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What's in my bag? Cool tech I use (May 2019)

Laptop So I've used that blue Dell Inspiron 11 3162 until August 2017 and while it wasn't a bad laptop, it lacked the power I need. I, therefore, swapped it for a then-new Dell Inspiron 15 5567 complete with a powerful CPU, GPU lots of storage and a decent screen. The main issue with that machine? It was heavy and the plastic casing felt cheap compared to the MacBooks and ThinkPads I see every day as an informatics student. I've then decided to look for a smaller, premium-er (?) Ultrabook and I ended up with this: the Dell Latitude E7240. Even if it's 4 years old by now, I can't say enough good things about this machine. The keyboard feels great, the build quality is amazing, the battery lasts forever and the Core i5-4310U is powerful enough for everything I need to do right now. Oh and one more thing: being a business laptop makes it very easy to maintain, to repair and to upgrade, which is, in my opinion, a huge bonus.
[April 2019] A year later and I still reall…
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Dell Latitude E7240 Review: Worth it today?

Laptops can get pretty expensive these days, but most people cannot afford to spend 1000+€ on a new, premium device and they end up with some random cheap Lenovo IdeaPad or Acer Aspire, or worse, some cheap, poorly built and slow convertible from a no-name brand. But this strategy is wrong. There are good deals out there and you can get a premium device for the same 2-400€ you would spend on that device. Just not where you'd think. Most people don't even know that an older chip is not that much slower than a new(er) equivalent.
Where to buy the reviewed product
i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD:, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD: I needed a new laptop to carry around to college, but I wanted something small yet well built. Something like a Surface Pro, Surface Book or even something like a Dell XPS 15 or Latitude E7280. But these cost more than 1000€ and as a student, I did not have that money. So I started looking for an alternative. I then remembered…

Sony SRS XB31 Bluetooth Speaker Review

Sony preferred to stick to the basics with their XB31 speaker, choosing not to integrate some smart features (like the integration with the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa). But this isn't necessarily a negative, as this feature comes with higher-end speakers that cost a lot more and (ironically) have a rather clunky implementation. As a whole, the Sony SRS XB31 does nothing special, it doesn't innovate at all, it doesn't break the boundaries for this category, but doesn't break the bank either.
SpecsSpeaker type: Full-rangeDimensions: 231mm x 87mm x 81mmWeight: 890gIP67 rating, rust-proofFrequency Range: 20 - 20000HzDrivers: dual 48mm, passive subwooferBattery size: 4500mAhBattery life: 24h (more on this shortly)Ports: Micro USB, Audio-Out, USB type A (power out only)Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2, NFCIntegrated microphonePrice (at the time of the review): 169.90 € ( to buy: Unboxing Inside the box, you don't get much: there'…

Huawei Band 2 Pro Review: Mighty features for a small price

Huawei is most well known for its networking equipment, its pretty good smartphones and its weird relationship with all western governments that are concerned about the brand's ties to the Chinese government and less for its fitness wearables. With nothing special in terms of features and design, it's really easy to overlook the Band 2 Pro from Huawei. Until you see the price and how much of a fitness tracker you get for that money. 

For less than 50€ (at the time of writing), you are getting built-in GPS, a heart rate sensor and deep sleep-tracking capabilities in a package that feels far more premium than the price tag would suggest. Not only that, but the battery life is excellent. Sure, it's not a perfect fitness tracker, corners had to be cut, but even so, the Band 2 Pro checks a lot of boxes.

Buy it here:

Powerful sensors, budget package Nowadays you can get fitness trackers for far less than the 50€ asking price of the Band 2 Pro and almost ev…

Sennheiser CX6.00BT Review

Sennheiser is a German company that specializes in earphones. They have been in this game for a long time, so they know how to design a great audio product that does not break the bank. The two "blocks" on the cable of the wireless CX 6.00 BT earbuds are a great example of this great hardware design.

Buy them:
Unboxed... Opening up the pretty small box reveals the paperwork and the plastic carrying "case". This carrying case then contains the earphones themselves, the silicone tips in 4 different sizes (XS, S, M, L - more on those later) and a very short charging cable.  I really can't say I like this "carrying case". It's big and bulky and cannot be held in a pocket (not even a large one) because of it's enormous size. I think Sennheiser could have done better in this department, like include a small leather pouch like they do with the lower-tier wired CX 3.00-II. That's what I would rather use to carry them around,…

Marshall MS-2 Amp Review: Cute little amp with a lot of oomph

The first thing that comes to mind when you see the Marshall logo? That's right, those big, bad-ass amplifiers at rock concerts back in the day. But the MS-2 isn't one of those amps. It's a different product, a different approach. You see, this is a micro-amp, designed for portability. And oddly enough, it packs all the punch it needs at a price lower than 30€. Let's dive right in.

You can find it on Amazon:

Unboxed... The MS-2 is delivered in a small box (according to its size). Take it out of that box, and you are greeted by the amp itself, about the same size as a Nintendo Switch with one controller. There is also a tiny manual and a 9V battery. Nothing more. No cable for the guitar, not even a power adapter. Marshall kept it simple in this department, probably to save some cost, which is fine by me. Most guitarists have their own cables anyway and an included power cable would have made the whole "portable" part look like a gimmick. …

Self-driving vehicles: What are they and how do they work?

I wrote this paper for a seminar at my university and I thought I should share it with the world since I really put a lot of work into it and the outcome isn't that bad. As a bonus, it even fits the general theme of the blog, self-driving vehicles are still mobile "gadgets" - only far more complex than laptops, phones or bicycles. 
Introduction Despite popular belief, the idea behind self-driving (autonomous) vehicles has been around for quite some time, although in different forms. People just like to see themselves in the driver’s seat of their car, while they do anything else but pay attention to the road, waiting to reach their destination. But this was not always the case. Some 50 years ago, a car was considered autonomous if it only could keep its lane or match the speed of the vehicle in front of it. People today even like to brag about their new ’self-driving car’ that can park itself. This general confusion or lack of knowledge sparked the need for a unified defini…

Bike Tour Hamburg: Pinneberg - Wedel - Elbidylle - Uetersen - Pinneberg

Tour details
Difficulty: medium, a good physical condition is recommendedDistance: 55.6 kmDuration: ca. 3.5 to 4.5 hours, depends on speed and the number of breaksBike type: Standard trekking bikes are ideal, mountain bikes might be slower on the tarmac, speed/ racing bikes will have trouble on the dirt segmentsFor the majority of the tour, the road is indeed tarmac, but there are a few dirt/ gravel segments that lead through a forest and some fieldsThe starting point/ finish can be reached by public transit. The tour starts at the Pinneberg train station (connections: S3, RB61, RB71, Busses 185, 195, 285, 594, 6663) and ends there as well