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Belkin WeMo F5Z0489 LED Lighting Starter Set, 2 WeMo Smart Light Bulbs & WeMo Link, Control Multiple WeMo Bulbs from Anywhere, Wi-Fi Enabled
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: This is the second smart hub lighting system I've used, the other one now being obsolete. The WeMo improves upon the older system by allowing you to locate the hub anywhere in your house - it is not hard-wired to your router, but rather connects to it wirelessly, which means you can, for instance, place it in the middle of your house, even if your router is on one end of the house. That gives you a better shot at controlling all your devices, and doesn't take up a port on your router.

I also love that you can individually program bulbs to turn on together but turn off at different times. This allows you, for instance, to have all lights come on at sunset, and then gradually turn off during the night. The other really neat features is the fade in/out. This just makes so much sense, and is made possible by the LED technology used in the bulbs. It looks so much better from outside when lights aren't flicking on and off suddenly.

Cons: Setup is awkward, to say the least. You have to connect to the WeMo hub through your phone, and that requires making changes to your phone's WiFi settings to allow it to connect to the WeMo hub as a router. Once you gain access to the hub, you program it through the phone to speak to your router. It's a slow, confusing process.

Things got worse when I changed my router. The WeMo hub was stuck looking for the old router, and would not allow me to reprogram it from my phone. It took me a while to figure out that you must go through the factory restore feature to allow the hub to again be reconnected to the network. What really threw me off is that the WeMo hub takes a long time (3-5 minutes) to show up as a network, meaning I basically gave up on it, thinking it wasn't working, only to find it had shown up as a network when I looked at my phone later on.

Other Thoughts: It's a shame these systems need to rely on smartphone WiFi to control them, given that it's really forcing a square peg into a round hole. Using WiFi as the communications method is really clunky. Perhaps Bluetooth would be a better alternative.

EVGA 04G-P4-2986-KR GeForce GTX 980 FTW ACX 2.0 4GB 256-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 SLI Support Video Card
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Upgraded an EVGA GTX 780 Ti to the 980 for gaming on a 4K HDTV. Very pleased with the performance. 17% boost overall OC'd to OC'd. The nice thing about the 980 is that it's much quieter, uses a lot less power, and works a whole lot better in my ITX HTPC due to lower heat (I had to watch the 780 Ti constantly to make sure it didn't overheat). Was concerned that an open-air cooler wouldn't be ideal, but this card runs so cool that it doesn't cause undue heat buildup in my 12-liter case.

Boosts to 1405MHz out of the box, tried it at 1505MHz (plus 7400MHz memory) and stopped my testing, but was entirely stable at that speed.

Cons: Fans spin up to maximum on cold boot, then drop down to zero RPM until a high load is reached. Confirmed with EVGA tech support that the high RPM boot is by design and cannot be changed. Slightly annoying for HTPC use or any system where you want quiet operation the entire time. As a side note, EVGA is always easy to get a hold of, and their techs are knowledgeable and polite.

Other Thoughts: I was able to get 4K, 60Hz, 4:4:4 output working perfectly on my 2014 Samsung HU8550 TV over HDMI 2.0, choosing the native resolution on the card and HDMI UHD color on the TV. Ran all tests to confirm that this is actually working. It's awesome!

Linksys E8350 AC2400 4X4 Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router, Optimal for HD Video Streaming and Lag-Free Gaming
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Fast, fast, fast. If you aren't getting high speeds with this router, you don't have the right client equipment. Paired with a dual-stream 802.11ac 867Mbps USB 3.0 adapter, I hit a downlink speed of 26.1MB/s and an uplink speed of 22.4 MB/s. Folks, if you think you could hit that with an older 802.11n router or even low-cost 802.11ac routers, think again.

Also, mounting a high-speed USB3 thumb drive via a wired connection provided high-speed throughput: downlink was 44.4MB/s and uplink 28.5MB/s. Yes, that's way, way faster than any directly-connected USB2 drive could achieve, and it's nearly "NAS-class" speed.

As an aside, I found 802.11n 2.4GHz speed to be out of this world, achieving between 7MB/s and 14MB/s. But you shouldn't be buying this router for use only with 2.4GHz clients, as most clients will be far too weak to take advantage of this. It's just a nice perk if you have a few older devices with robust 802.11n wireless capability.

Compared to the Linksys EA6900 router I have, 802.11ac routing was similarly-fast (limited no doubt by the lack of any clients capable of hitting the speeds of the E8350), but 2.4GHz routing was much faster, as was the mounted USB3 drive.

Cons: This router is big! At 10.25" x 7.5" x 2", it's definitely biggest router I've ever used. And that doesn't include the four antennas mounted around the edges!

Also, I was a bit surprised that the E8350's USB3 port doesn't allow drives to be mounted directly from within the Networking menu in Windows (which I did with its predecessor the EA6900). Instead, I had to run an app offered in the Direct Connect software on each of the PCs I wanted to have access to my USB3 drive. That is pretty inconvenient, to say the least, and I know it didn't have to be this way, since Linksys provided direct mounting on previous products.

And just a concern about the marketing of all the latest AC2400 products - there are no quad-stream 802.11ac 1733Mbps clients available, so the most you'll ever get unless you bridge two routers together is 802.11ac 1300Mbps, and even the triple-stream clients required for that are rare. Overall, the roll-out of clients is lagging WAY behind router technology at this point, so I question the value of moving to 1733Mbps at this point.

Other Thoughts: I'm pretty shocked at all the terrible reviews of this product, along with just about every 802.11ac router on the market. I think users often don't realize exactly what the benefits of new router technology is. The 802.11ac band wasn't designed to provide greater distance - in fact it trails off much faster than 802.11n. Instead, it provides ground-breaking speed, and the four antennas provide quad-stream operations (not longer range). In my tests, there's just no question that this router achieves 802.11ac-class speed.

By the way, people complain about the lack of a front-mounted status light, but what's ironic about that is that people also complained about the older EA6900 actually having a front-mounted status light. I guess Linksys just can't win here.


Ari A.'s Profile

Display Name: Ari A.

Date Joined: 04/23/06


  • Top 1000 Reviewer
  • 100 Reviews
  • Reviews: 110
  • Helpfulness: 58
  • First Review: 07/16/06
  • Last Review: 06/16/15
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