On the other hand, that USB direct connect feature is awesome. I can get one of those Western Digital portable USB drives and connect it directly. These drives come in up to 2 TB configuration these days and because they’re portable drives without a separate power cable, they’re super convenient to plug into the TV. With 2 TB, I can put a ton of movies onto this thing. As a portable drive, the performance is not up to par with other USB drives but you hardly notice it when copying movies; it might be a tad slower. For viewing though, it’s not an issue. The portability completely trumps the performance. What awesome for me is how many different formats the Samsung TV supports. I have most of my movies in the MKV format as I think it’s the most versatile. It can hold subtitles, different audio streams, attached thumbnail images, etc. I do wish the Samsung supported thumbnail view though; but that’s just a small quibble. It has played most of the major formats I’ve thrown at it. This is pretty awesome if you ask me.
I love it so much that my newest TV is a 55″ 4K TV from Samsung in the hopes that it has the same Smart features. It should. I take delivery next Friday and cannot wait to get it up on the wall. It’ll be a nice addition to be able to watch my 4K Phantom 3 Videos.
Long term, I’m averaging 40.5 MPG, highway & city combined. This is quite amazing for such a vehicle. There’s more than enough power and I’m never feeling like I’m driving a hybrid although because it is a hybrid, I’m constantly playing games so see how long I can stay in the “zone”. This zone is the time when the car is driving purely on the batteries and no gasoline is used. This becomes like playing a video game rather than a chore.
I do notice that driving habits has a lot to do with efficiency, as we’ve all read. I drive consistently at 65 mph on the freeway via cruise control and have noticed huge gas savings. I can certainly go a lot fast without any issues but going consistently at 80 will drop the MPG down to about 37. That’s a pretty big difference. The order thing that affects MPG is the gas mixture between winter fuel and summer fuel. I get much, much better efficiency on the summer fuel mix by far. I’m not sure why but that’s how it’s working out.
In terms of reliability, I’ve not had a single problem so far. Being a Toyota, I don’t expect any issues for a while. I can’t imagine that any future car I buy won’t be a hybrid. There’s a very nice Avalon Hybrid out now as well as the beautiful, Avalon-based Lexus ES 300h. That may be the next step up for me when I decide I need to move up. No rush though as I’m still paying this one off!
If you have an older MacBook Air that’s spatially challenged, then I have the solution for you! Some older MacBook Air only came with 64 GB in their internal SSD. That was upgraded to 128 GB (up to 256 GB in higher end configurations) in later models, upgradable to 512 GB. While an SSD dramatically increases the performance of these computers on a usability basis, there are challenges. Those with 128 GB or less (and perhaps even for those with even larger SSD capacity) will quickly find out that they have to do a lot of hard drive space management after loading their MacBooks with a reasonable amount of apps. With apps, photos, music and videos, I’m often working with less than 10 GB of space free! That causes a lot issues as well as system inefficiencies.
How can you add capacity to your computer? I have a small, external portable USB hard drive that’s 2 TB in size. Even though it’s one of those that’s exclusively powered through the USB port without an AC adapter brick, it’s still cumbersome to carry around and use. You have to remember to plug it in all the time. I’m sure that most MacBook Air users have some type of external storage that they’re lugging around. SD cards can work but they’re not designed for use as a drive and they stick out of the MacBook in an inelegant way that gets in the way of storing the computer. Along comes Transcend and its solution:
This is essentially an SD card designed to function as a drive and is called the JetDrive Lite. When I first read about it, I figure it’s the perfect solution and I had to get it for my MacBook Air (late 2012 model with a 128 GB SSD). It was such a new product that it took a little bit to arrive. When it arrived earlier than expected, I was super excited! Looking at the packaging, it’s an MLC drive and that’s why it’s pretty affordable (around $90 for the 128 GB JetDrive Lite). The difference between an MLC and SLC drive is important but these days they are minimized due to the controller and implementation more than the underlying technology. There’s no detail on the controller of the JetDrive that I could easily find (read: 5 minutes of Googling). However, the drive does come with a limited lifetime warranty and is rated for 10,000 insertion/removal cycles in terms of durability. That’s pretty good to me and will outlast the useful life of my MacBook.
So how does it work and more importantly, how does it look? Well, it looks GREAT! Check out this photo I snapped of my MacBook 13″ Air equipped with it:
It just disappears and it looks really good. There’s no problem to putting my MacBook into it’s neoprene case and stuffing it into my bag. It looks like it’s made for the computer. The insertion was way easy but removal is a bit more difficult. No tools are required but you do need a little bit of your fingernail to help so for those with freshly trimmed fingernails, good luck! Based on the design, I would say that it’s not designed for people who frequently use the SD card slot of their MacBook. If I had to swap the drives in and out several times a day I wouldn’t be happy. But if it’s just a swap of once or twice a week, I think it’s fine. The JetDrive is clearly designed to be left in your MacBook most of the time and that’s how I intend to use mine It’s almost easier to carry a tiny SD card reader that connects to your USB port instead. So now you’re essentially using an external card reader vs external hard drive if you’re a heavy SD card user. But I think that’s a worthy trade off.
So how does it perform? Quite well actually but I did run into one problem that’s worth mentioning. The drive does work out of the box. Plug it in and just go. Performance is pretty good. I’m not a technical, stopwatch measuring kind of guy but I would say it feels faster than a USB attached physical drive. Long term reliability is a question I can’t answer yet but I expect it to perform well there as well. The main issue I had is that the drive is formatted to exFAT by default. While that worked fine on my system, I ran into a problem when I tried to load an Aperture library. I received a message that the file system was unsupported. After some quick investigation, I found that it was exFAT formatted. This is nothing a quick trip to the Disk Utility couldn’t fix. I re-formatted using the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) partition and then everything works great. This does mean I can’t stick it into my Windows computer but I’m not sure it would be a good idea to do that anyways.
So would I recommend the Transcend JetDrive Lite 130? Yes, I wholeheartedly would! My only recommendation is to format it to the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system before you put it to use. It’ll take you just a second to do so. Good luck!
Overall I’m pretty happy with it and it should serve me well for years. I plan to drive this car as long as possible. I’ll keep reporting periodically on the driving experience and what it’s like to own a hybrid, cost wise. I was a bit worried that perhaps I made my decision too hasty to go with a hybrid compared to say a diesel, like the Volkswagen Passat diesel that gets almost 40 MPG in real life. But what swayed me ultimately was Toyota’s reliability, slightly cheaper gas prices compared to diesel and that in the real world the hybrid Camry gets more miles per gallon than a comparable diesel sedan.