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Reviews of and direct links to products on Amazon.
WD 1TB WD Elements Portable USB 3.0 Hard Drive Storage
Reliable and lots of room for backups
I work out of my home, so my home computer is my business computer. As such, it is vital that I do not lose any of the data on my PC. I have been using an external hard drive to back up my PC for about a decade. My previous external hard drive for this purpose was a 60 GB Western Digital drive. I had about 30 GB of "archived" data on it and would backup about 3 GB of data that might be changed each month. So it had plenty of room for all of my data, but I had to regularly delete older monthly backups to make room for newer ones. That was a pain, and it meant I only had backups going back a few months.
That proved to be a problem recently when I noticed I had inadvertently deleted an old article off of one of my Web sites. I checked in my monthly backups and still couldn't find it. But fortunately I had been in the practice of "archiving" the last monthly backup whenever I had gotten a new computer. I had to go way back to an archive from when I had done so in 2006, but I found the file. But that told me that keeping old backups was a smart idea. Then shortly after that, after a decade of use, my 60 GB WD drive was freezing up when I was trying to make my monthly backup. So I figured it was time for a new drive.
Since my previous Western Digital drive had lasted a decade, I figured I'd get another one. I was really surprised when I checked Amazon and saw I could get a 1TB drive for about the same price I paid for my 60 GB drive a decade ago. So I ordered it. I got it two days later (Amazon Prime). I plugged it in; it took a few seconds to load the driver, and then it worked. No problems whatsoever. I backed up all of my archived data and did my monthly backup in less than an hour. I have done one additional monthly backup since then, and I backed up my data in about 20 minutes.
I now have all of 35 GB of data on a drive that started with 930 GB of free space. So I should be able to keep doing my monthly backups for many years to come without having to delete older backups. There is security in knowing my vital data is protected and in knowing I will always have very old backups if the need should arrive for such. So I am giving this drive five stars, with the stipulation that I am assuming it will last as long as my old WD drive did.
Kingston Digital 16GB DataTraveler 101 G2 Drive
Worthless drive, but Amazon is great
Amazon is great. I ordered this Kingston 16GB USB drive from them, but it did not work. Kingston support was worthless and just said to return it to Amazon. It only cost $8, so I wasn’t going to bother. But I changed my mind. When I used Amazon’s online return service, it said as a “valued” customer, they’d just refund my money. I didn’t need to actually return the drive. How nice! I later did what I should have done in the first place and ordered a SanDisk drive, and it worked just fine.
SanDisk Cruzer 16GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive
Reliable and lots of room for daily backups
I use a WD external hard drive to back up any data that might have changed on my home/ business PC each month. But for daily backups I had been using a 2 GB SanDisk flash drive for the past decade. I will quick reformat the flash drive after the monthly backup on the external hard drive, so the 2GB flash drive was usually plenty large to hold all of my daily backups between my monthly backups. But there had been a few times when it would get full. Then recently it froze up on me. I did a full format and that got it working again, but still, I figured it was time for a new drive.
Since my old SanDisk flash drive lasted a decade even with daily use, I figured I'd get another SanDisk drive. I was pleased to see I could get a 16 GB flash drive for less than I had paid for my 2GB drive a decade ago. I doubt I will ever use that much space between my monthly backups, so I ordered it. I got it two days later (Amazon Prime). I plugged it in; it took a few seconds to load the driver, and then it worked. I have been using it daily for about three weeks now with no problems whatsoever. So I am giving this drive five stars, with the stipulation that I am assuming it will last as long as my old SanDisk drive did.
AAC-X4 Desktop Computer
Reliable and does all I need it to
I bought this AAC computer in May 2013 after my Gateway All-in-One PC crashed. At that time, Win8 was already out, but from everything I read, Win8 did not sound like a very good operating system. Most of all, I read that much software and hardware that worked on Win7 did not work on Win8. Since I had just purchased a bunch of new software and hardware for my the worthless Gateway PC 1-1/2 years before, I did not want to risk having to do so again. So when I borrowed my dad's notebook PC to order a new desktop PC, I specifically looked for a Win7 machine. Amazon only had a few such PCs left, and most were gaming PCs, which I really did not need. But then I came across this AAC computer.
I had never heard of AAC before, but the specs for this PC looked really good: 3.8GHz Quad Core Processor (Bulldozer) 8GB DDR3 RAM 1,000GB (1TB) HDD. These were all much better specs than the garbage Gateway PC. But most of all, what got my attention was the three year warranty. Since the useless Gateway only had a one-year warranty and crashed one and half years after I got it, a three-year warranty was very appealing. I also liked that the reviews said AAC had very good tech support, as Gateway's support was worse than worthless. So I took a chance and ordered this PC, and I am very glad I did!
I got it on a Thursday and began setting it up Friday morning. I hooked up the monitor, keyboard, and mouse with no problems. I first installed an Ethernet cable and connected to the Internet with no problems. I logged onto to a music Web site and was listening to music as I began installing all of my software. I was buzzing along very well, until I installed a program that needed to access the Internet. It told me there was not Internet access, but I was listening to music over the Internet! To make a long story short, the PC had somehow switched from accessing the Internet over the Ethernet cable to trying to access the Internet via the Wi-Fi adapter, but for some reason that was not working.
I called AAC for help, but there was no answer, so I left a message. I was rather irked that it took them several hours to call me back, as I had bought this PC just because they supposedly had good tech support. But when they finally called me, I was told that they had to evacuate their building due to approaching wildfires in California! As such, they could not help me at that time. I couldn't believe that fires 3,000 miles away were causing Me problems. But I of course could not fault them for that.
I eventually figured out that all I had to do was to unplug and and re-plug in my router to reset it, and I was able to access the Internet over Wi-Fi. But I have never been able to get it to use the Ethernet cable. AAC called me back on Saturday, after they were able to get back into the building. They were willing then to try to figure out why the PC would not use the Ethernet cable, but I was satisfied with using the Wi-Fi and thought it best to leave well enough alone. So I just thanked them for calling back and left it at that. But I was pleased that they called me back; that made me feel better with their tech support.
I had to call tech support one other time. One day, I tried turning on the computer, and nothing. No sound of the PC booting up. Nothing on the monitor. Just a black screen. I was in panic mode, as this was exactly what happened with the rubbish Gateway PC. I again got their voice mail and left a panicky message. But this time they called me back just five minutes later. But in the meantime I had figured out what had happened. I had cleaned my home office the day before and had knocked the power cable loose! So I felt rather stupid when I told them that. But they were every nice and even told me that if it was a defective power cable they would send me a new one for free, but it was just my clumsiness.
As for the AAC PC itself, it is now October 2014, so it has been working great for 1-1/2 years. This is exactly when the junk Gateway PC crashed, so I am a little apprehensive, but I am confident that nothing similar will happened with this PC, as it has a completely different design. The fan on the top of the case should keep it from overheating like the trash Gateway did. I work out of my home, so this is my business PC, that is why reliability is so important to me. I have not missed an hour of work due to problems with this PC after I got it set up.
This AAC PC does everything I need it to. I often have up to a dozen different programs running at once, and it never bogs down on me, so it has more than enough power for me. The hard drive is so large that I know I will never fill it up. I currently have all of 78 GB full out of the capacity of 930 GB. I'm still using the free anti-virus that come with it and have never had a problem with getting a virus. It has plenty of ports for what I needed to attach to it. I haven't tried upgrading anything as I have no need to do so.
Overall, I am very satisfied with this AAC PC, so I am giving it five stars.
Asus VS247H-P 23.6-Inch LCD Monitor
Reliable and very nice display
When my rubbish Gateway All-In-One computer crashed in May 2013, I knew I would never buy another all-in-one PC. So I borrowed my dad's notebook PC and logged onto Amazon to look for a new desktop PC. I ordered an AAC-X4 Desktop Computer , but I needed a monitor to go with it. The monitor on the junk Gateway was 20", so I wanted something a little larger. But my computer desk has sides to it, so I couldn't get one that is too large. The 24" version of this Asus monitor looked to be just the right size, and the specs looked like they would be very good as well. But I contacted Amazon to be sure this monitor was compatible with the PC I was ordering. I used their call back service, and they called me back within a minute. Great customer service from Amazon as usual. I was told it was compatible. So I ordered the AAC PC and this monitor. I needed it as quickly as possible, as I work out of my home, but I was out of work with the trash Gateway having crashed on me. So I got both items shipped via one-day shipping and had them the next day.
The only trouble I had setting up this monitor was deciding which of the two available hook up cables to use. If I had just read the instructions that came with the AAC PC I would have known, as it indicated which to use. But no matter, as I tried both and found the right one. The display looked just fine out of the box, so I left it as it was and have never fiddled with the settings. There were no dead pixels or dark spots.
It is now October 2014, and after one and half years, I have never had a problem with this Asus monitor. And the display still looks as good as the day I got it. As such, I am very pleased with it and am giving it five stars.
Gateway One ZX4300-31 All-in-One Desktop Computer
Do not buy an All-in-One or Gateway PC!
This item is no longer available form Amazon. But I am reviewing it to warn the reader not to buy a "all-in-one" computer or a Gateway computer. I bought this computer in October 2011. The all-in-one design was nice in that it was easy to set up. And it worked fine for 1-1/2 years. But then in May 2013, it would not turn on. No sound of the PC booting up. Nothing. Just but a black screen. I called Gateway. Since it only had a one-year warranty, I had to pay $100 for tech support. But that phone support was worthless.
I then took it to my local Staples. After having it for three days, they told me they could do nothing for it, as they couldn't even get the back off to get inside and see what was wrong. They specifically told me I should not have gotten an all-in-one PC as they are difficult if not impossible to work on. Also, if it were a regular desktop PC, they could have at least hooked a different monitor to find out if the problem was with the PC or the monitor.
After picking up the dead computer, I borrowed my dad's notebook PC to order a new desktop PC from Amazon. I decided to check the page for this PC to see what the specs were, so as to get something a little better. When I ordered this PC, there were all positive reviews. But now, there were two dozen one-star reviews, all of them saying what I had just experienced: a black screen after 1-2 years of use. From the reviews, I gathered the problem is a design flaw. The processor overheats due to not enough air flow and thus eventually burns out.
What really got me mad is since this is a know design flaw, when I called Gateway, they should have told me that and not have charged me $100 for tech support that they knew would not help. That is why I will never buy a Gateway product again, and I will never buy an all-in-one PC again. And I would strongly discourage the reader from either doing as well.
Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite
Very comfortable but not long-lasting
I got my first computer in 1995, right after Win95 came out. With doing so I began typing a lot for my Darkness to Light Christian ministry. But I very quickly developed pain in the back of my hands. I talked to my doctor about it, and he said I was developing carpal tunnel and recommended I wear a brace on my hands when typing. I found that to be rather cumbersome, so I looked for other solutions. I came across the idea of a "natural" keyboard being more comfortable to type on and to reduce the risk of carpal tunnel. So I got one in the late '90s, and that cleared up the pain in my hands.
I used that keyboard until October 2011. By then some of the keys were falling off, so I figured I might as well get a new keyboard at the same time as a new PC. After some searching, I found this Microsoft Natural Keyboard. So I ordered it with the PC. That PC ended up being worthless and crashed 1-1/2 years later. But this keyboard is still going strong after three years, now being October 2014. I use it extensively every day, but it is still in perfect condition. None of the keys are falling off, sticking, or any other such problems.
It is true that the directional keys are placed a little differently than most keyboards, but I have gotten used to them. But then this is the only keyboard use. If someone goes back and forth between different keyboards, then that might be a problem.
But for being comfortable to type on and for being reliable, I am giving this keyboard five stars. But that is for the $29 price I paid for it and coming with Amazon Prime, which was far less than the price I see it is now being sold for and without Amazon Prime. I'm not sure what happened there, but I am glad I got it when I did.
Update: This keyboard lasted 3-1/2 years, but then the "Return" key on the Num keypad stopped working, then the "a,,d,g" stopped working. That is when I got a new keyboard. 3-12 years is not very long for a keyboard, so I am downgrading this to 3 stars.
Epson Artisan 730 Wireless All-in-One Color Inkjet Printer, Copier, Scanner
Works fine, but don't use it much
Previous to this Epson product, I had a separate printer and scanner. To copy something, I used a software program that would use both the scanner and printer. But when I got a new computer in October 2011, I wanted to get rid of the old printer and scanner and replace them with an all-in-one device. That would be less complicated and save room on my office desk. I don't need a fax, as I don't even have a live phone line in my home office (I use my cell instead).
After some research, I found this product. It had what I wanted: a printer, copier, and scanner in one, but no fax. And I had used Epson printers before and found them to be reliable, and the price was very reasonable. So I ordered this multifunction device with the PC. It was rather easy to set up. I initially set it up via Wi-Fi with that computer, but when that junk Gateway computer crashed I got an AAC-X4 Desktop Computer . I initially had problems setting up the Wi-Fi, so I set it up via the USB cable. That was probably a mistake, as I'm using an USB port unnecessarily, but the PC has plenty of ports, so I haven't bothered re-setting it.
But whether with the USB cable or with Wi-Fi, this device works just fine. The print speed is fast, and the printouts look very good. But to be honest, I do not use it much. I only printed a photo once to see what it looked like, and it looked as good as professional prints. But the pics I take with my Samsung Galaxy S5, I just use in digital form and really have no need to print them. And I only rarely have need to print, copy, or scan anything.
In fact, when I ordered this device I also ordered the following items:
Epson Premium Photo Paper GLOSSY (4x6 Inches, 100 Sheets) (S041727)
GP Copy & Print Paper, 8.5 x 11 Inches Letter Size, 92 Bright White, 20 Lb, Ream of 500 Sheets (998067R)
Epson Claria T098120 Hi-Definition 98 High-capacity Inkjet Cartridge-Black
Epson Claria T098920 98 Extra High-capacity Inkjet Cartridge Color Multipack-Cyan/Light Cyan/Magenta/Light Magenta/Yellow
These were the recommended supplies for this device, but I only used one sheet of the photo paper and that is it. I have never had to change the ink in the printer, and I am still using paper I had before this printer. So I cannot review any of these supplies.
As for this multi-function device, it is now October 2014, so it is still working just fine after three years, but that is with very limited use. So I am giving it four stars for doing what I need it to do when I do need it. But since I do not know how durable it is, I cannot give it five stars. Maybe it deserves that rating, but I really don't know. But it is nice to have this device on the rare occasion when I need to use it. But that rating is for the $109 price I paid for it and coming with Amazon Prime, which was far less than the price I see it is now being sold for and without Amazon Prime. I'm not sure what happened there, but I am glad I got it when I did.
Belkin Easy Transfer (F5U279)
Did what it was supposed to
I got this cable when I upgraded from a WinXP desktop computer to a Win7 computer, back in October 2011. As best as I can remember, it worked just fine. I needed to first install a program on the XP machine, while Win7 already had the necessary software. Then I hooked up the cable to both machines, and it automatically transferred all of my data, including my IE favorites. So it did what I was supposed to, so I am giving it five stars. But this cable is only for transferring to Win7. To transfer to a Win8 PC, you would need: Belkin Easy Transfer Cable for Windows 8 /Windows 7/XP/Vista (F4U060) .
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