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Thread: The "Don't Buy This Hardware" Thread

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    Moderator anon's Avatar
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    Thumbs down The "Don't Buy This Hardware" Thread



    The processor is ultra-slow, memory is limited, both are soldered and thus non-upgradeable, internal connectors vary within the same models (making spare parts hard to locate), you can't upgrade to a newer Android/Windows CE, and most important: you can barely do the simplest of tasks on them. Also, good luck if the operating system ever fails and you need to reflash, because factory firmwares are all lost and you rely on the bootloader implementing the SD card boot feature at all.

    Definitely a waste of the $100 sellers have the audacity of asking for a new one.

    Still, if you have nothing better to do and still want to try reflashing one, the F1 password is: ztk

    Price paid: $88, used
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    mmmmm (11.11.15)

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    Moderator anon's Avatar
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    Randomly overwrites sectors with "USBC".

    Price paid: $1, new



    Couldn't get it to connect no matter what.

    Price paid: $14, used



    Client mode is a nightmare to set up. 2 MB flash means no open firmware support unless you solder a bigger chip.

    Price paid: $14, used



    Finding the right drivers requires some research - good luck if you're on Windows 8 or above. Indoor range is less than 10 meters, and power output is always limited to 100 mW. I was fooled by the stellar reviews and bought two

    Price paid: $13.50 each, new
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    Two things that I learned so far in buying things:
    1. never buy the cheapest item
    2. when in doubt, always the most expensive item
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. - Mark Twain.
    ... and since I can remember, I've always been different that others, and I've never been on the majority side.
    I am the one and only Master Razor... lost in a world of billions of people.
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    Bunny (19.12.16)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Master Razor
    when in doubt, always the most expensive item
    the most expensive item is almost certainly overpriced, sometimes ridiculously so - how is that a good option for the average user?


    Parable of the Two Birds

    Two birds, beautiful of wings, close companions, cling to one common tree: of the two one eats the sweet fruit of that tree; the other eats not but watches his companion. The self is the bird that sits immersed on the common tree; but because he is not lord he is bewildered and has sorrow. But when he sees that other who is the Lord and the beloved, he knows that all is His greatness and his sorrow passes away from him...

    ...@ en.wikipedia.org Paramatman

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    cirulilu (30.07.16)

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    Moderator anon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Master Razor View Post
    Two things that I learned so far in buying things:
    1. never buy the cheapest item
    2. when in doubt, always the most expensive item
    No. 1 is true, as you get burnt more often than not with those. No. 2 is debatable.

    Another tip: check the used goods market. Prices are lower, and you can haggle to bring them down even more. You won't get a warranty, of course, but people rarely misrepresent a faulty item as good.
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    Moderator anon's Avatar
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    I'm thinking of adding these antennas to the list, since the following tests seem to indicate the "11 dBi" gain is actually between 5 and 8 instead. However, at the same time, I feel they may not be conclusive. Feedback is appreciated.



    (Scans were run for 60 seconds; row color indicates security type and is not related to signal strength)

    Price paid: $9.70 each, new
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    Quote Originally Posted by slikrapid View Post
    the most expensive item is almost certainly overpriced, sometimes ridiculously so - how is that a good option for the average user?
    The average option is usually best value for money, I've found, if you had to make a wild guess about anything you don't know anything about.
    Too cheap is crap, too expensive is overpriced and in some cases worse than the average priced item (e.g. paying a lot for the brand).

    If anything, I've learned that you shouldn't buy things on a whim. As soon as it's over 50 dollars, I research the shit out of it. Anything under 50 is still whim-worthy.

    Quote Originally Posted by anon View Post
    I'm thinking of adding these antennas to the list
    I've learned that by just wrapping your existing antenna's with tin foil already helps. I'm actually very interested in seeing a comparison!
    Last edited by Sazzy; 30.07.16 at 12:07.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sazzy
    I've learned that by just wrapping your existing antenna's with tin foil already helps.
    funny, so a tin foil wrapping (aka aluminum foil hat) can actually increase range or intensity of EM-waves (of certain frequencies)

    Code:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tin_foil_hat


    Parable of the Two Birds

    Two birds, beautiful of wings, close companions, cling to one common tree: of the two one eats the sweet fruit of that tree; the other eats not but watches his companion. The self is the bird that sits immersed on the common tree; but because he is not lord he is bewildered and has sorrow. But when he sees that other who is the Lord and the beloved, he knows that all is His greatness and his sorrow passes away from him...

    ...@ en.wikipedia.org Paramatman

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    Moderator anon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sazzy View Post
    I've learned that by just wrapping your existing antenna's with tin foil already helps. I'm actually very interested in seeing a comparison!
    I know that sticking a tinfoil "extension" at the tip of the antenna can improve reception, but wrapping it is news to me. I'll try to test both + the beer can signal enhancer soon.

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    Today I removed the onboard antenna of my media center. I was unhappy with it for a long time now and thought it was the chipset screwing me over. I was about to spend another 50 dollars on a second high quality wifi card when I thought about this thread. So I ended up unscrewing this piece of shit:

    5559_06_asrock_z87e_itx_intel_z87_mini_itx_motherboard_review.jpg

    And ended up putting the antenna of my old router on there (larger than my hand so pretty big):

    31ay0YMJVVL.jpg

    My wifi speed has increased from 52 mbps to 585mbps!! Holy fuck Signal is a lot better, too. Previously, signal was meh on 2.4GHz and really shitty on 5GHz. (thus it never went on 5 because it was so bad)

    Also, aesthetically far more pleasing since i no longer have a box hanging out of my cupboard and the antenna actually fit nicely behind the case inside the cupboard. (e.g. when it's open it still looks nice)
    Last edited by Sazzy; 01.08.16 at 18:24.
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    Antenna cabling isn't lossless like Ethernet or USB, it attenuates signal in both directions - and with a cable as long as the one on your first image, the losses can be significant. This in addition to many other factors that also affect signal strength (antenna gain, polarization, orientation, Rx sensitivity, Tx power, interference, chipset quality).

    Drivers also play an important role - a bad driver can half your speeds, even if all other conditions are fine. Under Linux, all you have to do is pick the latest open source one and it's almost guaranteed to give good results; Windows users are not so fortunate. The xiaopan.co have lots of research on which adapter/driver combos work best.

    Also, wireless equipment manufactured in or for Europe must comply with ETSI regulations, which limit maximum power output to 100 mW. Most chips can safely do at least a bit more that, so using European firmware effectively turns your routers and adapters into crippleware. For comparison, America allows up to 1000 mW (in theory).
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    I bought this card for my old laptop, thinking the acclaimed RTL8187L chipset would make a good replacement for its RTL8188CE (which is 11n capable, but cannot see a lot of networks and disconnects sometimes). Unfortunately, I was wrong. This one only detects 3-4 networks and has trouble connecting at all, even with excellent signal, all else being equal.

    Also have a generic one with two antenna connectors, but this laptop only has a single antenna, so I can't make a proper test for now.

    Price paid: $6.60 each, used



    Don't know what to make of this one. Under Windows (at least), ejecting a device connected to it ejects the entire hub. On the other side, everything else seems to work fine, and it cost a fifth of what a new USB 3.0 hub of any brand goes for. Unless it lets me down in the following days, consider this a neutral vote.

    Price paid: $13.30, used

    I updated my other posts with the amounts of money each device cost at the time.
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    mmmmm (06.08.16)

  17. #13
    Moderator anon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anon View Post
    Unless it lets me down in the following days, consider this a neutral vote.
    No letdowns so far, and the hub is pretty tough. Works for hours on end without any problems. I currently have an optical mouse, a external 2.5" hard disk and a high-power wireless adapter connected to it with no power supply, and everything's fine (I'm guessing the sum of their power consumption is lower than I expected).
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    Quote Originally Posted by anon View Post
    image

    Finding the right drivers requires some research - good luck if you're on Windows 8 or above. Indoor range is less than 10 meters, and power output is always limited to 100 mW. I was fooled by the stellar reviews and bought two

    Price paid: $13.50 each, new
    anon mate - i've gotta disagree with you there - those wifi adapters are AWESOME, depending on what you're using them for. - they have decent range and power, plus they support packet injection - great for certain 'tasks'

    try this google search and jump to 'images' - "nexus 7 nethunter tp link tl-wn722n"

    the tl wn722n wifi adapter connected to a nexus 7 running kali linux nethunter gives you the most powerful micro penetration testing setup available without a laptop computer!
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    anon (26.08.16)

  20. #15
    Moderator anon's Avatar
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    The 20 dBm cap is okay, but range was horrible in my experience. I see a lot of networks, but can only connect to two or three of them. On those, there's regular packet loss and some disconnections, which doesn't happen with other adapters. And I've tried different driver combinations. I knew about their injection capabilities and considered that a plus at the time of buying, but my main interest was having an adapter that's better than my laptop's integrated one, and cheap enough. Reviews said it complied, reality disagreed. Linux experience might differ, that OS is much better than Windows when it comes to wireless drivers.

    TP-Link did make an adapter that's great both for "tasks" and regular usage: the TL-WN7200ND. Not as great as the Alfa AWUS036H, which can literally get a signal from a block away, but then again what is

    Did the image search, wasn't disappointed. Didn't even know there was a version of Kali for tablets. I have yet to find a good means of mobile pentesting that doesn't involve dual-booting, although the Wi-Fi Pineapple looks awesome. My first networks were done with OpenWrt and a travel router, but internal antennas limit you a lot.
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