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NETGEAR CMD31T-100NAS High Speed Cable Modem - DOCSIS 3.0 Ethernet Port
  • Owned For: more than 1 year

1 out of 5 eggs RIP Modem (2013 - 2014) 06/25/2014

This review is from: NETGEAR CMD31T-100NAS High Speed Cable Modem - DOCSIS 3.0 Ethernet Port

Pros: This is a follow-up review.

Previous review cited:
Easy set-up
Aesthetics
Indicator lights

Cons: Previous review cited:
No appreciable improvement in speed.

So what happened? Well, the modem stopped working. The upstream connection was bad for months and my cable company actually believed it was their fault. They were going to come out, troubleshoot, install new coax, etc. After three months with no alternative but a big serious service visit from the cable co. to potentially rewire my whole building, they walked me through some more troubleshooting and (surprise!) it's the modem. Confirmed 100% it's the modem.

Call up Netgear, go through the whole spiel hear all about the service packages I can buy -- no, thanks, I just want my broken product fixed or replaced.

Sorry, they say, it's out of warranty. When I insist that the problems started before the warranty occurred, they tell me that this is irrelevant. When I stand by my assertion that the problems originated in the warranty period, they relent -- they know how the law views warranties, and that this must be covered. But they can't shut up about how kind they are to give me a "grace period" (even though really, they're just honoring the warranty consistent with existing case law on warranties).

Great! I'm ready to get that RMA as soon as we work through the troubleshooting and find that the modem is broken. Except I can't work through the problem myself. In order to replace the unit, I have to go through Netgear support to determine that it is a brick. And that's not free. In fact, they want to sell me a service plan that costs more than the modem.

After speaking with them for an hour, I am told that there is no defect, that the hardware is perfect (which we can diagnose, apparently, by pinging the modem -- that's the entirety of the test!) and that I need to upgrade the firmware. For a big fat fee, they will tell me how to upgrade the firmware.

When I tell the guy there are no firmware updates for this modem on Netgear's website, he tells me the current firmware revision and before I have a chance to say "that's what I've got and this darn thing is still defective" he hangs up. "I can't give away tech support for free" he says.

I call back and I'm presented with the same options: Sit on the phone with tech support. If they can manage to fix the problem, pay them a huge sum of money (to fix a problem with hardware they should be fixing under warranty!). If they can't fix it, I won't have to pay and I'll get my RMA. But I can't get the RMA without phone support troubleshooting the problem, which means I can't get my RMA without risking a non-RMA fix for the hardware failure, for which I am charged $100+.

Sorry Netgear, I called for tech support. If I wanted to gamble, I'd go to Las Vegas. This is not an appropriate tech-support practice -- as far as I'm concerned, it's a racket. Operating out of India, I'm not sure whether that type of racket is legal.

Other Thoughts: My previous review stated "if it doesn't catch on fire or stop working, it's good." While there was no need to call the fire dept., this unit just plain stopped working. All through its death throes, power cycling the unit would fix the issue. My cable company told me they would replace the wiring to fix the signal problem, they'd do whatever they needed to do to fix it. But in the end, this modem was slowly dying for several months. When it finally kicked the bucket, Netgear had me on the phone for two solid hours trying to get me to pay for phone support just to get my RMA. I have better things to do. I'm not going to give somebody money to tell me a brick is a brick. I know it's a brick. It's supposed to be a modem. That's why I want it fixed or replaced. I shouldn't have to litigate my way to a replacement, gambling on whether or not phone support can fix the problem.

This process is incredibly disappointing. This is a premium product in a market where most people get modems for free from their providers. Netgear needs to own up to the poor workmanship of this product -- which is evident from the reviews that have piled up since I wrote my previous review one year plus two weeks ago. They need to provide people with a path to RMA that does not require them to risk steep customer service charges if it turns out the issue was some non-RMA issue for which Netgear is still responsible. This is a class-action suit waiting to happen.

Netgear has a history, in general and with this unit in particular, of taking a very strict interpretation of what their warranty covers -- hardware only. They won't do ANYTHING for you unless you (1) have a problem with hardware, not firmware, software, or other problems that could be Netgear's fault and (2) you pay them for the phone support to determine that you do have a hardware problem.

This is a complete joke, and based on my two hour merry-go-round with people trying to sell me a service plan and refusing to issue me an RMA unless I bought one, customers are the but of the joke. If you buy a Netgear product, you should interpret ANY warranty statement as "90 day window for tech support, with RMA only if the physical hardware is defective." They had me ping my modem over a direct ethernet connection and RULED OUT ALL HARDWARE DEFECTS based on a ping! I nearly laughed out loud, except I had already been on the phone 70-80 minutes at that point and was not in the mood. Netgear probably turns a big profit on its support, and it sounds to me like they don't mind if a few of their units mysteriously break -- they make cash on both ends, so to speak.

The downgrade two one egg is really better than this product deserves, considering it will still average out to 2.5 eggs considering my previous 4-egg review.

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EnGenius ENS200EXT High-powered/Long-range Wireless Outdoor AP
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

4 out of 5 eggs Great, except for the POE 06/11/2014

This review is from: EnGenius ENS200EXT High-powered/Long-range Wireless Outdoor AP

Pros: I'll try to go through the process and give my thoughts along the way:

First, Engenius has a good website. Easy to find the downloads I need. Firmware updated, pdf version of manual and other docs, very convenient.

The quick-start guide is enough to help anybody set it up. It was easy to follow and got this running as an access point no problem.

From there, I get great signal throughout my apartment. My place is small enough that I normally do fine with my router in all corners of the place, so I took a stroll around the apartment complex -- my signal was pretty strong for much farther than I've ever had with a home router. (That is the point, isn't it?) Very good signal strength for great distances. I don't have a way to measure, but I'd have to say 60+ feet before any signal quality change. Probably still "acceptable" or "moderate" signal for longer.

Cons: The proprietary POE is a huge let down. I was considering taking off two eggs for this (if I could, I'd give it a 3.5/5).

I am not okay with this sort of practice. POE is not a proprietary thing, and we should have to grapple with proprietary versions of POE to get a product we want. I don't see how there are limitations in standards-compliant POE products that would limit the functioning of this device or that would otherwise require a proprietary design.

Some people say POE is not proprietary, just match the voltage and power rating and you're fine. There are two problems with this assessment: (1) Most people who are in an industrial setting will want this unit to match an existing POE setup. Some people run a large POE system with an endspan injector that couldn't be replaced by some conglomeration of individual proprietary midspan POE injectors. And (2) this unit may function with any POE setup that has the right voltage/power, but this voltage/power is not standards-compliant, so you wouldn't find this in a generic POE injector. I'm sure you can get a step-down of some sort to put between a standard POE injector to this device, but now you're blowing money on an unnecessary piece of hardware for each one of these devices.

Other Thoughts: It's really a great piece of equipment minus the proprietary POE. But for many applications of this unit, that will actually be a big problem. For some people (like me), it may not be a problem, but it's still a problem in principle.

As with all EggXpert reviews, this review cannot comment on the longevity of the unit. We have to review the item within a short span of time once we receive it.

I'm also not clear on how waterproof this is -- I haven't had a chance to really test it, but it says "Outdoor" so I assume it can withstand the elements.

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SteelSeries H Circumaural Wireless Headset
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

5 out of 5 eggs Great quality for price range 05/20/2014

This review is from: SteelSeries H Circumaural Wireless Headset

Pros: The feature set on these headphones is amazing and does not disappoint. The design borrows a bit from existing models from major manufacturers, but is a well-priced and updated combination of a few different feature sets.

The USB interface installs as a normal audio adapter in Windows 7 and should do the same for Vista or 8. I'm not going to bother testing this on previous versions of Windows -- if it works, it works. If you're still using XP or earlier, I don't know what to tell you.

The RF transmitter is nice looking and easy to use. You configure it on the device, which has a small screen and a few buttons/knobs, and it's pretty much 100% straightforward.

The inputs can be configured separately if you want to use this with multiple different sources. It would be cool (but excessive?) to have more inputs than the usual "one of each" since the device can configure for multiple sources.

Just as an example of something you could do -- you can plug in your phone! So sit at your desk, do your work, play a game, and if somebody calls, it comes through the headphones you've already got on.

On the headphones themselves you have:

-- padding: very comfortable, very nice

-- volume knob: easy to use, freely rotates (it will beep when you hit max), very cool

-- combined chat/power button: audible signals let you know if you've turned chat on or off (short push) or powered down the device (long push). It seems like it has two distinct buttons but they do the same thing (I think).

-- chat port: for external chat input

-- a sharing port: this is pretty brilliant. the only issue is impedance matching. if your buddy's headphones have a very high or low impedance, the volume level will be different (and it can't be adjusted independently).

-- retractable microphone: easy to use, decent quality (as good as you'd expect in a little stick that comes out of headphones)

Almost no delay starting up the headphones until getting a signal. I have noticed no interference, buzz, hum, etc.


And finally, the sound quality is excellent. It's the quality I'd expect in the 200-500 range. You can find more expensive headphones with higher quality, and even some cheaper (with fewer/lesser features). But this is the right kind of quality for this price range, with few flaws. Clarity and responsiveness are great, range is solid, seems to be fairly even. I have a diverse music collection (classical, reggae, classic rock, metal, electronic, etc.) and most of it sounds as good or better than it does on my usual day-to-day headphones. In terms of sound quality, this beats anything I have kicking around the house, and isn't that far off from the pro-grade stuff I own or have used in the past (wired or wireless).

Cons: I haven't found too many flaws. The box is enormous and a bit weird to open. The weight is a bit on the heavy side, but for over-ear wireless headphones, it's only a little bit higher than average.

It'd be nice if the sharing port had its own volume control or impedance matching of some sort. That's asking alot though.

I can't comment on how long these will last, or what kind of use/abuse they can handle. I've had headphones last two months and some last two decades.

Other Thoughts: My reference point is mostly Sennheiser, Behringer, and Nady headphones. I really can't stand on-ear or other types of headphones, so over-ear and earbud is really all I will do. For the price, you can usually only get wireless OR quality this good. I'm impressed that this splits the difference and does both.

I haven't used the device with any consoles, and I've tried to give it a fair shot by using the USB input (letting the device handle being its own audio adapter rather than subjecting it to the motherboard's sound card).

I wish I could comment on the longevity of these headphones, but we'll see. They'll be my go-to headphones for now and we'll see how long they last.

I've had more comfortable headphones, but not many. I've had higher-quality headphones, but this is the right quality for this price range. I've never had (RF) wireless headphones with this clear quality [in this price range I've always used bluetooth or wired].

Do keep in mind, when you listen to things that are recorded in a sloppy or poor way, you will hear that with good headphones. If this is a major upgrade for you, please remember that your favorite 90s sitcom or your favorite amateur alternative rock band may sound more clear or crisp, but they might sound worse if you hear the negative qualities of the audio that nobody noticed or bothered to fix in recording, mixing, etc. And if you like hard rock, metal, etc. the bass will sound different and might even seem "worse" for a while. You have to get used to everything being alot less muddy than you thought it was. That's only because you've been listening to it through a crummy car stereo or cheap headphones.

If you want the features these headphones have and you have the money, I'd say go for it. These do not fail to deliver. The only question is how long they last, but I'd say it's worth rolling the dice on these.

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Anonymous's Profile

Display Name: Anonymous

Date Joined: 05/26/06

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