28th November 2007

NVousPC Mercury Laptop with Custom Paint Job – Review (Page 2 / A Closer Look)

The laptop has a healthy variety of ports to make things easier for you. There is even a switch in the front, below the touchpad to physically enable/disable the wireless card. Also on the front you can find a media card reader that will read SD, MMC, and MS cards. On the lefthand side of the laptop there is a USB 2.0 port, ethernet port, and a hole for connecting a laptop lock. On the righthand side of the laptop there are audio ports for speakers and a microphone, two USB 2.0 ports, the DVD burner, and a VGA video out port. And finally, on the back of the case, you can find the power connection port, a modem port, as well as an S-Video out for outputting to your television. It does not have DVI though, which is usually only on very high end gaming laptops. Overall, it has pretty much all the ports you’d expect to use.

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Next, I moved on to playing a DVD full screen to test out how long the Mercury’s battery could last under a mild load. Playing one of my favorite movies, Silent Hill, with the sound at full volume and the screen at 75% brightness, the battery powered for the entire movie as well as even more after restarting the movie. Overall, the battery lasted 2 hours and 48 minutes while playing the DVD. Once the battery was down to 1% I let it sit idle and plugged it into the wall to see how fast it would charge while still on. It took 2 hours and 10 minutes for the laptop to register a fully charged battery. One can assume it would take a slightly shorter amount of time to charge the battery had the laptop been shut off during the charge.


Now, I know a lot of people out there like numbers for comparison to other units available on the market. For convenience, I ran all the same tests on my desktop mini-ITX rig which actually uses a laptop CPU, the Intel Core Duo T2300 (1.6GHz). The other specs for my mini-ITX rig are 2GB of DDR2-667, 7200RPM 8MB cache Hard Drive and a nVidia 6800GT video card. Speaking of hardware, before we check out the rest of the benchmark results, let’s check out what the hardware look like under the hood of this machine. As you can see below, the three components that can be customized or upgraded are easily accesible via removable covers on the bottom of the laptop. I was surprised at how well built and reflective the CPU cooler is. It does a great job of cooling the CPU and rarely could I actually hear the fan running. Only during a couple tests did the fan fire up to full speed to achieve more of its cooling potential.

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< NVousPC Mercury Laptop with Custom Paint Job – Review (Page 4 / Gaming) >
< NVousPC Mercury Laptop with Custom Paint Job – Review (Page 5 / Review Supplement & Conclusion) >

posted by Doomzilla in Laptops/ Computers, Reviews Subpage | Comments Off

6th November 2007

Virgin Mobile Kyocera Wild Card Phone – Review (Page 3 / Conclusion)

My last phone was a Virgin Mobile Kyocera Marbl, and even though it worked fine as a cheap $20 cell phone, it was weak in other areas, especially battery time. It would last about a day with one call and sitting in standby mode before having to be charged again. The Wild Card’s battery time is very impressive. After charging it overnight I played Super Adventure Island for and hour, made two 5-minute phone calls, sent and received a couple text messages, browsed the web and checked my GMail for 10 minutes, and then played Medal of Honor: Airborne for half an hour. Then I left it in standby and come the next morning I still had one bar of battery life which lasted me until midday. Obviously, if I had only made a couple calls, checked my email, and left it in standby the rest of the time it would easily last three days without needing a charge. Kyocera rates the battery for up to 150 hours in standby mode which should be more than enough for any consumer’s needs.

Unfortunately, I do not own a bluetooth headset, so I was unable to test the phone’s Bluetooth capabilities.

In my opinion, the biggest selling point of this phone is that it is around $100 for a very capable phone with no service plan. You can buy the phone and choose whatever plan you want that best fits your lifestyle. I chose an $.18 a minute plan (pay as you go) because I rarely make calls. Also, I added $5.00 for 200 messages and $5.00 for a month of web browsing. So, on average I spend just over $10 to have a phone for emergencies, quick calls, text messaging, and web browsing. And for around $6 a game, I can cheaply add games to keep me busy during my commute. New graphics are $1.99 a pop and Virgin has a huge library of official wallpapers and an even bigger catalog of user made graphics. If your budget is a bit larger, you can opt for the unlimited domestic messaging including text, IM, email and picture messaging for $19.99 per month. Right now Virgin Mobile is offering the second month free, but for the budget conscious, this is not required. You can listen to music through the optional Headliner service, but for $.25 to stream a song seems a bit pricey in my opinion.

Virgin Mobile’s Website

Unless you are a business person that needs very deep scheduling and office apps, the Virgin Mobile Kyocera Wild Card should easily meet all your mobile needs. And compared to other companies options, it has a fairly cheap price, especially since you do not have to commit to any yearly contracts. It is obvious that this phone is marketed for a younger demo ranging from tweens to early twenty-somethings as it is very hip in its presentation and has quick links to social networks like Facebook and IM programs. If you are considering using Virgin Mobile as you cell phone solution than I would highly suggest just going for the Wild Card phone. Overall, it isn’t a whole lot more than any of the other phones they have and provides a much more entertaining experience, especially if you are stuck on public transportation or hanging out in the city.

And lastly, before the Pro and Con wrap-up, here is a list of other features and tools that come with the phone: Voice Memo recording/playback, Scheduler, Alarm Clock, Tip Calculator, Calculator, Timer, Stopwatch, and Flashlight.


  • Full QWERTY keyboard
  • High quality screens
  • AOL and Yahoo IM built-in
  • Basic web-browsing works well
  • Games run like butter
  • No monthly contract required
  • Long battery life even while playing games


  • Second screen could be larger
  • Fingerprint Magnet
  • no MP3 support and streaming music is pricey
  • Provided games are only demos

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posted by Doomzilla in Consumer Electronics, Reviews Subpage | 0 Comments

6th November 2007

Virgin Mobile Kyocera Wild Card Phone – Review (Page 2)

Once the phone is opened up, a whole new setup is available as you have many more keys, but the four hot keys for Account Info, Text Messaging, Call History, and VXL are here as well. The full QWERTY keyboard is one of the best features on this phone. Typing on this tiny keyboard proves to be much faster than typing on the number pad of older phones I have owned. The keys are even raised a bit so finding the key fast while typing with two thumbs took almost no time to get accustomed to. An added extra that I wasn’t expecting is that all of the small keys are backlit to make typing easier in dark environments. There is a considerably large Space bar below the Navigation/Hot Keys, but my only complaint with that is that it is not raised up as much as the other keys. It is not a big deal overall, but I was disappointed in the lack of conformity. The screen inside the phone is slightly larger than the outer screen (160 pixels wide compared to 128). When navigating certain options, or playing games you are required to use this larger screen.

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Web browsing is acceptable, but not quite as full-fledged as using a PDA Smart Phone. The Wild Card’s WAP 2.0 browser disables a lot of the larger images to speed up load times and make browsing simpler. Checking my GMail, reading the Onion News, and browsing Aberrantech proved easy and even though it may not be the prettiest way to view the pages, it proved to be very convenient especially while riding public transportation to work.

The Wild Card comes with games, but the handful of games it comes with turn out to be 90 second demos of popular games that you must pay for like Pac-Man, Bejeweled 2, Tetris, etc.. I was thrown off a bit because I was expecting to have at least one simple full game provided. I did however spend some money and buy Medal of Honor: Airborne and Super Adventure Island. Graphically, they are both very similar to what you would see if you were playing a Super Nintendo and run very smooth. In fact, I was very surprised at how fast MoH:A ran as I was running all over the screen shooting squads of Nazis and grenades exploding. In short, for basic mobile gaming, the Wild Card is plenty powerful enough to keep the newest games running. And even though the screen does seem a bit smaller than it could be, games like Bejeweled 2 and Pac-Man look great and are very clear. The speaker, though small, seemed quite clear while playing games and did a decent job at playing my “Real Music” ringtone “Shadow of the Day” by Linkin Park. Unfortunately, the phone cannot be used directly as an mp3 player as there is no way to download or transfer music to the phone. Your only music options are the Headliner streaming service and the ringtones.


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