Review: LG Electronics 55UF6450 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

I bought this LG 4K Ultra at what I feel was an outstanding price for a 55-inch unit.  As it is a brand new model from LG this season there were no reviews when I purchased it (Nov 23).   However, I am familiar with the overall good reputation of LG and the other size LG 4K models that were on display and turned on looked great.

LG 55UF6450 55-Inch 4K
   LG Stock Photo

Set-up was a breeze.  Four screws secure the two legs to the base of the unit.  Plug it in.  Follow some instructions to set up the basics.  You’re ready.

There are now some reviews written around the web and I did notice some negative comments about the Operating System (OS) not being up to par with some other brands.  Those are mostly true, the OS is a bit limited, and is one factor to keep this from receiving a 5 star rating.

LG 55UF6450 55-Inch 4K
   LG Stock Photo

That said, my Sony BluRay Disc Player is what I use to access my VuDU Account and my Amazon Prime Video, anyway, so it is really a non-issue for me.  Factually, as my BD player has the capability I would have preferred a “non-Smart” TV, but it does not seem to be available in 4K.

The colors are fantastic on my unit.  Beautiful blues.  Great greens.  Black blacks.  Robust reds.  Etc.  You can also tweak colors a bit via Picture Mode Settings to your personal tastes.  The sound is not bad for a TV but I never use TV sound, haven’t for years.  Currently, I have a JBL Cinema SB100 Soundbar that is connected, sitting at the base of the LG.  I am watching Jurassic World right now writing this review.  The colors and sound are exactly what I wanted.  I also like that it has 3 HDMI connections.

The OS and sound keep this LG 55-inch 4K Ultra HDTV from being a full 5-star, but, for me, this is a solid 4-plus.  Note: be sure that your HDMI cable is newer and is compatible with 4K as that can make a difference.  I use and love Blue Rigger for all my HDMI and Optical cables.

This LG 4K is a keeper.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Windows 10 OS Consumer Review

This will not be a highly technical nor a fully in-depth review.  If that is what you are looking for it would be best to go to a dedicated tech site/blog.  This is more of an overview regarding what Microsoft has done with their new Operating System (OS).

I have utilized Windows OS since Windows 95.  I loved XP.  I bypassed Vista.  I thought Win7 Home Premium was pretty darn good.  I never once considered Win8.  Or 8.1.  As for further full disclosure, I also own an iMac and a MacBook Pro but I have found that I, personally, need to have a Windows OS to do certain things better or faster.

Outlined here will be primary thoughts and observations from my experience during the past month, my 30-day trial period where I could opt to go back to Win7, if I so desired.  There are enough improvements so I think I will stay with Win10.  Please note, there are no longer Basic and Premium editions, so my Win7 Home Premium is now simply Win10 Home.

Windows 10 StartThe first hooray, as pretty much everyone knows, is that the Start button is back and, I am sure, here to stay.  It has a bit of a different look and feel but the additional options it provides are great.  And, it is customizable to your taste.

Win10 Setings 1It does take a little while to get all your settings the way you want them.  Most are not found where they had been located in the earlier OS’s.  You access all of the Win 10 OS settings by clicking the Start button and then Settings.  When you do that the above window appears.

Win10 Settings 2For each Settings page there are tabs on the left, as in the sample shown above.  You should absolutely go through each and every one of the nine Settings pages and all of the Tabs on each page to ensure that all is to your liking.  It can be a bit time consuming but it is definitely worth it.  If needed, you can do a Duck search for ‘Windows 10 Settings’ and get answers to various questions you may have.

Concerning privacy, a thorough explanation of all options is at lifehacker.  It is a long, must-read, post but it goes through pretty much each privacy-related setting that you should be aware of and what each setting controls.

The new browser, Microsoft Edge, is not really an improvement over Internet Explorer.  My displeasure with IE11 over the past year, especially, was growing exponentially as there were increasingly too many website pages that I frequent that had to be reloaded or that just plain froze (quite annoying, to say the least).  While those exact phenomena have not been an issue with Edge (knock on wood, cross my fingers), there are other things to spoil my experience.

One of the worst is the length of time to load certain often-visited sites like Facebook and eBay, where it can take as long as 30 seconds to load.  While maybe not as bad as freezing like IE11, still a pain.  Another horror is that I work with several tabs open and if I go from one site to another and then back again a while later to the earlier tabbed website it always reloads/refreshes.  That means, on a site like FB, regardless of how far down I had scrolled, I am no longer there, I am at the top.  That last one did NOT occur with IE11.

Microsoft Edge SettingsOne thing I noticed when I first opened Edge was that there was no Home icon.  If you use that feature, which I do, a lot, it must be activated.  For all Edge browser settings you go to the upper right corner of the browser and find three dots to the far right.  Click that and then click Settings at the bottom.  The Home button on/off control is found in, of all places, the Advanced Settings page (???) of the Edge Settings, which is also where you can set your desired Home page.  So, what browser do I use?  Mozilla Firefox.  It works great.  And, yes, I use DuckDuckGo as my home page and search engine as they don’t track users.  I like that.

Don't Track Us - DuckDuckGo
Courtesy of DuckDuckGo

Having gone through every page and every button for both the Win10 Settings and Edge Settings I am pretty happy with everything that is offered.  As a note, I really did not like the Snap feature, so I turned that off when I found it.

There has been only one major disappointment, thus far, and it is not the fault of Microsoft.  Since 2003, I have used an HP PhotoSmart 7660 photo printer because I have not seen any other printer that could beat mine for color quality.  Unfortunately, I could not install it on Win10.  It worked with Win7, albeit with a substitute driver, but it worked.  The only good thing is that, for some reason, my 7660 could be installed on my iMac.  Go figure.

Fortunately, to my relief, my trusty older tech programs Adobe Acrobat 9 Standard and Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 both work great.  Other devices and programs performing well with Win10 are my HP OfficeJet Pro 8100, McAfee Internet Security, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, Microsoft Office 2010, Quicken 2013 Home & Business and VuDu To Go.  For this post, I discovered that I could not drag and drop my photos, though I could upload them.  Perhaps WordPress needs to iron out some compatibility bug.

As I said at the start…not highly technical, at all.  Just one person’s opinion that Microsoft heard and listened to some concerns of their consumers.  As far as others, well, at least the options probably exist, somewhere on one of the many Settings pages, to control a lot of the various aspects of the OS and browser.

As a final note, I do want to say that having all of the giant tech companies force us into accepting things that make their life easier, or more profitable, sucks.  It happens with all of our tech products and programs.  They force us to accept what they produce.

An example is trying to make a one-size-fits-all program where what you use or access works equally well and perfectly on a Nokia Lumia 830 5″ SmartPhone, a Kindle Fire 7″ HDX, an Apple 8.9″ iPad Air, a Dell Inspiron 15.6″ laptop, a 21.5″ Apple iMac and a 27″ Lenovo all-in-one touch screen PC.  I’m just saying.  Think about it.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

 

Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Lens Review

As is the norm here at Main Street One, tech specs are not really discussed when products are reviewed. The thought process is that a prospective buyer is more than likely knowledgeable, to some degree, with all or most of the specs. These reviews deal with experience in working with a product, how it performs in the real world and are compared, at times, to similar products from the same or another manufacturer.

The piece of camera gear reviewed here is the Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 18–300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens. Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 18-300mmNikon USA refers to this glass as, the “most powerful all-in-one zoom lens ever.” There is absolutely no argument here, only supporting evidence.

This lens was purchased to take the place of having to carry both a Nikon AF-S 18-200mm lens and a Nikon AF-S 55-300mm lens and then needing (or having) to switch them out in order to capture certain shots (and oft-times missing the shot due to the time it takes to change them). Another reason is that each time a lens is removed from the camera body that action opens up the possibility of contaminants infiltrating gear during the change-out. What a dream! With this lens neither of the two mentioned issues is a even a remote concern.

True, the 18-300mm is not classed (nor priced) as a pro level lens and it will not outperform a prime lens but it certainly is great glass.

The 18-300mm focuses faster than either the 18-200mm or the 55-300mm. There have been zero issues with the lens hunting for a focal point in low lighting situations (unless there is absolutely no contrast, but that happens with virtually every lens manufactured).

The sharpness at all focal settings, between 18mm and 300mm, is very good. The color and clarity of images are both quite good. Well, no, they are better than quite good. Nikon has done a very admirable job in bringing consumers an excellent all-in-one carry-about lens.

Nikon D5100 with Nikkor AF-S DX 18-300mm lens
Nikon D5100 with Nikkor AF-S DX 18-300mm lens

The 18-300mm performs at least as well, if not better, at 300mm than the 55-300mm lens, and at the lower end of the spectrum, in the 18-24mm range, it has out-shined the 18-200mm. That is exceptional, to say the least.

The AF (autofocus) works superbly and coupled with Nikon’s Vibration Reduction II (VR) technology makes for perfect everyday shooting. However, this lens can also be used for close-up nature shots producing excellent clarity and bokeh (background blur). 

The 18-300mm has been used on both a Nikon D90 and a Nikon D5100 and it performs great on both bodies.

The lens lock comes in handy to avoid the dreaded lens creep.

The glass is definitely heavier than the 18-200mm, but that is to be expected with the added focal length. The build quality seems quite good. There is no cheap plastic feeling that one sometimes experiences with certain lenses. The reversible lens hood is engineered well with the camera’s IF (Internal Focus) and, when reversed, does not interfere when focusing, as it does on the 18-200mm.

Overall, this is a very impressive lens. The Nikon Nikkor AF-S DX 18–300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR is definitely recommended as a one-lens solution for those photographers wanting (desiring) glass such as this, especially when travelling and for day shooting when taking a few pieces of glass is either not wanted or not an option.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Kindle Fire HD Review

A Main Street One review, once again based upon use not on the specifics of the technology.

I have never owned an iPad, though I have used them. I have also used various other tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy and Google Nexus. I have owned the Toshiba Thrive 10.1″ tablet. I must say, for the money, Kindle Fire HD 7″ (without special offers) is the hands-down winner for my specific purposes.

I am not a gamer, so I cannot comment on the comparison there. My needs for a tablet device, are, and the review reflects usage, as follows: reading while traveling; easy access of email (my yahoo, hotmail, gmail personal and my business godaddy accounts) which are all loaded, synched and ready to go; listening to my favorite few hundred songs; to watch the occasional movie; to be able to view my own photos and videos whenever I wish; accessing my facebook and twitter accounts; surfing the web when not in front of my Mac or my laptop.

Kindle Fire HDYes, I know it may be limited, but those are my parameters. I originally thought my Thrive would replace my laptop but it did not. I believe that I will always have a laptop for various things I need to do. The Thrive was, in essence, my learning curve on exactly what I wanted, and needed, in a smaller portable device to use mainly while traveling. I carry my Kindle and my 15.6″ laptop (with all cords, chargers and a variety of other items) in my Wenger Swiss Gear 16-inch Legacy Checkpoint-Friendly computer case.

The Kindle Fire HD has fantastic WiFi capabilities; never an issue. Near a hotspot? Connect. Easy as that. I have not yet had it lose a connection. The device has fantastic optics; brilliant colors that are alive and pop. It is a pleasure to show my photos to others on the Fire HD. I did match it directly against the iPad, Thrive and Galaxy and the visual is better than the competition. Dolby Digital Plus definitely delivers the goods. The sound is great. And when you plug in a good (not cheap) headset be prepared to fill yourself full of high quality sonic. Word docs, pdfs, and spreadsheets have all been viewed successfully.

Kindle Fire HDWhen I got the Thrive one of the reasons is that I thought a 10 inch screen would be better to read books when I travel. And, in many ways, it is. But I am more than satisfied with the Fire HD 7″ screen when I read. It is easy on the eyes and the form factor is also more comfortable when reading.

I am getting pretty close to the advertised 11 hours of operational battery time, which is excellent. That means when flying coast to coast I am able to use my Kindle while sitting in the terminal, during the flight, sitting again during a layover, and then the continuation flight, without having to worry about running out of juice (and/or searching the airport terminal for the sometimes elusive outlet).

As the Kindle PowerFast charger was on sale when I got my Fire HD, I purchased it. I am glad I did. At first I was a bit disappointed that it was not included with the device, but, at this price-point, it makes business sense that it is not. Amazon has delivered an outstanding device. Yes, it is all tied to their content, but that also makes the Fire HD very attractive due to all of that content.

All in all, the Kindle Fire HD exceeds all of my expectations and I highly recommend it to anyone with the caveat that I have not used it with any games and do not plan to.

Over For Now.

Main Street One