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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mercedes-Benz connects to Amazon Echo: Alexa, ask Mercedes me to start the car.


Image: Alexa Mercedes Me Skill Page

Mercedes me for Amazon Alexa

This is cool, Mercedes-Benz just added an Amazon Echo skill to connect to your car, via mbrace.

Steps to connect your Mercedes (2016 and newer) to Amazon Alexa

1. Enable the Mercedes me for Amazon Alexa skill.
2. Connect the Amazon Alexa skill to Mercedes mbrace.


Image: Mercedes me iPhone App screen

Alexa Mercedes Me Skill Description
With Mercedes me for Amazon Alexa, you can access your Mercedes-Benz from the comfort of your couch. In order to effectively use the Mercedes me skill, you will need an active Mercedes me account and an active mbrace subscription.*

The Mercedes me skill allows you to:

Remotely lock the doors
Remotely start your engine**
Send an address or point of interest to your in-vehicle navigation
Manage multiple vehicles

After linking your Mercedes me account to the Mercedes me skill, you can ask questions or give commands, such as:

"Alexa, tell Mercedes me to lock the car."
"Alexa, ask Mercedes me to start the car." **
"Alexa, ask Mercedes me to send an address to the car."
"Alexa, ask Mercedes me to find Starcoffee near me."
"Alexa, tell Mercedes me to update my primary car."

* Select mbrace services are free for five years with any new Mercedes-Benz.
** Available on select 2016 and newer model lines. Check with dealer for details. Features subject to network coverage.

Please note:
• The Mercedes me skill on Alexa currently only supports users in the United States;
• The Mercedes me skill on Alexa will send remote service commands to your vehicle, but will not currently confirm the completion of those commands. However, in the case of remote start, you will receive a remote start status text message to the phone number that is linked to your mbrace account. If you update your phone number linked to mbrace, you will also be required to update your primary car in Mercedes me in order to continue receiving text messages;
• You can manage multiple cars within Mercedes me. However, you can only operate one car at a time via Alexa i.e. the primary car that you set via the Mercedes me skill. In order to change/update your primary car, simply say "Alexa, ask Mercedes me to update my primary car.";
• For Mercedes me customer support, call +1 800-367-6372

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Weekend in Cleveland

Here's a fun itinerary for visiting Cleveland and seeing all the highlights.

Here goes!



TRAIN TO CITY CENTER


RTA Airport Service:
For a quick, convenient ride to and from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, ride RTA's Red Line. It's simple to catch the train, and it takes less than 30 minutes to ride to or from Downtown Cleveland’s Tower City Station.
SLYMAN'S DELI
This is a require taxi ride or moderate walk, to get Cleveland's best pastrami sandwich.








EAST 4th STREET
Closed off to traffic, East 4th Street has some great bars and restaurants.



We went to The Butcher and the Brewer twice!

Cheers!

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CLEVELAND!
Throughout the city, Cleveland has these photo spots that are the perfect size, and placed correctly for photo taking.





Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was the most fun! It was so engaging that we spent 5 1/2 hours there. There are FIVE LEVELS that take you through the history of Rock & Roll.

#RockHall

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Got it.

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Elvis Costello. 1977!

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Video killed the radio star. #Devo #RockHall

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After having gone through the museum, I realized what a pivotal part of my life, music has been.

CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART
One of the best museums in the world. A short train ride away.





The museum is as impressive as it's art.

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ArtLens.

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Cleveland Botanical Garden (Next to Museum)


20 restaurants to check out in Cleveland's Little Italy

Red Line to the Airport

The Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan

Press Release:

Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan: Herald of a new generation

Stuttgart/Shanghai. With the Concept A Sedan at Auto Shanghai Mercedes-Benz is providing an outlook of the next generation of compact vehicles and a potential, new body type.

The Concept A Sedan show car specifies the evolved Mercedes-Benz design language. Thanks to its purist, surface-focused design featuring reduced lines and gaps, the show car is hot and cool at the same time. The "Aesthetics A" sculpture already demonstrated that the upcoming compact class generation marks the dawn of an even more rigorous implementation of the design idiom of "sensual purity".



"Our Concept A Sedan shows, that the time of creases is over”, say Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler AG. “With its perfect proportions and a sensual treatment of surfaces with reduced lines, it is the next milestone of Sensual Purity and has the potential to introduce a new design era."

The current compact vehicle generation is crucially contributing to Mercedes‑Benz's most successful and rejuvenated appearance ever to make 2016 the sixth year of records in succession. More than two million compact vehicles have been sold around the globe since 2012. In addition to the contemporary design language, innovative assistance systems, connectivity, and driving pleasure, model variety is a crucial factor for success: with the A and B‑Class, CLA and CLA Shooting Brake, as well as the SUV crossover GLA five differently positioned variants are available on the market.

"Their success shows that our customers are absolutely delighted with the current generation of Mercedes-Benz compact cars", says Britta Seeger, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes‑Benz Cars Marketing & Sales. "We are therefore extremely confident that the planned expansion will lead to a continuation of this success story."

The Concept A Sedan: study of a compact premium sedan

The Concept A Sedan (length/width/height: 4570/1870/1462 mm) has been designed with the proportions of a dynamic, coupé-like and simultaneously compact, premium sedan. This aim is emphasized by the traditional three-box design featuring short overhangs, especially at the rear, as well as the slim greenhouse that has been offset towards the rear. Additional sedan characteristics are the relatively vertical C‑pillar, larger side windows and the higher beltline.

The muscular-seeming wheel arch design featuring a reduced arch dimension emphasize the exclusive 20‑inch wheels. The light alloy wheels radiate technical precision with their sporty aerowheel look featuring a structured surface between the spokes. The door handles of the show car are flush with the body, while the outside mirrors, in a contemporary reinterpretation, stand proud of the beltlines.

The striking front expresses self-confidence: this is crucially highlighted by the deep Panamericana grille tilted towards the front, featuring vertical chrome inserts and a star in the centre, as well as the stretched bonnet with Powerdomes. The large, lower air inlet featuring a diamond grid structure and a striking trim strip in dark chrome is also amongst the most eye-catching features.

The headlamps with their eyebrows as a typical feature of the brand as well as the striking grid structure on the inside guarantee a confident look – and a simultaneously high recognition value. The structural sculpture that has been broken down in detail represents a technically based counterpole to the sensual exterior - "stimulating contrast" is one of the six guiding principles of Mercedes-Benz design. The grid structure in the lamps has been coated with a UV paint and it is exposed to ultraviolet light. As a result, the headlamps "glow" in different colours, depending on the light medium – the daytime running lamps, for instance, are white.

This unusual lighting technology is also used at the rear: The striking tail light image has also been designed as a structural sculpture. In line with the evolved design philosophy the lines and gaps at the rear have been reduced. As a contrast to the paintwork the rear bumper features a diffuser-look lower part trimmed in black and a chrome trim strip that emphasises the width and underlines the car's premium appeal. The integrated exhaust deflectors are finished in dark chrome. Additional features of the roadworthy show car are dark privacy windows all-round as well as a large, panoramic glass roof.

Monday, April 17, 2017

My First Car

When I was in High School, I didn’t need a car. I took a city bus from across the street from my house, to school.

Some days, I was able to drive my father into work, and keep his car, a PONTIAC TEMPEST, for the day, then pick him up after work.

Pontiac Tempest
Image: Dad's Car. Pontiac Tempest.

After graduating High School, I went to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The school is about an hour and a half from Boston. Undergraduates who lived on campus were not allowed to have cars at school.

BUYING A CAR
When I moved off campus in my Junior year, I was able to buy a car.

I had saved my own money and made the decision on what car I wanted on my own.

This was a poor decision.

I should have gotten some help in making my choice, but I didn’t.

I thought that a used car lot that advertised, “No Haggling,” was a great place to get a car.

So I like the looks of a FORD TORINO with low miles, 33,000.

Ford Torino
Image: My First Car. A Ford Torino.

I bought it and took it out to UMass.

CAR TROUBLE
Shortly after I bought it, it started to have engine trouble. It turned out that the car didn’t have 33,000 miles on it, it had 133,000 miles!

The dealer offered to take out the engine and install a new one for under $700.

For some reason that I don’t remember now, I agreed.

That actually did solve my engine problems, but that was just the beginning.

The car then needed new tires.

I shopped around, and the best deal was from a table in the Student Union, where they were selling some type of reconstituted tires that combined the shells from nuts.

I bought those tires.

I was probably nuts to do it!

The next thing that happened was that the car started having starter problems.

SPRING BREAK

I was working at K-Mart at the time, and had the K-Mart garage take a look. They did some work on the car in time for a Spring Break trip to Florida.

I’ll never forget planning the trip. I called my mom to tell her that we were going to Miami, Florida for Spring Break.

She asked, “What airline?”
I replied: “We’re driving.”

To this day we get a big laugh out of it.

The car still had starting problems, so on our trip from Amherst, MA to Miami, FL, we didn’t turn the car off that much!

We also had planned to leave first thing in the morning and drive straight through. We got excited, and decided to leave the night before.

Another bad decision, that meant that we lost TWO NIGHTS of sleep.

The car made it down and back.

GOODBYE TO MY FIRST CAR
After graduating UMass and getting my first full-time job, I was able to afford a better car.

This time I asked friends what cars they liked, and many of them owned a TOYOTA CELICA. They all said it was a good car. So I went to a local Toyota dealer and test drove a Toyota Celica with low miles. This time the odometer was accurate and I ended up with a more reliable car.

Toyota Celica
Image: My second Car. Toyota Celica.

FUTURE SMART
What made me think about sharing this story, was MassMutual's #FutureSmart app. It’s a new tool for teaching #kids about making life choices and being smart about #money.

One of the situations asks kids to decide if they want to buy a car.

This is one of those great life learning moments. In addition to deciding if you want, and can afford, to buy a new or used car, you also have to consider the added costs of owning a car:

INSURANCE
GAS
REGULAR MAINTENANCE
UNEXPECTED REPAIRS

In my case, I could have done a better job of listening to friends and family, and valuing their advice.

Disclosure: This has been a sponsored post for MassMutual.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 Test Drive

Sad to see this one go.



I never thought I'd like a big SUV, but after driving the Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 for a few days, using it to run errands and haul kids around, I can totally see the utility of an SUV.

No wonder why they are the top selling style of vehicle these days.

I was surprised by the handling on the GLE 350. I've heard stories about SUVs being hard to turn, but this one, based on a Mercedes E-Class, drove like a car. Plus, with SPORT mode, it has great pick-up.

Driving around in the GLE 350 felt like sitting my living room in a big comfy chair, plus being higher than most other cars on the road, gave me a fun vantage point.

I could get used to it!



SiriusXM




BOB


KIDS


DUNKIN DONUTS RUN


FITS IN GARAGE


Transponder
Update from EzDrivema:
License plate (exterior) transponders are only for vehicles whose windshields cannot support an interior transponder.

They are easily damaged as they are on the outside of the vehicle.



HOME DEPOT


POTTING SOIL
Could have fit 20 of these bags.



65" SUHD TV
You know when you go to Bfs Club or Costco and everything is big? With an SUV, you walk around and say, I could fit THAT in the SUV and take it home!



24" X 36" POSTER FRAMES


Disclosure: Mercedes-Benz of Burlington provided me with a 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 for a test drive. I have a financial interest in Mercedes-Benz of Burlington. I was not asked to write anything about the car and was not provided any other compensation of any kind. All opinions I express regarding the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 are my own.

If you are interested in a Mercedes, mention my name to Victor Argueta at Mercedes-Benz of Burlington, Mass, and he will take care of you.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Friday, April 07, 2017

Star Wars Builders Books

Star Wars Builders: Millennium Falcon (affiliate link) is both a hardcover book and a ship building puzzle-like kit. For ages 7 and up, it's a great companion to the Star Wars movie series. This book is current, and includes content from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.



At almost three pounds, this is a substantial item that can be enjoyed in two ways.

First, as a book:
Discover what makes the Millennium Falcon the most famous ship in the galaxy with this master builder kit! Featuring a 64-page book detailing out some of the ship's most daring adventures and introducing members of the crew, Star Wars fans will enjoy learning more about one of the most legendary starships in the galaxy.



Secondly, as a ship building kit:
Plus, this kit includes thick puzzle-like pieces so fans can build their very own Millennium Falcon ship for all their adventures.



The instructions are straightforward and the pieces are substantial.

In addition to the Millennium Falcon, two more kits are available, Star Wars Builders: Droids (affiliate link) , and Star Wars Builders: Starfighters (affiliate link).



Disclosure: I was sent these Star Wars Builders books for review. I was not asked to write anything specific about the Star Wars Builders books. All opinions I express regarding the Star Wars Builders are my own.

My First Job

Getting your first job is a momentous event for a kid. I was happy riding my bike and playing street hockey in the Boston area. A job would have infringed on my play time.

The problem was that my best friend, Marc, has a job at a local department store, Zayre.

My parents said, “Marc has a job. Why aren’t you working? You need to go to work too.”

So that’s how I decided to get my first job.



Zayre seemed like a good place to work, so I filled out a job application and waited.

No response.

My mom told me, “Give them a call to show that you are interested in them. They have a stack of resumés, and one person calls in, they’ll stand out over the other applicants.”

So I called in and they told me that there were no jobs available.

A while later I called in again.

Still no jobs available.

I waited a while longer, and called in again. This time, they mentioned that there was this one small job making signs that was a few hours a week.

I told them I was interested and was hired!

This might have been the most entry level retail job ever designed, but I was enthusiastic and was determined to be the best sign maker that Zayre had ever seen.

The sign making room, was a very small room in the back of the Garden Shop. In there was a set up that approximated the early days for Benjamin Franklin and the printing press. There was a vintage letterpress, with printers blocks, ink and a roller.

To make the signs, you spelled the words upside down and backwards as you set the letters in the press, then inked the letters, placed your blank sign on the press, and then ran the letterpress roller across the sign to transfer the ink.

Here are some of the signs I made:

Images: Multi-line, multi-colored signs. Advanced!


Image: Being Creative


Image: You had to be careful to spell backwards


Image: Should have said 'ribbed.' The clerks in the women's department had a good laugh at this one.

It was quite an education in printing history.



I went to all the departments and asked if there were any signs that they needed. Then I quickly made and delivered them.

I also made some creative signs that the department managers got a kick out of.

After a short time, I job opened up in the Hardware/Housewares department, and I got that job because of my performance in this lowest of entry level jobs.
Now I was working with my friend Marc.

I worked at Zayre through High School. My boss put me on the schedule for 2:00. I told him, “I can’t come in to work at 2:00, I get out of school at 2:30.”

He told me to get in as soon as I could.

I think I worked three of four days a week, from 3:00 to 10:00 PM.



What got me promoted and kept me employed was doing the best job that I could, proactively looking for things to do, and being pleasant to work with.

These techniques helped me get and perform well in all my future jobs.


Image: With my parents and store assistant manager receiving Zayre college scholarship

What made me think about sharing this story, was MassMutual's #FutureSmart app. It’s a new tool for teaching #kids about making life choices and being smart about #money.

One of the situations asks kids how many hours they want to work. Depending on how many hours they work, the more money they get. When I went through the app and tried to put in how many hours I worked during high school, the app didn't have enough hours per week! It had 20 and I could have worked 28 or more.

I was very dedicated to working and saving money. Most of the money I made in that job at Zayre went into a savings account, where I put away money for college.

This has been a sponsored post for MassMutual.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

MassMutual's FutureSmart Program - Financial Literacy for Kids

Hill Harper, Boston students, and the Celtics were fired up about financial education at the Mass Mutual #FutureSmart Challenge at TD Garden yesterday.



FutureSmart is a nationwide initiative that brings critical financial education to middle and high school students across the United States. The MassMutual Foundation believes that financial education is key to economic opportunity. Through FutureSmart, the Foundation aspires to reach over 2 million students and their families by 2020.

It was a thrill for the kids to be at TD Garden and so close to the court.





Future! Smart! Challenge!



Here's Hill Harper on the court.



He had some great lessons for the students, and went into the crowd to talk one on one with the kids and test their financial smarts.



The kids learned how to download the Future Smart App that will help them learn about handling money.



I came away with Hill Harper's book, The Wealth Cure (affiliate link), and started reading it last night. It's presents a common sense way to think about handling money. It's sad that schools don't teach kids about handling their finances, and good to see programs like this reaching kids at a young age.



As part of the program the Celtics' mascot Lucky and the Green Team did some amazing basketball stunts.



This one did not go as planned!



The Celtics dancers though, nailed their tricks.



It was a great day for the kids' and I had a chance to get close to the basket.



Bonus: MassMutual archived Live Stream of the event:


Disclosure: MassMutual compensated me in return for covering this event. I was not asked to write anything specific about the event. All opinions expressed regarding MassMutual's FutureSmart Program are my own.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Two Weeks in Paris 1981

My parents went to Paris in 1981 and I just found my father's notes from the trip. He had a dry sense of humor.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

SXSW 2017

SXSW 2017

Three people of SXSW 2017.

CASEY NEISTAT
Casey has no idea what he is doing at CNN, but in his talk, he said that he has NEVER had any idea what he was doing. That’s what CNN needs. Someone to experiment, see what works, and throw away failures.

SXSW2017

His tech team is building apps and I think we’ll see lots of experiments with conversations with real people. Also, he mentions the hundreds of CNN bureaus around the world and helicopters!

It will be exciting.

GARY VAYNERCHUK
Gary was greeting people before his keynote at the door to the conference room.

SXSW2017

The funny moment came when he was going ON HIS LEFT TEHN ON HIS RIGHT, taking selfies. I jumped in on his LEFT and he looked in my phone, then saw a selfie with me in it and TURNED to me IN REAL LIFE and said HEY STEVE GARFIELD!

So funny!

ROBERT SCOBLE
So much.

I heard some interesting news about Apple’s entrance into the VR/AR market. They are reportedly building their own CDN to carry all the data people will use with new AR/VR devices.

SXSW2017

Reportedly they will come out with products that will be easily adopted by the market which do not require large and powerful PC’s to run like current VR products.

There will be options to slip your NEW iPhone into a headset, and also use some type of eyeglass/headset that will be inexpensive and be powered by a connected iPhone.

In the group I was in, everyone said they would buy all the new products.

No one has market share in AR/VR and it is a BIG opportunity for Apple.

On the other hand, many features of these new apps are also found in current phones so there’s always the chance that adoption will be smaller and slower.

But, if Apple brings out AR/VR products for THE REST OF US, it could be huge.

Time will tell…..

Monday, March 06, 2017

WaWaWinter at WaWaWachusett Mountain















Red Apple Farm. On the mountain. #WaWaWachusett #MediaTour #Donuts

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Lots of snow here. ‪@Wachusett #WaWaWinter #MediaTour‬

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Great skiing! ‪@Wachusett #WaWaWinter #MediaTour‬

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Disclosure: Wachusett compensated me in return for covering this event. I was not asked to write anything specific about the event. All opinions I express regarding Wachusett are my own.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

2017 Mercedes-Benz 2017 E300 Test Drive





Got it home. Tried a few new things along the way. I put on my blinker while Drive Pilot was on, and the car switched lanes. I turned on parking assist and the car backed into a space. This is a new feature, above and beyond parallel parking.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Disclosure: Mercedes-Benz of Burlington provided me with a 2017 Mercedes-Benz E300 for a test drive. I have a financial interest in Mercedes-Benz of Burlington. I was not asked to write anything about the car and was not provided any other compensation of any kind. All opinions I express regarding the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E300 are my own.

If you are interested in a Mercedes, mention my name to Victor Argueta at Mercedes-Benz of Burlington, Mass, and he will take care of you.

Friday, March 03, 2017

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 Coupe Test Drive


2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 Coupe at Larz Anderson Auto Museum.


















Disclosure: Mercedes-Benz of Burlington provided me with a 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 Coupe for a test drive. I have a financial interest in Mercedes-Benz of Burlington. I was not asked to write anything about the car and was not provided any other compensation of any kind. All opinions I express regarding the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 Coupe are my own.

If you are interested in a Mercedes, mention my name to Victor Argueta at Mercedes-Benz of Burlington, Mass, and he will take care of you.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Experience Kissimmee in Boston with a FREE Zipline Ride, Live Alligators, Crayola coloring, and airboat selfies

Experience Kissimmee is bringing a little bit of Florida sunshine to Boston!

Carol and I went to Experience Kissimmee's press preview and experienced a lot of firsts! On Carol's bucket list was riding on a zipline, COMPLETED. It was a great way to sample what a zipline is in a relatively low ride. I did it too and it was fun.

We also were able to take an airboat ride in Boston Harbor. The guys from Wild Florida were lots of fun and gave us an idea of what it would be like to take an airboat ride in the Everglades. What they didn't expect was getting stopped by the State Police for driving an airboat in Boston Harbor! Luckily the ride that was stopped wasn't our ride, and they were allowed to continue after confirming that they had permission to give the press rides as a preview for their event. The Boston Harbor needs something like this to open up the waterfront to more people. Regular rides along the waterfront would be a fun addition for the city. ;-)

Not on Carol's bucket list was meeting a live alligator and holding a painted dragon lizard from Gatorland Orlando, but she did that too. That will be a lot of fun for kids.

Here are the details on Experience Kissimmee's three day Boston Event:

Join Experience Kissimmee for some high-speed, high-flying fun in the heart of Boston. The Freezin’ Gator Zipline and other activities are FREE and open to the public!

WHEN:

Saturday, February 18- Monday, February 20, Open from 11 AM to 5 PM*
(*Come early! Lines may close before 5 PM if we are at capacity)

WHERE:

Rose Kennedy Greenway-Dewey Square
Located in front of South Station

WHAT:

- Ride on Gatorland's 250’ temporary zipline

‪#zipBoston @Kissimmee‬

‪#zipBoston @Kissimmee‬

‪#zipBoston @Kissimmee‬

- Meet LIVE alligators from Gatorland Orlando

‪#zipBoston @Kissimmee‬

‪#zipBoston @Kissimmee‬

- Color your world at the Crayola Experience Orlando coloring tent

‪#zipBoston @Kissimmee‬

‪#zipBoston @Kissimmee‬

- Take the ultimate selfie on an airboat with Wild Florida

‪#zipBoston @Kissimmee‬

- Enter to WIN a vacation to Kissimmee, FL and tons of other exciting prizes in our sweepstakes!

Restrictions:
-All riders will need to sign a waiver. (Kids under 18 will need parental consent.)
-Riders must weigh 75 pounds but no more than 250 pounds.
-No height restrictions.

If you feel generous, please bring a gently used coat to donate to a community charity. (A local charity will be announced real soon, stay tuned)!*

#ZipBoston

Monday, February 06, 2017

Review: Installing Orbi Home WiFi System by NETGEAR

The folks from NETGEAR sent over an Orbi Home WiFi System for me to test after seeing that I recently reviewed and installed an eero WiFi system with TrueMesh. After seeing the speed tests that I posted online, they gave me the "Orbi Challenge", "I would bet that you will get greater coverage and faster speed with just 2 Orbis!"

I wondered how a two unit Orbi Home WiFi system could be as good or better than the 4 unit eero WiFi system. I agreed to test Orbi Home WiFi system, and NETGEAR sent me two units.

BOTTOM LINE: The Orbi Home WiFi System by NETGEAR was easy to set up, reduced cable clutter in my home, and increased WiFi performance up to five times.



orbi SPECS:
- A fast, secure Home WiFi system from NETGEAR, the leader in router technology.
- Orbi Home WiFi System includes an Orbi WiFi Router and Satellite that delivers stronger, faster whole home WiFi coverage.
- Get rid of WiFi boosters or extenders; two Orbi cover up to 4,000 square feet with high performance WiFi that work seamlessly together.
- World's first Tri-Band Mesh WiFi creates a dedicated wireless connection between the Orbi Router and Satellite delivering the fastest Internet speeds similar to a wired ethernet connection.
- Easy setup with a single and secure WiFi network, comes preconfigured and works with your Internet service provider (ISP) right out of the box.
- Guest WiFi network—Easily setup separate and secure Internet access for guests.
- “Orbi gives you the most bang for your buck, with impressive throughput speeds, Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) simultaneous data streaming, and a lot more management options…" - John Delaney, PC Mag Editor’s Choice
- Orbi App Now Available for iOS and Android

INSTALLATION:
You plug the base unit in and the LED flashes white. I set this unit up on the third floor of my house.

Then you place your orbi satellite in the middle of your house to get the best coverage. Plug it in and it flashes the LED white too.

EDIT: The power adapter covers three outlets on my power strip. That has been brought up to the product team.

I set this unit up on the second floor of my house in the den, where my TV is.



After the satellite flashes white, it connects to the base unit and displays the health of the connection with one of three colors, Blue, Amber or Magenta. Blue means that the connection is good. That's what I got.



NETWORK SETUP:

You connect to the orbi via its preset WiFi network. After following the on screen instructions your orbi is connected and the white LED light turns off. I had already turned off the Comcast Xfinity WiFi, so setting up the network was easy. I used the same network name that I had previously, so one configuration was complete, all my WiFi devices easily connected to the orbi WiFi network.

I knew things were working well when the configuration page asked me if I wanted to print out my network information, and I clicked yes, and the document was printed to my existing WiFi connected Epson printer.

PLACEMENT:

The base using went upstairs, on the third floor, in my office, right next to my Comcast Xfinity modem.

The satellite unit went downstairs, on the second floor, right next to the tv. One benefit of this was that I could use one of the ETHERNET ports on the satellite to connect a CAT 5 cable from the satellite to my TiVo. A hardwired connection has always performed best on the TiVo.

This allowed me to get rid of CAT 5 cable that I had running around my livingroom into my den. The previous connection was eero base hardwired to eero satellite, then hardwired CAT 5 cable to TiVo.



Now it's just a very short CAT 5 cable from the orbi to the TiVo because the orbi, new being wireless is sitting on top of my TiVo.

EDIT: You can not have a wired connection from the base unit to the satellite. In practice, this has not slowed down performance.

SPEED TESTS:

OFFICE
BEFORE(Wired Base eero) 230 Mbps
AFTER (Wired Base orbi)230 Mbps

LIVINGROOM
AFTER (Wired Satellite eero) 220 Mbps
AFTER (WiFi Satellite orbi) 210 Mbps

KITCHEN
BEFORE (WiFi Satellite) 110 Mbps
AFTER 210 Mbps

DEN
BEFORE (WiFi Satellite) 59 Mbps
AFTER 210 Mbps

FRONT DOOR
BEFORE 45 Mbps
AFTER 220 Mbps

These speed result show that the single orbi WiFi satellite outperforms the two eero WiFi satellites.

Performance in the kitchen is doubled, performance in the den is three times, and performance at the first floor ring video doorbell is almost 5 times as fast!

That's great for allowing me to quickly view video on the first floor, and to talk to visitors.

Eero shares on their blog:
...to achieve streaming at 4K (or Ultra HD) quality, you need a consistent, high-speed internet connection. Unsurprisingly, 4K TVs require about four times more bandwidth than a standard TV. And many streaming services require certain connection speeds to support 4K. For reference, you need a minimum of 25 mbps to stream Ultra HD on Netflix.

As you can see from my speed tests above, eero was giving me over double that requirement with 59 Mbps. Orbi is faster.

Buy on amazon.com (affiliate link):


Edit: At first XFINITY TV App and web were giving me an error, Out of Home - XFINITY TV App Error Message. I reported this issue to Comcast, and they looked into it. The next day, Xfinity TV on iPad, iPhone and web were working. I'm checking to see if they did something, of if something was automatically updated overnight. Now works well.

CONCLUSION:

In my home setup, orbi is faster and less expensive than eero. The orbi has more ETHERNET ports that allow hardwired connections, and amazingly, two orbis outperform four eeros.

If you have a smaller you home you can start out with one orbi, if you have a larger home you can add additional satellites.

I'll be watching performance as I connect to WiFi around the house and update this post if anything changes. If needed,

Disclosure: I received the Orbi Home WiFi System by NETGEAR for free in return for my honest opinion. This review reflects my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experience.