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Linksys by Cisco WAG320N Dual-Band Wireless N ADSL2+ Modem Gigabit Router
The problem I have when technology moves on, is that I am reluctant to change anything, all the existing equipment works fine, I dont want to add anything new to introduce problems, I dont really want to spend the money, I dont want the newest thing for the sake of having the newest thing, and these sentiments arent eased any after you read some of the reviews about devices which are scattered all over the internet because other peoples tales of horror leave you afraid to jump one way or another
So why change, I bought WDTV (see the review), and I love it, I had a g router and some of the larger files I was sending to it was taking too long to transfer over, not only that, some of the video sent from it to a PC was a little less than fluid - hence the decision to upgrade.
I ruled out Belkin because, everywhere you look for advice you hear about dropped connections, i ruled out netgear for a number of reasons ranging from models not being able to achieve speeds, to models not being good on a network with multiple devices.
Now if you read other reviews for the WAG320n, people complain about dropped connections, usb functionality, range of wireless signal etc. I want to stress. I bought this device purely for the gigabit ethernet ports and to speed up my network, I have a gigabit nas attached, I dont need the usb port, I dont have a problem with wireless range or signals through walls, I never did, although i can remark i get a slightly higher download speed than my old router which is welcome. The router hasnt been reset in the time i have had it, the signal is strong, it gets a little warm but doesent cut out, transferring files while surfing is better, no noticeable congestion, I cant find a reason to be unhappy with its functionality.
The unit is not simutaneous dual band, its 2.4 or 5, you choose which is best, mine is at default 2.4, I do want to say, this is an expensive device to buy when you consider a router is free from most isp's but, they dont offer these features. I can tell you I have pushed this little unit for the basis of this review, sending 10GB HD to WDTV, sending a GB file to my NAS and receiving HD from WDTV to my PC, the result was impressive, and while being something I wouldnt ordinarily do, ordinary 3 way traffic is fine, heavy 3way (HD Streaming) is less than perfect so if you have multiple PC's and the kids play live games upstairs while you stream media elsewhere etc, I can see the benefit of a simultaneous dual band device, you would pay for it remember, but this unit is more than fine for my needs, all in all I am happy with this purchase (phew!)Lastly, before I forget, the picture of this model is incorrect, the WAG320n is an all black fingerprint magnet similar to the wrt160n, it is not silver, it looks better, it comes with a set up cd, which is easy if you want to use it, my provider is plusnet, but wasnt in the list, typed my address and p/w and it set up immediately. Based on my experience this works for me.
The 4 stars, is based purely on price, it shouldnt cost so much.
Western Digital TV Live Hub 1TB PAL UK Network Media Centre
This WD sits in front of the tv smaller than a paperback novel, silent and unassuming but very stylish with a WD light on the front when on or transferring files(can be turned off in menu). I am beginning to see why there are so many good reviews for this model, if you are like me and are nervous about new gadgets dont be, like a modern tv, you plug it in and it does everything itself. Need to say though, there is no HDMI or ethernet cable in the box, just the mains cord, but plug an ethernet into the router, the hdmi into a tv, plug into the mains and thats it!!!
When you switch on for the first time, you have to wait until it downloads new firmware then its ready to go. The worst thing you can do is worry about the lack of an instruction manual in the box and the stupid 5 pictures without words set up instructions - really thats it, its set up. If you go to your PC click on computer in the start menu, then click network you will see 'wdtvlivehub' start dragging files to the wd, start watching files in another room on another pc from the wd, its that simple - both western digital and reviews make the thought of owning one of these media streamers harder than the actual ownership, they are a dream, especially this with its built in hard drive, no plugging in seperate hard drives for photos, film and music, its always there as if it was on your pc every time you switch on, and better still they are there on your TV when the PC is switched off - Simple!
I think this model is more expensive than an Asus with say a 2tb optional drive, but this WD is seamless, it has their top of the line cobalt blue 1tb drive inside, and I have had no trouble playing files, it plays files my PC doesent have the codec for, MKV's between 5 and 8 gig - no problem, 5.1 sound channelled around the room - no problem (it can handle 8 channels at the time of writing), smaller avi less than 1 gig look fantastic in fact a 180mb 30 minute avi looks better than some freeview channels, I dont know what the upscaler is doing but CNET compare the capabilities of this WD to their reference machine, it plays x264, h264, m2ts, you really would have to try hard to find something you need to convert first.
All in all I am very happy, this really is the next generation of entertainment and it has been freed from my PC and onto my big screen TV, after all thats what I bought my TV for, not so I can watch HD movies huddled over a small computer screen - enjoy!
Maxtor OneTouch 4 Mini 250 GB 2.5 inch USB 2.0 Hard Drive
I already use a seagate 60gb external drive and I never had any problems, so upgrading to a Seagate/Maxtor drive seemed like a safe investment. When it arrived I was surprised by the size. this modern 250gb is smaller and slimmer than the 60gb its replacing. If you want a hard drive for its looks you won't go far wrong here, brushed steel top surrounded elsewhere by sturdy non slip rubber, in my opinion it looks classier and better quality than the WD passport. It worked a treat out of the box (plug and play) and quite silent. I read some reviews on this and other hard drives and every reviewer said the bundled backup and restore software was the best they had come accross. I can't comment as I am only interested in the drag and drop aspect. All in all I feel confident that my data is safe. A twin power/data cable is also provided if you need it.