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Linksys WRT1200AC Wireless AC1200 Dual-Band and Wi-Fi Wireless Router with Gigabit and USB 3.0 Ports and eSATA
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggs Amazing speeds with attached storage drives on USB3.0 and eSATA ports, well built and easy to use 08/03/2015

This review is from: Linksys WRT1200AC Wireless AC1200 Dual-Band and Wi-Fi Wireless Router with Gigabit and USB 3.0 Ports and eSATA

Pros: What impressed me the most about this router was the inclusion of a very capable USB3.0 port and a similarly powerful eSATA port (the latter can also double as a USB2.0 port). Most routers are lucky to have a single USB3.0 port (though some have two), and even if they do, I have never seen one match the speed of the Linksys WRT 1200AC. The best I have seen previously was the single USB3.0 port on my Netgear R6250, which managed a pretty reasonable 30MB/s transfer rate.
The Linksys achieved 105MB/s via USB3.0 and 100MB/s via the eSATA port (on a wired ethernet connection to my PC).
This speed is not far behind the same drive attached directly to my PC's USB3.0 port, where file transfers ran at 130MB/s.
That suggests to me that this router, together with a couple of appropriate hard drives plus enclosures, could serve quite well as a home media or file server without the need for a more expensive NAS solution, unless one needed more business-oriented capabilities. Even transferring files between two attached drives (USB3.0 <-> eSATA) reached a respectable 67MB/s.

As far as WiFi goes, my USB AC adapter is not as powerful as a PCI-e wireless card with external antennas, thus it is unable to take full advantage of the router's abilities. However, I was able to achieve a 14MB/s transfer rate on the 5GHz band, enough to stream full size Bluray movies from the attached drives, and 8MB/s on the 2.4GHz band, with similar network transfer speeds between my two PCs' internal drives (one PC having a wired connection to the router). The signal strength was at the expected 100% when scanning with a WiFi detector program. Note: this was in the same room at five feet distance.

Once plugged in, the router worked from the get-go, and the administration interface is a breeze to use and well laid out. The "Reboot" command is somewhat harder to find, as are the "Backup" and "Restore" configuration commands (they are under the Diagnostics tab under Troubleshooting), but otherwise I had no problems with navigation.
The router can also be configured as a Wireless Bridge or Wireless Repeater.
There are the other usual settings such as advanced routing, wireless schedule, parental controls, media prioritization, security settings, guest access, etc., plus OpenVPN Server.

One useful feature is "Linksys SMART Wi-Fi apps", allowing remote control of the router, viewing IP cameras, etc., from your smart phone.

As for construction, the WRT 1200AC is built like a tank (albeit a plastic one). Looks are similar to the old Linksys WRT54G I retired years ago. There are plenty of ventilation holes in the top, thankfully, as the dual-core processor puts out quite a bit of heat.

The indicators on the front are useful, showing what devices are connected and signaling, including the wireless bands, plus a tiny one under the USB3.0 indicator which lights up if the attached drive is USB3.0 instead of USB2.0.

There is a power switch in the back; no need to fumble arou

Cons: Not many to list here. For some reason the WiFi indicators do not turn off immediately if you disable the wireless - you have to reboot or power off/on for that to take effect. A firmware update could easily rectify that.

Only dual band, which may be a drawback for multiple users.

Attached storage drives do not spin down, even when safely removed through the router interface, unless they are physically powered down or the router is switched off.

A bit pricey if you are mainly concerned with wireless performance for multiple users and devices and don't care about attached storage performance.

Other Thoughts: As I am the only user, this router is perfect for me. I rarely use wireless connections, and the performance of the external storage ports surprised me. I will be retiring my old router in favor of this one because of these features, its ease of use, and build quality. Five eggs.

Note: The router was supplied to me by Newegg for the purposes of this review.

LG 34UC87C Black 34
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

4 out of 5 eggs Well designed, beautifully built monitor for ultra widescreen gaming, movies, and general productivity 07/08/2015

This review is from: LG 34UC87C Black 34" 5ms Ultrawide QHD Curved Monitor IPS Panel 300 cd/m2 5000000:1, HDMI,DisplayPort,USB3.0, 7w*2 speakers,4-Screen Split, Flicker Safe

Pros: Color reproduction out of the box was excellent, as were most settings. I just had to lower the brightness for my viewing environment. The picture is very similar to my 27" 1440p Korean IPS monitor (QNIX QX2710), which uses a Samsung panel. With some tweaking I was able to get a movie picture close to the colors on my Pioneer Kuro TV, though it fell behind somewhat on contrast.

Although it is nowhere near the quality of an external setup, the audio is the best I have heard from built-in speakers. LG includes "MaxxAudio", accessed via the OSD, which has the usual tone controls, plus adjustments for 3D effect, dialog, and a "Midnight Mode" for quiet but clear night time listening.

One DisplayPort and two HDMI ports allow up to three PCs (or capable devices) to be connected at once, and there is a USB3.0 hub (1 type A for the PC, two type B for peripherals, current 1.1A), plus a headphone port. A recessed DC switch in the rear allows the monitor to be physically powered off in addition to the standby mode from the main control.

The small joystick under the panel center handles all the adjustments available for picture, audio, and input source. I found the on screen display menu extremely intuitive to use. It is so well designed that I didn't really need the manual except to look up the details of a couple of settings. Volume can be controlled directly without even entering the OSD menu, simply by moving it side to side.

One of the picture modes is "PBP", which would be "picture by picture" - this lets you view the output of two connected PCs side by side. You can also select which PC's audio you want to hear from the monitor.

I really liked the included software, mostly "Dual Controller", which is similar to products like "Microsoft Garage Mouse without Borders" or Synergy - i.e. a virtual KVM switch allowing you to use your mouse and keyboard across two PCs and monitors. Note: one has to be a supported LG monitor such as this one.
Also included is Screen Split, which divides the desktop into discrete areas for working on documents or applications you want to keep in a certain order. Each doc or app automatically snaps to fill in its current screen area.

Build quality is excellent. The stand is both sturdy and easy to adjust for tilt/height.
The bezel is amazingly narrow (just the sheet metal thickness), although there is also a narrow (less than 1/2") blank border on the screen itself.
Quality control is outstanding, and I found zero dead or stuck pixels.

Cons: While the picture is great, my monitor has a small problem with screen uniformity, i.e. lighter patches in the upper and lower left corners. Whether due to backlight bleed or IPS glow, it is there. Dark scenes in movies is where this is most noticeable, though by no means terrible, and it does not extend very far from the edge. Changing viewing distance and angle can improve, but not completely eliminate it. My 27" Qnix monitor (my second, a glossy model) had a similar problem that I alleviated by loosening the bezel, but I don't want to attempt that with the LG. On the other hand, the Qnix came with one dead pixel, unlike this one.

One minor niggle with the software: If you have another screen on your PC, Dual Connect (to a second PC) won't start if both screens on your main PC are active. To get it to work with two PCs you have to start it with just the LG as the active monitor (and also run it on the other PC) then extend the desktop to work across all three screens. This seems like something LG could fix, although it may be something to do with proprietary restrictions.

Price is currently quite high, though you do get what you pay for.

Other Thoughts: I wasn't convinced of the benefits of a 21:9 aspect ratio monitor until I started using this one:
- Gaming is more immersive as you have over 25% more width to your field of view, with the same screen height as a 27" 16:9 monitor.
- Ultra widescreen movies (eg. 2.35:1 aspect ratio) can be viewed fullscreen instead of having black bars at top and bottom. At 3'-4' the picture appears larger than that of my 50" 16:9 TV at 8'.
- It is easy to view multiple windows side by side.
- At optimal distance the curve feels "natural". After a week of use, I'd probably object if it wasn't there.

Unless you have a high end graphics setup you won't be able to drive modern games on ultra settings at high FPS and at 1440p.
I tested Far Cry 4 using my Z97 rig (i7-4790K with SLI GTX 670s) and was getting FPS in the low 50s (and the 2GB VRAM was maxed out). Fortunately, this monitor supports 2560x1080 and that setting boosted FPS to the mid-70s. Valley benchmark yielded even better improvements - from a stuttering mid-30s FPS to smooth mid-60s.
Most games should support 21:9 easily, but this is not guaranteed. Just Cause 2 worked flawlessly in 21:9, but Wolfenstein: The New Order had to be set to Windowed mode first - something Bethesda should have fixed.
Note: 3440x1440 is 4.95 megapixels, whereas 2560x1080 is 2.76 megapixels, far fewer to drive.

I did not notice any ghosting problems while gaming. There is a "Gaming" mode, but I found I did not need to use it. For most applications I preferred to use "Custom" rather than "Cinema" or the other pre-defined screen modes.

At 1440p, refresh rate is 60Hz on DisplayPort but only 50Hz on HDMI. At 1080p, both are are capable of 60Hz.

To make ultra widescreen movies fill the screen you have to use appropriate software and adjust settings where needed. Since most ultra widescreen movies are provided as 1080p with black bars included at top and bottom, this means zooming in. For DVDs or archived movies I use MPC-BE (offshoot of MPC-HC), and right-click->select Pan&Scan then Zoom To Widescreen. For Youtube and Netflix I use the Chrome browser with the Netflix Ultrawide Display Support extension. Firefox currently does not have a similar extension.
Unfortunately, watching true 16:9 movies and TV shows -- or regular Youtube videos -- means that you will have vertical black bars on either side on the picture, as if you zoom it will crop the picture at top and bottom.

Final thoughts: This is a great monitor, fully featured, attractive, and very easy to set up and use. If not for the bright areas in the corners I would unhesitatingly give it a perfect score. Being very picky about that particular issue, I am deducting one egg. However, its other qualities outweigh that complaint, and it will stay as my main monitor.

Note: The LG 34UC87C was provided to me by Newegg for this review.

Linksys EA6350 AC1200+ Wi-Fi Wirless Dual-Band+ Router, Smart Wi-Fi App Enabled to Control Your Network from Anywhere
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Easy to set up, it was basically plug and play for me.
The administration interface is pretty intuitive and easy to use, although I could do without the "OK" prompt you have to click after applying new settings, as it seems redundant. On the other hand, new settings take effect *very* quickly, within a few seconds and much faster than any other router I have used.
There is a USB3.0 port to which you can connect a storage device for sharing amongst other computers on the network, or a printer.
At near to medium range, wireless speed is reasonable on both bands, maxing out my ISP bandwidth of 110Mbs down, 10Mbs up.
It has a built-in DLNA Media Server (not something I use, but nice to have, and it does work).

Cons: File transfer speeds from an external drive connected to the USB3.0 port were disappointing. I only saw speeds of 15 MB/s max, frequently dropping to 8 MB/s and lower, and this is with a wired connection. Wirelessly it was unusable three rooms away at under 1 MB/s. In contrast, my Netgear R6250 held a very consistent 30 MB/s transfer rate on a wired connection (although wirelessly the Netgear's internal antennas did not perform as well overall at the same distance).
A minor niggle is that the admin password was not printed in the documents (or if it was, I was unable to find it). I finally guessed it to be the usual "admin", and of course changed it immediately to a more secure password. I also disabled the guest account which was enabled from the start.
The unit gets very warm in heavy use, more so than other routers I have used, and should be placed where it has good ventilation.
The built-in speed test powered by Ookla worked fine for the download speed but consistently failed for upload speed testing in both Firefox and Internet Explorer. No matter, I went to which gave the required results.

Other Thoughts: Wireless internet speeds - three rooms away (30 feet), with intervening walls and doors it dropped to 76Mbs down, 9Mbs up on the 5GHz band. It was much lower at 35Mbs down 1Mbs up on the 2.4GHz band, which I attribute to many surrounding neighbors crowding that frequency, since the signal itself appeared much stronger. File transfers were much slower at this range, averaging under 1MB/s in either direction even with one computer having a wired connection to the router.
While it isn't the fastest router on the market, the firmware and interface were much better than a certain "all the bells and whistles" top of the line router sprouting multiple antennas that I will not name, but which I had to set up to work properly for a non tech-savvy friend. This one worked out of the box, and reliably. I was tempted to knock it down to three eggs for the USB3.0 speeds (I don't think it is worth five), but the overall functionality is good enough to outweigh that, so I am awarding it four eggs.

Note: Newegg supplied me with this router for the purposes of this review .


Peter L.'s Profile

Display Name: Peter L.

Date Joined: 11/23/08

  • Reviews: 58
  • Helpfulness: 37
  • First Review: 03/09/09
  • Last Review: 08/03/15
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