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TP-LINK TL-WDN4200 N900 Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter, 2.4GHz 450Mbps/5Ghz 450Mbps, One-Button Setup,Windows XP/Vista/7/8
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: I wanted to like this adapter. It offered the combination of flexible networking capability at a low price. Setup is easy (when it works).

I first installed it on a Windows 7 x64 machine. Everything worked - for a while (see cons below). Setup was easy, and as long as the wireless AP was reasonably close, 5GHz connections could be made easily. Longer range was possible using the 2.4GHz band.

On Windows 8.1, results were mixed. One computer had no issues. The TL-WDN4200 consistently connected at similar bandwidth to the integrated wireless, again as long as the laptop was placed within close proximity to the wireless AP.

I ran through connecting i the TL-WDN4200 to a series of virtual machines to check operations on a variety of configurations. With most, the TP-LINK adapter did the job. If, however, a different 2.4GHz only TP-LINK adapter had previously been installed on the system there was no way of coaxing the TL-WDN4200 to function.

Cons: The first is that the drivers come on a mini-CD. Fewer modern laptops are even coming with CD drives. Using the drivers automatically downloaded by Windows Update on Win 8.1 did not always result in a working connection. The adapter could be seen but could not connect to anything.

A second issue arose when connecting the TL-WDN4200 to a Win 8.1 box that previously had an older TP-LINK adapter installed. No matter how many attempts were made at uninstalling the old drivers, installing the new, etc. the TL-WDN4200 was once again unable to connect to any wireless signal. I verified this behavior using virtual machines starting with a fresh, fully-patched Win 8.1 installation.

The TL-WDN4200 is a beast of a dongle. There is nothing small or dainty about it. It really is intended only for desktop use - it's just too big for a laptop. It also needs a USB extension cord (happily TP-LINK included one). Plugged into a laptop or back panel USB port, the sheer size of the TL-WDN4200 blocks neighboring ports on all sides.

I also saw consistent issues with wireless range. The TL-WDN4200 is sensitive to orientation when connecting to a 5 GHz signal, and can't be far from the source before dropping to 2.4 GHz. This is not the adapter to use if you are not connecting to very strong signals.

Finally, I noticed the TL-WDN4200 ran warm. To test its limits, I started transferring data over a 5GHz connection. After less than an hour it dropped the signal and would not reconnect until it had been unplugged for several minutes. Watching a video was somewhat less taxing; it worked for 90 minutes of a 2 hour movie before the connection dropped again.

Other Thoughts: Given the problems I saw, I can't recommend the TL-WDN4200. It is attractively priced for the feature set and offers (most of the time) easy setup. The huge size combined with comparatively low range and overheating problems offset any other advantages.

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Linksys WRT 8-Port Gigabit Switch, Works with Linksys WRT1900AC Wi-Fi Router (SE4008)
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

4 out of 5 eggs Consider only if you have a WRT1900ac 12/19/2014

This review is from: Linksys WRT 8-Port Gigabit Switch, Works with Linksys WRT1900AC Wi-Fi Router (SE4008)

Pros: The SE4008 switch is built to act as a base for the WRT1900AC router. If this matches your situation, the router + switch stack is an attractive and reasonably compact way to expand your network. As other reviewers note, however, the SE4008 falls short when considered alone.

To be fair, there are several aspects the SE4008 gets right. It is designed as a desktop switch. Too many companies try to mimic the look of commercial-grade switches where the ports and status lights are on the same side. This works in a rack, but leads to an mess of exposed cabling on a desktop. The SE4008 sensibly has status lights on the front and ports + power input on the rear. The overall package is aesthetically pleasing, with understated yet readily readable status indicators.

An often overlooked point is the wall-wart power brick. The SE4008 uses a small, slim, outlet-space friendly brick that only occupies a single socket.

A listed feature is QoS (Quality of Service) to prioritize video and other time-sensitive streaming applications. I connected the SE4008 to our office network where I could flood all 8 ports with traffic and monitor video streaming bandwidth. As advertised, the SE4008 did prioritize video streams over normal TCP/IP traffic.

The power saving mode for unused ports likely combined with the large size of the unit do lead to the SE4008 running nicely cool. When all eight ports are being hammered with max data rates it warms up but not nearly as much as many similar consumer-grade switches.

Cons: I am in agreement with other reviewers on the cons of the SE4008. It is huge for the number of ports - it has a larger footprint than a standard 16 port SMB switch.

The price puts it in direct competition with other, more capable switches. At this price point, lack of jumbo frame support is inexcusable. Too much potential bandwidth is being left on the table. Also, at this price point there are a number of SMB switches offering longer warranties (3 years or even lifetime vs. 1 year for the SE4008) and not only jumbo frame support but also automatic VLANs and other features to improve data throughput and security.

Other Thoughts: If you already have a WRT1900AC router and do not require the absolute fastest network performance, the SE4008 is a reasonable choice. If not, I would look elsewhere. You can get similar features for a lower price and in a smaller package. Or, for the same price, get a switch with higher performance and longer warranty.

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FREMO P130 13000mAh Power Bank External Battery Charger for iPhone, iPad Air, mini, Galaxy S5, Note, Galaxy Tab, Nexus, HTC One, One 2 (M8), PS Vita and other Smartphones and Tablets (made by SCUD)
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: I had the opportunity to put the P130 charger through its paces on a recent business trip. The longest leg was the 15 hour flight from LAX to Hong Kong - longer than the battery on my iPad Air would last by itself. The P130 did indeed provide the necessary extra juice to keep the iPad going not only to Hong Kong but on the second hop to Singapore. An excellent first impression.

Over the course of my trip, I used the P130 to charge the iPad, a Nexus 5 phone, and a Nexus 10 tablet. The high current port on the P130 charged the tablets rapidly and only became slightly warm in the process. Other external power blocks I have used charged slower and became uncomfortably warm in the process. The low current port charged the phone without drama - the case remained at room temperature throughout.

The usable battery capacity for the P130 is fairly good. It could charge either the Nexus 10 or iPad Air from dead-empty to 80-90% before running dry. I don't know how many phone charges the P130 is capable of - three charges of a Nexus 5 did not exhaust its battery.

The P130 is compact and takes its styling queues from Apple. Silver aluminum case, white plastic, blue lights, stylized power button - all that is missing is the Apple logo. Looks aside, it easily fits in a pocket or bag. The included USB cable is ideal for charging an external device. The cable itself is short, measuring just over nine inches in length. In a nod to real-world usage, it is also a flat cable, making it very resistant to tangling.

If you use a cover for you tablet that doubles as a stand, the P130 easily tucks behind the screen. The overall package is tidy and compact, perfect for its intended use on the road. Including both standard and high power charging ports lets you charge power-hungry tablets quickly while not frying the smaller batteries in your phone.

Cons: Overall, the P130 is good at what it does. There are, however, enough minor quibbles with the design and functionality to knock off an egg.

The edges of the aluminum case are sharp enough to scratch and gouge gear stored in the same compartment as the P130. Were the corners chamfered or rounded, there would be no such problems.

The battery gauge is inaccurate. Four lights illuminate showing the amount of charge remaining in the battery pack. When charging a tablet, the gauge on the P130 drops from four lights to one after the tablet reaches less than 30% charge. Charging continues, however, up to 80-90% before the P130 signals that it is emptied by slowly flashing the remaining LED. This makes accurately judging how much capacity remains in the P130 impossible.

For phone charging, the P130 appears to shut off - no LEDs remain illuminated - before the phone reaches full charge. Charging does actually continue, as can be seen from the phone's battery indicator.

The P130 weighs about 70% as much as an iPad Air and charges the iPad to about 85% capacity. The P130 lacks the fancy Retina display and assorted electronic guts that make the iPad useful. The batteries may be less efficient for their weight than those used by Apple and Google, but the price is certainly less as well.

Other Thoughts: Other reviewers noted the P130 comes without a wall adapter or long USB cord for charging it back up. I can't count this as a con. Chances are that if you are looking for an external power bank, you already have a drawer full of wall adapters and cables. Not including redundant accessories allows the price of the P130 to be lower.

You definitely want to use a high-power wall adapter to recharge the P130. If you use a standard USB hub or computer port, charging takes over a day.

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Ethan H.'s Profile

Display Name: Ethan H.

Date Joined: 12/30/03

  • Reviews: 56
  • Helpfulness: 32
  • First Review: 10/19/05
  • Last Review: 07/24/14
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