Imation Link Wireless Extender Review

By on July 5, 2011
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Breaking at the seams.

Good: Easy setup; Can stream1080p video and higher resolution pictures; Convenient usage
Bad: Short range; Needs direct line-of-sight to function properly; Games playback isn't so smooth
Price: AED 650
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

So after I plugged in the USB dongle into my laptop and it installed the drivers and I plugged in the Link with the TV, it immediately detected the TV and extended the desktop. Once that was done, I started up a 720p video on YouTube and dragged the browser window onto the TV screen. Playback of both video and audio was pretty smooth. I then loaded up an .mkv video file in 720p but with 12mbps bitrate and played that back. Initially the playback was a bit choppy, but within 10 seconds things were smooth again. So far so good, so I decided to playback a 1080p movie. Now this specific movie was in a lower bitrate (6mbps) and played back decently. It was a seamless an experience as the 720p videos I played, but it was good enough. Once I played a high bitrate 1080p movie the playback was extremely choppy and while the audio played back fine, it was completely out of sync with the video.

For pictures I began a slideshow in Windows 7 and played it back over the TV, most of these pictures were a mix of 720p, 1080p and much higher resolution. While the Link played back smaller pictures with ease, bigger pictures took a couple of seconds to load properly, breaking the smooth transition of the slideshow. Again, the Imation worked as advertised.

Now it came time for the ultimate test, I tried to play World of WarCraft and Team Fortress 2 on my laptop, but on the TV through the Link. While WoW seemed OK, TF2 was too fast for the Link to handle. I must say that these games were played at a resoltuion of 1366×768, slightly higher than the rated 720p video playback resolution. Slightly dissapointed by this, I tried Quake Live and Minecraft within my browser, surprisingly both games played back fine. There were a few hiccups in the first 30 to 40 seconds of connection, but after that it all went smooth. Really impressive.

I loaded up my 720p movie again and decided to take the laptop out of my room. Anywhere inside 6 x 8 feet bedroom the Link playback was great, but as soon as I stepped out of my room and going down the hallway towards the kitchen, at around 15 feet, the playback started becoming choppy again. Images also loaded up slowly. Minecraft was also skipping frames and TF2 was almost unwatchable. As soon as I broke line-of-sight, the Link outright disconnected. I walked back just outside by bedroom door, still breaking line-of-sight, and while the connection was established, all the above mentioned playbacks were as choppy as it was around the 15 feet mark. Even when I cam outside the room and brought the laptop literally behind my bedroom wall where the Link was connected, the connection would not establish.

So in a room, the Link’s capabilities are remarkable, depending on the quality of content you’re playing back on your PC. Videos at 1080p will run, but not as smoothly. Higher resolution pictures will load, but not as quickly. Breaking line-of-sight may well result in a disconnection, and going over 15 to 17 feet results in choppy playback. For a first time product, the Imation Link is definitely a hit if you can live with its limitations. For a second outing, I would definitely recommend 1080p video playback on a dual-wireless bandwidth for as little loss of data as possible.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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