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Pros: It's a dock and it works. Not much more to say than that. Allows me to much more easily turn my Macbook Pro into a desktop, by connecting it with one Thunderbolt cable and the power adapter. Looks very nice with all my other silver aluminum Mac hardware. Very elegant solution- but of course, you are paying a lot for this elegance. Really to summarize, all this device does is make it so you don't have a ton of cables coming out of your Macbook when it's docked to a desktop setup. Whether or not it is worth it is up to you to decide.
Cons: Biggest con- a dual monitor setup with this dock requires that one of the monitors is Thunderbolt, which means spending even more money. Bottom line is this- for each Thunderbolt port, there is a maximum of 1 HDMI/Displayport monitor supported. Any other monitors must be natively Thunderbolt. Therefore, even though you get 1 HDMI port on the dock, you cannot just use a Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter on the other Thunderbolt port to add a second monitor (since really the adapter is acting as a Displayport device). So essentially, you will either have to fork over some more cash for a Thunderbolt display, or plug in an adapter directly to the Macbook, which defeats the singular purpose of having this dock in the first place!
Also, there should be more ports on this thing. How are there only 3 USB ports when my 5 year old Dell dock at work has 6? If you want to connect a mouse and keyboard that's already both back ports used up so you'll end up daisy chaining another hub...
Other Thoughts: If you'd rather not fork over all this cash, in my opinion there are many better ways to achieve the same end result, albeit with more cables (for example, USB 3.0 hubs and Displayport to HDMI adapters). Personally, my setup would be to have all the USB devices connected to a USB hub and then just connect the monitors directly to the Macbook. For sound, get a cheap USB sound card if you really don't want to plug in that extra audio jack.
Yes, it is PC and Mac compatible, but really the only thing that makes sense to use this for is to dock a Macbook Pro with Thunderbolt. On the PC side, there are many more featured, cheaper solutions.
Pros: The 5GHz band is amongst the fastest that I’ve used. Running a very simple file transfer benchmark (LAN Speed Test Lite) between two computers, one wired and one using a USB wireless AC adapter, I got speeds just a few percent faster than the Netgear unit I had been using and roughly a little faster than the TP Link Archer C9 that I use as my primary router. Given that this is a 4x4 router and my setups could not handle that fourth band, I would expect speeds to be even faster when more compatible devices come out. That fourth band does give this unit a bit of futureproofing.
Cons: I got a newer unit with the latest firmware- however, it seems to still be a little buggy with wireless connections, especially on the 2.4GHz band with older wireless G and wireless N connections, as others have mentioned. Furthermore, the range is nowhere near as good as the TP Link routers I have owned, even older models (possibly due to the stubby antennae?) In any case, I experience occasional dropouts on 2.4GHz which is annoying to say the least. I can’t say for certain if it is because of a problem with the firmware or because the signal is just too weak for the link to stay stable, but either way, the stability on the older bands is poorer than much older (and cheaper) routers, which is disappointing. Performance on the older band takes a similar hit, with the router being slower than my primary TP Link. Unfortunately, since most of my devices are still based on the older technologies, this means the performance of the E8350 on the 5GHz band is largely irrelevant.
The router as a whole also seems to be slower in booting up and handling new connections. It takes longer than similar routers to boot and to get a connection up and going, and when you connect a new client, whether wired or wireless, it takes a while for it to be established and for that little exclamation point to go away in Windows. For a router with a powerful processor that is disappointing. Perhaps the issue lies with the firmware?
Which brings me to the next point- the router’s firmware, as others have mentioned, is quite dated and resembles a stripped down version of DD-WRT. For a router of this price I would expect more configuration options. That, combined with the poor performance, leads me to believe that the firmware was an afterthought to the hardware. Hopefully though this can be resolved in a future update.
The final nail in the coffin for this one is the price- when much better alternatives exist at lower prices, I would look away from the E8350. One alternative could be the Linksys WRT1900AC, which seems to have much better reviews, or for a cheaper but very solid all around performer, my personal favorite is the TP Link Archer C9.
Other Thoughts: Linksys seems to be very hit and miss nowadays- some of their routers are great (e.g., WRT1900AC) but I would take a pass on this one.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: Great performing hardware- I have owned numerous TP Link routers and they have all had some of the best range while remaining a lot cheaper than competing big name devices. This device is no exception- I easily get full signal throughout my apartment in the middle of the city. Throughput is also quite good and roughly up to par with Wireless AC standards. This is the primary benefit of AC in my opinion- if you live in a crowded area with lots of interference, moving to the 5GHz band rather than the crowded 2.4GHz band (with wireless B,G,N) gives you much improved performance and stability. Keep in mind though that a higher frequency means reduced range because the signal loses energy more quickly- if you have a big house in the middle of nowhere 2.4 will actually help improve your range.
Other pros- this router includes all the features you would expect on a mid-upper range device including 2 USB ports . On a side note I personally love the design of this router- a lot of new routers try to look new-age but in my opinion come off as tacky.
Cons: Firmware seems to be unstable- as others have commented, the device may lock up sometimes requiring a reboot. I have no idea why but a lot of TP Link devices seem to have this issue. It may be related to overheating- I tried placing it on top of my PC case with a top case fan ventilating the router and it seemed to run a little more stable- however, it seems every week or two it will lock up still.
Solution- switch to DD-WRT. The reason I believe the problem is in the firmware and not the hardware is that switching to DD-WRT seems to solve the problem and the router is now rock solid. It also might just be me, but the device seems to run cooler as well?? Perhaps DD-WRT is more resource-efficient. If you run into stability issues, I recommend you give DD-WRT a try.
Other Thoughts: Overall, I will only take off 1 egg for the lame firmware TP Link provides because most of the people who spend this much on a mid-upper range router will be technologically skilled and it is no big deal to upgrade to DD-WRT. However, TP Link, you may wish to do some more bug testing with your stock firmware as those who don't upgrade are clearly (from the other reviews) frustrated with the lockup issue.READ FULL REVIEW
Display Name: Anonymous
Date Joined: 08/04/09
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