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This review is from: Asus Zenfone 2 Unlocked Smart Phone, 5.5" Silver , 16GB Storage 2GB RAM, US Warranty
Pros: Good hardware and runs fast for factory unlocked phone.
Cons: Focus problem when using Zoom on 13MP HD camera.
T-Mobile 4G/LTE not working in my area.
Other Thoughts: This phone's hardware is good and it is fast, but it has compatibility issues with T-Mobile 4G/LTE in my area. I live in PA and Newegg shipped this phone from CA. The box is clearly labeled as the US Version. I'm having problems getting the full 4G/LTE speeds on T-Mobile. I'm only getting the base 4G connection with poor reception (2 bars) that falls back to the slow E or H networks a lot. I tested with the OOKLA Speedtest app and I'm only getting 12.58 Mpbs down and 1.74 Mpbs up compared with my old Samsung Galaxy S3 that gets 25 Mpbs down and 6 Mpbs up. I called T-Mobile tech support to verify the 4G/LTE frequencies and bands in my area and the only 2 that match this phone are 1700Mhz Band 4 and 1900Mhz Band 2. Part of the problem is that they require both 1700 & 2100Mhz on Band 4, but this phone only supports 2100Mhz on Band 1. As a test they agreed to give me a new SIM card at no charge to see if this fixes the LTE problem. The T-Mobile store is out of stock on Micro SIM cards so I haven't tried this yet.
The other problem I'm having is with the 13MP HD camera. When I try to zoom it loses focus and none of the Focus settings fix this problem. Everything at a distance is blurry.
The LTE issue is more important to me than the camera and if a new SIM card does not fix the problem then I will try to return for a refund. I have bought many ASUS products over the years and this is the first time I'm disappointed. They should have done more research with the major US carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.) before they released the US version. What is the point of having a high-tech unlocked phone that won't support 4G/LTE on the major carriers in most US regions? I also opened a support ticket about this issue on my ASUS account (vip.asus.com) 3 days ago. They sent a standard email saying they would respond in 48 hours but I haven't heard anything yet. Very disappointed!
This review is from: Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player (H2G2-42)
Pros: - Small, lightweight Wireless b/g/n DLNA device
- Very good Audio/Video (A/V) quality including surround sound on Home Theater
- Easy to setup on Home network
- Works well with apps (Netflix, Hulu, Localcast, YouTube, etc.) on Android phones & tablets, & Windows 8 PC's (haven't tested it with iPhone IOS or Mac OS X).
- Can turn any basic HDTV into a Smart TV by streaming A/V from apps on your device.
Cons: If your home network is not configured properly then your Device apps might keep losing connection to the Chromecast every 10 min. or so. See the resolution to this that should work for most home networks in the comments below.
Other Thoughts: This was easy to setup with the Chromecast app installed on my Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro. However, like many other users I experienced the problem where the apps on my phone and tablet would lose the connection to the Chromecast after about 10 min. It would continue to play the video on my TV, but I could no longer control it from the app. On your Internet provider's Wireless router (and any other wireless router you may have), login in to the Router Configuration IP in your browser (mine is http://192.168.1.1 but could be different depending on brand. Verify this by opening a Command Prompt and entering ipconfig. Look for the Default Gateway IP. Make sure you know the Password for the Admin account.) and do the following:
1. Verify the AP Isolation mode is Disabled. This can be found under the Wireless Advanced or Professional settings (the location depends on the make & model of your router/s). Normally this is Disabled by default on home routers, but you should check this setting. If it is Enabled it prevents Wireless clients from talking to each other on the same network.
2. Verify the IGMP Proxy is Disabled. Chromecast uses DLNA and DLNA/UPNP uses Multicast packets to communicate on the network. IGMP Proxy is supposed to filter out Multicast packets from going to every client on the network except for the clients that specifically requested them. However, my Verizon FIOS Actiontec MI424WR (Rev. I) Wireless-N router has this Enabled by default. There is a bug in their IGMP Proxy and it filters all Multicast packets even for clients that requested them. On the FIOS router this option used to be in Router Config Advanced options, but Verizon pushed a firmware update that hid the IGMP Proxy and UPNP settings because they don't want customers changing them. IMHO – IGMP Proxy is not that important on a small home network. This can be accessed after logging into the Router Config with the Admin account and changing the active_page parameter in the URL to 6059 (e.g. http://192.168.1.1/index.cgi?active_page=6059).
3. Now you are ready to follow the instructions for setting up Chromecast. Initially the Chromecast setup app wants the device (phone, tablet, or PC) its on to be on the same 2.4Ghz Wireless network as the Chromecast. Follow the setup instructions on your TV and it may ask you to update the firmware. Follow all setup steps carefully.
If you have multiple Wireless networks, it just easier to leave your Device on the same network as the Chromecast. Overall I am very happy with this device and would definitely recommend it to others looking for a cheaper alternative (under $40) to Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, or any other Internet streaming media player. This does everything I want with my Phone & Tablet. Hopefully you find the information above helpful if you ran into the same problem where your device keeps losing its connection to Chromecast.
Pros: - Space saving design (freed up a lot of space in my ATX Mid-Tower case compared to the old card that was twice as long)
- Powerful, energy efficient GPU using only 60 Watts directly from the PCI-E Bus (no need for extra power cables)
- Stays cool and fan runs quiet
- 2GB of GDDR5 RAM
- Supports Max Digital resolution 4K x 2K for UHD TV's/Monitors
- This model is overclocked from factory
- Excellent Bang for the Buck
Cons: 1. This was causing Explorer to crash when right-clicking on any Drive/Resource in the left pane to display the context menu. Explorer would close and the Desktop would be re-displayed. Event Viewer showed the faulting module in Explorer was SHELL32.dll, but did not give any other useful information. Using the ShellExView 64-bit utility I could see that NVIDIA installed 2 64-bit Shell Extensions called DesktopContext Class and NVIDIA CPL Context Menu Extension. In this utility I disabled the NVIDIA CPL Context Menu Extension and this fixed the problem with Explorer crashing when right-clicking on resources in the left pane. As far as I can tell, the only thing this extension does is give a shortcut to the NVIDIA Control Panel when right-clicking on the Desktop. I don't need that since there are other ways to launch the Control Panel. I contacted EVGA about this problem on Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit, and they sent the information to NVIDIA. Hopefully they will fix it in the next release.
2. The NVIDIA GeForce Experience icon in the System Tray stops working after I turn off the monitor or let it go into power saving mode. When I bring the display back, then I can't use the icon to access the options. Not a big deal since there are other ways to launch the GeForce Experience and Control Panel utilities.
Other Thoughts: I bought this to replace an older AMD Radeon HD 5830 PCI-E 2.0 card that was going bad in my Home Media Server (HMS) that consists of the following:
OS: Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit
Motherboard: ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3 Socket AM3+
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Quad-Core 3.4Ghz
RAM: Patriot Viper Extreme 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 PC2000 SDRAM
PSU: Antec True Power 650W Continuous ATX 12V 80 Plus Bronze Rating
OS Drive: Adata XPG SX910 256GB SSD Sata 6Gbs
Storage Spaces Parity Array: 3 x WD Red NAS HD 2TB Sata 6Gbs
This is the only PCI-E device in my PC. This video card still takes up 2 bays, but is only about half the length of my old card. This freed up space and improves air flow in my ATX Mid-Tower case. I have the DisplayPort connected by DisplayPort/HDMI cable to a 19” LED monitor's HDMI port. I connected the HDMI Port to my Home Theater Receiver by HDMI cable to display on my 65” LED TV.
I'm using all the default settings in the NVIDIA Control Panel, but had to adjust the Scaling a little when displaying on my TV. The picture quality on the Monitor and TV is excellent. Configuring Surround Sound on the HDMI cable to my Yamaha HTR was easy and sounds great.
With my older AMD Radeon card Extending the Displays never worked properly, but I decided to play around with extending them with this new card and everything worked fine. My main Desktop was on my small monitor and it extended to the TV with the correct settings. Dragging iTunes, Video Player, or any other app to the TV and going full screen was very easy. Even the Video Win8 container app worked fine.
In order to get a real test of video quality and performance, I downloaded the Final Fantasy 14 A Realm Reborn Official Benchmark utility. This does not allow you to play the game, but plays some very graphics intense clips from the game. At the end it gives a Benchmark Score to show how well the video card performed. I'm displaying this utility on my 65” LED TV. In the utility I set the Graphics Settings & Display Settings to the max for 1080P. Running this utility 3 times gave Very High Benchmark Scores from 6642 to 6696. I used the EVGA PrecisionX 16 utility to monitor the Video Card while the Benchmark was running. The GPU temp never got above 50C/122F, the GPU Clock never went above 1305Mhz, & the Fan Speed never went above 50%. The video quality on my TV was super crisp, clear, & smooth without lag. I'm just wondering how much better this would have performed if my motherboard had a PCI-E 3.0 port instead of its older PCI-E 2.0 port.
I've only had this card for 2 weeks, but overall I'm very impressed with quality, performance, & price. This was an excellent buy for a low price and will future proof my video needs for the next few years. I would definitely recommend this card to anyone who wants a powerful, energy efficient video card. I will update this review if I run into any future issue, but for now everything is working fine.