Date Joined: 10/18/07
Pros: Quick printing once warmed up
Actual paper tray (pops out, slides back in - not a "door")
Front manual feed (specialty papers)
Rear manual feed (envelopes, thin to medium cardstock)*
Integrated power cord
Cons: *Rear feeder didn't work with unit sent
WiFi cumbersome to set up
Takes longer than other printers to warm up
Envelope printing is extremely unintuitive
Overall Review: This was packaged much better than every other printer I've ordered, and was extremely easy to remove. WiFi setup was cumbersome, but this happened at the same time as setting up a new phone, so passwords were fresh in my mind.
Not having an option for wired LAN was a first in a while (there is only a single USB 2.0 type-B connector on the back, on the opposite side of the power cord) was actually a blessing, as I've had a printer connected with a LAN cable destroy the cable. Physically setting up the printer was easy as it's so lite - I was able to hold it with one hand while removing the plastic bag AND talk with someone at the same time. Software setup was simple after a second scan by the installer found the printer. Even if you download the software directly from Brother, an "update" will be needed to use the printer wirelessly.
The text quality is almost up to professional standards, but some playing around with the settings will be needed if print-quality photos are needed. It also seems to have issues with dithering solid colors to greyscale, but for ME that wasn't a deal-breaker. This is a great printer if all you need is something to print out text documents with or even large PDFs (without images more complex than wire-frames). Printing out sheet music, on the other hand, COULD prove to be an issue, as sheet music tends to be in image formats without costly software to store it as vectored PDFs. No amount of searching through the settings could make them as bold as printing them to a color inkjet.
Pros: Audible & haptic feedback, gaming mode, adjustable w/o software, substantial
Cons: Software never installed correctly
Overall Review: This is my first >$100 keyboard, and it's worth almost every dollar. The feel is better than my Cosair K70, and without the software I can set breathing & close to the color I want the LEDs. The build quality is solid & helps it feel substantial.
With a simple key combination it can switch to Gaming mode, highlighting the common keys needed for both online and FPS games. You can also change the brightness, color (basic), and mode of the LEDs right from the keyboard itself, but it has comparatively limited ability.
The only drawback/complaint is that the software isn't working at this time, keeping me from setting up the keyboard EXACTLY how I want. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who wants a high-end keyboard, and can deal without being able to program macros or fine tune the lighting.
Pros: Virtually instant data access
Less than 1w of power draw
Fast installs (if installer is run from another drive)
Steady copy FROM speeds
Cons: Some games load slower than from a HSSD
Write speeds can be up to 65MB/s slower than advertised
Didn't come with a "universal" mounting screw
Overall Review: Overall this is a great item. It gives a LOT of storage in the footprint of otherwise empty space on a mainboard (or unoccupied slot in a mobile device) and doesn't seem to suffer lag like their 2.5in cousins.
What confuses me is how ANY program can load slower from an SSD than a magnetic drive. It's only one game, but it's enough to make me wonder.
Works great when using to read from ISOs to rip videos, rip imaged audio discs, or write DVDs/BluRays to, but obviously 1TB is a limiting factor in using the drive this way.
The 65MB/s issue comes from long installs of over 20GB, and tend 2 to be when files need to be installed on both this drive AND the system drive. DiskMon indicates it's a long series of files of 4MB or less, and gets better as the disc has less capacity. I can't explain it, but that's what I've noticed.
If you need storage and SATA 6GB/s works for you, snag one of these. Need to replace a system drive - I'm afraid I can't offer an opinion. I didn't use it as one, and most likely wouldn't do so as I have NVME available with PCIe 3.0.
Pros: Clean lines
Amazing thumb screws holding side panels
Allows wide variety of CPU heatsinks (just not mine)
PSU intake filter
Decent cable management
Cons: No external 5.25in bays
PSU intake filter rear-accessed
Not all fan positions allow 140mm
Can't use 360mm/420mm radiators
Panel ports on right side
Only 1xUSB 3.1 & 1xUSB 2.0 panel connectors
HDD LED on side with connectors
Clear panel easily scratched if not careful (not an issue if one has never scratched a phone screen)
CPU power line tricky for MB sizes above mATX (can't thread through cutout)
Overall Review: This was the first modern case I've had the chance to build with & my first Corsair one. This certainly beats Rosewill & APEX. My first thought was not how it looked (as I selected it on aesthetics), but by how smooth the screw threads were. This was the first case I didn't have issues with.
The side panel isn't as engulfing as its popular now, but this is also a budget/entry-level case. The fact you can easily fit a 140mm tower heatsink (CPU bracket-mount allowing) adds to the value of the case.
Screws, drive trays, mounting screws, card retentioners, and side panels are all smooth and don't stick or thread wrong.
Now, the drawbacks...
Say goodbye to your optical drive(s). I know we're moving to Cloud distribution, but this is an inconvenience to those who buy our wntert on disc & create our digital copies.
You'll need to have it on your left to use the ports, press the power/reset buttons the first try, or see the HDD LED.
Speaking of ports, you have just one 3.x & one 2.0 port available to you. On the plus side, each port is full-speed.
My heatsink is a rather wide copper fan & I had to remove it to get the motherboard in the case (it's been on the CPU for four years - I didn't want to do it until I had a water cooler for it, but...).
Unless you go with all 120mm fans and/or a 120/240mm radiator, you'll need to mix & match. There's 120mm fans you can get here that push >100cfm (at <40dB), but the 140mm's have more LED options.
Need a budget case for a HTPC or internet box? This is your case (or the red or yellow one, your choice).
Migrating from a case without cable management? Yes, if you don't mind one cable having to be jimmied along the top.
Cheap gaming-build case? Well, no. It's not designed for it. That's why there's a dedicated gaming line.
High spike rating
Power condition selections (protection against poor mainline power)
Cons: Only four outlets connected to backup power
Computer interface cable proprietary (RJ45 to USB)
Difficult to integrate in cramped areas
Overall Review: This is exactly what I was looking for in a personal UPS. While I was unable to test how long this would last while adding my modem & router, it properly allowed me to save my work and Shutdown before running out of power. The automated Shutdown system available within the software isn't perfect, but I didn't lose any test documents.
Pros: Fastest WiFi connection I've had
Can attach to network up to 150ft from my house (125% improvement)
Can monitor device status virtually*
Low power useage
Works as Advertised/Marketed
Cons: *App has limited functionality in spite of options available
*App REQUIRED to set up and add nodes
*App gives effectively no feedback beyond "Node disconnected from MESH" and devices currently on the network
LED can be bright depending on location
Will likely take several attempts to set up each node - set aside 45mins/node
Must connect Parent Node via Ethernet (makes sense after talking with Lv3 Techs)
Overall Review: I'll start by saying that I WOULD recommend Velop to people, but only if they're technically-inclined. This takes patience and skill to properly get going.
My initial setup of these devices failed, as I was unable to "see" the WiFi password I entered, and it was bad. It took a second attempt to understand there was a conflict between my established WiFi (provided by a Buffalo DDWRT router) and naming the Velop network the same (hence why I wanted identical passwords). While it took three attempts to get the Parent Node set up, it took FOUR to get the Child Node set up. First attempt simply failed, second attempt required a reset as I entered the password wrong, and the third time it failed to see the Parent Node - even though it's just fine where it is now.
Each set up attempt required force-closing the app at least twice. I moved the Child Node to just 6ft under the Parent Node, and the app, after an hour, still had not found it. The Child Node currently has a solid red LED, but signal strength is 100% and I'm able to stream NetFlix at 1080p just fine. The App also shows it's on the network and functioning, so I don't know.
-1 Egg: Inability to use default "192.168.x.x" to set up Parent Node. WiFi SHOULD be disabled until set up, then use the App to Verify the user and Network. No WiFi during setup would eliminate the potential for WarDrivers to break into the network. "Hold Reset button until light is orange" or something like that could be used to add Child Nodes ("Input Reset Code from Parent Node to add this one to the Mesh")
-1 Egg: Unable to complete setup on ANY node with one try. The app is currently too unstable/buggy for casual consumers who simply want to plug in, follow the App instructions, and be on their way once the last Node is placed
# App was used on a Galaxy Note 4 running Android 6.0.1. There was no access to an iOS device
Easy multi-function power button/control nub
Power delivered via barrel connector
Rich colors (once adjusted)
Sharp, crisp, steady HD/QHD (2K)/4K video
Strong, steady base & stand
Audio out (via 3.5mm jack - not tested [I use a USB headset])
Software controls available for monitor settings adjustment
Cons: Power brick
Fine-tuning takes a few hours
4k @ 60Hz not supported over HDMI
FreeSync over DP only
Heavy (base and stand are about 5kg)
No video-in securement (like with D-Sub/DVI)
Overall Review: I'll start off with a disclaimer that my video card currently only has D-Sub (15-pin VGA for non-technical people - the blue connector), DVI-D, and HDMI, so I couldn't put this to the limits testing as I have other hardware I've reviewed (that's worked anyway). It's an XFX Radeon R7 240.
I made the mistake of trying to set the color and sharpness of this monitor to the one it replaced, which didn't seem too hard as the sister-monitor was still on my desk, relegated to Monitor-2 status. That was mistake one. After installing the software from the included DVD, I was able to set a base color profile in Windows and adjust monitor settings via LG's OnScreen Control program. I have color, black adjustment, gamma, and everything set properly, and even a screenshot that's 1920x1080 looks crisp at 4K (3840x2160).
Games that can run 2K (for me Final Fantasy XIII2 & Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns, Left 4 Dead) run mostly smooth and VERY detailed. It's a vast improvement over standard HD (1080p). So far with games that max out at 1080p like the Dead Space Trilogy run without ANY lag or tearing. There's an increase of detail even over my old HD 1080p monitor.
Video is AMAZING! For videos up to 1440p60 (2K), motion is smooth and the video is crisp. I've tried video at 4K, but a combination of poor streaming service and only 30Hz for 4K, it wasn't smooth and frames tore between the segments buffered.
Other than how bright the control nub is at night & how long it took to get the settings fine-tuned, I have nothing negative to say about this monitor. It's almost everything I want (I'd prefer a 21:10 aspect ratio, but I'm spoiled by only replacing my monitors from 2004 two years ago), but implemented much better than I had thought of. While I can't keep this set at 4K all the time (combination of non-20/20 vision and still using a secondary 1080p monitor), I'm happy to have this great device start my journey into 4K. While I may not want to delve back into LGs' mobile device world, I have no problem recommending this display to anyone looking for a gaming monitor (for the few people who would also have an ATI video card to make use of FreeSync).
Pros: Been mistaken for a Surface
Comes with a magnetic keyboard cover
Speakers are excellent (but underpowered)
Can take microSDXC to 128GB
Cons: Charging is wonky (won't keep trickle-charging when battery is full)
MicroUSB port is for charging (doesn't come with a MicroUSB wall charger)
WiFi has major issues changing networks
Static in speakers when CPU/Flash is tasked beyond 50%
microSD card is permanently stuck in Read-Only status
Originally listed as WiFi+3g
No way to turn off screen without cover
Power button does NOT act as a Screen Lock
Front camera only works 1/5 times
Overall Review: While I like this device, I DON'T like the fact the 32GB internal storage is 1) that low and 2) fixed. I cannot update the tablet beyond the version of Windows 10 Home that came with it (tagged 27-APR-2016). The amount of RAM is sufficient, but the CPU can handle 64-bit instructions (it could take 64-bit Windows/OS).
The fact there was a period of marketing where it was advertised as having 3g built into the WiFi chip. That was cleared up by iRulu. I was not happy with that.
The near-constant static from the speakers when I'm trying to play a movie/game/youtube page is almost ignorable, but it's still something that doesn't happen with my Android phone or tablet.
Cortana is difficult to use without a bluetooth device but it is possible. She's actually pretty accurate.
The cover's touchpad is VERY wonky. Half the time it thinks I'm swiping from the right, which brings up Notifications/Messages. Most of the time you'll want to use the screen to scroll as the touchpad can't seem to figure out when you lift up and touch a different part of it. It DOES have a dedicated "left click" and "right click" area, but again, wonky.
These are a fault of Windows, but it could be a deal-breaker for many people:
The Camera isn't designed for low-light. Unless you're in a brightly lit room (strong artificial or daytime), the image quality is VERY poor. The front camera shouldn't be relied on as it seems no one at Microsoft can figure out HOW to have two cameras in one machine, or WHY anyone would want to have two cameras.
There is absolutely NO WAY to make even a single file on the SD card NOT read-only. Clearing the attribute does nothing as it's put right back. My account is an Administrative account. This is an issue whether it's formatted as exFAT or NTFS.
The screen is going to be scratched HEAVILY no matter how you use the device. I haven't taken off the second layer of film, and I'm glad I haven't. It is scratched to the point that it looks like I've had the thing for years when it's off, and it's only been used for just a few days (my Drive Manager didn't get me home on time, but I got home IN time). Invest in the company's Glass protector. Actually, buy them two/three at a time. The screen is great and shouldn't be blemished.
- 1 egg
Originally stated WiFi + 3g. I can't see that as a simple "error"
- 1 egg
Even cheap 'disposable' phones have trickle-charging. This device should as well
- 1 egg
There should be a workaround to treat the SD card as a SSD. This way we can actually use it to store apps on it and not fight the "read-only" war every time we try to install a program or store a document on it. The camera issue is a SERIOUS oversight if we're going to use this for videoconferencing or video calls. Perhaps having them detected as two separate devices would help?
If you go through my review history, I don't normally 'slam' items, but this one is just so... disappointing. If my last egg could be addressed, I'd be able to recommend this product to others. As the device is now, I simply can't.
Easy to migrate
Tools are useful and easy to figure out
Overall Review: I am using this drive on a board with only SATA 3.0Gbs (SATA v2.0), and the tested speeds are exactly half of the listed (275MB/s read, 250MB/s write).
Quick-glance "is it working"
Six infrared LEDs for good 'night vision'
Standing, adhesive, or screw mounting - can even be installed overhead
Power adapter comes with extension cable
Cons: Extension cable introduces noise (high pitched) until disconnected
'Night' mode can 'stick' with strong, indirect light
Available software was unable to see camera
Articulation arm wonky - if you're not normally standing, it'll be a pain to position correctly
Firefox/Internet Explorer plugins only work fully when Fullscreen & locally connected (IP Address versus tplinkcloud.com)
Doesn't work with Chrome - this is a huge issue
Mobile app seems to only allow one device to be signed in at a time
Cannot change the user "admin" to anything else, just the admin password
Overall Review: From day one I have been speaking with TP-Link support. Emily has been a big help, but we were unable to fully resolve the issues I was having.
Initial setup required me to unplug my wireless adapter, plug my computer and the camera into a router without internet, and connect to the WiFi network that way. Once set up I could connect to the camera in Firefox & Internet Explorer (yes, I'm using IE in Windows 10), but not see video until I went fullscreen.
The mobile app was installed first on my phone (Android 5.x device), so i can always connect that way, but my tablet (Android 4.2.2 device) can only work in "Local" mode. I'm actually very happy with the mobile app, other than not being able to sign in with my tablet. There are times when the app refuses to load, but eventually I've had issues with EVERY app I've ever downloaded.
With beta software I was given during my Support Ticket, I can finally use the Camera Utility, but with no audio.
I can only recommend this device if you are interested in installing a system, and don't NEED this to work RELIABLY. I CAN recommend this for testing how and where to set other units up.
-1 Egg for inability to set WiFi access via WiFi
-1 Egg for both lack of Chrome support (which was not discussed in the Ticket) & inability to view camera via web. The issue is likely both x64 Windows and x64 versions of Internet Explorer & Firefox (issue has not been resolved - I stopped my claim when the Utility began working)
Pros: As fast as wired
Simple physical installation
Simple pysical connection
Cons: PITA software (required if you want more than defaults)
Passwords on devices themselves
Overall Review: Remember that these only work on the same electrical circuit - if your breaker won't turn off all the outlets you want to use, the PowerLine network won't work. For me this limited its use to the outlet opposite of my router, just three meters away.
The increased latency by using the powerline is offset by having the same upload/download speeds I have on my wired desktop.
I used the software to ensure I had the network setup correctly - it's now uninstalled as I'm not using the PowerLine network anymore. You will HAVE to install WinPcap to use the software. All I could find is that it's a service that monitors network packets. Even the vendor of this service (it becomes a service in Windows) doesn't directly (or indirectly) tell us what it's for. I have a firewall and router to monitor and direct packet data - I don't need a fourth/fifth-party doing that for me. Other notes on the software are that you MUST enter the existing password for a 'remote' device to change it. The only way to do this is to plug the device in to see the device. So that leaves you having to write down the password. It wasn't worth the hassle for me.
If you need the full speed of your network and willing to keep them all on once cicuit, this device will do. If you're looking to extend your network access across floors or rooms, this likely won't work.
Professional, easy to remove and unpack (other than one twist-tie that I had to rip off via pliers), and secure. Removing the control box took effort - a GOOD thing.
I normally wear earbuds with my phone, and have only been able to use headphones for a short time before I would get a headache or feel raw where the cups sit. Not with these. Two straight hours exploring the Ishimura or chasing Saren/Reapers and I barely notice them. The cups themselves rotate slightly within the housing frame, increasing comfort for those with "non-standard" heads (like me).
Crisp (when using noise-cancelling feature) and retractable, without the boom most others have. The physical design is very chic.
Configuration (this will be both a Pro and a Con):
Easy to do if you're a gamer or audiophile - if not, well... it might be a bit much for you. The options are plenty, and you can even change the distance for EACH speaker (to a point). The default Gaming profile is great (but not perfect) and the Music profile is excellent. Each Environment Profile is realistic and provides only the distortion for that environment (absolutely no echos for Plains, hardware driven precise echo/reverb for Garage and Quarry).
Ease of Use:
Rather than setting your speakers to a set volume and using keyboard or on-screen controls, set your system volume and use the dial. There IS a sticking point between 4-5/5-6 where the volume will jump, but I've only experienced it when going from YouTube to games.
I'm coming from just a normal 2-Channel audio experience, and I can tell the difference. My locating a sound's origin in games is MUCH better now, the few movies I've watched are MUCH more detailed than i originally thought, and music is both sharper and richer (because of the digital interface rather than analogue).
I have no idea how to implement such a modification, but it would be nice to have the top comfort band be adjustable. What makes me remember I'm wearing a headset is the extra 3cm of space between the pads on my head and the top of the headset's frame. NOT a dealbreaker.
Because it's always connected, the microphone stays on - even if you de-illuminate the microphone on the control box. You need to disable the mic in the Vendor-Only control software. Considering I'm using Win10, I'll take the program. Also, the rotating speakers is misleading - you can rotate the ENTIRE SET you're configured to, but not the individual speakers. Each speaker can be moved "closer" or "further" from you, but each set only goes in one direction. Then again, if you had an external speaker set you'd just rotate each speaker so all of them are facing you.
I don't mind the red LEDs on the sides and control box. It's actually nice as it lets me know they're plugged in and working. I'd just like the "Standard" issue to have a basic Red/Green/Blue option built in. Not a complex set like "256 colorspace" or "Fully Customizable 16M color combinations!"
Overall Review: Notice how I haven't knocked any eggs for the Cons. The Cons are not a dealbreaker nor something that most users can't work around.
Basic resolutions to common issues with this Headset:
The issue with the LEDs remaining on is Standby Power. If you can charge your phone/tablet/music player with your computer turned off, the LEDs will stay on. My first computer required a pair of dip-switches to do this, but most computers now have this as standard (all 4 computers in the house now provide Standby Power). If you unplug them, just remember to plug them into the same port or Windows (if that's your OS) will COMPLETELY REINSTALL the headset.
It took me three tries to figure out that the poor sound quality and having the headset just not work was my fault - I had them plugged into a port on a card reader/eSATA/3xUSB hub. DON'T DO THIS! Use a dedicated port either in the back or the front/top. Lucky for me I can use the back - I have a 14' extension cable. Constant use & I don't have to worry about the LEDs.
If you're experiencing an echo or distortion, make sure the system hasn't re-enabled the microphone. Just tap the side of the mic or snap your fingers near it - if it got turned back on, you'll hear it (one time I heard my phone ringing as an echo). Windows did this to me THREE TIMES before I figured out what was happening. Of course I also use a fan rather than A/C as much as possible, and some of the buffeting noise I hear is air pushing past the frame-cup joint. Disable the Mic from the G.Skill control panel - this sidesteps Windows (oddly).
Until something better comes out, this is the ONLY computer headset I'll ever recommend anyone buy. Now if I only had a way to test them on a Console or mobile device...
Pros: Standard size
Visible to Legacy BIOS (non-UEFI)
No tweaks needed for Windows or Ubuntu to use
Runs fairly cool
No stutter file transferring (conditional)
Cons: Still mechanical
Roughly half the speed of first-gen SSDs at load (single operation)
Binary capacity advertised - 4TB = 3.63TB when formatted exFAT
Overall Review: The drive was able to achieve almost 93MB/s when copying files from the drive it was replacing (WD Green - WD20EARS), but only for about 75 seconds. Then it maintained roughly 64~72MB/s.
Maybe with a UEFI BIOS (the kind in modern mainboards, where you can use your mouse and flash from within it) this could be a boot drive, but not with legacy. I even left just a single 640GB partition and moved it to the front of the drive, but Windows 10 wouldn't 'see' it as a potential install location (and yes, I spent about 4 hours changing it from a GPT disc to an MBR disc).
The hybrid drive IS an excellent concept, but I'm not seeing much of an improvement - partly because I can't use it as a system drive, I am seeing a MASSIVE improvement in loading games I have installed on it. Mass Effect loaded everything within 5 seconds, Start-menu, menu-to-save. The 8GB of SSD cache helps there, as playing for several hours a day has 'trained' it to load that data. Mass Effect 2 is a different story, but we can agree that ME1 to ME2 is, well, not describable in approved terms.
Excellent price, above average performance for a mechanical hard drive, and so far plenty of capacity for my current needs. For the time being though, I can only recommend this as a storage drive or a secondary to supplement a lower-capacity SSD.
Pros: Fully modular
High Power Output
Plenty of PCIe power connectors
Plenty of SATA connectors
Cons: CosairLink software won't work with Windows 10 AT ALL
Can't reuse 24-pin connector from HX Series (this is 18+8, HX Series is 16+8)
24-pin won't fully seat from either end without using excessive force
Default setting is Single-Rail - CosairLink Software is needed for "Multi-Rail" mode
Overall Review: I had intended to have this up MUCH earlier, but with a new job that requires classes and State licensing, it slipped my mind.
I understand this PSU is from a different line than the HX series, but being it's from the same manufacturer, all of their components should work with each other. It would make it MUCH easier for customers to upgrade or change their units without having to completely rewire their rigs.
The Windows 10 Preview has been out for several months now, and will be Retail the week of this review - the software should at least work in Compatibility Mode - Windows 7 by now. There is no other way for realtime monitoring of efficiency without it, and we cannot switch to Multi-Rail mode without it (should be the default - at this price point, there should be 6 12v rails). With 225w CPUs and a single GPU taking two 6+2-pin connectors, you can't trust a single rail to handle that draw.
Overall I'm happy with this PSU. It DEFINITELY gives enough for my needs right now, and I know it'll handle what my future plans are for my primary home rig. I'm just disappointed that I don't have full use of it from the time of install.
Cool LED bar - looks crispy with an open/transparent case
Overall Review: My current motherboard can't clock memory past 1600MHz, but at 1600 @ 13-11-11-12, it's stable and hasn't thrown any errors while running Ubuntu 14.04, Windows 8.1 Pro x64, Windows 10 Insider Preview x64, & Ubuntu 15.04. This memory also has been the only set to fully pass a round of MemTest86.
The LEDs on the sticks look great, even if I would prefer them to be green (they're white). I thought they would be gimmicky and lame, but I actually like how they look. If you're in the market for new memory, even DDR4, grab a set or two and plug them in - you'll be happy you did.
Pros: Integrated - device won't fall out or get loosened
Semi-Rigid - front cover won't fold
NFC works just fine
Front window doesn't interfere with back camera (can't tell there's an obstruction with the camera in pictures)
With Asus Cover enabled screen can automatically lock and unlock
Features in the window are pretty cool, especially Flashlight
Cons: Camera from Window doesn't work - you'll need to use the camera app like normal
Answering or rejecting calls from the Window doesn't work. For some reason it won't register your swipe left/right
The folio isn't magnetic, so it won't stay closed if you toss you phone onto the desk/bed/it isn't laying flat face-up
Window interferes with volume keys
Overall Review: ... but this folio kinda changes that. I don't really mind this folio, as I"m using it at the same time as I'm getting used to a new phone. It's better than I expected, but not good enough to make me a fanboy.
A magnetic closure would have made this much better, as I tend to just toss my phone around at home (the same way you'd toss your wallet on the table). I can live with the interference of the volume keys - I like being able to pick up my phone and NOT have the volume change. That's being replaced however with the screen being unlocked with the cover coming open.
Having to work with the case to get the camera going is a little bit of a pain, but no more so than any other phablet. The fact this folio has a window that almost EXACTLY the diameter of the volume keys and camera is a VERY smart move, and it wins points with me.
I'm going to keep using this folio, because there's times I just want to know the time, while others I want to swipe left for a quick weather check.
Excellent cameras (see "Other Thoughts")
No lag or stutter (even while attacking dense farms in Ingress)
Smooth interface (no comparison with TouchWiz, LG, and Motorola's UI)
Screenshots with Motion (see "Other Thoughts") or mapped to a key
Capacitive keys (only thing I was missing from my Galaxy S2 Skyrocket)
Universal System Software
Cons: Sunlight visibility - on par with a Galaxy S2
Gets warm easily
So far unable to map gesture controls
Motion Gesture can't be triggered intentionally (see "Other Thoughts")
Touch Gesture won't allow mapping at ALL
Unable to get PC Link software to work - and it's needed to copy over camera pictures/videos (but I'm trying on a Windows 10 Pro Preview machine)
Only a 2A charger will charge it (See "Other Thoughts")
Camera (see "Other Thoughts")
Capacitive buttons not backlit (you get used to them however)
Overall Review: Please note that even though SIM2 says "2G" you are limited to voice and text on it. You will not be able to send MMS or use data on SIM2. It's an annoying limitation but that's how the technology works.
The images and video, from what I can tell, are amazing, clear even beyond the focus point, and true renders of color. BUT, it takes a couple of seconds to process what the camera's captured. It's faster for internal storage, but you still can't rapid-take photos.
The primary Motion Gesture is "ShakeShake" for screenshots (which would be MUCH easier than mapping to the capacitive keys or Power+VolDwn). I got it to trigger three times in almost nine days. It triggered just fine in my pocket or while walking between portals with Ingress open.
The battery is VERY interesting. It works like normal, but the charging speed can vary WILDLY. 5v @ 2A works fine, but the included charger can go to 9v @ 2A. THAT'S how you get 60% in 40mins or 75% in an hour. The one external battery pack I have isn't enough to CHARGE this phablet, but it slows the drain by about 60%. Otherwise the ZenFone 2 will last you about five hours streaming radio over 4G while using a Bluetooth headset and playing Ingress 3.5/4 of those five hours.
Something to know if you're not already running Android 5.0 "Lollipop:"
Heads Up Notifications. They're a PITA! And I understand that it's Google's Lollipop, not Asus. But a ZenUI option to turn them off would be awesome. It's hard to maintain Zen when your game, video, or even GoToMeeting is disrupted with "Kimberly shared CatsAreFreakingAwesome!'s Picture."
So there are a few interesting things that this phablet have which are shoulder-shrugging, but may be serious. I'm not used to a laggy camera, so I'll switch back to Internal Storage and tweak a few settings. I'm not surprised with the battery, and it's not a deal-breaker. It's just a limitation of Lithium Ion technology. There's times when my LG tablet only slightly charges while I'm using it (30mins for 1%).
Would I go back to any of my other (4G) devices? Absolutely not!
Are any of the nags enough to upgrade when the next 'Big Thing' comes along? No.
Would I recommend this phablet to my friends, family, and coworkers? Hell yeah I would! I already am.
Pros: Plug & Play, Large dual antenna, compact, fast, incredible range
Cons: Linux (Ubuntu 14.04) can use the device, it won't attach to a network
Overall Review: I always try to use wireless devices without the included "Connection Software" that comes with it, and with both Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows 10 Preview 9684, this worked just fine with just plugging it in. My speed was about 70% of what my wired speed was, but that's to be expected with a USB 2.0 connection.
While it was simple to just plug in and use with Windows, I spent over two hours trying to signin to my home network with Ubuntu, to no avail. I could SEE networks (even networks that I normally don't see until I'm out of range of mine), and I could enter my credentials, but after authentication occurred, I was dumped from the network (much like how LG tablets or Motorola phones do about half the time).
Sadly, while the Technical Support was quick, it wasn't useful. The reply was, basically, we don't support Linux and this device may never see support for it. For those of us who are dual-booting operating systems, or need hardware that will work with Linux (any build), this is not the device for you.
If, however, you are looking for something to use with Windows that has a large range, THIS is a great device for you. No need to open your case or portable - just plug this in and you're back online.
Pros: Able to change default username for Device (after searching for the opting in Security)
Included Cat6 cable is of sufficient length (>10cm)
Able to clone Wi-Fi configuration if router/modem supports WPS (I've never gotten WPS to ever work)
Dual RJ-45 ports (for wired networking)
Cons: Must use TP-Link software to set up (no '192.168.1.1' and configuring from there)
Must download setup software from website
Software is Windows only (No Windows, can't setup this device - unless you have WPS)
Must physically connect the included Cat6 cable to setup (without WPS)
Does not extend Wi-Fi range (15% signal while pointing tablet at it from ~2m away)
Can only determine device isn't connected when webpages/media stream times out
Powercycling this device or the router it's copying requires reconfiguring the device. Same with a cable modem
Overall Review: It took me two hours and having to edit my /Boot to get this set up with my Windows 8.1 install. Every option change required a reboot of the gorram thing, and I had to restart once because, somehow, I changed too many settings at one time without a reboot.
It took a few minutes to find where to change the default username for the device (it was somewhere in "Security"), but it was nice to do that - last two extenders didn't allow for it.
I cannot recommend this product for any practical use:
You MUST have Windows to set this up if WPS isn't an option/doesn't work (which costs at LEAST another hundred bucks)
You must use software rather than configure directly - that would be at least half of the purchasers of this product
So far, this device does not preform any of its intended functions - there WAS mention of using this as a 'base station' for other PowerLine devices. However, this SHOULD act as a range extender in some fashion without them.
It cannot restore a lost connection, even if it remembers all of the configuration data it needs to copy/repeat a network.
Pros: Fully Modular (Even CPU and 20+4)
4+4 CPU and 20+4 Mainboard start connected - can't accidentally separate
Test button for fan, to test PSU before installation
Includes both a link cable (which I haven't ever seen that connection before) and a miniUSB to 2.0 header cable
No sound from the unit - even at the heaviest load I could throw at it
LOTS of room for expansion, and there are PLENTY of SATA/Molex power connectors in-box
Cables are flat 'ribbon' type. They're MUCH easier to use, but are less flexible (but OHHH so much thinner)
Software allows you to see real-time performance data of the unit, and a trend of peak and lowest consumption
Cons: Efficiency <90% at loads less than 200w
Modular connectors sometimes difficult to secure to PSU
PCIe and CPU cables look similar on both ends - may complicate installation
Overall Review: First system tested:
Phenom II x4 955 @ 3.61GHz
8GB DDR3 1333
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 (PCIe 6pin x2, 80w)
Phenom II x4 955 @ 3.61GHz
8GB DDR3 1333
XFX Radeon R7 240 (no power pins)
This is an AMAZING PSU that, finally, some with MORE cables than you need! It fully modular so installation is easy, unobstructed, and allows you to either use your cable management system, or plan power connections to get the least airflow obstruction you can. I only had trouble getting the PCIe connection to stay in place during initial installation.
Fan: The fan has yet to come on for me during use. The unit creeped toward 40°c, but it wasn't high enough to trip the thermal limit for the fan.
Efficiency: this unit started at about 91%, but that was with a video card that took two power pins, and drew 80w from the thing. Unless I'm encoding video or crunching data (BIONIC or reviewing blockchains), it stays below 90%. Which is FINE for even a Platinum-rated unit. I average a 19% load, and that's at 88.5% efficient.
There's a tab for "System" that allows for the customization of your layout, but of course it only has Corsair cases (which I don't have - budget builder). It's straight forward and intuitive.
One setting I was confused about (and happy to find) was 'Multi-Rail Mode.' The product information says this only has a single, 12-volt rail. That can be BAD for people running a high-wattage CPU AND a high-end video card. This was enabled by default, and have yet to experience forced shutdowns (unlike a 'JermalFake' unit I tried for my first multi-core build). This unit will run a system with Fan Controller (three fans), 8pin CPU, two HDDs, DVD-RW, and a two-pin PCIe video card just fine. Just remember to turn up your fans when transcoding video or playing an intense game to dissipate heat.
Choice in power connections (direct prongs or a cable)
Almost no settings to get wrong
LED indicator is demure and simple (constant blinking = something's wrong)
Devices can't distinguish from standard AP/Router
Cons: Minimal documentation (even on included media)
Inability to select more than the Network to join
No access to device after successful configuration
Ethernet Port not needed (since device has a wireless setup port)
Not powered to 1,000mw (maximum for a commercial wireless device)
Overall Review: I had a VERY difficult time figuring out from the documentation as to HOW to set this up. I followed the included instructions three times and still couldn't figure out if I had set the device up correctly. I ended up using the Wireless interface, then plugging the gorram thing in a room with almost no signal.
The device DOES work, but not as well as you'd think. Being half a meter away from the unit, my tablet STILL showed only 4/5 bars on the signal indicator. One would think being THAT close would be as strong as you could get.
Since you won't be able to regain access to the device, the only way you can discover if it's working is to set it up, then take it to an area where you have weak Wi-Fi signal. If that improves (wait for ten seconds after the LED stops flashing to check), it's configured properly. Otherwise you'll need to reset the device and do it AGAIN. And no, it's all Trial & Error...
Also, only change out the power plate IF YOU NEED TO. It's fairly easy to pop them off, but if you're not VERY careful sliding it back in, you WILL damage/break the connection. Then you'll have no choice other than using the cable.
On the plus side, if you're worried about the possibility of someone discovering your network (to crack into it) via this device? It won't happen. As far as any client is concerned, it doesn't exist. There just may be a pause when traversing that boundary between the central AP and the Extender.
Minus 1 egg for POOR documentation
Minus 1 egg for no settings after or confirmation as to correct setup
Pros: Easy Setup
Direct Settings (via easy to follow menu)
Comes with wall mount hardware
Included cable >6"
Cons: Took four tries to get DHCP working through router. Problem was not power-cycling the TWC modem.
Overall Review: Getting DD-WRT installed on a router can be a pain (or just not possible, as is the case with many TP-Link products). Seeing it installed by the FACTORY is definitely not just a plus, but a move in the right direction.
No glossy covering, no shrink wrap. Just a plain box with the device basics printed on it. Packed compactly and efficiently.
The feet took a minute or two to figure out, but went well afterward. The router stayed in place while I connected the Cat5s for the modem and desktop.
Setting up wireless:
This was fairly easy (and infinitely easier than the custom firmware used by most other routers). You'll see an unusual path (for non-power users of Windows/Android) and which antenna you're working on (2.4GHz/5GHz). You can also switch which wireless types (a/b/g/n/ac) each frequency will support (I have some devices that can ONLY use 2.4GHz, and the two that CAN use 5GHz lose signal when under the router downstairs).
Setting up Internet:
If you have TWC as your ISP, I would suggest that while you're setting up this router, keep the modem powered off. Definitely enable DHCP, and leave the other connection settings at default. This SHOULD work for most not-AT&T/not-Verizon customers. My issue was not following this advice and trying to go from my old router to this one without a restart.
So far, haven't had to power-cycle anything yet, and I have Wi-Fi signal everywhere in the house (2.4GHz - 5GHz won't even make it past the glass door 5 meters away on either side of the router). No hiccups on the wired connection, and if I didn't know any better, less "PC Activity" on the modem.
DEFINITELY worth the asking price.
Pros: Slim flash drive design
LED to indicate functionality (that isn't overly bright)
Lanyard compatible (not included with the unit)
Powered by the device being streamed to
Cons: VERY limited device support
Control/Connection app sadly lacking
Must create a playlist from within the app to stream content. It can't read system or app playlists.
Overall Review: I could not get this to function properly with three TVs (two Sharps (2010 & 2013) and a 2010 Vizio), a JVC boombox, or any 'Smart' cable box (Uverse 1200 & 1205, Cox/Comcast digital DVR settop).
At the price as of this review, I CAN'T recommend this product. I understand this is new, but, IMO, it should have stayed in beta testing just a little longer. The bCoda app SHOULD be able to read existing playlists and have them stream to the Media Stick for immediate enjoyment. As of now, you must create one from within the app.
If you have a BRAND new stereo or TV and you want to avoid having to figure out the differences between MHL and MyPort, along with whether or not it will work with your custom ROM, this MIGHT be worth a try (it costs the same as a solid MHL/MyPort unit).
bCoda, please try and work on the playlist issue. And providing wider playback device support.
Pros: Small, compact, and easily used through cases and folios.
File transfers are faster than copying/moving through the devices' storage itself.
Quickly transfers backup files (TWRP) - mine took less than five minutes.
Cons: Formatted capacity is an entire gigabyte less than a microSDHC card (28.9 v 29.8).
Fit was too tight for my Galaxy S2 Skyrocket.
Could not use in Recovery (TWRP or CWM), but that isn't a fault of the device.
Could EASILY get lost if not kept in a consistent location.
Lanyard is handy to keep the microUSB cap on, but not feasible to place on a keyring.
Overall Review: I was finally able to transfer my files from my Skyrocket to a single place without dropouts within Windows (when it would recognize the freaking phone), and share files between my Gpad v500 and Skyrocket without a computer.
I had hoped this could be used in Recovery, so I didn't have to have 2GB used at any given time should my firmware screw up. THIS IS NOT A FAULT OF THE DEVICE! It's an issue with the Recovery software, and is likely some kind of proprietary-royalty issue.
Definitely get this drive if you want a backup of your data from your OTG-capable device, or just move stuff without having to email it to yourself, send via bluetooth, or bother with trying to get a computer to do it (which will take longer - at least at my house).
This worked with a WinXP x64 machine, Win7 Ultimate x64, Galaxy S2 Skyrocket with both AT&T firmware (Android 4.1.2) & CM 10.1.3 (Android 4.2.2), and an LG G Pad with stock firmware (also 4.2.2). I did not need a cable for the mobile devices, and have a hard-shell case on the Skyrocket.
Pros: Fast: Little to no lag when opening apps, switching homescreens, or manipulating documents
Light: Lighter than my Nexus 7 2012 Edition. Actually, it's almost as light as my S2 Skyrocket
Bright: Strong backlight makes it easy to use and read no matter how small you have the text. Still difficult to read in direct sunlight
Sleek: Great-looking design looks chic without looking cheap or plastic. Aesthetic design was obviously a priority
Slim: In spite of packing more hardware and a larger screen than may other "middle-sized" tablets, this is about as thin as my phone
MicroSDXC: I only had a 16GB card to use, but the location not only makes sense, but is DEFINITELY a selling point for this device
Reliable bluetooth: Seems odd to have to mention this, but many other devices I've had (Nokia XpressMusic 5800, iPhone 3Gs, Skyrocket, PC connection) all have issues with maintaining a BT connection. With the G Pad 8.3, it's the device, not the tablet
EXTREME standby time: Left it on a few nights ago, and it only lost 2% of it's charge over 7 hours! Of course it could be that it doesn't have a cellular radio
Fast camera switching: Switching between the front and rear cameras is almost instant
Super WiFi: The Nexus 7 2012 didn't have 5GHz, but this does, and it outshines the Skyrocket! The Skyrocket would drop signal right about the time I got downstairs (or outside with the glass door closed, 4m away from router). The G Pad keeps about 3-4 bars of signal ANYWHERE in the townhome!
Cons: Lack of accessories: Fewer than 30 items designed SPECIFICALLY for this tablet. Even the folio I got doesn't quite fit right. Zagg still not supporting this tablet
No customization options: CyanogenMod does not have a ROM for this, nor does XDA have anything other than a root. Custom Recovery is available - but not guaranteed - for the AT&T-offered version
PolarisOffice: Comes with version 5. docx formatted files read as fully redacted. Doesn't support the OpenOffice format (*.odt). Could not create a spreadsheet on the device itself
Sometimes picky: I got a new wall charger for my birthday, which had an Apple-Certified port. Tablet soft-restarted the first time it was used. This problem has not happened since that only time, but it's something to keep in mind
Camera location: Not exactly a 'con' but the rear camera the potential to get HORRIBLY scratched, even with a case/folio. Unlike with Apple's tablets, there's no metal ring around the camera lens. Be mindful of where you set this down
Overall Review: I was supposed to get the black one, at least from the link I got, but meh. It's the same hardware.
I LOVE the aluminum back panel, but I got this at the same time we got an extended cold snap in San Diego. As a result I've jolted my self back to wakefulness by accidentally having it tap my leg. The white version has a brushed titanium blue back, giving a nice contrast.
The memory cleaner isn't the BEST, but it's faster than most PlayStore options, and usually keeps you at about 50% free.
I didn't list it, but the LG keyboard has a strong point in its favor, and one against it. You can extend the keyboard so the numbers are above the standard keys. With the large 16:10 HD screen, the space is there. It's nice to have them there and not have to hold 'Q' for '1' or 'Y' for '6.' The drawback is, like the WindowsPhone keyboard, at least half the time you.type.like.this. I ended up installing the Kii keyboard.
The only other thing to be mindful of is how to take screenshots and the power menu. There's an option to put the QuikMemo app on the soft-controls. This is, so far, the only method to take a screenshot. You need to press this button, then "Save to Gallery." It's better than having to hold the lock button or press the lock button and one of the volume keys at the same time. Then the power menu. To get there you need to hold the lock button for about 6-7 seconds. I've gotten used to Samsung and Asus products, so this was, and still is, a bit of a transition.
Overall, this is a great device, and while coming from Samsung and Asus products, it's nice to see and use devices from other companies. I would have said something about the KnockON feature in this review, but it's nothing major: Just tap twice while locked to bring up the lock screen, or twice in the notification bar to lock. I don't find this to be a useless feature, but I also don't see it as a greatly useful feature either.
If you're looking for a mid-sized tablet, want expanded storage, and don't care about having shelves and shelves of accessories or available ROMS, GET THIS! The default apps are mostly good, and if you find them lacking, just get others.