From Amazon buyer experience.
I used to run cable for a living twenty five or so years ago but moved far beyond that as I furthered my education. I am now retired but occasionally I provide IT services along with basic network support. I do need some better tools than I have to do troubleshooting at times.
I think it is a good value for the money compared to Fluke or similar gear but if the 8601s has everything you need it should probably get 5 stars. I gave this four stars because I think the 8601s I initially purchased was defective but that may have been just a fluke (excuse the pun - I couldn't resist).
Having said that the seller did state in an answer to one of the questions that this 8601s is better than the 8601w so I bought 8601s instead of the 8601w. For some aspects (a new CAT7 setting and possibly more accurate length readings when calibrated etc.) it may be true that the 8601s is better than the 8601w for any of the functions shared by both devices. But for what I need, that is definitely NOT the case because both devices do not share all the same exact functions or features.
I have borrowed a friends 8601w and found it to be a great tool. I thought the "8" in 8601s signified 8 remote sensors (it doesn't) and as I said I thought the 8601s was just a newer version of the 8601w. The 8601s and the 8601w are not different revisions of the same tool. They have many similarities and some differences.
The primary difference is that the 8601w can test 8 cables at a time and the 8601s can only test one. You cannot buy more sensors to use with the 8601s and the sensors for the 8601w won't work with the 8601s. That is a BIG difference so to me so you are not comparing oranges to oranges but rather oranges to maybe - tangerines. In my opinion you can't really say that one model is better than the other because it implies that both devices do the same thing with only difference being that one is a newer improved version.
With the 8601w In most instances I can connect the 8 remote sensors to 8 different outlets in offices in many parts of a building and test those 8 different connections making only 2 round trips. First round trip is walking to the different outlets to place the sensors and returning to make the tests with the 8601w and the second round trip is to retrieve the sensors (or possibly connect them to more outlets). It's a beautiful thing! With the 8601s you have to do that for every outlet individually. That sucks (technically speaking).
Also I routinely test cables for length and got fairly accurate results down to 6 - 10 foot cables with my friends 8601w. While practically speaking you don't need a machine for measuring 6 - 10 foot cables; it is VERY helpful to use the 8601w to find the lengths of a bunch of loose cabling of 30 to 100 feet in length without calibrating. I couldn't do that with the 8601s because it wouldn't give any reading and when attempting to calibrate it just states to use a cable with a know length of at least 50 meters minimum to calibrate. I didn't have a loose unused (or used) cable laying around with a 'known' length near 50 meters (164 feet). While the manual for both devices state there is a 50 meter minimum cable length; the 8601w could measure much shorter cables well enough for my general needs. I didn't need to know exact lengths. So if the cable I was untangling from a pile was only 62 feet long and the (un-calibrated) test said it was 64 feet long it didn't matter.
I actually think the 8601s I had was defective as far as measuring cable length goes but being it could only test one cable at a time for the other more important tests made it a deal killer anyway. Also, using the test of obtaining an IP address for the 8601s from a server or router etc. didn't always work with the 8601s no matter how many times I tried (up to maybe 10 times). But never failed with my friends 8601w though sometimes it took 2 -3 tries. So again I think the 8601s I received was defective but again it is a moot point.
I returned the 8601s and bought the 8601w from the same seller. My 8601w works great and that I give 5 stars. I would give it more stars if possible because for the price the 8601w is a most excellent value compared to what a Fluke device would cost.
Here is the product link, click to view!