped, as even with my bright studio lights, there was only a small reflection.
Testing the headphone jack yielded decent audio quality. Not as good as my dedicated headphone DAC/amp combo, but just fine if you’re used to standard headphone jacks in any other product. The headphone jack also doubles as an optical audio jack output, which is very nice if you have some compatible audio hardware to use it with.
Input lag on the device seemed minimal, even with the HDMI input going through two adapters and several short cables. The stated response time (different from input lag) is 12.5ms, so that is better than the average screen, and very snappy. Once I was playing my games, everything seemed very snappy and playable. This screen gets a solid A in the input lag department, so pro gamers or anyone sensitive to input lag/latency on screens should rest assured the screen feels very responsive.
All of these features come at a cost, however. The screen is currently sold for a retail price of $299.99 as of this writing. Is it worth it? To me, you’re getting the best portable monitor on the market, so I believe the price is well justified. For those on a tighter budget, however, it may be worth checking out the company’s cheaper options.
Overall, GeChic has put together a very compelling product here. The possibilities with owning a portable screen are endless. Portable screens offer a wide array of use cases, whether it be for portable photo or video monitoring, using them as second computer screens, presentation screens, or for portable video or gaming uses.
Once you see the need for having a portable screen to complement your devices, you need one that’s the best quality. After using the screen extensively, I can safely state that the GeChic 1305H is the best portable screen on the market. With great functionality, an attractive design, and excellent image quality, this screen not only matched my initial expectations, but exceeded them. I can’t imagine myself needing another portable screen again, as it pretty much ticks all of my boxes in terms of functionality and image quality. If you’re in the market for a portable screen, look no further than the GeChic 1305H.
If you need a cheaper option, with a similar screen size, GeChic is still selling the previous model of its 13-inch screen, the On-Lap 1303H.
Alternatively, if you need a touch screen option for making the screen a Windows or Android tablet, GeChic sells the On-Lap 1303i.
If you need a larger or smaller screen option, GeChic sells 11-inch and 15-inch versions of their screens.
Keep in mind, if buying another of the company’s screens, you will be getting a standard IPS display over the 1305H’s slightly superior display. However, if the 1305H does not fit your needs, the other options still offer very good quality on their own.
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You may think, “but they just put out an article about how they’re switching, and now they’re switching back?!”
“Why?????” you may ask?
Let’s Dive Into It
To begin, most of quandaries with Android were of the issue with the lack of hardware/software integration, leading every Android device to be slightly (or majorly) off from what the Android experience was intended to be. Even Motorola’s later “Moto” devices. In short, each device from a different manufacturer would work with Android, but it would never be Google’s vision, so Android would just never function just as intended, and the hardware would suffer from that, as well, leading to a need for more powerful hardware to offset the inefficiencies created by the lack of optimization.
If you read back to the article, I state, “Unless you buy a … Google Nexus phone (the reference model … for Android), you can be sure the OS you’re running on won’t be fully optimized for your device.”
So I did acknowledge that Google did somewhat accomplish hardware/software integration with the Nexus line of phones. The Nexus phones would always have great cameras and the fastest processors available at the time, and most importantly, run a vanilla version of Android, so you would know the OS was running it as intended.
However, the problem has always been that the Nexus phones (up until last year) have always been hard to get, and aimed at software developers rather than consumers. Additionally, since Google bargained with other manufacturers such as LG, HTC, and Motorola to create the phones, it was never 100% Google’s design, and had some of the other manufacturer’s ideas forced upon it. Also, I was never fond of the design, as I always thought Motorola’s phone offered some useful features and overall design that were just a step ahead the Nexus line.
But today that changes.
Fast forward to October 4, 2016. Google has a new event with a new focus, #madebygoogle.
Google holds an amazing event with great products, including the Pixel phone. But what’s even better than the content shown there? Google’s new focus on all-encompassing design, interactivity between products, and best of all (for phones), hardware-software integration!
While, as stated, Google is “not new to hardware,” it is definitely new to this game. And it’s going to kill it.
The Pixel phone is the first phone fully designed, from top to bottom, inside and out, by Google, and for Android. And for the first time, Google is making their own phone to compete directly with the iPhone. And it is marvelous.
Google is finally taking a stance with Android, and saying, “enough is enough”. Google’s new Pixel phone, like Apple’s iPhone, is the first phone completely designed and optimized for Android, and likewise, Google has optimized and improved Android specifically for the Pixel. Not only has it equipped the phone with a best-in-class camera (even topping out the iPhone 7), a headphone jack, and the speediest processor, but it has engineered all of Android to work specifically for its hardware, and vice-versa.
In regards to its optimization, it’s not just another phone running Android. Google has actually optimized every aspect of the phone to work best with its vision of Android. Besides incorporating the speediest processor yet available in an Android phone, the Snapdragon 821, it has also optimized the touch response of the phone, leading to much less latency between touching the screen and getting a response. Additionally, it has improved the overall speed of the phone and the camera, finally bringing it on par with feeling as good as an iPhone.
Aside from this, users also get the benefit of actually being able to upgrade the phone’s software as soon as an update is available, directly from Google. This has been a feature of previous Nexus phones for a while, but now it’s even better, because updates will download and install in the background, and automatically and quickly be applied the next time you reboot your phone. This is even better than Apple’s iPhone update experience, which will still leave you updating the traditional way, getting in the way of the tasks you’re doing, and taking a lot longer.
On specs, this phone also beats out the iPhone 7, which is nice to have. While the phone appears to lack stereo speakers, it does have a headphone jack built-in. And the camera is even better than the iPhone 7’s, something incredible to say. Did I mention it also comes with unlimited Google Photos storage at original resolution?! Additionally, the phone has a higher-res screen than the iPhone’s, so you can watch content at higher-resolutions. And that screen is better too. Unlike the iPhone’s more-colorful-than-before-but-still-not-so-colorful screen, the Pixel’s screen offers AMOLED, with many times the contrast and colors of the iPhone’s screen. The screen is great on its own, but highly necessary for the phone’s last great innovation: Daydream VR.
The last major thing this phone has going for it is Google’s new VR platform, Daydream VR. The Pixel phone will be the first Daydream Ready phone, the first phone to support the new platform created by Google. In short, Daydream VR is Google’s own VR platform for phones, like Samsung’s Gear VR, except better. Not only will the Daydream platform support Google’s own Pixel phone, but it will support many phones in the future from different manufacturers, allowing the cheapest and highest-quality access to virtual reality to the masses for the first time. Playstation VR is a good starting point (especially for gamers), but Daydream VR will finally be the lowest barrier-to-entry for VR ever seen for consumers, finally allowing VR to come to the masses in meaningful ways. So long as they buy the right phone, and the very affordable $69 Daydream View headset, or one like it.
Daydream VR offers an amazing ecosystem of content, such as YouTube’s full library, which shines in VR with 360 degree videos in which you can look around wearing the headset to see the video all around you. You are transported to that world. Additionally, it is working with many other content providers, including Netflix, Hulu, The New York Times, and many others, to allow you to experience a broad range of content in full, high quality, immersion. That’s not to mention the games coming to the platform too (like games from the makers of EVE and from the mind of J.K. Rowling), as well as the educational and practical apps that are being made available for it, like Star Chart and Relax VR. And you can also, for example, view your Google Photos library in VR. And that’s pretty cool.
This was, to be honest, the swinging point for me. Apple does not have VR on its devices, and appears to have no intention of incorporating it either. If you think about it, Apple has been very stubborn about incorporating new technologies, while companies like Google have been embracing them, and actually making them useful for people in their everyday lives. While it’s expected that Apple will incorporate, better, OLED screens for its next iPhone, and a wall-to-wall screen, if it ever incorporates VR, at the earliest, it will be a year from now.
Oh and one more thing. Google has a better assistant, too. Google Assistant is the new and improved version of Google Now. In short, Google Assistant is even smarter now, and integrates all across the entire OS now, including its Allo and Duo messaging and video apps. You can have a conversation with it anytime, and it can help you out nearly any way you want now. Compared with Siri, Google Assistant is much, much, better, and integrates itself across the OS and its services better than Siri ever could on iPhone.
With the arrival of the Pixel phone, Google is finally matching Apple at the hardware game, achieving the true mastery of hardware-software integration. And it looks like Google is coming out ahead.
Google is finally like Apple in recognizing the importance and benefit of true hardware-software integration. And with the Pixel, it is finally coming out ahead.
Due to all of these reasons, I decided to cancel my iPhone 7 Plus order, and instead order the Pixel XL.
Sure, I won’t be getting a myriad of accessories already available for it, or stereo speakers. I won’t be getting Super Mario Run first, or some of the software apps only available on iPhone.
But what I will get is the best of Android, the best of Google, and Google’s new Daydream VR, including its headset, for free. I’ll also be getting a headphone jack, a much quicker charging experience, a better screen, and a better camera.
More importantly, I’m finally getting the OS I’ve always known and loved, as it was intended. And some delightful extras, as well. With Pixel, I’ll be getting the phone of the future, not the phone of the past.
With Pixel, I’m back with Android, and I am very happy for it.
To see Pixel and Daydream VR for yourself, watch Google’s full conference:
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