Internet Watch : William Harrel – Journalist

IWilliam Harrel's reviews on Computer Shoppert’s hard to believe, but I have been writing for the legendary Computer Shopper for over eight years (as of October 2017), and have been a contributing editor there for about seven years. My beat has covered everything from desktop systems and laptops, to tablets and 2-in-1s in several flavors (operating systems) and size, printers and all-in-one printers in all shapes and sizes, video cards, SSD and other types of disk drives—you name it. It’s been a wild ride.

More so than ever, competition in the tech markets is cutthroat and fierce. It’s been my pleasure to do what I can to keep you all informed.

For a list and links to my articles on Computer Shopper, click here


 

Digital TrendsCamarillo, CA – October 2017: Almost three years and over 40 articles later, I have covered numerous products and technology news for the immensely popular online digital technology magazine, Digital Trends. My beat covers all aspects of computer-related news and reviews. For example, my first few articles included information about DDR4 memory, USB 3.1, Sata Express, and Nvidia G-Sync, .

But since then I have covered everything from mouse and keyboard combos to 4K 360 degree digital cameras, and everything in between. My two latest news stories at Digital Trends cover Bluetooth Mesh technology and the latest, fastest Wi-Fi technology, 802.11ax.

You can get a complete list of my articles on Digital Trends here.


 

Expose of 802.11ax from Digital TrendsBefore the current Wi-Fi standard, called 802.11ac, wireless broadband was never quite robust enough: Too many devices were vying for your limited, inefficiently distributed bandwidth. This latest standard has proven faster and more reliable, and WiGig and mesh networking will help. But with the ever-increasing proliferation of Wi-Fi devices — PCs, smartphones, tablets, webcams, printers, wearables, refrigerators, and more — it won’t be long until we’re playing catch up again.

According to estimates by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the number of internet-connected gadgets for an average family of four is now at 10 per household. The cross-government trade group estimates that number will reach 50 wirelessly connected devices by 2022 — all competing for the same bandwidth, over the same connection.

The 6th generation of Wi-Fi has been certified.

“The Wi-Fi device and traffic explosion, higher density Wi-Fi deployments, growing use of outdoor Wi-Fi, and the need to support a great variety of different device types will require more efficient Wi-Fi implementations that can help to deliver richer experiences for enterprise and consumer applications that are hungry for bandwidth,” according to Andrew Zignani, Senior Analyst at ABI Research.

The good news in all this is that the people who tend to Wi-Fi standards haven’t been idle. The 6th generation of Wi-Fi, 802.11ax, has been certified, and new products based on the standard are underway. Broadcom, a maker of circuit boards and other gizmos that drive today’s information technology, has just announced Max Wifi, the first 802.11ax chips designed for use in routers for homes and businesses, as well as wireless gadgets such as smartphones and tablets.

The need for massive increases in bandwidth and throughput is upon us. The question is, is 802.11ax enough, or is it too little too late?

Read the entire article at Digital Trends


 

IN A WORLD SATURATED IN WI-FI, THERE’S STILL ROOM FOR BLUETOOTH MESH - at Digital TrendsYes, current Wi-Fi-based smart home technology can turn on the lights with your smartphone or voice. But do you call that home automation, really? Isn’t it just a slightly more convenient light switch?

How about this? When you unlock your front door, the lights in the foyer come on, the motion sensors on your alarm system turn off, the thermostat starts the air conditioning, and your entertainment system begins playing your favorite music—all before you put your keys down!

Now that’s home automation, right?

What about a more serious, or potentially life-and-death scenario, where hospital staff could track patients, staff members, and equipment from any console, PC, or tablet on the premises?

While the best Wi-Fi systems allow us to take baby steps into building automation, wireless security, asset tracking, and more, a new technology called Bluetooth Mesh — an update to the standard Bluetooth wireless solution that most of us know — promises a better, more efficient, and much less expensive solution.

“As people’s expectations for networks go up, they demand networks capable of handling hundreds (or thousands) of IP addresses, offering Wi-Fi-level of signal performance across the house and building,” Daniel Cooley, Senior Vice President of Silicon Labs, told Digital Trends. “People won’t put up with flaky Wi-Fi anymore. If they can get away with fewer antennas, it would be much better.”

Cooley is a member of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, or SIG, which oversees and develops Bluetooth technology. If he’s right—and industry watchers and makers of networking equipment are betting that he is—many aspects of our lives will soon be secured and simplified by this latest Bluetooth update.

Read the entire article at Digital Trends


 

https://assets.pcmag.com/media/images/551745-brother-ql-810w.jpg?thumb=y&width=1659&height=1500

  • PROS

    Respectable print quality. Prints in black and red. Prints labels fast. Terrific label design. Great print software and robust mobile app. Wide selection of label types.

  • CONS

    Per-label cost is high. Battery costs extra. Ability to print in red limited to one label type. QL-820NWB offers much more for not a lot more money.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Brother QL-810W label maker prints a wide variety of high-quality label types from your PC or mobile device, but its higher-end sibling provides significantly more features and versatility for just a little more money.

[amazon_link asins=’B01MTWGMRR’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’ab855b47-c42f-11e7-bf11-ade532a3015b’]The Brother QL-810W ($149.99) [amazon_link asins=’B01MTWGMRR’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’c4eec9e2-c42f-11e7-a1a5-e9d1fca83d48′] label printer is a step down from the recent Editors’ Choice QL-820NWB.[amazon_link asins=’B01MTYE0X6′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’d6d50178-c42f-11e7-a3d7-e7ef58f37cf8′] Although these two labelers essentially print the same types of labels at the same speeds over wireless networks or from mobile devices, what you give up feature-wise for the $50 list price difference between them is significant. With the QL-810W, for instance, you forgo a few different types of connectivity options, as well as the ability to use the label maker apart from a computing device. Overall, though, the Q-810W is a versatile and capable option, well worth considering for designing and printing many types of business labels via Wi-Fi, or from your team’s tablets and smartphones.
Read the entire review at PCMag


Review of the Altia Systems PanCast 2 at Digital TrendsLogitech’s Brio 4K Webcam briefly had bragging rights as the maker of the only 4K Webcam, but Altia Systems’ Panacast 2 has changed that—and then some. Perhaps to sophisticated be called a mere “webcam,” — Altia calls it a “camera system” — it’s $1,000 price tag relegates it to businesses, and the most dedicated video conferencing consumers. This is a webcam on steroids

Buy one half-price at eBay!

It promises a 180-degree coverage area with automatic panoramic zooming and exceptionally clear video. It’s also small and elegant in appearance. Unfortunately, the zooming feature costs extra, as does a very slick add-on called Whiteboard that automatically centers on a whiteboard during, well, a whiteboard presentation. As our Panacast 2 Camera System review will show, this gadget is high-tech and impressive — but by the time you get it decked out the way you want it, it could cost you about $1,350. For most individuals, (and even most companies) this is the kind of investment that requires serious consideration.

Read the entire review at Digital Trends



 

  • Review of the Visioneer Patriot H80 document scanner at PCMagPROS

    Very fast scanning and saving to PDF. Above-average OCR accuracy. 10,000-page daily duty cycle. Comprehensive software bundle includes PDF creation and editing and document management software.

  • CONS

    Pricey. Not notably faster than much-less-expensive sibling.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    A remarkably fast workhorse document scanner, the Visioneer Patriot H80 is quicker and more accurate than most of its competitors, including its slightly lower-rated, less-expensive Patriot H60 sibling—but not enough to justify a hefty price difference.

[amazon_link asins=’B06WGRHRYY’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’f3d7ecb4-c4f7-11e7-a65a-bd9b228813d1′]Aside from a higher price and faster scanning speeds, the Visioneer Patriot H80 ($1,595) [amazon_link asins=’B06WGRHRYY’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0993965e-c4f8-11e7-af65-6980ec3e504e’] is identical to the Editors’ Choice Visioneer Patriot H60.[amazon_link asins=’B06X93N48L’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’14f8c2f5-c4f8-11e7-8315-1120cf3ed1c0′] Both sheet-feed document scanners have the same daily duty cycles, the same size automatic document feeders (ADFs), and they come with the same software bundle. In addition, both machines are quite fast, even when scanning and saving to searchable PDF. As sheet-feed document scanners go, the Patriot H80 is one of the fastest, and it’s highly accurate, making it well-suited for medium-to-heavy volume scanning in small- or mid-size offices and workgroups, but unless you need all the speed you can possibly get, the huge price difference between it and its less-expensive sibling seems excessive.
Read the entire review at PCMag


  • Review of the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4730 at PCMagPROS

    Excellent print quality overall. Relatively fast. Competitively low running costs. Supports Wi-Fi Direct and NFC. Light and compact.

  • CONS

    No multipurpose tray. Non-auto-duplexing ADF.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    Epson’s WorkForce Pro WF-4730 all-in-one inkjet is fast and capable, and it supports just about every mobile connectivity feature available, but an auto-duplexing ADF would make it more attractive.

[amazon_link asins=’B01N6QQIFD’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e6057ecf-c4f9-11e7-99a9-617e0ebd9ec1′]Positioned between two Editors’ Choice recipients, the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-4720 [amazon_link asins=’B01MT8VSLU’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’fe45af5c-c4f9-11e7-a481-8bdad07f6b0e’] and the WorkForce Pro WF-4740 [amazon_link asins=’B01N7RZC9G’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’08d87105-c4fa-11e7-81b3-5d0cb8528f96′], the WorkForce Pro WF-4730 ($199.99) [amazon_link asins=’B01N6QQIFD’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’286ba285-c4fa-11e7-b839-1d6cb1303c4c’] is a step up from the former and a step down from the latter. Like its siblings, the WF-4730 inkjet all-in-one (AIO) printer produces great output, and it is fast for its class. It provides higher paper input capacity than the WF-4720, but its automatic document feeder (ADF) is smaller than the WF-4740’s, and it’s incapable of automatic two-sided scanning, whereas the WF-4740’s auto-duplexing ADF scans, copies, and faxes two-sided multipage documents without intervention. As is the case with its siblings, the WF-4730 is a highly capable solution for moderate-volume printing and copying in a small workgroup or micro office, but it lacks the auto-duplexing ADF of the WF-4740 and the lower price of the WF-4720.
Read entire review at PCMag



 

Editors' Choice

  • Review of the Xerox Duplex Travel Scanner at PCMagPROS

    Exceptional OCR accuracy. Scans two-sided pages in one pass. Robust, easy-to-use software. No power cable required.

  • CONS

    A little slow. Slightly expensive. Requires a PC to operate.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    The Xerox Duplex Travel Scanner may be a bit sluggish, but it scans two-sided pages in a single pass, and it’s highly accurate, making it a terrific choice for low-volume scanning on the road.

[amazon_link asins=’B01DA482E8′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’aa0bafce-c4fa-11e7-87cc-731c9887f33b’]The Xerox Duplex Travel Scanner ($119.99) [amazon_link asins=’B01DA482E8′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a197af0d-c4fa-11e7-a65b-b7b36979c6b1′] is similar to the Editors’ Choice Visioneer RoadWarrior X3 in features and functionality, except that the former can scan two-sided documents without you having to turn them over manually. Otherwise, both portable document scanners work without power cables, and they’re both exceptionally easy to use. There are some other much more sophisticated portable document scanners out there, such as the $300 Epson WorkForce ES-300W Portable Wireless Duplex Document Scanner [amazon_link asins=’B01MFBVS1E’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’bd4f5311-c4fa-11e7-a204-91dafcd39bf6′], but if all you need is to scan relatively short documents to your laptop on the road, the Duplex Travel Scanner is a terrific alternative to the RoadWarrior X3 [amazon_link asins=’B01HDSXSGO’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’cc26c3dd-c4fa-11e7-ac17-6f512758b28e’]—especially if those documents are two-sided. 

Read the entire review at PCMag



 

  • REview of Xerox's VersaLink C405/DN at PC MagPROS

    Excellent print quality. Reasonably fast. High-yield toner cartridges available. Strong set of security features. Single-pass auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF). Lots of mobile connectivity features including NFC.

  • CONS

    Somewhat expensive. High running costs. Big and heavy. Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct are extra.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    A behemoth of a color laser all-in-one, the Xerox VersaLink C405/DN prints well, is respectably fast, and comes with a ton of features, but lower running costs would make it a better value.

[amazon_link asins=’B01N7JASW3′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’52812f3e-c4fc-11e7-ac9e-3d9fa8e87543′]Comparable in price with the Editors’ Choice Dell Color Smart Multifunction Printer S3845cdn ,[amazon_link asins=’B004IL3XUG’ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’610cc926-c4fc-11e7-b095-1dd9b8ee4f92′] the Xerox VersaLink C405/DN ($979) all-in-one(AIO) [amazon_link asins=’B01N7JASW3′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’e83ca29d-c4fc-11e7-95fa-a186199cbc02′] prints well and reasonably fast. It comes with a wealth of features, including a single-pass, auto-duplexing automatic document feeder (ADF) for unassisted, two-sided scanning, as well as paper input expandability, high-yield toner cartridges, and near-field communication (NFC) for printing from smartphones and tablets. With print, scan, copy, and fax functionality, the C405/DN is a capable AIO printer overall, but it’s a little slower than the Dell S3845cdn, and its running costs are higher (especially for color prints). Even so, it’s a good fit for low-to-moderate-volume printing and copying in small- to medium-size offices and workgroups.
Read the entire article at PCMag