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This review is from: TP-LINK TL-WA860RE V2 300Mbps Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender/Repeater with Power Outlet Pass-through, Dual External Antennas, Wall Plug Design, One-button Setup, Smart Signal Indicator
Pros: For sheer ease of use, this gets a thumbs up from me. For extenders around my home, I've been using TP-Link’s tried-and-true (and cheap) TL-WR841N routers, but it took some head scratching to properly configure them. This extender, by contrast, is virtually plug-and-play. I couldn't use the WPS pushbutton setup because my base router is up on the roof, but the web configuration was effortless. Just select the TL-WA860RE as your wireless network, go to tplinkrepeater.net, and choose which router you want to extend from. Lovely.
The signal indicator light is also a great timesaver, quickly showing whether the extender is in an optimum location. The indicator is more responsive than software utilities, which is helpful when zeroing in on the best location.
The pass-through AC outlet is a little icing on the cake, enabling one to deploy the extender discreetly.
Cons: The extender seemed unable to relinquish the signal to the main router, as I walked around with an android tablet. This seems to be a common annoyance with android, however -- devices hang onto a weak Wi-Fi signal even when a better one is available. In the default configuration, where the extender uses the same ID as the base router, there's no way for the user to manually switch between the two signal sources, which can be a problem. My workaround was to assign a different network ID to the extender, enabling me to choose which signal to use. Unfortunately this means that the TL-WA860RE is not my "happy grail" of extenders, able to seamlessly hand off a Wi-Fi signal as I move around my home. I don't know if such a device exists...READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: Seagate Expansion 3TB USB 3.0 3.5" Desktop External Hard Drive STEB3000100
Pros: Pleasantly fast compared to my USB2 drives. Competitively priced. Plug-and-play – already formatted, requires no software installation. If all goes well, you plug it in, it shows up in your list of drives, ready to use. Comes with a substantial in-line power supply. Some might consider this a con, but what this drive lacks in compact portability it probably makes up for in sturdiness. It's a full-size drive with a full-size power supply.
I didn't attempt a formal speed test because this drive would no doubt outperform the other components of my laptop. But I did just transfer a 103 gig file between the Seagate and another USB 3 drive in about 25 minutes, which I'm happy with. I'm sure that under optimum conditions the drive would perform faster.
Cons: My only complaint involves the drive's interaction with the Windows 7 OS. Windows often fails to recognize the drive's presence, and also often fails to put the drive to sleep. This may, however, be the fault of the Anker USB hub I'm running it through, so I'm not sure if this merits knocking off an egg. Perhaps other reviewers will share their experience. In my experience, I sometimes need to unplug and re-plug the drive before Windows sees it. Other times I need to unplug and re-plug the entire hub before it's recognized. The "insomnia" is pretty consistent – even when I put the entire computer to sleep, the drive keeps humming. And since the drive has no cooling fan, and does get warm, this is really not good. If someone just left this plugged in, I wouldn't place bets on long life expectancy – a definite con. Again, this could be the fault of the hub, but it's worth noting that my Samsung drive exhibits neither of these problems, using the same hub.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: Seagate STCS6000100 6TB (2 x 3TB) Personal Cloud 2-bay NAS server
Pros: Attractive case, reasonably quiet, hefty in-line power supply. Browser-based interface is mostly easy to use. Android media app works, more or less. Backs up files automatically and continuously over network or Internet.
Cons: As another reviewer noted, this product seems to be targeted to two completely different audiences, thereby missing both marks. It's being pitched to the home user, yet has many advanced features that they would never use. At the same time, an average user such as myself will likely experience deal-breaking frustration trying to use this device, while a power user or IT specialist will probably find it underpowered and limited.
As a reasonably adept computer person, here's what didn't work for me:
- Attempting to transfer a media library over Wi-Fi will take approximately forever. You'll need a direct cable connection using a gigabyte router. Using a 100meg router didn't take forever – just overnight. But wait, I said, there’s a USB3 port on this device – maybe I can plug it into my computer for a quicker transfer. Nope, it can't be used for that. If your media library is on an external drive, that presumably could be plugged into the Seagate and transferred to the internal drives.
- After transferring 100 or so gigs of media to the Seagate, I discover that the Seagate media app can't access anything in a private folder – only in the public folder. I then attempt to move the 100 gigs from the private to the public folder, and see that will take an estimated 21 hours. Nevermind. A second attempt estimated 10.5 hours, during which time the media server was "unreachable".
- Also note that if you have an R-rated movie that you'd rather your kids not watch, you can't put it in a private folder to keep them from viewing it – you'll need to use some other parental control system.
- The android Seagate media app suffers from the same limitation as most DLNA interfaces, where your files are displayed in one long list, with few advanced sorting or playback features. With videos, this is possibly tolerable, but with music or photos, probably not. There are no shuffle or playlist features for music, no slideshow features for your photos.
- The Sdrive app didn't work at all. "No device found".
- The interfaces contain various links that go nowhere and buttons that do nothing. I called tech support to ask about some of them, and was told that the Seagate media and Sdrive links aren't supposed to work on a PC – only on a tablet (they actually don't do anything on a tablet either.).
- BTW, if you actually want 6TB of storage, be sure to switch out of RAID mode before loading any files, because the switch will erase everything on the drives.
Other Thoughts: If you're a skilled IT professional, you can probably make this box do all sorts of fun things. If not, with some effort you should be able to load a movie library that can be watched over the network, and set up a file backup schedule.READ FULL REVIEW
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