NETGEAR ORBI RBK50 $350
Extend Wi-Fi reach with easy system
The two-unit system from Netgear called Orbi RBK50 might be the best option yet for great coverage and easy setup to get Wi-Fi to all points of your house or yard.
Netgear has three different Orbi systems; the RBK50 covers up to 5,000 square feet. The two other Orbi systems cover less area and cost less.
The RBK50 comes with one Orbi router and a satellite. The Orbi system uses a dedicated radio for router-to-satellite data traffic, which means you are not losing internet speed because the data is hopping from one Orbi to the other — that’s a very good thing.
Each Orbi device is 9 inches tall and looks more like a wide flower vase than an internet router. The router and satellite both have Ethernet ports so you can connect wired devices to your network.
Netgear has rolled out an Alexa skill to allow some simple voice control of the Orbi from Amazon Echo devices. Users can ask Alexa to have Orbi enable or disable the guest network, as well as rebooting the router and helping you remember the network name and password.
The Orbi does what it says it’ll do — and you can have it up and running in fewer than 15 minutes.
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NEXBOX MINI PC $183
This computer fits in your briefcase
The Nexbox Mini PC is tiny. At 5-by-5-by-1.3 inches, it’s small enough to easily fit into a briefcase. It also only weighs 2 pounds, yet comes with 4 gigabytes of RAM and a 64-gig hard drive.
The PC has to be connected to either a TV or a computer monitor. If you don’t have a monitor handy, such as when you are traveling, you are out of luck. You also have to carry a keyboard and mouse that either have Bluetooth connectivity or cords that plug into USB ports.
The box has a quad-core Atom processor. It won’t run very quickly if you do anything more than word processing and browsing the internet. That said, the best part of the device is it will handle a 2.5-inch extra hard drive, and USB drives can be added, too.
So while the Nexbox is inexpensive, you are looking at more than $300 even before a monitor.
So if you are looking for a small, portable PC, get a Chromebook or a laptop; if you like gadgets, though, you will love the Nexbox.
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