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Toshiba OCZ TR150 2.5
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5 out of 5 eggs Excellent value, mainstream performance 07/12/2016

This review is from: Toshiba OCZ TR150 2.5" 240GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) TRN150-25SAT3-240G

Pros: price, OCZ SSD utility

Cons: no cloning software, drive is unformatted so some knowledge required for storage replacement scenario

Other Thoughts: When I bought my first SSD drive for my primary desktop pc back in 2012, cost was a major consideration. I ended up with a Samsung 830, which was very highly rated at the time. 128GB cost me $90 from Newegg. The drive was always a little small for my purposes; since many apps store their cache and data on the C: drive (email, for instance) I never had more than about 15GBs to spare and was always a bit concerned about having so little free space.

Not only have SSD prices come down dramatically over the years, but TLC technology has enabled a new class of "value" drives that are less expensive than the MLC-based "performance" drives that have until very recently been the gold standard. Aimed at cost conscious mainstream users (like me) current drives like OCZ's Trion series offer an attractive option where top-notch specs aren't required.

In the recent past OCZ suffered from quality control problems that made SSDs from the competition, such as Samsung, Sandisk, PNY etc. a more reliable choice. Not to mention that almost every company that produces flash memory now sells SSDs as well, and like flash memory, SSDs are much more a commodity item than they were four years ago. Toshiba took over OCZ, revamped the line to use Toshiba developed and manufactured parts, and is doing its best to re-establish OCZ as a major player.

Given that the Trion is marketed as an entry level product, performance compared to my old Samsung 830 was quite an improvement. Since I use the SSD as a boot drive the performance of the drive is more than adequate and the price makes it an easy purchase. Recommended.

TP-Link RE590T AC1900 Touch Screen Wi-Fi Range Extender
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5 out of 5 eggs State of the art range and bandwidth with some useful and unique features 06/20/2016

This review is from: TP-Link RE590T AC1900 Touch Screen Wi-Fi Range Extender

Pros: Effectively boosts wifi signal to difficult spots, touch screen provides a lot of functionality, excellent Android management app, extremely easy set up via multiple methods, excellent fit and finish, helpful documentation

Cons: Somewhat expensive, unattractive industrial design, touch screen can be fiddly, large for a range extender, provides more bandwidth than many buyers can use or take advantage of

Other Thoughts: Tp-Link is my favorite provider of home networking gear. The performance of their products always compares favorably to those from better known manufacturers and usually at a lower price. I have used their Archer C7 router for the past couple of years, always returning to it after I've tried equipment that looks better on paper but doesn't perform any better in real life. Over time, their packaging, documentation, design and ease of set up have significantly improved. In fact the RE590 was probably the fastest and easiest network device I've ever set up.

My New York City apartment is small but the walls are very thick and no router has been able to provide a usable signal to some rooms without help. I have used Tp-Link's TL-WA850RE range extender in my kitchen to great effect, although it is the company's least expensive range extender at $20. However that unit is limited to the Wireless N 2.4 GHz band at a maximum of 300 mbps. This is adequate for older devices that don't support the 5 GHz band or Wireless AC. It is also adequate for most internet connections.

However more recent phones and tablets do support dual bands and Wireless AC and the theoretical difference in performance is dramatic, particularly when streaming media or transferring files within the home. Unfortunately the benefits of AC vary significantly from environment to environment; the 5GHz signal is just not very robust when it has to go through walls, etc. In my apartment the inexpensive Tp-Link range extender provides an adequate 2.4GHz signal throughout but there are still rooms where the 5GHz signal is unusably weak. I don't fault the Archer C7 router for this but the layout of my home.

If the TL-WA850RE is the least expensive Tp-Link range extender, the RE590T AC1900 is their most expensive and fully featured. Although it includes useful bells and whistles like external antennas, a large well thought out touch screen, and multiple ethernet ports for connecting to media devices, what you are paying for is a theoretical throughput of 1.9Gbps vs the 850RE's top speed of only 300mbps. And such power does not come cheap at $129, although the RE590 is priced competitively with 1900 AC range extenders from other manufacturers. Whether or not you can use or need this much bandwidth depends on how many devices you have that support 5GHz AC, how many of them will be in use at the same time, and how much of your networking is done locally as opposed to over the internet.

The real advantages of the RE590 will be appreciated if you need to stream high definition media over significant distances to otherwise dead spots in the home. For a family that plays demanding video games in more than one room the range extender might also be a good investment. If your bandwidth needs are more modest and/or you are only using your devices for non-streaming internet use, the Tp-Link makes range extenders at almost every price point that will perform up to and beyond their specifications.

My personal needs are simpler and more straightforward; I merely wanted to get 5GHz reception in rooms that the C7 couldn't reach on its own. The RE590 has solved that problem admirably.

TP-LINK HS100  Smart Plug, Wi-Fi Enabled, Control Your Electronics from Anywhere, Energy Saving
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Pros: Easy set up, full featured phone/tablet app, clean industrial design, flexible configuration

Cons: somewhat expensive to install throughout the house

Other Thoughts: TP-Link products have always provided great value and they just keep getting better. This is the most affordable "smart plug" you can buy that is controllable by an app on your phone or tablet. It practically configures itself and once you have an account on TP-Link's cloud you can control the device from wherever you have an internet connection. Other special features include turning lights on and off at random times to simulate activity in the home and a handy countdown timer to prevent your forgetting to turn off an appliance. Very useful, attractively designed and well made. Recommended.


Ron R.'s Profile

Display Name: Ron R.

Date Joined: 01/10/02

  • Reviews: 53
  • Helpfulness: 22
  • First Review: 12/06/04
  • Last Review: 07/12/16
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