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Pros: I've tested a heck of a lot of routers over the last year, including some of the latest 802.11ac models. I have to say, this router has blown me away by offering the best real-world performance I've experienced thus far.
The set-up is a breeze, similar to most of the newer wireless routers today. Full support for WPS, which basically means it will automatically set up a secure wireless network at the push of a button. Better yet, power users like myself can easily disable WPS for both bands and set everything up manually if they prefer. There are still some models that do not allow WPS to be disabled, for whatever reason.
I have five wireless devices and two wired PC's connected to this router and their connections are all rock solid. What really blew me away is the 802.11ac performance I'm witnessing with my Galaxy Note 3 smartphone. Mind you, my Note 3 has always performed well in AC mode with other routers, but this is the first time I was able to almost completely saturate my HSI connection over Wi-Fi. My Note 3 hits 90 Mb/s on the downstream channel over Wi-Fi! As a comparison, my primary PC (which is connected via Gigabit Ethernet) only hits around 10-15 Mb/s higher, which is amazing. These Wi-Fi speeds are around 30 Mb/s faster than the other AC routers I've tested. Very impressive to say the least!
I love the UI TP-Link is using for web based configuration page. It's very snazzy looking and all the relevant info is easy to spot in the basic mode. Switching over to advanced mode unlocks all goodies a power user could ever really need. Just about everything I can think of is configurable. TP-Link's stock firmware rivals some of the 3rd party firmware I've used (like Tomato and DD-WRT) in terms of functionality, plus the interface is way prettier to boot.
Offers two USB ports for sharing printers and hard drives over your wireless network. Also supports media streaming natively. One great aspect is that one of these USB ports is a USB 3.0 port. Finally! Now those fast external drives won't be bottlenecked by the USB 2.0 interface most of the other routers are still using.
I love the aesthetics myself. Some have complained that the unit is too wide, but I don't think it's a big deal at all. I think it has a nice premium look to it. The extra width gives the three external antennas a little more room between each other, which is a good thing.
Speaking of those antennas, the range of the C8 is quite impressive. I compared it directly to the Archer C7, which is no slouch itself, and I was able to achieve much higher long range throughput. No complaints there at all.
Cons: TP-Link includes a feature on the C8 called "NAT boost". It's not clear how this feature works, but when it's enabled there are some useful settings that cannot be enabled, such as bandwidth monitoring and bandwidth control. TP-Link recommends leaving this setting enabled for the best performance, but I'm not convinced it's worth losing these features.
Some people may find all the advanced settings a little overwhelming. That said, as long as they stick to the basic mode things shouldn't get too confusing.
As I said above, one of the USB ports is a 3.0 port while the other is a 2.0 port. I don't understand why TP-Link just didn't include two 3.0 ports. It would make more sense to me. Why even bother with the 2.0 port? Are you really saving that much on the manufacturing cost?
Other Thoughts: It's been quite a while since I gave any product a five egg rating. This product definitely deserves it though. I believe it's easy enough to use for the less tech saavy folks out there, but is also adequate for power users that demand a high level of performance and configurability. The price is more than reasonable as well. Good job TP-Link...READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: There are a lot of impressive features to cover so I'll try to go over most of them here. I haven't had a long time to play with this board, but I do have a good handle on it as of now.
First of all, I love the aesthetics. It's just a sexy looking board in my opinion. Some people may not like the gold heat sinks, but I think they look sweet. (FYI, there is an all black version of this board available). First thing I noticed was how heavy the box was. This is due to the large heat sinks used on this board to cool the VRM's and the chipset. They are definitely of a high-quality.
The support for M.2 and Sata Express storage is quite notable. This isn't very relevant right now, but in the future it's definitely going to matter. The way it works is there is an automatic switch that governs whether the M.2, Sata Express, or two SATA 6Gb/s ports are enabled. In other words, you can choose to install one M.2 drive, one Sata Express drive, or just use the two SATA 6Gb/s ports for two other devices instead.
There are six SATA 6Gb/s ports offered by the chipset that support RAID 0/1/5/10, and two more 6Gb/s ports from the Marvell 88SE9172 controller that support RAID 0/1. These ports are color coated to signify whether they are from the chipset or external controller, which is useful.
Eight total USB 3.0 ports (four from the chipset and four from the Renesas Hub). That's plenty of ports for most of us.
Dual BIOS chips with a switch to select either one. This is a godsend if one chip becomes corrupted. You can simply switch to the other BIOS and flash the other chip to repair the corruption. Definitely gives you piece of mind, especially when you get into some heavy overclocking.
12 phase power design is very sophisticated. In addition to that, the 60A rated sealed ferrite-core chokes and 10K "durable black" electrolytic capacitors should equate to a very stable motherboard in general. Overall the build quality is exceptional. The soldering is top-notch.
Supports 2-way SLI with Geforce cards or up to 3-way Crossfire with AMD GPU's. There is a SATA power connector adjacent to the SATA ports, which is used solely to provide more power for multi-GPU setups. This is very welcomed indeed.
The UEFI BIOS is simply wonderful. I really like the orange on black look to it. Being able to take screenshots and update the BIOS directly from a USB flash drive is great. Anyone upgrading from a standard non-UEFI BIOS will be blown away by those features. When it comes to overclocking and configuring peripherals, I find that the "classic mode" is still the best route to go. That said, I love what Gigabyte has done with their BIOS overall.
Built-in graphics hardware supports 4K and has built in DVI-D and HDMI ports. Two NIC's are built in as well, which is typically only seen on ultra high-end boards. One of the NIC's uses Qualcomm Atheros Killer E2201 software, which is supposed to reduce ping for online gaming.
Cons: Doesn't support 3-way SLI with Nvidia GPUs. While 3-way Crossfire is supported, it wouldn't be recommended on this board as it doesn't feature a PLX chip. Stick with 2-way setups on this board...
Had some audio distortion with the volume at 100%. Perhaps this will be remedied in a driver update, however it is there for now.
Automatic overclocking features built into the BIOS are insanely aggressive with the voltages. Haswell and Devil's Canyon CPU's tend to run hot as it is, so I don't see these higher voltages working out in most scenarios. Manual overclocking works out much better with this board though, as is the case with any board really.
The accessories included are really sparse... All you get is an I/O shield, manual + quick start guide, two-way SLI bridge, software CD, and four SATA cables. In Gigabyte's defense, this is how they can keep the cost down considering that this is a mid-range board with high-quality components. They have to make cuts somewhere to reach this price point, and thankfully they didn't skimp out on the actual hardware.
Other Thoughts: I haven't had enough time with this board to get into some serious overclocking. That said, I was able to hit 4.5 Ghz on all the cores stable (for the most part anyway). It passed all the stress tests I administered but I will need more time to call it 100% stable.
That said, this board has all the tools needed to reach a maximum overclock. It will just take time to master the detailed BIOS settings and use them all to your advantage. I should note that the software included with this board has some useful utilities. It offers everything from
a USB blocker utility to cloud services (which includes remotely overclocking your PC from an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet). I haven't tested the software thoroughly yet, but I gave it a quick rundown and I'm interested in what's there.
Definitely recommend this board for those looking for a great mid-range board with high-end features. Extreme overclockers or gamers that want to run 3-way mutli-GPU set-ups need to look elsewhere though.
Pros: Fast! I've owned plenty of printers over the years and this is by far the fastest. I am very pleased with the speed, even when printing color documents and photos at the standard quality settings.
Full wireless capabilities, including direct wireless connections for printing and web services. It will even automatically update the onboard software\firmware when connected to the internet (this can be disabled by the user if desired).
Duplexer is included. This allows you to print on both sides of the paper automatically. There are plenty of printers that can't do this, so a welcome feature indeed.
ADF (Auto Document Feeder) can handle up to 35 sheets of letter or legal sized paper. Great for when you need to make multiple copies fast and efficiently. Main input tray can hold up to 250 sheets of plain paper or A4, 80 sheets of photo paper, or 30 envelopes.
Scanner can handle 1200 DPI scans directly from the glass and 300 DPI from the ADF (300 DPI is sufficient for most scenarios). It's possible to scan legal sized documents via the ADF, which is great.
Includes a small 3 inch color LCD touchscreen control panel for interfacing with the printer directly. The images it produces are sharp and very easy to read. It's possible to set up the printer from this control panel, run diagnostics, scan, copy, fax, and much more.
Printed documents and photos come out very nice. No ink smearing and the edges of text are sharp. Photos are equally as impressive. I have absolutely no complaints regarding the print quality. Overall performance of the 8610 is excellent. Uses separate cartridges for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black, which isn't surprising as all the best printers do this.
In addition to the wireless connectivity, the 8610 also supports Ethernet and USB connections. There are also two RJ11 telephone line connections for the fax capabilities built into the printer.
HP's ePrint feature is very useful as well. This gives the printer a unique email address that you can utilize to print from any Android or iOS device. I tested it and it works pretty well. There is an ePrint app for Android that simplifies the process. I suspect Apple's app store has a similar app, however I did not test this myself. There are other ways to print from newer Android devices, but this method works on any device that can send an email.
The packaging was phenomenal. The unit was very well protected and thin plastic was placed all over the surface to prevent scratches. I wish every product was packed this well...
Cons: I do have to note that the first unit I received was completely DOA. It wouldn't even power on. There was no noticeable shipping damage to the unit itself, so I suspect that it left the factory this way. This really blows my mind and I can't imagine how this could have happened, but it did nonetheless. Thankfully, HP has great support and they sent me a brand new replacement after I contacted them and explained the whole situation. They even shipped the replacement unit to me first, along with a prepaid shipping label so I could return the defective unit at no cost to me. Their prompt replacement of this DOA unit has earned HP some points with me, which is why this review isn't as harsh as it could have been. However, the DOA unit does concern me. I hope there isn't a bad batch out there because HP could have a real mess on their hands if so.
Another obvious con is that this is one big hefty unit. It weighs 35 lbs and it stands about a foot tall. You'll need ample space for it, so bank on that beforehand.
Ink cartridges for the Officejet series are VERY expensive. The whole set of XL cartridges costs $112 or more at most popular online retailers, which is too steep for a lot of folks. You could always try using refilled cartridges or even refilling them on your own, but HP has made it very hard to do that these days. I haven't tried any non genuine carts in this printer, but I've read about other people having issues in that scenario. HP is one of the more aggressive companies when it comes to the aftermarket ink cartridge trade. They claim that non-genuine ink isn't reliable and can actually damage their printers, but there are many people that would argue otherwise. All I know is that their ink is more expensive than gold by weight, so I think it's safe to say that it's overpriced.
Ships with ink cartridges marked for "setup". I believe these cartridges have a little less ink than standard replacement cartridges. Also, these setup carts HAVE to be used to initialize the printer. Once the printer has been initialized with them, it will no longer be able to use any other "setup" cartridges. Also, these setup cartridges become married to the printer once they are installed, meaning they will not work in any other new printer. As you can see, HP goes through a lot to ensure no cartridge swapping of any kind is taking place. In my opinion they are going overboard here.
There are reports that this printer will not function with only the black ink cartridge installed. I did not test this, but I have heard about HP using this tactic in the past. In addition to that, even after you set the printer to greyscale printing only, it will still use a little color ink. Not sure what the deal is with this, but I have to admit that it's quite shady. Just be aware of this before you drop the cash on one of HP's printers.
This model also doesn't support Near Field Communication like the 8620/8630 does. NFC makes printing from a smartphone super ea
Other Thoughts: All those cons aside, this is a wonderful printer for the price. I have no doubts that it will satisfy anyone with a low to moderately heavy workload. It's a good alternative to the more expensive laser printers for a small office. That said, you're still going to want a laser printer if you have a very heavy workload and print quality is paramount.
It's likely that I would have given this printer a five egg rating had it not been for the DOA unit and what I perceive to be shady business practices regarding their ink.