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Pros: Well, I guess the first pro to mention is I actually started laughing as I opened the Newegg shipping box. For starters, I was caught off guard at how large this thing is! It has a 3.5inch diameter, and roughly the size of a softball. But, I also didn’t realize how much this thing looked like a very well-known video game character. Immediately after I finish this review, I’m going to fire up my 3D printer and make some “handles” as well as draw on a texture with marker! I may even re-paint the removable gender-biased “iris” thingy (or “Front Accent Ring” as they call it). I’m excited about this product, am I’m not even a dad (yet)!
The build is definitely quality. The base is a ball-in-socket that allows for a one-axis tilt (45° angle max one direction, ~30° max from vertical the other direction), and 360° rotation. The base has pre-installed rubber feet which get surprisingly good grip, but also wall-mount hook slots. On a desktop without additional weight, it manages to reach 30° angle without falling over, but it’d be very easy to add more weight or other mounting style to the hollow base. The socket grips the ball well enough that it’s not very easy to accidentally knock it out of place.
Do you like stickers? I like stickers! It’s got a sheet of warning stickers in 18 different languages that you can wrap around the power cord! Why?? Because why not?! Even the instructions on how to peel off and apply the sticker to the cord is a sticker! Stickers stickers stickers!
The power adapter is dual voltage and comes with an interchangeable socket, but only includes the US-style socket for some reason. It provides 1.5A, which is funny because the manual suggests 2A. It has an extremely long cord though, which was awesome for me as I mounted it on the roof.
I’m rather impressed with the picture quality and the colors, especially for only being 640x480. It’s clear and very responsive. Even over the Internet through D-Link, the video has about 200ms of latency which is much lower than I expected! My ping to the D-link site makes up ~120ms of that, so 80ms at the encoder! The audio latency, however, is horrid (see cons).
While I was looking for some solutions to some of the cons, I noticed that they do provide the source code of their firmware elsewhere on their website. I haven’t dug into it much yet, but this certainly gives them a star just for doing it. Keep an eye out for 3rd party firmware, or if you know what you’re doing, add in whatever features/tweeks you want yourself! All the Cons may be easily solved (except the clicking, which is a hardware issue).
Cons: Maybe they could’ve spent less money on their stickers and advertising pamphlet and put it into their monochrome, flimsy, manual (that’s so cheap, they made budget cuts on random letters in page 7). The system requirements list a Computer with Windows & common browsers, but the set-up guide is purely for Android & iOS.
I can see why they didn’t really advertise Windows as their main means of accessing the feed. You have to use the DLink website (with ads) with your account set up (which links to your device, so you’re trusting DLink’s website security on the general public Internet to have a live feed inside your home, AND your WiFi account info). I can’t seem to find any way to access the camera using LAN only (The Android app has that option, but not Windows) - typing it’s IP address into the URL simply gives me a “File Not Found” error. Taking the risk for the sake of a comprehensive review, I load the DLink webpage and it’s using an outdated Java App as the viewer, which promptly dies and crashes the page on the latest version of Chrome & Firefox. Internet Explorer works, after it installs an ActiveX control (haven’t seen this since the 90’s!), a plug-in, and firmware update. The firmware update didn’t allow me to use other browsers or create a web interface (even though it obviously has web server capability by serving the error page). This thing requires an Internet connection to use, even within your own home, and if I did want to view the feed outside my home, there’s no way to set up my own VPN or such - it has to go through D-Link’s services and honestly that kinda creeps me out.
While the video looks great and has awesome latency, the audio is horrid. It has >2000ms latency coming from it, and any audio transmitted to it is very quiet (though has ~1000ms latency). It’s also extremely spotty with noticeable gaps in the audio stream. The lullabies are decent quality sound and good volume, but voice/sounds from a PC or phone/tablet are rather quiet and require max volume to make out what’s being said even when standing next to the camera. Audio is a neat feature, but definitely not the main selling point!
It makes a loud click when going from night to day mode or vise versa. Loud enough I’d suspect to wake a baby. Loud enough to make my dog jump, investigate, and growl at it.
You can mount it onto the roof or wall, but there’s no way to flip/orientate the video feed. Seems that feature is reserved for their actual security cameras.
Other Thoughts: My dog groaned at the lullabies.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: This was a nice product to review! To start things off, it had good packaging, complete with resource CD and comprehensive starting guide. The device was a bit larger than expected, and barely fits in the “router” spot on my desk. The LEDs on the front are large, and bright - maybe a bit too bright if you game in the dark. They flash for activity, but not flicker. There’s an actual power switch on the back, which I enjoy (no more dropping the power plug behind the desk!). There’s also a WiFi switch, which I highly recommend turning to OFF for initial setup. The WiFi is on by default, with SSID broadcast, but secured with WEP2 by default (key is printed on the bottom of the router). The configuration page is comprehensive, with all the features I enjoyed in DD-WRT firmware existing in the manufacturer firmware such as MAC cloning, DoS protection, bandwidth control, and diagnostics page. It even re-directs to the new IP address if you change it!
Cons: It has a fairly large wall-wort power adapter, that gets in the way of other plugs (vertical). I was also surprised to see that it’s 2.5amps (matching the router), which seems fairly high to me. It seems to be taking ~1amp on average. More than previous routers I’ve had, but still acceptable.
I wasn’t really a fan of the guide referring to a URL to configure it, rather than a standard IP address, but either works to load configuration page. However, it’s default is 192.168.0.1. Just minor gripes. The default login is admin/admin, so there’s no variation or added security there - anyone on your wired LAN to hijack setup before you complete it. There’s no secure way to configure this device - there’s no https option and all configuration data is sent via plain text. But, what ultimately pushed this to lose 1 egg is that the configuration page automatically refreshes (on all browsers) after a few seconds - if you aren’t quick to save your changes, it’ll refresh and lose your fields! Very annoying if you’re looking up routing or MAC tables while entering the data… If they fix this, and perhaps make it one-click to set-up MAC access and routing tables, it’d easily be 4 stars.
Other Thoughts: USB 2 does perfectly fine for all of my applications, and I’m happy with it for this product. It’s more than sufficient for printers or external HDDs.
I delayed some in writing this review, as I seem to have had some problems with my ISP. The WAN connection seems to have dropped twice in the first few days of having this device, and the router never reconnected until I cycled power. But, it’s working fine lately and I can’t be 100% sure this is the router’s fault, so I’m not listing this as a con.
Pros: I purchased this laptop as an upgrade for my tablet. After a year of a tablet being my main mobile device, I was very frustrated with lack of multi-tasking, scares apps for development, and even simple things like other browser tabs refreshing the page when you switched to them. I was ready to go back to an actual laptop, and frankly this laptop wasn’t much more expensive!
I actually love the laptop, especially for the price! I was actually looking for a smaller system for portability, but found it ironic that the smaller ones were more expensive. In the end, I find I enjoy the extra screen space a lot more than it fitting in my arms or cheap laptop bags. The display is brilliant and large, the keyboard is spaced well with everything as I expect, and a large trackpad lets me get more precision without sacrificing a full mouse stroke across the screen.
The build is much sturdier than I expected. It’s cheap, but the power is coming from the simplicity. The keyboard, power button, and trackpad are all one piece - no creeking border around the keyboard or trackpad, no top cover for buttons or speakers to snap off before you can unscrew the keyboard. The screen folds down on two hinges that doesn’t feel loose or flimsy, and there’s no locking/unfolding latch or mechanism simply because it doesn’t seem to need it. It even folds open about 135°, which is comfortable enough for me to use on a desk while standing. The viewing angle still has a noticable impact on brightness/color, but not as much as other laptops I’ve used.
People seem to be knocking it for having to "take apart the whole thing to get anywhere." While this is true, it's stupid-easy to do! There's 9 perimeter screws, and the top portion pops off with a few simple snaps. There's 3 easy-release ribbon cables for keyboard, trackpad, and power button if you want to remove it completely. After that, everything is extremely accessible! If you have a screwdriver handy, you can still swap out battery, RAM, HDD, and media drive in under 5 minutes! Yet, I can still press and squeeze anywhere and there's no creaking or excessive give. The more I think about this simple 2-piece (3 if you include the screen) design, the more I love it.
I installed a Radeon R7 SSD, get about 200MB/s <0.1ms access, and now the laptop blazing fast! It’s not a gaming laptop, nor is it meant for heavy tasks, but I’m definitely able to have dozens of tabs open and 8 different applications open at the same time (so long as nothing's CPU intensive, which most stuff isn't).
It’s impressively quiet, even when it had the Seagate 5000RPM in there. It doesn't get hot even at full stress, and it's actually comfortable on my lap.
Cons: Most of the stuff I want to complain about isn’t the laptop’s fault. I read the product description, and I know what features it’s missing. Most everything else I find difficult with using it is Windows 8, but I could downgrade (or use Win 10 technical preview) if I wasn’t insistent on learning it so as to not fall behind on tech anymore than I already am.
I really wish they didn’t follow the users-can’t-change-out-batteries-from-our-products-because-it-confuses-them trend mobile devices started doing in recent years. That was an insult, but everyone seems to be doing it so it’s not a specific fault to this laptop. I guess I can't recall ever regularly changing out laptop batteries, and it's not really that had to get to, so this is a minor gripe.
However, one large item that’s definitely knocking off at least one egg is quality control. It’s a good thing I planned on upgrading the HDD! It was held in with one loose screw which had no loc-tite (2 screw holes were empty, and the 4th double as a chassis thru-screw)! The plastic backing that prevents the HDD controller components from shorting on the chassis, and the foam spacers along the mainboard, all looked like they were stuck on by a drunk blind person who really didn’t care! All the components worked when it got here, and it looked pretty from the outside, but this shoddy job of putting the insides together makes me not want to buy ASUS again. If you’re proficient with computers, take the 60 seconds (literally) it takes to pop this guy open and give it the visual inspection a Quality Assurance team never did.
Other Thoughts: This was strike 3 from ASUS, a company I used to be a die-hard fan of! My ASUS tablet died within its warranty period, so I email them, but they never got back to me (I wasn’t too bothered as I was replacing it with this laptop anyway). A router of their also died on me, but that was the first defective device and I thought “eh, everyone makes mistakes”. It’s a shame because I used to build desktop gaming systems, and would prefer ASUS for overclocking and never had one die! But, it seems you only get ASUS quality if you also pay top-dollar for their enthusiast products… Shame on you, ASUS. This is a wonderfully engineered laptop, but you’re cutting corners to meet that bottom price.
(I assume this was ASUS’s fault because I purchased this laptop as “Open Box” and not “Refurbished”. I suppose there is a chance the faults are of someone who refurbished the laptop, but in that case shame on whoever refurbished it, and Newegg for not labelling it correctly.)
In the end, I’m very happy with the laptop!
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