Showing Results: Most Recent
Pros: When I got the assignment to review the Belkin Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock HD (called Belkin HD from here on) I spent 15 minutes looking at the product page and yet still had no idea what this product does, especially for $300. I then explored the Belkin website where there is a catchy video of a professional who wanted to seamlessly dock their Mac to two monitors and once I realized that this was the sole purpose of the Belkin HD I was a little disturbed that Belkin would dare charge $300. However when I walked around my office where there are many colleagues which use Mac laptops exclusively I began to understand why the Belkin HD exists. Most Mac laptops only have one display port and two USB ports, with the more costly laptop versions having a few more ports. Therefore the Belkin HD is a rather simple way of transforming your laptop into a high productivity workstation by using a single thunderbolt cable (See other thoughts for a practical usage scenario).
Cons: As mentioned by another reviewer one of the displays must be natively thunderbolt whereas the other can be HDMI. This means that for the average user you will only be able to use one display rather than 2 as advertised, but luckily I was able to drive my 2K Samsung monitor successfully (as I do not have a thunderbolt display).
The Belkin HD does not offer a means of charging the laptop. Given that the Belkin HD is $300 and is supposed to transform a laptop into a desktop workstation it is inexcusable to expect the user to either carry their charger with them or own two chargers and keep the second next to the Belkin HD (remember, the Belkin HD was meant to reduce the number of cables going to the laptop).
Other Thoughts: Although the Belkin HD may seem like a silly use of $300 dollars I can understand the importance of such a solution. I have a Surface pro 3 which I use to watch movies, look at pictures, or catch up on my email when I am home. However when I go to work I pair my Surface Pro 3 with the Surface pro 3 dock which I use to connect to a dedicated LAN network, printer, external hard drive, CD drive and 27” 2K display. The Belkin HD fills the exact same niche as my Surface pro 3 dock EXCEPT the Belkin HD does not provide charging like the Surface pro 3 dock. So, should you buy the Belkin HD:
If you would like to have the flexibility of having a SINGLE computer that will have all of your data AND intend to use this computer at work:
Then YES! The Belkin HD fills the same niche as my Surface Pro 3 dock, however you will need to provide your own power source which is a pain
If you have a thunderbolt display AND would rather have 2 external displays:
Then Yes! This is a convenient solution but native thunderbolt displays are usually in 4K monitors which are pricy
If you are ok with a single external Display OR can afford a dedicated desktop at work OR cannot afford a 4K display:
Then No: I suspect you could create a simple windows workstation for the same cost it would take to saturate all of the features available on the Belkin HD (i.e. 4K thunderbolt display, high speed external HDDs, etc) and for that reason this would be an impractical purchase for windows users.
As for me: I observed that of my 15 colleagues at work only one was using an external monitor with their laptop whereas the rest simply used their laptop alone. I don’t feel that the Belkin HD has enough features to warrant $300. However if you are already a Mac user you should be used to paying far too much for Mac products/accessories AND if you are a content creator who needs dual high resolution monitors then I suspect you will be happy with the simplicity of the Belkin HD dock.
This review is from: Linksys EA9200-4A Wireless AC3200 Tri-Band Smart Wi-Fi Router
Pros: When I got the assignment to review the Linksys EA9200 I was quite amused. I had previously purchased the Linksys EA8350 in hopes of creating a triband network but the router was unable to connect to me modem no matter what (Motorola Surfboard). This modem had never had a problem with the 8 routers I have owned over the years and after a 1 hour call to Linksys it was determined the router was defective. I left a scathing review on Newegg (which you can read) but in summery I denounced Linksys. After this misadventure I purchased the Asus RT-AC3200 and had absolutely no problems creating my triband network. Well Newegg must be watching my buying history because a few weeks after purchasing the Asus RT-AC3200 I was offered the Linksys EA9200, ironically a router which when I could not afford it I would have never gotten for free but now that I can afford it I get I get it for free….gotta love capitalism eh? Anyway I had my own expectations of the Linksys EA9200 before I received the router, and was highly surprised when it recognized the modem. The reason I require a triband network is that I like to do large backups but all of my clients are wireless (all using 802.11AC chips). My Seagate NAS is attached to a Linksys EA6700 DD-WRT wireless bridge (3x3 802.11AC 1300mbps) and if I were to transmit a large file on a single 5GHz band (which has 32MB/s real world speed) the file would transfer at 16MB/s because the router must both send and receive the data, thus halving the bandwidth. With my Asus RT-AC3200 I get 29-35MB/s whereas the Linksys EA9200 gets 25-37MB/s, with identical settings (channels, widths, etc). These speeds require the transmitting computer, a Surface Pro 3 (2x2 802.11AC 768mbps) to use one 5GHz band and the receiver, Linksys EA6700, to use the other 5GHz band.
When I attached an external USB 3.0 2TB western digital to each router to transfere an ISO I got 33MB/s read 25MB/s write from the Linksys EA9200 and 35MB/s read 29MB/s write from the Asus RT-AC3200
Cons: The Linksys EA9200 (2014) uses the same GUI as the Linksys EA6700 (2013), both of which left me underwhelmed in comparison to the Asus RT-AC3200. The Asus router has a beautiful way of presenting total and individual network traffic, even down to what content each client uses whereas the Linksys has mediocre logs which lack such detailed information. This may not seem like much but if you want to really take control of your network this sort of information is important. Additionally the Asus router has many built in functions such as a download manager, ability to connect 3G & 4G wireless dongles, a media server mode (a lot like the DD-WRT wireless bridge) whereas the Linksys router requires me to flash DD-WRT just to get similar features (and good luck getting Linksys support of the open source community, they have been halfhearted at best in helping developers), non exists for the Linksys EA9200 as of today.
The Linksys EA9200 cannot be laid down despite no noticeable performance decrease in my tests and for me this is a deal breaker because it means this router will be an obtrusive presence in my house whereas the Linksys EA6700 and Asus RT-AC3200 can be tucked away. This also means the Linksys EA9200 will be near impossible to mount on a wall if you so desired
Other Thoughts: So should you buy this router?
If you want a simple plug and play router AND want a tri band network AND don’t care if the router stands up then:
Yes, this router is for you but there may be more flexibility found in other products
If you want a feature rich router AND want a tri band network AND some flexibility:
No, the Asus RT-AC3200 is of much better value
As for me, after the Linksys EA8350 left me vowing to never buy a Linksys product again I find the Linksys EA9200 has only recaptured my interest but not my trust in the Linksys brand. To rebuild my trust Linksys needs to produced high quality, reliable and feature rich products and the Linksys EA9200 is not such a product. Given that the Asus RT-AC3200 is a few dollars more but delivers so many more features and flexibility I would feel cheated if I had paid for my Linksys EA9200. So my advice to you, newegg customer, is if you can get the Linksys EA9200 on sale at $230 or less (including shipping) it’s not a bad tri band router, but at the current price point it does not deliver the premium experience one would expect from a router that costs half a month’s salary for a minimum wage worker. I for one will be selling my review model but might keep abreast of Linksys’s products in the future…only time will tell if Linksys can recapture its legendary status which was build on the low price point AND integration of open source alternatives. My suggestion to you Linksys is commit to working with open source developers, rather than just saying you will while never delivering a proper toolkit/API/drivers to the community (check the forums if you don’t believe me). This way if your customers hate your firmware implementations we would at least have other, official and robust, options which can harness the decent hardware underneath. Its is this approach which got your company where it is today so why not go back to your roots?
This review is from: Seagate STCU4000100 4TB NAS 4-Bay Network Storage
Pros: When I received my assignment to review the Seagate STCU4000100 4TB I was quite amused because previously I was assigned to review the Seagate Business Storage 2-Bay Diskless NAS (STBN100) on 3/22/2013. In my review, available on newegg (Lawrence M. On last page), I found the NAS to have a nice USM backup feature overall it was a flakey device that I decided to sell because 1) 2 bays only 2) interface was terrible AND lacked SSH 3) the NAS would only recognize hard drives from Seagates qualified vendor list. For me this was a deal breaker because I should not be forced to buy particular brands and models. Instead I continued to use Synology NAS (212 & 414) because 1) they accept virtually any hard drive 2) have loads of features (admittedly I used very few of them) and have SSH 3) the proprietary Synology DSM OS was perpetually updated offering new features. Therefore I had my mind mostly made up for the Seagate STCU4000100 4TB before I received it but because I'm a curious person I decided to incorporate the device into my home network over the course of 2+ weeks but inevitably intended to sell it when I was done.
I was immediately impressed with the Seagate STCU4000100 4TB right out of the box. Compared to Synology 212 & 414 and Seagate STBN100 the STCU4000100 unit felt sturdy in my hands, exuding superior build quality not only in the exterior metal work but also the buttons and internal modules. I felt as though no space was wasted in the construction of this unit and for me that is very important given I live in a cramped Manhattan apartment. The build quality may seem like a non issue for most but I have to disagree and point out something which is not apparent for specifications alone: sound. The NAS units I have owned not only have loud fans but when in use would be very loud with hard drive clatter. I'm sure this seems minor but in an office environment it can be incredibly distracting when multiple backups are being made or multiple users are accessing data. The Synology NAS, despite noise dampening HDD pins and metal/plastic chassis, seemed to amplify the sound irrespective of HDD brand (Western digital, Hitachi/HGST, Seagate). I found the SEAGATE STCU4000100 to have a hardly audible fan AND HDDs while under load over the course of 6 hours in an absolutely quiet room....I was impressed.
Cons: The Seagate STCU4000100 comes without a setup CD (unlike Synology which requires it to set up the unit by inserting the latest DSM OS before the system starts) which I applaud because most modern computers lack a CD drive and even if they had one it is just silly. Instead I just turned on the NAS and used the device list in my smart router (ASUS AC3200) to find the IP. However if I did not have a smart router, as most people do not, I can't imagine how the average user would have found the device! Should the average user innumerate through 255 ip addresses expecting to hit the jackpot (mine got 116)? For this reason Seagate should include a non backlit (or maybe backlit only when a button is pressed) LED/LCD with the current IP address. This is not only convenient during setup but if a network were to go down or be upgraded it would be aggregating to hunt for the NAS's new IP.
After finding the IP the NAS upgraded to the newest firmware via the Internet and setup was very painless. The interface is incredibly easy to use, so much so that I suddenly realized that despite all of Synology's features they had managed to clutter the UI. However there is one thing I really disliked about the SEAGATE UI and it’s in the RAID console. I HATE that the RAID 1 the 4TBs were in (2TB accessible) is called "simplyraid". SEGATE: do not start proprietary naming jargon! I hate it and it makes your customers sound uninformed if they ever told someone they are using "simplyraid" rather than RAID 0, 1, 5, 10, etc! You should educate your customers, not treat them like children. Despite this the user access/permissions setup, connection protocols, folder options and even enabling SSH were a breeze even on a windows 8 touchscreen (especially drag and drop permissions) I was very happy with the simple experience. I do not like that 2x2TB HDDs are included rather than 4x1TB: I understand why Seagate chose this configuration rather than 4x1TB. Its because they expect users to expand to 8GB. Unfortunately not all users need that much space and a 4x1TB configuration would be more secure because 2 drives could fail (if each is not in the same set) in a RAID 10 setup, whereas in the 2x2TB only 1 can fail. This may seem trivial but when the RAID volume id being rebuilt the data is very vulnerable because if all of the drives were manufactured at the same time there is a high probability that the second drive will fail very soon after the first due to the same fault. The simple solution to this problem would be if Seagate gave their users the option of 4x1TB, but that’s just my eggexpert opinion!
Other Thoughts: This seems like a good time for a performance rundown. When transferring 4.5GB ISOs via gigabit switch to a desktop I had sustained 100MB/s. When transferring 10,000 4MB photos I had sustained 55MB/s....I was impressed again. Why you ask? Despite buying performance drives for Synology I got spends ~ 10MB/s slower and I'm not sure why but it always bugged me.
So should you buy the Seagate STCU4000100?
If you have a home office or small business where silence is key AND you intend to expand to 8TB in the future:
Yes! This is an impressively quiet piece of hardware and if you have deep pockets you can go up to 20TB
If you are looking for a NAS with many features such as security camera manager, download station, web browser file management:
Yes! A 4 bay Synology 414 NAS without HDDs is $470, whereas the Seagate STCU4000100 is $500 with 4TB (2x2TB). It’s a steal and I am quite impressed by how Seagate has stepped up their game over their last generation product line.
As for me: I wanted to hate the Seagate STCU4000100, and might in the future because I do not have non Seagate HDDs on hand to see if they are compatible (this limitation plagued the previous generation NAS and I resented Seagate for it). However I have been won over on three fronts: 1) the fan and HDDs are quiet under load 2) simply elegant chassis and UI 3) expandability up to 20TB along with USB 3.0 HDDs expandability which is treated the same as the internal HDDs (including permissions and mapping network drives!). Although I intended to sell the Seagate STCU4000100 before I received the unit I have decided to keep it considering I sold my Synology hardware because of the HDD/fan noise and cluttered interface.