KGuard EasyLink – EL421-4HW212

Hello all; and welcome back to JudgeReview – your number one source for diverse technology reviews. We will be reviewing the Kguard EasyLink camera system today to see if it can hold up against the competition.


 

At just under £300 for the 1TB, 4 camera set – this isn’t quite the cheapest set out there, but it does however have some features that the cheaper kits do not, which we will get into later.

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The kit comes with the DvR, Power Adapter(DvR), Remote Control, HDMI Cable(long), Ethernet Cable(small), Mouse, 2x+ Cameras, Power Adapter(Cameras), 2x BNC cables(18m), CD, Plugs, Screws, and install guide.

Prevention & Action


Before we talk about the DvR, and cameras – I would like to talk about why this kit is a good idea to own; to protect your house/business by deterring thieves, and avoiding damage to your premises.

Having cameras up alone acts as a deterrent, as the individual(s) who see them would think it would be harder to steal, break, etc your premises as it is guarded – and they would most likely go elsewhere.

This DvR has some great features – if for example an individual tries to break, damage or steal any of your cameras – the DvR will make a loud alarm noise to alert you, and you could also set it up so it can email you, etc too.

You could also make it so when the cameras detection motion by individual(s) – it will alarm/message you, which could be handy if it is night time and you’re in bed. It will give you time to get up, call the cops and prepare to defend your premises.

If you do have any problems, and it’s caught on camera – you have evidence that should hold up well in court. You could “BackUp” your clips, and put them on a USB drive, phone, etc so you can show the police if there is any damage or criminal activity.

You could also set up the Cloud system(DropBox uploading) – so if for example; someone does break in, finds your DvR and does damage to it, etc – the clips will be stored online where they cannot be damaged, and from there you can download them and show them to court, or the authorities.

Recording & Playback


The DvR has a good user interface, which can be very easy to navigate by Mouse,
and also quite easy to use with the remote too – which was surprising to me.

There are multiple models available, with different amounts of storage available,
this review assumes you are interested in the 1TB model – I’d like to point out that
the HDD can be removed, and replaced by another HDD – which means you could potentially put in a 2TB hdd for example – which could hold multiple years worth of recordings.

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For example – when I formatted my 1TB HDD, and chose to use the BEST settings, on 4 cameras, it estimated around 60+ days worth of recording. What happens is – after the HDD gets full, it can delete older clips to make space for newer ones.

The Software is also quite good, although it would be nice to have an option to bypass the login.You could use it to view in real time, play back clips recorded from the software, or play remotely stored clips – giving you multiple options of viewing – also; I really like the way the playback works. It looks very polished and clean.

Remote viewing


The EasyLink DvR allows you to connect to your cameras on an app whilst you are out – for example; if you are on holiday, out with friends, or just shopping. Could be ideal if you want to check on multiple things. Some companies like to leave parcels near our door if we aren’t in – so it could be good to check up on.

The EasyLink DvR also allows you to connect to the cameras on an app whilst you are at home, for example – if you’re in bed and hear a noise, you can connect to check if it’s near your house, or not. You could also use it, if for example you’re in your back garden and you expect some people to come up – that way you can check the front door whilst relaxing.

Connecting the DvR to the App was very easy to do – just simply scan the QR code with the app and, it will set itself up. This is great as it will bypass having to play around with username, passwords, and networking.

Pros & Cons


Pros:
Potential full security for your house.
Crime Deterrent.
Records, so you can play back for police, etc.
Good quality Cameras.
Great PC/Mac Software.
Easy to use QT, and Great iOS software.

Cons:
The Cameras have no audio function.
No WP8 app.

Verdict


If you don’t mind paying a bit extra for a system that can be navigated better with a remote, and have the DropBox, cloud storage solution – then this is for you.

The PC software is great – the iOS software is great. If you own a WP8 – you will need to use a third person app.

The Cameras are better quality than I expected them to be, and can get a relatively clear image.They are also weather resistant – and work well when it’s raining, windy, etc.

I recommend you buy this CCTV kit from here. Click.

Swann DVR 1260 with 2x Pro-535 Cameras – Security Kit Review

Today, we will be looking into Swann’s “Advanced security System”, to see if it really is advanced, or not. Considering the low price tag; most people would think of this is a “budget” system, but, whilst it is cheap – it certainly isn’t low quality. The DvR can connect 4 cameras – comes with 2, which allows you to add 2 more at a later date.image5image7This kit is supplied with the DvR, 500GB HDD(user-changeable), 2x Pro-535 Cameras, HDMI Cable(long), 2x BNC Cables (60ft), Power Adapters, Remote Control, CD, Mouse(USB), Ethernet cable(Small), Mounting plugs+screws, Deterrent Stickers, Instructions. Might I also add, it is neatly packaged too.

Recording, and Playback.


With the in-built, and user replace-able/upgradeable 500GB HDD – you could continuously record 30 days, or with motion detection mode, up to 120 days. How it works is variable, depending on your application/use – in my scenario, using the highest quality settings on both of the cameras –

1 is Motion, the other is Continuous. I’m estimating around 50 days of recording. When the HDD is full, it will delete the oldest videos to make new ones. A good option, if finance permits – would be to put a 2TB+ HDD in, and then you could possibly have 400~ days worth of recording, which would mean you only need to delete older videos once a year.CaptureYou could also record on a PC, so the storage possibilities are near infinite. I personally use my cameras to not only protect my house, but also to focus on a road, dual carriage way, and houses across the road which is great for Community watch/safety.

If anything bad happens around my road, or the houses over the road, I’d have evidence for the police, to help them investigate, and prevent crime – and because that is such a large distance, and in constant motion, it’s scheduled to run 24/7, which takes up a lot of space, which is where using a separate HDD comes in handy, and this excellent feature gets put to use.

There are multiple ways to play back footage, but I find the PC Software to be the easiest – with the cleaner interface, and easier control. However, if you would like to play back directly from the device on a TV, the mouse is the best way to access the videos. The remote feels like an after thought, and isn’t ideal for going through all the archives.NightTimeOne of the great things Swann got right is the digital zoom feature. With this camera set – you could zoom far enough to read number plates, and even-though you can clearly see faces without zoom, with the zoom feature it would be good to see faces from 15-35 feet way. Easy identification, without much quality loss.

Remote/Mobile Viewing.


Let’s move onto a key feature – remote viewing. What is remote viewing, you ask? It’s just technical term, which translates into – Mobile/Tablet viewing; let’s skip the long explanation and get to the good stuff. Basically, this allows you to use your Phone, or Tablet to access the DvR(and cameras) either anywhere in your house, via a local IP, or more importantly – you could use an external IP whilst you are out.

Let me throw some scenarios where this feature could be handy. First, we will talk about using the local IP for remote viewing – you could be in bed and hear a loud noise – instead of running downstairs, or looking through a window, just load the app and boom, you can see everything through the cameras, and even rewind/playback any time to see if anything happened prior.

The other scenario – you could be out shopping, at a friends place, or anywhere – you can check up on your cameras to see if your house is fine, and if for example – you remember your gate being closed before you left, and it’s now open; you could just rewind and see why it is now open.

Prevention, and Action.


Firstly, I’d recommend you install the Cameras about 10-12 feet high,if they are lower than 8 feet, there is a chance someone could try to vandalise them, and if they are over 14 feet high, the quality could reduce, and it would be harder to identify people.

The cameras are pretty vandalise proof, but for good measure, you could also make them make a loud alarm noise if they disconnect. Now, having cameras is a great deterrent, as thieves would find your house to be harder to rob than others. This set comes with 4x stickers, plus 4x stickers from the camera set too, and stickers also act as a deterrent.

Thanks to the many features this DvR supplies, you can be alerted when an intruder, etc comes near your cameras; first I’ll just assume you understand what motion means –
when someone is caught on your cameras, you could have it so it quickly emails you, Make an alarm noise, or you could use your app to see them getting closer, so you could alert the police, and get prepared to defend your house, giving you a major advantage over the individual(s).

Did someone try to break in, break, steal, or anything else? You now have 100% untampered evidence that will stand in court. You could start by calling the police, and showing them the footage on the DvR, or you could use the backup feature, to put the footage onto a phone, USB drive, etc to take directly to the police station for further investigation.

Pros, and Cons.


Pros:
Potential full security for your house.
Crime Deterrent.
Records, so you can play back for police, etc.
High Quality Cameras, near HD.
The digital zoom feature is exceptional.
Great PC/Mac Software.

Cons:
The Cameras have no audio function.
WP8, and Android Apps aren’t polished.

Verdict.


Cheap, and very easy to install, and set-up. DvR is nearly silent – I haven’t disassembled it yet, but I’m pretty sure it is cooled passively, with just the HDD making a noise.

The PC software is great, the iOS app is good. The WP8/Android apps aren’t polished.

The cameras are weather resistant, work in the night thanks to the IR, the cameras also have a great range, and show a good quality image, although, the quality isn’t quite HD, and there are better cameras out there, the Pro-535 are splendid, and work perfectly fine, especially when it comes to identifying cars, and people.

I can very much recommend you buy this system from here.

If you have the extra money, and would like higher quality cameras, then this may be a better system for you to look into.

If you aren’t too good with DIY, or do not have the time – Swann could also install for you. Click here for more information!

QNAP TS-269L Review

Overall: 93% | Hardware: 9 | Software: 5 | Value: 7

Unboxing
The box looks very promising at first with all the logos on it. Open the top and you can see QR codes for different places you can find them and where you can get support. This looks very professional, but there is something missing – a QR code for their forum. I wonder why that is? I have a feeling we will soon find out.
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On unboxing we can see there is a standard “Power Supply” unit, along with a UK plug, 2 ethernet(RJ45) cables, screws and a manual.

Setting up

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This was really easy to set up. You simply place the HDD(s) on the hot swappable trays, screw them in and slide it into the unit.

Booting Up and first impression
I logged into the web GUI and it looked nice and clean and I went through to the control panel to see a fair amount of options but it was very messy and lacking some basic functions I would have expected.
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You cannot change the homescreen in any way at all which makes this feel a little cold compared to the other options out there, but that’s not too important.

Hardware
This has 3 USB2 ports and 2 USB 3 ports, 1 esata and a HDMI output. Plenty of options available here. You can have plenty of devices connected and also use the HDMI on a TV or monitor to show an app called HD Station which shows some apps like youtube and chrome for example on the big screen.
This has a nice dual core intel atom and 1gb RAM inside which is perfect for almost every task you can think of. Some people upgrade to 3gb RAM and run Virtualbox.

Software
The TS-269L can easily carry out all tasks you give to it and still have enough power to do more. This thing is a beast. I have had some issues with the software though so I cannot say it is 100% reliable just yet. Multimedia station is a huge mess and a pain in the ass for getting some stuff done. QTS looks nice from the icons but when you get deeper than that you notice some things that are missing or annoying “features” that shouldnt be there.

The pain of using QTS is you cannot switch to Desktop mode on a tablet; unless you change the URL but not only will most people not know how to do that but it is also hassle.

Mobile Apps
Sadly, this is one of the worst areas for QNAP. The mobile apps havent had any thought at all put into them and hugely lack in function. If you use your tablet or phone often to get media then this is a no go.
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There are separate apps called QManager, QMobile and QFile. Qmanager is good for checking your NAS, QFile is okay but crashes and QMobile is just dreadful.

Customer Service
The community as a whole is good and come together to help people and the (lack of)moderators do work well but there are no anti-spam tools in place making the forum look messy and unprofessional.
Community
I have contacted a few people from QNAP and asked them if they plan on fixing some stuff and commented on the Mobile Apps and they have not responded.

Bottom Line
The good: The QNAP 269L offers great hardware and really good data performance with good apps(QPKG’s) and has amazing build quality.
The Bad: The software is lacking, especially in the Tablet/Mobile area. QNAP does not listen to it’s customers and lack professionalism.
Overall: The hardware itself is amazing and the apps available work good too, it all depends on if it will be just used with computers or if it will be used on multiple devices.

You may also want to read my review on Synology’s DS212J.

| Buy from: here | All our reviews are fair | Contact Judge Shaun! |

Smart Baby Monitor by Withings

Type: Tech

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Overall: 93% | Quality: 9 | Value: 7

I was really excited when I heard withings wanted to send me this to review. Was it worth me being excited or was it just the same as all the cheaper ones on the market? The answer lies withing(no pun intended).

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On opening the box I could see straight away that they were aiming for the clean and minimal packaging scheme thats synonymous with Apple products which always makes me squeal with excitement, because let’s face it – you know the company cares and it’s a good indication of quality.

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So, let’s see what it comes with. The actual monitor (camera), an attachment that goes between the camera and a cot/bed, a battery which is another good sign. if your power cuts and this isn’t on a UPS then it will still run along with your router (hopefully)on the UPS. It comes with a manual which is pretty useful, a plug with plenty of different adapters which is always nice to see and a bag you can pile it all in which is also a nice little addition.

For connectivity – it has Bluetooth, WiFi built in and an ethernet port at the back which means you can keep an eye on your baby from anywhere. For example, if you get a baby sitter and go on a date you can check on the baby and not have to worry about rushing home so much.

And what’s more? it sends you instant alerts when it senses noise, motion, temperature and humidity changes.

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This camera comes with a ton of features you wouldn’t expect from any other baby monitoring company. It can sense temperature and humidity – which I have put to the test and have found it to be accurate and it has even helped me realise there was a problem with the humidity in my babies room. This has a good two way audio communication microphone built into it with a very low latency which means you can talk to the monitor and hear the baby at an almost instant rate.

It has a nice night light that can change to variable colours and even go through all the colors. One of my favorite features is that it can play lullaby’s – not just any lullaby’s. popular, good symphonies that sound great.

What about one of the most important things, the camera? Well. I shouldn’t even have to mention how amazing it is. It actually shocked me because its better quality than most security cameras and you can zoom then pan and tilt it too! I will put a few pictures up of the quality sometime this week.

Is this worth the £240 price point or will you be better off saving money and getting something cheaper? The answer is: If you have the cash – go for it. It has tons of features you wont find on a cheaper baby monitor and I cannot recommend it enough.

| Buy from: here | All our reviews are fair | Contact Judge Shaun! |

Synology DS212J Review (V2)

Overall: 91% | Hardware: 7 | Software: 9 | Value: 8

Unboxing
Today I review one of my favorite tech gadgets of all time; a NAS (Network Attached Storage) – though, for these devices NAS is an understatement as some can do so much more and even some server tasks. Maybe we should call them SNAS! (Hope the Nintendo fans see what I did there).
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On unboxing we can see there is a standard “Power Supply” unit, along with a UK plug, 1 ethernet(RJ45) cable, screws and a manual.

Setting up
Even-though this came with a manual – I decided not to use it because of my computer building background. So how easy is it?
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You simply unscrew the base, slot in the HDD(s), screw it in place and put the case back on. its really easy – shame you cannot hot swap drives though.

Booting Up and first impression
I logged into the web GUI and started to play around with the control panel and looking at the options at hand – and boy, there are many options which made me get very excited. The GUI looks excellent too!
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The homescreen is modifiable – you can change the theme/colour and decide which “apps” you would like on display too. This makes this device much more personal and welcoming.

Hardware
The DS212J has two USB ports on the back which you can plug in a printer/USB speakers/External HDD or camera. This is okay for most home users but I personally feel that 3 is the minimum amount of ports any NAS should have.
This has a measly 256mb RAM and an 800MHZ ARM cpu. The performance is okay but definitely lacking for some people.

Software
The DS212J carries out all tasks with no issues and is extremely reliable. You can access all your music, videos, photos from any device. Want to watch a few films on an ipad? No problem. Want to watch your house with connected security camera on your friends PC abroad? No problem.

The handy thing for tablet users is that you can turn of “Tablet Mode” instantly and use your tablet as if it was a desktop PC which is extremely handy.

Mobile Apps
One of the best things about Synology is that they clearly care about their customers and do everything they can to keep the community happy and you can clearly see that with the amount of effort they have put into their tablet/phone apps.
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There are separate apps for Music, Films, Photos, Files, Check on your NAS, surveillance Station and Download Station.

Customer Service
The community is great – the forum has great moderators and anti-spam tools in use. Looks professional and everyone appears to be happy. Bit of a shame you cannot use tapatalk though.

I have not had any problems at all to need to contact Synology but I have read up about some people who needed to contact them and when they did they always dealt with everything in a professional manner and helped.

Bottom Line
The good: The Synology DS212j offers amazing software and applications and also knows how to do great apps for tablets and mobiles. They listen to the community.
The Bad: The hardware is lack luster.
Overall: Synology is easily the king of NAS devices when it comes to software and listening to it’s customers, the hardware is lacking for some uses though.

You may also want to read my review on QNAP’s TS-269L.

| Buy from: here | All our reviews are fair | Contact Judge Shaun! |

Review of the Month – Tassimo T20!

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Today I received something rather spectacular – a single serve coffee machine(SSC) from Tassimo. I have heard rumors that SSC discs costs much more than traditional ground bags, and there’s apparently a lack of choice. Are the rumors true or just simply jealousy?

Let’s start with the packaging – its all clear and informative, but trust me; Its so easy to use you wont even need to look at them. What we get is the machine, water tank, and a service/cleaning disc.

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Those who have seen my review on the Aeropress know it was annoying to clean after every use. Drip filters are pretty easy, you only need to rinse the coffee jug, and clean the filter after each use. How do we need to clean the tassimo? It’s simple. You don’t really need to – all you have to do is put the service disc and a de-scaler in every few weeks. It even indicates when it needs to be done so you don’t forget and you always know its clean.

How do we brew a coffee? Simply pull up the lid, put the T-Disc in and press the big button and because of its barcode system it will automatically make you the best brew it can. Thats it. What is in the disc? Instant coffee? Nope. it’s proper ground coffee – there are brands like Costa, Twinings, Cadbury and one of my favorites – Carte Noire.

There is so much variety, much more than the competition, and to those who say they want more flavors than what’s on offer – Experiment and make your own flavors – thats what I plan to do, so keep an eye out for my crazy tassimo experiments and see if you like them too.

Now, let’s get onto the big rumor. Disc prices. Let’s do some basic maths.

16 pack of carte noire crema T Discs = £3.80. 3.80/16= 23p per cup of coffee.

24 servings (ground Carte Noire) = £3.80. £3.80/24 = 16p per cup of coffee.

1 Crema from a coffee shop = £2.40. 2.40/1 = £2.40 per cup of coffee.

So as we can see – The tassimo T-Discs are literally over 10 times cheaper than going to a coffee shop and taste just as good but with more variety, where as the ground is 7p less per cup which is a very small price to pay for convenience. And if you wan to come into this matter you could easily counter-argue that these T-Discs are air-tight and the coffee inside wont “run out of date/taste not as good” for a year or two. I have seen people say they found discs in the cupboards they forgot about for years and they still taste just as good; my point being – people throw away ground coffee when they get bored of it or don’t drink it enough, wasting money.

Now let’s get down to the other important facor; taste. Does this taste as good as shop made coffee, ground or instant? This machine is faster than making instant coffee, so how does it fair? Thankfully, this leaps above instant coffee and some of the coffees are better than shop made coffees. I don’t know how. Perhaps the coffee fairies sprinkled some magic dust around Tassimo because I still cannot get around how nice these coffees are and they only take one minute to make.

Highly Recommended.

RF810RK RF wireless headphones by Sony

Type: Tech, Headphones

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Overall: 74% | Quality: 7 | Usability: 8 | Value: 7

The packaging isn’t too great and lacks in some information I would usually like to see for headphones.

The transmitter is okay but the aerial is cheap and after a while it will most likely give-way, on the plus side – this does give the headphone a fair distance. I would say from the house to the end of a small garden.

Let’s move onto the most important thing about these headphones; Sound. They are reasonably loud, the bass isn’t there but that’s to be expected from wireless headphones. The overall sound is okay but a little hollow.

Overall – if you don’t mind a pair of £30 sounding headphones that were turned into a wireless pair and slapped with a £60 price mark, these will do the job.

Thank you for reading. – Judge Shaun.

| Buy from: here | All our reviews are fair | Contact Judge Shaun! |