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This review is from: TP-LINK NC200 Motion Detection Built-in Microphone Wireless Cloud IP Camera
Pros: I’ll try to be as subjective as possible with this camera, though I must say this device really isn’t for me. I’ll explain below.
The camera looks pretty sleek. Its small and very light – so light that the stiffness of the power cord almost requires you do mount the device. Setup wasn’t too bad (see more below) and the camera boots up and gets on the network pretty quick. The pivoting base and included screws and sticky paper allow you endless mounting possibilities… ceiling, wall, table, etc.
The camera does have the option to set up motion detection emails. It has a decent, albeit barebones app that seems to work alright on my current-gen Android smartphone. It has crashed once or twice, but it usually seems to work and even over 4G with the camera on Wi-Fi, I seem to get a pretty steady picture. In a bright room, picture quality is not half bad for something with this low of resolution.
One of the best surprises of this camera is that it comes with a power cord and a nice long extension! This is fantastic since most people buying a $30 camera probably won’t have the money or means to wire in all sorts of power for each camera.
Cons: Unfortunately, for me, the cons greatly outweigh the pros for this camera. I mentioned that in a well lit room it has a good picture; anything less and its useless. No night vision (though they offer a similar model that comes equipped), no ability to hook it up to a camera server and record to it/control the camera, and no power over Ethernet are the three biggest flaws for me. PoE would be huge – no need for some double long power cord, just give me PoE and you wouldn’t need it.
One of the biggest annoyances with this camera is the sound quality. In my silent house, it constantly sounds like there is some sort of demonic gurgling. If there is something constant and loud, you won’t hear it, otherwise its all you can hear. They released a firmware update since I set up the camera and I haven’t noticed a difference.
While it does support motion detection emails, you have to set it up like an old Outlook account - enter an incoming and outgoing mail server, even for common services like Gmail! When watching a live stream of the camera on my phone, it will bounce back and forth between 0 and about 1100 kb/s. Sometimes it just drops to 0 and stays there for a few seconds, then climbs back to 7 or 800 kb/s.
Other Thoughts: I think the target user for this camera would be someone who wants a simple and cheap way to monitor a sleeping baby or keep an eye on kids in the other room without having to get up. It makes most sense if you have a tablet you can leave plugged in or a PC that you can run (gasp!) Internet Explorer on. Oh yeah, forgot to mention – it ONLY supports IE. No Chrome, no Opera, no Safari, no Edge.
I’m not sure what camera you would want to get to avoid the things I mentioned above, but I just can’t imagine spending even $30 on this. TP-Link has come a long way with their routers, but looks like this just isn’t quite to that level of quality.
This review is from: TP-LINK Archer C2600 Wireless AC2600 Dual-Band MU-MIMO Gigabit Router
Pros: The last few TP-Link products I have owned and reviewed have been a little hit or miss, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. However, I have been pleasantly surprised by its reliability.
My previously router was driving me up a wall, randomly deciding it was going to send through 1-2 mbps rather than the 50 it was supposed to. I found myself resetting it daily, if not multiple times in an evening. However, this TP-Link is yet to require a reset in more than 3 continuous weeks of running. On more than one occasion, I have suspected it of being slow, but a quick stop at a popular internet speed testing site revealed I was pulling 51 down with a ping of 16-20. It was very consistent.
As with any consumer level router these days, setup is a breeze. It has you input all your info and you get rid into the config.
The other biggest boon of this device for me is the range. I had recently moved by router from the basement (where my switches and modem are) to the living room in an attempt to get better signal in my spare bedrooms. Obviously the move had helped, but I am still able to pull a relatively strong -50 dB in the farthest room. Not ideal for FPS online games, but it generally did alright with everything else.
Finally, I did hook up an old flash drive to the unit to pull some files off and it seemed to immediately recognize it and allow me to access it. Nice and simple. No drivers, no jumping through hoops, no 30 seconds of power cycling, etc.
Cons: I’m still kind of confused as to one issue I’m having. Randomly, my service speed will slow to a crawl. Certain pages won’t open or take a very long time to load (considering the 50 mbps connection). With my old router, this happened on all my wireless devices randomly. Now, it seems to happen exclusively to only one wired device; my main rig! This was especially infuriating when I was trying to do my taxes and it would load Google, but refused to pull up anything else (like, yanno, TurboTax.) Not sure if it is somehow an incompatibility with my PC, but you’d think in 2016 it wouldn’t have a problem.
As others have pointed out, there is no one-click solution to firmware updates. My phone does them automatically. My TV does them automatically. My iPad does them automatically. Everything else in my house that is on the internet does them automatically. Why not my brand new, top dollar router?
Other Thoughts: Whereas with other routers, I have tried to be a little more quantitative, I did not actually run speed and throughput results on my local network with this unit. My current network has the signal going from my modem, across the house to the router, then back across the house to my network switch to feed the wired jacks throughout my home. I would hope the switch wouldn’t suck much bandwidth, but it seems unfair to report any numbers against just the router.
I have a handful of TP-Link products in my house. I previously used another review unit from TP-Link and was only moderately satisfied. I think this unit makes a great case as a strong consumer grade unit that offers lots of power and configuration options without being too complex or confusing.
Pros: 10 TB! Ten! A few years ago, I couldn’t have dreamed of having 10 terabytes sitting on my desk next to me. I am a freelance/professional photographer in my spare time and anyone who has done independent work for someone knows just how absolutely scary it can be to lose someone’s files. Having backups of your backups of your backups is the best way to ensure you’ll never run into that problem, and this is a great way to do so! The unit is pretty attractive, features a quick on/off button, and some nice little activity lights for each drive (that I currently have covered with black electrical tape! Blegh.)
In my 10+ years of purchasing computers and hardware from Newegg, I can say without a doubt that Western Digital is the only name I trust. Not that others aren’t reliable, but nothing is better than a Western Digital drive for reliability and performance. Granted, I’ve only had this setup for a few weeks now, but as with anything else by WD, I look forward to years of trouble free use. The drives themselves are 5 TB WD Black drives, each at 128 MB of cache. Again, you just can’t buy a drive with a better combination of raw speed and reliability.
The USB ports on the front allow you to plug in other devices, including another drive like this or a cell phone to charge. It has some daisy-chaining functionality; I have my wireless keyboard receiver plugged in and it is working. I’m not entirely sure how far that capability stretches, though.
Having the option of RAID configurations and JBOD is nice, though I suspect RAID 0/1 are going to be the most used. Mine are currently set up to stripe, not mirror, for all out speed. Though using USB 3.0 is going to limit your speed a bit compared to thunderbolt, I’m still seeing 300+ MB/s and I’m quite happy with that.
Cons: Why does “Professional” now have to mean Mac? I have been doing professional photography for 6 or 7 years on a Windows system with no problems. All but two of the most high end photographers I know use Windows for their systems because duh, they don’t have $3k to shell out on a laptop. I am not sure if this is directed at WD or not, but I think you get the idea. I wasn’t thrilled to have to re-format just to be able to even use the drive on my Windows 7/8/10 system. Yes, it is pretty painless for just about anyone.
Some of the reviews I’ve read on Newegg and elsewhere talk about how quiet the unit is because the cooling fan built in rarely, if ever has to kick on. This is true, I am yet to hear the cooling fan kick on, but that’s probably more a product of the environment it is in (cold computer room around 55º) rather than the device itself. Standard disk drives still make plenty of spinning, seeking, reading, writing noises and these are no different. I guess I wouldn’t call them loud per se, since they’re probably identical to every other HDD I own, but when they aren’t tucked away in a computer case, you’re a little more aware every time they spin up. Just be aware and don’t expect them to be super whisper quiet.
Other Thoughts: My system is admittedly a little bit on the older side (18 year old me NEVER thought I’d say that!) Running an AMD 1090T, 850W PSU, Radeon 6950 card, and 890G chipset motherboard. Good for 2011, and gets the job done in 2015. However, my machine does have USB 3.0 onboard, so pairing and getting everything set up was pretty easy, once I went in and set up the drive for Windows. The ability to hot-swap the drives very easily is nice, though I don’t see a whole lot of people having the need to hot swap 5 TB drives. I suppose if you have to (or if you have it set up for JBOD) the feature would be much more useful.
The bottom line: yes, its very expensive. But you get what you pay for!