Date Joined: 01/10/02
Pros: Relatively inexpensive, useful otg adapter, responsive customer service
Cons: Died after a year
Overall Review: I own several Team sd cards because they are usually the least expensive from a name brand. The others have been reliable while this one stopped working after a year. However, the card has a lifetime warranty and replacing the defective card was fairly quick and easy. It's true that the email address for an RMA goes to China but the return email tells you to send the card back to them in California. They sent out an improved version of the same card about a week after they received it, so not too bad.
Pros: price, OCZ SSD utility
Cons: no cloning software, drive is unformatted so some knowledge required for storage replacement scenario
Overall Review: When I bought my first SSD drive for my primary desktop pc back in 2012, cost was a major consideration. I ended up with a Samsung 830, which was very highly rated at the time. 128GB cost me $90 from Newegg. The drive was always a little small for my purposes; since many apps store their cache and data on the C: drive (email, for instance) I never had more than about 15GBs to spare and was always a bit concerned about having so little free space.
Not only have SSD prices come down dramatically over the years, but TLC technology has enabled a new class of "value" drives that are less expensive than the MLC-based "performance" drives that have until very recently been the gold standard. Aimed at cost conscious mainstream users (like me) current drives like OCZ's Trion series offer an attractive option where top-notch specs aren't required.
In the recent past OCZ suffered from quality control problems that made SSDs from the competition, such as Samsung, Sandisk, PNY etc. a more reliable choice. Not to mention that almost every company that produces flash memory now sells SSDs as well, and like flash memory, SSDs are much more a commodity item than they were four years ago. Toshiba took over OCZ, revamped the line to use Toshiba developed and manufactured parts, and is doing its best to re-establish OCZ as a major player.
Given that the Trion is marketed as an entry level product, performance compared to my old Samsung 830 was quite an improvement. Since I use the SSD as a boot drive the performance of the drive is more than adequate and the price makes it an easy purchase. Recommended.
Pros: Effectively boosts wifi signal to difficult spots, touch screen provides a lot of functionality, excellent Android management app, extremely easy set up via multiple methods, excellent fit and finish, helpful documentation
Cons: Somewhat expensive, unattractive industrial design, touch screen can be fiddly, large for a range extender, provides more bandwidth than many buyers can use or take advantage of
Overall Review: Tp-Link is my favorite provider of home networking gear. The performance of their products always compares favorably to those from better known manufacturers and usually at a lower price. I have used their Archer C7 router for the past couple of years, always returning to it after I've tried equipment that looks better on paper but doesn't perform any better in real life. Over time, their packaging, documentation, design and ease of set up have significantly improved. In fact the RE590 was probably the fastest and easiest network device I've ever set up.
My New York City apartment is small but the walls are very thick and no router has been able to provide a usable signal to some rooms without help. I have used Tp-Link's TL-WA850RE range extender in my kitchen to great effect, although it is the company's least expensive range extender at $20. However that unit is limited to the Wireless N 2.4 GHz band at a maximum of 300 mbps. This is adequate for older devices that don't support the 5 GHz band or Wireless AC. It is also adequate for most internet connections.
However more recent phones and tablets do support dual bands and Wireless AC and the theoretical difference in performance is dramatic, particularly when streaming media or transferring files within the home. Unfortunately the benefits of AC vary significantly from environment to environment; the 5GHz signal is just not very robust when it has to go through walls, etc. In my apartment the inexpensive Tp-Link range extender provides an adequate 2.4GHz signal throughout but there are still rooms where the 5GHz signal is unusably weak. I don't fault the Archer C7 router for this but the layout of my home.
If the TL-WA850RE is the least expensive Tp-Link range extender, the RE590T AC1900 is their most expensive and fully featured. Although it includes useful bells and whistles like external antennas, a large well thought out touch screen, and multiple ethernet ports for connecting to media devices, what you are paying for is a theoretical throughput of 1.9Gbps vs the 850RE's top speed of only 300mbps. And such power does not come cheap at $129, although the RE590 is priced competitively with 1900 AC range extenders from other manufacturers. Whether or not you can use or need this much bandwidth depends on how many devices you have that support 5GHz AC, how many of them will be in use at the same time, and how much of your networking is done locally as opposed to over the internet.
The real advantages of the RE590 will be appreciated if you need to stream high definition media over significant distances to otherwise dead spots in the home. For a family that plays demanding video games in more than one room the range extender might also be a good investment. If your bandwidth needs are more modest and/or you are only using your devices for non-streaming internet use, the Tp-Link makes range extenders at almost every price point that will perform up to and beyond their specifications.
My personal needs are simpler and more straightforward; I merely wanted to get 5GHz reception in rooms that the C7 couldn't reach on its own. The RE590 has solved that problem admirably.
Pros: Easy set up, full featured phone/tablet app, clean industrial design, flexible configuration
Cons: somewhat expensive to install throughout the house
Overall Review: TP-Link products have always provided great value and they just keep getting better. This is the most affordable "smart plug" you can buy that is controllable by an app on your phone or tablet. It practically configures itself and once you have an account on TP-Link's cloud you can control the device from wherever you have an internet connection. Other special features include turning lights on and off at random times to simulate activity in the home and a handy countdown timer to prevent your forgetting to turn off an appliance. Very useful, attractively designed and well made. Recommended.
Pros: One of the fastest dual band AC routers by specs, USB 3.0 and eSATA ports, printer server capable
Cons: Performance doesn't exceed that of router half its price
Overall Review: This is Linksys' current flagship router and since it is "open source ready" it's possible that a third party firmware such as DD-WRT might improve the mediocre performance I experienced testing the unit with the latest stock firmware (I did not test it with any 3rd party firmware). As it is, this is another disappointing product from Linksys, particularly given the manufacturer's hype and the high price.
I compared the 1900 which retails for $229 with the TP-Link Archer C7, retailing at $99. While the C7 is widely considered to be one of the best values available, the 1900 on paper exceeds it in almost every specification. Unfortunately when compared head to head in my environment the 1900 performed either the same or slightly worse than the much less expensive router.
I used an LG G3 android smartphone to compare signal strength and internet download throughput in every room of my smallish New York City apartment. The G3 includes 5GHz wifi ac and supports all of the same bands as the 1900. Testing software was Wifi Analyzer, which measures signal strength, and Ookla's Speedtest app, which replicates on a phone their gold standard browser-based site.
Although my space is small, because of the layout and because the walls are old and thick, I get very poor performance in two rooms, even though they are only about 20 feet from the router. Given that 5GHz signals are notoriously weak, the C7 is only usable on the wireless N band in those rooms. Unfortunately the 1900 was no better. Download throughput for both channels was about the same as the C7, although oddly signal strength measured a little bit better. The wired connection to my desktop reached the 350mbps maximum from my Time Warner Cable connection, as did the C7.
Is the 1900 a bad router? To the extent that I am reasonably happy with the C7 given the problems with my space, and given that the 1900 performed about the same, its performance is certainly adequate. But given its top position in the Linksys line-up and the expectations the company raises in its promotional literature, I would expect more for the price. Of course, given the vagaries of any wifi environment, your mileage may vary and the 1900 might turn out to be the best router for your purposes ever.
Pros: Integrated power outlet might prove useful for some
Cons: Poor hardware and software design, unnecessarily complex setup, throughput with device connected is the same or worse than without
Overall Review: This Linksys range extender has a number of design, configuration and performance deficiencies that made it unusable in my location.
Instead of using Wifi Protected Setup, a method that only requires one to push two buttons, the default setup option for the RE6700 requires several more potentially confusing steps to get the extender and the router connected to each other. While other extenders use led lights to indicate status and signal strength the one light on the RE6700 only serves to show you the device is "ready." Instead you are supposed to log into a setup page via a browser but I could not get to it consistently leaving me in the dark about the device's connected status.
Once the extender was apparently connected to the router, what improvements did I see? Throughput with the extender engaged was actually worse than without it although per Wifi Analyzer signal strength was stronger. I used the Ookla Android app Speedtest to compare performance on the two bands, with the RE6700 connected and without it.
I live in a small one bedroom apartment. Although the distances between the router and my devices are not long and everything is on the same floor, the walls between them are very thick. Without a range extender wifi is barely sufficient for music streaming in my kitchen.
My router is the highly rated TP-Link Archer C7 v.2 which employs wifi ac. For the purposes of these tests I used a Samsung Android tablet, the 8.4 Pro which also includes wifi ac.
Here are the baseline numbers without any range extender. The router is located in my living room. Total area space is only about ~600 square feet. In the same room as the router, signal strength for the 2.5GHz band is a strong 100% according to the Internet Speed app or -50, per Wifi Analyzer. Signal strength for 5GHz is also 100% with an almost perfect -44. Speedtest for the 2.5GHz connection is 42 mbps down and 18 mbps up. Speedtest for the 5GHz connection is 164 mbps down and 22 mbps up.
In the kitchen (no RE) signal strength for the 2.5GHz band is 44% and -80, 2.8 mbps down and .97 mbps up. 5GHz: 46%, -96 (out of a low of -100), 1.7 mbps down, 2.0 up. This is just barely usable.
In the bedroom (no RE): 2.5GHz: 100%, -56, 38.6 down, 18.2 up. 5GHz, 100%, -60, 149.6 down, 18.5 up
Now for the measurements with the RE6700 connected. Unfortunately they were worse in every room than the measurements without a range extender. Bedroom: 2.5GHz, 100%, -40, 6.4 down, .64 up (worse in every way). 5GHz, 100%, 4.0 down, 5.0 up. I cannot explain how with strengths measured at 100%, throughput is dramatically worse. And this was with the extender and the tablet in the same room with no wall between them.
The kitchen results were even worse, understandably since there was now a wall between the extender and the tablet. For the 2.5GHz band: 1.40 down and 1.14 up. For the 5.0GHz band: 1.63 up, the connection failed when running the upload test.
You can draw your own conclusio
Pros: Close in price to CFL, warmer light, no warm up delay, easy to recycle, last "forever", omni-directional
Cons: Not dimmable, equivalent LED bulbs can be less expensive
Overall Review: As a certified cheapskate I welcomed the advent of inexpensive CFL bulbs, especially as electricity in New York City is outrageously expensive. I disliked how long CFLs took to warm up, breaking one is a potential disaster and disposing of them is a pain in the neck.
However until recently LED bulbs were just too expensive to consider as an alternative. With the help of manufacturers like Rosewill that is changing. The light from this bulb is as pleasing as any "soft white" incandescent bulb, it reaches full luminance immediately, and if I break it it's no big deal. In fact if I don't break it the bulb will probably outlast the lamp it's in.
Rosewill is known for quality products at a very competitive price and this bulb is no exception. Recommended.
Pros: Good build quality, no cap to lose, fast transfer speeds, solid warranty
Cons: More expensive than slower drives, USB connector is exposed so may not be best choice in an environment with water and/or dirt, design may overlap adjacent ports on some case panels
Overall Review: Corsair, once known primarily for their superior enthusiast memory, has been leveraging their reputation for quality into an ever-increasing number of product lines. They are now known as much for their cases and power supplies as their RAM. The Voyager X2 competes in a very crowded field: Newegg carries 65 64GB drives with USB 3.0, although only the most expensive offer the speed achieved by the X2. Corsair's price for the drive is right in line with those of its major brand competitors.
It is certainly the fastest flash drive I've ever used and benchmarked speeds compare favorably with the USB 3.0 external hard drives and fixed hard drives I had on hand.
The X2 comes pre-formatted for Fat32 and benchmarks exceedingly well:
CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 x64 (C) 2007-2010 hiyohiyo
* MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]
Sequential Read : 203.508 MB/s
Sequential Write : 152.609 MB/s
Test : 1000 MB [H: 13.0% (7.7/59.6 GB)] (x5)
Date : 2015/05/07 12:38:09
OS : Windows NT 6.2 [6.2 Build 9200] (x64)
I reformatted the drive for exFat in order to test transfers of large movie files from my various drives (Fat32 is limited to 4GB files). Reformatted the benchmark was somewhat slower on writes:
CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 x64 (C) 2007-2010 hiyohiyo
* MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]
Sequential Read : 198.069 MB/s
Sequential Write : 115.418 MB/s
Test : 1000 MB [H: 0.0% (0.0/59.6 GB)] (x5)
Date : 2015/05/07 12:56:51
OS : Windows NT 6.2 [6.2 Build 9200] (x64)
Transferring a a 13.5GB mkv file from my mainstream Toshiba 7200k 2TB drive to the X2 averaged a steady 120 MB/s. Transferring the same file from the same hard drive to a 3TB Seagate expansion drive was just a smidgen faster.
Installation of Ubuntu to the X2 was quick and easy and ran without a hitch.
Because I don't travel with a flash drive I'm not as concerned as the other reviewers about the exposed USB connector and the X2 fit the top panel of my Nzxt case without interfering with the conventional USB 3.0 cable connected to my Passport Ultra. I will note that the Sandisk Extreme drive I would also consider if I were in the market for a similar drive is priced the same and has the same exposed USB connection design. It does have a lifetime warranty compared to the Corsair's also solid 5 year warranty but I would not consider the warranty per se to be what determined my buying decision.
Pros: Compact, well-built, quiet, easy set-up, good price/performance ratio
Cons: USB printer support is postscript only, limited apps available, no documentation is included, lack of lcd panel might make troubleshooting more difficult
Overall Review: With enough processing power to handle up to 50 users in a small office setting, Seagate's all in one solution provides easy set-up and excellent support for businesses without a dedicated IT pro. Although the complete lack of documentation in the box will irk some (it's available online), the machine practically sets itself up, with 4TB of mirrored data-redundant storage by default. Backup to the cloud or the second drive, as well as remote access, are easily configured by the included Seagate utilities. Set up of shares and users is also straightforward.
Those looking to use this NAS in a busy home setting as a multimedia server will likely be disappointed by the lack of apps that support Plex and other popular video solutions. That said, there are less expensive and sophisticated units available that are more appropriate for the home. And the devcie's built-in DLNA support works well to deliver media to other DLNA capable screens.
Physically, the unit is compact and quiet with an attractive unobtrusive industrial design. Transfers over a wired gigabit connection are very fast; wifi transfers are necessarily slower but reliable. Organizations looking for a mainstream NAS at a competitive price with useful features won't go wrong here.
Pros: Top notch fit and finish, reasonably speedy for 5400 RPM device, striking design, robust construction, handy bundled software
Cons: Price per GB
Overall Review: It's too bad that Apple in its wisdom doesn't support usb on its iOS devices because the Seagate 7 would be the perfect solution for expanding an iPhone or iPad's meager fixed storage. As it is, Android users can plop this uniquely designed drive on the conference room table next to their Nexus 6 or Note 4 and let their colleagues envy them for a mass storage device hardly bigger or heavier than their phone. Actually, make that *smaller* and lighter than their phone: the Seagate 7 is smaller in every dimension than the Note 4 and half the weight. Its industrial design, superb fit and finish and robust construction place it among the very best portable peripherals available.
Inside is the 500GB Seagate ST500LT032, running at 5400 RPM with a 16MB cache and SATA 6.0 interface. Newegg currently sells this thinnest of internal laptop drives for $65 so you are paying an additional $35 for the elegant enclosure. Western Digital is now offering the My Passport Ultra Metal Edition in a 2TB capacity for just a few dollars more but the Passport is significantly larger and heavier.
Performance between the two drives is roughly comparable. My results for the Seagate 7 using the Intel USB 3.0 interface on my desktop motherboard:
CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 x64 (C) 2007-2010 hiyohiyo
Crystal Dew World : http://crystalmark.info/
* MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]
Sequential Read : 112.920 MB/s
Sequential Write : 108.751 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 40.291 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 46.456 MB/s
Both drives include the manufacturer's proprietary back up software. Seagate's has been updated to allow back up of Android devices upon installation of an app from the Play Store. While an effective way of backing up photos, contacts, music, call logs, and text messages Seagate's dashboard is not designed to back up a complete image of the portable device so that in the worst case the phone or tablet can be restored quickly and the same can be said for backing up a laptop hard drive to the 7. While I prefer to use free software that creates a complete image, Seagate's dashboard is a convenient way to back up the data most users care most about.
So whether the Seagate 7 is right for you depends on your budget, how much ultra-portable storage you really need and how highly you value cutting edge design. I found the drive to work flawlessly for its intended purpose and you won't find a more uniquely stylish solution for the foreseeable future.
Pros: Well priced, 12 cup capacity, useful features
Cons: Water measurement gauge doesn't start until 6 cups, water sometimes leaks onto heating pad when filling from carafe
Overall Review: I don't know when it was decided that coffee makers, like vacuums (Dyson excepted), would become disposable and never last more than two or three years. Since i insist on using Melitta cone filters (I get them very cheaply) there are no name brand machines I would buy for less than $50. Over many years I've had more coffee makers than I can remember and they all broke. So since I don't need a built-in grinder or even a timer, I buy the least expensive machine I can for around $50. That leaves out brands like Cuisinart and most Braun/Krups units.
I have a Hamilton Beach crock pot I bought for next to nothing that I love so when Newegg put this HB coffee maker on sale for well under $50 I bought it to replace a $50 Krups that leaked. So far it's one of the best machines we've had. 12 cup (vs. 10 cup) units are scarce so that was a plus. I don't use the timer but I have found the "strength" setting (regular/"bold"/"robust") and the heat setting (lo/med/hi) to be quite useful. It takes the #4 Melitta filters we already had in the house.
My only quibble is that if you want to make fewer than 6 cups you need to measure the water first because you can't see how much you're putting in on the gauge until it hits 6.
I don't know if I would like this machine as much if I had paid full price for it (there's a lot of competition in the $50-$65 range) but at the sale price I'm very well pleased.
Pros: Very inexpensive, great video quality, efficient gui, works flawlessly with attached USB storage, really nice (free) virtual remote for mobile devices, most of the same services that are available on Roku
Cons: Network shares are very fiddly but free workarounds are available
Overall Review: Refurb is as good as new but comes without batteries for (good sized) remote and any documentation whatsoever (available at support.wdc.com). I bought this to access a huge collection of videos on my main desktop machine in another room and for the most part it does this well. Media accessed via one of the two USB ports is cataloged quickly and plays flawlessly. Subtitle and DVD handling are excellent.
However, given that the main reason to buy the WDTV Live over Roku, for example, is the potential to stream all kinds of media wirelessly, networking the device is more challenging than it should be. Setting up network shares requires an intermediate knowledge of Windows networking to begin with and the problem for almost everybody is that the shares don't hold.
This is as much a Windows problem as it is the device's. Windows uses what is called a "master browser" to create the WDTV catalog. If you only have one Windows device turned on in the local network the shares work pretty well. But if you turn on a laptop, for instance, before you turn on the machine with the media, there's a good chance the laptop will become the master browser and your shares will be invisible. Even when network shares "worked" some of my shared volumes were never visible to the WDTV. Frankly, it's just too fiddly to be worth bothering with.
Fortunately there is an easy way around this problem: install the free Plex server on the machine with the media and connect it to the WDTV via DLNA. Plex does a great job of organizing movies, tv shows, photos and music and it's a snap to set up. Most importantly, it doesn't matter what else is going on with the network and your USB attached media is still accessible. The only drawback I've found is that when connected via DLNA, the WDTV cannot access external subtitles. Embedded subtitles work fine. Also DLNA does not support DVD menus which the network shares option does. Videos with external subtitles and DVDs can be put on an attached USB drive. Any services such as Netflix or Spotify are still available when remote media is accessed via Plex.
I suppose one could also use XBMC rather than Plex but I am personally not familiar with XBMC.
Perhaps it shouldn't require a third party solution to work as advertised but for the money, I'm completely happy with the WDTV. If you're considering a purchase, do yourself a favor and skip network shares altogether and go right to Plex. Another plus for Plex is that there are inexpensive mobile apps that let you access your media from anywhere (a browser version for remote access is of course free). Despite its quirks the WDTV makes me think more highly of Western Digital.
Pros: Terrific bang for buck for non-gaming systems
Cons: Corsair hasn't cleared up the confusion on Haswell "compatibility"
Overall Review: I have used this psu in two different systems for the past three years and have had no problems whatsoever. In the first system I overclocked an unlocked AMD Phenom II by 20% and now I am using it with an Intel Haswell 4670K overclocked by 25%. Both systems had at least five disk drives and a sound card *but* both also used integrated graphics, so 430 watts was more than adequate.
I am commenting on this unit now because I see there is still a lot of confusion about whether or not the cx430 is Haswell "compatible" or not. Corsair has not updated their list from a year ago that indicated that the CX series was still being "further tested."
This is disingenuous of Corsair: they know that in all likelihood none of the CX psu's will reliably work with the C7 deep sleep mode introduced with Haswell. Why? Because by their own admission a compatible power supply needs to use DC to DC topology and the CX series uses group regulation to save on costs. Normally this isn't a problem if the psu is used within spec but C7 has special requirements the cx430 cannot provide.
Of course aside from C7 the psu is completely compatible with Haswell and those reviewers who are not experiencing sleep issues are not wrong. In all likelihood their motherboards came configured to disable the C7 mode and all other sleep modes work fine. Since the sleep modes are controlled by the motherboard bios, anyone with this psu who is experiencing problems with sleep and a Haswell cpu can simply disable C7 with only the most minor hit to power consumption in sleep mode.
Upon enabling C7 auto with an Asrock z87 Extreme6 MB I experienced a lot of inconsistency with sleep mode. Occasionally the system would go into sleep and then shut itself off, requiring me to press the power button on the chassis to restart. Of course this defeated the purpose of sleep since I lost whatever was open when I put the system to sleep.
Having turned off all the C7 options in the bios, everything works as expected and I can recommend this psu if you understand that its design has a limitation with Haswell specifically. I have not researched low power psu's enough to know if there is an inexpensive unit with a DC to DC design available, but if there is it is unlikely to match the cx430's cost after rebate.
Five eggs for price/performance ratio. One egg deducted because Corsair has not publicly explained why the unit may not work with C7 sleep mode.
Pros: Faster than built-in WiFi on laptop, easy install on PC with optical drive, top speeds approach that of wired Ethernet connection when close to router
Cons: Installation of driver on laptop without optical drive requires download from Tp-Link website and manual update in device manager, range on both bands is extremely limited depending on environment
Overall Review: I first connected the adapter to my desktop machine in the same room as my Linksys EA4200 dual band AC router, replacing its usual wired connection. Tp-Link's driver and utility software on the included CD installed easily and quickly. The adapter maxed out my fast internet connection at over 100Mbps and remained steady over an extended download. So far so good.
Installing the drivers on my Acer Aspire One AO756-2808 laptop without an optical drive was not nearly as convenient. I went to the Tp-Link website hoping to find an application similar to that on the CD. Instead I found a zip file with the drivers and configuration utility which had to be installed manually. I'm experienced enough to have gone into device manager and seen that the adapter was recognized but had an exclamation point next to it because no driver was installed. Updating the driver by navigating to the extracted zip folder was no problem for me but would probably require a call to tech support for someone less knowledgeable.
When the laptop was in the same room as the router performance was very good. Built-in WiFi maxed out at 22Mbps on my internet connection while a transfer of a 1Gb file between machines averaged 32Mbps. By contrast, the adapter got to 45Mbps over the 2.5 GHz band on the internet connection and 85Mbps on the 5GHz band. Transferring the same file, I got 48Mbps on the 2.5GHz band and 76 on the 5GHz band. So the adapter easily bested the built-in WiFi in every respect.
However, when I moved the laptop into the kitchen of my small apartment the adapter was all but useless. On the 2.5GHz band it managed only 4Mbps on the internet compared to 13Mbps for the built-in. It wasn't able to make a connection to the router on the 5GHz band at all. Very disappointing.
Now my old apartment building has very thick walls and all of my devices struggle in the kitchen, although it is less than 30 feet from the router. The Linksys router has range problems of its own on the 5GHz band so the adapter might have performed better with a different router. Still, the adapter should not be required to be in the same room as the router to work adequately.
Pros: Scratch and fingerprint resistant, bubble free if put on correctly
Cons: It doesn't install itself :)
Overall Review: I'm not sure how they do it but if you apply these in a dust free environment (like a steamy bathroom) they go on bubble free. For best results use the "hinge" method to perfectly align the protector first.
How To: Perfectly Install a Screen Protector - Hinge Method - YouTube (Newegg bans URLs)
Pros: Very fast, relatively cheap, seems reliable
Cons: Must be reformatted to FAT 32 to work in most Android devices, so media files over 4GBs might be problematical, "bonus" card reader isn't my preferred form factor
Overall Review: Like almost all 64GB micro sd cards this comes formatted as SDXC. Depending on your version of Android your Windows pc may mount the card as a USB device but the phone/tablet won't see the data you copy to it unless your reformat the card as FAT 32 in the device itself first. Simple enough to do and avoids confusion once you've copied a boatload of data onto this huge affordable card.
Pros: Compact, nicely designed, can use either full sized or micro sd cards, consistent transfer rates
Cons: Cap covering USB male end is easy to lose
Overall Review: I've been pleasantly surprised by this device. I do not have a card reader in my desktop pc and lately have needed to transfer a lot of songs and video from the pc to the micro sd cards I use in my phone and tablets. Until now I've been using an ancient card reader that requires an adapter for micro sd or a micro sd reader that cost all of a dollar. Mounting the cards and transfer rates were hit or miss. This device has solved all those problems for a very low cost. Recommended.
Pros: Highest resolution 8" screen (at the moment), excellent build quality, strong wifi, snappy CPU performance, some useful LG apps, excellent developer support for custom ROMs, micro sd expandable
Cons: Screen needs some color calibration, selling price varies wildly, limited distribution may inhibit future developer support vs. Samsung e.g., packaging not pristine enough for some, HDMI out require Slimport adapter
Overall Review: Despite the literally hundreds of Android tablets from both well known and unknown OEMs, your choice is considerably narrowed by size, cost, and aspect ratio. If you can live with the relatively small size of a 7" tablet, then the Nexus 7 2013 is outstanding for the money. Unfortunately it does not include a micro sd slot for expansion and the upgrade to 32GB is expensive.
It's surprising how much an extra inch increases the screen size without adding much to the overall size and weight. Samsung was first to the market with an 8" Android tablet but with a rather high price and a so-so screen resolution. Sometime this year they will release an 8.4" tab with a "retina" screen that I expect to be great and rather expensive. There's also the intriguing HP Slate 8 Pro with a 4:3 form factor, a satisfactory 1600x1200 resolution, and a somewhat high price for what appears to be mediocre build quality. HP has done nothing to market this tablet and the android community seems unexcited about it. Acer's upcoming 4:3 tablet is not in the same league.
So the G Pad is kind of in a class by itself if you want a conventional Android 16:10 screen of 8". It is the only 8" tab with a full HD resolution. At the original MSRP of $349 I was going to pass but I picked it up from Newegg on Cyber Monday for a surprisingly low price and it has become my most used tablet of the three I own.
There are a few knocks on the product that I'd like to correct. Every tablet sold by Newegg and Best Buy has come in an unsealed box, leading some to believe they have bought a return. It seems like LG kind of rushed this to market in a box with a photo of the white version for both the black and white models. Given all the doubt it created this was a dumb move.
People have complained that their screen appeared scratched out of the box. They probably didn't realize that the GPad ships with a temporary screen protector and that the screen itself was perfect. There have also been complaints about scuffs on the aluminum back-plate. I'm sure these were from handling during manufacture and quality control and not because they were returns. LG should have carefully polished the back and put on a plastic film before packaging but as I said it looks like they rushed this.
Perhaps the best thing about the GPad is how quickly it was picked up by the enthusiast developer community. Rooting it was child's play and replacing the stock LG ROM with a variety of home-brewed versions of KitKat has been painless. The stock LG skin is well thought out for what it is but it has features I'd never use and I prefer the simplicity of vanilla Android.
It's a great tablet, although not a perfect one. If I'd paid more than I did I would probably be less positive. But for the money it's been fine. And Newegg remains one of the very best places to shop. There's no way they'd sell open box as new so if this is what you want, buy with confidence.
Pros: Nicely designed and packaged, well-priced, good manual and helpful tech support
Cons: Push button set up didn't work consistently, not a silver bullet for weak reception depending on router, repeater position, mobile device wifi sensitivity
Overall Review: LTE notwithstanding the mobile revolution that started with laptops and has evolved into a tsunami of tablets and smartphones is only possible because of wifi. That said, wifi can be voodoo, far less reliable than your primary internet connection, let alone your phone. You could live in a one bedroom apartment and have two rooms with bad wifi or you could live in a huge loft and have good signals half a block away. Variables like obstructions and competing signals impact reception (these are radios).
So even in our small apartment the kitchen is kind of a blind spot. Our laptops are robust enough to maintain a connection to our Netgear WNR3500L but our four tablets struggle with any kind of demanding streaming. One of the coolest things about our Android tablets is Time Warner Cable's live TV app. I've never lived in a home with a TV in the kitchen so this would be major if we could get it to work.
So I thought to put one of these in the kitchen. I can't really tell if having it positioned high or low matters to reception because I'm very limited as to how I can place it. TPL recommends having 3 LEDs for best results. Placed on the floor, about 40 feet from the router with a couple of walls I get at least two and sometimes three LEDs.
It's enough to boost all the devices we use in there: a couple of phones, a few tablets, two laptops. Signal strength that was in the 60% range is now in the 90s. Video and music are both 99.9% flawless.
So I like this product a lot - for its design, packaging, tech support, web site, etc. It works for me given its value price. Since wifi is what it is, I can't know if you will like it as well. But TPL tech support is very helpful.
Pros: Latest refinement in the leading multi-function inkjet: quieter, easier to network, more reliable paper handling, mature functional drivers, improved industrial design
Cons: The limited edition of Paperport works well for scanning and organizing but it installs nagware to get you to buy an upgrade. You can disable it through msconfig or a number of utilities. Model is brand new so options other than Brother OEM consumables is limited.
Overall Review: I have had more inkjet and laser printers in my home than I have fingers and toes over the past twenty years. Most of them were like vacuum cleaners. Not only did they break inconveniently after only a couple of years (or less) but they were finicky about paper, ink, networking. and always . . . the jams.
Then almost ten years ago I bought my first Brother laser printer. It cost $139 and was the best laser I'd ever owned. Never jammed. Inexpensive to maintain. The Brother was everything I wanted. I only replaced it because eventually those printers need a new drum, it didn't do duplex and it wasn't directly network ready. I got more than my money's worth. So I bought another Brother laser. This time I paid $70. It's better than the one it replaced.
Five years ago our Canon inkjet died after two years and when I went shopping there was good news and bad news. I ended up buying a Brother MFC, as much because of its small size as its features or reputation. When the print head of that unit became dysfunctional I didn't hesitate to buy another Brother MFC.
So far I am thrilled with this new Brother. It's the same size as the other for starters. It looks much better. It goes into real hibernation when not in use (the last one didn't). It's more quiet and vibrates much less. It takes paper that made the old one jam.
Set it up on two different Windows pcs in less than an hour. A desktop via USB and a laptop via wifi. The wifi was set up from the driver install on the laptop through a wizard and worked perfectly the first time. Didn't even need WPS. I've had two other inkjets that supposedly worked over a network and they were both a pain in the neck without a wired connection to the router.
Print quality is first rate. Text is so sharp I would think it was from a laser except it's blacker than a laser's. Snapshots look great. Full page gray-scale photos are surprising good.
The manual is exceptionally clear on potentially confusing subjects like how to connect the fax on a single phone line with an answering machine or a cable VOIP connection.
Let me save you some time. Comparing this model to those available from Epson and Canon, you have to pay significantly more for a photo paper bypass tray. Given that I need a color printer primarily for photos, why would I want to go to the trouble of swapping paper sizes every time I have a different job? Case closed. I'm a Brother lover.
Pros: Extremely fast, relatively quiet, state of the art internals, torture tested for reliability
Cons: More expensive than consumer drives of similar capacity but you get what you pay for
Overall Review: As a pc enthusiast and hardware buff for over twenty years my home is littered with *working* internal hard drives I've outgrown. Until the past few years I never had occasion to replace a dying drive, but times change. When I bought my first *1GB* (that's right, one gigabyte) drive in 1994 I thought it was a steal at $500. Back in the mid-90s a drive that large went for about $1/MB new but I was happy to buy the drive used. Back then most drives came with five year warranties and I never had one in active use for anything like that long and I never had one fail. Plus there was a lot of competition between (now long gone) companies like Connor, Quantum, Maxtor, and IBM along with Seagate and Western Digital.
I welcomed affordable internal drives large enough to back up my system partition and important documents. For years I was the only home user I knew that backed up to large capacity tapes, but the tapes and equipment were expensive and quirky and a restore took forever. Having a drive large enough and reliable enough to contain a couple of images of my startup drive meant I never had to reinstall Windows from scratch when an experiment went wrong.
When USB 3.0 matured enough to make backing up to an external drive practical I bought a few. After all, everyone says you should be able to store your backup at a different site from your pc and as multimedia grew in size and quality being able to bring movies and music to a friend's home was appealing. The problem is, every external drive I've had (from different manufacturers) has had problems I never experienced with internal drives in the "good old days."
Nowadays all drives are S.M.A.R.T. compliant and there are free tools like CrystalDiskInfo that will tell you if your drive is healthy or not. And believe me, you want to know. I've bought refurbished drives that had defective sectors out of the box and external drives with measly one year warranties that were on the verge of failure after 14 months. And even the external drives with healthy storage had interfaces that could not be counted on to mount first time every time. The extra circuitry between drive and pc was problematical.
Sadly, I don't trust *any* of the four external drives I have now for the kind of reliable back up I require.
Which is why if quality is important to you, and most especially the reliability of your backups, you'd do well to consider paying the premium for an enterprise drive even if you don't intend to build a redundant RAID array, which is their purpose by design. You benefit personally from the level of transparent quality you'd want out of your bank's servers. The WD RE is quiet, cool and the fastest spindle drive I've ever owned. Every once in a while it's nice to treat yourself to the best and just as you want your family in the safest car, ultimately the potential for failure in a commodity hard drive just isn't worth the potential pain.
Pros: Very simple set-up. Router can be configured remotely via Linksys cloud interface or locally. Auto channel switching avoids wifi congestion. USB 3.0 port supports both hard drives and printers. DLNA ready for devices like game consoles and smart TVs. Capable of AC1200 throughput though spec'd at AC900.
Cons: Old-style AC adapter doesn't fit sideways as most do these days. No built-in bandwidth monitor for those whose internet usage is capped. Not significantly faster on 2.5GHz channel than much less expensive wireless N routers.
Overall Review: When it comes to our networking needs our small family are hardly power users but we've gone from a single Mac iBook and one desktop pc connected to a $25 wireless G router to one desktop, one network printer, two laptops and two Android tablets. We live in an apartment building with a lot of competition for the 2.5GHz band so upgrading to a dual band router made sense. In fact if you're a family with multiple ios devices, smart tvs and game consoles, buying a AC capable router is a no brainer.
Linksys has designed their "Smart Wifi" line to be as user friendly as possible and the EA6200 is the least expensive of their dual band AC line-up. As soon as you plug the router into your broadband modem and fire up a web browser you're presented with a very straightforward GUI that allows for a great deal of customization without being overwhelming. If you are replacing another wireless router and already have devices using that router's SSID and password I'd suggest manually changing Linksys' preset SSID and password to those you used previously. As easy as it is to add new devices by Wifi Protected Setup you don't want to have to change the SSID and password on all of your existing devices.
Now unless you have recent MacBooks, iPads, iPhones, or iPod Touches you may not yet have an AC device that will take full advantage of the EA6200. However state of the art Android phones such as the Samsung S4 and the HTC ONE employ AC wifi as do many Windows ultrabooks. For older laptops you can easily install an Intel AC/Bluetooth pci-e card for as little as $34. And there are countless USB dongles you can plug into almost any PC to get dual band wifi. In fact Newegg has a great page that lists dozens of AC capable devices at all price points: http://is.gd/UU7XMw
Given that you may not be able to take advantage of dual band AC just yet, the EA6200 may seem a bit expensive. But a comparison to other AC900 and AC1200 routers shows it to be very competitively priced. For a family that wants a set it and forget it router that is also highly configurable and can grow as you add ever more capable devices the EA6200 is about as future proof a unit as you can buy for the money.
Pros: Theoretically turns any Windows 7 or Windows 8 laptop display into a touchscreen. Nicely packaged with clear instructions. Offers a taste of what Windows 8 touch apps are like for conventional pc's. Stylus can also serve as digital pen for making handwritten notes on documents or presentations.
Cons: Mounting to side of display is flimsy. Touch response is a bitt laggy, inconsistent and extremely fiddly on conventional desktop apps.
Overall Review: Although this is being marketed at a way to enjoy the Windows 8 touchscreen experience on a conventional laptop, I had a rather specific reason for wanting this product to deliver. I use my Acer AO756 laptop in the kitchen to follow recipes, check email, interact with music applications like Spotify and Last.fm, etc.
Since I'm washing my hands every few moments, eventually the moisture from my hands renders the touchpad useless and forces a restart. Frustrating!
So I thought this product would keep me up and running since it would do everything the touchpad was supposed to do even if my hands were wet. In theory.
In practice the stylus works well with Windows 8 "modern" apps whose big tiles provide a big target. On desktop apps whose menu items are small on high resolutions not so much. It's very difficult to hit the "target" precisely and since response is laggy you don't know immediately if you touched the screen correctly. It didn't really provide the solution I was looking for.
I'll bet a firmware upgrade could greatly improve this product. Until then I think I'll just keep a mouse around for when my hands are wet. :)
Pros: Reasonably fast quad core soc, excellent 1280x800 ips screen, nice industrial design for all plastic body, dual camera (rare at this price) albeit not high res by any means, HDMI out port, SD slot, Jelly Bean 4.1.1, rooted out of the box, basically vanilla android, Google Play Store preinstalled along with email, browser, gmail, camera, es file explorer, 16GB NAND
Cons: No GPS or Bluetooth, camera is as basic as it gets, some sellers may still have units with Chinese bloatware, mainstream gpu is fine for HD video, may not be fast enough for some games
Overall Review: Rolled the dice on this and so far so good. I'd buy it from an American seller if possible so as to return if there is hardware failure early. Durability and quality control are unproven so far since this is brand new. But fit and finish is fine for plastic.
Unit I got had the latest of three firmware upgrades since release late last year and is reputed to have solved most early problems. All Chinese apps have been removed leaving a rather lean assortment of standard Google apps, Netflix, Facebook, and very little bloat. Responsiveness of both screen and cpu are fine.
Probably Nexus 7 for $50 more is a better bet but the person I bought this for wanted dual cameras and an SD slot so this is the only alternative with similar specs. And she wanted to spend as little as possible.
If it holds up a nice little machine.
Pros: Not every name brand micro SD card will work with the many Android builds that root the various Nooks.
Cons: It's a Class 4 SD card. So sloooow.
Overall Review: Just as you can burn an Ubuntu DVD and boot into Linux without altering your Windows OS, it is possible to "root" many Android devices without altering their "native" OS. Most phones and tablets have no SD slot so require a complete replacement of the OS internally. The various Barnes and Noble Nooks have SD slots so it is possible to burn the Android OS to a micro SD card and boot the Nook into full fledged almost Nexus Android. Remove the card, your Nook OS is back unaltered.
The process can be easy with the right download but booting can be very finicky. Many name brand cards won't work.
The Sandisk Class 4's have been consistently successful.
It's also a pretty good price.