Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gadget Review - Belkin N Wireless Notebook Card

I am always on the look out for the next new gadget to add to my home theater or home network setup. Sometimes to just try something out and sometimes just to leverage that extra bit of value out of my systems. I pride myself on a good balance of getting a good product, trying a new product (not recognizing the brand name is not a bad thing), and finding a good price. My most recent purchase is the Belkin N Wireless Notebook Card (F5D8013) bought from BLUTEKUSA via
The Belkin N Wireless Notebook Card (F5D8013) definitely feels like one of those really good purchases. You know when you don't spend a lot of money but you feel like you got more than you expected. As indicated the F5D8013 is produced by Belkin International, Inc. I am somewhat new to using Belkin products for my wireless network (Not really the first brand that comes to mind for network specific components) but have been very pleased so far. I previously purchased a Belkin N+ Wireless Router (F5D8235-4) after running through a Linksys and Netgear wireless router that just wasn't cutting it. Very reliable though it can be a bit finicky when setting up with some components (still can't get my PSP to connect via it but no problems with my PS3 - I think I know what the problem is but too lazy to mess with it).

The F5D8013 has lived up to what I now expect from the Belkin wireless network experience. I was able to pull the F5D8013 straight out of the box and set up within minutes using the included network connection management software and driver (I will most likely shift back to Windows managing the connection but figured I would try out the software). I am using the F5D8013 on my HP Pavilion zv6000 running XP Professional (Supports 2000, XP, and Vista). Absolutely no problems with the driver and the card itself is not too obtrusive sticking out.

Performance wise the F5D8013 has been great so far. Signal strength and data rate stay pretty consistent whether inside or outside. I took my laptop out to the back corner of the garage (about 200 feet from the router / garage is seperate from the house) and saw no large decrease in connectivity. Still in limbo for moving my family so I'm not able to test with my media center setup, but based on connectivity it appears comparable with my wife's laptop with built in wireless N which worked great with our media center setup.

The specifications (as provided by Belkin) are as follows:

Link RateUp to 300 Mbps in 40MHz Channel Mode
Network StandardsIEEE 802.11b , IEEE 802.11g , IEEE 802.11n
RangeUp to 1,200ft
SecurityWPA, WPA2, 64-bit/128-bit encryption
Specifications Interface32-bit CardBus slot

Purchase/Delivery Experience:
As usually seen with Amazon, the pricing and delivery exceeded expectations. I purchased the F5D8013 for less than $7 (retails for $59.99). Delivery was fast. As mentioned I am currently in the middle of the move and still got my delivery in less than 3 days (2 days less than expected).

To find a really good purchase I think you have to be willing to try something new and be willing to do the research. The F5D8013 is a perfect example of stumbling across a good buy. Anyone else have any purchases that they have made that met or exceeded expectations? Any devices I should try?

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