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Logitech G430 – Completing and Enhancing Your Gaming Experience

Logitech G430 - Completing and Enhancing Your Gaming Experience

Gamers love good sound. Gamers need good sound.

To get the most out of your gaming experience, you will need a headphone set that allows you to hear the enemy before the enemy hears you.

The Logitech G430 7.1 DTS Gaming Headset offers the level of comfort and life-like sound that even the most discerning pc gamers will appreciate.

At a price tag for less than $50 on Amazon, you will search long and hard for a reason not to try them out.

Logitech G430 Headphones Made for Modern Gaming

Sale
Logitech G430 7.1 DTS Headphone: X and Dolby Surround Sound Gaming...
  • DTS Headphone: X and Dolby 7. 1 surround Sound: experience an immersive 360-degree sound field that lets you hear what you can't see
  • Built for comfort: lightweight design and soft sport cloth ear cups with 90-degree swivel for maximum comfort and a personalized fit
  • Folding, noise-cancelling boom mic: reduces background noise for clear voice pick up and rotates up and out of the way

Truth: Gaming is Social.

The absurd notion of a dedicated PC gamer sitting alone in their parent’s basement for hours and hours, playing mindless videos games on a dusty game console and forgoing any human interaction for a few golden coins is not only insulting, but it simply isn’t true.

That scenario is nothing more than a lazy, late night, talk show joke.

The reality of contemporary pc gaming is very different.

With the advancement of online gaming, MOAB games, eSports, and gaming tournaments, PC gaming has transformed into a shared experience with a positive outcome dependent upon effective teamwork and communication.

Gaming has grown into a very popular spectator sport as made evident by the success of ESPN’s Rift Rival competitions featuring celebrity gamers such as Tyler “ninja” Blevins and All “Myth” Kabbani.

As gaming laptops have evolved, it is easier for gamers to schedule meet-ups at local comic book stores or on college campuses, making gaming a much more social activity compared to years past.

In fact, a Pew Research Report reveals that PC gaming play an important role in the creation of a teens’ friendship.

Take a moment to appreciate these published stats:

  • More than half of teens have made new friends online, and a third of them (36%) say they met their new friend (or friends) while playing video games. Among boys who have made friends online, 57% have done so by playing video games online.
  • Nearly a quarter (23%) of teens report that they would give a new friend their gaming handle as contact information.

Technology plays a huge part in this social activity. Picture and sound work hand in hand bringing the designer’s vision to life.

Here, we will spotlight the many reasons why the Logitech G430 Headphones will be an asset to you and your team.

Choosing the Right Headset Makes All the Difference

Second only to picture, sound is the most important aspect of an totally immersive, reliably accurate, and most victorious experience — whether you are playing online, on a console, or in a group setting.

  • Consider Your Gaming Platform

Choosing the right headset makes all the difference. Take into consideration which platform you play on and the types of games you play.

  • Comfort is Key

Most gamers don’t play for 10 or 15 minutes. Gaming sessions can reach up to several hours. Most gamers don’t play for 10 or 15 minutes.

You need a headset that won’t drive you crazy after 30 minutes of play. You want a headset that doesn’t intrude on your concentration.

A great headset will to add to the experience, not take away from it.

If you play for many hours at a time, you need to pick a headset that is non-intrusive and very comfortable.

  • Microphone

You must clearly communicate with other players in the game. That means you need a headset with a hands-free, built-in microphone with noise cancellation.  That will guarantee that when you talk to your fellow players, you will be clearly understood.

  • Durability

When choosing a set of gaming headphones, you want to make sure the product is well made. You want a product that will last.

Looking great is one thing, but if the headphones start falling apart after a few long gaming sessions, what’s the point?

Make sure that top quality materials are used in any headphones you purchase.

  • Sound Quality

Superior sound is a "must have" when it comes to choosing the right gaming headset.

Competitive gaming requires you to trust the sounds you hear.

Being able to pick up on environmental sounds is absolutely essential to team victory. Your chances of survival in a game depends on instant reactions to specific sound queues.

To ensure your best efforts and that you consistently have the competitive edge, you need headphones that deliver accurate sound.

Logitech G430: Gaming Features

Controls

Logitech G430 7.1 DTS Headphone: X and Dolby Surround Sound Gaming...

The Logitech G430 features on-cable controls, so you can easily adjust the volume or mute as needed. Audio controls are located on the 2.3-meter cable.

Surround Sound Experience

Logitech G430 7.1 DTS Headphone: X and Dolby Surround Sound Gaming...

The best gaming experience comes from the feeling that you are immersed in the world the designers have created.

The Logitech Dolby 7.1 and DTS Headphones let you hear your game the way the developers intended.

Rotating Ear Cups

Logitech G430 7.1 DTS Headphone: X and Dolby Surround Sound Gaming...

You don’t want to be distracted by an annoying, ill-fitting pair of headphones. The G430 multi-positional ear cups pivot for a secure, personalized fit. They can rotate 90 degrees and lay flat, if you like. The lay-flat design makes them much more accommodating for travel, and much more comfy when resting on your neck.

Sports Performance Ear Pads

Logitech G430 7.1 DTS Headphone: X and Dolby Surround Sound Gaming...

Comfort is key when gaming for long hours.

Uncomfortable headphones can be a real distraction from your best gaming skills. The G430 ear pads are lined with a unique, sports-performance cloth that is soft to the touch and very comfy.

We really like that fact that you can remove the cloth cover to wash.

Lightweight Design

Logitech G430 7.1 DTS Headphone: X and Dolby Surround Sound Gaming...

Don’t lose your concentration.

The G430 ear cups are slimmer and lighter than others on the market, yet the audio quality remains top notch.

Noise Cancelling Mic

Logitech G430 7.1 DTS Headphone: X and Dolby Surround Sound Gaming...

When the rubber meets the road in gaming, you need to be able to speak with your team clearly. Background noise can interfere with your ability to communicate. The Logitech G430B Mic adjusts so that just your voice comes through.

Logitech G430 7.1 DTS: Customer Reviews

It’s good to get a sense of what people who own and use the product have to say about the performance and durability. The following are reviews that real Amazon customers have left regarding the Logitech G430.

I bought these to replace a high end Astro headset with an external amplifier. After it broke due to poor quality, and being out $200 for my trouble, I needed something that would work for long-term use. Some looking around, and the [Logitech G430 7.1 DTS] kept coming up in people's recommendations. I pulled the trigger without reading all the way, expecting a bog standard, cheapo headset with the bog standard 3.5mm jack, something I'd probably use as a stopgap until finding something a bit more substantial.

Comfy, great sound, with a USB sound card! All for $40!

My expectations were exceeded in just about every way possible!


Let's talk about comfort. The headset is light, without feeling cheap, which is a huge bonus for something being worn for hours at a time. There's enough padding on the headband that I don't have to worry about the plastic digging into my scalp. The ear-cups are just big enough, and despite having some misgivings when I first bought them, and got my hands on them (the fabric feels "crinkly" in the hand), hours later, there's no fatigue. A pleasant surprise.


Sound quality is utterly equivalent, at least to my ears, with my previous Astro set which was connected over optical. In other words, excellent. Highly, highly recommended!

Michael Parks

I love, love, love this headset!!!


Comfortable, crystal clear mic, 7.1 surround sound, nice build quality and it looks darned nice too!

Logitech Hit a Home Run with this Headset

If you are concerned with durability, my experience after 6 months of almost daily use is that I have not had a single issue. No cracks, breaks, tears, failures or diminished sound quality. It looks, functions and sounds like brand new to this day.


Considering the overall quality and functionality of this headset, at this price point, it's a no-brainer. Buy it, you won't be disappointed.

Jedz

For the money, you can't get a better set of PC headphones. Mind you, they're not $200 SteelSeries, but they're 80% of that — at 30% the cost. We now have three pairs (everyone in the family), and have had zero problems with them.


For Stereo sound, these are full sounding and reasonably clear. There's a little mud, but if you're used to headphones in the low-mid range (up to $100), these will match up very, very well.


The artificial surround is surprisingly good in Guild Wars 2, with good directional field despite a little more mud in the sound overall —  some would call the mud "fullness." In FPS gaming, the surround leaves a bit more to be desired.


In TeamSpeak or Mumble the microphone is quite clear, much better than most of our teammates. If you're not into push-to-talk, the thresholds are pretty easy to configure, plus there's a mute switch on the volume controller that is usually within easy reach if you can spare the hand.

The included USB sound card is a good add, well-aligned to the capabilities of the headset.

Great Price, Great Value, Good Quality

This is easily the most comfortable headset I've ever used. I have difficulty with my ears hitting the speaker in many headsets, and I don't like a lot of weight on the top of my head. These headphones solve both problems. The clamping force is enough to keep the headset in place while using the top pad only to keep alignment; and the depth of the speaker cups ensures my ears don't contact the plastic around the speaker.


There have been some complaints about the pivot joint where the earpiece meets the headband. I can see this being a weak point, but after a few years, we've not seen one break yet.


All in all, an exceptional value. Until I'm willing to invest in a set of high-end full-surround headphones, these are my go-to.

Kalmirn

What the Critics Have to Say

It is easy to recommend this product after considering the sound quality, style, design and functionality of the Logitech G430 Headset.

When you combine those features with a price tag of under $50, the Logitech G430 is a super product for any gamer.

However, not everyone is satisfied with the Logitech G430 gaming headphones.

We think it is beneficial to point out what some of the “less impressed” purchasers have observed.

Some users have complained that, even after a firmware upgrade, their mic performance was less than what they expected.  Others have had experiences where the ear cups come apart, and the controller wire shorts out over time.

However, even the detractors are quite impressed with the sound quality and accuracy, as well as the overall comfort. Their expressed concerns are mostly related to the durability of the product.

Logitech G430 7.1 DTS: Product Specs

The Logitech G43O brings with it impressive surround sound and comfort for long gaming sessions. The noise cancellation microphone is a must-have.  The product looks good and is well made.

DTS Headphone: X and Dolby 7.1 surround sound

You will enjoy an immersive, 360-degree sound field, allowing you hear what you cannot see.

Built for comfort

Very impressive lightweight design. The soft, sport cloth ear cups are made for comfort, and the useful 90-degree swivel contribute to a personalized fit.

Folding, noise-cancelling boom mic

Reduces background noise for clear voice pick up.  Mic rotates up and out of the way for convenience.

Impedance

32 Ohms

On-cable sound controls

Volume dial and mute switch for audio adjustments.

Compatibility

Works with PS4 and Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 or Windows Vista computers.

Headphone Frequency response

20Hz-20KHz.

Microphone Pickup pattern

Cardioid (Unidirectional)

Microphone Frequency response

50-20KHz.

Get Your Game On

We really like this product. Even though some users have been less than impressed, the overall impression from gamers is that the Logitech G430 delivers on all things that matter: comfort, superior sound and price.

Avast Internet Security – What Makes It the Most Preferred Computer Protection

avast internet security

Virus protection is somewhat of a tense industry to work in. It could be compared to preparing materials for tightrope walkers or skydivers – you’re dealing with a field where there is no room for error.

Virus scanning software programs can do a lot for you. They can protect you from hundreds of pesky tracking cookies or dozens of malicious software programs that would’ve otherwise likely found their way into your system – and your private files.

But it only takes one moment of weakness for one piece of malware or tricky virus to slip past antivirus software for a serious problem to occur. This is why so many virus companies compete with one another aggressively within the market – and among them is Avast Internet Security.

For those who have used them, the company represents a name they can trust to take care of their computer – the company has a long tenure in their field and a lot of good feedback. It’s hard to rack that up unless you have a firm grasp on your field and can consistently deliver what your customers want.

But for those who haven’t used them, why should they? Can they really stack up to the likes of other leading products like Norton, AVG, and even Windows Defender? Today, we’ll be checking out Avast Internet Security. What does it offer? Why is it important to know about it? And how could it help you compared to the competition?

The Growing Need for Internet Security Solutions

security

It may seem redundant to tell people they need an antivirus program when they’re browsing online. It seems like most of us would know this, especially given the internet’s growing popularity.

But there are still those who underestimate the scope of threats awaiting them online. Some people still don’t use an antivirus software, unless it is one that is set up for them. This can come in the form of Windows Defender, which is now often packaged standard with modern incarnations of the OS, and various trails of paid software included with the purchase of a new rig.

But it isn’t just about the common user underestimating how bad cyber attacks can be. There’s no need to imagine it – even some of the world’s biggest organizations with the best security departments in the world can thwart cyber threats. Just in the first half of 2018, many of the world’s leading organizations have been victims.

Let’s look at a few of these names.

macys logo

Between April 26 and June 12, customers who shopped on the online store at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s may have had their personal information accessed by unauthorized third parties. Though Macy’s didn’t reveal a lot of specifics about either the number of people affected or how intensive the breach was, it was confirmed that some of the compromised data included credit card numbers.

adidas logo

It was back in June that this leading sports apparel giant announced that customer data inputted to their US website had been intercepted by an unauthorized party. Everything from the customers’ login information to their email and even physical addresses were accessed, with only a small degree of encryption stopping the situation from being much worse.

sears
Sears & K-Mart logo

Sears Holding got hit hard by cyberattacks, with separate attacks to each of the respective companies taking place in April. A security liability with one of the company’s payment support partners resulted in about 100,000 people having their credit card information stolen.

The list goes on and on – Delta, Equifax, Best Buy Yahoo – there’s no name that is immune from being affected by cyber threats. And while established companies don’t usually rely solely on standard antivirus programs like Avast Internet Security, there are benefits to using it.

Let’s go over the basics about this product, including its origins, structure, pricing (if applicable) and performance when compared to the competition.

A Free Product That Offers Multiple Perks

avast logo

As we can see, the immediate perk of Avast Internet Security is in its price tag – or more specifically, in its lack of a price tag. While not the only free antivirus programs out there, this is definitely one of the more popular ones.

Why is that? On Avast’s website, they list their main objective as creating a world that offers safety and privacy regardless of a user’s connection. That’s a lofty goal, but it is one every antivirus company should ultimately strive for. Just how well has Avast delivered over the years?

Avast Free Antivirus 2019 [Download]
  • Effortless security - Security updates plus new features are pushed to you automatically so you're always protected.
  • PC safety made easy - Get automatic updates to stay protected from the latest threats.
  • Protection beyond your PC - Find and fix network issues to keep strangers and malware out.

The company’s main claim to fame can be found in both their user base and the technology they use to accomplish their goals. They boast a user base of hundreds of millions, and they use a complex cloud-based learning engine to help them stay up on the latest threats.

Avast Free Mac Security [Download]
  • Three shields (Web Shield, Mail Shield, File Shield)
  • On demand scanning
  • WebRep

This is a smart feature for any antivirus company to have – after all, cyber threats are the product of escalation. As the digital age took hold and the internet began to offer us more in terms of conveniences, more people flocked to it and uploaded their personal information in droves.

Malware Detection and Blocking

AI and Machine Learning

Internet
of Things

Location
Technologies

This represents a potential goldmine for hackers, who were quickly combated by security experts. This, in turn, caused those hackers to up their game and get more creative. From trojan viruses packaged in places you’d least expect to ransomware that literally holds your system hostage, there are a lot of bad things to worry about in cyberspace.

The answer to this is connectivity – which may seem a bit counterintuitive for some. How could embracing the digital age even more help thwart the hazards it brings? Connectivity doesn’t just mean viruses and spyware can reach a person’s computer. It means virus protection companies can do, too. They can deliver the latest and most important updates to virus definitions and protection settings, providing quick reactions to developing problems.

With a robust network combined with their skilled team, Avast has helped to keep cybercriminals at bay for millions of users. Whether the product is used in homes or in the offices of businesses, it provides a great array of tools to help users stay safe.

What is Avast’s Security Engine Built From?

Avast Premier 2019 (1 User, 1 Year) [Download]
  • Extra ransomware protection - An extra layer of ransomware protection for your most important files and photos.
  • Secure your network - Wall off your personal files and photos from ransomware.
  • Keep your software updated - Get the latest updates for your apps, automatically.

Before we go over the specific product features you can expect in Avast’s line, it would be a good idea to explore their strategy with a little more depth.

The company draws on one of the largest threat-detection databases on the planet – or the largest, if we go by their claims. Every month Avast checks over 200 billion URLs for potential malware or malicious software. They also check hundreds of millions of files in the same span of time, using their artificial intelligence system to guard against future issues.

As the system grows and learns, it can better protect all types of users against threats. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new incarnation of an old virus (NotPetya, anyone?) to brand new threats, Avast’s system is built to handle it.

Their products have been around for three decades, and now that the number of things connected to the internet is expected to increase at exponential rates in the coming years, having a good antivirus provider has never been more crucial.

Avast Internet Security Products: Which is Right for You?

Home

Free Antivirus

Internet Security

Premier

Ultimate

Block viruses and other malware

Scan for Wi-Fi security weaknesses

Secure your passwords

Avoid fake sites for safer shopping

Safely run suspicious apps

Block hackers with advanced firewall

Block annoying spam and phishing emails

Get an extra layer of ransomware security

Stop webcam spying

Permanently shred sensitive files

Automatically update apps

Includes Avast Cleanup Premium, Avast SecureLine VPN, and Avast Passwords Premium

Price

Free

$59.99/year

$69.99/year

$119.99/year

Now that we know how long Avast has been around and how they go about creating their products, let’s examine their catalog and discuss which products they offer.

For starters, we’ll go to the home section. Home antivirus solutions are becoming more important than they have been since the internet’s inception. Homes now have more devices connected at the same time, more opportunities for their data to become compromised, and more of an initiative to stay protected.

Avast’s regular virus scanner may be free, but their Premiere Nitro Update does cost. Technically, you can still try it for free. But in order to get the full effect and enjoy all the tools the product offers, you’ll need to fork over some cash.

With the Premier version, you get Avast’s professional internet security scanner and antivirus program. It automatically protects you from suspicious files and redirects them with limited impact on your computer. There are even protections for Macs, meaning those hackers who target the often-touted-as-immune Apple side of computing can be guarded against.

Other perks include SecureLine encryption for safer connections, file cleanup programs to help you improve performance and disk space, as well as password protection tools. Whether you want to tidy up annoying toolbars on your browsers or ensure you don’t have any more problems with malware, the company’s home program’s Premiere edition is a great choice.

But what about the pricing structure? For one device, you can get a yearly subscription for around $34.99. As with most products of this kind, you can choose between 2-3-year options as well.

Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus: The Commercial Option

Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus 2018 (5 Users, 3 Years) [Download]
  • Keep 3rd party software updated: We'll keep an eye on common 3rd party applications and keep them updated to keep you protected.
  • Secure connections: Secure connections over wifi when you're on the go.
  • Avast Passwords: Secure storage and management of all your browser passwords.

As we mentioned above, companies have a vested interest in security as much (if not more so) as anyone. And while they may not use the free version of Avast’s basic scanner, it is certainly feasible they would consider their paid business security tool.

The idea behind this tool is simple: heavy threat protection without heavy resource consumption. We all know that companies need their computer systems to be as robust, fast, and responsive as possible. Think about how a small delay can affect a major organization. If companies that make thousands on sales per day experience even a few hours of downtime, it can result in a big slash in their profits.

Now think about how a resource-hungry virus scanner could slow things down gradually, just enough to siphon the same level of cash from the bottom line but over a longer period. Avast touts a great antivirus product that relies heavily on the cloud to take the weight off the system.

Not only does the software handle the basics flawlessly with a 100-percent detection rate for malware, but it also offers some great add-ons. This includes tools to help prevent spies from snooping on you through your webcam – that’s right, not even your webcam is safe from hackers unless you have the proper technology.

Businesses also have to worry about identity protection, as both they and their customers represent an easy target for hackers since all their information is usually stored in a single system. But there is nothing easy about cracking Avast’s security which protects identities through an easy-to-use VPN. It’s a safety measure companies can be glad they invested in.

There’s also one more protection feature included in the business version that is pretty nice – something some of Avast’s competitors don’t offer. An old philosophy regarding war says the way to defeat what is strong is to strike what is weak. As we mentioned at the beginning, even a minuscule security weak point can lead to you being victimized.

Luckily, Avast’s business tool detects issues in out-of-date software and helps you make sure that confidential documents get deleted for good. This helps eliminate the vast majority of security vulnerabilities out there.

Final Verdict: Does Avast Beat Out the Competition?

We all have our favorites – in food, in music, in TV, and of course, in virus protection. Avast’s software systems look a lot like those of Norton, AVG, or the other antivirus titans of the industry. But how do they compare?

If you take a brand-neutral perspective and go on features-to-price alone, you’ll find most of the industry’s big players offer you something great for your money. Avast’s pricing is close to that of its competitors, each offering a year subscription to a basic antivirus software for approximately $50 with some extras included.

Different companies offer different extras, so the real decision-making process comes down to what extras you prefer. But if you’re determined to go with Avast Internet Security because of previous experiences, you can’t go wrong. Whether used for homes or businesses, their tools are reliable and built to handle the most modern threats out there.

Optical Drives Top 10: An Enduring Product in an Advancing Market

optical drives

The rumors of the optical drive’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

While many sites have talked in-depth about how optical disc drives are going the way of floppy disk drives, this popular peripheral isn’t down for the count just yet.

But that count is growing – and mainly, it’s growing to account for more substitutes for the optical drive. It isn’t that the drives aren’t still useful in certain cases. For some applications, they can be vital. It’s just that their time in the spotlight as a primary storage solution for computers is wearing down as more competition comes into the market.

Optical storage drives utilize lasers to read data from discs. And while this is still a viable option for playing content like movies, TV shows, and even music in a computer rather than relying solely on digital downloads – yes, physical media is still alive – it just doesn’t cut it for storage anymore.

Optical drives have effectively lost their spot as a data saving resource with flash memory and cloud platforms outperforming them in the areas of storage capacity, speed, and convenience.

But that doesn’t mean there’s no reason to buy an optical drive today.

How Can an Optical Drive Still Be Useful?

The tech community is good at reaching consensuses about important matters – the type of coding websites use, the kind of network protocols selected to help devices connect, the file formats used on the world’s most popular programs – all of these are naturally decided upon through an active participatory process.

It’s like democracy with physical keystrokes, not paper ballots. But there’s been a growing trend toward a switch to digital alternatives of physical media. That consensus isn’t universal. There are still some cases where physical media like discs can be useful – let’s go over a few quickly.

Watching Movies or TV Shows

Many people enjoy buying physical media if for no other reason than having a decorative box to hold in their hands or display in a case. Optical drives are great for giving users a way to enjoy DVD and Blu-rays.

Installing Software from CDs

Installing drivers, programs, and updates from a company site is easily more convenient than using a disc – until your internet goes out, or the site is down. In this case, having an optical drive for installation purposes can be a great backup.

Old-Fashioned Companies and Users

Despite so many advancements in technology, some people still prefer installing programs from a disc. From the companies that make the discs to the users who prefer them, this is still a big market segment that buys optical drives.

As we can see, there are plenty of options out there when it comes to using optical drives. The question now is which unit is best?

Rating Optical Drives: Our Criteria for Choosing the Best

  • Features
  • Price
  • Customer feedback

Rating optical drives is a tricky process, but it can be simplified by focusing on a few key factors.

The first is time-specific features. Since there aren’t a lot of cutting-edge optical drives coming out today, we must consider their technology alongside the features of the time. Remember, the capabilities of an optical drive may not be the same for your modern drives or digital platforms.

The second criteria to factor in is the price. Like the features, the prices should be relative to the time. The upside to the optical drives slow descent into tech obscurity means you’ll get better prices on these drives than say, solid state drives.

Finally, we’ll take into account customer feedback. In an industry where there is a lot of concern about outdated hardware being prone to failure, good ratings by customers (especially when left recently) are indicative of a better overall product.

Now let’s get to it – the top ten best optical drives on the market! NOTE: For the sake of simplicity, we’ll focus heavily on external drives – otherwise you may need to find a different motherboard, power supply, and driver bundle to make the installation work!

Our Top 10 Optical Drives – Which is Right for You?

Sale
Valoin USB 3.0 External DVD CD Drive External DVD CD Burner Superdrive...
  • 【Plug & Play Technology】No driver program or extra power supply required, connect it via USB ports.It comes with standard USB 3.0 transmission which provides faster data transfer rates.
  • 【High Speed Writing&Reading】Using advanced intelligent burning technology,this external drive supports DVD+R, DVD-R, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW. Max.Reading Speed:DVD-ROM 8X;CD-ROM 24X;Max.Writing Speed:DVD-R,DVD+R 8X;DVD-RW 4X;CD-R 24X.
  • 【Design with Portability】It has a sleek design that offers portability and is packed with features that offer high performance and reliability. Embedded cable design is a bonus,convenient for storage and carry.

This unit is designed for modern convenience despite being an optical drive. With plug-and-play functionality, you can enjoy your physical media through a drive you can connect to a USB 3.0 port.

It’s fast and slim, combining the best of both worlds in performance improvement and clutter reduction. Compatible with a full range of operating systems range back to Windows 98, the unit can be used for content playing and intelligent disc burning.

It’s a great companion for computers that are perfect except for their lack of an optical drive – and at only around $30, it’s a great deal.

Valoin is a popular name in the optical industry for a reason. This unit’s high sales numbers and rate of positive feedback make it an easy choice for our top spot.

Another external drive built with ultra-slim dimensions, this is a great peripheral to toss in your laptop bag or backpack before you head to class, on vacation, or toward any other destination where you may need disc media.

Like the number one selection, this model from GEEKLIN is compatible with USB 3.0, though its compatibility range ends back at Windows XP – then again, how many people rock a device with a USB 3.0 port but prefer Windows 98?

It’s also compatible with Linux and Mac OS and offers data transfer rates of up to 5Gbps.

This unit’s secret is the copper-knitted-net tech leads. They make for better data transmission without adding much weight to the product.

This high-speed DVD and CD drive can play, burn, and rewrite physical media without the need for drivers or standalone power.

A common set of features for drives of this type in our top selections, this unit stands out in the areas of comfort. It is built with anti-shock and noise reduction technology.

There’s also compatibility for plenty of Windows and Mac operating systems and a writing speed of 24x. Couple this with a strong design that is still surprisingly light, and you have a solid optical option.

Reducing shock chances and noise are just a perk – this $30 drive comes from a trusted manufacturer and has delivered plenty of value to previous buyers.

Designed for use with USB 3.0 technology, this is another drive that needs no additional drivers and no independent power supply. But it’s also backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and even 1.0.

With a max reading speed of 8x and a max writing speed of 24x, this unit can produce fast performance even on older incarnations of Windows and Mac operating systems. Combined with a fashionable appearance and embedded cable, it’s a neat unit that doesn’t clutter up your setup.

With shock proofing, low noise, and a price tag around the $30 range depending on where you shop, this drive is a great choice.

Valoinus is another trusted tech name, and this sleek drive is smaller, faster, and more affordable than many other options on the market.

MMUSC External CD Drive,CD/DVD-RW Drive, Slim High Speed CD Player...
  • 【Intelligent Technology】 This burner adopted high speed intelligent burning technology, Features strong error-correcting ability, anti-shock and noise reduction technology,support CD/DVD ROM, CD-R/RW, DVD±R, DVD±RW.with this DVD CD burner, you can watch DVD movies, install software, listen music, burn music, pictures, movies to both CD and DVD.
  • 【USB 3.0 Interface】 External DVD/CD drive comes with standard USB 3.0 transmission which provides faster data transfer rates for you, up to 5Gbps. Plug and play, you can able to start watching movies within a few minutes. Containing Pure-copper-knitted-net tech leads to smaller resistance, stronger shielding capability, more stable data transmission
  • 【Fashion & Ultra Slim Design】 Brushed texture shell brings touch and sight enjoyment. Lightweight body makes it easy to carry anywhere; Easy to assemble, push out the ODD or HDD through a button, make ODD and HDD interchange conveniently.

Narrowly making it into the upper half of our top ten list is a drive targeted at Mac users – but despite the limited target demographic, this unit does things properly.

It is built for Macbook Air, Macbook Pro, and iMac – though it can also be used on standard laptops and desktops with USB 3.0 ports. On the Windows side, it is compatible back to the days of Windows Vista. Smart design allows for error-correcting functionality. The result? Smoother performance.

You can get more performance and speedy data transfer rates up to 5Gbps. Great for watching movies, burning copies, and more, it’s a versatile product you can rely on.

And despite the gearing toward Mac, this unit can be a good buy for Windows users or even Linux users who need a fast optical drive.

Though it may be intended more toward one target demographic than other, this is a device that makes using physical media quick, easy, and even enjoyable.

Sale
External CD Drive, Devancy Ultra-Slim USB 3.0 External DVD Drive,...
  • 【Advanced USB3.0 Technology】Ultra slim portable cd drive is equipped with USB 3.0 high speed interface, bringing you faster data transmission speed (up to a maximum of 5Gbps) and stable performance with strong fault tolerance. Backwards compatible with USB2.0 and USB1.0.
  • 【Pulg and Play】Easy to Use, no driver and external adapter needed, just plug it into your USB port and the DVD driver will be detected. When you connect it to the desktops, please connect it with the computer's motherboard to avoid of power shortage.
  • 【High Performance】 It supports read CD,VCD,SVCD,CD-R,CD-RW,DVD-R/DVD-RW and burn CD-RW,CD+RW,DVD-RW,DVD+RW etc. This external dvd drive is equipped with brand new chip with strong error-correction ability, plays music and movies with no lag or distortion.

Though Devancy may not be as big of a name in some circles as others on this list, this unit is barely over $20 but excels in all areas.

It is sleek, small, and has a gorgeous finish. Plug and play functionality means it’s another model you don’t have to fret about when it comes to drivers. And it also can connect with desktop computer motherboards to provide better power consistency.

The unit is built for convenience – error-correcting technology helps prevent disc reading issues while an eject button makes sure you don’t have to worry about jamming.

This is easily a pick for the top ten – and for good reason. Slim, stylish, and built with a lot of user conveniences in mind, it’s a fast drive that performs in key areas.

Sale
External CD Drive USB 3.0 Portable Slim External DVD Drive, Gipow...
  • USB 3.0 HIGH SPEED INTERFACE - With This external CD Drives for laptop, it provide you fast data transfer speed and stable performance. You can record CD, music, videos, install software or create CD/DVD backup disc. It is also compatible with USB2.0.
  • GREAT COMPATIBILITY - The CD Drives is suitable for Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10, all versions of MAC OS. It is specially designed for Apple HP Dell Lenovo and others, ultrabook,netbook,laptop and desktop without drive hardware.
  • EASY TO INSTALL & USE - External CD Drives Pulg and paly. There is no need for additional software and extra power supply. Just Plug external DVD drive into your laptop USB interface, press pop-up button and put disc on tray, it will be automatically recognized and play.

Built with a risk-free system that stabilizes voltage and comes with a two-year warranty, this product calms user fears right from the beginning.

But potential buyers have little to fear, as the drive is compatible with operating systems dating back over a decade on both the Windows and Mac sides, plus a variety of Linux versions.

It also uses intelligent burning technology to help you copy music, videos, files, and more from a single convenient drive.

A speedy plug-and-play drive for the price, this unit has good compatibility and a slim design, making it a solid all-around choice.

Sale
Blu Ray 3D 4K External DVD Drive USB 3.0 Burner,Slim Bluray CD DVD...
  • 【USB 3.0 External Blu Ray 3D Drive】Equipped with USB 3.0 high speed interface, Super Fast for Reading Bluray DVD CD 3D discs:The Blu Ray dvd player read CD discs at up to 24x, DVD disc at up to 8x, and Blu-Ray disc at up to 6x. The external Blu-ray Reader supports 8.5G 4.7G 700M CD DVD burning capabilities.
  • 【Plug & Play】Supports Playing 3D Blu ray Disc,Read Bluray DVD CD & write only on CD DVD; Support WIN XP,VISATA,WIN7,WIN8,WIN10, MAC OS.
  • 【3D Bluray dvd drive function 】Player software on your computer must support Bluray format when playing Bluray discs.We strongly recommend use professional software to play this product, such as PowerDVD and Macgo Bluray Player. [Player software is NOT included.] and Cpu higher than i3 or i5 or above

Built primarily for reading Blu-ray discs, this unit is perfect for those who like modern physical media movie discs. It’s a fast drive that also works with USB 3.0 connectivity.

While it only supports Blu-ray reading, it is capable of writing CDs and DVDs. This makes it great if you’re a movie buff who still wants to burn CDs for your car every once in a while.

Add in great error-correction technology and noise-reducing design, and you have a high-end drive anyone would like.

The only thing that stops this drive from placing higher is the price – it’s nearing the triple-digit mark, but it still has good features to warrant consideration of.

External CD DVD Drive, Tintec USB 3.0 CD DVD +/-RW Rewriter Burner...
  • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Adopt Touch Control Button (SONY Touch Sensor embedded) to eject the CD disk instead of using physical key, ensuring long lifespan; Adopt color changing Working Light to indicate different working status; Adopt stylish and trendy design, equipped with scratch-proof exterior, slim and portable.
  • USB 3.0 SUPER SPEED: Equipped with USB 3.0 interface, achieving up to 5Gbps high speed data transmission, backwards compatible with USB 2.0, providing strong fault tolerance and more stable data transfer.
  • PLUG AND PLAY: Tintec DVD player is powered by USB port, it will be automatically detected by your PC after connected to USB port(No external driver required), You can burn files, install software and create a backup CD.

For an optical drive, this is a decent showing by Tintec. It doesn’t have Blu-ray compatibility, though it can burn and rewrite both CDs and DVDs.

It is built for high data transfer speeds and also has backwards compatibility options with both USB 2.0 and 1.0.

Fashionable and built to avoid scratches, this is a durable drive you can pack in your bag or proudly display on any desk.

No Blu-ray functionality here, but it isn’t a problem for some people. If you’re a DVD or CD user, this drive from BOSLISA can be a great choice.

Sale
Valoin USB 3.0 External DVD CD Drive External DVD CD Burner Superdrive...
  • 【Plug&Play Technology】No driver program or extra power supply required,fully powered by USB ports. It is equipped with USB 3.0 high speed interface, bringing you faster data transmission speed (up to a maximum of 5Gbps)
  • 【High Speed 】Using anvanced intelligent buring technology,this external drive supports DVD+R, DVD-R, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW. Max.Reading Speed:DVD-ROM 8X;CD-ROM 24X;Max.Writing Speed:DVD-R,DVD+R 8X;DVD-RW 4X;CD-R 24X
  • 【Wide Compatibility】This external drive works with Windows 98 / SE / ME / 2000 / XP / Vista / Windows 10/8/7,Mac OS 8.6 and More.Perfect designed for all kinds of devices,including PC,Laptop,Comprehensive Computer,Internal PC hard disk reader.

Sailing right past the convenience of plug-and-play and heading right to touch sensor functionality, this unit makes it easy to get your discs in and out.

It’s designed to work with all major devices from all major OS makers and uses advanced technology to reduce error possibilities.

The only drawback is it is new, so there aren’t a ton of product reviews yet!

With a new drive, you have to be a little skeptical. But with a price like this (less than $30), it’s worth checking out.

Buyer’s Guide: Finding the Right Optical Drives

Product

Details

Rating

Price

Valoin USB 3.0 External DVD CD Drive External DVD CD Burner Superdrive...

Interface
Standard USB 3.0

Operation Systems
Windows98/SE/ME/2000/XP/VISTA/Win7/Win8
Mac OS 8.6

Reading Speed
DVD-ROM 8X
CD-ROM 24X

Writing Speed
DVD-R
DVD+R 8X
DVD-RW 4X
CD-R 24X

Weight
300 g

GEEKLIN External CD DVD Drive,USB 3.0 Slim Protable External CD-RW...

Interface
Standard USB 3.0

Operation Systems
Windows 98/SE/ME/2000/XP/Vista
Win 7/Win 8/Win 10
Windows Server 2008, 2012
Linux

Mac OS

Reading Speed
CD-ROM 24x
DVD-ROM 8x
DVD-ROM(DL) 6x

Writing Speed
CD-R 24X
CD-RW 8X
DVD±R 8X
DVD±R DL 4X
DVD-R±9 2.4x

Weight
5 oz

External CD Drive, Amicool USB 3.0 Portable CD DVD +/-RW Drive Slim...

Interface
Standard USB 3.0

Operation Systems
Windows 2000/XP/VISTA/7/ 8
Mac 8.6 or above


Reading Speed
DVD-ROM 8X
CD-ROM 24X

Writing Speed
CD-R 24X
CD-RW 16X
DVD±R 8X
DVD±R DL 4X
DVD-RW 6X
DVD+RW 8X
DVD-RAM 3X-5X PCAV

Valoin Compatible with Portable 2019 Latest Version External DVD CD...

Interface
Standard USB 3.0

Operation Systems
Windows98/SE/ME/2000/XP/VISTA/7/8
Mac OS 8.6


Reading Speed
DVD-ROM 8X
CD-ROM 24X

Writing Speed
DVD±R 8X
DVD-RW 4X
CD-R 24X


Weight
300 g

MMUSC External CD Drive,CD/DVD-RW Drive, Slim High Speed CD Player...

Interface
Standard USB 3.0

Operation Systems
Windows 98/SE/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7/8/10
Windows Server 2008, 2012
Linux

Mac OS


Reading Speed
CD-ROM 24x
DVD-ROM 8x
DVD-ROM DL 6x

Writing Speed
CD-R 24X
CD-RW 8X
DVD±R 8X
DVD±R DL 4X
DVD-R±9 2.4x


Weight
12.8 oz

External CD Drive, Devancy Ultra-Slim USB 3.0 External DVD Drive,...

Interface
Standard USB 3.0

Operation Systems
Window XP/2003/Win8/Vista/7
Linux
Mac 10


Reading Speed
CD-ROM 24x
DVD-ROM 8x
DVD-ROM DL 6x

Writing Speed
CD-R 24x
CD-RW 8x
DVDR 8X
DVDR DL 4X
DVD-R9 2.4x


Weight
11.5 oz

External CD Drive USB 3.0 Portable Slim External DVD Drive, Gipow...

Interface
Standard USB 3.0

Operation Systems
Windows 98/SE/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7/8
Mac OS


Reading Speed
DVD-ROM 8x
CD-ROM 24x

Writing Speed
CD-R: 24X
CD-RW 16X
DVD-R 8X
DVD±R DL 4X
DVD-RW 6X
DVD+R 8X
DVD+RW 8X
DVD-RAM 3X-5X PCAV


Weight
400 g

Blu Ray 3D 4K External DVD Drive USB 3.0 Burner,Slim Bluray CD DVD...

Interface
Standard USB 3.0

Operation Systems
Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10
Mac OS


Reading Speed
CD-R 24X
DVD-R 8X
Blu-Ray 6X

Writing Speed
CD-W 24X
DVD-W 8X


Weight
14.4 oz

External CD DVD Drive, Tintec USB 3.0 CD DVD +/-RW Rewriter Burner...

Interface
Standard USB 3.0

Operation Systems
Windows 10/8.1/7/XP/95/98/2000/2003/Vista
Linux
Mac


Reading Speed
CD-ROM 24x
DVD-ROM 8x
DVD-ROM DL 6x

Writing Speed
CD-R 24x
CD-RW 8x
DVD±R 8X
DVD±R DL 4X
DVD-R±9 2.4x


Weight
10.2 oz

Valoin USB 3.0 External DVD CD Drive External DVD CD Burner Superdrive...

Interface
Standard USB 3.0

Operation Systems
Windows 98/SE/ME/2000/XP/VISTA/Win7/Win 8
Mac OS 8.6


Reading Speed
DVD-ROM 8X
CD-ROM 24X

Writing Speed
DVD±R 8X
DVD-RW 4X
CD-R 24X


Weight
300 g

Optical drives aren’t gone yet – and there are still some great options on the market. Even just looking at external options, you can find a model compatible with almost any modern operating system. Whether you want to cut back on noise, save space, or save money, you can find something on this list to suit your needs.

Asus ZenBook Review – What Does This Unique Model Offer?

ASUS ZenBook

Asus laptops are popular for a reason. The company has a popular name in the tech industry. From individual components like chipsets to a variety of computers, the company’s inventory is versatile.

It’s a testament to how well Asus understands the way technology comes together. For example, their willingness to adapt to Intel’s industry-leading CPUs helped achieve a high-end interface that dominates the current market – a great long-term decision.

But they also understand the value in equipment trends. Their work with chipsets could be capitalizing on partnerships with other market leaders – but many of their leading laptops focus on combining features users look for.

This trend is present with other laptops on the market from competing brands. One popular formula for success goes like this – make it slimmer without making it slower.

Slimmer, More Successful, Increasingly Useful

zenbooks

When we think of laptops, the entire purpose behind it as opposed to a PC is the size. It’s much easier to cart it around whether you’re taking it to the next room or to a work meeting tomorrow.

We all remember the dorm roommate who carried his PC tower inside and out all day – hey, you need some help with that?

But the options for space-efficient devices keep coming. And the trend now is they’re no longer expected to be hampered by their tight quarters. Smaller laptops are now faster and cooler – both in temperature and looks.

The sleek design has stopped being a limiting factor on the device’s potential output. Now it’s a stylistic opportunity and a pallet from which a great machine can be created. The ZenBook represents Asus’s attempt at it. And with a variety of models that offer good value with a little consideration to competition, it’s a line worth learning about.

In this review, we’ll take a look at the Asus ZenBook line of computers. We’ll examine the concept behind the line as a whole, discuss individual models, and finally make a comparison – including alongside other brands’ products.

The Concept Behind the Asus ZenBook

ASUS ZenBook 14 Ultra-Slim Laptop 14” FHD Nano-Edge Bezel, 8th-Gen...

ZenBooks are advertised on Asus’s official website as a product targeted toward creators, connectors, builders, and disruptors.

This immediately catches the attention of users from numerous market demographics. The musicians or video editors of the world – who work diligently to put content on SoundCloud or YouTube. The streamers, graphic artists, gamers, or entrepreneurs who need varying levels of components to work and play respectively.

Sometimes the laptop should lean more toward intensive tasks – you need something that you can push with when you’re working on a project at the office or finishing up something at school.  But there are times when the need for an even slimmer and lighter design is necessary. The frequent traveler or floating worker may even prefer this model to the others.

Then there are those who love the way a laptop functions – but really love the way it looks. For them, style is more of a determining factor than anything else. And if they can get a solid build in addition to the sleek looks, it’s an added bonus.

intel

We can’t forget that there are new trends emerging in the laptop game constantly. This is why we see the debate about laptops vs. tablets vs. tent devices finally cooling. With 2-1 and 3-1 devices, you can get the best of multiple worlds. Improve your workflow in laptop mode, flip the keyboard back for tablet-style viewing, or even use the keyboard itself as a makeshift stand, similar to tent cases for tablets.

Whatever a person is looking for, Asus attempts to offer them something in the ZenBook line. Think about how computers like the Chromebook or the Acer Convertible series – or even certain brands of Mac books. These are all computers that balance various degrees of style, workflow, and portability into their design. But how do the individual ZenBook offerings compare?

For the sake of versatility, we’ll examine each different category here then talk about how the products hold up to the competition – finally, we’ll delve into the product’s reputation for each category, and deliver a final verdict on whether the ZenBook line from Asus is worth checking out.

Making Waves: What Does the ZenBook Line Offer You?

The ZenBook line is promoted as one that helps you amplify your impact. That seems like a salesy way of saying you can do more with less. This means the line fits well among that target market that does a little of everything. Let’s take a look at each product category.

ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 Thin & Light Ultrabook Laptop, 15.6” Full HD...
  • 15.6-Inch 178 degree wide angle view Full-HD Nano Edge touch display with Windows 10
  • Latest 7th generation Intel i7-7700HQ Quad Core 2.8 GHz Processor (Turbo to 3.8 GHz)
  • Fast storage and memory featuring PCIE NVMe 512GB SSD with 16GB DDR4 RAM with NVidia GTX 1050Ti 4GB

Even the title brings to mind Apple’s crowning line in the portable computer category. But what may look like a nod to the standard Mac-style laptop (which even companies like Acer and HP have tried to emulate) is actually a unique offering in its own way.

For starters, this line of computer is built around being light. That’s good, especially since many competitors have also been capitalizing on this trend. If we look at the UX550 in the ZenBook Pro category, we see it is a workhorse laptop from the beginning. And i7 processor means more cores and more perseverance during long hours of work and multitasking.

But what about on the video side? Graphics matter too, whether the user is playing a video game or playing a 3D animation they just created for their next project. This model comes with a GTX 1050 Ti, and that’s enough to make any computer soar into the mid-to-high-end range for productivity machines.

ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 Thin & Light Ultrabook Laptop, 15.6” Full HD...

Whether it’s a gamer who needs to stream, an artist who needs to create, or an entrepreneur who needs to do everything, the UX550 is built for a productive workflow.

There are also other conveniences you would expect, like 16GB of memory and a 15.6” touchscreen display. It’s a machine built for speedy work in a slim frame. It even has USB ports from new and last gen, as well as a 512GB SSD.

You can expect to pay around $1,500 for this laptop – it’s creeping up into the upper-mid-range to high-end buying zone, but this model, in particular, has the specs to justify it. And while there are some slight variants among the other ZenBook pro models, most are value-based like this one.

Sale
ASUS UX490UA-XS74-BL 14-Inch Zenbook 3 Deluxe Notebook Core i7, 16GB...
  • Crafted from premium aerospace-grade aluminum to create a body that is less than half an inch thin weighs only 2.4 lbs
  • Latest 7th-Generation Kaby lake Intel Core i7-7500U Processor 2.7 GHz (Turbo to 3.5 GHz) cooled by copper-alloy heat pipe and liquid-crystal-polymer fan
  • 14-Inch Full HD display with 178° viewing angles encased in Corning Gorilla Glass 5. Ultra-slim bezel at only 7.46mm

This line has some overlap with some of the others – there are some models you’d find in both areas. But on Asus’s official website, this computer is listed in the flash category. No, not flash memory – it’s one of the laptops listed under the main ZenBook profile when it comes to style.

The model chosen for this category was the UX490. That means a great deal of care is given to both aspects – including the specifications that affect performance and the design that affects the style. The latter is due to careful crafting on a single sheet of aluminum material. The aerospace-grade metal goes through a 40-step process before it is ready.

This style is complemented by a solid array of components, many of the same you’d find in the UX550. The i7 is there, and this one adds an extra perk: it is the eighth-generation model, meaning you get superior architecture optimized to today’s tasks. There is also a great combination of memory and storage, 16GB and 512 (SSD) respectively.

ASUS UX490UA-XS74-BL 14-Inch Zenbook 3 Deluxe Notebook Core i7, 16GB...

If you’re the type of person who has their laptop out in class, at a work conference, at your local meeting with your project team, or any other group setting, this can be a great model to show off. There’s no shame in liking the good-looking variety of laptops just for yourself, either.

It’s like the old adage about a tree falling in the woods – even if there’s no one else around to see it, getting a looks-based laptop is always welcomed. And as we mentioned earlier, when it also brings real power in terms of specs, that’s a huge bonus.

Sale
Asus ZenBook Flip 14 UX461UN-DS74T Notebook 14-in i7-8550U 16GB 512GB...
  • 14-Inch wide-view Full-HD nano-edge bezel touch display in 13.3" chassis with Stylus pen and Windows 10 Pre-installed
  • Latest 8th generation Intel Core i7-8550U Quad Core Processor 8M Cache, up to 4.00 GHz
  • Fast storage and memory featuring NVMe PCIe 512GB SSD with 16GB LPDDR3 2133MHz RAM and NVIDIA GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 discrete graphics

This line is Asus’s answer to Acer’s Convertible line and various other manufacturers’ hybrid laptops. When it comes to this line, the question isn’t just what specs or look does the computer have – it is whether or not these design choices are helpful in all of the product configurations.

For this line, the site lists the UX461. It’s a great mid-range model to get you started if you’ve never bought a laptop like this before. But it will also satisfy the design needs of buyers who like the convertible style and swear by it.

Let’s look at the UX461, one of the most popular flip-style ASUS ZenBook choices on the market.  Not only does it come with an eight-generation quad-core processor, but it has the familiar 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM combination. This balance allows for more performance even in tough situations.

Asus ZenBook Flip 14 UX461UN-DS74T Notebook 14-in i7-8550U 16GB 512GB...

Whether you have the computer in tablet mode to watch a video, or in a standard laptop configuration for some gaming, the NVIDIA GeForce MX150 is up to the task. No matter how small or big your need is, this laptop has the right balance of specs to handle almost any mid-range need while still resulting in an athletic design.

As with most model lines in the ZenBook series, you can upgrade or downgrade specs to affect the price. For example, on the UX461, you’ll get the choice of an 8250U or an 8550U for your processor. For the storage, you can enjoy a choice between a 256GB or 512GB model – or, if you don’t mind settling for an HDD over an SSD, you can go down to a standard 1TB model. If you don’t plan on doing much editing and feel 16GB of RAM is excessive, you can go with half of that.

Sale
ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 13.3-inch LCD Ultra-Slim Laptop (Core i5...
  • Built-in fingerprint reader with one-touch login via Windows Hello feature
  • 13.3-Inch wide-view Full-HD LCD Display with Windows 10 Pre-installed
  • Latest 7th generation Intel i5-7200U 2.5 GHz Processor (Turbo to 3.1 GHz)

With its basic title when compared to some of the others, this category could be misconstrued as being the “low cost” line. While it does feature some of the lower prices on the ZenBook catalog, this is because of the products’ design – they’re built to be slimmer and lighter than standard laptops.

This goes for models both in and out of Asus’s lineup. The UX330 is the lower-level model advertised in this category on Asus’s website.

It comes it at around $750, which puts it solidly in the mid-range territory as far as price goes. Yet that’s not the most curious figure associated with it – this would be the weight. At 2.6-pounds, the computer is one of the more lightweight models in Asus’s entire inventory.

ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 13.3-inch LCD Ultra-Slim Laptop (Core i5...

The ZenBook line is targeted at creators, who are often also travelers, entrepreneurs, and workhorses in their own right. Having a lighter laptop can sometimes be helpful in these cases. With an i5 processor, 8GB of memory, and a 256GB SSD, the specs are solid throughout for the ZenBook UX330.

These are most of the prevalent categories in the ZenBook line. But how do they hold up to the competition?

Product

Details

Price

Asus ZenBook Pro

Processor
Intel® Core™ i7-8750H

Graphics
NVIDIA® GeForce® 1050Ti

Display
15.6" NanoEdge 4K UHD 16:9 touchscreen

Memory
16GB 2400MHz DDR4 onboard

Storage
512GB PCIe® SSD

ZenBook Deluxe

Processor
Intel® Core™ i7-8550U


Graphics
Integrated Intel® HD Graphics 620

Display
14” LED-backlit Full HD (1920 by 1080)

Memory
16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 onboard

Storage
512GB PCIe® 3.0 x 4 SSD

256GB SATA3 SSD

Asus ZenBook Flip 2

Processor
Up to Intel® Core™ i7-8550U


Graphics
NVIDIA® GeForce® MX150

Display
14.0" LED-backlit FHD Touchscreen with WideView Technology

Memory
16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM onboard

Storage
512GB PCIe® SSD

Asus Zenbook UX330

Processor
Up to Intel® Core™ i5-7200U


Graphics
Intel HD Graphics 520

Display
13.3" LED-Lit FHD

Memory
8GB DDR3 RAM

Storage
256GB SSD

What Does the ASUS ZenBook Offer That Competitors Don’t?

For many people, they have a preferred brand of laptop. This could be the result of a good experience, a product that lasted a long time and provided plenty of return on investment, or in some cases both.

This is why many laptop manufacturers are moving more toward a holistic approach to their inventory. Offering different types of laptops within the same line can attract new buyers, and even help encourage retention among existing buyers who like the brand but want a different type of computer altogether.

There’s no denying that anyone who is looking at a ZenBook Flip would likely compare to an Acer Convertible, a Chromebook 2-1 or 3-1, and so on. The same can be said about the Pro series, which could be compared to Mac laptops or some of the sleeker more high-end HPs. Asus offers the comfort of brand loyalty, meaning those who have had good experiences with the company before will likely prefer their products over the competition.

Does this mean they’re worth it? If you’re in the market for a creativity-focused machine, ZenBook offers some great options no matter your preference. And if your preference is for ASUS, the ZenBook can help you meet any tech need while going with a brand you feel comfortable with.

Parts Express Review: Buying Experience, Selection, Sales, and More

Parts Express

For some people, spare parts are only something they reach for when something goes wrong. This category of people could be known as the prebuilt crowd.

When they buy a product, they want it fully assembled and set up, ready to go as soon as they get it out of the box. If individual parts need replacing or installed, they’ll likely hire someone to do it – or even change their overall product selection beforehand if they know that installations will be needed.

There are others who could be known as the tinkerers. They love creating setups, swapping parts, and building their own configurations of components. This could be true whether they’re choosing a central processing unit/graphics processing unit pair for a computer build, or a speaker set/subwoofer set for a sound system.

But whether you’re buying a part for a product or looking for a full setup, going to a specialty organization is important. For those seeking something like audio equipment, finding an industry expert can lead to a better experience.

An Audio-Focused Organization: Who Are They?

Parts Express logo

Parts Express is a company that brings to mind high-quality parts just from the name. They seem like an all-purpose tech location perhaps akin to a company like Newegg. But the key difference here is they have a specialty: audio equipment.

From sound systems to theater equipment to custom products, there are plenty of industries Parts Express appeals to. But how does this company rate in terms of their customer feedback, inventory, and overall status as a reliable vendor?

In this review, we’ll examine the company’s history and consider how they hold up. Are they a company that you could consider doing business with and feel comfortable spending your money on? Or are they a specialty company that really has nothing special to speak of?

Who is Parts Express? Key Facts, History, and More

parts express

Parts Express has been in business since 1986. The Ohio-based audio equipment company has a 120,000 square-foot facility, and over 18,000 audio components with hundreds of brands represented.

They have several specialty areas within their audio equipment focus. There’s home audio, for those people who enjoy having a nice speaker system, a soundbar, or some surround setups in their living/dining/entry rooms. Then there’s a selection of commercial audio for companies who know a good workplace is one where instructions and feedback can be clearly transmitted and received.

There’s also professional audio and lighting equipment for live presentations, whether for business or pleasure, and of course, tech for mobile devices. This makes them a great company from a perspective of inventory selection – at least categorically. More on individual products later.

But what about how the company rates in terms of the buying experience they offer customers? It is important to remember that this experience can be just as important as the products themselves. Good companies know that repeat business is key for consistent revenue and growth. The company boasts a customer-focused culture, which they say helps them maintain an excellent reputation among customers.

studio microphone and speaker

It is worth noting the company has come a long way. In their humble origins decades ago, it was just a small team located on the floor above an old automotive plant. That’s a small beginning, and the team has been around for long since – which, in itself is a testament to their longevity.

But the company’s status as a local company may cause some to wonder why they didn’t expand as a chain if they were successful enough in their unique industry. Technically, Parts Express has expanded. But rather than going to new locations, they’ve worked with various other industries and groups to help increase their business’s presence.

They work with multiple private companies and work in unique areas like the gaming industry and amusement parts. These types of customers can sometimes have trouble finding audio equipment for their unusual needs. Big box retailers and electronics stores sometimes carry audio equipment – even good equipment – but they simply don’t stay geared for customers who don’t come around that often.

Rather than working with these options yearly or monthly to fulfill their needs, these kinds of customers are sometimes better off finding a local specialty company to work with. Parts Express also works with various public organizations like schools. They’re involved with churches, charities, and plenty of other groups that appreciate good audio equipment. But in terms of you, their potential customer, what can they offer?

Let’s look at this from the perspective of a newcomer who goes to the company’s site to browse their product line – what will they find?

Products and Product Categories from Parts Express

We can see Parts Express focuses on a certain type of buying experience. The lavish showroom full of equipment, the trained staff who have specialized knowledge to match the company focus, and of course, a number of ongoing partnerships that mean repeat business.

But what about their product line? Let’s go by the main categories listed on the organizations’ website, breaking down what you can expect to find in each category.

Home Audiovisual

turntable

This category immediately presents us with plenty of options for fixing up a place of residence. Home audio amps, stereo receivers, and digital audio/video converters are some of the first options listed. This is followed by a speaker selection consisting of subwoofers, floor/standing selections, and bookshelf speakers. They even carry in-wall speakers, ceiling speakers, and the kits you need to install said devices, including brackets and grills.

You can also find a lot of the other components you need to fix your system that don’t even factor into audio. This includes TV stands and mounts, including shelves, brackets, and mounts. Combined with their wide selection of connectors and adapters, this makes them a great source of audio accessories. Cable and connector options include HDMI, DVI, VGA, RCA, and 3.5mm audio.

They also carry headphone and headphone amplifiers for private sound quality. As for the cable/satellite section in this category, includes splitters and connectors of various types. There’s also similar accessories for mobile/tablet, as well as multi-room audio distribution systems to spread the sound around. And finally, there are power connectors and surge protectors to help you manage your setup safely.

Speaker Components

speaker components

Parts Express wouldn’t be a true audio company if they didn’t have a specialty area dedicated to speakers. Sure, you’ll find some in the previous category, but this one goes a bit more in depth.

You can find woofers for all types of frequency ranges and even full-range drivers. There are speakers for guitars, basses, and many other types of equipment. You can turn your sound setup into an audio research lab with the selection of audio measurement tools – or you can build your own setup with speaker wires and cabinets. It’s like we mentioned at the start – parts companies know some people like to build their own setup, so they offer everything you may need.

There are cleaning and maintenance products for your speakers, including dust caps, grill clothes, re-foam kits, and more. It’s a smart product selection – after all, anyone who spends money on a good sound system deserves the equipment to maintain it and protect their investment.

Pro Audio

mixer

The Pro Audio section has some overlap. You’ll notice the speakers for musical instruments here, as well as woofers, speakers, plus more. But there’s also a selection of other equipment you’ll almost always find used in the context of a live show.

PA systems, power amps, live sound mixers, mics, and more – it’s all offered in this section. There’s a variety of other parts you can use to help line out the stage. From fog machines to laser lights, there’s everything a customer could need when they’re setting up a stage show or throwing a party.

Car Audio

car audio

Last but certainly not least is car audio. This is a smart category pick. If the most common place to find a sound system isn’t a living room or a party, it’s an automobile. There’s something about being able to feel like you’re in a concert hall when you’re driving down the road.

This section offers car speakers for dashes, doors, and decks, as well as subs complete with a variety of boxes. There’s also a wide selection of installation accessories including harnesses, mounting adapters, baffles, sound dampening foam, AM/FM receivers, mobile receivers and LCD monitors, review cameras, power cable terminals, and car audio capacitors.

As we can see, Parts Express has the inventory selection on lock – despite being a specialty company, they’ve been able to split their inventory up into even more distinct sub-categories, effectively increasing their reach and making it easier for customers to find the things they want.

But there’s also an important factor we haven’t talked about yet. While Parts Express has a great history, a business plan centered around a great buying experience, and a wide selection of products, it is also important to take into account customer feedback.

How Does Parts Express Do in the Review Category?

It may be hard to believe now, but there was a time when people didn’t think customer reviews would be a model to go off of. While it seems intuitive, feedback systems weren’t always what they are now. But various sites now exist to rate an organization’s performance, so let’s look at a few of them.

If we go to Yelp, we can see there aren’t a lot of reviews. But the catch is, the customers have deemed the company worthy of visiting, resulting in an overall rating of 4/5. But we also find Site Jabber, we see more reviews. In this case, there are eleven in total. But the overall rating is lower, falling to a 2.5/5.  

Yelp

Site Jabber

Google

But the biggest telling audience in terms of review is usually those who weigh in on their experience on the company’s Google page. Despite being known primarily for their search engine, Google has done a lot of good with all the things that come with their engine, namely local listings for companies like Parts Express, which list direction, hours, and a place for customers to leave feedback.

Here we see the company has over 180 reviews – and their overall rating is a 4.3/5.

That’s a telling number, and it shows the organization has mastered their field to the point of giving customers the right experience from beginning to end. It is one thing to be involved in a specialty field in terms of just having the inventory. Having the right team matters, too – but even that isn’t the whole story.

Companies who are able to put everything together usually do the best in terms of customer service. Their professed buying experience wasn’t just a clever marketing statement. Parts Express has a lock on their industry in their area, and they have the positive customer feedback to back it up.

Final Verdict: What Can Parts Express Offer?

For some people, their quest to buy audio equipment ends as soon as they see the first decent speaker set at their local retail chain. Even the additional adapters they need, or the spare parts they require for their newest project, are often ordered from various vendors through online shopping sites. How is it possible for a specialty company in a limited location to expand?

Parts Express knows their industry, and their continued focus on a broad and diversified product line within the confines of their field has given them many opportunities. But it is their focus on providing a good customer experience that has truly helped them expand. Their broad market is an evidence of this. With customers in the private and public sector, ranging from ongoing to ad hoc, they’re a company that keeps multiple revenue streams.

Audio equipment is an important part of everyday life. Our vehicles, our favorite stores, our local organizations – all of them depend on transmitting sound to listeners in the right way. With a company like Parts Express, anyone in or around the Ohio area can find great audio equipment.