Near premium phone, below premium pricing5/24/2016 8:20:42 AM

Pros: This devices comes preinstalled with very little bloatware. Almost none. There's some pre-installed apps: RockMyRun, Yahoo Sports, Argus step counter/fitness app, etc. All of which can be uninstalled. Then there's the "Z-screen". Swipe up from the bottom center to see currently/last played music, your favorite contacts, Argus's steps taken, and recent news provided by Yahoo sports. You can configure this to be available from the main screen, from all screens, or from no screens. I disabled this after a week or two and haven't missed it. The phone comes with a nice pair of JBL earbuds. Which is good, because you will need them in order to use the phone for talking. See my negative below. The rear camera is very nice. I'm not going to compare it to any professional cameras, but it takes very good pictures in adequate light or daylight. It is average in low light. One much touted feature of this phone is the dual camera sensors in the back. One prime capability of the second sensor is to take pictures with bokeh, you change the focal point and different parts of the picture blur. It's ok, but not something I found myself using after I finished testing it. The processor in this device is up to the task, performing well in all but the biggest (and probably least efficiently written) apps. This is likely because of the 2GB RAM. Again, not a problem in the vast majority of my usage. And I only have had the device hang two or three times and crash just once.

Cons: My biggest complaint is when using this device as a phone. I know, something fewer and fewer people seem to do. ZTE has decided to make triangles the theme of this device. The bottom of the phone has a grill of triangles, behind which is the phone's voice receiver. The top has a matching grill of triangles. Somewhere behind it is the phone's earpiece. When I talk on the phone I have a really hard time lining up the earpiece with my ear. Often I start out fine, but then if I shift even the slightest the sound gets muffled. Getting it lined back up and holding it there has proven to be a challenge. Maybe it's just me. But if I'm making a call I will always grab those JBL headphones mentioned above and use them. If I receive a call I cross my fingers and hope it's short, or grin and bear it, and often eventually ask the caller to hold so I can grab my headphones. There's no storage memory expansion on this device. Many in a similar range have the capability, but not all do. Still, if it's important to you you'll want to look elsewhere. The notification on the lock screen is a little annoying. It only shows the most recent notification. Under that it shows how many other notifications you have, but you have to double tap that notification to see all notifications. Why??? The back & apps "buttons" are pretty small. I often miss the back button. And a minor complaint: the charging port is on the bottom. It's a personal preference, but I prefer it on the top. It comes with Android Lollipop, and although there are old promises on the web that it will be upgraded we're approaching June 2016 with no sign of progress on that front.

Overall Review: This device is the version with 2GB RAM. The "Pro" model has 4GB. I found 2GB to be plenty adequate but when comparing to other devices it's important to note the distinction. I would definitely recommend this phone to someone looking for an Android device in this price range. So don’t misinterpret the rest of my comments. With that out of the way: Honestly, I have had a mixed relationship with this device. It's almost all been good - and the bad I cannot really hold against the phone. I blame Google for 95% of my frustrations. I placed this discussion here in my concluding comments under Other Thoughts on purpose. I'm not listing this as a negative and not holding these against the device because I don't believe they're the fault of the manufacturer - although I'm not always 100% certain. In some cases when I've raised these concerns to Android friends, they've said I was using it wrong. However, when I gave them the device they had to agree they couldn't find a way to get over whatever hurdle I was currently facing. Many of them use premium Android phones where the manufacturer has sunk a lot of money into making their own apps. Two specific examples: First, putting this phone into complete silent mode is impossible, or just shy of impossible. Even getting it to stop vibrating is extremely frustrating. Some of it is the fault of individual apps. Some is Android. I turned down all 4 (yes 4!) volume rockers and the phone vibrates for just about everything. Even though I've turned off vibrate in settings and for each apps' notifications settings, there are some apps that still cause the device to vibrate. And the phone will go into vibrate mode when you turn the volume down all the way - again, even though I turned off vibrate in settings!?! If you turn the volume all the way down, and then turn it down one more time, the ringer will go silent and not vibrate, but not all apps honor this. There are people on the web who will tell you the phone has a silent mode, but it's many steps long and you need to schedule it in advance. Ok (I guess) for sleeping, but not great when, for example, you walk into a movie and want to quickly get it to silent without remembering all of the settings and steps. I end up turning off my phone, which I really prefer not to do. Second example is with the stock texting/messaging app: If more than two people are in a text/MMS message - there is no way to see all of the people who are on the message. I asked multiple Android users to prove me wrong and they couldn't. In this case I'm not positive if this fault lays with Android or ZTE. All phones I've compared to do not have this problem, but they also had their own specially branded messaging app created by the phone manufacturer. I know there are plenty of options out there in the google play store (and yes I'm begrudgingly using one now). But I really feel for basic phone functionality I shouldn't have to dig through 100s of available apps and try to determine which actually work vs which are junk, and then decipher which have the least amount of intrusive ads and the least risk of stealing my personal info. This is my first experience with Android Lollipop and it has not been good. There's a lot of Android apologists out there who gloss over the issues I've run into. Thankfully there's also plenty of people to help get through the pains. If you've used Android and like it then you can take all of this with a grain of salt and know that you'll be fine. Personally, I find both iOS and Windows Phone to be a more enjoyable experience.

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Capable little tablet, with a better-than-nothing keyboard4/22/2016 12:52:13 PM

Pros: This is a mid-sized tablet with detachable and tiltable keyboard. I find the tablet to be very comfortable to hold, although it does have a little heft to it. This is not the nicest keyboard you'll use (see cons), but at the current price point it's a good addition - one I wouldn't normally expect. The Intel Atom processor is powerful enough for day-to-day, light duty work. This device comes with 32GB memory, but it is also expandable up to 128 GB more via the microSD card slot. The display is 1280 x 800 IPS, which provide very good viewing angles, and multi-touch enabled. For work around the house (i.e. inside) it gets the job done. It has a full sized USB port, and a microUSB slot. And they threw in a mini HDMI port for connecting to another mointor/TV. A standard headphone jack, WiFi b/g/n (2.4GHz only) and Bluetooth 4.0 round out the package. The keyboard also has a full sized USB port. This is the first tablet I've used with Windows 10 installed, and I found that Windows 10 on a device of this size is a great combination. You can configure Windows to switch between tablet mode and desktop mode every time you dock / undock the tablet on the keyboard. Or you can set it to one mode and leave it, or let it ask you every time you dock / undock. The tablet comes with a screen protector already on it. See 'other thoughts' below.

Cons: The display can't be used on a sunny day outside. The device is powered via a standard 5V power adapter. This is not a bigg issue, but I would prefer to see devices like this charge via USB. We should be able to use the same cable to charge our phones and our tablets. The cameras are pretty low quality. I wouldn't expect anything stellar in this price range. Battery life is not very long, even on standby. Sometimes when I bring it out of standby it's not connected to WiFi. Easy to fix - tap the Windows notifications bubble - tap the Wifi. Not a big deal, but annoying when I'm in a hurry. That brings me to the keyboard. Oh the keyboard. It's nice to have a keyboard. And you can tilt the 'monitor' from closed to 145 degrees. Or so says their marketing information. I don't think it goes back quite that far, which is too bad. I always find myself trying to push it a little further than it will go. And the hinge has a little too much flex to it, I'm not confident it will take a lot of force, even that from trying to open it too far. The keyboard itself is nice to have when you need it, for short use. And I like that it folds up so the screen is tucked neatly away. But the keys are very small. It's not comfortable for extended use. My hands are cramped together when typing on it. The caps lock and left shift on the other hand are very large and I often hit them by mistake. I find the touchpad & mouse to be a little annoying. However, this is a touch enabled device & thankfully most of the apps/software I tested is easily used by reaching up and touching the screen. My hands accidentally brush the touchpad most of the time I'm typing. Fortunately, they thought enough to include a dedicated key on the keyboard that disables the touchpad. I always keep it disabled.

Overall Review: This devices reminds me of a netbook, except it's a convertible tablet with decent processing chops under the hood. I enjoyed using this more than I thought I would. No one's going to mistake it for a premium device - especially with all the stickers and logos and other information printed on the back. Still, it's got plenty of ports, a nice screen, decent weight, and a keyboard for when you really need one. All in all, a fairly decent package. One things I want to call out - the tablet ships with a screen protector on it. As far as I can tell, this isn't noted anywhere. I almost took off another egg or two because I thought there was a defect in the manufacturing process. On the device I received, there was a spec under the screen protector that looked like something had gotten into the screen's film during manufacturing. There was a bubble and a tiny brown spec on the screen. It was very distracting and very obnoxious. I was pretty relieved when I discovered that it was a screen protector and was glad to remove it and the spec.

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Simple to use; Clear image; Maybe not for Fort Knox1/30/2016 6:40:31 PM

Pros: Let's start with the superficial: it's a nice looking device. Not that it necessarily blends in, but it doesn't draw a lot of attention either. This device is ready for the outdoors. With an IP65 rated casing it can handle anything but the extremes (and maybe even some of those) of dust, rain, hot and cold temperatures. It was very easy to setup - you don't have to connect the Ethernet cord. I connected the wireless antennae, plugged in the device, pushed WPS on the camera, then pushed WPS on my router (for security reasons I turn WPS off when I don't need it), and everything just worked. I love it when the things that should be easy actually are easy. From there I download a program from dlink's website, as instructed in the materials that came with the camera. This program found my device and walked me through setting it up. Viewing the camera feed from dlink's website requires a browser plugin. I try not to overload my system with plugins but this seemed reasonable. At this point new firmware was detected and I allowed the update to be applied bringing me to version 1.07.00. All of this without ever plugging in an ether net cable. This camera is feature rich. It's got day and night time vision. The day vision is great, showing up to 720p. The night vision isn't stellar but it's acceptable especially up to about 20 feet. You can setup motion detection and notification, schedule when it's active, choose whether to save notifications to a local SD card (not provided), email images, record video, store on a network drive. You can setup privacy masks, for if you want to share the camera feed with others but don't want everything to be visible I suppose. It supports Dynamic DNS, HTTPS, IP access lists, and SNMP. And Dlink has apps you can use for iPhone, Android, and even Windows Phone. I really appreciate the addition of Windows Phone apps as I typically use one as my primary device. The app may not be as feature rich (I saw a complaint about an iPhone feature not working that is not in the WP app), but the fact that WP is supported and that I can open the app to see what the camera sees is a huge win in my book. I don't need admin features in the app, I can do that from a web site.

Cons: The day after I setup this camera I left town for 5 days. The second day, the connection was lost to the camera and it never came back. I haven't had that problem since, though I have had intermittent outages. So I can't really say if it's the camera's fault, or maybe something that happened at my router or even with my ISP. I setup the motion notifications and it worked well during the day, but at night it sent me constant motion detection notifications. It has a sensitivity setting and you can select certain areas to be excluded from the monitoring, but I never quite got it to work the way I wanted it to.

Overall Review: Given the two cons I had, I might be hesitant to use this device as my primary security device in a remote area (or some place a don't visit on a semi-regular basis). Other than that it's a great little day/night IP camera with an IP65 outdoor raging. What's not to like.

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Fun & Functional Mechanical Keyboard12/22/2015 1:39:21 PM

Pros: There is much to like about this Cherry MX Brown mechanical keyboard. First the obvious, the cherry mx brown switches. These things are extremely responsive, and the satisfying click of the keys is music to my ears. I wouldn't call them overly loud (depending on how hard you hammer the keys), but if you're looking for a silent keyboard this isn't the keyboard for you. There are 6 programmable macro keys. And you can store 3 different sets of macro settings in the keyboard. It's like those fancy cars that store his & hers seat and steering wheel positions. Only in this case, they're all for you. Set one for work, or all 3 for 3 different games. It's up to you. The keyboard comes with 10 extra keys, all red, including a raised A, W, and D key. They help find the keys quickly when gaming. But I've found I enjoy keeping at least the A key on the board all the time, it helps me find the edge of the letter keys when working/typing. Then there's all the little things like the braided cable containing 2 USB plugs, and 2 3.5 mm plugs (for mic and speaker inputs/outputs). This allows you to connect directly to the back of the keyboard 1 USB device, a speaker, and a mic line - opening the door to many cable management scenarios, whatever works best for you. Then there's the bar in the back and the case for the extra keys (more on those in a moment) which fit together to provide a convenient and out of the way storage space for that box. There's 3 levels of backlighting which I appreciate. Media keys, which are expected at this level, but the volume roller is nice.

Cons: My biggest complaint is with the wrist rest. It's symmetrical and it looks nice. However, it is not usable because it doesn't extend at the same depth across the entire span of the keyboard. There's a cut out in the middle. If you're gaming with just AWSD and the keypad, then you're fine. But when you're typing your wrists will be in different places, one on the rest and one not. My right hand sits lower than my left because of the cutout. Part of my wrist inevitably ends up on the table which ends up flaring some carpal tunnel issues. It's really too bad. It's an otherwise comfortable rest, but the cutout is a huge ergonomic problem.

Overall Review: I took off one egg for the wrist rest. I probably would have given it 4.5 eggs if that was an option. This keyboard can be loud, but it's a mechanical keyboard. It's a personal preference, but I expect, and enjoy, that aspect of it. I really hope they spend some time on the ergonomics, and specifically the wrist rest, for their next iteration. There seems to be some confusion about the LED colors - this model has red LEDS; there is another that allows programming of multiple colors. The keyboard backlight has three levels. Personally, I don't find it well balanced. I keep it set on the middle level most of the time.

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Manufacturer Response:
. Dear Customer Thank you for the detailed review about this product. There are many awesome features with this gaming keyboard designed specifically so each user can customize it to their desired settings and needs. We are sorry to hear the wrist rest is not comfortable for you. We appreciate the feedback and will note it for future designs. With regards to lighting, the KM780 MX has red lights only while the RGB model is capable of a full range of colors. We will continue to upgrade the software so you will find revisions to enhance features and with new capabilities in the future. Keep an eye out on the official G.Skill Download page for information. For any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us directly. Thank you GSKILL SUPPORT Quality and customer service are our top priorities. Tech Support Email: RMA Dept Email: G.Skill Forum:
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Fast SSD, Easy System Mirroring7/22/2015 10:52:25 AM

Pros: SATA III / SATA 6 Gbps, 32 MB cache Backed by 3 year warranty The drive comes with a mounting bracket & screws necessary to place into a 3.5" drive bay. The supplied Acronis software key makes it easy to mirror your current system onto the SSD so that you can then swap the SSD in as your boot/primary drive. The drive is quiet. This drive is fast. Others have reported their read/write speeds and they're all in a similar ball park. So I did some additional testing as an external hard drive. Tested firmware version 1.0. This was going through an external dock over USB 3 into a SATA II board. The speed was around 156 MB/s read / 122 MB/s write (for sequential and 512k read/writes). This is not lightning fast and does not appear to be very fast at all, however given the bottlenecks (the external controller, the PCIe and SATA II limitations), this is a decent speed. As I said, see the other reviews to get an idea of expected speeds in normal operating conditions, for example if you are going to be connecting directly to your motherboard or placing into your laptop.

Cons: The Acronis software that you need is hidden on OCZ's website. They key comes with the SSD. However, they make you hunt around to find a link to download the software. I ran into problems trying to upgrade the firmware to version 1.1. I think this may be because I was trying to update the firmware while the SSD was connected through an external dock. However, I could be wrong. The error message was less than helpful ("Update Failed"), and there is no documentation or help to aid in troubleshooting.

Overall Review: It's a nice drive, it runs well, it's fast if you have and can take advantage of SATA III. OCZ needs to put a little more attention into making things easier for the consumer (see my comments above about updating the firmware and trying to find the Acronis imaging software). However, this is a very capable drive.

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Working Cable Modem4/21/2015 6:55:27 AM

Pros: -DOCSIS 3.0 -Compatible with Comcast, Time Warner, Charter, Cox, Cablevision, and more. Easy installation. Unhooked my old modem, hooked this one up, waited 15 minutes, called my internet provider and gave them the model # and MAC address. 15 minutes later I had internet access. Speeds were on par with the speeds of the modem I replaced. (NOTE: I'm currently on one of the slower/cheaper internet plans.)

Cons: None.

Overall Review: There's not a whole lot to say about this device. It's a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem which means you should get all the benefit of DOCSIS 3.0 without having to pay your provider their monthly rental fee. I note there are a number of comments about devices dying. I had no problems in the short time I used this. If you're looking for a modern DOCSIS 3.0 modem I see no reason not to consider this. Just keep in mind it's a modem only, most of you will still need/want a wireless router to plug into this - though you likely already have a separate modem and router.

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Fast Router, Hate the Guest Network Authentication4/21/2015 5:21:41 AM

Pros: -Gigabit LAN -Beamforming technology -Up to N600 + AC1300 Simultaneous Dual Band -3 Internal and 3 adjustable external antennas -USB 3.0 + USB 2.0 -Dual Core 800 MHz processor Performance of the router was very good. In a file transfer test of 3.6GBs of hundreds of varying sized files it performed consistently well across 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. It beat out all of the previous generation routers that I have tested on 2.4 GHz, and most on 5 GHz. This router worked fine during the time I tested it. That is, it never hung up, I never had to reset the router. It just worked. I haven't been able to say the same for some competing products. The device is stylish if you like antennas. The silver band down the middle get a little warm to the touch, but sitting in the basement at 55F it never gets hot. Since it is wide and flat it requires a larger footprint than other 'tower' style devices. However, it is mountable. Linksys has made improvements to the settings/configuration options since I tested their EA6500. Or maybe they've just made more options available on this model. For example, you can now turn on a guest network on either the 2.4 GHz band or the 5 GHz band, or both. You can also specify the name and passwords, although not using the wizard.

Cons: One thing I really don't like about the guest network is Linksys's insistence on forcing people to a browser window to type in the password. It's annoying. And the access is Open, anyone can connect to it and then when they open a browser they get taken to a webpage where they type in the password. I personally hate this kind of security. Always have. Especially with modern devices it just doesn't work well.

Overall Review: I saw somewhere in a professional review a comment that the device didn't have a power switch. Mine does so I don't know if they made a mistake or there's been a revision. I always appreciate a physical power switch on routers. I read around the net that the EA6900 supports 600 Mbps over 2.4 GHz - but that this is done by increased QAM with supported wireless clients. Meaning only Broadcom wireless adaptors will work at this speed. One touted feature is cloud configuration - "Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Account". I see arguments at times about helping parents / friends by being able to manage their router remotely. Personally I think if you have that many problems you need a new router. And it seems like most of the time I need to help someone with their network it's because there's no access at all. But perhaps it's worth it to you for the occasional instance when you need it. Or maybe if you're running an FTP server. On their EA6500 Linksys promoted something called tap to connect, an NFC feature. I was not a fan for this and saw little benefit. I'm not surprised or sorry to see they dropped it for this model.

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Decent Extender for Hard to Reach Spots2/9/2015 11:19:55 AM

Pros: Basic configuration is a breeze. If you just want to extend a 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz network the wizard is fine. Advanced options give some nice flexibility. I already get decent coverage in a small/medium two story house with a wireless router in the basement. However, due to the old construction, brick, stuff in all the walls, etc., I get poor reception outside of my house even immediately outside my door. However, with this device configured and then plugged in near the back of my house on the first floor or second floor I get good coverage in the back corner of my yard, roughly 50 feet away. I'd have tested further, but the neighbors don't like me climbing their fence and lurking in their yard. When you plug this into a wall outlet the second outlet is still open for use. *Unless you plug an ethernet cable into the device. Opinions on style will differ but I give TP-Link credit for at least not making an ugly black box.

Cons: When using the wizard to configure only one network (in this case, 2.4GHz but not 5GHz) some of the behavior was unexpected. If you use the wizard and choose a 2.4GHz network to extend, but choose not to connect to a 5GHz network, then the device still creates a 5GHz network that is the same name as the 2.4 GHz network but appends "_5G" to the name. Even if you changed how you want the extended 2.4 GHz network to be named, it uses the original + "_5G". I can't think of any situation where this would be the expected or even desired outcome. Plugging an ethernet cable into the device makes your second power outlet unusable.

Overall Review: I highly recommend changing the default admin username and password. Also, it's worthwhile to at least look at some of the advanced options. But if they give you a headache, if it's not your cup of tea, stop looking and don't change anything. I didn't test setup via WPS. WPS has security issues, so I turn it off on all my routers. If you only want to extend one network, use the non-wizard settings. You can set the device for "high speed" or single-band mode. Basically, this will allow you to connect the device to one of your Wi-Fi's networks on one band (either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz), and offer up a network on the other band. For example, you can connect to a 5 GHz network broadcast by your router, and set this device to broadcast a 2.4 GHz network. Devices will connect to that 2.4 GHz network, and this device will connect back to your router over the 5 GHz band. This is the setup that was ideal for me, as I still have devices that can't use 5 GHz. And it allows the device to operate at faster speeds because each band has its own CPU and in High-Speed (Single Band) mode both CPUs are used for single band communication. The documentation claims this operates twice as fast as Dual Band mode. Note this this device is an extender. As such it will not be able to match performance when connected directly to your router and is therefore best suited for use in places where you would not otherwise be able to make a reliable connection to your router's network. For this reason, I'd recommend changing the broadcast name from this device - that way you can control which network your devices connect to. You won't have a seamless transition if, for example, you move outside the range of your router but are still in range of this device. So for some that may not be ideal. But for me that's a small issue compared to being able to control whether I connect to the router or the extender. Here's the manufacturer's explanation about why the device's transmission speed is decreased, even though the signal is stronger: "In compliance with the wireless transmission protocol, all the Range Extender devices are set to work in half-duplex instead of full-duplex mode. In other words, the Range Extender has to process one-way communication between your root Wireless Router or AP and the terminal clients; so the transmission time will be double-increased, while the speed will be decreased. TP-LINK recommends that you connect to the Range Extender when your home network connection is poor, or when you want a larger wireless coverage to eliminate 'dead zones'."

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Small, Sleek, Speedy10/24/2014 2:18:54 PM

Pros: This is a very small drive. It's sleek looking, if you like the aluminum chassis. It's USB 3.0 and benchmarked faster than the last couple external drives I've tested. Testing on USB 2.0 it was only marginally faster than other drives I've tested. It's extremely portable - small and very light. And it's powered by the USB cable. It's an external hard drive, so as long as it works there's not a lot of things that can really be said. But this gets high marks in my book for its portability and relative speed. Tested using Crystal Disk Mark v 3.0.2 Here's my USB3 results: Sequential Read : 114.686 MB/s Sequential Write : 114.174 MB/s Random Read 512KB : 44.781 MB/s Random Write 512KB : 61.231 MB/s Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 0.564 MB/s [ 137.7 IOPS] Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 1.427 MB/s [ 348.4 IOPS] Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 0.606 MB/s [ 147.9 IOPS] Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 1.446 MB/s [ 352.9 IOPS] And the USB 2.0 results: Sequential Read : 36.316 MB/s Sequential Write : 34.806 MB/s Random Read 512KB : 22.704 MB/s Random Write 512KB : 28.919 MB/s Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 0.539 MB/s [ 131.6 IOPS] Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 1.374 MB/s [ 335.5 IOPS] Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 0.533 MB/s [ 130.1 IOPS] Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 1.389 MB/s [ 339.1 IOPS]

Cons: The drive is 5400 RPMs. The cable is short, around a foot and a half, maybe less. Neither of these are big issues to me. While it was a real pain plugging in the back of my desktop, this drive is built for portability So it's most likely to be used with my laptop or tablet.

Overall Review: If you need 1TB in your pocket, this may be the drive for you. It's about twice as thick as my phone and a little wider, but not as long. It could easily replace a couple of USB thumb drives while requiring only slightly more space. As a 5400 rpm, it sacrifices some speed. But it should be priced accordingly and in return provides an extremely compact and classy package, high in reliability while still benefiting from a fast USB 3 connection.

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Good sound, comfortable, easy to untangle8/18/2014 5:03:14 PM

Pros: These produce great sound. I don't want to oversell this, as you can surely get better sound from more expensive over-ear headphones, but for its price range it is as at least as good as some of the expensive in-ear competitors and better than what comes with most phones. They are also very comfortable. As is expected with any mid-to-high end headset, these come with 3 different sized ear pieces so you can find the one that fits you best. I found the headset to be very comfortable for long listening sessions. The microphone also worked very well. I took numerous phone calls using the headset and didn't receive any complaints that I couldn't be heard and was not asked to repeat myself. I cannot agree with the 'no tangly mess' claim. However, this is by far the easiest headset to untangle that I've used. The number of tangles are few, and knots are virtually non-occurrences.

Cons: The headset comes with a mute button for the microphone on the cord, and that's it. If a skip ahead/back button is a must-have then you'll need to look elsewhere.

Overall Review: The addition of a carrying case is a nice touch. And, even though I find fault with the 'no tangly mess' claim, I found that when using the case the already low number of tangles were further reduced. These quickly became my daily headphones.

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Beautiful Display, Excellent Size7/21/2014 9:39:04 AM

Pros: This is a very lightweight and thin monitor. (See the spec for exact measurements.) The IPS panel is absolutely gorgeous. It comes with 2 HDMI cables. The screen size and DPI is perfect for multi-tasking. I kept the resolution at 3440x1440 and this worked great for placing two documents next to each other. I'm used to working with two 24" Dell monitors. They are nice, sharp monitors, but as soon as I placed this LG next to them I noticed a difference. Even after adjusting settings on all of the monitors (e.g. out of the box the blues on the LG were a little too pronounced). The colors on this LG just pop, they appear to be more accurate, whites are whiter, it simply delivers a crisp, clean image. For the professionals or perfectionists out there, it can be calibrated using compatible equipment. I don't own any such equipment, if this is a concern for you I recommend finding a professional review. As mentioned, my normal work environment is two 24" monitors sitting next to each other. Combined they are slightly larger than this LG, however the LG could easily be a replacement for the two. Or even better, I've been keeping one of them connected for those occasions where it's handy to have a third monitor. (You can never have too many readable screens, right?). I've found that the LG's screen size and resolution is great for putting two documents, or a web site and a document, etc…. next to each other. Each takes half the screen, and half the screen is the right size to have two READABLE documents side-by-side. On some monitors when putting two documents on the screen you sacrifice on the width and end up scrolling back and forth, or you have to zoom out and end up squinting at the document. Not so with this LG. It quickly became part of my normal working process.

Cons: I had some initial trouble with the stand. When first attached, it turned out the screws went in at an odd angle. I tried to stand up the monitor and the screws popped out. A scary experience but because I didn't trust those two little screws I still had my hands under the monitor so it did not fall. I re-adjusted the stand using the lower set of holes (there's only two options for attaching the stand, and height-wise they're not much more than an inch apart) and have not had a problem with it. The stand itself can be tipped slightly, up and down. It's not height adjustable, nor can you rotate the screen left or right. A screen of this length would require a lot of space to rotate so it's not likely something that'd be done very often. In general, if you'll want to adjust the height or angle you're better off putting this on a VESA mount.

Overall Review: The power supply is an external brick. This shouldn't be much of a surprise as thin monitors like this often move the power supply out of the unit to cut down on components, heat generated (and thus more components needed), etc. I didn't notice any backlight bleed on my unit. LG has a software utility called Screen Split. I found this works fine but for me it is unnecessary. It allows you to divide the screen up into almost as many different areas as you want. For example, divide in half, in vertical thirds, in a grid of 4, in grid of 3 'cells' (left side is one, right side is split into 2; top is one, bottom is split into 2, etc.), etc. You can then drag a program into one of the 'cells' and the monitor will size the application to take up that 'cell'. It's a neat feature for a monitor this size and if you want to cut the screen into a 2x2 grid (or whatever you fancy), then it's nice to have. However, in practice I used either the whole screen or just cut in half vertically down the middle. Since Windows already allows you to snap applications to the left or right side of the screen (click an application then drag it to one side with the mouse, or on the keyboard click the Windows key + left or right arrow), I found I didn't use the Screen Split utility. But it's there if you need it. There's another feature that I didn't find much use for: The ability to have half the screen show my laptop and another half show another device (a tablet, or blu-ray player, or another computer, or …). Still, it works if you need that functionality. I'm always in favor of increased functionality (when it's easy to use), and just because I didn't find much use for the features doesn't mean someone else won't. That's why I mention them here and not in pros or cons. So to the manufacturers: as long as the feature/functionality is easy to use, by all means keep it on the product.

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Comfortable, Good Performance6/25/2014 5:51:22 PM

Pros: Very comfortable, even after long listening sessions. The default sound was good, not great. Then I installed the "Steel Series Engine 3" software and more options were opened up. It includes 7 presets, as well as an equalizer. I found the Music preset to be very good, but there are five frequency sliders that you can adjust to your liking. The configuration software lets you set up different profiles, and if you like you can associate them with specific programs. For example, I set the default to Music, and then created a profile set to the Voice preset. I then associated this profile with voice & video-conference programs such as Skype. Whenever I received a voice call and switch to the Skype window, the sound automatically adjusted. When I moved off of this window, the sound adjusted back. I was impressed at how well this worked. I tested the mic on some video & voice calls and on extended conversations the people I was talking to had no problem hearing me and said that I came through very clear. Using the Voice preset they came through to me very clear. It comes with a USB extension cable in case you need to make it longer.

Cons: The only con I have is that these can get a bit warm around the ears. In a hot room, it might be a problem. It was only a minor annoyance to me.

Overall Review: I'm on Firmware I highly recommend installing the "Steel Series Engine 3" software to take full advantage of automatic profile changes and to open up the equalizer for optimizing the sound. You can change the pulsating lights, for example to match the sound, and even turn them off if that's not your thing. CloudSync? Keep my settings in the cloud? Seriously? Ok, I don’t doubt that for some this is a worthwhile feature. But for how many? Everybody's jumping on the sync anywhere bandwagon which in theory I don't have a problem with. But in practice it means different accounts with a variety of vendors all implementing their own solutions with their own secure (or insecure) methods. I don't consider this feature a positive or negative, but I won't be using CloudSync.

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Decent Router, Pricey, Nothing Exciting4/8/2014 6:11:17 PM

Pros: I appreciate that most modern routers are not setting their default passwords for all devices to something generic (e.g. blank, or password), and some even set the default network to something non-standard. In this case, the network name and default password, as well as the administrator's default password are all different across the product line. Points to Linksys for that. Performance of the router was decent, not exceptional, but nothing to complain about. It's average among its peers that I've tested, which means unless it has over the top features I would expect to pay the average price of comparable routers. The best thing I can say about this router is that it worked fine during the time I tested it. That is, it never hung up, I never had to reset the router. It just worked. I haven't been able to say the same for some competing products. The device is stylish, though the design may not be for everyone. Since it is wide and flat it requires a larger footprint than other 'tower' style devices. However, it is mountable.

Cons: I find the feature set (configuration options) to be very limited. A guest network can only be setup on the 2.4 GHz band. And you can't change the name, it just appends "-guest" to the name of your 2.4 GHz network. And the access is Open, anyone can connect to it and then when they open a browser they get taken to a webpage where they type in the password. I personally hate this kind of security. Always have. But it was reinforced recently when I had to deal with it at a long hotel stay - the constant dropping and having to re-open a browser and never knowing if I was really connected or not drove me nuts. Because of the Guest network limitations - stuck on the 2.4 GHz band, inability to rename, and the poor & goofy security, I almost took off another egg. I could not get the admin screens to work in IE 11. Worked fine in Chrome, just not IE. To me this isn't a deal breaker, but I think any company whose admin capabilities break in any one of IE, Chrome, Firefox or Safari is asking for problems.

Overall Review: If you do some additional research on this router you'll find it got off to a very rocky start. It appears with some of the later firmware updates Linksys finally stabilized the device. I checked for updates until it stopped reporting any and in the end was at Still, though they may have stabilized it, they did not manage to make the overall performance anything to get excited about. It also appears this router has been discontinued and replaced by a more recent version. (It was previously showing on NewEgg as discontinued, I see that it is now available via other sellers. Maybe the stock just fluctuates.) One touted feature is cloud configuration - "Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Account". I see arguments at times about helping parents / friends by being able to manage their router remotely. Personally I think if you have that many problems you need a new router. And it seems like most of the time I need to help someone with their network it's because there's no access at all. But perhaps it's worth it to you for the occasional instance when you need it. Also, Linksys promotes their tap to connect, NFC feature. To me it's more of a hassle than it's worth to use. First you have to download an app to your device, and then use that to configure it with the router. The feature definitely feels like a first attempt with little added value, but maybe we'll see this grow into something more useful in subsequent generations.

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Very Fast, High Capacity Drive12/18/2013 7:50:14 PM

Pros: 7200 RPM, SATA 6 Gbps, 64 MB cache Backed by 5 year warranty This drive is extremely fast. Spec'd transfer rates of 171 MBps - I only had a SATA 3 Gbps motherboard (Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2, LGA 1156) to test with, but even so CrystalMark running 9x 1000MB test reported sequential reads of 173.8 MBps and sequential writes of 170.6 MBps. I experienced little to no increase in noise when I added this to my system; it appeared to be no louder or only marginally louder than my other drives.

Cons: Price is a factor worth considering, but prices differ by market, fluctuate based on seasons, and in general change over time so there's nothing I can take a position on. This drive also uses more power than some other options out there. But given this is a performance drive, the power use is not unreasonable. If low power is more important than performance, look at the red or even green WD lines or other manufacturers options. It is not easy to install a Windows OS to a drive larger than 2TB - and isn't possible if your hardware doesn't support UEFI and your OS isn't 64-bit. (See Other Thoughts below.)

Overall Review: This drive is made up of five (5) 800GB platters. This drive is an OEM drive. That's almost expected, unless you see a retail box pictured, but still a surprise for some. There's nothing in the box, because more than likely the only box is the one it ships in (a well padded box). The biggest change from WD's previous generation is the transfer rate. According to WD's spec sheet the speed has been increased over 10%. While I don't have access to a previous generation drive to compare against, there are reviews out there that appear to back this claim. Speaking of reviews, I easily found 3 'professional' reviews- all very favorable. PCMag has a nice write up, Tweaktown and StorageReview have more in-depth coverage. If you're interested in learning more about the drive I recommend checking them out. Finally, I would advise against attempting to use this as your OS boot drive unless you really want to get your hands dirty and are sure your system (motherboard, intended OS) is compatible. Getting a Windows OS installed on a drive this large can take some additional work and requires that the disk is initialized as GPT (Guid Partition Table), that your motherboard support UEFI (not traditional BIOS), and that the OS you're installing is 64-bit. See Microsoft's KB (Knowledge Base) article 2581408 for more details. The primary use for this drive is as a data/program drive. And it's a great and extremely fast data/program drive.

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Solid switch; Good performer; Simple to use11/12/2013 7:19:13 PM

Pros: This is a well-built switch. It is compact, sturdy, and metal - not plastic, which is important when delivering PoE. It has 8 Gigabit ports, 4 of which are PoE capable. It has excellent throughput performance. I ran one of my standard tests transferring over 1,200 files, small and large, totaling ~3.5 GBs from one computer to another. Using TeraCopy to transfer and measure the speed the transfer took 2 minutes and 31 seconds. The average speed was reported as 24 MB/s. This is the fastest transfer time I have achieved through any Gigabit capable switch or router. Also, it's worth noting that when using Windows native file copy the transfer completed in 1 minute and 43 seconds. However, I don't have similar test data for other network equipment to compare with these results.

Cons: The switch has a substantial power brick. However, this is expected given its PoE capabilities. The switch isn't wall mountable. Not a big deal to me. Also, TP-Link clearly labels this as a Desktop Switch.

Overall Review: This is an unmanaged switch. There is nothing very complex about it. It simply works, as it should. For anyone looking for a PoE switch this is a very capable device. Each of its 4 PoE ports supports 15.4W. Be aware that the max combined PoE supported is 53W. As long as you know what you are getting and it meets your requirements, I think you will be very happy with this switch.

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Quality Outdoor 5GHz AP10/21/2013 6:53:55 PM

Pros: I compared the signal strength of this device with a dual-band AC router. When setup in the basement, measurements were taken from the first floor and outside on the opposite side of the house. When setup in an open window, measurements were taken at various points around the yard. The ENS500EXT was consistently stronger with a difference of 4 - 8 dBm, and difference grew the further away from the routers I was (as measured by inSSIder). Outdoors and at about 70 feet from the router I had a strong signal and easily streamed content from the internet. 5GHz access - this cuts both ways. It's great to have outdoors because so few people have 5GHz routers, and those that do are typically inside homes and business so the signal is less likely to seep very far outside. (Your mileage will definitely vary here though depending on your neighbors.) On the potential downside, it doesn't do you any good to setup an external 5GHz network if your devices do not work over 5GHz. The PoE (Power Over Ethernet) injector is a great alternative to running a power cable outside in the elements. Setup the injector indoors, or in a properly protected environment, and expose just the ethernet cable and this device to mother nature. IP65 rated weatherproof housing - this means its solid particle protection is rated dust tight (the highest ranking) and its liquid ingress protection is rated against water jets (stopping shy of powerful water jets and immersion). See IP Code on wikipedia for more information. The two omni-directional 5dBi MIMO (Multiple In/Multiple Out) antennas are detachable.

Cons: WiFi may be 300Mbps, but the ethernet connection tops out at 100 Mbps. While you may be hard pressed to receive 300Mbps wireless speed, and many internet connections will be less than 100 Mbps, I still find it a shame that you are limited by the ethernet connection on the device. To take full advantage of the potential, they should have put a Gigabit ethernet connection on here. However, I believe this was probably a chosen trade-off; in other words, they couldn't deliver their (proprietary) PoE and gigabit ethernet and (relatively) low cost - as the saying goes, pick 2. Speaking of the PoE, if you are already invested in PoE network solutions, you may not appreciate this proprietary solution. The admin interface and options available are powerful. However, it is not very standard and consumers with low tech experience may find it challenging. The marketing material positions this device as a business solution, and as a result those more familiar with network admin or engineering might feel right at home. I upgrade the firmware from factory-shipped 1.3.1 to the publicly available 1.3.5. The process was smooth and error free. However, I was a little annoyed that the only download files available were saved as a RAR package, and not ZIP, which required me to download a compression utility. (Yes, I was also surprised to find I didn't have a copy of 7-zip already installed on my testing machine.) The status/indicator LEDs are on the back of the device - not very useful if you mount the device flush against something. Plan accordingly.

Overall Review: Having tested a handful or routers recently, it was a joy to use one that just worked. Yes, the interface is more complex. But I didn't find it that off-putting. And having access from the corners of my property was very convenient (for room-layout reasons my indoor router sits in the basement and its signal barely reaches past the confines of my house). The first time you set it up you’ll want to connect it directly to your PC, & your PC must have an IP address of 192.168.1.x (where x is anything but 1), if it doesn’t, assign it a static IP. I ran three transfer tests - copying 1,221 files totaling ~3.5 GB through the device. The total times ranged from 7 minutes 43 seconds to 7 minutes 57 seconds. The average transfer rates were all 3 between 7.7 MB/s and 7.9 MB/s. I observed periods of 11 MB/s transfers but never saw anything higher than 12 MB/s. Although I did not keep a constant eye, this is where the 100 Mbps (12.5 MB/s) limitation comes into play. If you have need of an external router or AP, this is a device worth your consideration.

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Good Performance, Dangerous FW Upgrades, Questionable Cloud Features9/24/2013 12:03:58 PM

Pros: First up, the feature set positives: Wireless Protocols: AC, N, G, B, A Dual-Band Gigabit Ethernet One USB 3.0 port - I had mixed success with this and found the SharePort app that works with it to be of limited usefulness and sometimes problematic (see also cons) Separate guest networks - either band can have a separate guest network enabled which can be isolated from your primary network Dedicated power button - Not a deal breaker, but I really appreciate having a physical power button on my routers like this one does Shape, weight - sturdy, won't topple over like some routers I've tested recently Range - (measured with inSSIder) not stellar and often worse than competitors. The signal strength difference became worse as I moved farther away. From the 2nd floor, with the router in the basement, the signal measured was typically around -70 and fluctuated between -60 and -80; a competing router was typically -60 and occasionally -50 (lower numbers are better). However, in my typical use scenarios I’m on the first floor or in the basement and although the signal difference was 5-10 in favor of the competition, I experienced no signal problems. Real world performance: No complaints. In my setup, the router sits in a basement and I'm on a laptop, tablet, phone or iPod touch a floor above it at least 15' to 25' away. At ~25', with a floor and walls between, I streamed an hour long show over Hulu on the 5GHz band with no problem. InSSIder showed a -60 signal and 300 max rate. I pitted this router against 2 others in a series of transfer tests over both bands, at 5' and on another floor 25' away. I had not turned on SharePort and USB was set to 2.0. The tests copied over 1,200 files, small and large, totaling ~3.5 GBs over wireless to another computer. Net Meter was used to capture performance. This router was typically the fastest. In each category (same distance, band, channel, etc) the D-Link averaged better times and higher average speeds. For example, at 25' over 2.4GHz, transfers took between 11-13 minutes, where competitors took 11 - 20 minutes. On the 5GHz band, the performance difference was less and the results are too close to declare a definitive winner. Also, this router achieved the fastest 2.4 GHz transfer time. When the Auto 20/40 MHz mode was enabled, and while 25' away on another floor, this router hit a max up of 103mbps and a sustained average of 67.3mbps. Obviously a lot of factors will influence performance, including your other wireless devices and nearby networks, but I thought it worth mentioning.

Cons: Firmware updates have been flaky at best and flat out dangerous at worst. Twice firmware updates have broken my router. I thought it was bricked at first, but found a method to revive it (see Other Thoughts). However, the last two updates were nearly unusable. Version 1.03 caused my router to continuously drop its connection with my ISP for long periods of time. I finally reverted back to version 1.01. Even this dropped the connection after a few days. When Version 1.04 came out I tested it as well. It dropped my connection every 15 - 60 minutes, although it usually recovered by itself within a minute. Still very frustrating. I eventually turned off all of the SharePort features, switched the USB port back to USB 2.0 and unplugged the external drive that had been plugged in. Stability improved after that. However, the 1.04 firmware change log lists "Improved Web File access functionallity"(sic) and "Support mydlink SharePort app". So it's unfortunate that I had to turn off the features this firmware was supposed to improve in order to make my router stable. All of my initial transfer tests were done on the firmware that shipped with the product. However, the firmware updates include security fixes so I don't feel comfortable going backwards and now have to rely on firmware that exhibits erratic behavior. SharePort Mobile App - not available for Windows Phone or Windows 8. However, I tested this with an iPod Touch and was not very impressed with the feature. If you attach a large drive full of documents or music or video, using the app is frustrating. It can take minutes or more (and in some cases I stopped timing after 10 minutes) to show your media. My best guess is that the app is trying to index all of your media based on which option you click; e.g. Documents, Music, Videos. Though not very intuitive, you can switch to a tree-navigation mode and view one folder at a time. At this rate it performs much better. But the functionality is still limited. In Music I could only get one song at a time to play. In Pictures, slideshows often delivered long delays between loading pictures. By default the USB is set to USB 2.0. If you change the setting to USB 3.0 you will receive a message stating that "enabling USB 3.0 may adversely affect your 2.4G wireless range". So that USB 3.0 port isn't really USB 3.0, unless you want to further sacrifice your range.

Overall Review: As a "Cloud Router" D-Link promotes 3 main services: 1) mydlink Lite - Monitor and control your home network from anywhere 2) mydlink SharePort - Stream and share files and media from a connected USB device to your mobile phone or tablet at home or anywhere with an Internet connection 3) QRS Mobile - Quickly setup your router from your mobile phone or tablet Frankly, I find most of these services to be of little value to me. If you don't have a home computer, then QRS Mobile would be important. If you want to disable the router or lock out users when you are elsewhere, then mydlink Lite could be useful. I had trouble with the SharePort app, and found its functionality to be limited (see cons). I'm not deducting points, but I'm not adding any either. I do give the router high marks for its performance. However that should be balanced with your range requirements. With a couple floors between me and the router, the signal degraded quickly. If that was my primary use case, I would find another place for the router. But your needs may be different. My biggest complaints with this device involve the firmware. With 1.03 and 1.04 the lack of stability of my network connection (connection to my ISP, not wireless device connection) has been a nuisance. It remains to be seen if disabling features is a permanent stability fix. However, I shouldn't have to disable features for the router to work as expected. Worse is the firmware update process itself. If a non-techie had encountered the firmware-near-bricking that I did, I think they would have been forced to return the device. This is troubling, especially since the little information presented with the firmware updates include they are patching security holes and supposed to improve features like SharePort access. So, the choice appears to be to stay with a less secure router, or a more secure but less stable router. I found D-Link support to be non-responsive. I'll end with the device recovery process. If you try to upgrade the firmware and the device dies on you, to fix it: 1. Connect a computer to the router directly via an ethernet cable 2. Set the computer's IP address to (if you've changed the router's default address, make the first 3 numbers match the router's IP address and the fourth number should be different) 3. Open a browser and go to (if you've changed the router's default address, navigate to that address instead) 4. You should be presented with a basic web page with instructions where you can Browse to your firmware file, and upload it. The router will reset once the firmware is updated. It may take a minute or two but this process has twice saved my router.

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Big Potential, Big Disappointment9/12/2013 9:00:34 AM

Pros: Installation was smooth. Follow the instructions. Disable your wireless and Ethernet adapters. Insert CD. And then when instructed, plug in the device. The device has a WPS button for those who want it. Size is good, portable, carried around in my pocket. It's about 3 inches long when plugged in; this might be an issue for some but was fine for me. Check your laptop/device's USB port placement and your use cases. However, it is a little wide. See Cons below. Connection protocols: Future-proofing and backwards compatibility. NewEgg shows support for AC, N, G, B & A. Curiously, D-Link's site only bothers to mention AC, N & G. Speed - when this works it was fast, sometimes very fast. I ran a series of tests comparing this to my laptop's internal Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6250 AGN WiFi chip. The tests copied ~3.5 GBs of files, small and large, over wireless to another computer. I tested against three different routers, at 5' and on another floor 25'. This adapter was faster in all but one test. The margin differed from 30 seconds up to 5 minutes on transfers that took between 9.5 and 20 minutes. This excels vs. older hardware in networks that can operate at "N300" (2 streams). Environmental factors will play a role in actual performance, but my tests gave me confidence in this device on 2.4 GHz networks. I also used it over a period of days in an office setting with no problems, other than the cons listed below.

Cons: Cutting straight to the chase here - the primary reason I gave this 1 egg: I found this device consistently failed (took hours) when transferring large sets of files over 5 GHz networks. It didn't matter how far I was from the router, or which wireless router I used. When transferring a large number of files, the time would change from 15 minutes, give or take, over 2.4 GHz to 2.5 HOURS or more over 5 GHz. While measuring with Net Meter and copying with TeraCopy - it appeared that the transfers would hang at final stage of copying files. This was most notable in files ranging in size from 20 MB to 470 MB. However, the problem may exist for smaller files as well. I reached out to their Support team and gave them ample time to reply. Unfortunately, I never received a response. Other cons: Software - The connection / wireless management software is frustrating to say the least. It does not always connect, and it gives no indication why it doesn't connect. In fact, it doesn't give any indication that it's actually doing anything. Switching from one network to another is extremely painful. I don't even know that's what causes the problems. Sometime I open the software, click the Activate button, and nothing. I click a network and then the Connect button, it makes me enter a password, and once again nothing happens. Most of the problems seem to be related to switching from one wireless network to another. This was probably more a problem while I was testing as I was often moving between networks. However, road warriors, café connectors, or anyone keeping their laptop on and moving between connections may also find this frustrating. Size, Width: As noted above, the size is a plus but they could slim it down a tad more. I have two USB ports next to each other and because of the thickness of this device to plug a device into the other port I had to angle it slightly.

Overall Review: My initial impressions with this device were very good. I thought this may be a great adapter to prepare for the future of wireless AC. However, the more I used it, the more frustrated I became with the WiFi Management / Connection software. And then I discovered the file transfer bug, noted above in cons. I expect this is something D-Link will be able to correct with a firmware or driver update. And I hope they address this and improve their client software soon. However, I cannot recommend this device to anyone knowing that file transfer performance at 5 GHz is pitiful and in some cases is so unacceptable it may as well not work at all. I was also surprised and disappointed that the D-Link Support team never bothered to reply back to me after I reported the issue (it has been at least 2 weeks).

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Great potential; Issues hopefully just with my unit7/12/2013 11:56:08 AM

Pros: This router is full of bells & whistles, yet the default settings worked well for those not so technically inclined. It took me 15 minutes to setup the router using the included and very short setup guide. I was then able to use the WPS button to connect devices to the router without having to look up the wireless key. Next I stepped through the router settings, changing the Wi-Fi name aka SSID, reserving IP addresses for certain devices, changing passwords, etc. There is no shortage of configuration options. I had no major problems here, but will note a couple minor complaints in cons below. I also tested connections from all parts of my house. The router was setup in a corner in my basement, and I found I had no problem reaching it from any portion of the house, even the opposite corner of the second floor. Range and connection strength were comparable to the wireless-N device this router was intended to replace. This is a Dual band router. As a result I was able to setup a 2.4 GHz network for devices using wireless G. And I setup 5 GHz network for my compatible wireless N devices and future AC devices. I also appreciate the Guest network feature. With this I was able to setup a separate network for friends & family to use with a simple, easier to remember password that is not connected to either of my private networks. Other pluses include the fact that this router has gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB port for attaching a network drive or printer.

Cons: I have a couple of complaints about the admin pages. First, in some places you have to manually type information that could have been presented as a drop down menu or radio button selection. My primary complaint was in reserving / assigning IP addresses to my various network devices. I had to manually enter each device’s MAC address and device name. Other routers have made this easier by showing you a list of every connected device and allowing you to select the ones you want. This really isn’t a huge deal as it typically only needs done once. However, it would be nice to see a little more attention in the UI to simplifying configuration where possible. I also found as a half-decent work-around that you can go to Network – DHCP Client List to see the attached devices and copy information from there and paste to a text file so it’s available for copying and pasting into appropriate fields elsewhere. My second complaint with the admin pages is the time it takes to save changes. You can’t leave a page with saving any changes you made. And every save seems to take exactly 20 seconds. Makes me wonder if they’re not writing all settings back each time, instead of just the ones on the current page or better yet the ones that were changed. Regardless, 20 seconds isn’t forever, but make a change on four or five pages and it starts to feel like forever. Also worth mentioning is that occasionally an admin page wouldn’t load at all. It would sit for 20 or 30 seconds until I got impatient and refreshed my browser, at which point the page would load immediately. The device doesn’t have a physical power button. It’s easy enough to unplug the power adapter. And not something that (hopefully) is needed very often. But I still prefer a physical power button, it’s not necessary but is nice to have. Also, the router is very light weight. Normally a good thing, in this case I found my router kept getting knocked over and pulled off its shelf. Part of the problem is any network cables plugged in can easily pull it over. The unit’s weight is too evenly distributed. TRENDnet should consider a broader base or including more weight at the bottom of the unit.

Overall Review: I was really looking forward to reviewing this device and making it part of my home network. And I was really pleased by the features available and my initial interactions. However, this router would not keep my devices connected to the internet for more than a couple hours, usually it was closer to 60-90 minutes and occasionally the connection was dropped every ten minutes. I spent a lot of time over the last two weeks testing various configurations to be confident the issue was with the router. During this time period, every time I connected directly to my modem or when I used my current wireless-N router I had no issues. But whenever I used this TRENDnet router I experienced dropped connections. And the connection issues occurred on both my wireless devices and my wired desktop computer. I opened a ticket with TRENDnet’s support, and heard back from them within their promised 2 business day time frame. We communicated back and forth this way. I tried every suggestion they gave me, flashing firmware, resetting the router to factory settings, even configuring the router to communicate with the ISP using one of my computer’s MAC addresses. Unfortunately, nothing solved the problem. TRENDnet support has suggested that it is likely an issue with the device and wants me to enter their RMA process to try to get a unit that works. I’ll give it a shot, and hope that they are correct that it is something with the unit. The device has a lot of promise, and has the potential to take over responsibilities as my primary router. This would’ve probably been a four egg review if the router wasn’t constantly dropping connections. And given that I haven’t seen others with this complaint, I have some faith that they are right and that I happened to receive a defective unit. For these reasons I’m also giving it two eggs instead of one. With any luck TRENDnet will be able to get me a working unit, but that also assumes a smooth RMA process.

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Manufacturer Response:
Hello Eko, We apologize deeply for this matter. Please contact me directly at with "Newegg TEW-811DRU" in the subject line. I will be able help you with your questions and get you up and running as promised. We look forward to hearing from you and Thanks again for choosing TRENDnet for your networking needs. Warm Regards, Adrian, TRENDnet Sales Support
Powerline adapter with added features6/18/2013 5:19:28 AM

Pros: The powerline adapters have pass-thru electrical plugs so you don't lose access to the outlet. I was pleased with the contents of the box – it ships with two Powerline adapters: a XAV1601 unit which must be attached to a router or modem via an Ethernet cable; and a XAU2511 unit which has an Ethernet port, and a USB port for connecting a printer, external hard dive or USB stick, or even a stereo system. Also included is a USB to stereo RCA and 3.5mm adapter for connecting to a stereo; two Ethernet cables; and a CD containing their Media Extender software. This device works well and works as promised. The primary uses for this device are: 1) To extend network access around the home. Whether you don’t have wireless, or there are places it can’t reach, or you need the reliability of a hard-wired network connection – this can fill those gaps. Furthermore, you can move that connection around the home quite simply by moving the XAU2511 powerline adapter unit to another electrical outlet. 2) To stream music from almost any device (computer, phone, tablet, etc) already connected to your home network to a stereo / set of speakers. Simply locate the XAU2511 unit near your stereo and plug in the supplied cable – USB end into the unit, and connect the stereo via either the dual RCA plugs or the 3.5mm mini jack cable (the same as a female headphone cable adapter). 3) To make USB based devices available on your network. For example, a printer/scanner or an external hard drive can be attached to the XAU2511 unit’s USB port and made available to computers. I tested the device as a NAS with an external hard drive attached using a Windows 7 laptop and Windows 8 computer, as well as with a Windows 8 RT tablet. For each device, I was able to connect to the hard drive via Windows Explorer. As an added bonus, I found that you do not need the supplied “Netgear USB Media Extender” software to access attached USB drives. Without any complications I: Streamed music from an iPod Touch (3rd Gen) to a connected stereo system (using iOS’s AirPlay feature) Also, streamed music from the Windows 7 laptop (this requires the supplied Media Extender software, and that you click the audio device displayed in the software and choose connect) Printed from the Windows 7 laptop to a USB printer connected to the XAU2511 unit (this requires the supplied Media Extender software) Surfed the web including streaming movies on the laptop connected to the XAU2511 via a LAN cable On a Win 8 RT tablet that was wirelessly connected to the network, I streamed videos from a USB hard drive attached to the XAU2511 unit (just think about the network involved: Tablet -> wireless -> router -> LAN cable -> XAV1601 unit -> electrical system -> XAU2511 unit -> USB cable -> external hard drive. That’s a lot of places where things could go wrong, but it didn't. It worked well for me.

Cons: Lack of support for streaming music via Windows Phone (7.x or 8), and Windows 8 RT devices. (I don't have access to an Android device and so couldn't test Netgear's suggested app to see if that works.) Some other cons that I have are not unique to this device, though they may vary slightly between similar devices. The units require 3 pronged outlets. Also, most devices right now in this class are bulky. You will need space to plug the powerline adapters into the wall. I measured the XAU2511 unit, the unit that you can move around the house, approximately 5 1/8" in height, it sticks out about 1 3/8" from the wall, and is almost as wide as the outlet's faceplate. You can plug the units in and still have access to both outlets, since the adapter has a passthru plug. However, note that the top of the XAU2511 unit comes up to just below the grounding socket of the other plug, which means you can plug in a standard plug, but no black boxes or cables that might require space outside of a typical three-pronged plug. Then again, you can plug black boxes or larger plugs directly into this unit, so as long as you don't have two 'special' plugs going into the same outlet you should be ok. There are faster devices on the market (such as those capable of theoretically streaming up to 500 Mbps). However, for my uses even with a slow connection the network was fast enough for communication between devices, and still faster than my home internet connection.

Overall Review: The XAU2511 unit has an on/off switch so you can shutdown the Ethernet connection and USB ports when not needed, the electrical socket still passes through electricity.   All of my tests were intentionally done with a slow connection between the devices. They showed a red light which Netgear labels as "Good" and indicates a speed < 50 Mbps. I purposely plugged the XAV1601 unit into a power strip, which resulted in a slow connection. Netgear does not recommend this setup, but as it may be an unavoidable situation for some I felt it was important to test. I never experienced any issues when setup this way. (I also ran tests with the firmware updated to v0.2.1.7.)   Also, I mentioned previously that the Media Extender software is not needed for connecting to USB drives. Once you know the name or IP address of the unit, you can connect to it via Windows Explorer, for example, in the address bar by entering: \\\USB_Storage OR \\XAU2511-e6\USB_Storage   If you don't know the name of the device or the IP address, you can open your Router's admin console to view attached devices. Or you can install the Media Extender software and launch it to see the name of the device (after it scans the network). As an added, undocumented bonus, you can get to advanced admin settings by double-clicking the name of the device from within the Media Extender software. Or, once you know the IP address you can simply enter that into a browser. (Username: admin; password)   From within these admin settings, some of the advanced features give you the ability to give the device a static IP, specify DNS settings, enable HTTP and FTP connections to USB drives, set security around what types of USB devices can be plugged in, change the suffix portion of the device name (e.g. change the e6 in XAU2511-e6 to something more descriptive), and check for and apply firmware testing. All in all, I would recommend this device to others who have a need matching one of the primary uses I mentioned in Pros above. If you absolutely need a faster connection, you may want to look at 500Mbps devices. If you don't need or don't foresee needing the flexibility provided by the USB port or the ability to use this device as a Media/Music Extender with iOS's AirPlay or the included Windows software, then you may want to compare this with a basic powerline adapter. Also, there are other ways to attach USB devices to a network, e.g. many routers have this feature. However, if you don't have that capability or if you want it in another room in your house than the USB port on the XAU2511 unit may be what you're looking for. There is something to be said for the flexibility provided by that port and ability to stream music from compatible devices, it's up to you to determine how much value that adds.

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Intriguing device, with a few rough edges5/12/2013 10:32:31 PM

Pros: I was able to connect 5 devices to the drive with pass-through enabled so they were all connected to the internet, while 3 of the devices were streaming video from it. I have no reason to doubt Corsair's claims that it can stream to 5 devices. However, 2 of my 5 devices were phones running WP 7.8 and Corsair has no WP7 or WP8 app available at this time. The devices I streamed content to included a Win 7 laptop, an iPod (3rd gen Touch) running iOS 5.x, and a tablet running Windows 8 RT. When connected to a PC I found transfer speed to be in line with expectations for USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and over an ethernet cable while wired through a 100 Mbps router. I found battery life to be very close to the advertised 7 hours. I hit 6 hours 40 mins with one device constantly streaming video from the drive and a 2nd using the drive as a wireless hotspot. This drive can be used to extend your current wireless network. As long as you have access to a wireless network (via router, modem, Wi-Fi hotspot, etc.) connected to the internet, you can configure wireless pass-through from the drive to the existing wireless network. This enables you to connect devices to this drive, and through the 'pass-through' feature to get out to the internet. First impressions were very favorable. Corsair goes above & beyond to ensure you have all of the cables necessary to meet the intended uses. The only cable missing is an ethernet cable which are easy to come by. Included is a USB 3.0 cable (one end appears to be proprietary). Corsair includes a DC power cable with a USB end which can be plugged into two adapters also provided: 1) a car adapter for charging on the road or 2) a wall adapter. The wall adapter comes with an attachable faceplate/plug. (I'm assuming this is for selling to different regions; e.g., if you buy in Europe I’d expect you’d get and snap on the standard faceplate for your outlets; mine came packaged with a plug to fit U.S. outlets.) Corsair also thoughtfully includes an accessory pouch so you can keep all of the cables and adapters together when they are not being used. I tested the transfer speeds with CrystalDiskMark and also by loading up the drive with data. The software reported sequential reads/writes of USB 3.0 speeds about 3.5 times faster than USB 2.0 speeds. In real-world testing, I copied 65.5 GB of video files (1,092 files in 9 folders, with a wide variance in file sizes). USB 3.0 transfer rates tended between 74-88 MB/s, total transfer time was ~13.5 minutes. USB 2.0 rates hovered in the 23-26 MB/s range, total time was ~49 minutes. Rates across a 100 Mbps router were fairly steady at around 11 MB/s, total time was just over 1 hour 40 mins. I was able to access the drive and stream video while it was in the basement and I was on the 2nd floor. I was close to 30 ft from the drive in a direct line, but was also separated by two floors and their subfloors.

Cons: A short USB cable. Lousy documentation. Weak apps for iPod. No apps for Win. Phone. I don't have an Android device to test that app. The USB 3.0 cable is too short for me. At under 2 ft, connecting it to the USB 3.0 ports in the back of my PC was a real pain. Even connecting it to my front USB 2.0 ports the cable was not long enough to put the drive on top of the PC so I had to leave it on the floor. If you’re using USB with laptops or tablets, this may not be much of a concern for you and a shorter cable may be preferred. A device like this begs to be simple with no rough edges so that almost anyone can pick it up and use it. I cannot give it high marks in this area. First, I couldn’t get the WiFi to work - until I unplugged the USB cable. If the USB cable is plugged into the drive and another device, the WiFi won’t turn on. I never found any documentation on this, and the documentation in general is very light. Second, when I connected a Windows device (Win 7 laptop or Win 8 RT tablet) to the Voyager Air's WiFi, Internet Explorer would pop up with a not helpful "CORSAIR WIRELESS DRIVE Error" page. It shows a few sentences, and one hyperlink that if you miss you may never find the configuration settings. Clicking the link takes you to a page where you can configure options such as a wireless password, enabling internet passthrough, etc. However, initially my browser's zoom was set to 125% and many of the options were unreadable. Third, the iPod app isn’t intuitive. I ran it, but it wouldn’t find the drive. I eventually realized I had to go to the iPod's settings, change my wireless network to the VoyagerAir network, and then launch the app. My mistake, but the app should have done a better job letting me know what to do. It isn’t immediately obvious what anything means until you’ve successfully used the app. To be fair here, the limited documentation does say to connect to the VoyagerAir network, but otherwise says nothing about the app. The app itself isn’t extremely powerful or intuitive. It allows you to browse your media or documents by folder. Which is fine. But don't expect to search or filter music based on tags. I had music setup in different folders based on artist & album. To play a song I had to dig through the folders to find the one I wanted. Once I started playing a song, I could click a shuffle icon. However, it only shuffled among the music contained in that folder. It does not catalog the collection, and doesn’t look outside the current folder. For music, I see this drive working better with a Windows device where you can add folders to your Music and Video libraries. As a video streamer the weakness in the app are less important. I’d expect the app to work well enough with any device, as long as your preferred format is supported. The iPod app played .mp4 video files, but not .mpg files. This isn’t a problem with a Win. device since you aren’t using a Corsair app but are streaming directly from the file sys

Overall Review: All in all, this is an intriguing device, compelling for certain use cases. 1TB of space as a wireless/media extender usable with up to 5 devices makes this extremely versatile especially when working with files via the file system (e.g. via Windows Explorer). I’d recommend it if it solves a particular problem or meets a need you have that isn’t being filled by another existing or cheaper product, and if you're okay with its shortcomings. Its prime strengths are: - Operating as a Media hub on the road - in particular for road warriors or families who want to support multiple kids with their own devices - As a NAS - beneficial if you don’t want to leave a PC on all the time; and if you don't already own a router with a USB port or need an app to access and stream files onto your phone/tablet I wish I had this 4 weeks ago when I took a 12 hour road trip with 3 others. We could've loaded this up with media, connected it to someone's phone-as-a-hotspot, joined the various other iPods & tablets to it and had more entertainment options than we'd know what to do with. The only thing we'd have been missing is someone else to drive and a microwave for popcorn. For those who are curious - the hard drive in my Voyager Air is a Toshiba MQ01ABD100 running at 5400 RPMs with firmware AX001U. I would like to clarify a few things: - Even though there is no Windows app, you can still set passwords and configure other settings from a PC. Finding those settings isn't straightforward, but it can be done. First you connect to the VoyagerAir's WiFi network. Then you open IE (on a table IE opened automatically for me). Then when you get the error page you have to find the link for 'main page' & click it. Finally, with your zoom set to 100%, you can read and configure the settings. - If anyone has trouble using the functionality from the app, I'm curious if you connected to the drive's wireless network before launching the app. Don't make the same initial mistake I made when I opened the iPod's VoyagerAir app and expected it to link right up with the drive. This is one of the rough edges that Corsair needs to work on and could be solved by making the app more intelligent/intuitive. - I saw one report of battery life closer to 3 hours. This appears to have been when writing to the drive. I don't dispute this claim. However, I was able to get 6 hours 40 mins from the drive when streaming video from it. - Finally, it is not possible to connect to the internet via a wireless router and to the Voyager Air at the same time. You're not meant to do that. Instead, you are to connect to the drive’s wireless network, and then configure the drive to connect to your wireless router (or hot-spot, etc) by enabling internet pass-through.

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Works with Samsung Blu-Ray Player12/30/2010 1:11:05 PM

Pros: Price Ease of use Bought this to use with a Samsung BD-C5500 Blu-Ray player. Plugged it in and the Blu Ray player and wireless router found each other right away. Stepped through the setup (entered the security key) and it worked perfectly with a Netgear WNR2000 router (a refurb also purchased through NewEgg).

Cons: None found yet.

Overall Review: With this wireless adapter in place I updated the firmware and tested out Picasa, YouTube, Pandora. I have yet to encounter any network problems. The router and Blu-Ray player are on separate floors. Also, for what it's worth, I used the flexible USB adapter provided in the box.

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Great RAM, good match for i7 86011/23/2009 5:45:12 AM

Pros: Low Voltage requirement. Works great with my i7 860 in a Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2. Others have complained that these only run at 1333MHz when installed. That's true. But it's the motherboard's "problem", not the RAM's. You have to make change in BIOS to override the motherboard defaults. Read your motherboard specs. If you are using the newest intel platform (P55 chipset, socket 1156) and an i5 750 you may have to overclock your CPU to get the RAM to run faster than 1333MHz. Possibly with an i7 860, too, although Gigabyte opens a 12x memory multiplier that allows you to up the RAM without affecting the processor speed.

Cons: None.

Overall Review: Using an i7 860 in my Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD2 motherboard, I can select the 12x System Memory Multiplier to get this running at 1600. My understanding is with an i5 750 on most boards, there is no 12x multiplier. So you have to change the speed of your CPU to get 1600MHz. I also tested by turning on XMP. That worked fine. My advice: If you have a P55/1156 motherboard and are not comfortable making changes in BIOS or if you have a 750, consider 1333 RAM with tighter timings (such as CL7). Add'l comments: I noticed once I started playing with RAM settings I lost Turbo, until I made BIOS changes on the Advanced CPU Core Features page: Intel Turbo Boost Tech. - changed from Auto to Enabled CPU Cores Enabled - left as All CPU Multi-Threading - left as Enabled CPU Enhanced Halt (C1E) - from Auto to Enabled C3/C6/C7 State Support - from Auto to Enabled CPU Thermal Monitor - from Auto to Enabled CPU EIST Function - from Auto to Enabled Bi-Directional PROCHOT - from Auto to Enabled

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Great price for a good enough card11/23/2009 5:16:20 AM

Pros: Doesn't require its own power connection. Runs 22" 1680x1050 fine; even tested once with DVD plackback on a 32" Full HD TV, no problems. Runs cool, quiet.

Cons: The fan means it likely covers 2 slots on your motherboard (does on mine). Really not a problem for me, I just wasn't expecting it.

Overall Review: As others have stated, the CD does not load correctly with Windows 7 x64. This isn't really a problem as the OS is so new drivers are changing frequently, you need to go to AMD and download the latest - for any video card. Also others have mentioned a lock-up issue. I've seen lots of reports of this and had it myself when watching full screen video. I was able to fix the problem by simply updating my motherboard BIOS and getting the latest drivers off AMD. I recommend the drivers only, make sure that works. Then if you want Catalyst Control Center install it and test again. I'm running i7 860 on a GA-P55M-UD2.

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