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EZVIZ Mini O 720p HD Wi-Fi Home Video Monitoring Security Camera, Built-in Speaker and Mic, Works with Alexa using IFTTT
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

Pros: >High-quality video stream, very little lag
>Mounting is pretty straight forward, don't even need screens if you have a magnetic surface
>IR is pretty good; switches automatically, with few false switches
>Android app is pretty responsive
>Video is encrypted by default, and the encryption keys are unique to your camera's hardware; scan QR code to add the hardware to your EZVIZ account, and access the video feed through there.

Cons: >WiFi only (minor con)
>Setup is anything but painless
>No PC support, aside from web browser cloud login (costs money)
>IFTTT and Alexa crashes camera
>No chat support, only phone hotline and email
>iOS app is pretty slow
>Appears to stream to EZVIZ only (better security, but locks you into their system)

Other Thoughts: When I first put my hands on this camera, I thought I was going to love it. I wanted to love it. But I just can't recommend it.

The hardware is very good, and well worth the $80 (12/2/2016). HOWEVER, that is $80 wasted just because of the software. I've set this camera up twice (two different networks, to test out how it performed on 5GHz AC and 2.4GHz N - did well on both, with no noticeable difference). Neither setup went smoothly or quickly. It paired with my phone every time, and picked up the correct WiFi network, but actually getting it onto the WiFi was a feat in itself. Both time it took multiple hardware resets of the camera, pushing the password, generating QR codes that I'm trying to show to the camera (with no way of telling if it is actually focused on it or not). All in all, it is way too complicated of a solution, especially in the face of WiFi Protected setup. They could easily have put a simple WPS button on the camera, and I could have gotten it onto my network in seconds, instead of 30 minutes of struggling. This alone was a huge turn-off

Then there is the matter that they really want you to pay them for their service. You can put an SD card in, but unless you do that, you can only record when you have the app open and you manually press record (to save the video to your phone). You could also buy their "Vault", which is essentially a non-extendable, non-upgradeable, dedicated-purpose NAS. It isn't worth the price they are asking for it, nor is 1TB really enough. Maybe the cloud service is worth it to you, but if you're willing to pay for a year or two of their service, you should probably just buy solution that uses local hardware that you can exert more control over for around the same price.

Then there is the Alexa integration through IFTTT. Short synopsis: just don't bother. If you try to use the feature twice, the camera freezes and you have to reset it. It also doesn't seem to add anything, just lets you talk through the camera, which you can already do through the app. There is potential here with this feature, but there are also tons of bugs.

Finally, it is the lack of PC or Mac support that really kills it. Both have app stores, both can accept 'non-app' software. There really is no excuse to not have a dedicated client for desktop environments, or at least a web browser interface (that doesn't cost money). Having the camera stream encrypted to their servers is probably the correct solution for security conscious families. It doesn't leave the camera open to the web. The encryption keys are (presumably) exchanged in the factory, and all you are doing is attaching the keys to your EZVIZ account. But without a way to look at my camera from a desktop, the entire experience is fatally limited.

I would say keep looking. Maybe one of EZVIZ's higher end systems? But not this, not for $80 with the service they try to sell you on top to really use it, and definitely not until the bugs are shaken out.

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Corsair Gaming K70 LUX Mechanical Keyboard Backlit Red LED Cherry MX Brown (CH-9101022-NA)
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

Pros: >Actuating the keys takes very little force
>Comfortable to type on
>Comfortable to game on
>The 'disable windows key' key is an actual button, instead of the too common (cheap) switch
>Media controls have a satisfying feel, despite being rubber domes

Cons: >Corsair loves to fragment their software; LINK for their AIOs, CUE for they keyboards and mice
>LEDS are 'top-mounted', so you can't really see the shift-alt-functions of the keys that have them (number line, brackets, ect)
>No real community profiles exist for the non-RGB keyboards (not really a con, just be aware of this)
>The alt-functions of the keys are listed below the main function. So "=" is above "+", "/" is above "?", etc. All backwards from most layouts.

Other Thoughts: So once you've gotten used to it, you can just 'flow' on top of the keys and trigger them without so much as a click, and without really being any slower. You do need to get used to this however. This makes is super comfy to type on for long periods, as it takes so little effort to actually use. But know that the lighting is kind of annoying. When every key is lit, it is almost uncomfortable to look at. If you turn it down, you can barely read it. I found a good balance with one of the ripple effects. When I am typing on it, the keys are lit, when I am not typing, they are off. I could probably go in and make a profile that lights up the keys when I type, and fades them out after so long of not typing. But I haven't. I've been lazy.

On the topic of profiles, don't hold your breath for one that will work with this particular keyboard. Nearly ever profile I found required RGB backlighting. Again, not a con - just be aware of this. While I'm on the topic of profiles, lets talk about the software - and Corsair stubborn refusal to merge softwares. I have an H80+ in my system, so I'm using Link to control that. Silly me, I thought Link would be used to control their keyboards (and mice) too. Nope, Cue. So you'll need two separate pieces of software running at startup for devices from the same OEM. Kind of an oversight. I honestly can't think of a technical reason as to why they can't merge the two, it is probably just a bureaucratic one. But, being frank here, both Cue and Link are pretty terrible. Sticking to Cue - the software for Corsair keyboards and mice - it is very confusing to create custom anything. There are completely separate workspaces for working on a profile or macro, and actually enabling. Both workspaces have steep learning curves (for peripheral software), and a change in one won't necessarily be reflected in the other unless you takes steps to make sure it is. I've used CAD software that had more streamlined workflows.... there is a sentence I never thought I would write.

Overall, a very nice keyboard. I love the MX Browns, more than Blues or Reds, and far more than I thought I was going to. But I wish it was RGB. I can't decide if the set of function keys that are on the K90 are worth the upcharge, especially since you can macro to pretty much any key. I don't think I am really going to knock any eggs off for the software, since the k70 works perfectly without it and it could potentially be updated in the future to make it more user-friendly. Don't expect to really enjoy the unless you are downloading user profiles - which you won't be, since they are rare for Corsair's non-RGB boards.

So 5 eggs, but only because the hardware is really nice and you can completely ignore the software that doesn't really add anything and only detracts from the experience.

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Pros: >Stayed quick after a month or so of usage, and approx. 70% capacity utilization
>Samsung magician software made installing and moving absolute child's play

Cons: >Keep trying to install an unsigned driver from Samsung India at startup. Windows blocks it though
>"Where is the power? Where is the SATA? Where have all the cables gone?" It's a $200~ drive. A SATAIII cable is expected, but no one seems to include them anymore.

Other Thoughts: Running Windows 10 on an ASUS Maximus Formula V, I can now boot into windows in under 10 seconds, and I now leave all of my programs to boot on startup too (I know, I'm a madman). Steam, GoG, Origin, uPlay, Spotify, 'Amazing Prime Music', Telegram, ownCloud, Corsair, Logitech, SteelSeries, Tobii, Adobe (and its various add-ons), OneDrive, SpiderOak, Soundblaster, KeePass, Slack, and my AV software - and it doesn't even bat an eye. I hit the login screen, unlock the computer, and can immediately open a web browser. Task Manager reports my last BIOS time as 38.9 seconds, but it feels shorter than that. All I know is that when I was on a 320Gb 7200rpm HDD, it took ~5 minutes from BIOS to being able to use my computer, and really only SpiderOak, OneDrive, Logitech, Corsair, SteelSeries, KeePass, Tobii, and my AV software would run.

I held off upgrading so long because I could never really justify the $/GB premium on quality SSDs until recently. I've had an SSD in my laptop (came with it installed) for a few years now, so I knew first hand the kind of advantages they offered. But I needed (wanted) 500GB minimum - I wanted more than just my OS on it, I wanted all my games and software on it. I also kept reading '1-year follow-up' reviews about cheaper SSDs that died or became nearly as slow as rust spinners. Intel and Samsung seemed to be the only two that were consistently puttting out quality SSDs. Not surprising, since they seem to be the only two making all of their own components - other SSD OEMs are actually buying most of their components from Intel and Samsung. Samsung is cheaper than Intel right now in the 2.5" form factor, and after catching the drive on sale at a brick & mortar retailer (let's call them "Nanohub"), I couldn't say 'no' anymore. And after a month of usage, it looks like it is going to go the distance.

Really, my only complaints concern Samsung Magician. It keeps trying to install an unsigned driver from Samsung India at Windows startup. Windows 10 keep blocking it, and I have no intention of unblocking it. Re-installing Samsung Magician had no effect. An email to customer support got no response. But I also was unable to find anyone else complaining of a similar issue, so I seem to be an isolated case - not sure what makes me special. But this is really not much more than an annoyance, just a click-through Windows prompt at startup that informs me that Windows blocked the installation. As for the software's usability:
Some of its more advanced features are hidden. You have to be willing to click around, and get to OS optimization screen to set some of the options - but can change these same options with Windows itself too. Nothing major, just minor UX complaints mostly.

Benchmarks (AS SSD Benchmark):
>Control w/ no data
>>Seq Read: 521.82 MB/s
>>Seq Write: 492.89 MB/s
>>4K Read: 24.03 MB/s
>>4K Write: 61.50 MB/s
>>4k-64Thrd Read: 383.85 MB/s
>>4K-64Thrd Write: 331.38 MB/s
>>Acc. Time Read: 0.049 ms
>>Acc. Time Write: 0.041 ms
>>Read Score: 460
>>Write Score: 442
>>Combined Score: 1143

>After ~1mo of usage, and 70% capacity utilization
>>Seq Read: 521.73 MB/s
>>Seq Write: 482.96 MB/s
>>4K Read: 29.20 MB/s
>>4K Write: 56.34 MB/s
>>4k-64Thrd Read: 380.78 MB/s
>>4K-64Thrd Write: 295.62 MB/s
>>Acc. Time Read: 0.103 ms
>>Acc. Time Write: 0.037 ms
>>Read Score: 462
>>Write Score: 400
>>Combined Score: 1106

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Michael B.'s Profile

Display Name: Michael B.

Date Joined: 11/04/07

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  • Reviews: 73
  • Helpfulness: 37
  • First Review: 02/16/08
  • Last Review: 12/02/16
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