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WD EX2100 (WDBWAZ0120JBK-NESN) My Cloud™ Expert Series 2-Bay Pre-configured 12 TB NAS with dual-core processor
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: -Compact design
-Simple setup (provided you know what configuration you want)
-Straightforward browser-based interface
-Simple HD swap, when needed
-Ridiculous number of options (SAMBA, FTP, DLNA, Cloud, etc.)
-Detailed, well-written user manual

Cons: -Not so much a con as something to be aware of: If you have ever have to return it to factory settings, make sure you allow for ~16 hours. At least, that is how long mine took.
-Minor Con: When I plugged in my Seagate Backup Plus Fast 4TB Portable HDD, it didn’t recognize it, even though it is in a standard format (NTFS). The Seagate is, is essence, a portable RAID device and isn’t recognized by all PCs/devices, so it may be an issue that will be ironed out in a future firmware update. It sure would have been handy to transfer the data from it as opposed to transfer via LAN.

Other Thoughts: It was a fun ride getting this device set up to see how much load it could, in theory, take off of my main Windows-based server. My current server is a Windows 7 Pro computer which I use as a media server for 4 media PCs, DLNA server, a web server for 2 websites, print server, FTP server, and, at times, an HFS server for browser-based file access. If you are already aware of what the Western Digital EX2100 can do, then you would know that it can take care of 4 out of 6 of those features. I currently have a little over 4TB of data and so I decided to configure it as RAID 1, to see how it performed in mirroring mode and have been pleasantly surprised in the areas of ease of setup and performance. My main usage on my home network has been to access the audio & video files via SAMBA mount. I have a robust Gigabit home network and regularly test my local LAN speeds to my media server using Network Speed Test, which averages speeds in the 750-850Mbps range. For the purposes as described, this device performed fairly well. But, it is not going to replace my Media Server in any real way. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I have always perceived NAS devices as an “Average Consumer” device and I cannot see myself using one on a full-time basis in the near future. I can see the draw from the standpoint of a user who wants a feature-filled device that they can load & configure without much in the way of time commitment. I probably like configuring tech more than most, so that isn’t a selling point for me. As far as anything approaching a value, I am not seeing it at the current price of $750. The current price of two 6TB NAS Hard Drives is $540, so I would be paying a little over $200 for what amounts to a microcomputer that performs a few specific tasks, albeit fairly well. The device does what it is supposed to do and does it well, but my egg rating is still 4 stars because the value isn’t there, to me. This is mainly because I am not personally interested in this type of device, a reason for which I don’t typically ding a product for, but I did here.

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Linksys AC1900 Dual Band SMART Wi-Fi Gigabit Router (EA6900)
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

4 out of 5 eggs Set it and forget it or, possibly, forget it altogether 04/02/2015

This review is from: Linksys AC1900 Dual Band SMART Wi-Fi Gigabit Router (EA6900)

Pros: -Standard form-factor
-Wall mount/antennae adjustability options
-True dual-band with the added benefit of the 802.11ac tech
-Simplistic interface (A Pro for some)
-USB 2.0 & 3.0 Ports
-4 horizontal Gigabit ports (vertical ports on some form factors annoy me)
-Web access functionality would be nice for someone who didn’t have a static IP or was more of a networking newb, but it was not needed in my situation

Cons: -Runs pretty warm – situate it in a well ventilated area
-If you want to run the “wizard” to auto-connect your Internet connection, you have to do it right at the beginning or you will have to re-set it to Factory Default to do it later (It does warn you of this)
-Odd placement of the ‘Reset to Factory Default’ option under the Security tab, rather than under the Admin tab, as typical
-Not a whole lot of customization in the advanced settings (naming of various profiles/configurations)

The following three Cons are from my perspective & needs, but don’t universally apply:
-Simplistic interface
-Simplistic parental controls
-No support for 3rd Party firmware

Other Thoughts: My review is from the perspective of a power user in a 2-level home with a robust network (20+ active wired nodes, mostly in the basement) and many wireless devices on the main level, which has been covered by a D-Link DIR-868L at one end and a D-Link DAP-1650 wireless extender at the other with Gigabit wired connectivity throughout. I have upgraded through several different D-Link routers, which have all served me well for almost 10 years (and the oldest one is still running on the network as a switch). I say this so that you understand I am very happy with the current setup. Enter the EA6900, which uses the “original” router form-factor of a “box” with antennae sticking up off the back. Beyond all of the local wired/wireless access going on, I also serve out 2 websites from my main server and have multiple Virtual Server forwarding rules for external RDP access. So, I need quite a bit from the main router beyond the local access control. My main website is used by 4 of us who implement software all around the state (as well as IT support folk) and that speaks to my need for reliability.

I swapped the DIR-868L for the EA6900 on a Friday evening and using the “wizard” process, it auto-recognized my cable modem and configured itself. The wired network functionality was up to par for Gigabit and I was expecting nothing less. I tested wireless using an Intel Wireless AC 7260 adapter (internal Mini-PCI Express used in two of my laptops) and it did score pretty close in LAN Speed Test to the DIR-868L at 125Mbps upload/275Mbps download (125/275) on the 5GHz Band with slightly lower scores on the 2.4GHz Band. The DIR-868L averages 130/300. As mentioned in the cons, this device has basic parental control functionality and I place high priority on the extensive Parental Controls offered by D-Link. Knowing that it wouldn’t meet those needs, I didn’t see the point of doing all of the other configuration needed for web/remote access, so I had the DIR-868L back in place before the new work week began. I covered other specifics in the Pros and Cons and don’t see the need to expound here further.

I titled this review “Set it and forget it or, possibly, forget it altogether” – My meaning was that if you are looking for a simple-to-use router that has reasonably good tech, buy it. If you want more extensive functionality, you’ll want to look elsewhere. I gave it 4 eggs for ease of use and good performance on both wireless bands. I dinged it an egg because, at the current going rate of ~$175 for new, it is not a great value. I could say it is a good value if you can get one used, as they are going for almost half of what the new ones are.

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Seagate 500GB USB 2.0 / WiFi Wireless Mobile External Hard Drive STDC500402 Red
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: -Red & black plastic enclosure make it easy to find
-It has decent transfer speeds with USB 2.0
-It has a fairly simplistic interface for setup and usage
-The wireless access is reasonably fast and kept up fine with a 2GB, 2000Kbps bitrate movie streaming to my iPhone.
-It has decent battery life for its size and it will get you through a movie or two on battery power. Because it is powered by USB, which is ubiquitous these days, I would recommend keeping it plugged in as much as possible.
-Supports m3u playlists
-At first, I thought the User Manual was rather minimal, but I then discovered that Seagate has User Manuals for iOS, Android and the Windows 8 app on their website.
-It has the ability to upload/dowload files from your mobile device using the wireless connection.

Cons: -Samba-mount access of the files would be an ideal option
-You are locked into the 500GB HDD size, which may be fine for many users. Having used an Iogear MediaShair, I am able to keep my whole library with me on a 5TB HDD.
-With its square shape, it is too big/odd-shaped for standard portable HDD cases.
-The Windows 8 app is rather intrusive and made itself the default application for a variety of file types in Windows, including MS Office file types like .docx, .xlsx, etc.

Other Thoughts: The all-in-one concept is great and I imagine for some users, 500GB is enough for their portable AV needs. I have been using an Iogear MediaShair Wireless Media Hub for a while now and some of my comparisons here will be with that device. With this Seagate Wireless device, you get a device that is quite a bit bigger than a typical portable HDD that has the storage, battery & wireless interface all-in-one. Setup is fairly straightforward, provided you already have a bunch of digital media files ready to move to it. I have been slowly standardizing my home digital video collection to MP4 H264 with AAC and bitrates in the 1K to 2K Kbps range. This seems to be the standard these days and it meets all of our family’s needs.

Finding/installing the Seagate Media app in the Apple App Store was easy enough and the interface has two, standard options: #1 is Library view, which create listings based on what types of files are in the collection. #2 is Folder view, which shows the folder structure and is my preference, since that is how we find/access media on our home Media Centers. Running the Seagate Wireless app on my iPhone 6 Plus, I was able to play our standard-sized MP4 videos without an issue. Where I think this device really shines is for audio playback, especially since it supports .m3u playlists (and possibly other playlist formats). For my own usage, I am Windows-centric and wanted to see how it did there. In that environment, you can access the setup features and the media files via a web browser or using the Seagate Media app that is accessible in Windows 8 through the Microsoft Store. The issue mentioned in the cons soured me on playing media using the app.

Now onto the review title and final thoughts... I brought this device with me on a work trip and had just finished testing/running media on my iPhone and was going to do the same testing in Android. I had been listening to some music on the flight home and had, like a goofus, put it in the seat pocket. When the flight arrived, I forgot about it until I had gotten out of the airport. At that point, I pulled over and called Delta, but was directed to their lost items website. I immediately submitted the information and fully expected that I would get the notification a day or two later that it was found. I have left my tablet in the seat pocket on two previous occasions and didn’t even get out of the terminal before they found me to return it. So, I figured that because this was a lower value item, that I would get it back, but the review title spoiled the ending. After 3 weeks of waiting to get the notification that it was found, I received the notification that it had not been found and that the case was closed. A painful lesson learned, both regarding not putting anything in the seat pocket and that theft even among business travelers exists. My overall review is 4 eggs for the fact that the function I felt this device does the best is music playback.

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Rob H.'s Profile

Display Name: Rob H.

Date Joined: 03/11/03

Achievements:

  • Top 1000 Reviewer
  • Reviews: 89
  • Helpfulness: 37
  • First Review: 07/12/11
  • Last Review: 05/26/15
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