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EZVIZ Mini Plus HD 1080p WiFi Home Security Camera with 16GB microSD Card, Motion Detection, 135 degree View, Night Vision, 2 Way Audio, Works with Alexa using IFTTT (Black)
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Pros: This is the second small, cheap wi-fi camera I have used and coming into this, my hopes were pretty low - the last one was woefully bad, both in software and physical hardware.

However, this camera has pleasantly surprised me. I'm still not a fan of proprietary apps and such, but the EZVIZ app is pretty easy to set up and use. The instructions for pairing the camera to your network were pretty straightforward and the camera connected on the first try.

Video quality is actually pretty good! I assumed I would always want it on 1080p, but having it mounted right at the front door to my house I found that the middle quality setting was adequate for my needs (and will surely provide more recording time on the storage card). Speaking of which, this unit does come with a built in 16 gb memory card! The field of view is fairly wide, too, meaning that you can get a pretty solid view of an entire room.

The mounting system, while not particularly robust, is creative and convenient. You simply fasten the metal baseplate to a surface using the including screws, then stick the camera to it - the magnetic base in the camera has a pretty strong grip on the plate. This allows minor adjustments if you don't quite get the plate installed perfectly straight.

The motion detection seems to work pretty well, though the sensitivity adjustment could use some tweaking. I can't quite seem to pinpoint the protocol for how long it records after detecting motion; sometimes its only 15 or 20 seconds, others its a minute (or more).

The device also comes with a 10' long micro-usb power cord; I'm sure if you wanted you could find an even longer micro usb cord to use.

Cons: Like I said, I'm not a fan of every Dic and Jane requiring you to use their specific app, especially when the camera will not record to a network drive - you are limited to the memory installed on the camera or paying what I assume is a ridiculous amount for EZVIZ server space. For me, not a deal breaker, but if I was setting up a whole home security system rather than just one unit, it definitely would be.

While the app is easy to use, it is pretty basic. It allows you to change some settings on the camera, view recordings, and stream live. However, it is often hesitant to rotate on my phone screen, and will refuse to stream (recorded or live) about 20% of the time, requiring me to close and reopen the app. It supports push notifications, but you can't clear them on your phone without actually opening the notification (maybe that's just me, though?) Also, when viewing video (live or recorded), there are buttons to take a snapshot or download the video to your phone, neither of which work.

You can adjust the sensitivity of the motion detection, though your choices are somewhere between "think I saw a fly" and "nah, that guy isn't important". I am on the second less sensitive setting now and it positively notifies me of the mailman stopping by, the garage door opening, and the front door opening (all clearly in the middle of the frame), but also picks up on a car driving by 100 feet away in the very top corner of view...which of course results in a notification I can't clear without opening it. It reliably does this 2-3 times every day. I can't say how many cars go by, but I am in a relatively quiet residential neighborhood.

Other Thoughts: I haven't bothered with the audio since I don't really care to use it (I don't need to hear my cat meowing when I'm not home). I appreciate the long power cord, but I wish the device supported PoE so I could just run some Cat6 to it and have a more stable connection and not have to worry about using extension cords.

I cannot comment on the night vision capabilities of the camera as my driveway is fairly well lit up at night.

As long as you are okay with placing the camera near an outlet and only being able to save the video to the camera without paying, I think this is actually a great unit.

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Seagate IronWolf 1TB NAS Hard Drive 5900 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5
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Pros: Hard drives aren't particularly exciting, and outside of superfast SSDs or failed drives, there usually is very little to say about them. I'll see what I can do here...

The drive claims to have enhanced features to keep it extra stable (anti-vibration), and though I can't really say if it quells vibrations, I think it has a positive effect on noise - this drive is practically silent, even when working. When installed alongside several (7200 RPM) drives in my main rig, I couldn't hear this drive over the CPU fan, let alone the other drives spinning away.

Speeds are right in line with what you would expect from a 5900 RPM drive; somewhere in the 150-160 MB/sec range for read and write. Certainly won't blow you away, especially not on its own, but drives like this are designed to be set up in RAID to provide power and redundancy, not flat out speed.

Cons: Historically, I have been a fan of WesternDigital drives, having experienced only one failure over the course of 20+ drives and nearly 15 years. I was a little disappointed to see that this line of drives only comes with a 3 year warranty where most if not all WD drives come with a 5 year warranty. I have only had to warranty a drive once, but its nice to know that the protection is there if you ever need it.

Really, with only a few weeks of usage under it's belt, it is hard to find many faults in the drive. Long term reliability is where slower drives like this tend to shine and I anticipate the same from this unit.

Other Thoughts: I ran this drive in my main desktop for a few weeks, where it saw duty storing and moving a couple hundred GB of photos and music. My xbox one soon filled up (4 games fills up a 500 GB drive!) so I bought a cheap enclosure and have this drive hooked up to the xbox via USB 3.0. Once formatted correctly, the console picked it up and had no problems reading or writing to it.

As I mentioned above, outside of super fast drives or ones that die, there is rarely much to say about them. Seagate has a long history of building good drives, and while I fail to see the need for 20 different lines of drives for different uses (server, video security, etc) if it works, it works.

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Linksys CM3024 DOCSIS 3.0 (24 x 8) Cable Modem
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

5 out of 5 eggs A Good Product - but Check with your cable company! 10/05/2016

This review is from: Linksys CM3024 DOCSIS 3.0 (24 x 8) Cable Modem

Pros: In theory, this device is pretty easy to set up - just plug it in, then call your cable company to give them the numbers off the back to get it into their system. More on that below.

...once I went to my parent's home, I had a little more luck with their cable company (Xfinity/Comcast). The model claims on the box that it is approved to work with many of the major providers, including XFinity, Cox, and TimeWarner. And they weren't wrong, with the exception of the rep trying to tell me why using my own router is morally impure, I was able to get it up and running quite quickly. It has no problem handing their 100+ mbps service and after several weeks, has not required a single reboot or power cycle.

A series of speed tests show that their service is right on the money, with ping speeds in the 20 ms range. This may be more a measure of their service rather than their modem, but I digress.

Cons: The base isn't really made to come off. To remove it, you must take the tiny screws out. It doesn't seem to like that and there are two little nubs that remain. Further, it doesn't support wall mounting. Not a big deal for them, but it would have been had I been able to use it in my own home. Oh, and the whole nightmare that was trying to use it in my house - more on that below.

Other Thoughts: I have Buckeye Cable in Ohio. Their website lists a handful of Arris modems/modem-router combos that they support (presumably just the ones that they rent) and says that if you want to use your own, plug it in then call them. This was on a page dated in August of 2016. When I called them, their only solution was "plug it in. If it doesn't work in a half hour, it won't work". Complete and udder ineptitude from the top to the bottom of their customer service group. If I had options outside of them, I would surely be utilizing them now.

Long story short, some ISPs will refuse to support this device and more or less force you into your $4/month rental fee for the rest of eternity. I sincerely hope you have better luck than I.

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Dean M.'s Profile

Display Name: Dean M.

Date Joined: 05/04/04

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  • First Review: 07/01/05
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