Archive for the ‘reviews’ Category

#tech4WorkFromHome: Turbocharge Home Wi-Fi with Linksys E9450 WiFi6 EasyMesh Router

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

Want to improve the quality, speed and coverage of your home Wi-Fi for #WorkFromHome and #HomeBasedLearning? I’ve been using the E9450 WiFi6 EasyMesh Router from Linksys since its launch half a year ago and I’m very happy that it has delivered.

The Linksys E9450 Dual Band WiFi 6 Mesh router to expand Wi-Fi coverage and performance for #WorkFromHome and #HomeBasedLearning, as well as for gaming.

The Linksys E9450 Dual Band WiFi 6 Mesh router to expand Wi-Fi coverage and performance for #WorkFromHome and #HomeBasedLearning, as well as for gaming.

I’ve been using a telco-provided router for years – it has served me well although it could not reach the study, the bedrooms and the garden outside – so Internet access has always been confined to the kitchen, living and dining rooms.

Beyond the reaches of the old router, we had to switch on the mobile data connections on our handphones and hotspot the data to devices (speakers and computers etc) without a mobile data connection.

You can imagine how frustrating and limiting (and expensive) that can be.

And as the number of Internet-lusting devices being used in the household began growing rapidly, connection quality began to deteriorate, with slow speeds and dropped connections occurring more frequently.

Which was why I decided to upgrade the old router with the Linksys E9450 WiFi6 EasyMesh Router.

To expand the coverage of my home Wi-Fi network, I deployed a 2-node (1 parent + 1 child node) mesh network.

This was because a single-node network provided roughly a similar spatial network as my old router, probably because it was a matter of physical topology due to the layout.

The optical network terminal (ONT) for Singtel’s fibre optic network is located at one end of my apartment near the main entrance – instead of the center of the entire apartment – hence the distance between the router (which is connected by wire to the ONT) and the bedrooms tend to render the Wi-Fi signals too weak for connection.

 

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I have a Network Attached Storage (NAS) connected (by wire) to the E9450 so that devices can upload/download files/photos and stream music/videos wirelessly via the Wi-Fi network. Another reason why I need a good Wi-Fi network with reach and performance.

So with a second E9450 router placed at the far end of the living room, the coverage of the Wi-Fi network was successfully extended to every bedroom – because the second router was located at the center of the entire apartment.

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Review: Seagate IronWolf Pro 14TB HDD with Synology DS918+ NAS

Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

With the growing demand for storage space at home, I’ve set up an NAS (Network Attached Storage) with three Seagate IronWolf Pro 14TB NAS HDD (Hard Disk Drive) in a Synology DS918+ DiskStation. Just in time for World Backup Day 2021 today.

 

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The three Seagate IronWolf Pro 14TB HDD freshly unwrapped (lower photo) and just prior to installation into the Synology DS918+ DiskStation NAS.

With the exponentially increasing demand for storage space, businesses and home users constantly find themselves exhausting whatever storage they have – be it to store text documents, databases, photos or huge video files.

 

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The NAS sitting pretty alongside the Linksys E9450 router, all set up with RAID5 in a Synology DS918+ DiskStation with three Seagate IronWolf Pro 14TB HDDs within.

And with the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are working from home and students are doing home-based learning – resulting in large increases in demand for storage needs at home eg. if you’re a creative pro who now have to do your video-editing at home instead of at the office.

 

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The three Seagate IronWolf Pro 14TB HDDs and Synology DS918+ DiskStation NAS just prior to unboxing.

Having gotten by with a desktop expansion HDD connected to my work laptop, I’ve decided to set up an NAS at home – to not only increase storage capacity but also to share that storage with all members of the family.

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tech4xmas Review: Rakuten Kobo Libra H2O E-Reader

Saturday, December 5th, 2020

The Rakuten Kobo Libra H2O is the Christmas present for my wife who is an avid reader. I chose it because it offers all the features that she needs and uses at a reasonable price. Looks good, works well and value-for-money.

The Rakuten Kobo Libra H2O e-reader (S$279.90) and the optional sleep cover (S$59) is available online (https://sg.kobobooks.com/products/kobo-libra-h2o) as well as at key retailers such as Challenger, Courts, and Sprint-cass.

The Rakuten Kobo Libra H2O e-reader (S$279.90) and the optional sleep cover (S$59) is available online as well as at key retailers such as Challenger, Courts, and Sprint-cass.

So the two flagship e-readers that I started out looking at were the Kindle Oasis 3 and the Kobo Forma.

Eventually, I decided on the Libra H2O because it offers almost the same set of features but at a much lower price.

 

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Borrowing books from the public library and discovery of books from the Kobo eBookstore is easy and intuitive. I like the recommendations of similar books based on the books that I have read.

The Libra H2O has a seven-inch Carta E Ink HD touchscreen with 1690 x 1264 pixels at 300ppi.

The display is sharp and the content is clearly readable in dim light or in bright sunlight.

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tech4xmas Review: Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro Smartwatch

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

The S$398 smartwatch from Huawei offers itself as a fitness and health companion, packaged in a design that combines sports and style. Great Christmas gift for the sporty male.

 

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Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro smartwatch (Night Black).

The Watch GT 2 Pro is the most advanced smartwatch from Huawei, offering a comprehensive range of features, with a number of upgrades from its predecessors.

With 100+ workout modes available – including the recently added golf driving range, skiing, snowboarding and cross country skiing – you’re highly likely to find your favourite workout whatever your sports of choice is.

 

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Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro smartwatch in the box.

In addition, the GT 2 Pro offers attentive health features such as its proprietary TruSeen™ 4.0+ heart rate monitoring technology, TruSleep.

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Review: Trek iSSD 4-in-1 Portable Wireless Storage Server cum Power Bank

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

Once in a while, you come across a device that does it all – and does it well. When it comes to a mobile storage companion, Trek iSSD ticks the check boxes of all the functionalities that I’ve always wanted in a single device.

In the box: Trek iSSD, USB Type-C data cable, user manual, microSD card adaptor, pouch.

In the box: Trek iSSD, USB Type-C data cable, user manual, microSD card adaptor, pouch.

Three of biggest problems holding back a mobile worker on the move are: storage space, battery power and the ability to share.

With the limited storage space on notebooks, tablets and mobile phones, workers on the move quickly run out of storage space on their mobile devices, especially if their work require huge media files that they have to present at meetings and discuss with their clients.

 

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The Trek iSSD measures 120 x 75 x 15mm and weighs 230g. It has an aluminum alloy frame with glass cover.

At home, the easy solution is to buy a desktop hard disk drive (HDD) with a huge capacity eg. 6-12TB – but it is not something you can bring on the road.

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New Arrival: Livinguard Masks Against COVID-19 SARS-COV-2 Virus

Saturday, November 7th, 2020

Livinguard has brought its reusable face masks in Singapore. Three versions for different levels of protection (and breathability) are available online at Shopee, Lazada and ORO. Prices below.

 

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Here are the Street (2 layers) and Pro (3 layers) of the Livinguard masks.

I tried out the Street and Pro versions and liked them.

It feels light, fitting and doesn’t clog up the nostrils when you breathe.

There are three versions for different levels of protection and breathability, in 4 colours and 3 sizes.

Each mask can be rinsed once a week for up to 30 times – so that works out to 210 days of usage.

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Review: Suunto 7 Stunningly Beautiful Sporty Smartwatch

Saturday, October 24th, 2020

If you want to make a fashionable statement about your sporty lifestyle, the Suunto 7 offers you a Google Wear OS smartwatch along with sporty DNA from the Finnish watchmaker.

I have the all black version - Suunto also offers the Black Lime, Graphite Copper, Sandstone Rosegold and White Burgundy colours. Here you can see the watches displaying various modes and screens.

I have the All Black version – Suunto also offers the Black Lime, Graphite Copper, Sandstone Rosegold and White Burgundy colours. Here you can see the watches displaying various modes and screens.

Suunto is a Finnish adventure instrument maker known for its design and innovation in sports watches, compasses and dive computers since 1936.

The 84-year-old brand makes the rugged, adventure-proof Suunto 3, Suunto 5, Suunto 7 and Suunto 9 for casual, enthusiast and professional sportsmen and women.

 

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Really love the beautiful heatmap watchface of the Suunto 7 sports smartwatch. Been using it since its debut in Singapore back in September.

These watches are design tested in Finland to be shock-proof, water-proof, and dirt-proof.

Its Suunto 3, 5 and 9 emphasizes autonomy and sports features that do not require connection to the Internet.

Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon WEar 3100 platform, the Suunto 7 offers connectivity to the Web via Google Wear OS to enable lifestyle smartwatch features that its brethren do not enjoy – namely Music, payments and an app platform.

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Review: ViewSonic VX3276-2K-MHD 32-inch WQHD IPS Monitor

Monday, October 19th, 2020

The ViewSonic VX3276-2K-MHD is a great monitor for increasing the screen real estate of your computer, in this time of #WorkFromHome because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I use it to extend the display on my notebook computer to enlarge the total screen workspace in order to increase the efficiency and productivity of my daily work.

 

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The latest addition to my #WorkFromHome setup (laptop not included): the ViewSonic VX3276-2K-MHD 32-inch WQHD IPS Monitor. Notice the frameless design. If your desktop has the space, I find the 32-inch monitor the optimal size to increase productivity without being too huge to become a strain on the neck when viewing the top of the monitor.

A large monitor is a “productivity-multiplier” and one of the best investments you can make to increase the efficiency of your work on a computer.

Connecting the monitor to a desktop or notebook computer, the monitor serves as a second monitor to extend the screen real estate of a small laptop screen or the first desktop monitor.

A large external monitor is a “productivity-multiplier” and one of the best investments you can make to increase the efficiency of your work on a computer. This is the ViewSonic VX3276-2K-MHD 32” WQHD IPS monitor.

A large external monitor is a “productivity-multiplier” and one of the best investments you can make to increase the efficiency of your work on a computer. This is the ViewSonic VX3276-2K-MHD 32” WQHD IPS monitor.

The ViewSonic VX3276-2K-MHD IPS monitor has a viewable area of 31.5 inches with a WQHD (2560 x 1440) resolution.

WQHD (wide quad high definition) is also called QHD and is commonly known as “2K”.

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Review: Hydragun Percussive Therapy Massage Gun

Sunday, October 4th, 2020

The Hydragun is a percussive massage therapy device designed for sports recovery – to provide speedy and effective muscle pain relief for high-performance athletes and people working from home.

 

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The Hydragun comes in a case for carrying it around to the gym or office.

Massage guns have become very popular lately with athletes engaging in sports and fitness activities; as well as people working from home, using home furniture not suited for extended hours of work – resulting in poor postures, back & shoulder aches and carpal tunnel syndrome in the hands.

So a good massage gun has become a must-have for working adults.

The Hydragun is a Singapore-designed, China-manufactured massage gun targeting sports enthusiasts from all walks of life.

Starting from the packaging and the design and build, you can tell the company is serious about making a tool that provides effective healing and recovery for sports injuries or work sores and aches – unlike many no-brand OEM products on the bandwagon that was hastily thrown into a box with minimal documentation and sold for a song.

 

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The S$399 Hydragun alongside a S$50 OEM massage gun from a friend who bought it online. The latter was heavy and unbalanced, had no return policy or warranty and stopped working after two months even though it was hardly used. The Hydragun comes with a 30-day “No Questions Asked” Return Policy and an 18 month-warranty.

In the box, the Hydragun comprises the main vibrating therapy massager (the big gun), six head attachments (four regular, two with stainless steel heads), one charger, one manual, and a robust zippered case to easily carry it all to the gym.

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Review: Montblanc MB 01 Smart Foldable Travel ANC Headphones

Saturday, October 3rd, 2020

The Montblanc MB 01 is the best pair of noise-cancelling headphones that I’ve heard in a long time, and the physical design is nothing less than what you’d expect from the luxury maison.

 

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The Montblanc MB 01 combines elegant Montblanc design, long-lasting comfort and good sound quality for a great travel companion.

When Montblanc first launched the MB 01 over-ear headphones in Singapore, I was curious on whether they would be able to produce the sound quality to compete with the market leaders.

I love their stationary, but audio wise, this was their first foray.

So when Montblanc asked if I would like to try out the MB 01, I decided to give it a spin.

The leather headband and ear pads, aluminum parts and silicone ear cups give the Montblanc MB 01 a luxurious and stylish design.

The leather headband and ear pads, aluminum parts and silicone ear cups give the Montblanc MB 01 a luxurious and stylish design.

The MB 01 made a great first impression when I first scooped it out of the box – the luxurious leather ear cushions and headband and shiny metallic parts give you the same feeling of luxury as when you behold one of the company’s fountain pens.

Then I put it to charge – it takes two hours for a complete charge via the USB-C port.

So my son comes along and, with my permission, tries out the headphones.

When I was ready to try out the MB 01, I’d barely picked up my smartphone when the Android notification told me that the MB 01 was ready to pair, and in no time I was listening to the headphones (after my son disconnected).

This must be the easiest I’ve connected to a new pair of headphones!

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