Date Joined: 06/15/01
Pros: Provides three USB 3.0 ports, a 10/100/1000 ethernet port, a CD/DVD burner, and one external video port (either VGA or HDMI).
Cons: Provided instructions insufficient for installation.
Some drives need a firmware flash before the video works.
Some drives have an Ethernet port that won't work with Windows 8.1 (only Windows 7 or Windows 8).
Runs hot at the base.
Overall Review: The Asus VariDrive generated great excitement when it was announced, but received terrible reviews when it was released.
Those bad reviews are due to several factors:
1) A bug in the firmware for the video channel that resulted in a checkerboard (only) from the video ports. This was later fixed with a firmware flash--but the flash is hard to find.
2) A bug in the firmware for the Ethernet port, which results in an Ethernet port that will NOT work in Windows 8.1--only WIndows 7 or Windows 8. Only a small fraction of units have the Ethernet port with the defective firmware, but if you have one, you can't fix it and it won't install under Window 8.1. All other functions will still work, though.
Installation of this drive requires that you install the latest DisplayLink drivers from the DisplayLink website. Don't use the drivers that come on the drive--they are far out of date and are buggy. You also need the latest drives/software for the drive itself--available from the Asus website. And if you happen to get a checkerboard video output drive, then you also need the firmware flash.
With all these issues, it's no wonder that many people returned these drives and wrote negative reviews. BUT once you attend to the issues--and you can--it's a nice piece of hardware.
Pros: 1) Supports 5Ghz N band
2) High throughput
3) Good price (at discount)
4) Very stable if you set the IP address to be static
5) Gigabit ports
6) Supports the latest AC standard.
Cons: 1) No 2.4Ghz band
2) Unstable unless you set IP address to be static
Overall Review: The key to this bridge is that you HAVE to set the IP address to be static. To do that, you need to connect router to your PC, and use the built-in configuration panel.
You HAVE to do this.
If you use the router out of the box, and attempt to use the "push a button" WDS connection approach: Yes, you will be able to establish a connection with no effort and almost instantly. But the connection will NOT be stable.
If you don't understand what I'm saying, or if using the configuration panel seems to difficult, don't buy this bridge, because it WILL be flaky and lose connections.
Pros: So easy to use, pretty much anyone can figure it out. Does a good job of charging. Includes "pulse" charging, which improves the ability to fully charge batteries while still charging at a fast rate. Can charge up to 8 cells simultaneously.
Cons: Feedback is EXTREMELY limited. You basically have LCD pictures of the (up to) eight cells that show if they are roughly 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 or fully charged. That's it. No indication of how much charge any cell has taken, no indication of the current, no nothing.
Overall Review: I got this to accompany my LaCrosse BC-900 charger, which is kind of a gold standard among chargers. That one can charge 4 batteries at once. It was the first reasonably priced charger to do a good job of charging at a user-selected rate (from 200mA to 1A), to allow a refresh cycle (discharge and recharge fully), and to provide feedback of how much charge the cells took.
After several years, my LaCrosse charger is still going strong. But there are times I'd like to charge more than 4 batteries at once, and I liked the fact that this charger has the "pulse" charging mode, which helps in getting a full charge even at high amperage charge rates.
I'd say after numerous tests that this charger DOES do a good job charging (it is able to push a LITTLE more current into batteries the LaCrosse thinks are fully charged after a rapid charge, but just a little). But the feedback/ergonomics are SO dumbed down as to be annoying. More info on the LCD screen would definitely improve things.
Pros: Dual radio design (both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz). Wireless N available on both radios. The recertified version is, by far, the least expensive N router you can buy with two radios.
Can easily be flashed with DD-WRT. DD-WRT is supported on all versions (no worries about what version of the router you will get).
Works great as a wireless bridge and/or wireless repeater.
Cons: Only 10/100 ethernet, no gigabit.
Internal antenna is weak. Coverage is not as good as other routers, as a result.
Limited internal memory means you are limited to certain DD-WRT builds (but most people don't need the esoteric stuff in the builds that can't be used).
Overall Review: This is a fantastic deal on a dual radio router than can be flashed with DD-WRT. The mediocre internal antenna means this isn't the best option for a primary based firewall/router if your home has a lot of dead spots. But if you use it as a bridge and/or wireless bridge, it's great.
The stock Netgear firmware is utter junk. Don't buy this router unless you intend on flashing it with DD-WRT. DD-WRT is well supported and works great. Yes, the small internal memory limits which builds you can use, but that's not going to be an issue for 99.9% of users.