Performance Mouse MP230L  by Kensington – Review

Performance Mouse MP230L by Kensington – Review

What we love…

uses batteries that you can easily change, works for both left and right handed users, works on almost any surface, good range

What we’d love to see…

bag or something to hold the mouse and USB plug in – currently you pull the back off the mouse to store it

Summary

Easy to use mouse with great battery life, works on almost any surface, very comfortable in your hand.  Perfect as an everyday and a travel mouse.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

 

Kensington Introduces MP230L Performance Mouse for Wireless Freedom and Precision TrackingI cut the “mouse cord” several years ago and am always hunting for the best cordless mice.  I tried the Kensington MP230L Wireless Performance Mouse and was surprised at how much I liked it straight out of the box.  The mouse includes batteries and once you plug in the USB nano receiver you are ready to go in less than 3 minutes from opening the package.   It uses a 2.4 GHz Wireless connection meaning you can move the mouse without the cord using the nano receiver and it automatically installs once you plug it in for the first time.  It is universal and works with both Mac and Windows and easily switches between computers.  It also features two side buttons which you can use when browsing the web as well as DPI adjustment which allows you to fine tune how fast or slow the cursor moves while using it.

Wireless mice these days often don’t come with batteries, which means that your brand new tech is forced to sit in the box while you go out and purchase batteries.  I loved that this one had batteries right in the box.  It’s got an amazing battery life – and goes to “sleep” when not in use or you can switch it off on the bottom.  I also liked the ergonomic shape and ability to use it either left or right handed.  The best feature by far is the fact it works on pretty much any surface I tried including glass, a patio table with bumps, a wooden desk, and even a notebook cover.   I liked it for both my everyday desk mouse as well as a travel mouse – the size is small and it fit easily in my travel bag when I needed to use it.  I also liked the DPI adjustment because I could use it to scroll fast when I was skimming a webpage or slow it down when I was looking for more specific content.

In terms of enhancements, I’d like to see a bag for the mouse as there were a few times I went to put the receiver in it and didn’t latch the cover fully which left me digging in my tech bag for the mouse and receiver.  I’d also like to see some sort of a “battery alert” if your batteries are getting low, because I don’t always carry backup batteries (even though I should).  There is no charging port, but you can use it with rechargeable batteries and just charge them in a separate location.

Overall, this is an easy to hold wireless mouse that works on both Mac & PC as well as being easy to use and install within moments.  Features fantastic battery life, very ergonomic and works with both left and right hands.  It is priced at $35 49.99 on Kensington and Amazon.  Easy to use mouse with great battery life, works on almost any surface, very comfortable in your hand.  Perfect as an everyday and a travel mouse.

 Dimensions

  • Height: 132mm / 5.2″
  • Width: 84mm / 3.3″
  • Depth: 38mm / 1.5″

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
Review of the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 AC5300Tri-Band WiFi Router

Review of the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 AC5300Tri-Band WiFi Router

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Summary…

The X8 offers great performance with 3 Wifi Bands, Quad Stream, Dynamic QoS and Smart Connectivity. This gives it up to 12 data streams that are actively managed to give the best connection for each device. Its active antennae help to improve the connection for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

I have been very impressed with the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 AC5300Tri-Band WiFi Router and found it to perform even better than the X6. The main areas that we saw improvement in were the performance when multiple devices are connected at once, and a noticeable improvement in the WiFi range.

recommended-by-the-imums

NetGear Ambassaodor

Disclaimer: I am a NETGEAR Ambassador and I received this product in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion and review.

The Nighthawk X8 AC5300 Router is the newest Tri-band router from NETGEAR. It uses 802.11ac WiFi technology with one 2.4GHz and two 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands. It has combined wireless speeds up to 5.3Gbps. It has a dual core 1.4GHz processor, 128 MB Flash and 512 MB RAM memory. It has Quad Stream and Implicit & Explicit Beamforming for  both 2.4 & 5GHz bands.

We reviewed the Nighthawk X6 last year, which was NETGEAR’s first Tri-Band router and were impressed with its performance, so I was interested to see how the X8 compares.

Set Up

The Nighthawk X8 is very quick and easy to set up. With the included quick start guide it was up and running in no time. You basically connect the modem, power on the router, connect a computer or device and complete the setup using the free NETGEAR Genie app. The external antennae come already attached, no assembly required.

The X8 comes with a pre-assigned Wi-Fi network name, typically NETGEAR plus a number, and password, which are on a peelable label on the X8. There is an option to change the name and/or password if you wish. The X8 has a WPS button so it is very quick and easy to connect any device with a WPS button, for other devices you just enter the Wi-Fi name and password as usual.

Size and Form Factor

You do need to make sure you have a large space available for it as the X8 is huge! It measures 12.44″ x 10.39″ x 2.40″  (316 x 264 x 61 mm), which is even bigger than the X6. It has 4 external antennae, so it also needs a lot of headroom- with the antennae extended upright it is approximately 19cm/ 7 1/2″ tall. The top surface has a wavy black plastic grille which looks futuristic, but also has the practical effect of preventing you stacking anything on top of it, important to prevent overheating.

Antennae

The X8 has a total of 8 antennae- 4 internal plus 4 external. The external antennae are movable in many directions. NETGEAR recommends setting them up with the 2 central ones upright and the side ones at 45°, but you can change this if you wish. The external antennas are active antennae, which is a new feature. This means that instead of the WiFi amplifiers being on the router’s motherboard (the standard location) they are on top of the antennae so they can amplify the signal in the antenna itself. This is designed to improve connection to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The external antennae have blue LEDs to show when they are active, but you can switch the LEDs off if you find them distracting.

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USB Ports and Secure Storage

The X8 has 2 USB ports- one is USB 2.0, the other 3.0. I like having two USB ports available, but I’m not sure why they didn’t make them both 3.0.

If you attach an external hard drive to a USB port you can use the free NETGEAR ReadyCLOUD mobile app or web portal to access the drive’s content from anywhere. This is a very simple way to create your own personal cloud.

Wired Connections

The X8 has six Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, and one WAN. This means you can connect up to six wired devices for maximum performance. There is also the option to combine two of the six to double the connection speed for a Network Attached Storage device to allow 4K HD streaming or multiple fast WiFi backups.

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Wireless Speeds

The X8 has a number of features designed to maximize Wifi speeds and performance for gaming and video streaming.

Like the X6 this is a Tri-band router, it has one 2.4 GHz and two 5GHz Bands. 2.4GHz is an old Wi-Fi standard, it is slow and prone to interference, but is necessary to allow older devices to connect to your network. 5.0 GHz is the newer standard, and gives faster performance with less interference, but if you have a lot of devices on the 5.0 GHz it can slow down the connection and affect performance. Having two 5.0 GHz bands helps to prevent slowdowns from lots of devices using it at once.

The X8 delivers a combined wireless speed of up to 5.3Gbp- 1000Mbps for the 2.4GHz  band, plus 2166 Mbps for each of the two 5.0 GHz bands.

It has Quad Streaming to deliver up to four data streams per WiFi band, making 12 in total. Smart Connect selects the fastest WiFi band for each device and Dynamic QoS prioritizes traffic by application and device.

Performance

When we installed the X6 we saw a big leap in performance compared to our previous router, an Apple Airport Express, and we have seen a further improvement with the X8 vs the X6. We have a challenging home for WiFi – it has an unusual layout over 3 staggered floors and poor incoming signal because we live a long way from the DSL hub. With the X6 we found it optimized our signal near the router but for the far flung parts of the house we still needed to use a booster such as the NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi Range Extender Model EX7000 to get a useable signal.

With the X8 we have a slightly stronger signal near the router- but the improvement is marginal. Where we have seen most gains is further from the router – we now get a useable signal throughout the entire house without having to use a WiFi booster- which is a huge improvement! In the master bedroom (unless I used a signal booster) we barely had a signal at all and couldn’t even read email reliably, with the X8 I can surf the web, download apps, do email and even watch Youtube videos. The X8 has done a great job of #eliminating deadspots.

We cut the cable almost two years ago and only have TV via DVD and streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, so good quality video streaming is very important to us. Unfortunately we have a weak incoming internet connection  which can cause hangups in our streaming. The performance with the X6 was much better than with the Airport Express and has improved again with the X8. Our family has a lot of connected devices including multiple iPads, Smartphones, tablets, Smart TV and Xbox. In the past when the Smart TV is streaming video and multiple family members are streaming to different devices at the same time we have had some connectivity issues, but I have not seen this happen with X8.

Security.

Both the X6 and X8 have the option to set up a guest network to allow visiting family and friends to access Wi-Fi  without sharing your main network password.

Like the X6, the X8 has the option to enable parental controls. This lets you choose from different levels of protection against things such as phishing scams, pornography, illegal activity, adult-related sites and even video sharing sites and social media. You can customize different setting for different times of the day.

The X8 has WiFi Protected Access® (WPA/WPA2—PSK), Double firewall protection (SPI and NAT) and Denial-of-service (DoS) attack prevention.

 

Summary

The X8 offers great performance with 3 Wifi Bands, Quad Stream, Dynamic QoS and Smart Connectivity. This gives it up to 12 data streams that are actively managed to give the best connection for each device. Its active antennae help to improve the connection for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

I have been very impressed with the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 AC5300Tri-Band WiFi Router and found it to perform even better than the X6. The main areas that we saw improvement in were the performance when multiple devices are connected at once, and a noticeable improvement in the WiFi range.

The X6 and X8 are both great routers, for many homes the X6 is a great choice. However if you have a large or challenging home, heavy demand for high speed internet for gaming or video streaming or large numbers of connected devices the X8 may be a better choice.

Price and Availability

The NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 AC5300Tri-Band WiFi Router has an RRP of $399.99 and is available from Amazon and other retailers.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
Kensington Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic – Review

Kensington Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic – Review

KensingtonHeadphoneswith mic

Summary

Kensington Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic are a great kids headphone, they are well made, durable, have good sound quality, will fit a variety of head sizes and are a great choice both for home and school use. Priced at under $25 they are a great value. Their grown-up styling will be popular with kids who have outgrown cute character headphones.

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

If you are looking for headphones for your children for school or home use Kensington’s new Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic are a great option and good value for money too.

Over the last few years my childrens’ schools have been incorporating more technology into the curriculum and even their State testing is transitioning to being done on the computer instead of with pencil and paper. Because of this parents need to provide their kids with headphones for use during computer or tablet time at school. My kids also use headphones when using the computer or tablet at home so they can work simultaneously without disturbing each other. With 3 kids needing them for both home and school we get through a lot of headphones !

When looking for headphones for my kids there are a number of features that are important to me: clear sound, comfortable, fit a range of head sizes, sound limited to a safe level and they must be tough and durable.

I recently had the opportunity to test out Kensington’s new Headphones With Mic that they have designed specifically for students in K-12. The first thing I noticed as they don’t look like kids headphones, although they are designed for kids they look very much like an adult headphone. My kids are 8, 8 and 12 and will shun anything they consider “too babyish” and all 3 approved of this design.

They have a wide black headband that is padded at the top and when you expand it shows a silver metal band at the sides. My 8 year-old daughter has a small head for her age and my 12 year-old son’s head is on the large side and the headphones fit both of them comfortably.

The headphones have 40mm drivers and I found the sound quality very good for a sub- $30 headphone – the sound was clear and crisp with a good dynamic range. The maximum sound level is 94db, which gives me peace of mind as they can’t turn the sound to unsafe levels.

The microphone is a nice bonus feature and very useful for using apps with dictation and voice recognition. This is especially important for kids who have difficulty typing. I like the flexible microphone stalk and how it rotates out of the way when not in use.

My kids (especially the younger boy) are tough on headphones but these feel well-made and durable so I am confident they will last him a good while. The cord is 9 foot long, rubberized and flexible and it has a gold-plated jack. The cord comes coiled up and we keep it that way most of the time, but it is nice to have the extra length for times we need it. The one thing I would like to see added is an attached velcro cord tidy for keeping the cord neat instead of the current wire tie.

Overall, I think these are a great kids headphone, they are well made, durable, have good sound quality, will fit a variety of head sizes and are a great choice both for home and school use. Priced at under $25 they are a great value. Their grown-up styling will be popular with kids who have outgrown cute character headphones. They are popular with my kids and are my 8 year old son’s favorite headphones.

Kensington Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic (SRP $24.99) are available from Kensington.com, Amazon and other retailers.

You may also wish to read Kensington iPad Accessories for the Classroom
NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
 Nighthawk X4 Smart WiFi Router by NetGear – Review

Nighthawk X4 Smart WiFi Router by NetGear – Review



Disclaimer: I am a NETGEAR Ambassador and I received this product in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion and review

What we love…

easy to set up, great range, no more #deadspots, guest network

What we’d love to see…

Ability for the antennas to stay upright

Summary

Awesome router which means that my devices work together well using the QOS technology and no more lagtime

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

NetGear-AmbassaodorWe have many devices in our house that use Wireless internet – four iPads, three smartphones, a Smart TV and a BlueRay Player just to name a few.  I recently got a chace to put the Nighthawk X4 Smart WiFi router to the test.  The router uses a dual-core 1.4 GHz Processor and you can use it wired, WAN-to-LAN as well.  It is designed for gaming and streaming which means that there is minimal if any lag when using the router.  Our internet is not in an ideal location in our house – it’s on the second floor on the left hand side of the house.  This unfortunately means that on the other side of the house on the first floor we often have #deadspots.  I’m happy to report that this router helped to solve that problem.  The router includes four high performance external antennas which meant I could even access my wireless on the front lawn!  Huge win as I love to stream music or occasionally use my laptop outside.  The Nighthawk X4 features Twin USB 3.0 and eSATA ports which makes external storage a snap and you can also install the NETGEAR Genie app on your devices to better manage your network as well as enable and disable guest access.

Setup was a snap, I simply pulled out my old router, plugged in the new with the included cords, screwed in the four antennas and we were online in about 10 minutes.  I loved the WPS Push to Connect for some of my devices and how easy it as to get everything up and running quickly.  Using the Genie app I can also monitor usage on the network and we decided to try to stream a number of things as well as do a download and run a movie on the BlueRay player.  It worked like a champ.  Our internet speed is fast – but we have often seen slowdowns which now seem to be addressed.  The dynamic QOS recognizes different applications which means that you get the bandwith you need to stream or use your devices in the home for a seamless user experience. It is device aware and gives the right bandwith to both the TV and a tablet versus my previous router. My husband was amazed at how quickly the new router was up and running, especially since he had seen me tweak our old Netgear router to get the settings correct.

I loved that the wireless was fairly consistent throughout the house – and we that there were limited #deadspots which I was easily able to boost.  We like to watch Netflix but have been having a problem where the show will stop and buffer on our BlueRay player.  With our previous Netgear router, I was able to tweak the settings and mostly fix the problem, however, with the new Nighthawk X4 it was simply plug and play.  I liked that I could also turn off the LED lights – I left them on and walked by the office where the internet is set up one night and was amazed at the amount of light they generated!   I also liked that it included a guest network so I could securely have a network and then choose if I wanted to turn on the guest one for those visiting our home.  I also liked how easy it was to change the guest access password using the Netgear Genie app.  I also liked the customer service experience, I called in with a question about my connection and they were very helpful to make sure I had the network configured correctly. As a side note, using the Netgear Genie app I could configure parental controls and even say which devices could be on and off the network which meant that I could turn off “screen time” via internet for my son’s iPad without him being aware if he wasn’t supposed to be using it. I also loaded my media collection on and loved that I could stream it from my devices.

In terms of improvements, I do wish that the antennas were a bit more compact.  Where I typically keep my router, I had to move the shelf in order to ensure it was on top and getting good signal.  This was a minor annoyance given how much better the coverage was inside the house.

Overall, this is an awesome router which means that my devices work better and faster with no lags.  I liked the QOS which was seamless and automatic and it meant that I didn’t have to configure anything out of the box other than setting up the admin password and adding in my devices.


NETGEAR Genie NETGEAR Genie by NETGEAR
Category: Utilities
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 107.51 MB

$FREE

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

Technical Specifications

–    Model #: R7500-100NAS
–    AC2350 (600Mbps @ 2.4GHz – 256 QAM support + 1733 Mbps @ 5GHz 11ac)
–    Powerful Dual-Core 1.4GHz processor
–    Two (2) USB 3.0 ports
–    One (1) eSATA port
–    Four (4) high-performance external antennas
–    Five (5) 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports (1 WAN & 4 LAN)

 

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

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