Enjoy making videos?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Product review: NETGEAR Orbi High-Performance AC3000 Tri-Band WiFi System (RBK50)

video


Orbi has an excellent WIFI performance and reach. I tested Orbi with and without satellite placed in a central position in the house. I used Nexus6p Android phone and OOKLA Speedtest and WiFI analyzer to measure Orbi's performance. Prior to Orbi I was using Nighthawk X45 R7800 (circa 2016) and I am including the same tests using R7800 router for comparison.

Even though Orbi's performance is impressive, it has some short comings as well. I'll start with short comings to get them out of the way:
1. Orbi does not support a guest network. Most modern routers support a separate guest network so that you can give guests access to the Internet without giving them access to your local network. I use guest network not only for visitors to access the internet, but also to connect any insecure devices such as IP cameras and other devices which have a connection to an internet cloud. To overcome this short coming I am using my old router to set up a guest network.
2. Orbi main router has only three ports. However, I have a very large number of devices and even if Orbi had 4 ports like my older router it would not be enough. To solve this issue I attach a 24 port switch to any router I use to provide me all the ports I need.
3. It's not possible to give separate names to the 2.4GHz and 5GHz access points. Orbi only supports automatic band selection and it is not possible to select the band manually (which I prefer).
4. The main ORBI router has no network indicator lights. I rely on the lights to tell me if my Ethernet connection is working. Orbi has a small light on the back to indicate that power is on, but it is on the back and hard to see. The Orbi satellite has an LED ring light on top of the unit, which changes color to indicate that it is hunting for a connection with the main router. Once connection is successful the color ring turns off after 10 seconds.

Now, here are specifics for the performance tests.

I setup the main Orbi router one side of the house and then did tests in four rooms: the same room as the Orbi, one room away, two rooms away and three rooms away. I ran these tests both with and without the satellite (placed in the room in the center, two rooms away from the main router).

Even without the satellite Orbi router is better than the other routers I have used and with the satellite it is in a class of it's own.

TEST 1 - OOKLA Speedtest
======================

Main router___same Room_______Down 152 MBits/second____Up 158 MBits/second

Main router___1 room over_____Down 152 MBits/second____Up 151 MBits/second

Main router___2 rooms over____Down 48 MBits/second_____Up 23 MBits/second
Satellite_____2 rooms over____Down 152 MBits/second____Up 159 MBits/second (satellite is in this room)

Main router_____3 rooms over____Down 33.5 MBits/second_____Up 10 MBits/second
Satellite_______3 rooms over____Down 153 MBits/second______Up 155 MBits/second

*** For comparison Ookla Speedtest using NightHawk R7800

NightHawk R7800___same room____2.4GHz___Down 85.22 MBits/second____Up 106.68 MBits/second
NightHawk R7800___same room____5Ghz_____Down 154.29 MBits/second____Up 151.05 MBits/second

NightHawk R7800___1 room away___2.4GHz__Down 74.26 MBits/second____Up 53.27 MBits/second
NightHawk R7800___1 room away___5Ghz____Down 154.08 MBits/second____Up 155.05 MBits/second

NightHawk R7800___2 rooms away__2.4GHz__Down 35.20 MBits/second____Up 47.93 MBits/second
NightHawk R7800___2 rooms away__5Ghz____Down 154.00 MBits/second____Up 103.43 MBits/second

NightHawk R7800___3 rooms away__2.4GHz__Down 36.74 MBits/second____Up 25.89 MBits/second
NightHawk R7800___3 rooms away__5Ghz____Down 70.67 MBits/second____Up 10.53 MBits/second

TEST 2 - WIFI analyzer
======================

WIFI analyzer shows the strength of both 2.4GHz and 5 GHz bands, even though ORBI does not let me select which one to use. The Satellite does not help in the same room and the next room over because the main router already has the best performance possible. However in the rooms that are further away you see the beneficial effects of having the Satellite unit.

Signal Strength measured with WiFI analyzer (lower numbers are better, i.e. -28dBm is better than -82dBm)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Main router___same room__2.4GHz___-28dBm
Main router___same room__5GHz_____-27dBm

Sattelite - N/A because main router is already at maximum speed according to Speedtest

Main router___1 room away__2.4GHz___-48dBm
Main router___1 room away__5GHz_____-56dBm

Sattelite - N/A because main router is already at maximum speed according to Speedtest

Main router___2 room away__2.4GHz___-61dBm
Main router___2 room away__5GHz_____-82dBm

Satellite___2 room away__2.4GHz___-20dBm (Satellite is in this room)
Satellite___2 room away__5Ghz_____-23dBm (Satellite is in this room)

Main router___3 rooms away__2.4GHz___-77dBm
Main router___3 rooms away__5GHz_____-82dBm

Satellite___3 rooms away__2.4GHz___-38dBm
Satellite___3 rooms away__5Ghz_____-45dBm

*** For comparison signal strength using NightHawk R7800

NightHawk R7800___same room________2.4GHz___-25 dBm
NightHawk R7800___same room________5Ghz_____-36 dBm

NightHawk R7800___1 room away______2.4GHz___-55 dBm
NightHawk R7800___1 room away______5Ghz_____-58 dBm

NightHawk R7800___2 rooms away_____2.4GHz___-64 dBm
NightHawk R7800___2 rooms away_____5Ghz_____-68 dBm

NightHawk R7800___3 rooms away_____2.4GHz___-75 dBm
NightHawk R7800___3 rooms away_____5Ghz_____-82 dBm

I received this router at no cost for testing and review as part of the new production introduction. I have no association with Netgear. If reviews for product given for evaluation make you skeptical please examine the reviewer record. I have a history of leaving critical reviews on consistent basis, every time the product deserves it based on tests and unbiased evaluation of data.

Bottom line: even though Orbi router is not perfect I was able to come up with work arounds for what is important to me (guest network, small number of ports) and the performance of this router is outstanding.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Monday, September 26, 2016

Product review: FancyStyle Women Trifold RFID Wallet Travel Clutch Purse Cellphone Genuine Leather Red








There are two aspects to this wallet - organization and RFID protection. As wallet this wallet is excellent. I love having more than one ID window.

Initially, I thought RFID did not work because my badge in this wallet was able to open locked doors controlled by RFID. I contacted the seller about this problem and he told me that security badges typically use 125khz which is low frenquency. Credit cards and other smart cards use higher frequence and this wallet's has material protects from 13.56 MHz or higher that are used by these cards.

I tested an RFID credit card first in two old wallets that have no RFID protection and was able to get a reading with an app called Credit Card Reader and a phone that has NFC. The I tried the same card in the Fancy Style wallet and could not get a reading .

The wallet itself is excellent. It is great to have multiple id windows (I have three ids cards that I have to use fairly often), lots (11 total) of credit cards slots and 6 pockets large enough enough for currency, receipts and so forth (one of them zips).

Initially the credit card slots were very tight and it took some effort to pull out each credit cards but they are getting looser and looser as I use them. The wallet is made out of real leather and it will stretch with time.

Its size is 3.875" x 7.5" (closed and stuffed with credit cards and receipts)

The id compartment is 3.5" long and 2.5" wide. It fits both the drivers license and the passport card but the passport card is very tight because it is slightly larger than the driver's license.

Drivers license is 3 3/8" X 2 1/8"
Passport card is 3 1/2" x 2 1/4"

This wallet is provided by Fancy Style for evaluation and review as part of a new product introduction. This is an excellent wallet and provides protection for RFID used in credit cards and smart cards.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Product review: FancyStyle Safe RFID Blocking Travel Wallet & Passport Holder Genuine Leather Red Black





There are two aspects to this wallet - organization and RFID protection. As wallet this wallet is excellent. It has good size, large window for the passport, a good number of credit card slots.

Initially, I thought RFID did not work because my badge in this wallet was able to open locked doors controlled by RFID. I contacted the seller about this problem and he told me that security badges typically use 125khz which is low frenquency. Credit cards and other smart cards use higher frequence and this wallet's has material protects from 13.56 MHz or higher that are used by these cards.

I tested an RFID credit card first in two old wallets that have no RFID protection and was able to get a reading with an app called Credit Card Reader and a phone that has NFC. The I tried the same card in the Fancy Style wallet and could not get a reading.

This is a fairly large wallet 4.5" wide x 6" long when closed and 9.25" wide and 6" long when opened. It has 7 credit card slots, one open pocket for the passport, three pockets behind the credit cards for papers or tickets. This is a flip wallet, it has not closure.

This wallet is provided by Fancy Style for evaluation and review as part of a new product introduction. This is an excellent wallet and provides protection for RFID used in credit cards and smart cards.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Product review: DEEPPRO Silent Wall Clock Solid Wood 14-inches Square Non Ticking Digital Quiet Sweep Decorative Vintage Wooden Clocks

video

I waited several weeks to write this review to see if the clock remained as quiet as it was right out of the box. I have had a couple of wall clocks that started out totally silent but developed a bit of noise after a week of use. So far so good - this clock is totally silent.

This is a very simple basic clock with an easy to read face and nice looking wood finish. It runs on one AA battery which is not included. The face clock shows the time very clearly. Each number is about 1.25" tall. When measured in the center the clock is 12.25" x 12.25" (including the wood frame).

I am attaching a video to show this clock in action, as you hear in the video the clock is not making any noise at all.

This clock is provided by Deepro for evaluation and review. If this makes you skeptical about my review, check my review history. I leave critical reviews when products deserve it. I like this clock - simple design, quiet and looks good.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Product review: 50FT Flexible Garden Hose and Spray Nozzle by BeautyGal

video

I like flexible hoses because they make gardening easy on my bad back. I have been using them for several years and by comparison do not like this hose as much as the other hoses I have used. This hose has plastic fittings, I have a preference to brass fittings as they form a better connection in my experience and don't get brittle in the sun. The hose ends in my other hoses are protected by brass couplers, in this hose these couplers are plastic. The plastic nozzle included in the package is bad, It does NOT make a satisfying click when I change the spray mode, so it is difficult to get a "perfect" alignment and it requires fiddling back and forth. The setting called "mist" is a spray, it does not mist like a true mist setting.

I have been using flex hoses for a few years and they are much more fragile than regular hoses. Through experience I learned how to "baby" them to make them last longer and here is what I do in case someone finds these measures helpful:

1. When I use the hose I do not put the water pressure all the way up, I open the faucet at about half force (my water pressure is quite strong).
2. When I store the hose, I store it a bucket and bring it inside so it does not sit in the sun. Because they are light it really not difficult.
3. I make sure there it has no pressure on any part of the hose. I never hang it like I do with regular hoses. Even a 100 foot flexible hose fits into a regular size bucket, no problems with fitting this 50 feet hose into a bucket
4. Before storing the hose I drain it completely
5. When I use it I make sure I don't step on it and it does not tangle on anything. I lay it out straight toward the area that I need to water then fill it with water, then stretch to full length in small section (i.e. I do not pull from the nozzle end to stretch the entire length). If you stretch these hoses too much they burst.

I received this flex hose for testing and review at a special discount. Getting a sample does effect what I say. I have a history of leaving critical reviews when the product deserves it. Even though I like using flex hoses in general, I did not like the construction of this flex hose and this nozzle.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★☆☆☆

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Product review: Cooksmark Copper Pan 10 inches Induction Compatible Nonstick Frying Pan, Skillet, Saute Pan

video


Cooksmart asked me if I wanted to try this skillet and write a review about my experience. If this makes you skeptical about the review, examine the track record of the reviewer. I have a long history of leaving critical reviews when the products deserve it.

So how did this skillet do? Surprisingly well! It has a few short comings but they are not major.

My package had no instructions. No information on whether to use oil or not, whether it needs to be cured, how it should be cleaned. It also comes without a cover and in attached video you see me using my own cover as I was able to find one that is reasonable match in size. I also do not like the shape or thickness of the handle. It is fairly thin and not particularly comfortable, and it gets quite hot.

With the negative things out of the way I now get to the good parts. The coating really works well. I cook several things in attached video, all of them on medium heat, no butter or oil at all.

The surface of the skillets gets a little brown, and until I put it under water I was not sure how much cleaning it would require... half of the baked on stuff came off just from the water flow, the other half with a gentle rub of a soft sponge. Frying meatballs is something that typically requires a lot of scrubbing with a steel brush when I use my stainless steel skillet. This was so easy!

Some other observations:

~ The bottom is mostly magnetic, so it will work on the induction cooktop. I say "mostly" because there is a small circle in the center that is not magnetic. I show this in the video.
~ The bottom of this skillet us totally flat. Which means it will work on induction cooktop, gas stoves, electric stoves as well as halogen stoves.

Overall, even though not perfect the coating works really well, I like not having to scrub and I like being able to cook without adding extra oil.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Product review: Bestten 6 Outlet Outdoor Power Stake with Covers





This outdoor power strip has a number of good features (16/3-gauge cord, long sharp stake) but turned out not to fit several of the plugs I wanted to use in it. The designers of this plug chose to put the cover for the outlet on the side of the outlet rather than on top of the outlet. This limits the width of the plugs that can be plugged into the outlet on one side. I am having a lot of trouble with most plugs that are not the small standard plugs. The built-in outlet cover is not removable. I looked at my other outdoor strips and I see that the covers are attached in different orientation, limiting the size of the plug from the top rather than from the side. The outlets are spaced pretty tightly so the larger (thin and long) plugs that fit width-wise cover up more than one outlet.

This outdoor outlet strip has no GFCI protection. GCI is a device that shuts off an electric power circuit when it detects that current is flowing along an unintended path, such as through water or a person. It is used to reduce the risk of electric shock and is common in outlet used around water and outdoors.

The outlet itself works reliably, and the stake is nice, it is sharp and fairly long so it holds well.

I received this outdoor outlet for evaluation and review at no cost as part of new product introduction. Getting a free product not effect what I say. I have a long history of writing critical reviews and this is one of them. The outlet cover limits this power strip to regular size small plugs.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆