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clarkjames

clarkjames
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Member since: 19.01.2013

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      29.01.2014 16:55
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      a great drive at a good price

      I am a big fan of the seagate drives, the ones where the base connects into the drive- as you can remove the hard drive part and add what ever drive you want, so for example a friend comes over with a broken laptop, you can pull out the drive and stick it on the seagate dock and immediately access the files, it's a great system because although they run about £10 more than a similar sized usb 3 drive, you get a usb 3 basically for free- which is about a £30 value so it makes sense to get this if you ever think you might be into swapping drives. It means I can access all my various hard drives with super speedy usb 3.

      talking of speed this drive is screaming fast- the 3tb drive (think it's 7200rpm) clocked in at 164mB/s which is very fast indeed

      build quality is high on the drive, it's plastic, and a bit of a dust/fingerptint/scratch magnet, but quality is high and it even looks great


      It includes a rather short USB 3 cable, it is fine for a laptop with the drive sitting on the desk, but if you need to plug it into a computer that's positioned far underneath your desk you might not have the length to do so, so you might need to look into an extension, or get a longer cable

      overall i'm very happy with the drive's performance and the whole concept of the 'go flex' range- excellent drives

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    • Optoma HD700X / Projector / 27 Readings / 26 Ratings
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      14.01.2014 01:13
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      just get one

      I recently looked into getting a projector, and found myself looking at the Optoma HD series.
      There were a bewildering array of models to chose form but I was told that all of the 720p optoma projectors are very similar, and not to look too closely at the manufacturers specs as you'll want to tweak the settings to get the best picture anyway, so 13000 lumens becomes more like 500 lumens when you set it up for watching movies in a darkened room.

      The build quality on the projector is a little cheap, the case is black plastic (the optoma hd65 is white, but otherwise they are identical projectors, it even comes up on my computer as an optoma hd65). It shows up scratches and fingerprints quite readily. The lens is zoomed in using a wheel on the top, the focus is made by rotating the lens- this feels a little cheap and the lens wobbles a bit during turning. Also adjusting the zoom throws the image out of focus- this is quite annoying as it means you constantly have to adjust the 2, and adjusting the focus alters the zoom slightly (I know this is down to the incredibly basic optical design), but other projectors I have seen do not do this. There is vertical and horizontal shift but all it does it shift the picture and crop off some of the image, so not really very useful

      The projector is absolutely tiny, a lot smaller than I expected it to be, and it weighs nothing- so no problems finding somewhere to put it.

      Picture quality is fantastic, over HDMI the image is contrasty and sharp, with plenty of shadow detail- I may play with the settings but the picture of of the box is fantastic. Make sure you have it on 'cool' white balance, the other settings are far too warm.

      I will update the review with my preferred settings when I discover them.

      I haven't noticed any rainbow effects and i've been trying my best to induce them.

      it's also a lot quieter than I expected, on high bulb mode it's noisier but it's still acceptable- on eco mode it's whisper quiet


      An amazing buy, for less than £400 for big screen gaming, movie watching or TV- incredible

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      • Eltax Monitor Center / Speaker / 4 Readings / 3 Ratings
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        14.01.2014 00:59

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        great speaker, for peanuts

        You get what you pay for
        unless you buy eltax
        in which case you get a lot more than you paid for

        Eltax is a swedish brand who are known for good products at great prices, their stuff is available from Richer sounds who are a popular UK hi-fi chain store

        The Construction quality is actually very good for the money, no complaints at all in terms of build quality- I have it in the beech finish, and to be honest I wish i'd got in in black- as far as I know there is no 'walnut' or more luxurious wood finish choices- when you pay a lot more money for a speaker you get something that arguably looks better, better finish and better styling- the eltax is a little utilitarian looking.

        In terms of performance I have nothing bad to say, maybe there are better speakers out there but I have never heard them- my father has a centre speaker that cost a lot more than this eltax did and I can't really hear the difference. I have mine set up as a centre with non eltax front speakers, personally I haven't found an issue with that but aesthetically they don't match, so if you wanted matching speakers then you'd get the 5.1 eltax set- i've never heard the rest of the eltax range but i've heard good things written about them, so if you want matching speakers but don't like the sound of the eltax front speakers you might have to spend a lot more money to get speakers from a different brand instead- otherwise I think that the eltax centre would make a great addition to other speakers- and if you get it in black it's unobtrusive enough to not stand out too much

        good speakers, good sound quality, nice built quality, slightly uninspiring looks, and great value

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      • Transcend RDP5 / Card Reader / 35 Readings / 32 Ratings
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        09.01.2014 20:28
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        a good product, but not that useful

        I got one of these card readers free with a transcend SD Card I bought, I already have an SD card reader built into my laptop, and a usb 3 5 in 1 CF/SD card reader, so I decided to compare them.

        Card readers are quite unglamorous objects, they're very functional and I think unfortunately the transcend SD card reader is the worst of both worlds- the best card reader I own is the one built into my laptop- it's always there, takes up zero space, just plug the card in and off you go. The fastest card reader I own is the usb 3 SD/CF reader, it's about twice the size as the SD card reader but when it's in the bag it's a negligible difference- so that leaves this transcend rdp5, functionally it's the worst of the lot, it's so small that it's easy to lose/forget, if you need to use it and you've left it at home you're out of luck.

        In terms of speed, the USB 3 reader is slightly marginally faster than the usb 2 reader, which is marginally faster than the built in reader (negliable difference). I was testing with a class 10 SD card though, which is pretty zippy but not really fast enough to even saturate a usb2 connection- so with faster SD cards in the future (or using a fast CF card) you notice the difference between usb 2 and 3, but with most cards you won't notice, so don't think you need usb 3, although it might be useful in the future.

        Build quality is fine but far from exceptional, its mostly plastic and about the same level as a usb memory stick- the lid comes off and can be lost, so be careful of that

        In summary get one if you have no usb reading facilities, but if you have a reader built into your computer/laptop that will likely be just as fast and more useful- and if you're looking to transfer photos from a camera then check that you can't just connect the camera to a computer via usb to transfer photos that way

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        09.12.2013 05:25
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        a 2 in one product

        To cut to the chase, I think the seagate 1tb backup plus is the best drive you can buy, because not only is it a hard drive (and a very good one), it's also a data-usb3 dock for other drives.

        The way this works is that the drive is actually in 2 parts, the drive and the interface/dock. The hard drive is encased in plastic and the connections (data and power) are sticking out and this is what connects into the dock part of the drive (with the usb cable coming out), this means that you can 'upgrade' the interface to find the best solution for you- I was happy to stick with usb3 but you might find firewire better. Because the dock takes a standard drive connections you can just plug any bare drive into the dock and it will work as an external hard drive, which is great for when you have a bare drive you need to access briefly as now instead of needing an external case you just use this dock- so it's like a 2-in-one product!

        The downside to this is that it's not as compact as a drive where the cable comes directly out the drive case- but the dock only adds an extra 1/2" of bulk so it's not a deal breaker and I was happy to make that sacrifice to gain a usb 3 dock for my other drives


        The drive itself:
        i've been very happy with the performance of the drive, for a 1tb drive I think it's reasonably priced at around £60. it's usb 3 so it's very fast, and absolutely leaves usb 2 in the dust in terms of speed. It's backwards compatible with usb 2 so if you have an older computer it will still work out fine. You can purchase new 'docks' that allow you to use firewire, or thunderbolt interfaces so whatever pc or mac you're running you'll be able to find something to fit that's better than usb 2 (for example older mac's have firewire ports, and newer macs that don't have usb 3 have thunderbolt)

        the finish on the drive is plastic, it looks like brushed metal but isn't- it's extremely scratch resistant though so I don't mind throwing it in a bag as it still looks brand new even after heavy use- much improved from their old glossy plastic drives that looked wrecked the first time you use it

        I think this is a great product, don't bother with the included software, but use it just as a normal drive and be happy, and the times when the drive dock comes in handy be thankful you went for this drive and not another brand

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          09.12.2013 04:42
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          a good unit at a reasonable price

          I have this unit in cream- nespresso magi mix version

          visually the unit is very nice, and I like the cream look although it won't be for everyone as the 'vintage' feel won't go with a very modern decor, although the chrome accents will help it tie in with a modern room so your milage may vary. If in doubt stick with the standard black edition.

          Starting from the back the unit consists of a water container which is quite small and requires frequent filling- but perhaps this is good otherwise the water could become stagnant if it sat in the jug for a long time. Then you have the main unit, with the capsule holder on the top- this part is quite badly designed as you have to pull up the chrome handle and then drop the capsules in to the machine, most of the time they go in absolutely fine but sometimes they don't go in properly and either drop straight through into the 'empty' tank, or they get stuck and you have to use your fingers (or more likely a stick) to push the capsule out- this can be especially annoying first thing in the morning when you're tired and in a rush, the lever is quite awkward to press down, and the first few times you do it you'll be convnved you're doing it wrong as there is so much resistance you feel as if something will break- persevere and you'll get used to it, but be prepared to have to step in when anyone else tries to make a coffee- even if you shout 'just push it down hard' people will always be concerned they'll break the machine and leave it up to you.

          Another annoying feature is how long it takes to heat up, even leaving the machine turned on doesn't keep the head warm (my old nespresso machine did), but on this it seems to go onto standby mode after a short amount of time (good for low energy bills, bad for when I want coffee and don't want to wait 2-3 minutes for the machine to heat up), get into the habit of turning it on well before you actually want your coffee, otherwise the wait is tediously long.

          When the machine does fire out coffee it fills the cup very quickly, and the high pressure (19 bar) pump makes for a great cup with a nice thick crema (nespresso capsules give the best creme, off brand ones can be hit and miss). On top of the unit you have 2 buttons for long drinks and espresso- you press the button that you want and then it flashes until the unit is up to temperature (2-3 minutes), you then press it again to dispense your drink, it would be better if it dispensed it automatically when it was up to temperature.

          The machine is quite loud when it creates the drink, but only for about 15 seconds.

          Under the buttons is the head, nothing to say about this really- and then under that is the collecting tray for empty capsules, which holds a whole lot of empties and then is easy to transfer them to the bin, way better than my old nespresso which required you to throw them out after every cup.

          The cup sits on a fold out stand, but for taller cups (I like to use long and thin glass cups) you can flip up the stand and sit the cup on the bottom- which is also the part that catches excess drips.

          The whole unit is easy to take apart to clean.

          it's a good unit at a reasonable price- but has some annoying design quirks

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            05.11.2013 07:55
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            a good tripod for beginners, but better tripods are out there

            A good tripod makes all the difference for photography- a stable platform to shoot from will make or break the £1000's invested in glass and high megapixel cameras, a blurred shot is rarely a good one, so investing in a good tripod is a wise move.

            A good tripod is one that: 1) stabilized your shots and 2) is either so good to use, or easy to carry that you actually bring it with you- a tripod in the car, or back at home is a useless tripod.

            They say in tripods you can have light, cheap, tall, or compact- and certainly not all of them. But this tripod is just right for most people, it's not carbon fibre so it's not super lightweight, but at less than £100 it's a good buy. It's not the tallest tripod in the world but it goes to eye level for someone who's 6ft. Being a 3 section tripod it's not particularly small, especially with a big head on it, but strapped to a rucksack it's not usually a problem.

            Overall it's just a good tripod- build quality is expectedly great, the leg angle locks work exceptionally well (wish I could say the same about the leg lever locks as I hate them and they're incredibly hard to operate in cold weather)

            You can't really go wrong with manfrotto- so if you need a tripod, get one of these instead of a super cheap one that will ruin your shots and break when you need it most.

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          • Asus Xonar U3 / Sound Card / 23 Readings / 17 Ratings
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            19.08.2013 16:16
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            a useful improvement to any laptop's on board sound capabilities

            I purchased this product mainly so that I could leave it plugged into a usb hub under my desk and have my headphones permanantly connected to it (meaning that only 2 cables go to my laptop, power and usb)
            I was pleasantly surprised at the huge increase in sound quality too. With headphones the volume is a lot louder than plugging directly into the motherboard, if you have to have the volume on maximum all the time, this little amplifier will give you a much needed volume boost. Bass is also stronger with this sound card, and with the eq controls you can tweak the sound to your liking.

            The included software also lets you use something called dolby headphone, which simulates surround sound using headphones- it actually works really well and now I can't live without it in games, where you will hear noises convincingly from behind and in front- not sure how it does it but it really works.

            It is really cheap, at just £30 (although you can feel it in the build quality and design of the unit), so if you're using a laptop and can't install a pci sound card this might be the next best thing to get better sound quality. Recommended

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          • AKG K 701 / Headphones / 7 Readings / 7 Ratings
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            19.08.2013 16:08
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            the best headphones i've ever used, but they are tricky to get the best out of them

            The AKG's are all about truth, they will reveal every flaw in your recordings, every hint of poor compression, they are unforgiving. This makes them perfectly suited to studio monitors (which is their main intention) but also for audiophiles seeking transparency they're hard to ignore.

            The headphones will faithfully reproduce whatever is fed into them, unlike 90% of other headphones they won't boost the bass, nor will they try and make the midrange (vocals) more striking, they just play what they're told to play. This means that compairing them to other headphones they don't sound as 'musical' or warm, because of this it needs a careful pairing of electronics or they will sound slightly bass deficient.

            First off they need an amp to sound good, they are notoriously difficult to drive so without an amp they sound flat and lifeless, these are not headphones for connecting directly to an iPod. Connected to a warm amp, with a slight bass boost shows that the k701's can produce exceptional, deep bass- it's just harder to acccess without an amp with some sort of tone controls (which rules out most audiophile amps). Properly amped the soundstage is wonderful, with the legendary treble that AKG are known for. They're certainly the best sounding headphones i've ever had.

            Comfort wise the velour ear cups are a joy, they envelop the entire ear and even after hours of listening they don't feel hot, or uncomfortable. The headband automatically adjusts in size to fit your head too, overall it's very comfortable.

            They are great headphones, but be warned there isn't 'mega bass' with these headphones, and the (not unreasonable) cost of the headphones has to be paired with an equally expensive amplified to really get the best of them.

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              19.08.2013 15:47
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              might suit casual gamers, or gamers with small hands

              I purchased this mouse after first getting into PC gaming.

              I paid around £35 for it from PC world

              They had a few mice on display, and this one felt great in my hand, the sculpted lines fit my hand really well and I bought one. It was a massive step up in quality from a cheap usb mouse I was using, I was a lot better at aiming and was doing better in online shooting games.

              After a few days I noticed my hand craving something a little larger, my hands are medium sized but I realised it was just too small for my hands- if you use the claw grip the mouse size doesn't matter but I started to lean towards the palm grip and the mouse just didn't feel all that great anymore, I thought about upgrading to a rat 7 (with the infinite customisation), but I ended up going for a razer death adder instead as they're built for palm grip.

              Accuracy of this mouse was good, but not on par with the death adder, to be honest the death adder is a better mouse, and not that much more expensive, but if you're on a really strict budget, you like the look, or you have small hands then the cyborg rat 3 is still a good buy and feels like a quality product.

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              19.08.2013 15:41

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              the best stylus, but still ultimately flawed

              Although this is clearly the best stylus for iPad, it still isn't that great due to some inherent software limitation of IOS. The pen is comfortable, with a decent weight and feeling of quality. It looks good too, made of brushed aluminium and a matt black pen barrel.

              The tip is noticable smaller than other styli on the market, but it still can't shake the feeling of being just a giant finger extender- it lacks the dexterity of a real ballpoint pen, and as such makes writing difficult.

              Drawing is much easier (except for fine lines/colouring in tight gaps) but then the palm rejection feature (which sometimes works and sometimes fails miserably) means that you have to draw with your hand hovering above the surface, or wear special 'tablet gloves'. Neither really make the ipad + stylus combination a particularly fun one to use.

              It is the best stylus on the market, not too expensive, well made, but i'm just not sure how useful it really is, mine mostly goes unused but my brief experience with it didn't inspire me to get to know it better.

              update:

              I still feel the same way about the product, the generic stylus just isn't a good fit for the iPad, if you really want a stylus for the iPad (for drawing) look into the bluetooth options with proper palm rejection and pressure sensitivity, these 'dumb' styli aren't very useful

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            • Razer Deathadder / Mouse / Trackball / 4 Readings / 4 Ratings
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              19.08.2013 15:25
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              just a great mouse that really improved my play

              after deciding to get into PC gaming and having a not-so-great time with the cyborg rat I decided to upgrade to the mouse I initially wanted. although it was more expensive £45 vs the £30 I spend on the rat, I immediate noticed the increase in quality and regretted wasting the money on the cheap rat.

              Mice are highly personal devices, and different mice suit different grip styles, and initially I preferred how the rat fitted my hand, the death adder felt too big, uncomfortable and bulky. The small, light rat was well suited to my claw-like grip. After a few days of play I realised my hand naturally fell into the palm grip instead of the 'claw' grip I initially favoured, this quickly made the rat uncomfortable, and when I went back to the shop to try the death adder again it fit my hand like a glove. I could't have predicted this change in opinion, so sometimes you just need to test something out to see if you like it or not.

              In terms of sensor and tracking accuracy, I set both to 1600DPI- but the razer felt much more responsive and accurate. I was a much better gamer with the razer mouse.

              I'm very glad I bought the razer, it feels like it will last a long time and it was a worthy upgrade over the cyborg rat. There's a reason that all the professional gamers use these, they really are amazing.

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            • More +
              01.07.2013 12:17

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              try one, you might like it!

              I love my laptop, and I much prefer to use the touchpad rather than a mouse (mice give me an aching wrist after a while), so I purchased this trackpad when I wanted to use my laptop docked to a big monitor.

              Functionally it's exactly the same as a laptop touchpad (specifically the unibody macbook pro), just 3 times as big, if you're used to the laptop touchpad this will feel familiar as even the glass surface feels the same. The gestures work the same and they're easier to perform due to the larger surface, it will also add gestures to a laptop that lacks them, like an older macbook pro (as long as you're using a compatible OS.

              Aesthetically it's wonderful, solid aluminium with precision engineered aluminium disks to hide the batteries and to act as the power button- for the money it is definitely a well made product and it looks great.

              it might not work so well in windows, I haven't tried it and i'm not sure if the gestures would work, but on a mac it's perfect, you only have to pair it once and then it works with that computer via bluetooth every time you come to use it, no dongles, no fuss.

              If you don't like apples mouse, then this is a no brainer purchase

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            • Apple Wireless Keyboard / Keyboard / 2 Readings / 2 Ratings
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              01.07.2013 12:11

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              just get one

              at first I thought me and this keyboard were never going to get on, it was too different from my laptop keyboard (at the time that was a 2008 macbook pro), the keys had short travel and they were spaced apart, chiclet style. After a few days of discomfort I found myself getting faster and faster and now I touch type faster than I ever could on the old board, the shorter travel really does make typing a lot faster.

              The aesthetics of the keyboard are amazing, of course it looks wonderful- it's apple!. It looks great next to a mac but also looks great next to a windows pc, it's a universally appreciable design. It is made of aluminium, (not just silver painted plastic), the keys are white plastic (but a high quality smooth plastic), on the side are 2 aluminium disks that have been engineered to perfection- one is the power button and the other is the screw cap to remove the batteries (battery life is a non issue by the way, i've been using it for a month and not had an issue), everything looks great, even the packaging looks good, clean and white.

              I have had no problems connecting this to my computer, it just works out the box, no dongles and no set up, just turn on and once you type in a code that's it paired for life.

              Just get one

              only cons is that it might not work so well in a windows environment, and you will miss out on windows specific function buttons

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            • More +
              09.06.2013 21:04
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              don't expect to fill it in a hurry

              the seagate central is a good idea but it is so specific about what it's intended role is that it's hard to use it for anything else.

              I bought it on a whim to be a general purpose NAS, I didn't research my purchase (which is odd for me) and to be honest I got talked into buying it.

              I got it for a good price, £125, but for 2tb that's still expensive- it's the nas capability you're paying for here. It won't work over usb, but will work connected via ethernet, or through a wireless router. The usb port is for sharing hard drives and maybe printers, I haven't tried it with a usb hub either.

              Connected directly via ethernet I transfered a 600mb file in 3 minutes, which I thought was very slow for gigabit ethernet. It was even slower over a wireless N connection, taking about twice the time to transfer the file.

              The product is way too slow to use for a daily file server, so it is relegated to backup duties (but be warned your initial backup will take a whole day if not longer, and getting your data back will be equally slow), or as a media drive (but again putting 2tb of media onto the drive is a 24 hour process). The seagate app for ipad works well to access files but the interface is clunky as not half as nice as plex, file compatibility is limited to formats playable natively on the iPad and there is no live conversion, so make sure all your media is formatted correctly if you want to access it on the iPad.

              1080p high bitrate mp4 files played back fine with no buffering so clearly it is optimised for media server duties.

              I've not tried the remote login features, but from what I can gather there is only the option to download files rather than stream.

              The product is quite plain and to be honest cheap looking, it doesn't look like serious business kit nor does it look like it belongs in the living room, hide it in a cupboard with your router and forget about it.

              I was getting frustrated with transfer times so I bought a usb 2 dock and tried to remove the drive from it's case but could only get so far before I was in serious danger of breaking the case- so I just left it running overnight and all day the next day.

              Overall I wish i'd never bought it, wireless backups are nice, but only if you have a very good wireless router- if you need a new router to go with it then look into the apple time capsule, it seems to be the only wireless drive with a built in router that has good speeds, most of the other ones I looked at make the seagate central look like a speed king (one product I looked at had a 0.5 mega bits per second transfer!).

              Included in the box is a power brick, ethernet cable and a definite lack of instructions, but you go online to a page that sort of guides you through it.

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