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APC Black 10000 mAh Mobile Power Pack M10BK
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

4 out of 5 eggs APC Portable USB Power Pack 01/08/2015

This review is from: APC Black 10000 mAh Mobile Power Pack M10BK

Pros: * Big brand name. APC has been a market leader in battery technology for a long time so they have good experience for making a good product.

* 10,000 mAh battery (and not the 5000 mAh version). 10,000 mAh is the minimum battery size I think should be in one of these things, otherwise what’s the point? My Samsung Galaxy Note 3 standard battery is 3,200 mAh and the iPhone 6+ is 2,915mAh for comparison.

* Two USB ports so you can charge two devices at once.

* Charge capacity level indicator. Knowing how much charge is left in your battery is critical.

* The 2nd USB port provides up to 2.4 amps of output (the 1st port only 1 amp). This fully covers the maximum power draw of largest smart phones (the Galaxy Note 3 power supply being 2.1 amps). Some tablets may charge a bit slower than using the wall supply that comes with them though. For example the Surface Pro 3’s power supply supplies 3 amps to that tablet.

* Charging speed. This power pack will charge your devices at about the same speed as their OEM chargers as long as they only try to draw an amperage level equal to or less than that of the rated output of the power packs coinciding USB port.

* The power pack stayed fairly cool while charging. It also charged much faster using a third party wall charger than using the USB port off of my PC. (USB 2.0 is rated to output a maximum of 500 mA or 900 mA in USB 3.0).

Cons: * Price. There are other brand power packs even less expensive with more capacity available.

* Included USB 2.0 charging cable is a mere 11.8 inches long (15 inches including the plug ends). I’m a fan of long cables and this cable is immediately going into my big box of extra cables stored in my closet. I have plenty of 5+ foot USB cables lying around to replace it. NewEgg sells nice six foot long fabric braided USB 2.0 cables which I would suggest looking into as a replacement if you want something longer.

Other Thoughts: This power pack is about the same size as an iPhone 6+ while being about twice the thickness and 110 grams heavier. It’s compact enough to carry around in a pack or purse or even large pockets. In other words, it’s plenty portable.

Lithium Polymer (LiPo) battery. From a consumer standpoint the only difference between this battery and a Lithium Ion battery is that the polymer battery is slightly lighter to manufacture and has a slightly flatter discharge curve, so they are better in this application than a Lithium Ion battery.

Does not come with a USB wall charger. This is neither a pro nor a con for me. I already have a plethora of USB wall charger blocks lying all over my house and I can use any one of them to charge this device. The device wants to see a 1.5 amp input. Almost all of my chargers are 2.1 amps. That is OK. Using them will not damage anything. You can plug any USB device into any USB cable and into any USB port, and nothing will blow up. The device regulates the current draw and takes what it wants, not the wall charger! (Which makes me wonder why this battery even offers two different charging ports of different amperage outputs in the first place?) The rating on the wall charger is just what it’s maximum output capability is. Using a 1 amp wall charger will simply leave this power pack hungry for more power and will take longer to charge. I would rather pay less money (presumably) for this device than pay more while getting a mediocre (1.5 amp) wall charger that I won’t want to plug in my hungrier devices into. You can buy a 1.5 amp wall charger for under $5 shipped if you really want one though, I just looked.

Important final consideration: For the same total weight, and the same price, you can buy 6 original Samsung OEM 3200mAh replacement batteries offering a total of 19,200 mAh battery capacity, roughly twice the capacity for the same price and portability of this battery pack. This would also help counter charge life reduction that is inherent to batteries after many cycles of charging.

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TRENDnet TV-IP762IC (v1.0R) 720P HD Wireless Day/Night Micro SD card, 2 Way Audio Cloud IP Camera
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: * HD. High definition should be the new standard definition. Every screen made on any TV or device these days can do 1080p so why are there still devices that can’t produce it? This one produces 720P resolution, not quite as high but still technically high definition. This higher definition is most noticeable when you are looking at the picture and zoom in on something. It also provides the wide screen view common with this resolution which looks nice.

* TrendNet has an app for your smartphone (Apple and Android) that you can use to access and control your camera through. Without this I would find that owning this camera would be next to pointless. I use it to spy on my family while I’m at work on my Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Because this camera has a built in two way microphone, I can even talk into my phone and have them hear me over the camera (IF I have a speaker plugged into the 1/8” audio jack on the camera, which is not included), and they can talk back through the camera to me. I like to occasionally check in, when I’m feeling lonely, curious or just want to see what people are doing in my house. There is no way to tell if someone is accessing the camera and watching you though (many cameras have an LED that blinks when surveillance is on.

* One neat thing that can be done is to use this camera as a security camera while you are away on vacation or even just at work while nobody else is in the house. I set up my cam to take 6 snapshots, and to record 15 seconds of video on detected motion and immediately send the snapshots to my mobile phone’s email address and to save the video clips to my ISP provided FTP site for safe keeping.

Cons: * During setup, I discovered that I could not pair my camera with my router using the WPS method if I began the process on the camera first. I had to start the WPS search on the router and then press the WPS button on the camera for them to find each other. I replicated this issue a few more times to see if the bug would go away but it hadn’t. When installing the camera to my network manually, it kept telling me to change the admin password, despite doing exactly that several times when instructed to do so. Setup was not exactly smooth.

* Setting up camera options through the web interface is horribly slow, despite being connected via Ethernet cable. When changing a setting such as the Wireless connection method, when I would apply the changes, a popup notification showed up that said to go ahead and unplug your Ethernet cable from the camera, wherein the camera reboots to have the changes take effect. The window then goes away when I do so and click the OK button, but right behind that window there is a message in red print that says “Don’t unplug the Ethernet cable from the camera during the reboot process”. What? More unsmooth setup.

* The Android App (and I assume the IOS AP as well) that comes with the camera and is advertised as “free” is not the full version of software. You have to purchase the full version separately to unlock video recording, auto-scan, and quad-view. $3.99 in the Google Play store. This is a cheap trick. It’s like selling a car to someone and then telling them that there are no windshield wipers unless you buy them separately. You can still use the car, just not when it’s raining. What a shame.

* The CloudView software crashes on my phone about half the time whenever I push the tools icon. Sigh.

* Despite being 720P capable, the image quality is not as good as I expected. I can tell that it is in HD, but the whole picture still looks washed out and unclear. Maybe it’s the encoding? There are color and saturation issues and I had to alter the image settings significantly to brighten up the image and make it look better. The image isn’t much better than my 480p camera.

* This camera does not support the 802.11ac Wi-Fi format. I have an 802.11ac router and video transmission is a perfect application for using with 802.11ac. It bugs me how long new and improved technologies take to get into main stream. Every WiFi product I review that does not have this capability will get a check mark in the cons section.

* The power adapter only utilizes a 5 foot cord. If you want to mount this any further than five feet from a power outlet, you’ll have to use an extension cord. A few extra feet here could make a much more convenient setup. I know this is a picky thing to list under the cons section but in my case it means the brick adapter is hanging down against the wall instead of on the floor.

Other Thoughts: During my installation of the TrendNet plugin for Chrome, I had a tough time getting it to work as it kept failing the install. It kept telling me that I had to close Chrome for it to be installed, despite having killed all processes with Chrome in their names and rebooting several times. I finally figured out that the problem was with Google Drive being open, which was keeping an un-killable Chrome Process open. Shutting down Google Drive allowed the plugin (MSI) to install with no further issues, that is until I tried to run the program and couldn’t get Live View to work on my PC from the web login screen. I finally realized that Chrome was blocking the TrendNet plugin whenever it tried to run. Once I allowed it in the Chrome settings, it worked.

This camera does not have any way to rotate and pan remotely. You have to point it where you want it and it stays. The mount is basic but effective. The night vision wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either. The biggest issue I have with this camera is the strange color differences in the corners that seem to pulse as you look at the video. I don’t know what is causing this but regardless of light levels and video settings, I couldn’t get the problem to go away.

The TrendNetVIEW Pro Software comes on an included CD ROM and requires about 750MB of space to install. The options and capability of the software is pretty average. It seems to be written to handle many different models of cameras as there are controls in the software that affect functions that the camera does not have.

I didn’t have a micro SD card to test out with the camera and I won’t be buying one for it as the only time I plan on recording anything will be for security reasons of which I want to be sure the recorded video is safely copied to an off site server.

If you are on a limited mobile data plan and use the mobile camera app very much, be prepared to see some huge data usage. I’m on a 3 gigabyte per month plan, which I’ve never exceeded before getting this camera. I ended up paying for 5 gigabytes by the month’s end ($10 a gig for each gig over the plan) so this camera just cost me $20 more than I was expecting. Just something to think about before your purchase.

Overall, I can recommend this camera if you want to pay as little as possible for a 720p cam and don’t require a high quality video picture. If you want something with more camera features (remote pan and rotate movements, weather resistant, adjustable antenna, WiFi booster, etc.), I recommend looking at another model or brand. I give this camera 3 of 5 stars because although I found a lot more cons than pros, the fact is you’re getting what you’re paying for while also getting your money’s worth. If the video image were (a lot) better I would give it 4 of 5 stars. Add a full version mobile app with more controls, perhaps a built in speaker and/or some other features commonly found on cameras, this could be a 5 star product.

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NETGEAR GS308 8-Port Gigabit Desktop Switch in Metal Case - Essentials Edition
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

5 out of 5 eggs A Nice Switch for heavy home use or small business 08/28/2014

This review is from: NETGEAR GS308 8-Port Gigabit Desktop Switch in Metal Case - Essentials Edition

Pros: * Solid feeling all metal casing with mounting holes that you can use to stick this on a pair of screws sticking out of your wall. For some, this doesn’t really matter, but to those who utilize this mounting method, it’s a much appreciated feature.

* The LED lights located by each Ethernet port are very bright and visible. I almost don’t need to turn on a light at night to see where I’m going with this thing present. They display green in color when connected and the active port(s) blink when transferring data. The link speed and input output connections are automatically detected.

* Over a weeks’ time it seemed stable and transferred data reliably with no random disconnects or pauses. I had no problems with it in working with my Linksys and Trendnet routers using Windows 7 64bit. It’s as plug and play as they come.

* This switch uses standard energy saving methods that detect cable length and link status to adjust power usage accordingly. It only became lukewarm during heavy usage and relies on passive radiation instead of using a fan for cooling. I hate fans.

* This switch has a nice buffer size for heavy home use of 1536 Kbits (192KB). The larger the buffer the more data the switch can manage. Memory per port is important because you need enough buffer to allow a smooth transfer of data when you have more traffic destined to a port in a burst of time than that port can send out in its link within that time. For example, when sending out 2 1Gb/s bursts down a 1Gb/s port for 100ms, you need enough buffer to hold 200ms worth of data, or something’s going to get dropped and in practice, drops are very bad for performance.

* The power cord is a nice six feet long. The switch itself is a dark matt grey in color with the word Netgear proudly embossed on it in. Netgear is a very well-known company in the PC hardware manufacturing business and I’ve found them to have good customer support in the past.

Cons: * This switch only has a limited 1 year parts and labor warranty. I would like to have seen a 3 or 5 year manufacturer’s warranty instead. Some switches even have a lifetime guarantee.

Other Thoughts: BENCHMARKS:
I used a program called AIDA32 that has a built in network bench mark utility. You install it onto two PC’s and it sends data from one to the other and measures how fast it can do it. All cables are CAT 7 Ethernet cables and both PCs are Windows 7 64-bit. I first measured the speed of data transfer directly through my Linksys EA6900 gigabit router to use as a base. I then benchmarked this Netgear GS308 switch and compared it to tests from two other switches. These are the results:

Router (Base Speed):
Min- 58,978 KB/s
Max- 92,810 KB/s
Avg- 74,549 KB/s

*Netgear GS308 (Test Switch)
Min- 60,015 KB/s
Max- 80,869 KB/s
Avg- 71,758 KB/s

D-Link GO-SW-8G switch:
Min- 56,741 KB/s
Max- 90,104 KB/s
Avg- 67,140 KB/s

TP-Link TL-SG105 switch:
Min- 60,851 KB/s
Max- 79,689 KB/s
Avg- 69,943 KB/s

As you can see, throughput speeds were all pretty close to each other. The Netgear switch edged out ahead by a hair. This isn’t something you would ever notice in real world usage but numbers are numbers.

Considering the number of pros versus cons I was able to find, I definitely have to recommend this switch as consideration for purchase. There are less expensive switches available but the price differences are not very significant when talking about equipment that all costs less than $50.

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Mike C.'s Profile

Display Name: Mike C.

Date Joined: 07/05/03

  • Reviews: 31
  • Helpfulness: 27
  • First Review: 06/15/10
  • Last Review: 01/08/15
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