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BUFFALO MiniStation Air 1TB USB 3.0 / WIFI Wireless Mobile Storage HDW-PD1.0U3
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: - 25MB/s write speed on USB2.0, 108MB/s write speed on USB 3.0, 3MB/s write speed over wifi. 5MB/s. read speed…this is horribly slow.
- 1TB capacity. Tons of storage if, like me, you'll be streaming to tablets and small devices. Then you can re-encode your videos to smaller mp4 files that are fully supported by the device and fit more on the 1TB of space.
- uPNP, Samba, and web interface. Pretty much everything you need for any application.
- On Android, ES File Explorer detects SMB shares and MX Player plays everything from avi files to ogv (Ogg Video) files. This is superior to any proprietary DLNA/uPNP app, including Buffalo’s own.
- The interface runs on lighttpd for the web UI and the twonky configuration files are accessible through SMB and when the disk is mounted. (For you tinkerers, it appears you can edit the configuration files, if you’d like, there is not ssh access or anything developer-friendly, unfortunately.)
- “Disclose to network” Security implementation. When accessing the Buffalo from a different network I get the error “This device is currently connected to the MiniStation through an access point. To switch to another access point, connect to the MiniStation directly.” This lets me know that if someone were to break through the WAN (or another client on a public wifi network) then it wouldn’t be wide open to meddling.
- If you enable “Disclose to network,” however, then you can access the Buffalo (web, DLNA, SMB) from other clients on the host network the Buffalo is connected to.
- Power saving settings: “Don’t sleep”, “Balanced”, and “eco”. By default it is set to “Don’t sleep.” Balanced seems more reasonable.
- Extensive help information right on the web interface for those who may not be so savvy. Included instructions were very informative as well.
- It can act as a repeater for up to 5 clients. (You can also set it up with AOSS/WPS [PIN and PBC] though I always strongly advocate against WPS altogether.)
- 3-Year warranty!
- Additional USB charging port to charge other devices form that beastly 12-hour battery (I think…see cons.)
- Solid, sturdy build.

Ministation Air2 Android app:
- Surprisingly smooth though it did force close often when running in the background on my Nook. I’ve converted most of my files to mp4 format to save on space so the device works well for it.
- Says “Designed for phones.” But looks fine on tablets.
- Is a full remote to the device meaning you change all the MiniStation settings, see drive free space, battery %, and even power off the device from the app.
- “Auto upload” feature can be enabled. If you pair your smartphone with the MiniStation often then it can act as a backup device for your pictures and images.
- Can navigate away while it’s playing music and it continues to play. The app crashed once when I did this and uploaded simultaneously but when I opened it again it continued uploading where it left off. I later realized it just crashes in the background regar

Cons: I was worried about that 5MB/s read and write speed over wifi because it seems a little slow if you’re streaming multiple devices. Sure enough, my daughter was watching a hefty 720p mp4 (Frozen for the 500000th time) and as soon as I did anything on another device, be it stream an SD movie, copy a file, or anything, her movie glitched and stuttered. Definitely -1 egg for that. If you say a device can support up to 8 clients I hardly think it’s possible with such an incapable network.

I charged the device to 100%, left it on my couch powered off for about 20 hours, and when I powered it back on to use it, it kept dying within 30 seconds. Does the battery drain even not when in use? I’m going to have to do more testing with this. Even so, the battery light was green and not red so it was as confused as I was about whether it was charged. On that note, having a green = charged and red = dead scheme is not really helpful. Even an orange battery light in between would have been useful. (After testing it throughout the weekend it has not happened again. I’m guessing it has to do with the next con.)

It has been finicky sometimes. I've had to restart the device many times before wifi showed up again on my tablet on three separate occasions. I troubleshot it anyway I could. Toggling wifi off and on, on both devices and power cycling both devices. It is just buggy sometimes. Maybe future firmware updates will stabilize it (for a $170 device there will be future firmware updates, right?) But when it works, it works and It's not like it's always giving problems. 89% of the time it works without a hitch (with one wireless client streaming.)

Not really a con, but I’m only assuming the USB charging port works on good faith. When I've plugged my phone or tablet in there’s no sign that they’re charging. Even when I plugged my old iPod Mini in there was still no indication. I never really planned to use the feature anyway but it’s notable.

Other Thoughts: When Newegg offered this assignment I started right away researching the tech. I’m experienced with wifi, NAS, and HDD tech but not really an AIO device combining them all. There are many options out there if you do your research but I can say this is not a horrible drive if you have the money to spend. It is capable, sturdy, a 3 year warranty, and the battery life is superb. Overall this is a decent device but I can’t say it’s a 5-star product. There are some kinks to work out with the firmware it seems and the wireless speeds are seriously lacking. I haven’t tested it against similar products to measure it but I know my home wireless network has never had problems streaming to even three and four devices. Granted this is a mobile product and not a $100 router,

For a $170 price tag I would expect a reliable, smoothly operating 5-egg device. Instead there were a few random reboots, dropped connections, and it struggled to stream to even two devices when it's supposed to support up to eight. When it worked, it remained stable mostly. The only times there were issues were connecting and powering on.

This is definitely a 3-egg product for $170.
It would easily be a 4 to 5-egg product if it cost around $100 to $120. Or if future firmware updates fix some of the bugs then could redeem itself (I will update this review if that ever happens.)


Some things to note:

-If this device is too expensive or you want more customization then I recommend checking out wireless enclosures by Macally. You can pick one up for ~$30 to ~$40 (some even have ethernet ports and SD card slots) and a 500GB hard drive for $50-$60 or so and have the same device for close to half the price. (You could also consider SSD or smaller drives if you wanted.)

-The internal disk to this is a $70 “Travelstar 5K1000” (See Newegg Item#: N82E16822145584 for reviews on that.) It’s a 5400RPM 8MB cache drive with a decent reputation.

-It CAN be used while charging but wifi turns off when USB is plugged in. Also it’s more susceptible to the finicky problems I mentioned in cons.

-The wifi reaches throughout my small, one story house. The signal will drop to one or two bars when in the front yard or across the house but it still streams [to one device] with no problems.

READ FULL REVIEW
Seagate Backup Plus for Mac 2TB 3.5
  • Owned For: more than 1 year

1 out of 5 eggs Final Eggxpert Review update: EOL 06/12/2014

This review is from: Seagate Backup Plus for Mac 2TB 3.5" USB 3.0 Mac Storage - Desktop Model STCB2000900

Pros: First off: This drive is a failure by design. I had an idea in my initial Eggxpert Review on page 3 of these reviews...but I wish I had known how bad it would get. AVOID THIS DRIVE AND ANY SIMILAR SEAGATE EXTERNAL DRIVES OF A SIMILAR DESIGN. If you own one, I recommend trying to get a S.M.A.R.T. test reading if you can to see if it's reached any critically high temperatures. That might require removing it from the case...

It worked great when it worked. If you come across one of these. I recommend taking the drive out immediately. Run S.M.A.R.T. tests on it. I wasn't able to run S.M.A.R.T. tests when it was in the enclosure. Only after it was connected to SATA, directly. Even Seagate's very own application, Sea Tools, didn't have the option to test S.M.A.R.T. I didn't try HDDScan and CrystalDiskMark until after I removed it from the case. I should have.
Mine was a "STCB3000900 Backup Plus for Mac 3TB USB 3.0 Storage"

Inside was a Barracuda 7200RPM, etc, etc.

Cons: Where to begin...
In it's case, this drive gets HOT. the S.M.A.R.T. status says it has reached as high as 70C temps. WHAT???! This is way above critical hard drive temperatures. It's no wonder the darn thing failed and I'm surprised it lasted this long! I did not leave it in the sun or any hot place. In fact, I was a dry, mild climate most of the life of this drive.

I was curious about it from the start when I first disassembled the case. I ejected it from the OS, unplugged, popped the case off, and the drive nearly burned my fingers to the touch.

It started failing around the 14th month mark. Powered on 261 times and powered on for 12,000 hours. I'm not surprised. If I'm not mistaken, hard drives are more sensitive to heat and, further, max temperature it can handle is around 50C to 60C. Also S.M.A.R.T. readings can be off by 8C to 10C for temperatures. At 70C it's still over max temperature even if the reading is wildly off.

Since the S.M.A.R.T. isn't readily available to query, I didn't really see it coming. Only when some data was throwing access errors and wouldn't play did I noticed and I backed the drive up right away.

I reiterate my review below: I babied this drive. I kept it safely hidden away from falling or being bumped. Its failure is it's own fault. Looking back at my initial review I see that the drive was up to 42C after first getting it. I'm not sure where it experienced 70C in the year I had it...or for how long..

Other Thoughts: The verdict is in: This drive is not built to last.

I'm sure it's a great drive otherwise, but this one barely lasted over one year before starting to fail and I bet 100% it was due to a failed design. It's a shame. I have a total of 12TB of storage in my system and it's all Seagate. I've never had a Seagate drive fail other than a special circumstance years ago.

As an Eggxpert Review item I didn't notice any warranty information (I believe it was my first or second assignment) and I doubt Seagate would honor one. Therefore, I cannibalized everything I could and ran further tests to figure out what happened. I'm not too upset because I saw it coming and only lost a small bit of data.

Since, I've bought a 4TB NAS drive (Seagate, of course) as a replacement and put it in my old Nexstar dual-bay enclosure (#N82E16817392024). I even glued the soft rubber stabilizers to my Nexstar because they feel nice.

I'm contemplating putting that 3TB alongside the new 4TB and reallocating around the bad heads but there are just so many...It's not worth it to risk the data. But I hate that this drive was exposed to such a failure of an external enclosure as to ruin it completely.
If you come across one of these then avoid it at all costs, unless you plan to remove the drive from the enclosure immediately and keep an eye on it.

Block read speed (results of a slow surface read test):
< 5ms: 4
< 10ms: 206488
< 20ms: 1162549
< 50ms: 55409
< 150ms: 3811
< 500ms: 1256
> 500ms: 1278
bads: 0

It says none are bad but the drive fails S.M.A.R.T. tests with 1 uncorrectable error and 85 pending sector count/uncorrectable sector count. Also, read/write drops to 0KB/s for quite a few secors and files timeout. As you can see above, even 'healthy' sectors are was slow for this drive..Some of the problem sectors took over 4000ms to 8000ms to read.


I'm not anti-Seagate by any meaning of the term but heed warning: stay away from these drives.

Seagate, you should look into airflow for these drives. They already use an external power source. Just stick a tiny fan in there or something...

READ FULL REVIEW
BUFFALO WHR-300HP2D AirStation N300 Open Source DD-WRT Wireless Router IEEE 802.11b/g/n
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

4 out of 5 eggs Could be better, could be worse. 05/28/2014

This review is from: BUFFALO WHR-300HP2D AirStation N300 Open Source DD-WRT Wireless Router IEEE 802.11b/g/n

Pros: ===Important: See cons if you’ve already purchased this router!===

A solid 4 out of 5 eggs. It somewhat limited and if it had external antennas the high power attribute would be amazing. Also, it wouldn't have hurt to add one USB port and gigabit ethernet.

- 580MHz processor and 64MB RAM. Some great power if it had a firmware to use it all…

- Bridging capabilities are easy and concise. There is a hardware switch on the back of the router between “Auto,” “Router,” and “Bridge.” I like this function. With added to an existing network you could setup a WDS system to extend your wireless network.

- The VPN+DD-WRT aspect is the only pro that really makes this router even worth anything, in my opinion. Buffalo’s stock build is limited and even DD-WRT’s standard build is as well. You can, however, do many things such as creating multiple wifi networks and bridging them to virtual networks if you’re an advanced user.

- It has 2T2R/MIMO for more efficient single band speeds. It's not dual-band but at this price point that is not a con.

- The spec sheet says “Power Amplifiers” and in DD-WRT under Wireless > Advanced Settings you can set the output power as high as 1000mW. (Typically, other routers limit around 200 to 300mW and the default is set from 17mW to 30mW. This router defaulted to 71mW power with the Buffalo firmware and 100mW with the DD-WRT beta build.)
If this router had an external antenna that would be more impressive but still it is a definite pro. I set it to 500mW output power and it's operating with no problems. But the signal dropped as much as my primary router when I walked out in the yard. Without antennas giving it reach, this power isn't so intimidating. But it's still a definite pro. I might consider fabricating antennas in the future, if possible. But that's just me :p

- Bandwidth monitoring, access restrictions, firewall, DDNS, as well as many other DD-WRT features standard to the firmware.
In reality, the features packed into DD-WRT do make this a very capable router. Even if you're not tech savvy, you can read some how-to's online and do many great things. This router has the tools and power to let a user control their home or office network in many ways that companies don't usually allow in their devices.

Cons: - The Ralink/Mediatek hardware is limited to a particular DD-WRT build. This means you cannot flash the DD-WRT “Mega” or “Big” build, which includes many additional features. With this router you can only use DDWRT “Standard.” This is a crippled, basic version of DD-WRT compared to others. Though this router is very powerful, it's still limited.

- No external antennas always worry me with range. I live in a smaller duplex, however, and have not had any issues. I like to use external and extended antennas, personally, to ensure coverage. That is not an option with this router.

- No gigabit or USB. There are much cheaper alternatives that support gigabit, have USB, and even support full DD-WRT out of the box. (In fact, I have listed some in OTs)


===IMPORTANT: This router is vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug out of the box! (My build was #22750 dated in 2013.) ===

I went to Administration > Firmware Upgrade > “Check for Updates” and it said “Error retrieving update information.” There was also no firmware on Buffalo's site to download so there does not appear to be an official fix.

Per the DD-WRT developer, directly: “https nor ssh is affected in all builds. https uses matrixssl and dropbear uses tomcrypt.
openssl is used for freeradius, openvpn, tor, [and] asterisk. so if you have a small router with 4 mb flash, you arent affected since openssl is not even included. if you use a big router with openvpn, you might be affected if tls is used. next beta builds will fix that issue.”
(Source: http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=260167 )

Even if you will not be using VPN or freeradius, you should not ignore this!
The latest DD-WRT firmware can be found here:
ftp://ftp.dd-wrt.com/others/eko/BrainSlayer-V24-preSP2/
These are beta builds, not stable! Download a few different builds to try.
I recommend “04-18-2014-r23919” which has "OpenSSL 1.0.1g 7 Apr 2014" and works perfectly. At first I used "05-27-2014-r24160" and had major problems!
Click "buffalo_whr_300hp2" (<-- Double check you're on the correct router!! If you flash the wrong firmware file then you can, and probably will, brick it.)

The router says is a 300HP2 if you check the Status configuration page to confirm it. The extra -D in the model only designates that Buffalo charged you $15 extra to sell the router pre-loaded with DD-WRT.

Download "buffalo_whr_300hp2-webflash.bin". Navigate to your router's config: http://192.168.11.1/ and go to Administration --> Firmware Upgrade. Click "Browse..." and find the .bin file you downloaded. Double and triple check that is the file! Click "Open," and "Upgrade." A light on the front of the unit will blink red three times every 3 seconds for up to 5 minutes and will restart when finished. It might take a while so be patient.
*continued in OTs*

Other Thoughts: Note: When you do something major after updating your firmware, like changing the IP from 192.168.1.1 back to 192.168.11.1, you *may* have to manually reboot the modem. Either via the web or unplug/replug it. In my testing I had to reboot it twice for the new settings to show up.

1. This will replace Buffalo’s stock firmware. It will look completely different but have a similar layout. Don’t be alarmed. You can change themes in the Administration page but there will be no Buffalo logo anywhere.

2. You can elect to not "reset to factory settings" if you want. It may work, or it may not. It's usually recommended to reset to factory defaults when significantly changing versions like this. If you do not and it causes problems then refer to the manual for reset procedures. It won't brick your router or anything.

3. Here is how to check your openssl version for vulnerability, if you wanted to:
http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=891583#891583


I first loaded a WRT54G with DD-WRT nearly 10 years ago when I was a teenager. I've since modded and hacked routers all sorts of ways. It's come a long way since forking from Sveasoft! It's powerful and capable but this router is, without doubt, purposely limited and doesn't harness that power. It lacks gigabit LAN, numerous DD-WRT features, USB, etc. Had they included gigabit and USB, like it's big brother model the WZR-300HP, this would be a perfect router.

However, if you don’t need speed and NAS capabilities, then by all means, this may be the router for you. Personally, I think it is best used as an isolated VPN-only device (Once the Heartbeat vulnerability is taken care of.) Considering how on VPN I won’t need even 100mbps of speed, it can work amicably for that application. For an every day use router, however, money can be better spent elsewhere...

You can better spend $50 to $70 on a router to have much better capabilities if that’s what you’re looking for. Some DD-WRT alternatives worth looking into:
Netgear WNR3500L, Item# N82E16833122334. $40, has gigabit LAN, USB, external antennas, and a better chipset.
WZR-300HP, Item# N82E16833162069. (if you can find one) is basically this router with gigabit, USB, external antennas, and a better chipset for only $15 more. It's a great router at a great price.
Asus RT-N16, Item# N82E16833320038. $70. This has been the backbone of my home network for over 3 years. I've yet to find a router with the value, power, and capability worth replacing it.
WZR-HP-G450H, Item# N82E16833162048. Expensive at $80, external antennas, gigabit, USB, faster speeds, and a better chipset.

READ FULL REVIEW

Theodore P.'s Profile

Display Name: Theodore P.

Date Joined: 02/13/11

Achievements:

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  • Reviews: 60
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  • First Review: 03/02/11
  • Last Review: 07/01/14
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