COMMENT: In the technology business, there are a lot of opportunistic companies that over the years have been very good at taking made-in-Asia junk, dressing it up in smart packaging and then on selling it to mass retailers and the specialist IT channel.
One company that has made a fortune from this is Belkin, which will sell you anything from bags to cables to routers to iPod accessories to the cheapest of USB devices. In fact, three years ago Belkin even went out and bought a Los Angeles design company: International Design Group (IDG) in an effort to improve the packaging design so that the cheap made-in-Asia products looked even better.
The problem with a company like Belkin is that they are opportunistic traders who, if it thinks a market is set to emerge will go out and find a technology and dress it up as a Belkin product.
And while it pumps out a lot of products, it is not necessarily an expert in any markets it competes in. Thou they are good at cables and power supply.
For example, as routers become more sophisticated and are expected to do a lot more, which one do you buy? You can either go with the likes of Netgear and Linksys, which are networking and wireless specialists or Belkin, which is as much about selling bright orange bags and a mouse that glows in the dark than a router.
Twelve months ago Harris Technology dumped the Belkin router PreN product range because it was expensive and was not seen as coming from a main stream networking company.
A recent visit to the Whirlpool forum reveals that several people appear to be having problems with Belkin routers purchased via iiNet. One Belkin router user, Robert T writing on Whirlpool said, “You have to ask why iiNet has teamed up with Belkin in the first place. Coming from a Netgear DG834gt I’ve been very disappointed. Some things to note compare are
– Slower syncing
– Slower sync speeds
– Slower wireless
– Less wireless distance
– VOIP problems, dropouts mid call, the phone being engaged when attempting to ring out. Then there is the inability of the router, to re-register itself when your modem loses line sync. One party hearing one end the other not hearing anything at all
– Loss of line sync (on a regular basis
– The 2nd port VOIP port does not work with another provider. It’s carefully worded to make you believe it will.
– The lack of documentation on the functions of this router (no manual).
– Dodgy filters.”
A big issue for the Belkin iiNet router customers seems to be more about who is responsible for the service of the routers, Belkin or iiNet. A visit to the Belkin site reveals that all complaints are being re routed to iiNet. Talk to iiNet and they say it is a Belkin router problem.
When SmartHouse has ever tested Belkin routers we have never experienced the same problems outlined on Whirlpool.
While Belkin has some excellent cables and power supply controllers, its iPod accessories leave a lot to be desired particular its FM tuners that since the advent of the iPod have failed time and time again to deliver a good service particularly in metropolitan areas.
While they work in less congested regions or in areas where the FM signal does not having to compete with taxi cabs or courier companies the Belkin FM tuners are not worth the money.
In today’s fast changing market where consumer electronic technology is changing quickly I believe that consumers should not buy from a company that is a jack of all trades and a master at none. Belkin is one such company.
If you are interested in networking or wireless buy from a company which is a specialist in that field like Netgear, D-Link or Linksys. When it comes to iPod accessories stick with a known Hi Fi company that has the skill set to deliver great sound accessories that link to an iPod.
In fact over the next year a great many sound receivers and in car sound systems will come with an iPod docking station. This will allow you to connect directly to a third party device without the need for an FM tuner, or third party cable system.