Sunday, September 14, 2014

Product review: Compact 12000mAH Portable Car Jump Starter


This is my second unit of a very similar construction. To jump a car a battery needs to produce 12V of power and I used a volt meter to check that it does. However nothing is better than actually seeing it do it. I had a chance to actually help a co-worker's jump a car. It worked! Since I have two similar units I now keep the first one in my car and the second one at work for common use.

New Brights Portable Car starter external battery can be used as a charger for mobile devices and a battery to jump a car. My main interest in this external battery is for its car jumping capability. As I mentioned earlier to jump a car a battery needs to produce 12V of power. To test the jumper cables, I attached the volt meter to battery clamps. As you can see in the video the reading is 11.70V.

The battery pack itself can be recharged in two ways either from the car port or from AC. To jump the car the power pack should be more than half full of charge.

The battery comes with a nice plastic case that holds the battery, the jumping cables, the AC adapter and the car charger. Also included in the package is 4 headed cable - one USB cable one end and 4 cable on the others end (two Apple cables, and two USB cables). The jumper cable output ports are under a cover on the side of the external battery. 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.

The power bank weighs 14.8 oz and is 6.5" x 3.125" x 1.25" in size. It is is rated as 12000mAh. 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 works with both the Nexus phone and iPad Mini devices, but neither of the devices were chargered at the optimal speed. Note that you can charge the devices at the same time as the power bank itself is charging. This battery pack has clear charge level indicators, it comes on for about 2 seconds when you press the button and then turns off. The manufacturer recommends fully recharging the power bank every 6 months, this is important if you are keeping the power bank in the car for useing the jumper cables.

Samsung Nexus phone:
1 port: 0.82A/4.91V
2 port: 0.78A/4.85V
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this phone is 1.00A/5V)

iPad Mini tablet:
1 port: 0.94A/4.79V
2 port: 0.93A/4.79B
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this tablet is 1.70A/5V)

Overall, for charging phones it is not a speedy charger, but it did an excellent job in its main function and was able to start a dead battery.

You can find this car jump and charger on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Friday, September 12, 2014

Product review: Qi-infinity™ Portable Wireless Charger Power Bank 4000 mAh by Qi-infinity


My husband immediately liked this battery for its shape. It is just the right shape to fit into his breast pocket behind the phone. Because the battery is fairly thick it forms a tight fit in the pocket and keeps it against the phone and charging. He is about to go to a conference where in the past years he spent so much time on the phone that he drained the phone battery. He plans to keep the phone constantly charging in his breast pocket.

This wireless charger can charge a phone while the battery pack is plugged in and charging (i.e. charge through charging). This charger can work in wireless and wired mode. It uses a standard micro USB cable when it is charged in a wired mode. I have a strong preference for standard cables, so I don't need to worry about losing a proprietary cable.

Its sweet spot is not huge (I demonstrate it in the video). The battery pack is smaller than Nexus 5 in size so you need to pay attention on how you place the phone on the charger. This is the second charger we have with the shape and thickness that works in my husband's shirt pocket. The other battery (IQ Stone+) has a slightly larger sweet spot and it charges the phone in the shirt pocket a little more consistently (meaning the phone does not move off the sweet spot).

The power pack size is 2.75" x 4.125" x 0.5". It weights 4.6 oz.

How I tested the wireless charger:

I tested the charger with a current monitor to see what current it is drawing. I also did a 10 minute charging test which I run on all chargers I test to compare how much the phone was charged in 10 minutes. In addition, I timed the charging speed when the battery charged two phones (one wireless, one plugged in). Since the charging speed is non-linear I start charging each device from approximately the same charge level.

✔ Wireless Charger (phone not charging)
current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.51A (i.e.USB rate charging the battery pack)

✔ Wireless Charger (Nexus 5 phone charging)
7% change in charge in 10 minutes (Excellent!)
current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.19A and 5.17V
(for comparison, for the fastest charger I own the current monitor for Nexus 5 shows 1.42A/5.21V)

✔ Wired Charger (Samsung Nexus phone charging)
6% change in charge in 10 minutes (Excellent!)
current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.02A and 5.20V
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this phone is 1.00A/5V)

This wireless charger provided by Q-infinity.

My husband loves this wireless battery pack, because it doubled the life of his phone battery when he carries it in his breast pocket and it charges quickly.

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

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Product review: CHOETECH 50W 10Amps 6-Ports USB Charger Wall Charger


CHOETECH got this device just right:

✅ All ports work for every device I tried work close to optimal (I am attaching results of the current monitor tests below). No need to figure which port to use for which device.
✅ There is no blindingly bright LED light (on a few of my chargers I use black electrical tape to cover them up).
✅ Super compact. 6 ports on a 3.5" x 2.75" x 1", 5.5 oz
✅ It take one slot on the power strip due to a cord with a regular power plug.
✅ 60 inch cord that lets me place this charger anywhere I need it.
✅ CE and FCC marked, RoHS compliant, although no UL emblem is shown. This could be a problem for using this charger in corporate or government environment as they require US rather than European electrical standards. But for home use I have no worries about it.

I am using this charger with a Nexus phone, iPad Mini, and Samsung Galaxy tablet. Each one performed very well on every port of this charger.

➨ Test Results:
CHOETECH charger has a chip which figures out what device it is charging and uses a charging protocol designed for that device.
I started all test with the devices at the same level of charging for account for non-linear charging.

✔ Nexus Galaxy Phone

Port 1: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.94A / 5.13V
Port 2: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.95A / 5.13V
Port 3: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.93A / 5.12V
Port 4: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.95A / 5.12V
Port 5: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.94A / 5.13V
Port 6: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.96A / 5.13V
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this phone is 1.00A/5V)

✔ iPad Mini Tablet

Port 1: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.51A / 5.10V
Port 2: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.94A / 5.08V
Port 3: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.51A / 5.08V
Port 4: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.50A / 5.09V
Port 5: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.48A / 5.09V
Port 6: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.51A / 5.10V
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this tablet is 1.70A/5V, from 1.50A and up is very good)

✔ Samsung Galaxy Tablet

Port 1: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.48A / 5.10V
Port 2: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.47A / 5.10V
Port 3: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.59A / 5.10V
Port 4: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.60A / 5.11V
Port 5: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.60A / 5.11V
Port 6: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.37A / 5.10V
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this tablet is 1.60A/5V)

This charger really performed well. It charges quickly and I like that it takes up just one slot on my power strip.

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

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Monday, September 8, 2014

Product review: Cosmix Copper Double Wind Sculpture (not copper!)


I have a collection of wind spinners in my garden. I enjoy looking at them and they also have a practical purpose and keep animals away from eating my plants. This Cosmix spinner is a slow spinner. It is quite attractive.

It is advertized as made out of copper and I hoped it will aquire the typical copper patina, however instead it began rusting. I purchased in on June 21 and on July 11 I noticed that the inner spinner was covered with rust. I waited until September to write this review to see what it will look like in a few months and it has more rust.

Copper does not rust so this spinner is not made out of copper. At one of the craft fairs I spoke with a guy who makes real copper spinners and he told me that this Cosmix spinners are made out of steel painted with paint made of out copper dust (i.e. they not copper or not electroplated with copper) and that's why they rust and will never have copper patina. Very disappointing.

From a distance (when I cannot see the rust) it does look and spin nicely but I will not be buying any more of this brand.

You can find this garden spinner on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Product review: Lumsing 3-sockets Car Cigarette Lighter Socket splitter adapter


This charger allows you to split one car outlet into 3 outputs. The thee port extension is at the end of a 20" cord and comes with mounting tape on the back. I found this slipper to be helpful to us in two ways. First, one of our vehicles has a car port located very low and it is not very convenient to reach while you are driving. The 20 inch cord allows me to position the outlet in a more convenient location. Second, not all of our devices have USB connections. For example, we often travel with an electric cooler that has cigarette lighter plug. This splitter gives us more flexibility, we don't have to juggle what gets plugged in and what is not plugged in.

However, the first time I used it at night it became clear to me that the splitter has a major flaw. The blue LED light on top of the charger is so bright that is is blinding at night. Luckily, there is a simple solution to this problem. I covered the light with a square piece of black electrical tape. The bright light became completely invisible. The charger still has a slight blue glow so it is easy to see that it making a good connection and is on. I include a video of the charger before and after the fix.

This charger is a very simple device, it has no electronics, so the only thing that could go wrong with it if it wired poorly. To test how well it works I used Amp meter to see the level of charge I got on each port - the results are perfect.

Test results:
Port 1_______________13.68 Amp
Port 2_______________13.60 Amp
Port 3_______________13.64 Amp

The charger's port forms a very firm good connection with the car outlet. This charger gives us a lot of options for charging. Each port can take a USB charger or we can plug in a device with a car port charger (like our travel cooler). The charger comes with 20" cord, so we can move the entire cluster of plugs away from the console which is typically very crowded.

You can find this splitter on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Product review: Aukey Wireless Charger Charging Pad Qi-Enabled for Nexus 5 and other Qi enabled phones


I am writing this review after using this Qi charger with my Nexus 5 for a couple of weeks. I measured its performance with a current monitor as well as a charging test I run on all my chargers as it helps me compare each charger it is peers. For speed of charging this charger fell in the middle of the pack, it was not speediest compared to other Qi chargers but not the slowest either. It does have however many features that I find very important in the Qi chargers.

♦ I like the battery to be similar or larger than the phone in size (this means I am less likely to miss the sweet spot where the phone chargers). Aukey charger did well in this category for Nexus 5.

♦ I like surface of the battery to be rubberised (this help that battery to stay on the charger or not be accidentally moved off the charging area). Aukey charger has a rubberised ring and its finish somewhat rough so my phone stays on the pad well even if gets bumped accidentally.

♦ I want it to charge quickly. Aukey charger falls in the middle of the pack in speed.

♦ I find a clear bright indicator that shows me that battery is charging very helpful. I like being able to see the indicators from a distance without having to rely at looking at the phone charging indicator. If you have pets, small kids or clumsy adults the phone can be moved off the charging sweet spot fairly easily. Aukey's wireless charger has a small indicator but because of the pad's large size I am able to see it even when the phone is on top of the pad.

Aukey size a nice match for Nexus 5, the charger's size is 3.125" x 5.75". It is 0.25" thick. Its weight is 3.75 oz. It comes with a standard micro USB cable and a USB wall charger.

How I tested the wireless charger:

I tested the charger with a current monitor to see what current it is drawing. I also did a 10 minute charging test which I run on all chargers I test to compare how much the phone was charged in 10 minutes. Since the charging speed is non-linear I start charging each device from approximately the same charge level.

✔ Wireless Charger plugged into AC (Nexus 5 phone charging)
Current monitor - 1.18A , 5.03V
5% change in charge in 10 minutes

Overall, I like this charger. It has many of the features I look for in a wireless charger.

My request to the manufacturer if they are reading this review: I would like to see a Qi charger shaped as a tray with raised edges so it would be impossible to push the phone off the charger. I have not seen a charger that is shaped this way. I would like the charging indicators to be on the outside wall of this tray charger, so it is not covered by the phone. Perhaps a product idea?

You can find thisQi charger on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Product review: SOLOMEMO TP801 Touch Wireless Mini QWERTY Handheld Keyboard Air Mouse


I like using an air mouse with my Android TV as it replaces both a keyboard and a mouse and I don't need a flat surface to mouse on. I have a couple of other air mice that have their pluses and minuses so I was curious to see how this mice measures up.

Solememo air mouse is a little larger and a little thinner than my smart phone: 5.5"L x 2.75"W x 0.25"H and 3.3 oz. One side of it is very smooth and glassy surface. It doubles as a mousing pad and a touch keyboard. Both the mouse pad and the keyboard worked well individually, what I found slightly unnatural is the need to switch from one mode to another. There is a small button with a <--> symbol which switches the pad from one mode to another. It is true that I never mouse and type at the same time, but it took a bit time to get used to hitting the button to switch. The switch happens with a slight delay.

The mouse comes with a wireless nano style dongle. I successfully tried it with my Android TV, Windows laptop, and Linux desktop. They all worked without needing to install drivers or changing any configuration settings.

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 nano transmitter tucks away neatly into the back of the mouse.

The keyboard keys operated smoothly and it feels like an on-screen keyboard on my tablet. I had no problem with touch sensitivity. The keyboard is fairly small so find that I use similar to how I used my old Blackberry keyboard with my thumbs rather than doing touch typing like on a regular keyboard.

Air mouse run on a rechargeable battery and comes with a charging cord. It has an on/off button on the side to save the battery when the mouse is not in use.

The bottom line is that this air mouse works smoothly but requires a little bit of getting used to. The large mousing touch pad is particularly nice and easy to control. Definitely worth reading the manual to get all the gesture tricks this touch pad can do. What would I change? I would like the control switch between the mousing pad and keyboard to be larger and maybe colored differently so it is easier to spot when one is learning how to use the air mouse.
You can find this air mouse on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆