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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Product review: Fantime® Bluetooth Smart Watch Sports/Sleep Tracker Smartwatch Finger Gestures Voice Control Wirst Watch for IOS Apple iPhone and Android Smartphone Roll over image to zoom in Fantime® Bluetooth Smart Watch Sports/Sleep Tracker Smartwatch


There are a lot of things I like about this watch, but as it stands now there is one huge problem. The app for this watch is not available from Google Play (or Amazon store). I also believe it is not available in iTunes, because the documentation says to down the app from a Chinese web site for all operating systems. This is not secure! In order for the app to be accepted in GooglePlay it undergoes security scans and must pass some basic set of rules. If the app is not available in Google it maybe because it failed those checks. I am software engineer with a lot of experience in security: do not load apps from random manufacture sites, it is not safe. I notified the manufacture of the problem and they said they will work on correcting it.

The good news that the watch is usable without the app. If you turn off watch sync with the phone you can set the time manually. The smartwatch has many apps that work find without communicating with the phone. Pedometer shows the step count, sedentary reminder alerts you if you sit for too long, calculator works well with a touch screen, you also have a calendar and a voice memo recorder.

This watch has a great display. It is bright and easy to see. The watch has a responsive touch screen. The size of the watch is not too large (1 5/8" wide) to be worn on a woman's hand. The leather band is comfortable and looks nice.

The pedometer appears to be reasonably accurate. It has an issue that it uses metric units (it shows the distance in meters) and I have not found any way to change the units. However, I mostly care about the step count so this is not a huge problem for me. I notified the manufacture about this issue as well and hopefully this can be addressed in the future versions as they fix the app to be downloadable from GooglePlay.

The charging port has a proprietary connector. If you lose it you will not be able to recharge the watch.

I received this watch for evaluation and review. I initially thought of giving it a rating of 3 (okay) due to the app issue because it is a big one. But after using it for a couple of weeks I found that I really like it and wear it all the time despite not having an app. I own several smart watches and I prefer this watch to others because of how bright and clear the display is and because the user interface is so easy to use. I would have rated it 5 stars if the app was available in the GooglePlay.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Product review: Mcoplus 130 LED Dimmable Ultra High Power Panel Digital Camera


I own several light panels and Mcoplus has several features that made it my favorite light panel.
The most useful feature to me is the ability to change the amount of light that the panel generates with a simple turn of the knob. This allows me to have perfect lighting in different situations. In the attached video you can see how easy it is to find perfect lighting.

The second thing that I find very useful is the two filters that are included with the panel. The one I use most is the yellow filter that give me warm light. I really like that the filters fit snugly and stay in even if you turn the light upside down. In my other light panel the filter can slide out of I tilt the light and I had to tape the filter so I don't drop it as I move the lights.

The light panel can run using several different types of batteries: six AA batteries, NP-550,LP-E6,EN-EL15. Batteries are not included in the package. I like the battery test button on the back - I can tell how much live the batteries have. I can recharge the batteries in advance of a long photo session if I see that the indicator is low.

The light panel generates continuous light. Once you turn it on the light panel stays on. This panel does not communicate with the camera like a flash. It can be mounted it on the camera shoe, but I use it mounted on tripod so I have more control of where the lighting goes and my camera is lighter for a steadier shot. In my video you see how I use this light on a small tripod for the table top photography.

The photo panel is 6" by 3.75" and 2" deep. The light weighs 1 pound 0.3 oz (with six AA batteries installed).

Overall, I like this light very much. It is easy to set up and easy to change the amount of light I get to fit any situation.

This light panel provided by Mcoplus for evaluation and review. I have been using it every day for doing videos for my reviews for several weeks - no problems. It is a winner!

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Product review: BasicWu Power Strip Multi Outlet Smart 6-Outlet with 4-USB Output Surge Protection Tower Power Strip


My review is for the 2 level power strip.

This tower power strips work very well in tight spaces. It has a very small foot print yet accepts large plugs next to each other. The AC outlets are well spaced out. This is a very clever design.

The strip has a 111.5" cord and a regular size grounded plug. The outlets on the tower itself accept plugs with not only the plugs we use in USA but international plugs as well. Until recently this was as "I don't care" feature. However, recently I purchased a photo light stands which had a power plug which is common in Europe and Asia instead of the one we use in USA. Instead of purchasing a converter I am able to use this tower power strip to plug them in.

In addition to 6 AC outlets this tower also has 4 USB outlets - two 2A ports and two 1A ports. I tested each USB port with a current monitor an Android device and an Apple device. It charged each of them at an optimal rate on two of the outlets, and a slower USB rate on the other two. Ipad Mini worked best on 2A port and Android on the 1A port. The ports are not labeled. You can see which ports perform better for each device in my photos which show the current meter. Use the position of the power cord to help you map the ports: the USB ports closer to the cord are the 2A ports.

To see how well different chargers and external batteries charge my mobile devices I use a Nexus phone and an iPadMini to test each of them. I do my tests with the devices charged to the same level, running the same applications and using the same cables to keep everything the same. This allows me to compare them to each other in a fair way. I use the current monitor to see what current is delivered to each device which tells me how well each external battery is working.

I love the shape of this power strip, it gave me more than enough outlets in the area which barely has any space.

This power strip is provided by BasicWu for testing and review. Getting a free product to test does not prevent me from leaving critical reviews when the product warrant it. However, this is not one of them.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Product review: AUKEY 37MM Professional Cell Phone Camera Circular Polarizer Lens Kit for Smartphones


This polarizer lens works very well. It rotates smoothly and easily on its holder, it does not block my camera lens (no vignetting).

In attached video you can see the polarization effect using a polarizer test card - you can see the full effect from no image, to black image, and then to white image.

Beside the filter and the filter holder the package also include two lens covers (for both ends of the lens), a cloth pouch, and a cleaning cloth.

I received this lens kit for testing and review. I like it! Good polarization, good fit for for my phone, smooth rotation.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Friday, May 20, 2016

Product review: Maxchange32GB Class 10 Micro SDHC Memory Card with SD Adapter

The definition of class 10 micro sd card is minimum write rate of10MB/s. I run benchmarks on this micro-sd card a number of times and I am getting average write rate of 7.8 MB/s. This meets the requirements for class 6 micro sd card. The read rates are reasonable, but the average access time is also slow. I want to see access times below 1 msec. I repeated the benchmark tests several time and I getting very consistent results. I ran these tests on the same 3.0 USB port using the same adapter that gives me class 10 performance on other micro USB cards.

Here are two sample results of the set I ran for Maxchange card:

Using USB 3.0 port (sample test 1)
' Average read rate 78.7 MB/s
' Average write rate 7.8 MB/s
' Average access time 3.88 msec

Using USB 3.0 port (sample test 2)
' Average read rate 76.2 MB/s
' Average write rate 7.1 MB/s
' Average access time 4.01 msec

Using the sd adapter included in the package did not introduce additional delays.

If you are looking for class 10 micro sd card you should look elsewhere.

This SD card is provided by Maxchange for evaluation and review. Getting an evaluation product does not prevent me from writing critical reviews when my tests show that the product falls short of the performance of class 10 memory card, which is how it is described currently in the Amazon description.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★☆☆☆

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Product review: Yogurt Starter Cultures - Pack of 10 Freeze-dried Culture Sachets for BIO Yogurt


I have been making my own yogurt for over a year. This is my first experience with bio yogurt culture. I thought the yogurt made from it tasted sweeter (without adding anything sweet) than the yogurt made from acidophilus culture.

I own an electric yogurt incubator (Epica) which holds the temperature at the right temperature while the culture is incubating. The electric yogurt maker is not a requirement for making your own yogurt but it makes it easier to keep the temperature at the right level. The entire process is very simple. All I have to do is mix the yogurt culture into milk brought to the right temperature and pour it into jars. Then the jars have to be kept at the right temperature for 12 or so hours. The key is to keep the yogurt culture at a steady temperature and a steady position (no moving or shaking) during the incubation period.

While experimenting with yogurt making I have tried 2% milk with and without pre-boiling, whole milk with and without pre-boiling, and goat milk with pre-boiling. I also made a couple of batches just changing the length of incubation to get an idea of what difference that makes. Sometimes I add a straining step at the end to make Greek-style yogurt (2 hours of straining is all I do). There were two things that made a big difference in the results: whether I pre-boil milk or not and whether I am using whole milk. Both pre-boiling and using whole milk creates significantly thicker yogurt.

After the incubation the yogurt needs to refrigerated. Refrigeration stops the incubation process. Home-made yogurst taste great by itself, but sometime for variety I add fruit, maple syrup, or honey. I add very little just for a light flavoring. My yogurt tastes better than store bought! Note that yogurt should be consumed within 1 week.

This yogurt starter is provided for evaluation and review by Natural Probiotic Selection.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Monday, May 16, 2016

Product review: SmartyPants Women's Complete Gummy Vitamins

I like the taste of these vitamins so much that it takes self-control to stop with a daily dose of 6 gummies. They are not as chewy like a typical gummy bear, they are softer more like a fruit candy. I like both the flavor and the texture. On the negative side, the daily dose 6 gummies means that the bottle of 180 vitamins will last 30 days. With the current price of slightly of $30 dollars this is a dollar a day. Pretty pricey!

The flavor is fruity, there is no fishy flavor even though the vitamins contain Omega-3. I have tried other vitamins that included Omega-3 in non capsule form and I could always detect (and not like) the fishy flavor. In these vitamins I do not detect any fishy flavor.

For those who are vegetarians or keep kosher I should note that the gelatin used in these vitamins is made from pork.

These vitamins contain all natural ingredients. I noticed that the list of ingredients is hard to read in the stock photo, so I copied it from the bottle to make it easier to read:

Size: 6 GummiesServings Per Container 30
Calories 50
Cholesterol <5mg < 1%
Total Carbohydrate 11 g 4%
Sugars 7 g
Vitamin A (as retinyl palmitate) 1500 IU 30%
Vitamin C (as ascoraic acid) 60 mg 100%
Vitamin D (Vitamin D-3 as cholecalciferol) 1000 IU 250%
Vitamin E (as d-alpha-tocopherol from sunflower ) 30 IU 100%
Vitamin K (Vitamin K-2 as menaquinone) 32 meg 40%
Thiamin (Vitamin B-1 as thiamme mononitrate) 0.08 mg 5%
Riboflauin 0.26 mg 15%
Niacin (Vitamin B-3 as niacinamide) 4 mg 20%
Vitamin B-6 (as pyridoxme HCI) 2 mg 1 00%
Folate (as L-methylfolate, calcium salt) 400 meg 1 00%
Vitamin B-12 (as methylcobalamin) 100 meg 1 667%
Biotm 300 meg 1 00%
Pantothenic acid (as calcium D-pantothenate) 10 mg 100%
Iodine (as potassium iodide) 150 meg 100%
Zinc (as zinc citrate) 4.5 mg 30%
Sodium 25 mg <1%
Fish Oil (from anchovy and sardine) 510mg
EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) 83 mg
DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) 67 mg
Total Omega-3 Fatty Acids 183 mg
CoQ10 (as Coenzyme Q10, ubiquinone] 100 mg
Choline (as choline citrate) 18 mg
Inositol 30 meg
Percent Daily Value (DV) based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Other ingredients:
Organic cane sugar, organic tapioca syrup, gelatin, lectin, ctric acid
Natural Flavors (Orange, Lemon Creme, Blueberry)
Colors added (Organic black caroot juice, annatto, organic turmeric)
Fractionated Coconut Oil Carnauba Wax
Contains Anchovy, Sardine, Essential Omega 3 Oils from sustainable fisheries

I received this vitamins for evaluation and review. I like the flavor!

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review