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Plustek eScan A150 Sheet Fed Document Scanner
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

3 out of 5 eggs Mixed bag on a few levels 04/25/2015

This review is from: Plustek eScan A150 Sheet Fed Document Scanner

Pros: • Compact and sturdy build
• Easy setup
• No PC needed for setup or use
• Quality touch screen
• Includes free software
• Good packaging with no frills
• USB port is conveniently located
• Plustek website is easy to navigate
• Good user manual available for download
• No need for firmware updates
• Small software footprint for connected clients

Cons: • Included instructions are next to worthless
• Issues with security levels for Google Drive
• Scanned image speed is not befitting of a $600 price tag
• Had to remove two-step Google account security to receive scans
• No user profiles (for individual scan job settings)

My notes will start here:

The Plustek A150 is a real mixed bag for me. It performs reasonably well, but the limited configuration options make it better suited for home use, or possibly for a very small office/business.

Build quality is solid, with a small desktop footprint. I’m not a fan of touch screen devices as I have dry finger tips that usually make for a lot of frustration. The A150’s screen was fantastic. Bright and easy to see, and very touch-responsive. Setup was extremely easy – Ethernet connection, power to wall – hit the switch. I stuck a flash drive in the sole USB 2.0 port, ran a quick alignment, then loaded ten pages from a script I had been working on. Paper fed perfectly, and then I was presented with options on where to send the job. Selected the flash drive – completed in a few seconds. I removed the Ethernet cable, and tried the same test using the included Wi-Fi – worked flawlessly, with no connectivity issues.

Installing the client software was a simple process. I just used the software version on the included disc, and there were no issues. After you scan your documents, you select “PC”, and you are then presented with a list of named devices. Sending to Gmail/Google Drive presented issues. I configured the required outbound information, but was not able to connect to the device. Some digging on the internet had me drop the two-step security for Gmail, and pretty much bottom-out the security settings for Google Drive. Once I did that, I was able to save my scans without issue. This seems to be a common theme across most of the reviews so far for the A150. This is one of the areas that makes me see the A150 as being better suited for home use, where security measures are usually lax.

Other Thoughts: Unlike some of the other reviews, I had no issues with poor paper feed performance. I used Office Depot 22lb bright white paper for my testing, and the A150 took three 50 page feeds with no issues. I also ran a few sheets of heavier card stock through, and things were fine. To top things off, I ran a mix of various sized coloring book pages from my daughter’s art desk. No issues with the jagged edges, and varying sizes.

User settings are pretty minimal on the A150. At this price point, I would expect the ability to setup a few user/job profiles for more efficient use. You are given plenty of output types (JPEG, PDF, TIFF, etc.), and transition between screens showed little lag. Overall scan performance was solid at 200 DPI, but changing the output to 600 DPI was unusable. 400 DPI wasn't much faster, with 300 DPI being the sweet spot. The thought of scanning a 50 page job at 600 DPI would be unthinkable in a working office.

So like I said, a real mixed bag. At middle of the road settings, the A150 performs at decent speeds, and gives quality enough output, but the minimalist interface, and lack of custom profiles seems better suited for home or SOHO use. Bottom line -- I expected faster performance, and greater configuration options at the $600 price point. I have to question who this device would really be targeted for, as all offices have some kind of computing presence, and most documents are built within some kind of software suite (Microsoft Office for example), so the ability to email, save to a file share, or a flash drive, well that would already be built in and ready for use.

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DEEPCOOL NEPTWIN CPU Cooler  6 Heatpipes Twin-tower Heatsink Dual 120mm Fans with Blue LED One with PWM Support LGA 2011-v3
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: • Sturdy packaging
• Mounting hardware for all modern consumer sockets
• Price is comparable to similar performing coolers
• Performance is comparable to similar priced coolers
• Installation is “possible” with a preinstalled motherboard
• Fan brackets are surprisingly easy to work with
• Pretty quiet for the level of received performance
• At stock voltages on two different procs – performance is within a couple degrees, using a single fan instead of two
• Mounting system places it about a ½” lower on the motherboard than most coolers this size

Cons: • Large size pretty much demands a full tower case
• Depth of cooler creates some “hang” off the motherboard
• Performance at this price will cost you
• Not very attractive for window builds
• Using both fans limits you to standard height ram – and blocks three RAM slots

Notes will start here:

Outside of physical looks, I was pretty impressed with what the Neptwin had to offer. I feel that just about ALL coolers this size, especially those with dual fans, look ugly in an otherwise attractive PC build. That aside, performance is what counts, and the Neptwin delivers in all of the ways that you would expect, as well as having a couple of nifty design tricks up its sleeve.

Installation was easy with the motherboard outside of the case, taking just 16 minutes from start to finish. Installation inside the case, while doable, was really tough. Part of the issue was the size of the Antec 1900, as I spent part of the install with the case tilted. Either install method will involve a standard Phillips screwdriver to tighten the screws on the holding plate. You have to leave the center fan uninstalled to do this, and thankfully, the included fan brackets are very easy to work with, to a point, I was able to install/uninstall both fans with the motherboard mounted – no issues at all. The mounted cooler also leaves enough space for easy top-mounted fan clearance.

I tested the Neptwin on two processors, using Prime95 (small FFTs) and a few rounds of Linpack. The room temp as about 19* Celsius, and the case used was an Antec 1900. I’m only going to include load temps, because frankly – who cares about idle temps!? Even the extremely lame Intel stock cooler maintains respectable idle temps. I also left the fan(s) on “auto”, allowing the motherboard to ramp them up and down.

Other Thoughts: Intel G3220@3.0 GHZ loaded at 45* Celsius after 22 hours of Prime95 Small FFTs (for maximum heat). No overclocking here, as the G3220 doesn’t allow it. The Neptwin produced identical temps with a single fan, or two (I removed the fan mounted next to the RAM after about 8 hours) with RealTemp logging 46* Celsius as a maximum.

Intel 3570k@3.40 GHZ loaded at 43* Celsius with 10 passes of Linpack. Same results with a single fan. Things got a little interesting as I added voltage. Max overclock was 4.46 GHZ@1.24vts. Temps averaged 65 Celsius with 10 more passes of Linpack. When I removed a fan, the Neptwin started to struggle, as temps climbed to 72* Celsius. So good news is that you can get away with running a single fan on the Neptwin, but don’t expect to break any temperature records. I will also say that with higher ambient temps in the summertime, you can be assured that single fan cooling on the Neptwin will get out of control pretty fast.

The Deepcool Neptwin delivers on performance, and gives you the advantage of running with a single fan (at low overclocks), with full access to all four RAM slots – and no restrictions on RAM height. Granted, most people will run the Neptwin with both fans, as these same people will be shooting for higher overclocks.

CPUs run on suck low voltage now, that a cooler this size isn’t really necessary if you are keeping things at stock. But turn up the juice, and the extra heat pipes/fin surface area will deliver enough of a performance boost to justify the extra dollars spent. Just make sure you pay close attention to the mounted height, and choose your case accordingly.

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TP-LINK TL-WA854RE 300Mbps Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender, Repeater, Wall Plug design, One-button Setup, Smart Signal Indicator
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: • Minimalist packaging is sturdy enough
• Extremely easy install via WPS
• Added a solid bar of signal strength to our backyard
• TP-Link stands behind their products, placing their 24/7 technical support information right on the package
• 2-year warranty is respectable for some an item in this price range
• Inexpensive

Cons: • LED signal strength indicator is very bright – not for use in a bedroom

Other Thoughts: I’ve reviewed quite a few TP-Link networking products, and where I’ve had inconsistent results with their routers, I’ve had great experiences with their wireless range extenders. The TL-WA854RE provides good value, even when not on sale.

We have a network setup that places all of our network gear in the upstairs of our 2400 SF home. We have all of the typical Wi-Fi devices downstairs (Smart TV, phones, laptops, tablets), all pulling bandwidth from a Comcast 105MB plan. Our current router is really solid, but the signal downstairs takes a pretty big hit due to the half-wall along the stairwell, and the distance of our back patio/yard from the gear itself.

The setup for the TL-WA854RE was as easy as I’ve ever experienced. We were in business in about four minutes using WPS, and the included disc (as well as the DL package from TP-Link’s site) gave the same easy install. The UI is similar to a Spartan router setup, without a lot to play with. Regardless, this device is designed for easy plug ‘n play – and it definitely delivers on an easy setup experience.

Using Ookla, a simple mobile bandwidth tester, I pulled downstairs speeds in line with far more expensive range extenders, with 100 tests taken over a 12-day period. Download speeds averaged a pinned 50MB p/s -- exactly what you should see with your signal being cut in half from the added range extender. I was able to plug it in alongside the downstairs wall that separates the living room from the patio, and all wireless devices saw a steady 3-4 bars of signal strength, as opposed to the usual 2-3. This was consistent over the entire testing period/multiple installs.
We already have a great connection in our home, but when summertime comes, and we have lots of people over – all armed with their phones, connected to our guest network, I’m confident that the TL-WA854RE will make their browsing experience a little snappier. I don’t see how you can go wrong for the price, and unlike a couple of other range extenders I’ve tested (other brands) there was no network wonkiness, or dropped signals. Highly recommended.

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Eric R.'s Profile

Display Name: Eric R.

Date Joined: 05/25/05

Achievements:

  • Top 1000 Reviewer
  • Reviews: 63
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  • First Review: 12/09/07
  • Last Review: 02/09/15
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