Date Joined: 06/06/09
Pros: For people (like me) who don’t have a good idea on how much battery is required, it’s nice that the box lists some example use cases: 4.3 hours for standard router/modem, ~1 hour for a basic workstation PC, 30 minutes for a laptop + network gear, 10 minutes for a mid-level desktop + laptop + network gear.
While I didn’t think it was a wise idea to fully measure out how long it lasts under load, it does last long enough that I would be able to safely stop whatever I’m doing and shut my desktop down, even when I’m doing something that draws a lot of power (games, video streaming, 4K video, etc.).
I do like the low profile/angled cord design. I’m glad it wasn’t a standard plug on my wall outlet, it’s easier to fit behind a desk with a smaller profile plug. On the unit’s end, where the gear plugs in, there’s plenty of spacing to fit multiple block adapters in with other cords. For me, 5 spots was enough to get my desktop fully battery backed up with 1 battery outlet to spare.
Cons: The noise settings on this unit are a bit confusing without reading the manual. There’s a single button (the power button) that you have to hold down to change the mode. From there, the color of the LED light of this power button will tell you what mode it’s in. There are 3 modes: “quiet mode” (a couple of beeps every 30 seconds, on low battery only), no alarm (no beeps at all), and full alarm (couple of beeps every 30 seconds on battery power, then frequent beeps when the battery is low). That seems a bit odd - why not just have a separate button? Or a separate LED light stating what mode it’s in? This could have been designed better without extra cost.
In a related note, the other thing is that I couldn’t tell what was the best way to “quick mute” was, and I ended up powering the battery off; thankfully this was when I didn’t have anything drawing power from it.
Overall Review: I did not test the software/USB data interface, but I like that it’s offered. I guess this would be an alternative solution to the noise not being loud enough. I also like that it has a separate built-in USB port for charging, but it seems a bit of overkill compared to keeping a smaller battery around instead for most use cases.
Note that there are 7 total outlets, but only 5 of them are battery-protected. Two are for surge only.
Remember to register for the warranty!!! Your gear can be covered in the case that this unit doesn’t do its job.
Pros: - White LEDs are good brightness. Not too dim, not too bright
- While it lasted, then fan was relatively quiet
- Plenty of cord to mount on reach power connections from mounting on front or back side of case
Cons: - Off balance and scraping the case (front or back) after about a month
- Only comes with one type of mounting screws (7/32” with larger threads) which is used for rear mounting. Mounting to the front of a case will require different screws (about 1” or so, smaller threads); these usually come with the PC case, but it’s easier if the fans come with it.
Overall Review: Your mileage may vary on the lifetime of this fan. If you’re building a PC and have no extra spare parts, hopefully your case will come with the screws that this fan does not have.
Pros: Click clack click clack click clack. I’m writing this review from this keyboard, and while I generally don’t notice it, the blues are really clicky. It’s not something I expected, but it’s not overly harsh either. Having heard an old Razer keyboard with blue switches before, this one is maybe slightly quieter, but it’s definitely loud. I’ll use it at home instead of the office for sure.
Despite coming from a mechanical keyboard that takes a bit more force to trigger the switch, I’ve gotten used to used blue switches without bottoming out. If you’re trying to tell if you do this, typically you’ll hear a dull thud at the end of the click with this. Most people are going to do this with the space bar, but if you type relatively aligned in a QWERTY format, your pinkies or ring fingers might not do this at all. Point being: it’s nice to have the light switches, as it is a little lighter on my fingers. It didn’t take long to get used to it.
Finally, the rubber feet that keep the keyboard stable are excellent. I suppose I don’t roll my face on the keyboard or be particularly aggressive when typing, but it’s still nice to know that the keyboard doesn’t rotate or slide as I type.
Cons: The keycaps included appear to be ABS plastic, which is the type of plastic that wears down and “shines,” especially on heavily used keys such as WASD or the spacebar where your thumb hits. They’re also extremely easy to remove, and while I don’t really expect anything to happen with normal use, if I every drop anything on here, I don’t know if I can trust the keycaps not to break.
The color scheme on the keyboard is annoying. It’s a half-baked attempt at RGB. As far as I can tell, only the brightness can be changed, not the colors or effects. It would be nicer if it just came in different colors OR RGB, not some mix of the two.
Speaking of not being able to figure things out, there was no manual with my keyboard, so all of those function keys were a mystery until I found the website. Even then, the documentation for this model at the time of this review didn’t have all the symbols on there, so I had to go to ANOTHER keyboard’s documentation to find out what they meant.
I do agree with another commenter that the box it came in is not sufficient for packing material. I think there needs to be something on top of the keys to protect it from being crushed.
Overall Review: This is my third mechanical keyboard (which is a small number compared to some other people). I have one with red switches, one with brown switches, and this one has blue switches. Of the three, I absolutely prefer the browns; if I had to pick next, blues over reds.
It’s hard getting used to not having a number pad. I don’t have a gaming laptop and I don’t really need a portable mechanical keyboard. However, I also have a large desk, so it kind of works out for larger keyboards.
I’ll probably stick to my Ducky Shine 2 until it dies. This may be its successor but I’m not convinced yet.
Pros: I’m a little over 6’, and most mid-height standard office chairs leave a lot to be desired for back support. This chair, thankfully, fixes that problem. I can sit up fully and there’s still a couple inches of chair still above my head. It’s a new experience!
It took a little while to get used to the lower back support, but the cushion has become a pretty normal part of sitting at my desk. It used to be uncomfortable, but after a month or so of breaking it in, it’s much more comfortable.
I don’t really use the lean back feature very much, though I do lock the chair for when I do lean back. It’s a solid feel. Previously, some of my standard office chairs would sometimes unlock themselves when I leaned back just a bit, and when I was expecting the chair to come to a hard stop, instead I’m fearing for my life. That’s never happened with this chair, so that’s a big plus.
Good for tall people
Cushion (both built-in and added-on) is sufficient and doesn’t wear out easily
Solid frame; doesn’t creak or unlock unexpectedly when leaning back
Cons: This is one of those “put RGB on everything” things. It’s funny, because it’s impossible to see when you’re sitting in the chair. There’s really no purpose to it except for people behind you to see it. Which, how often does that happen? I suppose maybe in gaming cafes this would look neat, but for the average person sitting at their desk doing anything at a computer, the RGB isn’t necessary. The software and the battery feature work, but keeping a long USB extension cable around seems excessive.
I have a fairly large desk, both in width and height. I did not expect for a chair at its lowest settings with the armrests at their lowest settings to barely have the armrests fit under the desk when pushed in. Don’t get me wrong, I still appreciate the chair for its height, but for most desks, you won’t be able to roll this chair underneath.
Finally, while there is a lock feature for the recline mechanism, there aren’t any for the top of the arm rests. I expect these to become loose even with me intentionally trying not to adjust the top part. The height adjustment for these works fine, but the movement and rotation on the Z axis (towards front or back of the chair or rotating in place) are too easy to do.
RGB is not really helpful
Height is good, but maybe too much of a good thing
Armrest tops don’t lock and might get loose over time
Overall Review: It’s hard to imagine going back to a standard office chair, though I imagine I won’t even need to consider it for a long time. This chair is well-built and comfortable, even after quite some time of use.
I have the Blue/Black chair, which I got in case of stains or small scratches. So far I haven’t seen any damage to the chair show up, which is nice.
Pros: Much like other Corsair RGB products, these fans offer no shortage in RGB effects or timings, and do add a lot of pop to a black case. I’ve got the fans configured to swap between blue and white, matching my other peripherals (Ducky Shine II in white LEDs, Corsair MM800C RGB, Mionix NAOS7000 RGB, and even a chair that even has RGB).
The fans themselves are quiet and fit snugly against the case. The rubber on the corners is solidly attached to the plastic on the corners, and even when the fans are running at full speed, I have no vibrations or noises. It does take some extra tightening when installing them, as the fan housing is near flush/level with the top of the fan blade, maybe only a few mm space leftover.
I light the idea of queueing effects and having a single RGB controller. I only have two fans, but scaling up to 6 in total seems like a relatively easy effort for getting good looking color.
Cons: Be prepared for some of the worst cable management possible. Unless you have a good size full tower or a super tower and plan to have like 6 in the case, it’s not exactly easy to organize. Required cables for just 2 fans:
- USB bus on board to the Lighting Node Pro
- Lighting Node cable to RGB fan controller
- 2x SATA power connectors, one each for the Lighting Node and RGB fan controller
- 2x Fan RGB cables to RGB fan controller
- 2x Fan 4 pin connectors to associated cables or on board slots
The USB cable included is extremely short, so be prepared to put the Lighting Node on the bottom or side of your case. It barely reached into the hard drive area of my Corsair C70, which is a mid-tower case. There are small velcro straps or half-decent ties that come included, so save the twist ties that wrap around the cables from the box.
Another installation gripe: there are only one type of screws included with the fans I received, some short, wide screws that are often used on the exterior walls of the case -- you can see these in the picture showing all the parts. You usually hold the fan up, then screw in the screws from the outside. There is one key problem with this: sometimes, the front of the case is where these fans will be installed, and you will almost never use these screws on the front of the case. There are longer, ~1” long screws that fit in much narrower holes Visually, you are fastening the screws on the front side of the fan, and they reach through both holes on a corner to get to the hole. These fans only came with one set of screws; if I did not have some saved from a Noctua fan, I would not have been able to install these fans on the front of my case; need I remind you, I have a *Corsair* case.
Finally, the biggest killer of these fans is the software. It’s not that it doesn’t work, it’s that I now need two pieces of software to control my *Corsair* RGB gear. The fans use “Corsair Link” while my *Corsair* MM800C RGB Polaris mousepad uses “Corsair Utility Engine.” I cannot control the fans with the mousepad software, and I also can’t control the mousepad from the fan software. It seems absurd that I now need two pieces of software to manage the same devices, BOTH of which are USB connected. There are other other Corsair peripherals, such as the Glaive mouse and K95 keyboard, that would be affected by this as well.
Overall Review: I can’t really complain about the hardware itself, the fans are efficient and quiet, and I really like that about them. I just wish that everything else related to the fans wasn’t so difficult and clunky. I own a Corsair case, which can’t have these installed on the front unless you had screws that weren’t included with these Corsair fans. I have a Corsair mousepad that can’t be controlled by the same Corsair software as these Corsair fans, and vice versa for the mousepad software and the fans.
For real though, what gives, Corsair? Your hardware and software ecosystem is seeming a little fractured, and I’d love to see it come together into a much more well-oiled machine.
Pros: What a neat drive! Starting from the basics, it is:
- Small and light
- Metal/durable feeling
Each of those basic things are what you want in portable storage, and this ticks all the boxes without any issues. However, it is important that you’re able to take advantage of the full USB 3.1 Gen 2 spec, and if so, you’re basically adding an additional solid state drive to your system (which, technically, I suppose that’s what under the hood of this thing).
Built-in security features without a bunch of extra setup are a great add as well. There isn’t a lot of technical detail I can find out about it, but it appears to be setup such that an entire partition has been created that is used for encrypted storage (when a password is setup in the Samsung app). Installation apps and lock status are available when the drive is plugged in and a read-only partition is mounted that contains the Samsung SSD app installers. Unlocking the drive is done through launching the app and entering the 4-16 character password you set when first initializing the drive through the app.
It appears the that the hardware encryption feature is totally legit - speeds on a encrypted partition vs. speeds on an unencrypted partition (uninitialized or security turned off) are practically identical, so that’s pretty great. I’m on the hunt for a teardown or perhaps some more detailed information on how it works, but there doesn’t seem to be anything super easy to find.
Cons: Cords are short - they are meant to be used for connecting the drive to your PC from the front (or the side, if a laptop), or for keeping it next to your phone during a transfer. This isn’t the type of drive you keep on your desk with a long cord running to your computer.
Password feature on the security mode is set to a maximum of 16 characters, which is pretty much arbitrary and unneccessary to have been set as a limit. For such a usable feature, this takes away from the security aspect of it. Additionally (and this is likely a limitation of the encryption being used), there is no concept of a recovery key like something like Microsoft’s Bitlocker would have. So if you forget your password, tough luck, but the Samsung SSD app does very clearly warn you.
Overall Review: To add my own speeds to the list of previously posted speeds, here are benchmarks from CrystalDiskMark (in MB/s):
Seq Q32T1 - 442 R, 442 W
4KiB Q8T8 - 164 R, 167 W
4KiB Q32T1 - 170 R, 173 W
4KiB Q1T1 - 25 R, 50 W
I didn’t get the chance to test this vs. any compatible Android phones, as my Nexus 6 uses MicroUSB instead of USB type C. However, I would expect that speeds would drop significantly, as most phones using USB type C don’t have USB 3.1 Gen 2 capability, the hardware hasn’t quite made its way into phones yet as of writing this review.
Overall, if you have a need for some fast, portable, general-purpose storage, this is a great buy.
Pros: Cloth surface is recognized easily by my NAOS7000, coming in at 80% surface recognition when calibrating the mouse. This is up from previous cloth mousepads (one in dark green, one in navy) that came in around 60% and an old TRON plastic mat that read in at 50%.
I think this cloth is going to work much better thanks to the plastic edging about the LEDs. You can slightly feel it when using the mousepad (see cons) but the benefit is that the edges won’t fray after significant use.
The mouse surface is smooth, and while I maybe only utilize about half of it, it does work much better than the TRON surface I was using. While I haven’t formally testing, my APM in AoE, Starcraft, and HotS all feel like they’ve improved. Could be a placebo for as far as I know, but less mouse effort does help a lot.
I like the customization of the LEDs, and there’s a ton of options you can choose from. The software not only allows for different effects (pulse, ripple, spiral, static/always, just to name a few), but the LEDs can be customized on a per-light basis with very granular control over effect timing.
Cons: The USB port on the backside on the pad feels forced. I’m not sure what I’d use it for. Definitely not a mouse cord, because that will get caught on the bump. Maybe a receiver for a wireless headset or mouse? I think removing it and having the cable lay as flat as possible would make for a much cleaner look.
The software used for customizing the LEDs is enormous, something like 400MB. Why on earth does it need to be that big? It does appear to work for other Corsair peripherals, but I still don’t think that explains it.
While you can set presets in the software, they can’t be changed using any sort of hardware button. Instead of adding a bump with a USB passthrough, allowing me to change the active LED preset would be much more preferred.
Overall Review: It’s a solid mousepad with only a few minor downsides. LEDs are nice, though you’ll definitely want to not have a rainbow spiral forever, so get the software ASAP.
Pros: It’s extremely hard to beat this drive at the price point it’s offering. There is no longer a need to hesitate to get an SSD any more, especially if you’re only needing a small size drive for a specific few applications. Drives like the LE200 are at a solid price-to-GB value ratio where you can get a good SSD without paying $$$.
The use of TLC NAND flash is excellent for anyone looking to swap out their laptop’s spinning disk to an SSD, as you will see a huge increase in battery life vs an HDD. Versus other SSDs, I’ve seen some people add an additional 1 hour of battery from using TLC NAND vs. other company-specific types of flash such as V-NAND from Samsung.
I would recommend this drive for builds that are starting with a lower budget, or for anyone who for some reason doesn’t have an SSD in their laptop already,
Cons: The TLC NAND flash in this drive isn’t meant for high performance write speed. Benchmarks of this disk vs. my existing Samsung 840 pro (MLC NAND) can even demonstrate this, I’m seeing 10-20MB/s less from the LE200 on sequential read, and 5-10 MB/s less on the 4k random read (Queues=32 in CrystalMarkDiskInfo). Note that my Samsung 840 pro has been in use for 3-4 years at the time of this review too. Newer drives, especially those using V-NAND like the Samsung 850 series, will likely easily outperform the LE200.
Write speeds are more significantly impacted by the use of TLC NAND. The Samsung 840 pro over doubles the write speed vs the LE200 in sequential read (116MB/s vs 360MB/s) and 4k random read (84MB/s vs 247MB/s). This is due to the difference in types of flash; the other thoughts section has some details about this.
These are not necessarily bad cons, but they are important to note when doing your build. If you are looking to save a few bucks on an already maxed out build, this drive is not for you. This drive is meant for either budget builds or laptop storage upgrades; both of these use cases are likely to highlight the strengths of this drive.
Overall Review: The whitepaper I read is from Samsung, it’s called “Evaluating MLC vs. TLC vs. V-NAND in Server Applications.” The overall goal seems to be to sell their V-NAND flash architecture as being highly performant. However, it does have a very detailed description on why MLC/TLC has such different performance, especially on write speed. Getting down to signals and electrons is a little outside my realm of expertise, but this paper was actually helpful in understanding why this drive is comparatively slower than even older SSDs.
Overall, I haven’t seen real issues while I’ve been using the drive. Thanks to Steam having a “move to different library location” feature, I put some of my games on this LE200 to check for load times being seriously affected by the slower speeds. This included ARK with Scorched Earth DLC, Borderlands 2, and Tomb Raider: Temple of Osiris. ARK especially could be affected due to loading a large number of items (textures come to mind first) from disk. I have not seen any tangible effects from this drive for my general usage. The overhead will likely come when games are downloaded, installed, or updated.
A rock-solid router with excellent coverage from solid hardware. The MIMO antennae make a huge difference in perceived bandwidth and having multiple of these antennae positively affects the range of both signal bands.
Coverage - excellent coverage, even through several walls. While MIMO isn’t inherently related to better coverage, its impact on coverage is noticeable. MIMO is more effective in increasing bandwidth, but when you have multiple MIMO antennae that are also directionally optimized (hence the weird placement on this router and other models), you get both benefits of directionally focused antennae and multiple channels for send/receive (increased bandwidth).
Bandwidth and performance - large family gatherings are an extremely effective test of a router’s ability to perform. The EA8500 passes with flying colors. My test was simple: swap out the current router (a 2 year old TP-LINK) with this one and keep the same SSIDs, then see how all the new devices coming onto the network start to behave. No one will know the router was swapped! As soon as the router was setup, 28 devices connected. At peak, there have been closer to 60, with all but one being wireless. Netflix, Plex, Prime video, Hulu, and other sources of streaming video were all played simultaneously, also coexisting with web browsing and gaming on this network, and not a single issue came up. The internet connection is at most 75Mbps down/25Mbps up. It was incredible to see how well this router could handle all of it with zero issues.
Firmware features and operations - This router is alike with other current Linksys router and uses the “Smart Wi-Fi” branding of firmware. Many people will enjoy the polished, easy-looking interface. There are some pitfalls, but for the most part, even non-technical people don’t have to worry about getting the router’s features configured correctly.
Not much to complain about. Power users may find that the router interface is hard to navigate. The setup process is picky about the internet connection or being a downstream AP. But overall, there isn’t enough that keeps this router from doing a great job.
Setup - this router requires an internet connection to setup. For many people who like to configure certain settings (DNS, MTU, parental controls) first, this may be a bit of an annoyance. You also cannot have an upstream router that uses the 192.168.0.0/24 subnet and use this as a wired AP, because this router by default will also try to use that same subnet. Other Linksys routers that use a CD setup do not have this issue.
Interface - all settings are configured in windows/”apps” rather than the entire webpage. Consequently, settings hide in tabs and are cramped into a small window box. It takes quite some time to get used to.
Overall Review: Probably obvious disclaimer: I’m not a signals expert! Low-level hardware operations aren’t my expertise, I usually work above the physical layer in my line of work. However, my research into MIMO and signals is hopefully interpreted properly, but take my explanations with a grain of salt.
This is an incredible router and I’m happily looking forward to more MIMO technology making its way into consumer networking equipment.
Pros: Small form factor - even some cable modems are larger than this router
Linksys Smart Wi-Fi app management - like most Linksys router, even its lower-end routers can be managed with their app (your mileage may vary)
Decent setup CD - the setup on the CD is actually helpful in setting up the router. It will prevent you from using the default router password, keep the router from having the same subnet as upstream (if being behind another router), and setup all wireless networks in a reasonable way with strong passwords.
Cons: This router really shouldn’t be associated with other Linksys routers that do a much better job of implementing the router features.
Poor range on all bands - the 5GHz could barely make it out of the room, and the 2GHz couldn’t even cover a 1000 sq ft apartment.
Poor performance with multiple or heavy use - streaming video other large file transfers can decimate other applications, even general web browsing.
Possible connection drops - frequently wireless connections would slow for a few seconds, then the speed would pick back up and complete what I was doing. When testing for signal range, I saw frequent drops to no signal on both the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz bands.
Interface looks funky - for some reason, despite supposedly using the same interface as every other Linksys router, many fonts were inconsistent. They were bold, or too large, and even a 3 digit number wouldn’t fit inside of some text boxes (for example, the DHCP starting IP range). The interface itself even looked blurry, which is hard to believe.
Setup didn’t actually update the firmware - part of the setup process states that the router is being updated; this is actually not the case. The router is simply rebooting to update *configuration,* not firmware.
Overall Review: To put some numbers on poor performance, the 5GHz signal traveling through a single wall will drop a -60dBm signal to -80dBm. The 2.4GHz wasn’t much better, although the signal could reach to the other bedroom.
I have an internet speed of roughly 150Mbits on a good day. I usually see at least 120Mbits. With this router, speed tests will result in 70-80Mbps tops. In a “real-world” test, saturating my internet connection with multiple large file downloads will cause packets to start dropping after reaching roughly 65Mbps. I saw 6-10% packet loss in other applications 5 minute test periods. Linksys QoS comes off by default, but there are only 3 spots for “high priority traffic” regardless. I don’t think heavy use and this router pair well together.
If you have a DSL connection or a slow cable connection, this router may be sufficient for you. However, I think other routers in the same tier/price point by TP-LINK are a better purchase and are more reliable.
Pros: For those of you who were waiting more than a decade to have your old WRT54G upgrade to something that looks close to the same, now is your chance! It’s roughly twice as long, but the classic colors still will look familiar everyone.
Starting with the Wi-Fi -- all 2.4GHz and 5.GHz bands have their expected signal range. There were no dead zones, no drop-offs at different times of day, and no issues with >10 devices connecting to one band or the other. Since speed is going to be determined by both your device’s support for 802.11ac, as well as where you are located in relation to the router, I’m not going to include these in this review. However, I will say that I received “good” speeds; previous routers I’ve had with similar functionality performed at similar speeds.
Onto performance, this router has no issues with >10 wireless devices and a fully loaded set of wired connections. Watching HD video streams via Netflix (internet) or 4k streams on Plex (local) had no noticeable impact on lighter network loads. If one person was watching Netflix, and I was playing games and “acquiring media” all at the same time, there were no complaints.
For network services and firmware, Linksys has continued using their “Smart Wi-Fi” branding. The interface is easy for non-technical users to find what they are looking for, but it does hide some of the more advanced features in hard to spot places.
It’s overall a solid choice for a general purpose router!
Cons: I do not like the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi interface. It wants you to sign up for an online (internet) account first, but you can get away from that and only use a local one. I don’t like the idea of using a global account to access a local device. However, I imagine this is for people who would like to control their router from a tablet or phone, since Linksys does offer an app for network management. However, my personal preference is to keep the accounts local to the router rather than in Linksys’s hands.
During setup, if you make a mistake, such as not being hooked to your modem or not properly setting up your upstream network for adding an access point, the setup process will fail and require you to hard reset the router in order to start over with new changes. That was an incredibly frustrating ordeal to figure out, and I’m not sure why it requires a hard reset to undo configuration that hasn’t even been made yet.
Overall Review: I don’t typically use my routers for anything other than being routers. In this case though, I did test out the USB drive for content. My stats for a 20GB file were ~40MB/s write, 83MB/s read.
The router was at firmware version 220.127.116.11464 at the time of this review.
To summarize, I think anyone looking for "just a good router" would be satisfied by this router for 2-3 years at least, perhaps more. It seems reliable and stable with a good set of hardware underneath.
Pros: To start, it was a super easy setup. Previous TP-LINK adapters I’ve owned have not been as easy to linked, but this really just was a push of a button.
I like the dual ethernet ports a lot, it’s not something common across powerline adapters but could be very useful. This would make sense to link a smart TV and a gaming console for potentially higher bandwidth and lower latency connections.
These adapters cover only a single outlet, which is fantastic. Previous adapters I’ve owned made it hard to get other adapters (namely, the block power adapters or certain orientations of power strips/surge protectors) onto the same outlet. This is extremely helpful as a small detail, as in the setup I’ve described with a smart TV and gaming console, those will definitely need to be surge protected.
Cons: Interestingly enough, there are only two cables included. I guess this isn’t a big deal, because it’s not like routers come with 5 to fill up all of the ports. But, if purchasing these to power a setup like I’ve outlined, you’ll need additional ethernet cables.
I’m a little disappointed in some of the bandwidth disappearing. It’s better than my 2.4 GHz WiFi (both in range and speed), but I don’t see these being able carry the powerline network over long distances. I have these on opposite corners of my apartment (which is relatively new), but I bet that the wiring it has to travel over is pretty far, more than just the physical distance between the two.
There’s a drop off of about 40Mbps on a basic speed test and an added latency of ~3ms for both local and remote hosts. A locally hosted 20GB file downloads at 95MB/s normally but is 20-30MB/s from a computer downloading over the adapters. That’s a pretty steep dropoff, which it may be due to the large filesize vs. a streamlined speed test.
Overall Review: Honestly, it’s a relatively decent adapter. It doesn’t fit all use cases, but it will work for certain ones. If you would like to have comparable bandwidth to a standard wired connection vs. a 2.4GHz WiFi connection, this can do the trick if the two adapters are not too far apart. A 5GHz connection will beat this on speed, but it’s a toss-up on range. I see higher latency on my 5GHz connection from further away but still have better bandwidth.
In terms of comparison to others on the market currently, I’d say this is a pretty good buy. It offers good features at a mid- to low-range price. Spending a bit more money to get a non-TP-LINK brand may give you more reliable performance, but this is overall a solid purchase for most people.
Pros: Has choices for multiple modes of operation (Access Point, WDS, Router, and Bridge) and several nice options available for logging/monitoring/tweaking.
I chose to run this as an access point, and after a little bit of tweaking to get some settings changed, I was able to connect to it no problem.
That’s pretty much it, which is kind of sad.
Cons: The ENS200 is an example of pretty deceptive advertising. Yes, it is true that connections can be made at 2.4GHz 802.11n speeds. But, there are only two possibilities with this AP, and neither are good. You can wire the AP to the LAN, but will ultimately be connecting to the rest of the network at a cap of *100Mbps*. Or, you can bridge the AP wirelessly, which may help on the speed aspect, but like with any wireless bridge, the connection quality goes down. Expect more latency (which may not change the speed) and generally a poorer connection than if you were hooked to a real AP. So much for speed.
Let’s say you move past this, and decide that speed is not for you. After all, distance connectivity is more important, so you plan to hook this AP as a WDS or a wired access point and have a more remote site connect to it. Well, don’t expect much better range than a standard consumer router. In comparison with an Asus RT-N66U running Shibby Tomato and with no modification to transmit power or other 802.11 settings, this access point perform no better than this consumer router. Yes, I upped the transmit power and modified other settings, but nothing good came from it. As I walked away from both of my APs and tracked the signal from my phone, they started at the same strength and decreased at the same rate. So much for “long range.”
Then we get to all the features that are supposedly offered by the AP. If you can get past the clunky UI to actually configure it, you’ll find that some of the settings do absolutely nothing. For example, I wanted to disable the CLI (telnet, TCP port 23). I turned that off in the settings and made sure that there were no outstanding changes in the “save/changes: #” section. Then I port scanned the AP and saw port 23 still being opened. It was, I was able to login via telnet with no issues. So much for features and management.
Overall Review: I have another EnGenius AP and I really like it (though it is an indoor one). It’s much easier to configure, has even more features, and actually is advertised without being misleading. Why is this AP such a stark contrast?
Pros: Modem meets all basic requirements for being a decent modem.
- reliable. I’ve had no dropped connections since I started using it.
- compatible. Comcast had no issue activating the modem, and no longer is complaining to me about DOCSIS 3.0. My previous Surfboard modem was compatible but I would occasionally get “reminders” about upgrading to get “the most speed” from my internet.
- non-intrusive. What I mean by this is that the modem as a whole is easy to place and forget about. The status lights aren’t glaring, the modem doesn’t seem to get too extremely hot, and it also has a small form factor.
For added bonuses, I do like that it has upstream/downstream indicators (green instead of white status lights) to show that the channels are bonded/DOCSIS 3.0. It also has spots on the bottom of the modem for mounting on a shelf or wall.
Cons: There’s a few… quirks that make this modem less than idea. First, it’s extremely small, which is a good thing, but that’s about the only good thing about the physical shape of the modem. The base of the modem is rounded, so you can’t actually lay it flat on its side. This may be due to heating concerns.
The reason I bring this up is because the only alternative to standing vertically is mounting, but the mounting brackets on the base are only useful if you mount it on a shelf (probably the underside of the shelf). If you mount it on the wall, it will stick straight out from the wall!
“No big deal, I’ll just stand it up vertically like it’s supposed to stand,” you say. Well, not so fast -- the modem is light enough that any cable pull whatsoever will knock it over. So at the end of the day, you have a modem that lays awkwardly on its side, since inevitably you’ll touch the coaxial cable and knock it over.
The other weird thing is that the modem has a login to prevent you from getting into the status page. Two issues with this: 1) There are no other pages that you can see, the only options are a read-only status page and an option to logout 2) The login is entirely unchangeable. The default admin/admin password are unchangeable. According to the manual, there should be quite a few more options, but those are nowhere to be found. Comcast certainly didn’t lock them -- I looked into the modem prior to activating it with Comcast.
Maybe I have a defective one...
Overall Review: Most people won’t even need to configure their modem, the cable company has that part covered. However, it’s strange to me that I don’t see any other pages. Plus, if I do want to try a factory reset to see if the pages come back, that means I have to call Comcast again to activate it, which is a 30-45 minute process since Comcast is the worst company on earth.
This could be such a solid modem with just a few simple changes and fixes, and it would be a great alternative to the ever-reliable Motorola Surfboard.
Pros: - Almost forgot completely about this memory card it has worked so reliably
- Meets Class 10 SD card speed expectations. Tested using the included adapter. Reads were up to that 80MB/s number that is listed in the specs. Writes were slower, more like 20MB/s on average
I’ve used it in an older Android phone for a little while now with zero issues. Recording video or taking pictures (which, isn’t quite “HD” per se) has no lag when writing to the card.
Cons: None that I am aware of so far, though I suppose the write speeds could be better.
Overall Review: Silicon Power is not a brand I have bought from before, but this is a pretty good first step in convincing me that their storage is good.
As a side note: if you are considering using this for a security camera, a car dashcam, or any sort of drone, make sure that 1) your device supports card >32GB in size (if you get a size >32GB), 2) your device can support Class 10, and 3) your device’s required format is supported by this card. I have seen some comments that state formatting the card was a challenge, but I did not have any issues.
Pros: My Asus RT-N66U seemed to be acting a little flaky on me lately, especially on the 5GHz band. Having this access point, which brands itself as an “enterprise” device, seemed to be a good trial run to figure out if my router, which I had extremely few issues with, was actually as good as it should be. I disabled the N66U’s wireless and powered up the EAP1750H. Needless to say, this access point did help in a non-trivial way. I saw more reliable 5GHz (802.11ac only) performance, and the signal stretched just a bit further before starting to drop off.
I placed this access point in one corner of my apartment (almost literally) and have full coverage (good dBm, no dead spots) in both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands throughout the entire apartment, reaching back into the furthest bathroom corner. No issues with any devices, including iPads, Android and Apple phones, all laptops (Macbooks and PCs), and Chromecasts. General reliability has been good as well.
Configuring the access point was also straightforward, minus the ceiling or wall mounting portion (see cons). It has all the features that I would ask for, and then some more that my Tomato Shibby firmware did not offer. Band steering was a nice plus, as well as up to 8 different SSIDs. By default, WPS is disabled, which is an extremely huge plus from me. Great VLAN support was also available but I did not need this feature.
Cons: Very limited instructions as far as the mount goes. You sort of have to figure out how things fit together, and since there are multiple mounts, you may not get it right for your situation on the first time. The technical setup is just fine, just not the physical setup.
Telenet is always enabled for this access point, so be aware. There is a setting that turns on “CLI” but I’m not sure what else that would be for, since SSH is a separate option entirely.
The access point management doesn’t scale well to large displays, so you end up with a thing box of settings in the middle of a page with tons of wasted space.
Overall Review: A couple really cool things that I think home users can take advantage of:
Band steering is really nice. You can force connections to the 5GHz band without having anyone less technical ask you “what’s this <your 5GHz network> for?” It also works fine. Plus you can keep one SSID for both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
You can disable LED lights!
I have no major complaints, it’s a fairly simple and straightforward access point and fits nicely into my network.
Pros: I’ve had the privilege of owning a few mechanical keyboards (and being able to test out a few more beyond that). I’ve had blue switches, red switches, and brown switches; for a long time I have stuck with a Ducky Shine II with MX Brown switches. Switching to a “silent” switch, which appeared to be a variant of red switches, was a new experience for me.
Overall -- they’re not bad. If you consider the purpose of these is to give the same experience in terms of desired mechanical switch behavior (lower force for keypress and no need to bottom out) but without as much noise, they do a good job on that. My Ducky Shine II with brown switches was noticeably louder than the Corsair STRAFE. If you look at the noise aspect, it does an extremely good job without adding a stiff feel or awkward hardware underneath the keycap.
I played a few different games with it -- ARK, Cities Skylines, Starbound, and some Heroes of the Storm, to cover a large area of genres -- and found that none of the games seemed particularly affected (positively or negatively) by the switches. Given that I’ve been used to browns, I’d say that anyone looking to switch to MX Slient switches wouldn’t have any issues with how they feel.
I did not find a need to use the software, but did install it. I did not need any macros and the standard controls over backlighting were sufficient for me. The keyboard is pretty much plug-and-play for most people.
Cons: I hate the spacebar, and I refused to put on any other textured keycaps. The spacebar looks cool, but for situations where you’re holding or rapidly hitting the spacebar with a single thumb (FPS and other action-y games would be my first thought), this physically wears on your thumb. The side of my left thumb began to get sore after maybe an hour or so of ARK. There was no included spacebar that did not have this texture, and thankfully the other WASD-area keys with this same texture are also not the default. This is a feature that should be optional, include the texture keys for people who want to change them, but the standard flat feel should be the default.
The cord is extremely inflexible, which is likely due to the extra USB port that is added for passthrough on the keyboard. This port would be useful except for the fact that you’re still adding extra cable space and using an additional USB anyhow. As a whole, it seems pointless, because two smaller, flexible cables are much easier to organize than one large, stiff cable (at least in my opinion).
One non-reproducible bug: at one point, my left click on my mouse stopped working and the keyboard also didn’t seem to fully work despite being fully lit up (some keys didn’t work, usually the meta/Windows and the Ctrl+Alt keys). This was totally unusual, and I didn’t suspect this keyboard was the culprit until I started unplugging and replugging USB devices. After doing this to my mouse, there was no change in behavior. After doing this to the keyboard, my mouse worked fine. This issue occurred only once while I was using it, and I don’t know what caused it. Hopefully it isn’t an issue that occurs more frequently over time.
Overall Review: It’s a good keyboard, but I wouldn’t worry too much about these MX Silent switches unless you are being polite to people around you or are bothered by a lot of clicking. Good for people with roommates and in an office setting for sure. I think with a few small changes, it would be a much better keyboard that competes with companies whose sole purpose is keyboards, but there are some quirks that keep this keyboard that keep it from just being a solid, reliable keyboard.
I also appreciate that it came with a basic keycap puller. Since I didn't use the textured keycaps, I didn't test this.
Pros: This is a router that would serve great as a low-budget option for people looking for something that has the basic required features (gigabit, wireless A/C) with guaranteed reliability. I used this router as an extension of my current router, the Asus N66U and setup was instantaneous. Easy to adapt as a bridge of your current setup.
Wireless strength was consistent and fairly wide-reaching, both in the 2.4 GHz and 5GHz spectrums. Saw no real improvement over any other routers I have, but the Archer C2 AC750 does not rank near the bottom of wireless range and reliability. In fact, I rate its wireless above that of the Asus N66U (only marginally though, the Asus N66U doesn’t have good signal strength in a room in the back).
I ended up using this router at my parents’ house, and it works surprisingly well. Generally reliable, and no complaints about connection speed. They have a low number of devices, and this works just fine for them.
Cons: Feels like a piece of cheap plastic. Really, you pick it up, it feels like there’s nothing in it. There are no rubber feet on the bottom of the router to keep it from sliding, so be sure not to bump it. Power brick may or may not be convenient for your powerstrip. If your powerstrip is a vertical orientation, you’re fine, but having this in an “adapter” outlet is hit or miss. One horizontal strip of mine works, another does not. Your experience may vary.
Speaking of experience, does TP-LINK think that “familiar router interface experience” is a positive thing? I realize that minimalism can be really good for router interfaces, but this interface has been the same for like… 4-6 years now. There have been no real improvements either. It seems that they just update the model string and slap the firmware on it. It’s not exactly the most straightforward interface either. It’s not terrible I suppose, but it’s not exactly good either. Could use some work.
As of this update, the router interface has not changed.
Overall Review: Router status lights are not very bright, so that could be a good or a bad thing depending on how you like things. No wall mounts either. Other than that, there really isn’t much special with this router. It’s good, but not something you go “WOW! THIS IS AMAZING.” It’s reliable, which is what most people go after. But if you want something that feels (both literally and figuratively) better, get something else. If you need something that fits in your budget without sacrificing features, then this router is an excellent choice.
The review still stands at 4 eggs. I think that the AC750 is reliable and works generally well, but has nothing particularly amazing about it that would merit 5 eggs. I am looking out for a TP-LINK firmware interface upgrade though!
Pros: Most, if not all, people will state some obvious things about this monitor as being its best perks:
- viewing angle
- brightness/contrast ratios
And all of these things are great, they really are, but the thing about all of these is how they work together to improve your workflow (or gameflow) while saving on desk space and cord clutter.. For the past 4-5 years I’ve been using a dual monitor setup -- a 27” AOC IPS and a really old Hanns-G 22” LCD. This monitor may undo many years of dual monitor setups for productivity; having one gigantic screen can actually be significantly more useful. I’ve been capitalizing on Windows 10’s improved snapping, where all 4 corners can display a window relatively comfortably. Even when I have two windows side by side along the vertical, it feels much easier to swap between the two windows rather than two monitors.
The best thing I’ve noticed so far is that I no longer seem to have vision fatigue after extended periods of using the monitor. I can be gaming, programming, or watching Netflix for hours without any dry eyes or headaches. This is something I couldn’t claim with the previous setup I had; usually after an hour or two (depending on what I was doing), I’d have some sort of eye strain that would make me take a longer break away from the screen. I’m incredibly happy to no longer have this as an issue.
I’m not sure what exactly to credit this towards, but it may simply be the resolution being sharper in combination with a proper brightness setting. Most things, like text and icons, have somewhat been scaled to fit the monitor, so it’s not them being bigger or smaller has changed. But when having the 27” AOC monitor side-by-side to compare, the text on the AOC just looks fuzzier.
I did attempt to compensate the AOC by running the TrueType wizard to tune fonts again, but there was no improvement that I could tell. Someone who knows more about the really fine grained details of monitors (signals, colors, rates) would probably be able to offer a more in-depth theory. I’m sticking with “brightness can be adjusted appropriately and reasonably without negatively impacting other aspects on the display.”
Cons: Somewhat silly issue -- I don’t really like the stand. I know why it’s built the way it is, but the appearance of it looks cheaper than the rest of the monitor. I’m not sure how to improve on this though, as changing the material to something, for example, that would resemble a brushed metal wouldn’t match the rest of the display. Plus, having it be a shiner plastic would get fingerprints all over it as well. Perhaps the ends of it can flatten off a little more gradually instead of sharply.
This monitor is NOT a 75Hz (vertical) refresh rate, this listing is incorrect (as of mid-May 2016). The vertical refresh rate is going to vary based on the resolution it is set at, but will never go above ~61Hz. I had to confirm this in the manual. I’m open to being corrected on this, but I could not find any information about this monitor actually being 75Hz.
Speaking of manuals, the full manual was not included in my package (at least, not that I could tell). I found the full manual to actually be really helpful when configuring the monitor, so be sure to download it online since a paper copy is not included.
Overall Review: Provided your OS does proper display scaling, this is a great pickup for anyone that is considering a widescreen workflow instead of dual (or triple) monitors. I also really appreciate that VESA mounting this monitor would be an easy thing to do, as the back of it seems better suited to that than to the stand.
Pros: Slick design, a great change in pace from your typical all-black gaming mouse. The yellow accent adds great looks to the Scimitar, and it perfectly highlights the 12 macro buttons, which is something else I’m a fan of. Something that plagues other macro-heavy mice is the placement. It’s difficult to get a bunch of macro buttons in a comfortable place, especially for those of us with longer finger. The adjustable/sliding feature for the macro buttons is fantastic, and I’ve actually been able to comfortably adjust to so many buttons, something that I couldn’t do with other mice.
I also really appreciate where the DPI indicator is. Some mice have it on the top, which doesn’t really help unless you’re sitting way above it, but I can always tell when I’m sitting down which mode it’s in. Granted, most of the time you’ll be able to tell the sensitivity when you start using the mice, but hey, at least this makes it a little bit easier.
The Corsair Utility Engine also makes it easy to change each light on the mouse and there are a variety of color effects to choose from. At the very least though, it’s nice to have an RGB spectrum to customize with, as single color mice don’t help with matching with a “battlestation.”
Cons: The sliders on the bottom of the mouse are slightly raised plastic with a little bit of “give” due to some sort of padding between the adhesive at the bottom (sticking to the mouse) and the top (surface-facing). I’m a little worried about the mouse not sliding as well after a few months of use, especially for those of us who push down harder when games are little more intense. Furthermore, these pads cover the screws, and if you ever need to take apart the mouse (especially to clean the free-attached scroll wheel), you’ll lose that adhesive pretty quickly.
While the rest of the mouse is extremely comfortable, my pinky is a little left out. It’d be nice if they extended the right side of the mouse out just a bit for a pinky rest.
Overall Review: I may disagree on this mouse being MOBA themed, as I play more MOBAs than MMOs. I certainly have found it more useful in Guild Wars than in Heroes of the Storm and DOTA2.
Much of the macro functionality is disabled by default, but this mouse also includes the possibility to add mouse movement, clicks, and scrolling in addition to keyboard events. This can be turned on in the Settings section of the Corsair Utility Engine.
For the most part though, the mouse is comfortable and looks good. Performance is also pretty solid, and my complaints are relatively minor.
Pros: As expected from a good cooler, it keeps my CPU nice and cool. I idle in single digit degrees Celsius; games can get in the low- to mid-20s. A little while of Prime95 stress testing put me in the mid-30s. Overall, pretty solid improvement over my Noctua DH-14.
Speaking of air cooling, the fans that cool the radiator are quiet. You’ll hear much more of the radiator itself than the fans. That was one thing that pleasantly surprised me, as one of my concerns was that I’d have to hear some constant pumping noise. Instead, it’s more like a low hum. Granted, it is a constant, consistent hum, but a low hum nonetheless.
Other than those things, it’s a pretty straightforward cooler that does a solid job with minimal noise.
Cons: It’s not easy to install in a way that cable management is also easy. The cables on the fans are not long enough to reach to one of the cable management ports in my case (immediately above the row of ports/top left of CPU, top right of CPU near drive bays). What ends up happening is I can get the cords over to one port, then I just have to tie them to cords that actually reach into one of the slots.
The reason this may be a problem is because the fans can easily get caught on or repeatedly hit the cables if you don’t find a place to stow them. This happened when I first powered up my computer after the installation, as one had come loose where I had put it and fell once I stood my tower upright. It certainly doesn’t make for a pretty sound.
Another thing is the mini USB cable that appears to provide some power to the heatsink portion of the cooler. Perhaps for the light that is on there, I’m not sure -- I could probably find out in the manual. This cable also isn’t long enough to go in a cable management port and reach the USB pins on the bottom of the board (which typically is where USB is). Again, stash the cable to the side and hope that the computer doesn’t really move.
Overall Review: Much about this installation was unclear, and I sometimes had to go back and take some stuff off because I had something that wasn’t either the correct part or it wasn’t in the proper configuration. Here are some things to note if you get this cooler:
- remember to check for rubber stoppers where the radiator hooks to the case. This cooler didn’t come with any, so you’ll have to hope your case does
- there are 3 types of risers, and for some reason, the AMD and one of the Intel ones look very similar. If you’re installing for an Intel cooler, flip ahead to the AMD section before putting on your risers to make sure you have the ones for Intel.
- the cooler already has the Intel heatsink on it; the only one you’ll see in the box is for AMD coolers
- you will need your CPU bracket to install this cooler, or at least, the recommendation appears to be to have this. If you previously had an aftermarket cooler (like I did, the Noctua DH-14), you might’ve remove the bracket because that cooler didn’t need it. Dig it out of a box and put it back on, because this one does.
- while I’m not 100% certain, I highly doubt you’ll be able to reach your GPU with this. Considering the hassle I had getting it to properly fit my CPU, I’m not even going to try on my GPU.
Pros: It’s dedicated to one purpose and one purpose only: bridging your wireless AC router to another location to provide similar speeds as if you had a wired connection. It does that job really, really well. I’ve used it on my gaming computer in another room, and I don’t notice a bit of difference between using the bridge and the wire. So yes, it does its job just fine.
I also appreciate having 4 ports available for use. This would go great in a TV/media center/gaming console area. Wire up a Chromecast for better quality, let your smart TV get information quicker, and your PS4 will have no lag (provided your other hardware and services are any good!).
Setup is pretty straightforward even if you don’t have WPS enabled on your router. It’s just like adding another device to your network. After getting the IP from the manual or running a command to show the default gateway, you login and simply find your 5GHz SSID. There are no other tricks or widgets to go with it. The only additional feature is QoS. Like I said: it does pretty much one job, and it does it really well.
Cons: This looks strangely familiar like old Linksys devices. The interface is a classic blue and looks like an old WRT54G. If you like that, great; I do not.
The cord that comes with the bridge is pretty short, which is fine, considering that you would buy this to avoid a lot of cable mess anyway. Also, the ports seemed a little tight, so be careful plugging in cables. You won’t get them in easily, at least not the cables I used.
I haven’t had a problem with the range that it picks up 5GHz signals, but my apartment is pretty WiFi friendly (walls don’t block signal, router can be placed in a good location, etc.). However, do note that both the placement of your router and the placement of this device are critical to proper performance.
Overall Review: It is an **absolute must** that you have a 5GHz capable router. This device does not support 2.4GHz! This is intentional from what I can tell and not necessarily a bad thing. But don’t expect this to work without the right router specs!
Overall, I’m pretty satisfied. It’s nothing fancy, but it does everything that I would ask of it. Many times the extra features on similar types of devices can degrade performance or add one extra layer of troubleshooting if something goes wrong. But with an easy setup and consistent, solid performance, this definitely will stick around in my network setup.
Pros: The rubber grip on each side of the mouse is actually quite comfortable, and the side buttons don’t get in the way (you won’t be going back a page on your browser accidentally). Your grip will be somewhere between claw and palm depending on the size of your hand and your preference; I find myself more on the palm side, though I am unsure that this mouse is designed for claw usage.
It doesn’t seem to get very dirty, the outside covering on the mouse doesn’t seem to scuff at all and it’s easy to keep your grip when combined with the textured sides.
The DPI switcher is handy when you want to switch your sensitivity in or out of a game. I’ve found a happy medium that I like for all usage, but for those of you who would like to have a faster mouse in game vs. out of game, this mouse comes in handy.
Cons: I’ve only been using this mouse a couple of weeks, and already I can see where my fingers have been. I don’t think this mouse would last forever with its good looks
The cord isn’t braided. This is a personal choice that I prefer, and I think this mouse could benefit from it.
I’m not sure why it’s advertised that it can show off a ton of colors. Your hand is almost certainly going to be covering all spots where you can see the color. The only time you’ll see it is if your hand isn’t on it. So unless you consider your mouse a stylistic addon to your PC, I don’t see the colors as being much more than a bell/whistle.
Overall Review: Another thought about the overall design that I can’t confirm: the “edges” (where the body connects to other parts) have wide openings. My theory is that this mouse could get extremely dirty without regular cleaning.
I didn’t appreciate that I had to download software in order to up the sensitivity from something low (800? 900?) to my target of ~3000 DPI. I imagine that most people who would be interested in a gaming mouse would prefer a higher default. However, it’s worth noting that I need the software anyway in case I want the toggled DPI button to be useful.
Would I recommend it? Yes, but only marginally. There are other mice that fall into a similar category (based on size, features, and average price point) that would be a better choice though.
Pros: Definitely a very little projector! The pictures make it look much larger than it actually is. I have a fairly large hand, and this projector is able to fit almost entirely on my palm. It’s an excellent size and is easy to place anywhere convenient.
One of the most appreciated features on this projector is the USB port. Currently, I have it setup with a Chromecast, and I do not need but one outlet for power. The Chromecast can be powered by this projector while sitting in the HDMI input. Combined with the battery, it makes for an excellent portable screen!
Speaking of the battery, I was able to watch about an hour and a half of a movie before it died. That’s not too bad at all. Given the possible size of the battery, that’s a relatively long time. Certainly keep the power cord with you, though.
Other than video, I put a couple of recent presentations on the projector to see if the aspect ratios held to the slide templates (4:3 and 16:9). Both looked just fine, no compressing or stretching.
There are also plenty of options to configure the picture, and I recommend taking advantage of this when projecting this video onto the wall. There will be some offsetting of color that should be corrected for (depending on the color of the wall). Adjust contrast and brightness as needed, but there are also options for warmth of color. Overall, it’s relatively easy to adjust to the viewing surface, as there is also an option for vertical keystone (trapezoid) adjustment.
Cons: It would be nice if horizontal keystone was also an adjustable option. Yes, if the presenting surface is not level vertically, you can fix it, but I feel like horizontal adjustment should be possible as well. Even a little would make it much easier to adjust to the screen or wall.
While it is incredibly convenient that this projector can be mounted on a tripod mount (or similar), this projector could benefit from having a small “base,” if you will, that could be used for adjusting the rotation/angle of the projector as it sits. Currently I’m stuck with having to put paper or other items underneath in order to get the right height to the wall. The base would only need to offer an inch or two, plus angle flexibility, in order for projecting to be perfect.
It’s nice for me, with my Android phone, to be able to wireless cast to the projector; however, my iPad is mostly useless when attempting to hook directly with this projector. It’s not a huge problem that it doesn’t support Apple, but it’s certainly very surprising.
I realize this projector isn’t meant for audio, but a tin can probably has better acoustics than this speaker. I’ll be leaving it hooked up to an external speaker when possible.
Overall Review: I mention one of the cons being the speaker. There is indeed a 3.5mm jack for output to a speaker, which makes it a little more bearable for audio. A good addition to purchase would be a Bluetooth transmitter to allow for connecting wirelessly to external speakers.
More than anything, I appreciate this projector’s portability. This projector has been in both the master and spare bedroom of my apartment, my office at work, and my kitchen/dining room area. Paired with my Chromecast, it’s great to have a “let me show you this cool video!” option to take with me.
There are a few downsides, but all things considered, the variety of features and portability make this projector a must-buy.
Pros: For starters, I’m typing this review on this keyboard. That’s a pretty good sign.
Really though, overall, this is a solid buy. Has a pretty good looking design if you like the look of metal; there are metal “pipes” all around this keyboard and the underlying plate (beneath the keycaps) is what appears to be a dark brushed metal. Every key and feature has backlighting, including the spacebar, so there’s nothing that’s dark. Additionally, the included textured keycaps have the same pseudo-transparent lettering, so if you choose to use them, you will not lose backlighting.
It took some time to get used to the macro keys being on my left side. My previous backlit mechanical keyboard, the Ducky Shine II w/ brown switches, did not have macro keys. If you’ve never had macro keys though, I think they’ve been a good addition to my keyboard scheme. Reaching left or right is easier for me than reaching up to function keys or even numbers 1-5. Setting them is pretty easy to do as well, both with the button in the top right and using the software. If you’re using the physical key to set a macro, be sure you know what you’re doing first before you bind something like spacebar to type out random text. If you do end up like that, simply switch modes, as macros are per-mode saved.
The volume control and visual meter are tied into the same meter of the PC (at least for me on Windows 10). If you plug in a headset that has a different volume setting, the meter will reflect that, which is handy.
The tricky part of this keyboard is being aware that there are features included that are maybe not clear at first glance. There is a mouse/headphone cable holder that is on the metal bar in the back. I didn’t see it when I first plugged in my headset to the USB slot, since it had folded underneath the keyboard. Also, there is a switch that can toggle 6 or N key rollover next to the headphone jacks. It’s not labeled properly (S is “standard,” or 6, while G is N-key). In case you don’t want N key rollover all the time, there is both a hardware and software option.
Cons: The keycaps are my main concern. I believe they are ABS, which tend to “shine” after being used for a long time. PBT, the more resilient type of keycap, does not. I’m expecting my spacebar to start wearing down in 6 months or less, which isn’t good for the look of the keyboard.
My other problem is a little hard to describe. I think it has something to do with how the keys are sitting above the plate rather than “in” the plate. Occasionally, I will hear a metallic sounding echo from some of the larger keys, mainly Enter, Backspace, and R-Shift, when I use them. My theory is that after the keys have been pressed (regardless of if they have or haven’t been bottomed out) and are resetting to initial position, there’s something that happens as they reset that echos against the metal plate underneath. Maybe it’s simply how the keycaps are attached, or if there are extra supports underneath the larger keys that affects this. I don’t know. But the noise is pretty annoying.
Overall Review: If you are the type of person to really dig into changing out keycaps (or if you want to get started), just a few notes on this keyboard. It does come with a plastic keycap remover that’s included inside the extra textured/slanted keycaps (look on the lid). I missed it the first time I looked, but it’s there.
I’m not sure if it’s possible to change any individual switches out, as I’d like for my spacebar to have a slightly more resistant switch (like a clear switch). However, I’d like to do so without having to desolder the switch. There isn’t any information on GSKILL’s site or in the manual, so I’ll have to dive deeper to find out.
Overall, it’s a good keyboard. There are some tweaks that would make it perfect, but I think the vast majority of people would be pleased to use it (more so if you like red backlighting).