Date Joined: 12/23/06
Pros: Case is a decent size. Most ATX PC cases that are used are mid-tower cases. They offer a compromise between utility of space and compactness. This case in particular fits this description. The first thing I noticed was the soft magnetic air flow meshes that can be peeled off and cleaned. There are three, one on the top, one on the bottom for the PSU intake and one on the front. The front one is not noticeable right away since it sits underneath the front panel. It is a nice touch and does add for a bit of convenience when cleaning PC cases since everyone knows they are HUGE dust magnets.
What stood out to me was that the case does support EATX boards on top of ATX, MIcro ATX and Mini ITX. At first glance it doesn't look like it will fit an EATX board but it somehow does. Just a testament to changing design philosophies over time. There is quite a bit of space inside for multiple peripherals as well. Though it is advertised to hold 5x 2.5 SSD drives there isn't many out there that will utilize that much amount of room let along run 5x SSDs. 2x HDD slots are provided in the HDD cage behind the PSU slot. I/O panel on top is pretty standard these days with a combination of 2x USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports as well as headphone and microphone jacks. 8x expansion slots are provided which is ample enough space to run two graphics cards (370mm) in SLI or Crossfire as well as some other peripherals such as SSDs connected via PCI-e. What I really like about this case is there is ample space for fans. If you are using a closed loop CPU cooler there is space on the top and front for a double fan layout or on the back if you are using a cooler with a single fan. There are two fans that sit above the PSU classified as internal fans though and while that may improve airflow theoretically it really isn't necessary.
There is ample room for cable management as well and this has become the standard for most top PC cases. Back panel is easily detachable with thumb screws which allows access for custom cable management based on the builder's specifications. Velcro cable ties are also provided for enhanced cable management.
Cons: I'm not a big fan of tempered glass cases just because I had one break on me. It was a real PIA to clean up the shards and it nearly damaged the graphics cards that were installed. It is aesthetically pleasing for sure but I prefer clear plastic side windows due to their durability.
The case does not feel as sturdy as cases I had in the past. I have noticed some machining flaws around the steel edges. The case is classified as SPCC steel which stands for "cold roll steel commercial quality". Now I know it doesn't really matter to some because there isn't much real world data to tell the difference but steel is poor at dispersing heat vs aluminum.
Overall Review: Overall this is a pretty decent case. It has all the common bells and whistles you would expect from the latest PC cases. The amount of features you are getting at that price point is really good especially if you are building a budget rig. My only major gripe with the case was the tempered glass side window but other than that this is a solid case that you can't go wrong with.
Pros: First off, at initial glance the SSD looks big but it quite small and portable, small enough to fit in your pocket. What I like about it immediately is that it has substantial weight to it. The anodized aluminum and plastic rubber sides gives it that quality feel. Comes with a USB-C cable in the box which is starting to become standard now considering most portable SSDs back then utilized the older micro USB 3.0 standard. The cable is 8 inches long which gives you plenty of room when connecting to a laptop or desktop
Installation was simple and the computer recognized it immediately. I did a file transfer test with a 4K video to validate the write speeds and they were as expected. Overall write speed peaked at 427 MB/s fluctuating as low as a few KB/s. In real world conditions you will be lucky to get even half of the advertised speed due hardware and software constraints exhibited by both the device and the pc. The USB 3.1 Gen 2 system that this particular device uses supports up to 10 GB/s and often times is not the case of the bottleneck solely from the device. The SSD remained quite warm during the file transfer but still cool enough not to warrant any concern.
Cons: Crucial Storage Executive can be daunting for those who are not tech savvy looking to utilize a portable SSD. Just ignore the program and add files if that's the case.
Real world speeds are much lower than advertised and that is to be expected. Advertising by tech companies prevents accurate real world numbers. Best to take a look at professional reviews online for a more accurate representation of performance.
Overall Review: A 3 year warranty is included with the products which isn't bad but I've personally seen top tier portable SSD's with warranties of 5 years. The price point is average for this particular unit considering prices have been dropping for years with flash based memory storage units. Crucial which is a subsidiary of Micron has been a reputable brand for years and have provided some solid memory in the past which has lasted me for years. Overall this product hits a lot of what consumers are looking for in a portable SSD. Price, performance and portability. You can't go wrong with this model.
Pros: Packaged well and minimal waste that was part of the box. What is included inside is the cooler with two fans, multiple brackets for different chipsets and long screws for securing. The unit was easy to install due to it's compact design. Over the years Corsair has made some refinements to closed loop CPU coolers and the H75 is such an example. I had no issue securing it to the LGA 1151 mobo that I was working with (ASUS PRIME Z270-P with Kaby Lake i7-7700K). The cold plate made adequate contact with the internal head spreader and I used Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound for adequate heat transfer. The fan cables connected to the mobo fan header properly and you can use a single header to control both fans as well. I used both fans when securing the radiator to the case (FYI - was using a Corsair Carbide 100R case) and there was adequate room for proper air flow without any obstruction. The white LED pump head is a nice touch and adds to the illumination within the case. The H75 comes with a 5 year warranty which is pretty nice considering that a lot of closed loop coolers have a 3 year warranty.
Cons: More of an aesthetic con but I wish this unit had RGB lighting instead of just white.
Overall Review: All in all this is a solid cooler. I didn't record any temps but they were 15-20 C lower than the stock intel heatsink that I was using under full load. For how this unit is priced, it is a solid deal. Corsair has an outstanding reputation when it comes to delivering solid closed loop coolers for CPUs.
Pros: Easy to install and whisper quiet. There was a bit of buzzing noise initially when I first installed it but it turned out to be one of the case fans that got dislodged a bit during installation of the PSU. You can barely hear the fan especially during zero RPM mode. According to system specs for this wattage, fan noise ranges from 10-15 db.
The PSU comes equipped with a few safety measures such as Over-voltage protection (OVP), Over-current protection (OCP), Over-temperature protection (OTP), and Short-circuit protection (SCP). All four work in tandem to protect the power supply from electrical fluctuations and anomalies that might damage the electrical components of the PC.
The power supply is rated as 80 PLUS TITANIUM which is a voluntary certification which indicates the power efficiency. Titanium is the highest rating thus far with 90% efficiencies across all loads meaning that there is less power draw from the outlet and as a result less power is wasted as heat. For a high end PSU such as this, Titanium certification is a big plus.
Modular cable systems are nearly ubiquitous on power supplies these days save for a few low budget options. There are a plethora of cable options which are supplied in a black bag for storage. A nice touch that Corsair added was different modular cables for straight and right-angle SATA power cables. I can't tell you how annoyed I would be when only one type would be supplied therefore limiting power cable management so this is a big plus. Velcro and cable ties are also included to proper cable management.
A 10 year warranty is included which is top notch for PSUs in it's class. There is always an extremely slight chance that a power supply will fail including a high end model such as the AX850 making a 10 year warranty much appreciated.
Cons: None that I could think of
Overall Review: The magnetic colored badges that stick to the side are a nice touch though I feel they should have included green in the mix to work with a green build. A floppy connector is included just in case for anyone who still finds use in the archaic storage medium.
I swapped out my old Seasonic 750 for this unit just to check if it even started and to test for fan noise. Installation was pretty simple though I feel that anyone using a mid-tower rig may have trouble due to the extended dimensions of this unit. I am currently running a full-tower case which fit snug.
This power supply is mainly meant for those looking to build a high end rig due to the power draw that many high end components such as the CPU and GPUs require. With the provided safety specs, modular cables, and 10 year warranty you can't go wrong with this unit for your build.
Pros: Beautifully made laptop once you open it. The plastic design put me off at first but I soon realized how durable it was. It has a very thin profile and is pretty light. Hinges open and close seamlessly with little resistance. Having anti-dust fans is a nice touch, I have to use it for a bit longer to see if they make in difference in keeping dust out from the internal components. Keyboard is quite responsive, the red LED lights add that signature ASUS ROG look.
In terms of raw speed, this laptop runs pretty quick. The Intel Core i5-8300H is Intel's line of Coffee Lake mobile processors. With 4 cores and 8 threads, a combination usually reserved for the i7 line, you can't go wrong with raw speed. Turbo pushes the clock from 2.3 GHz to 4.0 GHz during usage that requires intense processing power. Personally I have only seen it hit that limit consistently while running games that require high performance specs. The "H" in the 8300H stands for "High Performance Graphics" referring to the built in Intel UHD Graphics 630 chip which is only utilized during standard use and defers to the dedicated GeForce GTX 1050 chip that is present inside for 3D graphics and other GPU related tasks. An ample 8 GB of ram is present inside which is the standard for most laptops these days allowing decent multitasking. The SSD though is what makes this thing fly. Previous iterations as contained a SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Drive) which is faster than your standard HDD but slower than a SDD . Booting up was snappy, roughly 12 seconds from initial startup to the desktop.
The IPS display produces eye popping colors as expected with very good contrast. It was easy to keep track of gameplay with minimal eyestrain and the best part of it all was the lack of glare.
I/O ports include your standard USB 2.0 Type A (2x), USB 3.0 Type A (1x), HDMI out, Gigabit ethernet LAN, microphone/headphone jack and AC port. I honestly expected there to be more ports included with model such as USB-C but considering that this will be used primarily for gaming makes it more of an extra.
Bluetooth 5.0 and your standard 802.11 ac wireless LAN is included.
Cons: Battery life can be a bit fickle which is why I am knocking off 1 egg for this review. The power draw on this is pretty intense while running games, barely lasting 2 hours while running Gears of War 4. Normal usage is fine peaking at 48-51 watts most of the time. While running Gears of War 4, power draw peaked around 112-115 watts.
Overall Review: After testing it out for about two weeks I would say that this is an average gaming laptop. Nowhere near the high end spec laptops that are set at higher price points but decent enough so that I could enjoy decent gaming. I would definitely recommend this for moderate to high end gaming which more emphasis on moderate. While the specs and all are able to handle most of whatever your throw at it, the overall feel of it screams "casual pc gamer". That's just my opinion.
Pros: - Small, lightweight and ultra portable
- The casing is pretty sturdy, feels rugged and substantial. Most casings are cheap plastic but this is metal.
- Easy setup. Just plug and use. Windows 10 automatically recognized the drive and a folder popped up for use.
- Utilizes USB 3.0 which is now ubiquitous on modern computers. Allows for faster transfer speeds compared to legacy USB 2.0 which is still commonly used. Cable is included but its pretty short.
- Western Digital "Discovery" is also included on the drive which is a hub for drive diagnostics, managing other drives, software updates and notifications.
- 3 year warranty
- CrystalDiskMark SEQ: 172/165 r/w MB/s......4k: 0.621/1.754 r/w MB/s
- Speeds above are pretty decent compared to other drives in it's class
Cons: - Not a fast drive in particular
Overall Review: After using this drive for about two weeks it's a pretty solid drive. Speeds weren't blazingly fast but tolerable. Performance isn't really a priority when it comes to external drives such as this, that's where an external SSD comes in. I have had some experience using Western Digital's "Discovery" drive program in the past and it can sometimes a be a bit buggy. Having diagnostics and other drive settings available via the program is handy especially for those that are not tech savvy. I haven't tried the import settings from cloud storage programs and I personally don't really see any use for them. Just another marketing gimmick. Overall this is a great external drive that is decently priced with ample storage. There is a 4 TB version on the market as well but for most individuals 2 GB should suffice for basic data storage needs.
Pros: - Easy to install
- Low power consumption (1.5 W at load)
- Low running temps
- Reasonably priced
- Crystal mark 119/120 r/w MB/s
- 3 year warranty
I used an old laptop to test this drive with (Lenovo Ideapad Y560, Intel Core i7 720Q, 8 GB DDR3 1600 RAM. Installation was breeze, booted up and no issues whatsoever. It ran a bit more quiet than the drive that was preinstalled with the laptop only because the original drive was a Seagate Momentus 7200 RPM drive. Faster drives = more noise.
Cons: - 5400 RPM drive
- Only utilizes SATA II limiting theoretical speeds to 3 Gb/s
- 500 GB
Overall Review: This is a very good bargain drive to start off with. It isn't really an upgrade compared to everything else that is out on the market. The only scenarios I would use this drive is to replace a faulty drive on an old laptop or upgrade the drive on a old game console (PS3). Most performance drives on the market are either fast hybrid drives running 7200 RPM with higher caches or an SSD. There is a 1 TB version on the market as well which will suffice much better than 500 GB if storage is a priority. Overall a solid drive for basic everyday needs.
Pros: - Fits snugly into the case that I used (Corsair Carbide 270R)
- Runs quiet. No hum that some PSUs are notorious for.
- 5 Year Warranty which is very good for a PSU, especially a 80 PLUS Bronze PSU.
- You get a decent amount of power for the price. Definitely not a top tier gaming workhorse but it will manage an i7 coupled with a GTX 1080 with your standard peripherals.
Cons: - Not enough modular ports but honestly you only need a lot if you need a PSU with more wattage
- 80 PLUS Bronze. Not a bad certification to start off with. It really is meaningful only when it comes to power draw from your outlet. If you are really concerned about power efficiency you are probably better off with an 80 PLUS Silver or Gold.
Overall Review: - Semi-modular design is pretty decent for starting build PSU such as this. Pins all fit in nicely with the motherboard sockets with not that much pull when removing them subsequently.
Pros: - Incredible amount of storage for an SSD, 2TB!
- Speed, Speed and Speed! This thing is blazingly fast and gives a lot of the competitors a run for their money. Boot times were consistent for several months on end despite utilizing over 2/3rds of capacity.
- Reliable and consistent. Again, while using this for several months on end this ssd held its ground with no hiccups whatsover.
- 3D NAND design. This is now the de-facto manufacturing standard for NAND memory due to its efficiency with regards to storage capacity and speed. VNAND is pretty much the same if advertised on other products.
- Setup was smooth. Acronis software is a nice touch and definitely gives you the control you need to monitor daily operations.
- 5 Year warranty (The drive will most likely outlive the warranty though but a 5 years is quite good for a SSD)
Cons: - None that I could fine other than the high price.
Overall Review: Numerous tests were done each month to confirm sequential read and write speeds and to gauge for consistency. I have only noticed a slight deviation of maybe anywhere from 10-20 MBps with regards to write speeds and 5-10 MBps with read speeds. That isn't that bad considering the drive had 1.35 TB of occupied memory cells. Advertised speeds are obviously not going to be met due to them being the theoretical speeds. You will be lucky to get upto 80-90% of that depending on the yields though that has been improved significantly over time.
Pros: - Fast, Fast, FAST!!!
- The above was possible without overclocking
- XMB profile was set correctly at a CAS of 16-18-18-36-54
- Low profile heat spreaders
- Runs extremely cool to the touch even at some heavy loads
- Lifetime warranty
Cons: - Despite the fact that the Corsair Vengeance line is designed for overclocking, having RGB wouldn't be so bad to customize a build.
Overall Review: Been running this with constant testing for several months and so far so good. Price point wise this set is ok. As time goes on DDR4 prices are gonna drop due to the standard becoming ubiquitous in the market. Test was done on a test rig utilizing a Z270X mobo with an Intel 7700K.
Pros: - Massive capacity, 10 TB which is a lot of video regardless of whichever resolution you are recording
- Can sustain long write times which accounts for its durability and endurance as a drive'\
- Was quite surprised of how quick it performed for a 5,400 RPM drive.
- 256 MB of cache which is largest ever
- Runs pretty quiet, Synologys make a difference
- Temps are not an issue runs extremely cool
- 3 year warranty which is outstanding and much needed for a drive in this class
Cons: - Expensive, not worth getting unless you really are using this for surveillance whether it is for business or the home setting.
Overall Review: Had the drive running for about 10 months now consistently without any hiccups. I was quite pleased with how well it has stood up to continuous writing. Recording was done using a third party security cam recording at 480p/30fps. Upon review of selections of recordings the drive was flawless. No degraded files etc.
Pros: Easy to install, just pop in and turn on once your build is complete. Utilized this pair with Kaby Lake Intel Core i7-7700K. Mobo was able to recognize the modules instantly due to preconfigured XMB 2.0 profile. Overclocking was done later at a stable 3400 Mhz. RGB settings are very easy to use and configure. Went with an all red setup with fans mobo and case LEDs. Temps and performance have remained stable consistently after a few months of running. No apparent hiccups.
Cons: Corsair Link was a little buggy after installation but after an update everything started up like clockwork.
Overall Review: This is a very good pair of modules that can add to the aesthetic look of your build.
Pros: Nice accent lighting that can be turned off if so desired, XMP and Turbo lights plus a stripe through the back. Build quality is excellent, durable, easy to use UEFI Bios, easy to set up everything. Great future proofing for current and next gen Intel CPU. Installation was a breeze.
Cons: I have compared this to a Z270X board that I had tested in the past and this alright, isn't as solid as the latter. I have encountered numerous bios issues on the board none of which I have experienced on the Z270 board. For example the board ended up getting stuck in a boot loop but upon switching the components to the Z270X board my test pc started up fine.
Only two fan ports, wish there was more.
Overall Review: This is a mid-range board. Though decent for a build I found that a lot of what I was expecting to be standard on the board wasn't. After spending nearly a month trouble shooting and comparing it with similar and even higher end boards like the Z270X, trying to figure out what was wrong was not worth the hassle. Could be a faulty bios, who knows. Though the board seems to be well designed save for the fan ports, software seems to be the bigger issue here.
Pros: Amazingly well executed onboard audio. The onboard audio is not only surprisingly clear but has given my desktop Amp and DAC a run for their money which is no small feat considering that my amp alone costs more than this motherboard. I have always been skeptical of onboard audio as it is usually plagued with hiss's hum's and does not play well with high impedance headphones
Holds both of my nvidia 970's tightly. Many GPU's are heavy and they will put a fair amount of stress on your PCI ports. My GPU's sagged when they were on my previous motherboard and it makes me smile to see them seated straight and it just looks nicer.
Plays well with Windows 7. There have been a fair number users saying that 1151 motherboards don't like Windows 7 and I was worried that I was going to have to switch to Windows 10( I do plan to switch eventually ). No problems at all.
I am mostly indifferent when it comes to pc lighting and component aesthetics in general but I do like the rear panel lighting as you can pick a separate color for the labels as you do for the panel ( also it looks pretty ). This motherboard has a great many customizable lights that can be set to a great many different colors.
The software. I usually avoid motherboard control software since they often have user interfaces that feel like bloatware. That is not the case this time around. I also like that the various control programs are modular so that you only have to install them on a per need basis as opposed to a suite style setup. There's even one that lets you set up your motherboard to ignore specific usb class types ( memory sticks, cameras, microphones, etc )
Cons: The only complaint I have so far is that that debug codes are not all listed in the manual and I have yet to find a way to look up unlisted codes outside of googling them. ( If you are unaware there is a two digit digital readout on the top right of the motherboard that displays an alphanumeric code to tell you what the motherboard is doing at any given time )
I will update this if I run into to any problems or find more features I want to rave about
Overall Review: Overall this is a solid board. Definitely worthy of running the latest 7th gen Intel chips.
Pros: Typical sized router, packaged well and easy to setup. Design is quite nice, all the routers in Nighthawk series have a similar design which distinguishes them as a Netgear router. Antennas are placed perfectly for adequate coverage within a given space. LED,s are easily distinguishable during day or night and there is a good amount of ventilation for heat dissipation throughout the design.
Specs wise this router is a powerhouse. Even though this sits in the middle of the range of Nighthawk routers currently available, it is incredible fast and the internals help support the power, range and speed that it offers. First off, 1.7 GHz dual core processor, more capable of handling multiple network streams and does so with ease. MU-MIMO Dual band 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz runs super smooth without a hitch. I have not had this router shut down on me due to overheating or overload yet.
The 160 MHz of channel bandwidth that is allowed is more than enough for gaming and mobile devices. Earlier routers were limited to lower bandwidths but the Nighthawk easily provides adequate capacity for a variety of devices. Signal strength is excellent. The four antennas help distribute the signal evenly throughout a set space, in my case my basement. Despite the fact that it is placed in my basement, I was able to get roughly 4 bars on my laptop (which is AC compatible) on the main floor, and 3 bars in the attic. Range will vary based on the size of the house and materials used for the floors, ceilings and walls due to interference.
Speed was no issue with the Nighthawk X4S. Was abile to get max average read speeds via 5 GHz AC of 183 Mbps and write speeds of 75 Mbps using my laptop which is equipped with a 866 Mbps AC adapter. Speeds could be better but the speeds that are advertised are only theoretical speeds
Software installation was a breeze. Firmware updates were quite fast and didn't hinder router performance. QoS is quite handy but in some rare cases can be a nuisance. I usually keep it disabled so performance isn't hindered for anyone utilizing the network under heavy loads elsewhere within the household. The Netgear genie app is very useful and doesn't seem to have any connectivity issues whatsoever. I was able to perfectly manage the router settings and connected devices from my Galaxy S7 edge.
A nice plus with this router is the addition of 2 x USB 3.0 ports and even an eSATA port for network attached storage and printers. eSATA is fairly uncommon amongst routers and I was surprised to see that Netgear included one on this model.
Cons: None really
Overall Review: I really don't have much to say about this router other than it is awesome. It is mostly meant for gaming and handling network intensive applications such as large file transfers. Overall a solid router.
Pros: Standard micro sd card. Fits well in devices. Not flimsy whatsoever. Packaging was very minimal compared to other brands.
Read speeds were fairly decent. Was able to obtain average speeds of 25.78 MB/s via memory card hub connected to an internal USB port. This is a UHS Speed class 1 card meaning minimum write speeds are set at 10 MB/s. Using a 400 MB MPEG-4 file, I was able to get average write speeds of 12.53 MB/s. Fairly decent of a microSDHC card. Tests were done using CrystalDiskMark.
Overall Review: This is a SDHC card so you are capped at 32 GB which is the capacity of the card anyway. 32 GB should suffice for photography, and for basic HD video recording at 720p or even 1080p. The card being UHS Speed class 1 also helps with reliability when taking video. Price point for this card is good. It is definitely a very good option if you are looking for a reliable memory card whilst on a budget. However if you are a memory hog like I am and need to store endless amounts of pictures, and HD video you may want to invest in an SDXC microsd card with a higher capacity. I haven't tested 4K video recording on this card but I don't expect to hold up if I were to take any 4K video. You are better off investing in a SDXC card with USH Speed class 3 certification which supports speeds minimum of 30 MB/s. Overall this is a solid memory card with decent performance.
Pros: Solidly constructed power supply. Feels like it is high quality and has a very simple build. Modular cables are supported allowing flexibility with cable management. Cabled secured into the PSU snug and made proper seals when connected to ports onto the mobo. Quiet, does not make a lot of noise and no whining noise either. Fans push out air adequately with no obstruction
I had spend a few weeks testing this PSU because due to prior experience building rigs, anything can go wrong. Safe to say that there were no failures and this unit held its ground with moderate to high load functions. I had only one discrete graphics card connected to draw out enough power for a high load graphics benchmark test. Attached a GTX 680 to my rig running an Ivy Bridge i7 3770K. Performed wonderfully.
Cons: I was surprised to see a paltry amount of ports for modular cables. This PSU definitely has enough room to utilize more cables and the Wattage also allows for support of greater internal peripheral devices.
Overall Review: Overall a solid PSU for its price point. Not for hardcore enthusiast gamers or for those looking for power but for moderate usage with mild to moderate gaming here and there. 80 Plus BRONZE certified is good but if you are looking for for greater flexibility with stability go for a 80 Plus SILVER or higher certified PSU with much more modular cable ports included.
Pros: Small, portable and very compact. Extremely easy to set up. They can be plugged in either way into the outlets. Comes with an installation CD and ethernet cable. Has a 300 meter wired range within the household but that is an estimate and real world tests will probably show a lower range. Pair button makes it easy to pair the adapters and support for 16 total adapters is included. I am glad this one includes 128-bit AES encryption because the first adapters that did not come out onto the market did not include such encryption. Ran a few tests with my router plugged into the basement adapter and my laptop connected to the receiving end on the main floor. Connection was smooth with no slowdowns whatsoever. Video streaming, file sharing etc all worked without a hitch. There is a speed limitation though and I will explain that in the Cons section.
Cons: The advertised speed of 500 Mbps cannot be realized with a 10/100 ethernet port plus given the fact that real world tests almost never reach theoretical advertised speeds. In effect you are limited to speeds less than 100 Mbps. However this is enough for most forms of streaming such as HD 1080p. If you are looking to push that limit then you are out of luck.
Overall Review: The biggest selling point of this device is that you don't need to run large cables from room to room and to bypass any interference or limitations that wireless connection may have. However range is a big limitation when it comes to the wiring throughout the house. The greater the length of cable, the more resistance and signal degradation you are going to see. This is a standard powerline adapter overall and should suffice for most networking needs of those in the market to get one.
Pros: Typical ASUS diamond styling. Goes well if you use a lot of ASUS products like myself. Small, unobtrusive, plugs into any wall outlet, no need for any cables.
Setup was pretty easy. Just login and select whether you want to extend an existing network or establish a new one. Instructions for the LED notifications were pretty clear. Utilizing a Wireless AC network via a Verizon Fios Gateway router. The range extended connected perfectly and displayed a clear signal.
My router is currently situated in my basement. Not the most ideal location but allows for a range extender like this one to come in handy. Had this plugged into a wall outlet on the main floor of the house. LED signal strength indicators lit up for 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz with 5Ghz showing up as a lower bar naturally. Without the range extender I would get 4 bars typically on the main floor for 2.4 Ghz and 3-2 bars for 5 Ghz. With it now shows up with 5 bars for 2.4 Ghz and 4 bars for 5 Ghz which is a very good improvement. No change in speeds and pages loaded up perfectly as well as video streaming. Used it for about a couple of weeks with no changes in connection, speed. Everything remained consistent
Supports wireless music streaming. Not sure how many individuals utilize the AiPlayer app, seemed gimicky at first but it is a nice touch for streaming music wherever you are in your house.
Acts as a nightlight.
Cons: Doesn't support the latest AC speeds, would require more streams and thus make this product a bit pricier, maybe a bit bulkier as well.
White only, wish black was available.
Overall Review: Overall a solid range extender. Speeds are average but you get what you paid for. Every device that I connected to it, smartphone, iPad, Smart TV etc has performed the same and without a hitch. It does what it is meant to do.
Pros: Simple, easy to set up. Can be wall mounted.
Motion detector works fine and microphone picks up sound perfectly.
WPS is included for easy security
Can set up multiple cameras connected to one feed. Feed easily accessible through app on mobile devices.
Cons: Extremely poor video quality. It is worse than most low end cell phones. Sure this might just get the job done by tracking activity at home but what is the point if you can't see anything properly. The only benefit I see in terms of supporting lower resolution video feed is lower bandwidth requirements for streaming, but with most households utilizing high speed broadband this shouldn't be an issue. Also 2.4 Ghz is the only wireless frequency supported but what do you expect at this price point. Video feed was accessed through my smart phone (Samsung Galaxy Note 4) and was tested over LTE and WiFi with no difference in quality or frame rate.
Overall Review: There really isn't much to say. I was really disappointed in this webcam but given the price of it, you get what you pay for.
Pros: Sleek design, typical of most routers. Sits neatly on a test or surfaceThe 4 antennas are not that obtrusive but serve primarily for functionality which will be explained later. Buttons are easily accessible on the sides and notification LED lights are easily distinguishable under light or in low light.
Spec-wise the C2600 is a solid high performance router. Supports MU-MIMO via the 4 antennas that can send out multiple output/input streams at once. This also allows for a theoretical maximum throughput of 1733 Mbps via 5 GHz (AC) and 800 Mbps via 2.4 Ghz (N). All 5 major bands are supported, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac. The C2600 also supports Gigabit ethernet which is another plus which is standard on high performance routers such as this one. Not sure if there are any comparisons regarding this but another plus is the addition of 1.4 Ghz dual-core processor to manage the multiple streams. I personally like the addition of a Wireless On/Off button. Before on most routers you would have to access the software settings to disable Wi-Fi but now you can with the touch of a button. Compatible with IPV6 which allows flexibility depending on your internet provider. Two USB 3.0 ports are included for attached devices such as NAS, printers and other forms of external storage. I haven't really tested it but I am glad that TP-Link decided to make the ports USB 3.0 which eliminates the USB 2.0 data bottleneck.
Installation was a breeze. Plugged it in, setup wireless settings via the tool and I was connected within 3 minutes. GUI layout is very user friendly, easy to read and navigate. It is not cluttered like other router GUI's in the past.
I currently have a gateway router through Verizon Fios so I had to take this to a friends's house to test on his cable modem. The router had to be setup in the basement, not the most ideal spot since you want a strong signal to broadcast all throughout the house and not just the basement and the main floor. Used a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 to test range and speed. Basement as usual was 5 bars for 5 Ghz and 2.5 Ghz. Main floor, 3 bars for 5 Ghz and 4 bars for 2.4 Ghz. Attic 2-3 bars for 5 Ghz and 3 bars for 2.4 Ghz. Results can vary for others based on the size of the residence, materials used for ceilings and walls, and interference from other devices such as Microwaves, cordless phones etc. Speed was very good regarding data transfers, even better via 5 Ghz due to the increased throughput of Wireless AC.
Cons: UPnP is automatically disabled. A must have for file-sharing between local network computers or shared printers
Overall Review: Overall I had absolutely no issues with this router. This is a high performance router meant for individuals that utilize data intensive activities such as streaming 4K, gaming etc. Firmware needs to be update after installation. Price point is absolutely justified by the specs. Definitely a solid router for anyone that is looking to buy.
Pros: Well Designed and very ergonomic. Key placements are excellent and standard for a gaming keyboard today. Uses real cherry MX keys which is nice and customizable RGB lighting which adds a bit of aesthetics. Wrist rest is detachable which is good because there are some gamers like myself that prefer not to have one attached. Keyboard is quite heavy for a gaming keyboard but weight helps it stay grounded on a desk and prevents unnecessary movement. Controls for multimedia are included as well and overall setup was a breeze.
Keys are fully programmable which is to be expected and works well with the CUE software upon installation. Each key can be programmed to send out a different command or display a different color which is a cool function. I personally am used to having directional keys displayed as red and every other key as blue to provide adequate distinction.
The textured FPS/MOBA keycaps provide an ergonomic advantage over other gaming keyboards and work well with the overall flow of keys. This keyboard in particular having Cherry MX Brown switches is alright in my opinion. I personally prefer Red switches but Brown is a good overall switch with lighter weighting.
Double USB plugs are provided, two for use with USB 2.0 and one for USB 3.0. Extra power is needed to power is needed to power the LEDs primarily.
Has a 2 year warranty which is typical
Cons: Software is kinda bulky but feature packed. Lighting only works with CUE software.
Overall Review: While using it to play online FPS games, this keyboard stood out and performed as expected. Though I wish that it came with Cherry MX red switches, brown switches did suffice. Corsair did a good job with this keyboard.
Pros: Sleek and elegant design that matches the aluminum finish of Macbooks. Rubberized feet on the bottom prevent the dock from sliding around on a surface.
There are a plethora of connectivity options available with the Express Dock HD. 3x USB 3.0, 2x Thunderbolt 2.0, 1x HDMI, 1x Gigabit Ethernet, audio out and another audio in/out port. This ensures support for a variety of devices that can be connected to a laptop, desktop or ultrabook. Supports a dual monitor setup though there is catch to it which is explained below.
There is a small green connection status light. I found it to be hardly noticeable during the day however.
I tested several devices with the dock such as portable hard drives and printers while connected to my Macbook Pro and all have functioned perfectly while connected. However I was not able to test a device with thunderbolt connectivity.
Cons: The biggest thing about this dock is Thunderbolt support. Due to the inclusion of those ports it is effectively geared towards Mac users since nearly every Mac supports Thunderbolt in comparison to most PCs. There are still not a lot of devices out there that directly support Thunderbolt and those that do are typically expensive storage devices such as large capacity external hard drives. The version of Thunderbolt that is supported is 2.0 which is backwards compatible with 1.0 devices. The advantage of Thunderbolt 2.0 is that it supports double the bandwidth (20 Gbps vs 10 Gbps). However the Thunderbolt 3 protocol has been developed which this device lacks but even so it is not necessary due to the lack of chipsets that are available in the market at the time being.
The duel display feature can only be supported while connecting one monitor to Thunderbolt and the other to HDMI, not through two Thunderbolt ports simultaneously. Streaming through two Thunderbolt ports to two monitors requires Thunderbolt 3 support which is not supported by this dock.
Overall Review: You can't really make the most of this dock if you do not have peripherals that make use of the available I/O that is provided on the Express Dock HD. I personally can't justify using it since most of the devices I own are USB 2.0 with a couple that are USB 3.0. Lack of Thunderbolt devices is pretty common among general users and such a dock would be useless. This is primarily geared towards power users who utilize macs primarily and need a good workstation solution with regards to connectivity.
Pros: Simple packaging, easy to open and unbox. Router is of a decent size, typical for most routers. Sits well on a desk or table well with provided desk stand and is unobtrusive. Design wise its sleek and elegant, doesn't have a bunch of antennas popping out.
Touch screen is well laid out and responsive. Responds well to the stylus though it may be a bit too cramped for fingers
USB 3.0 ports are included for shared network devices such as NAS, and printers.
Supports you standard 4x LAN ports which are Gigabit
Range is excellent, supports 802.11 A/B/G/N/AC 2.4/5 Ghz and maintains an adequate signal at all times. Supports speeds upto 1750 Mbps. Take note that the advertised speed is a combination of theoretical maximum data throughputs of the two different freqeuencies, 5 Ghz via Wireless AC (1300 Mbps) and 2.4 Ghz via Wireless N (450) Mbps.
Smartphone app is useful and easy to set up. Network security, statistics, and connected devices can all be accessed and managed via the app.
Setup was relatively simple; it was much easier using the touch screen compared to other routers. Took about 5 minutes to fully set up.
The device functions as a range extender which can be useful for households with larger square footage.
Home monitoring system is a nice feature for those who are looking to create a smart home.
Cons: Price may be a reason one would stay away from a router like this. Most routers with similar specs are cheaper
Touch screen is small, use of stylus is preferred over fingers
Overall Review: Overall this a fantastic router spec wise and the price is really the only major drawback. You can get away using other routers with similar specs at a cheaper cost. The touch screen, stylus, range extender and home monitoring are all nice but not necessary and really just add to the cost. If you are looking for a device that can do it all then the Almond+ is right for you.
Pros: Lightweight and very strong construction. Metal backing and leather like plastic makes it feel like you are holding a premium product. Display is beautiful to look at, 2048x1536 IPS display portrays video and pictures in stunning quality. It is very snappy as well, utilizes an Intel Quad Core Atom processor. Boot up time was average compared to most tablets, roughly 10-15 seconds but apps, games and videos loaded up very quickly without any lag. Having 4GB of DDR3 ram also helps with speed as well. Runs Android 5.0 and uses the typical Asus Zen UI which is easy to navigate and utilize. Another thing which I definitely liked was the addition of duel stereo front speakers. Instead of having one speaker and it being set on the back like most tablets, the audio is superb and definitely sets this apart from other tablets. Supports micro sd up to 128 GB SDXC and a generous 64 GB of onboard storage available. Camera quality is decent, definitely bright vivid pictures provided that there is adequate lighting. And finally USB-C which is the next generation of USB i/o connectors. Data and charging are all enhanced but the biggest plus is that the connector is reversible
Cons: Power buttons and volume rocker are both located on the right. Usually the volume rocker is on the left but this setup can confuse those who are used to the traditional layout. The power button is located below the volume rocker which I found to be confusing; I would always press the volume buttons instead of the power button to turn on the tablet by accident.
The camera seems to fail in low light situations and produces quite a bit of noise and there is no flash on top of that. Not reliable at all if you are looking to use this device for photos or videos.
Too much bloatware
Battery life is average.
Overall Review: After using this for a couple of weeks, the ZenPad has shown to be one of the top tablets to date when it comes to overall design and speed. Apps ran smoothly without any bugs etc. The only major issue I had was watching videos with regards to battery life. Considering the high resolution, utilizing the Quad HD screen for an extended amount of time absolutely drains the battery. Otherwise the ZenPad has an average battery life. I haven't really tested a stylus on the ZenPad but you really don't need one and there is no holster or anything to prevent you from losing one as well. Overall a solid tablet.