Really hate the evolution of smartphones, I must say. First they take away the ability to swap out the battery (especially for high end devices), giving the phone a very predetermined life span. Anyone who's been using a phone for several years know that after a while, batteries tend to hold their charge shorter and shorter and eventually burn out completely. That's about the time the phone manufacturer thinks it's about damn time you bought a brand spanking new phone from them, rather than spending 10 or 20 bucks for a new battery.

Over the last decade, smartphones have evolved so immensely, that new features and upgrades in terms of performance and screen resolution really were a huge step up, even for the casual user. The same can't be stated quite as much today, where the already high definition handset screens of yesteryear are replaced with new models that offering even higher resolutions. Resolutions you might not even have on your big screen TV, or even at the movie theatre.

Shortly thereafter, we're seeing expandable memory become a thing of the past. You can argue all day that cloud storage and streaming is the future, making local storage less relevant. But I haven't seen that trend really lessening the need of storage. Apps get heavier in terms of data use, and higher resolution cameras continue to make even larger, more pixel-dense images. They still need to be stored somewhere.

What it all boils down to is commerce, really. Phone manufacturers don't like the idea of cheap SD cards, since it's a missed opportunity to charge extra for additional built-in flash memory. Because why would you shell up hundreds of dollars extra for additional onboard memory when you can just buy a 128 GB micro-SD card for 30 bucks?

ZDNET's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes puts it spot on here:

"Manufacturers can't charge a premium for an SD card slot, but they can charge a $100 for a few extra gigabytes of flash storage."

Even headphone jacks are omitted on some new ones, because some jackass thinks everyone should get crap bluetooth headsets instead of proper cans with some decent sound.

So you just wiped your entire hard drive by mistake? Then you're in my position exactly! But don't fret, here's a quick and easy way to get your partitions up and running in no time!

Play MKV on your Blu-ray player without issues (products shown here only for demonstrative purposes)
TUTORIAL Issues playing your MKV videos on your standalone media player or Blu-ray deck? Here's your fix!

TUTORIAL Having issues with audio stuttering, clicking and popping in and out using VLC Media Player? Here are some things to try before resorting to your trusty old tape deck.

GRUNDIG "No Noise" In-Ear headphones earphones review by JoTECH Guide
PORTABLE AUDIO Looking for a nice upgrade to your standard issue ear buds coming with your phone or mp3 player (are people still using those?) -- you should look a little further...

ANDROID TABLET If you're among the minority that don't feel the constant, compulsory urge to buy every overpriced product that has a name starting with a lowercase i, coming from a certain...well, fruity, American IT company, this might be a more cost-effective alternative. A powerful 7" Android tablet from Chinese ICOO.  Find out how it stacks up in this review!

Low impedance speakers need a powerful amp, making them a headache to match with a modern AV receiver. But wait! Do not throw them out the window just yet! Here are some of the best value surround sound receivers on the market today, that officially support 4 ohm speakers.

GUITAR EFFECTS Is this noise- and maintenance-free Korean whine box the new big way to add some baby-like vocals to your guitar tone, or should you hold on to your old Crybaby or Vox 847 wah?

Find out in this review!

PROMO GIRLS Merry Christmas, everyone! Just kidding, although our dear friends at DealExtreme - one of the best places to go for cheap electronics, USB gadgets and other various geeky fun - kept the X-mas spirit alive throughout the entirety of 2012. As far as I can tell anyway, flipping through their annual calendar of last year.

See the whole calendar below!

REVIEW, PART 2 In this part of the review of the highly affordable Mini X / Xplus Android 4.0 TV box, we'll take a closer look at performance, HD media playback, DTS / Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound compatibility, and more.