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EZVIZ Mini HD 720p WiFi Home Security Camera with Motion Detection, 130 degree View, Night Vision, Works with Alexa using IFTTT (Special Offer 12 Month Cloud Storage w/ 7 day Playback)
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Pros: Has a built-in microSD card slot. I love seeing this on small cameras because not everyone wants to shell out for cloud storage.

Offers a free year of cloud storage, but you need to provide an active credit card number.

Night vision with HD monitoring\recording are great features at this price point.

Cons: I don't know where to start. First of all, I had issues setting up the device. You are forced to set it up through the mobile app and you cannot directly connect to the device, so you have to pass your Wi-Fi credentials to the camera using a mobile device. Well, it just kept hanging at this point over and over, failing to pass the credentials every time. I knew I was inputting the correct password. So I moved the camera within a few feet of my router. Still a no-go. After hours of trying, I finally called customer support. The guy was nice and all, but wasn't all that helpful. He told me of two alternate ways of connecting the device to your network. One involved using your smartphone as a Wi-Fi hotspot, but this would have required two mobile devices to proceed with, which I didn't have handy. Another method involved using the microSD card slot. It worked by inserting a microSD card with a plain text file on it that included all your Wi-Fi info (something which needless to say isn't very secure). He told me he'd email me both procedures right away, so I could get this camera connected ASAP. I didn't receive the email until 24 hours later. Complete failure on their part.

After yet even more mucking around, I FINALLY managed to get the camera to connect to my router, no thanks to customer support. What finally worked for me was going into my router settings and setting the 2.4GHz channel width to 20Mhz instead of "Auto." After I passed the credentials to it, I changed the setting back to auto and the camera had no issues remaining connected to my network, so I have NO IDEA why the channel width change was required to pass the credentials. Either way, I finally had it connected so I could test it out.

That's when I started to become very displeased with the performance. I immediately changed it from the default "basic" mode (which is low res) to "high-def," which I assume is the "720p" they advertise. Even in 720p mode, I could see obvious signs of compression. It doesn't show me a bit rate but I assume it's way under the recommended values for 720p video, as it looks atrocious. I couldn't even fully make out the details on a large clock in my kitchen, which I had the camera placed in front of. And this clock is large, with bold black letters on it.

On top of the bad image quality, I had nothing but choppy video along with the image simply cutting out constantly, which was then followed by an error telling me my network was unstable. This happened no matter what, even though I have another Belkin Netcam connected which works perfectly, not to mention my smartphone pulls 100 Mb/s over the 2.4Ghz band on my TP-Link Archer C8 router (a VERY good router I may add).

Oh and BTW, this camera will not connect to a 5Ghz band. That is another huge letdown because that would have been the first thing I would have tried to correct the terrible performance issues I had. What I did try was forcing 802.11n mode for all devices, as I previously had it set to allow b/g/n devices. This did nothing. Changing the channel width, or Wi-Fi operating channel also had no effect on performance, which remained dismal no matter what.

Even connected via my PC through the EZVIZ website, the camera STILL gave me the same issues as it did through the mobile app. It would get real choppy and then cut out numerous times, followed by a message stating my network was "unstable." I couldn't monitor video for more than a minute or two without it timing out or freezing. Just horrid performance. Mind you, I'm quite well versed in I.T. in general and I made numerous tweaks to my router settings to try and get this camera to perform as it should, but nothing worked. Every other device connected to my network works great, so it was definitely an issue with this camera.

I don't like the mobile app, or the desktop interface for that matter. it seems like it was CONSTANTLY asking me to enter a verification mode, even after I added my desktop and smartphone to the list of allowed devices. This made me angry, as I had to constantly open up my email and get the code so I could change an arbitrary setting or even just view the feed at times.

You cannot turn on the audio via the desktop interface. You can change EVERY other setting but that one. You can only turn on audio via the mobile app. That is ridiculous as well.

I inserted a class 10 microSD card just to see how it worked. It automatically records files and just spits them out (encrypted with a passphrase by default). The files play back just as choppy as they record, which made it useless to me. I even tried disabling encryption to see if that was causing performance problems, but it did nothing to help matters any and only made it less secure.

Other Thoughts: For the life of me I just couldn't get this camera to perform as it should. It didn't even matter if I was in high-def mode or standard mode, as it was always freezing or saying my network was unstable when it obviously wasn't. Now I'm not sure if I just got a bum unit, but seeing as technically it worked (just very badly), I find that hard to believe. Yet, it's entirely possible as I've read a few good reviews here. It could be that it just didn't like my router, but I've connected literally around a hundred different devices to this router without issues. With that said, I cannot recommend this camera as it leaves a lot to be desired on every aspect, including performance, software, and functionality. Please look elsewhere (perhaps Belkin) for a cheap camera designed for indoor home surveillance.

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TP-LINK RE355 AC1200 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Range Extender
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4 out of 5 eggs One of the best extenders I've tested! 08/28/2016

This review is from: TP-LINK RE355 AC1200 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Range Extender

Pros: First thing I have to say is that set-up is ridiculously easy, especially if your router supports WPS (almost ALL new wireless routers do). In this case, you just plug in the extender (in any outlet close by) and wait for the power light to turn blue, then press the WPS button on your router and immediately press the WPS button on the extender. Once the LED ring changes from a blinking blue to a solid blue, you're done! Seriously, it doesn't get any easier than that for the people that just want things to work... BTW, if the ring turns red,,that means you need to plug it in an outlet closer to your router. After setting it up, you will want to move it to an outlet that optimally extends your network, which can take a bit of trial and error but isn't difficult. Just make sure the ring LED remains blue on the repeater.

Power users can of course configure the extender manually and the RE355 offers plenty of configuration settings to play around with. Just plug it in, wait for the LED to turn blue then open a browser and connect to the address shown in the manual (it's very easy to remember). From there, you'll have complete control over everything. I myself like to set both SSID's to different names compared to the SSID's on my router, just so it's easy to tell when I'm connected to the extender versus the router. It's also easy to upgrade the Firmware from here as well, which you can download directly from TP-Link's website.

The RE355 features one Gigabit Ethernet port at the bottom of the unit. This will allow you to take ANY device that doesn't have a Wi-Fi built in and connect it to your network via Wi-Fi by using an Ethernet cable and a close electrical outlet. You just need to set the extender to bridge mode for this to work. This is extremely handy for a desktop PC with no Wi-Fi that you want to connect to your network (and the internet for that matter), but you don't have a long enough cable or there are no Ethernet ports left on your router's switch.

I have to talk about performance now... I was amazed by the performance I achieved with this extender. Even at 75 feet I was pulling in over 100 MB/s on the 5Ghz band. Without the extender, I barely even got a signal from my router on the 5Ghz band at this range. In my opinion, these extenders are most useful for the 5Ghz band because its range is so limited to begin with compared to the slower 2.4Ghz band. I'm also happy to report that I achieved similarly impressive results with the 2.4Ghz band, as I experienced much higher speeds than I normally would have at great distances (tested from outside my house since my house isn't very large). I have tested MANY extenders and this one by FAR outperformed them all. Makes me wonder how much better the RE450 could be, as it's the next model up from this one.

The TP-Link Tether mobile app is actually a nice way to use your mobile device to manage your extender, along with your router if you happen to own a TP-Link router. In my case, I actually own a TP-Link Archer C8 router. Therefore, using this app I was able to configure everything from my Android smartphone very easily. It's not something I absolutely NEED considering I'm more of a power user, but for other folks that just want easy access to their network via the mobile device, it works great.

Cons: It's large and bulky. I would have liked to have seen a design that's a little more streamlined, even if it is aesthetically pleasing overall.

Doesn't have a pass-through outlet. There are some wireless extenders from other manufacturers that rival this product in every aspect, yet include a pass-through outlet as well. To me, not having one is a big deal and it's one of the main reasons I took off a star, along with the bulky design of course.

Other Thoughts: Okay, so in the end I have to fully recommend this extender. It's a snap to set-up, performs excellently at all ranges on both bands, and is priced reasonably. If you can look past the fact that it doesn't offer a pass-through outlet, you are going to get one of the best extenders currently on the market at this price range. TP-Link has been doing better and better with all their networking gear. I've tested many of their products over the last year and the quality level just keeps getting better, both in terms of hardware and software.

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Seagate 1TB Backup Plus Ultra Slim Portable External Hard Drive with 200GB of Cloud Storage & Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0 Model STEH1000101 Gold
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Pros: First off this is one great looking drive. It's very slim and eye-catching. Seagate's Slim Portable drives have always had a nice design, but they have improved that with this newest line of products, including the 1TB model I'm reviewing now. The Gold dimpled design catches the light and just looks great.

While the slim, eye-catching design is nice, it's the performance most of us care about. The STEH1000101 doesn't let down in that area either. I was easily hitting 150 MB/s speeds on via USB 3.0 on sequential reads AND writes. This is one of the first external drives that I've noticed performs just as well on sequential writes as it does on reads. That is impressive!

Has a special "Paragon Driver" that you can use to set up the drive to work on both Windows and Mac OS without reformatting. This will no doubt be useful for people that have both PC's and Mac's on hand.

There are mobile apps available for Android and iOS to make transferring files to and from the external drive or the cloud very easy and strait-forward. The apps simplify the process, even for all the non-tech savvy folks. I tested the Android app personally and it worked great. No complaints there.

The drive includes a free two year subscription for 200GB of cloud storage through OneDrive. 200GB is enough to backup most of your pics and even a good bit of your videos as well, so that's a great bonus freebie. Additional cloud connectivity is available for Google Drive and Dropbox, as well as social media backup for your Facebook and Flickr accounts.

Cons: The random read and write performance could be better. But that's not a deal-breaker and is to be expected from a drive of this type.

Other Thoughts: I don't have much of anything negative to say about this drive. It's a complete win, especially for the current price. I highly recommend it and would suggest even having a couple on hand for backups and transferring data to and from other devices. Seagate has done a great job with their current Ultra Slim series.

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Matthew M.'s Profile

Display Name: Matthew M.

Date Joined: 06/08/06

  • Reviews: 50
  • Helpfulness: 40
  • First Review: 09/19/06
  • Last Review: 09/11/16
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