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Friday, October 24, 2014

Product review: Lomui 5200mAh External Battery Power Pack

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The Lomui 5200mAh charger is one of the smallest batteries of this capacity I have seen. It is easily fits in my purse or funny pack. With capacity 5200mAh it is not intended for a real heavy use, but it is good for portable emergency power. The battery is only 3.5"x1.75"x0.75" and its weight is only 4.10 ounces. It has one charging port (1A).

I noticed that the Amazon description has a couple of errors:
(1) this power pack has no built-in flashlight mentioned in the title
(2) this package came without a small bag mentioned in the description

Neither thing is a big deal for me but for completeness of the review I wanted to include this information.

The charging status is indicated by a tiny LED indicator. It is blue when a mobile device is being, and red when the battery is being charged. There is no indication of how much charge is left in the battery.

This charger worked with both my Android Nexus phone and iPad Mini tablet. iPad Mini needs more than 1A for optimal charging speed so with 1A port below optimal speed of charging is an expected outcome.

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:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lomui: ___ 0.90/5.03V (somewhat below optimal)
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this phone is 1.00A/5V)

iPad Mini tablet:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lomui:___ 0.93/5.02V (below optimal)
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this tablet is 1.70A/5V)

I like the shape and size of this battery. It comes in very attractive colors. It is good for emergency power on the go.

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

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Product review: OnlyTM Innovative Car Cover all weather car cover S-Series for Sedan

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There are two things about OnlyTM covers that make them easier to put on the car than other covers we have used. First, the cover has two stiff poles at the front and at the back of the cover, which increases the leverage one has when putting the cover on. Second, the cover has straps that Veclro to the carpet inside the car's trunk. This means the cover does not slip off the car as you put it on. If you ever tried putting a regular car cover on a car, you probably familiar with need to make several passes over the car as it slips off of one end while you are working on covering other. This cover locks in, so it works as if you have a second pair of hands helping you.

This our second OnlyTM cover. The first cover was for my SUV. My SUV was a little harder to cover than my husband's sedan. My SUV is tall and has a 12" antenna, so it what worked well for SUV is to work front to back so I could use the leverage the poles gave to swing the cover over the the antenna is same direction the antenna is leaning. This means I do not use the straps.

My husbands car has a knob antenna, so he found that locking the straps in the trunk and working back to front works best on his car, because he can take advantage of both unique features of this cover. He can cover the car in about 2 minutes, much faster than his old cover.

Some other notes from my experience with both cars covers:

1. This cover is designed to hang on the bumper when not in use. Neither one of us are using this feature. Both of our cars have backup sensors on the car bumper (I circled them in the video). On both cars we were not able to find a position in which the cover would avoid covering the backup sensors. Therefore carrying the cover hanging off the bumper as designed is not an option for either of our cars.

2. Neither one of us was able to fit the cover back into its original bag, we just could not make the bundle small enough in a reasonable amount of time. We are using plastic tubs to store the covers, this ways we don't need to worry about being neat when the cover is put way.

3. Both my husband and I rate putting the cover on and removing it as "easy" (a huge improvement over my feelings about regular car covers).

My video includes a number of images of the cover and my husband's sedan. His car is using S-52 cover. For reference the dimensions of his car are:
Body Length.......196.80 " (16.4 fee)
Body width........74.10 " (6.175 feet)
Body height.......58.40 " (4.8 feet)

The quality of the fabric looks good. It is silver on one side, white on the other side. The thickness is heavier than I imaged from the photo and it feels fairly sturdy. However only time will tell how it will hold up in New England winter. We am planning to use both covers in the snow and will post an update after I know how they handle the winter.

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

Ali Julia review ★★★★★


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 ★★★★☆