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This review is from: SteelSeries Rival 300 Gaming Mouse - Silver
Pros: This mouse seems to have a pretty high quality build, as you would expect at this price. The weight is decent, but I would have preferred it to be slightly heavier.
The performance of the mouse is very nice. Even before installing the SteelSeries Engine software, the sensitivity was just about right.
The buttons feel solid, and produce a noticeable feel when they are actuated.
Once the SteelSeries Engine software is installed, the sky is the limit to the customization options. Each button can be programmed to application specific tasks, as can the sensitivity and colors.
Cons: Note that this a right-hand only mouse. That does not apply only to the left side buttons, but to the whole grip of the mouse. A lefty will find this mouse very uncomfortable.
This mouse is also designed for very large hands. My wife refers to my hands as shovels, and I am unable to comfortably use the front left button. I must adjust to a much less comfortable grip to access the button, or stretch to reach it. Unfortunately, the mouse naturally moves back when I stretch to reach it, so if you were using it in a game as a trigger, your aim will be affected by this unwanted movement.
The mouse has raised texture sides, and while I can see that some people may like the extra grip, the mouse is not heavy enough to need it and I can see the area getting caked with crud in no time.
All of the buttons emit a much louder than average clicking sound when actuated. The track wheel button is quiet, but the wheel itself is rather loud and quite abrupt when rolling.
This is likely caused by a problem on my main computer, but I was not able to get this mouse to function on it. When I connected it, I would get the normal New Hardware popup and it would attempt to install drivers (even though I already had an older version of SteelSeries Engine 3 installed). It would then fail to install 2 of the 5 drivers and the mouse would not function. Both lights would be on, however. I upgraded and even removed and reinstalled the Engine 3 software, but neither helped. I also tried several other USB ports, rebooted, and even removed my existing mouse, all to no avail. I finally gave up and tried my work laptop. The mouse was immediately recognized. I installed the Engine 3 software and began testing.
When I first started the Engine 3 software, a line under the Rival 300 device appeared saying "CRITICAL UPDATE: Click to install new firmware." I clicked this, and immediately after acknowledging the next warning not to disconnect the mouse during the upgrade, the mouse stopped working. I assumed this was a normal result of the upgrade in progress. After several minutes, a dialog appears informing me that "An error occurred that prevented the successful completion of the firmware update." The mouse was still non-functional at this point. I disconnected the mouse, then reconnected it and it came back online. I tested the update again, with the same result.
Other Thoughts: I am sure some people will like the feel of this mouse, but for me, it's just not a good fit. And while I am disappointed that it will not work at all on my non-ancient Z77 based computer for some unknown reason (their SENSEI wireless mouse works fine), I am more concerned that it also has problems on my brand new work laptop. Perhaps I got a bum unit to evaluate, but from this experience, I would have to say this mouse is not quite ready for prime time.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: Unbelievably easy to set up. When I opened this up and saw that there were no ports and no instructions aside from "Install Kasa and follow it's instructions," I starting thing, well, this is going to be interesting. But to my surprise, it really was that simple!
You can set up multiple programs for normal and away (vacation) modes. You can also turn on or off the outlet at will.
The unit consumes only 1 watt when the attached device is turned off.
Cons: It always irritates me when I want to install an Andriod app (I'm sure iphones are the same way) and it wants to take control of parts of your phone that it has no business having. In the case of the TP-Link Kasa app, to install it, you must give it access to:
- Location (why does it need to know where I am?)
- Photos/Media/Files (really?)
- Wi-Fi connection information (probably for setup)
- Device ID and call information (Device ID is questionable, and call information is ridiculous)
The unit blocks both outlets, even if plugged into the top one.
Other Thoughts: Overall, this is a pretty neat device. It looks cool and it works as advertised. At $30, it's a little steep for what it does, considering you can get a manual timer for $5, but the remote control feature may be worth it to you.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: This camera has a lot of really nice features, and if the quality of the image was better, this would be a great camera.
Out of the box, you may configure the camera to stream video or snapshots to an ftp or samba server, or you may have the files emailed to you. You may also watch and listen to a live feed using a web browser (but see cons) or a smart phone (watch those data fees). You may also provide your own micro SD card (up to 32gb) and record to it.
The camera can be configured to record all the time, or trigger recordings based on a preset time, when the audio level reaches a set threshold, or when motion is detected in any of a seemingly unlimited number of defined areas.
You may flip the image (vertically) in the setup, allowing this camera to be mounted upside down. You can also mirror the image (flip horizontally), although I'm not sure of the value of this.
You may configure 4 different image quality profiles, each with their own resolution, frame rate, and encoding. You may then choose which of these you wish to use for each function (sending to email, etc...). There is only 1 profile allowed for a smart phone though.
There is a very bright green LED on the side of the camera, but fortunately, it can be disabled in the admin setup.
Daytime images are good, although somewhat grainy for a nearly 1 megapixel HD camera
An NVR (network video recording) package called Pro View, is included (but see cons).
Live-view setup for Firefox was very simple.
In addition to listening to the environment where the camera is located, you may also broadcast audio from the camera, but to do so, you must provide your own active (self-powered) speaker(s).
Cons: The daytime images appear washed out. Setting the brightness and contrast very high (about 85 out of 100) helps.
The light sensitivity of this camera is very low. Daytime images are unusually dim unless the brightness is set very high. The camera also switches into night mode while it is still quite bright in the room. When testing at night, I turned on every light in my living/dining room (10 60W equivalent CFLs) and it still thought it was night time. I had to adjust the sensitivity from the default value of 0 to -4 on a scale of +8 to -6) for the camera to stay in day mode with all of those lights on.
Images in night mode are not very good at all, even with brightness set to 100 and contrast reduced to 50. This is likely due to the single IR LED. Even at close range, the image quality is lackluster. When used with another IR source, the image improves considerably, but it is unlikely that anyone would even consider doing that with this camera.
When the camera switches between day and night mode, there is a clicking noise that is rather loud.
The power cord is quite short (about 5 feet). This will be acceptable for anyone setting this on a kitchen counter or on an end table or something, but for any type of normal vantage point, you're going to need an extension cord. It is also unfortunate that the power cord is black, considering most walls are white.
If your router doesn't provide DDNS capabilities, you're not going to get much help from this camera, only 2 options are available, and one is a paid service.
Initial setup of the camera took a lot longer than it should have, due to it repeatedly rebooting itself and forcing your to way 70 seconds to continue with the setup.
Setup of the live-view feature for IE and Chrome was problematic.
- In Chrome, you are prompted to follow a link to install "camerastreamcontrol" which is downloaded from the camera itself. This installed with no issue, but upon restarting Chrome, the live video feed still would not appear. I could not find any reason for this in any of Chrome's settings, but I am by no means a Chrome expert.
- In IE, you are prompted to install an Active X control. When you click install, you are warned that you are about to install a program called "unknown" from an unknown publisher. Clicking OK, results in a security violation if you are using the default or more strict security settings in IE. To install this, you must change your security settings, or add the camera to the list of trusted sites.
The included NVR software (Pro View) installed easily enough, but the application would not log in to the service, despite fighting with it for an hour. I initially thought Windows firewall was blocking it, but even with that disabled completely, it would not connect. After about an hour, I gave up in frustration. The manual provided no assistance whatsoever.
Other Thoughts: If all you are looking for is a decent quality daytime image in a small form-factor device so you can see that your kids got home from school safely, this will do just fine, however there are much less expensive alternatives out there.
If, on the other hand, you are looking for more of a security camera that will be useful at night as well as during the day, this is not what you are looking for.
One final thought about privacy and their End User License Agreement: Like many other low-cost cameras with "cloud capability," your images are being broadcast to a server on the internet, and the EULA for this camera, which you must agree to before you can even configure it, does not instill a lot of confidence that these images are kept private:
1) Section 5 states that "some TRENDnet product(s) and TRENDnet Cloud service(s) are not encrypted and that information may be intercepted during transmission to or from TRENDnet company web site, the TRENDnet Cloud service(s)"
2) Section 8 states that "TRENDnet does not monitor, collect or record your TRENDnet Cloud family IP camera's video feed"
3) Section 3-ii basically states that you authorize TRENDnet to contact the appropriate authorities if they think you are using the camera for an "unlawful purpose." I am not sure how they could determine this if they were actually following their own rules stated in section 8.
Also be aware that according to section 1 of the EULA, "The TRENDnet Cloud service is currently provided to you free of charge; however, TRENDnet specifically reserves the right to institute a fee for this service at a later date."