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Monday, October 20, 2014

Product review: Polaris V8 Portable Bluetooth Wireless Speaker with FM Radio, NFC, AUX Jack, TF Card Slot

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Polaris speaker can operate as a bluetooth speaker, wired speaker, as FM radio and as an MP3 player. MP3 player uses a TF memory slot. TF memory slot is used for reading regular micro SD memory cards.

In the attached video I show FN radio, streaming music from a micro SD memory card as well as streaming music via bluetooth from my iPad Mini.

♦ The bluetooth speaker works quite well. The sound is crisp and clear. Even bass sounded good for a speaker of this size. To help me evaluate and compare different speakers I always use the same piece of music I can different speakers to each other. As a stress test for the bass I use Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Polaris speaker handled the most challenging part of the Bach's Fugue well. A lot of small speakers crackle in two spots of the Fugue, but this speaker handled it well.

♦ The speaker runs on removable and rechargeable 18650 lithium battery. This is a standard battery which is available on Amazon. This battery can be recharged in the speaker using a standard USB/micro USB cable. The speaker can be used to stream music while it is recharging.

♦ The speaker arrived with a clear plastic tab inserted between the battery contacts and the speaker to prevent the battery from discharging. The tab is under the battery and is hard to see if you just remove the cover. If you lift up the battery you will see it. Initially, I thought the battery was dead but eventually I found the tab.

♦ When the battery level drops low you hear a voice prompt "battery low" and the speaker volume level will drop around 40% to save the battery power. From that point on the speaker continues to work for another 30 minutes until the battery is completely drained.

♦ FM radio reception was not bad. I got quite a few stations. Some of them were a little hissy but Polaris performed better than many other small FM radios I have tried.

♦ It works well as an MP3 player that I can listen to without earphones.

♦ The speaker can be made quite loud. Volume control buttons are on the top of the speaker.

♦ The speaker weights 23.30 oz. Its dimension are 7.5"L x 2.25"W x 2.75"H

Overall, I thought it produced good sound plus I its versatility of being both an MP3 player and a bluetooth speaker.

You can find this bluetooth speaker on Amazon by following this link


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Product review: MIRA Brands Milk Frother - Summit

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I like having frothy coffee in the morning. In the past I have used hand hand milk frothers which I thought worked pretty well. However, Mira frother takes the froth to the next level. It generates very silky froth with smaller denser bubbles compared to the hand frother.

Mira frother is so quiet that if you don't look at it you would not know it was working. What you see in the video is froth from soy milk. Whole milk, of course, makes the thickest creamiest foam, soy milk and almond milk also work with relatively less dense bubbles.

The instructions on cleaning said not to submerge the frother in water. I thought this will make clean up difficult, but it is not. I angled it under the running water and then wipe it with a soapy sponge. As long as I do this fairly quickly after the froth was made the clean-up is easy.

The max and min amount of milk are marked on the container. The minimum is 1/3 cup of milk, the maximum is 2/3 cup. The frother has two modes to generate heated froth or cold froth. The frother can also be used to warm milk without frothing (minimum of 1/3 cup and maximum of 1 1/4 cup). If you want to just warm the milk do not insert the frother spring.

Note that there are two attachments in the frother, one is attached to the cap and one to the spindle in cup. The unit is 6.5" tall without the base, and 7.5" with the base. Its weight is 24.45 oz without the base, and 32.10 oz with the base. The base is 4.5" by 4.5" square. It has a fairly short electrical cord (26"), which could good or bad depending on where your outlets are located. My outlets are right near where I keep the frother so it worked out to be a plus because I don't need to coil a long cord.

This frother is provided by Mira. Mira offers a 2 year warranty on the frother.
You can find this milk frother on Amazon by following this link


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Product review: Abco Tech Air Vent Universal Car Mount Holder

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I like this vent mount because it puts the phone close to me and I can see it better and it is easy for me to control it. The car mount has a push button on the back that opens the jaws automatically this makes it very easy to mount the phone even if you have to do it with one hand. The jaws open 3 7/8" wide. The sides extend 5/8" and are cable of holding my Nexus phone with extended battery which makes it quite fat.

Abco vent mount is simple to mount on the vent. The back of the mount has supports which allow it to brace the car vent, which means the weight of the phone did not pull the slats down. I could still get air flowing around the phone.

Overall, the mount feels securely attached and holding the phone securely as well.

You can find this power bank on Amazon by following this link


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Product review: Yubi Power Expansion Surge Wall Tap - Four Outlets Grounded Surge Protection

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I found the shape of this expansion wall outlet very convenient. My hallway has a long night light that blocked both outlets on a standard double outlet, because this expansion tap has outlets on both side I was able to mount my night light on one side and still have two more outlets for plugging in the vacuum and anything else I need in the hallway.

The outlet is 5" long and 1.5" wide near the base. It has 4 outlets, two on each side. It plugs into a two outlet wall outlet, it uses one outlet for electricity and uses the second outlet's grounding opening to stabilize the entire plug. It feels sturdy and stable.

You can find this power bank on Amazon by following this link


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Product review: Key Power® External Battery Charger 10,400 mAh Portable Power Bank

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This battery is quite compact for 10400 mAh capacity. It is 2 3/8"L x 5 5/8"W x 3/4"H. It has two ports and a small built-in flashlight. This external battery does NOT support charge through (it can not charge devices while it is being charged).

I like its bright charging level indicator. The indicator comes on when you plug in a device or when you press the on button and then turns off in a few seconds.

This charger did very well with my iPad Mini on port B. The results on Port A as well as the results of test for Nexus phone were below optimal (although above USB rate). I am including test results below for those who are interested in the details.

This external battery capacity is rated at 10400 mAh. Some capacity is lost to inefficiencies such as heat you can expect to get about 7800 mAh out of it. I was able to charge my Samsung Nexus phone with 3800 mAh extended battery from close to empty to full twice.

To tell how various battery packs perform I measure their performance with a current monitor. 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 allows me to compare different batteries to each other so I can rate the battery keeping everything else constant.

Samsung Nexus phone:
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Key Power A port:___ 0.76/5.00V (below optimal)
Key Power B port:___ 0.74/5.00V (below optimal)
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this phone is 1.00A/5V)

iPad Mini tablet:
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Key Power A port:___ 0.93/4.87V (below optimal)
Key Power B port:___ 1.62/4.87V (Excellent!)
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this tablet is 1.70A/5V)

I was most impressed by the performance on port B for my iPad Mini, This battery pack is optimized for fast charging of Apple devices on port B. It has a nice capacity and two ports. If you use Android devices and speed of charging is important this is not the speediest battery pack available.
You can find this power bank on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Friday, October 10, 2014

Product review: Car Sun Shade - Luxury 2-Pack Car Sunshade

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I installed these car shades in our two cars 11 days ago. I used suction cups and so far they stayed on and have not fallen off. In my small SUV the car shade looks somewhat undersized, however in my husband's sedan if it was any bigger it would not fit on glass portion of he window.

The shade size is 19.25" 12.5".
The shade comes with a storage bag which is 8" x 7".

This sun shade does not totally dim the sun, it dims it. In attached video I put it in such a way that you sun direct sun and sun coming through the shade next to each so you can the difference the shade makes. I am quite sensitive to the sun, so I am using this shade to give me shade. I have one on my driver's side when I drive, and the other on in our second car when the hubby drives. The shade does provide some protection and a bit of cooling. The plus of the light protection is that the shade is very transparent, so especially when I use it when I drive it is good because I can see just as well with it as without it.

The shade is made out of two layers, one side is a black netting that provide the shade the other one is a clear plastic sheet that clings to the window. Both layers are attached to the metal frame which you can clip into suction cups. The shade is cling fine to window, but I decided suction cups will hold it more securely when the temperature shades. There are a total of 4 cups, 2 for each shade. If one shade does not provide enough shade it is possible to double up and hang them one of top of another.

Attached video shows the shade in both of our cars, as well as the view you get when you look through the shade.

You can find this car shade on Amazon by following this link


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Product review: Yubi Power Surge Slim -Ultimate Power Surge Protector - 6 Outlets Plus 2 USB Ports

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This expanded outlet allowed me to go from two AC outlets to 6 AC outlets plus 2 USB ports. The ports are packed pretty tightly together so large plugs cover more than one outlet, but with 6 outlets this still leaves me with plenty of choices.

The outlet is 5" long and 3.6" wide. It plugs into a two outlet wall outlet. It uses one outlet for electricity and uses the second outlet's grounding opening to stabilize the entire plug. It comes with a mounting screw that can replace the central screw of the wall outlet. I thought the outlet mounted securely without the screw as I have only one large outlet on it.

I tested the two USB ports using a current monitor using both Android and Apple mobile devices. My test show that both ports worked with both devices. I got very good performance on port A for my iPad Mini tablet. The B port was below optimal for iPad Mini. With my Android device both ports were under optimal but above USB speed.

Samsung Nexus phone:
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Port A:___ 0.80/5.00V
Port B:___ 0.90/5.00V
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this phone is 1.00A/5V)

iPad Mini tablet:
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Port A:___ 1.73/5.00V (excellent!)
Port B:___ 0.93/5.00V
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this tablet is 1.70A/5V)

You can find this wall charger on Amazon by following this link


Ali Julia review ★★★★★