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TP-LINK HS100  Smart Plug, Wi-Fi Enabled, Control Your Electronics from Anywhere, Energy Saving
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

5 out of 5 eggs Only Limted by your Imagination 01/23/2016

This review is from: TP-LINK HS100 Smart Plug, Wi-Fi Enabled, Control Your Electronics from Anywhere, Energy Saving

Pros: +Very Easy to Set Up - The app basically does all the work. Install the app, plug in the device, launch the app, and follow the step by step instructions in the app. Upon opening the app I had my smart plug working within about 5 minutes.

+Very Simple App Interface - When you open the app you will see a list of all of your supported devices with power buttons next to them. Press one of those power buttons and it will toggle the power to that device. If you click on the device it will give you more information and options. It will give you total and current run-time for the day, total and average for the past 7 days, and total and average for the past 30 days. You can also set up schedules, timers, and 'away-mode'.

+Away-Mode - This turns the plug into a security system. It will switch on and off at random intervals which, if you have a lamp plugged into it, will create the illusion that someone is home.

+Works over the Internet - Did you forget to turn off the space heater when you left for work? If it's plugged into a smart plug you can switch it off from your phone while at work as long as you have internet access.

+Non-Invasive LED - The LED is just bright enough to use for configuration.

+Looks Good/Fairly Compact - It is visually neutral and as long as it is installed on a top outlet it won't block the outlet below it.

+Seems to be Reliable - I've been using it for about 3 weeks. Both the app and the device have functioned flawlessly for the entire time I've used them.

+Price - Very affordable, and if used for power saving the device can pay for itself in a short time.

Cons: -Awkward Box Opening - The box is encased in a card-stock sleeve (fairly typical these days), and it's a tight fit making it difficult to remove the sleeve. There ought to be a hole on the top of the sleeve to push the box out.

-No Power Monitoring - It would be nice to track how many watts of power a device uses on this plug.

-Device Detection Failed Once - This wasn't a big deal, I just instructed the app to search again and it discovered the plug on the second scan. I experienced no other issues during installation.

-Only Configurable/Controllable Through Mobile - It would be nice to have a PC interface for this. I already control some home automation/security through my PC and it would streamline everything if the Smart Plug could be controlled from there as well. If it was a choice between PC or Mobile I would choose Mobile, but it would be nice to have both.

-No 'Daylight' Settings - You can set a precise schedule using the time, but if you want something to toggle based on daylight (a lamp at night, for instance) then that time will slip as sunrise/sunset times change with the seasons. If you could select a region and set a calendar then it would be a very small bit of additional programming to create a daylight setting.

Other Thoughts: There's honestly not a whole lot to say about this device. It's a simple product and it functions exactly as intended. Whether or not you purchase this device will be determined by whether or not you have a need for something like this. I initially struggled with ideas on how to best make use of the technology. Here's what I have done so far:

My wife and I found the most obvious use to be Christmas lights over the holidays, we just set a schedule for the lights to turn on in the evening and turn off right after we typically go to bed.

For the past week I have been using it for my single-cup coffee maker, which doesn't have a built-in timer. In the evening I fill the washable filter with coffee grounds, fill the water reservoir, put my travel mug in place, and keep the coffee maker switched on all the time (it doesn't actually get any power until the outlet turns on). I have the outlet set on a schedule to switch on about 5 minutes before I leave for work and it stays on for 5 minutes which is long enough to brew the coffee and turns off right as I'm walking out the door. Even if I forget to get things ready the night before it just heats up my coffee maker for 5 minutes in the morning which isn't a big deal.

Basically you're mainly limited by your imagination. The Smart Plug is extremely easy to use, very reliable, and flexible.

I have no major complaints with this device.

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TP-LINK - Google OnHub Dual-Band Wireless AC1900 Gigabit Router -Blue
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

4 out of 5 eggs Such Potential For a Basic But Reliable Router 01/04/2016

This review is from: TP-LINK - Google OnHub Dual-Band Wireless AC1900 Gigabit Router -Blue

Pros: +Easy, Easy, Easy - Hands down the easiest router setup I've experienced. Download the smartphone app, plug in the router, follow a few basic app instructions.

+Aesthetically Awesome - This router resembles a sort of futuristic fine art. At a glance it could be a vase or a piece of pottery. The device attempts to become a visual part of the home by representing a piece of neutral decor as apposed to intruding into it with a style that clashes with everything.

+Incredibly well built - The base is solid metal, giving it a sturdy presence wherever it is placed. Often the mere weight of cables will cause a router to tilt off its base; this router does not have that problem at all.

+Hidden Ports - The router is encased in a removable shroud. Removing this shroud reveals its ports (power, 1xUSB, 1xWAN, 1xLAN). Plug in your cables and replace the shroud and you now have a neat and clean router with just a hint of cables coming out from under the shroud in the back.

+Incredibly well ventilated - Removing the shroud will reveal the fact that the entire router doubles as a passive radiator. Not visible from the outside is perhaps the largest heatsink I have seen in a router which essentially fills the entire body. In a clever move by TP-Link the heatsink doubles as a reflector for the front facing 2.4Ghz antenna.

+Wonderful radio coverage - The router really does have 13 individual WiFi antennas. The most powerful is a 7dBi 2.4Ghz front facing reflected antenna, that I mentioned before. Another is a dual band antenna which resides between the speaker and its grill. The other 11 are a mix of 5ghz and 2.4ghz single band antennas that form a ring around the top of the router providing signal in all directions. There is also a single ZigBee/Thread antenna and Bluetooth has an antenna built into the main board. My other router is a Linksys WRT1900AC, which is pretty serious business in terms of its radio coverage and bandwidth capabilities. In all honesty I can't functionally tell a difference between the two routers' reception and bandwidth. If I take a signal reading around the perimeter of my property the Linksys wins, but in the ways that I actually use my network they're essentially the same. My main PC, the only one where bandwidth matters much to me, connects with both routers at a reliable 866mbps.

+Google DNS servers - These can be configured for use on any router, but it's nice that they are configured on this one by default. You can also select your ISP DNS, or custom.

+Even the box it comes in is awesome - Just a little larger than the router itself, so not overly large, the box is housed within a card-stock shroud. Removing the shroud will reveal a square instruction card sitting on top of the box which details what the 4 LED light colors indicate. The top of the box itself opens on a hinge and is actually held closed by two magnets encased within the box sides. The inside of the box lid points at you when it's opened and has basic instructions printed inside. The entire experience of opening the packaging not only excels in being simple and convenient but also gives the distinct impression of luxury and quality.

Cons: -Filled with currently unused features - It would be really clever and convenient to have this router double as a Bluetooth speaker. And why not? It has a speaker AND Bluetooth built-in. Currently the speaker is used only during setup and the Bluetooth chip does not seem to be currently utilized for anything. It would also be really nice to control Thread/ZigBee home automation systems via your home WiFi network. And why not? This 'OnHub' device includes the necessary chip sets to do exactly that. Unfortunately those features are also not currently utilized. EVEN THE USB PORT is not currently functional for network storage. USB storage through a router has been so standardized in high end home networking that it's difficult to even call it a feature, and yet that basic INCLUDED piece of hardware does not currently do its job. This is LOTS of potential currently going to waste.

-VERY limited customization - Advanced options are limited to Static IP, Port forwarding, and UPnP. That's not just a summary. That's the entire list. Nothing else. No MAC Cloning, no VLAN, no ability to change the subnet address, no wifi channel or encryption type selection, etc, etc, etc... If you need to fine tune your network configuration then give this one a pass.

-192.168.86.1 - Nearly every router uses 192.168.1.1 as its local address and I have my entire network set up with that address for the default gateway. The fact that this router uses a different address required me to go through and change all of the static IP addresses on every device on the network and update their gateway addresses. This was most annoying for my NAS, which can only be accessed via web interface using the IP address...I had to switch back to my older router just so I could connect to it and re-enable DHCP so it would see the new network. Also annoying was the fact that several pieces of software on my home network (media software on a couple HTPC's, network backup software, etc..) were configured to use, you guessed it, the previous static network addresses and must now all be changed. I still have several pieces of software complaining about missing network locations... In almost every router the local address can be changed so none of this would be a problem. This one cannot. I've also experienced issues trying to configure static IP addresses on devices. It seems the only way that this router is satisfied is if it controls everything via DHCP. You can set static IP address for devices THROUGH THE ROUTER, but it doesn't seem to like it if you try doing it any other way.

-Only 1 LAN port - My old router that this OnHub is currently replacing includes the typical 4 LAN ports which is precisely what I use. My home theater PC uses one, the game console uses one, and I have a NAS which uses two. With this router only providing one port I had to add a 5 port gigabit Ethernet switch to the mix which somewhat negates the clean/organized approach of the OnHub. Granted it wouldn't be practical to try to cram that many Ethernet cables through the small gap in the back of the OnHub, but they could have designed it to allow for that.

-Awkward Power Brick - This is one of those designs where the power brick itself, as apposed to a separate cable, plugs directly into the AC outlet. For many power strips, and particularly UPS's, this results in the brick monopolizing multiple outlets around it and generally just looking cluttery. This is a surprising lack of detail for a device that is otherwise so physically well thought out.

Other Thoughts: Even though the 2.4Ghz signal is transmitted in all directions, there is the fact that the strongest 2.4Ghz antenna is on the front, this makes the 2.4Ghz band somewhat directional. This could be a 'pro' or a 'con' depending on your layout. 5Ghz, on the other hand, seems to broadcast equally in all directions.

This router is extremely 'hands off'. This is another one of those things that could be a 'pro' or a 'con' depending on your needs. While I struggle to imagine a router that is easier to set up and use, there is very little that can be modified in terms of advanced options.

Overall, this device fills me with mixed emotions.

I am blown away with its design elegance, build quality, and ease of use. I also give it high marks for reliability and WiFi signal integrity. Those elements make it a solid wireless router but there are plenty of those on the market already. Nearly all of the competing high end wireless routers include functional USB NAS support AND more than one LAN port. This router COULD distinguish itself from those by offering features that none of them have access to (speaker, Bluetooth, Thread/ZigBee), but it currently does not. That leaves me disappointed...and hopeful...and disappointed...and I hope to use these features someday but for now I just have an expensive, albeit reliable and good looking, wireless access point.

If you buy this router now, you will get a reliable, good looking, super-easy-to-use, high performing router. And that's not bad, but the device is priced for features that are not currently functioning. Maybe someday they will be enabled, maybe they won't. Maybe when they're enabled they will work great, maybe they won't. It's a bit of a gamble at the moment and there's little information out there about what we should expect.

If all features were currently enabled and functioned well I would give this 5 eggs. If those features are never enabled then it deserves 3, maybe even 2. Because I TRUST that those features will be enabled soon I give it 4. Don't let me down, Google.

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G.SKILL RIPJAWS MX780 USB Wired RGB Laser Gaming Mouse
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • neweggOwned For: 1 month to 1 year

4 out of 5 eggs Great Mouse for Budget PC Gamer 12/11/2015

This review is from: G.SKILL RIPJAWS MX780 USB Wired RGB Laser Gaming Mouse

Pros: +Ambidextrous - The mouse is packaged with a pair of "side grips" for both right and left handed configurations. The entirety of the rest of the mouse is completely symmetrical. The symmetry allows for ambidextrous use while the grip attachments essentially transform the mouse for left or high-handed use. You can also get creative and use both 'thumb' grips, or both 'pinky' grips, or even no grips if those non-standard configurations are more comfortable for you. Overall, this attachment system allows for greater flexibility and should make the mouse more comfortable for a wider variety of hands.

+Easily removable grips - The side grips are attached using small, powerful magnets and interlocking tabs, meaning no tools are required to change them. This could be particularly beneficial if the mouse is regularly switched between different configurations.

+Height adjustable palm rest - With a range of 8-11mm, this further adds to the physical customization options for this mouse.

+Adjustable weight - The mouse comes packaged with 2 x 4.5G weights which may be installed on either side under the side grips. Without the weights the mouse seems to weigh a bit less than most of the premium gaming mice that I've tested. Even with the weights it still doesn't weigh as much as some of the mice that utilize metal bases, so more weights could be better.

+Entirely customizable lighting system - Through G.Skill software, virtually any color or combination of colors may be selected to customize the lights. There are also options available to add "breathing" or "cycling" effects to the lights. In addition to color, the brightness can be adjusted and the lights may be disabled altogether. This systems allows for great aesthetic flexibility.

+Reasonably Priced - For the DPI rating and the features, this mouse is priced well. It seems to sacrifice a bit in build quality to make this price range, but if you take care of your things that shouldn't be a problem.

+Glides Smoothly - The mouse has 5 large teflon pads on the base and the thumb grip attachment also has 1. These pads seem to be effective at creating a smooth gliding experience when moving the mouse around. It moves much more smoothly than my RAT7.

+Long, Braided Cord - The cord seems to be high quality and is long enough to snake through my keyboard tray, around the back of the desk and reach the PC chassis on the floor on the opposite side of the desk.

Cons: -Confusing DPI indicator system - When switching DPI settings the center row of lights on the mouse will flash a color which indicates which setting has been selected. (800=white, 1600=red, 2400=green, 4800=blue, 8200=yellow) This setting is too arbitrary for my taste. On my RAT7 there is a row of lights which essentially creates a small gauge where more lights=higher DPI. I prefer the system on the RAT7. The DPI switching button on the MX780 is also not a 'rocker-style', meaning it's just a single button, and if you are at 1600 DPI and you want to go down to 800 you'll have to scroll 'up' through all of the higher settings before getting back to 800.

-Basically 100% Plastic - This isn't necessarily a con, but it doesn't feel as high quality as some of the premium mice that employ metal for certain parts. The base of the MX780 appears to have a metallic veneer but I believe that is also plastic.

-Tool required for height adjustment - The mouse comes with a small 'hex' style driver which can be used to turn a screw on the bottom of the mouse, and thus adjust the palm rest height. This tool is likely to get lost/misplaced by perhaps most people, meaning if you want to adjust it later you might find yourself rummaging through drawers or tool boxes to find the correct tool. Something like a knob, or a spring loaded locking tab, or a wide flat-head style screw that can be adjusted with a coin, or even if the wrench was stowed on the mouse itself (like the RAT7) would all have been more convenient.

-Awkward feeling side buttons - The side buttons don't offer much resistance, they have a very slick texture, and they have a lot of play. This results in the buttons feeling like they are barely hanging on and, for me, makes them awkward to press. I also find myself pressing them accidentally more often. I prefer side buttons that have a shorter range of motion, textured surface, and a stiffer feel.

Other Thoughts: All of the "Cons" I listed are not necessarily flaws in the design of this mouse, but merely points of my own personal preference. It would be impossible to design a mouse which was comfortable and otherwise agreeable for everyone. We all have different preferences so this is all very subjective.

Overall, this is a well priced product which should appeal to anyone wanting a feature rich gaming mouse without spending $70-100. The MX780 makes small sacrifices with regard to materials and eliminating box clutter to offer a product to fill that niche. It is reasonably customizable and offers a unique ambidextrous experience.

---

I should note that the first MX780 that I received was DOA. My computer recognized the device and I could even customize the lights and use the buttons and scroll wheel, but the optical sensor never responded to movement at all. I contacted G.SKILL and they were very helpful in arranging a replacement of the mouse and quickly shipped me a new unit. I would consider buying more G.SKILL products based on my customer service experience alone.

Overall, this is a nice mouse and I would recommend it to any PC gamer on a budget. There are gaming mice that I prefer but all of them are more expensive. This is definitely the best mouse I've used that is currently under $70.

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Matthew H.'s Profile

Display Name: Matthew H.

Date Joined: 04/13/05

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  • First Review: 06/21/05
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