Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Product review: Careview Polarized Sunglasses Sports Aluminum Frame


There are many things about these glasses that I like and one thing that I don't like (but I have a fix for it described below).

✅ The fit is very comfortable for me. I would describe them as made for fairly narrow face. The distance between the edges where the grames turn is 5.5".
✅ The eyeglasses arms are made of grippy silicone material. I tested them with both Croakies and Chums eye retainers and they both held on very well. Each arm is 6".
✅ The lenses are fairly dark and polarized, My vision in the sun is good.
✅ Each lens is 2.75" side to side. 1.625" top to bottom.
❌ What I did not like is that the nose pads are held in place by shiny chrome brackets. These brackets (they face the lens) reflect in the lenses so you can see the reflection. When I wore them in the sun I found these reflections to be very distracting. I was able to fix the problem by cutting out ovals from a black electrical tape and covering the shiny parts of the nose pads brackets. This is not a very elegant solution but the tape is not noticeable because it is facing the lenses. Now the black tape totally prevents reflections. My video includes close ups of the glasses before and after the fix.

The package includes a nice large cleaning cloth and a hard shell which zips.

You can find this air mouse on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Monday, July 28, 2014

Product review: MAXMADE 11000mAh Dual USB Power Bank/Car Jump Starter


MaxMade can be used as a charger for mobile devices and a battery to jump a car. The battery pack can be recharged in two ways either from the car port or from AC. It comes with a vinyl case that holds the battery, the jumping cables, the AC adapter and the car charger.

The power bank weighs 12.6 oz and is 6.125" x 3.125" x 1.125" in size. It is is rated as 11000mAh. Since some capacity is lost to inefficiencies such as heat you can expect to get about 9000mAh out of it. I was able to charge my Samsung Nexus phone with 3800 mAh extended battery 2 times from almost empty to full, with some power still left in the battery.

To tell how various battery packs perform I measure their performance with a current monitor. This allows me to compare different batteries to each other. I use Samsung Nexus phone and iPad Mini for testing to give me a Android and an Apple mobile devices. I test all my chargers using the same charging cables and starting all tests at same charge level of the phone to account for non-linear charging.

This battery pack behaved the same with my charging cable as the one that came with the battery. But neither of the ports gave me the optimal charge for my mobile devices. They were charged but not as fast as some of the other power banks. Note that you cannot use the power bank to charger your device while the bank itself is charging. This battery pack has bright and clear charge level indicators. The manufacturer recommends fully recharging the power bank every 6 months, this is important if you are keeping the power bank in the car.

Samsung Nexus phone:

2A port: 0.98A/4.91V
1A port: 0.76A/4.85V
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this phone is 1.00A/5V)

iPad Mini tablet:
2A port: 0.92A/4.79V
1A port: 0.92A/4.79B
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this tablet is 1.70A/5V)

The jumper cable output ports are hidden under a cover which has a picture of the car. The cover looks like a sticker, but it can be lifted up to reveal two ports. To test the jumper cables, I attached the volt meter to battery clamps. As you can see in the video the reading is 12.47V which is sufficient to jump a car. I now keep this case in my car and will update this review when I will have a chance to use it to restart a dead battery. To jump the car the power back should be more than half full of charge.

The battery pack also has a built-in flashlight. The flashlight is quite bright and has two modes: steady light and flashing light. It is one of the brightest flashlight I have seen on an external power bank.

You can find this air mouse on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Product review: Smart Weigh ACE110 Digital Shipping Postal Scale


After using this scale for two weeks on daily basis (I measure a lot of things for my reviews to be precise about weight and size) I was about to post a 5 star review, when I noticed a critical review that mentioned that the scale starts rounding when measuring double digit oz. The problem occurs in a range of weights when the oz measurement is in double digits and I did not encounter those specific ranges during my two weeks of use. This is a serious flaw and I wanted to see if my scale has it too. So I went back to testing. Indeed my scale does the same thing. I amended my video to include the results of this new test. My old UltraShip scale shows 2 pounds and 14.5 oz. SmartWeigh scale shows 2 pounds 14 oz. It rounded down the measurement. Note that the Post office requires you to round up weights so in some cases this error may lead you to underpay postage if you are printing shipping labels from home. Thanks to Big Al for catching this! This flaw is not obvious as it occurs in a certain range but it is significant.

This scale can run either on two AAA batteries or plugged into AC. Both the batteries and AC adapter are included. The readout is detached from the weighing platform, which makes it very convenient to weigh large packages. I measured it against my UltraShip postal scale which I took into my postal office to be compare with the scale they use there to confirm its accuracy. Both scales agreed and only at several pounds there was less then one oz difference. Putting the same item on the scale multiple times produces the same read out, so it is consistent.

There are several buttons that control this scale's operation. Mode changes the measure of units. Tare button allows you to subtract the weight of the container. The third button is hold, it freezes the weight on the display even when you remove the item from the scale.

Scale calibration is set at the factory, but if you ever need to calibrate the scale the weight that is used for calibration is 20 kg. On my old UltraShip scale I needed to calibrate it after I changed batteries. The hardest thing about calibration at home was to find something that was exactly 20 kilograms which is 44lb 1.5 oz
I wound up doing it with water.

Some useful weights info:
1 liter = 1kg and 1 gallon = 128oz= 8 pounds

I like that I can measure anything from letters which are under 1 oz up to packages that are 110 pounds. As I mentioned at the start of my review this is a nice scale but has one serious flaw in the range of weights when oz are in double digits.

You can find this postal scale on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Product review: Aerb Multifunction 2.4GHz Air Mouse Mini Wireless Keyboard & Infrared Remote Control


I really like this air mouse. My main use for it is to control my Android TV. What is nice about the air mouse is that you don't need a flat surface to mouse on. I can do all of this from the comfort of my favorite leather chair. It also reduces clutter, I only need one device that replaces both the keyboard and the mouse.

Aerb air mouse is shaped like a TV remote control: it is 6.75" long and 2" wide and 0.375" thick. One side of the remote has all the mousing functionality and the TV remote functions, the other side has a QWERTY keyboard. In the video I show the air mouse next to my Verizon remote control for reference.

Air mouse comes with a wireless dongle (nano style) that plugs into your device (in my case the Android TV). When my TV is Android TV mode all I have to do is aim the air mouse remote at the screen and move it remote in the air. My movements correspond to the movement of the mouse pointer. The control is very good, it did not take me any time to get used to it. Once the pointer is on the link or icon I want to select I press the big OK button in the remote to click. The remote also has other functions such as home, next and previous screen, back, volume up and down and so forth. I was able to operate it from as far as I could go in the room (the remote is rated for 10 meters which is 30 feet).

I also tested mousing on Windows and Linux PCs and both worked without any problems.

A minor complaint about the USB dongle is that it is not labelled. I have so many different dongles that if they get unplugged it is easy to confuse them with other USB dongles. I like it when manufacturers put a little logo on the back of their USB dongles. For this one I had to tape a little tag of my own making.

The keyboard keys have a nice feel (hard rubber) and good feedback (mechanical feeling click). It is a full QWERTY keyboard with letters and numbers. To switch to the blue character (which include numbers) you need to press Alt key. Another opush on Alt switches you back to the white characters.

The keyboard also works on Windows and Linux PCs.

Insert USB receiver into a USB port on the device. No other action is needed. The air mouse was immediately recognized.

Air mouse runs on two AAA batteries (note batteries are not included). There is no on/off button on the remote. It might have been nice to have the on/off switch to save the battery when the air mouse is not in use. The battery cover did not close as smoothly as I would have liked, I felt I needed to be gentle with it.

The bottom line is that this air mouse worked very smoothly with every device I have tried and I like that the most common function (click) is the big OK button, not a small button in the middle of other buttons as on some other air mice.

You can find this air mouse on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Product review: Pacific Resources Lemon and Lozenges, Manuka Honey and Propolis


These lozenges have a distinctive Manuka honey taste combined with menthol. There is a very light hint of lemon flavor in them, but mostly it is strong honey and strong menthol. Each box contains 20 lozenges. As they dissolve they sooth the irritated scratchy throat caused by sore throat or cough. They worked very similar to any other cough drop I have tried. I can't say they are better than other cough drops, but if you like Manuka flavor you are likely to like them.

INGREDIENTS: Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Manuka Honey UMF, Organic Citric Acid, Propolis, Organic Lemon Oil, Organic Menthol.

You can find these cough drops on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Product review: Honeymoon super soft Wrinkle Free MicroFiber bed sheet


This is my first microfiber sheet set. These sheets and pillow cases are made out of polyester. Our other sheets are 100% cotton so I did not quite know what to expect. I was surprised that Honeymoon sheets felt more like a thin sateen, they were more silky than I expected. I expected a rougher material so this was a pleasant surprise. They come out of the dryer totally wrinkle free. The pillow cases felt nice against my face. Those are the good things. The bad thing is that the sheet is cut very generously and material is very slippery. This combination does not keep the sheet taught on our mattress like the cotton sheets. It does not cause discomfort but it requires more tucking and straightening if I want it to look good. For reference, the fitted sheet pockets are 13" inches and our mattress is 10". I am guessing that if the mattress is thicker there will be less bunching on the top.

♦ Fitted Sheet is 80"x60". It has 13" pocket and elastic around all 4 edges.
♦ Flat Sheet is 102"x90". It has three embroidered stripes on one edge.
♦ 2 Pillowcases are 20.5" x 29.5". Each has three embroidered stripes on one edge of one side.

The seams are single stitched. Their appearance is neat, although in some higher end sheet sets the seams are double stitched and that helps them to last longer.

In attached video I include some close ups of the finish. The color I got is "tan". The sheets/pillow cases did not shrink after washing, they were color fast, and they came out wrinkle free out of the dryer.

Care recommendation from Honeymoon: Machine wash in cold water.

You can find this sheet set on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Friday, July 18, 2014

Product review: Novobeam 3000mAh Waterproof Dustproof Portable USB External Battery Pack


This is a compact and waterproof external battery. It has one port and is rated as 3000 mAh. Since some power during charging is lost to inefficiencies (such as heat) it will provide approximately 2250 mAh. I was able charge my phone with 3800mAh extended battery from low levels to slight above 50%.

This battery has a light which indicates when the battery is charging or being charged, but it does not have a charge level indicator. If the battery is almost exhausted I will not know this until the light goes out and stops charging.

I tested the port with a current monitor and it delivers 1A. Which means it a bit underpowered for Apple devices. It charged my iPad Mini but slowly. It was faster charging my Nexus phone but not at the optimal speed. If you are interested in the details of the next I am including them below in the "test results" section.

This battery's size is 4"L x 1", its weight is 2.5 oz.

The package included the battery itself, a micro USB charging cable and an instruction sheet.

Test results:
I use the current monitor to test all my chargers. This gives me a numerical way to compare different external batteries to each other so I can tell different chargers perform relative to their peers. For each test I use the phone and tablet, same cables, and I start each test at the same level to account for non-linear charging.

iPad Mini:______________0.93A / 4.90V_________(optimal rate is 1.60A / 5.00V)
Nexus Samsung phone:____0.86A / 4.89V_________(optimal rate is 1.00A / 5.00V)

Because this externally battery pack is small and light and did not charge my phone at the optimal speed I am using it with my Sansa MP3 player. Sansa has a built-in battery and I typically listen to it attached to a small external charger this way it never runs out of juice. This battery is working very well in this role.

You can find this charging station on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆