Thursday, July 24, 2014

Product review: Aerb Multifunction 2.4GHz Air Mouse Mini Wireless Keyboard & Infrared Remote Control


I really like this air mouse. My main use for it is to control my Android TV. What is nice about the air mouse is that you don't need a flat surface to mouse on. I can do all of this from the comfort of my favorite leather chair. It also reduces clutter, I only need one device that replaces both the keyboard and the mouse.

Aerb air mouse is shaped like a TV remote control: it is 6.75" long and 2" wide and 0.375" thick. One side of the remote has all the mousing functionality and the TV remote functions, the other side has a QWERTY keyboard. In the video I show the air mouse next to my Verizon remote control for reference.

Air mouse comes with a wireless dongle (nano style) that plugs into your device (in my case the Android TV). When my TV is Android TV mode all I have to do is aim the air mouse remote at the screen and move it remote in the air. My movements correspond to the movement of the mouse pointer. The control is very good, it did not take me any time to get used to it. Once the pointer is on the link or icon I want to select I press the big OK button in the remote to click. The remote also has other functions such as home, next and previous screen, back, volume up and down and so forth. I was able to operate it from as far as I could go in the room (the remote is rated for 10 meters which is 30 feet).

I also tested mousing on Windows and Linux PCs and both worked without any problems.

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 keyboard keys have a nice feel (hard rubber) and good feedback (mechanical feeling click). It is a full QWERTY keyboard with letters and numbers. To switch to the blue character (which include numbers) you need to press Alt key. Another opush on Alt switches you back to the white characters.

The keyboard also works on Windows and Linux PCs.

Insert USB receiver into a USB port on the device. No other action is needed. The air mouse was immediately recognized.

Air mouse runs on two AAA batteries (note batteries are not included). There is no on/off button on the remote. It might have been nice to have the on/off switch to save the battery when the air mouse is not in use. The battery cover did not close as smoothly as I would have liked, I felt I needed to be gentle with it.

The bottom line is that this air mouse worked very smoothly with every device I have tried and I like that the most common function (click) is the big OK button, not a small button in the middle of other buttons as on some other air mice.

You can find this air mouse on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Product review: Pacific Resources Lemon and Lozenges, Manuka Honey and Propolis


These lozenges have a distinctive Manuka honey taste combined with menthol. There is a very light hint of lemon flavor in them, but mostly it is strong honey and strong menthol. Each box contains 20 lozenges. As they dissolve they sooth the irritated scratchy throat caused by sore throat or cough. They worked very similar to any other cough drop I have tried. I can't say they are better than other cough drops, but if you like Manuka flavor you are likely to like them.

INGREDIENTS: Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Manuka Honey UMF, Organic Citric Acid, Propolis, Organic Lemon Oil, Organic Menthol.

You can find these cough drops on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Product review: Honeymoon super soft Wrinkle Free MicroFiber bed sheet


This is my first microfiber sheet set. These sheets and pillow cases are made out of polyester. Our other sheets are 100% cotton so I did not quite know what to expect. I was surprised that Honeymoon sheets felt more like a thin sateen, they were more silky than I expected. I expected a rougher material so this was a pleasant surprise. They come out of the dryer totally wrinkle free. The pillow cases felt nice against my face. Those are the good things. The bad thing is that the sheet is cut very generously and material is very slippery. This combination does not keep the sheet taught on our mattress like the cotton sheets. It does not cause discomfort but it requires more tucking and straightening if I want it to look good. For reference, the fitted sheet pockets are 13" inches and our mattress is 10". I am guessing that if the mattress is thicker there will be less bunching on the top.

♦ Fitted Sheet is 80"x60". It has 13" pocket and elastic around all 4 edges.
♦ Flat Sheet is 102"x90". It has three embroidered stripes on one edge.
♦ 2 Pillowcases are 20.5" x 29.5". Each has three embroidered stripes on one edge of one side.

The seams are single stitched. Their appearance is neat, although in some higher end sheet sets the seams are double stitched and that helps them to last longer.

In attached video I include some close ups of the finish. The color I got is "tan". The sheets/pillow cases did not shrink after washing, they were color fast, and they came out wrinkle free out of the dryer.

Care recommendation from Honeymoon: Machine wash in cold water.

You can find this sheet set on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Friday, July 18, 2014

Product review: Novobeam 3000mAh Waterproof Dustproof Portable USB External Battery Pack


This is a compact and waterproof external battery. It has one port and is rated as 3000 mAh. Since some power during charging is lost to inefficiencies (such as heat) it will provide approximately 2250 mAh. I was able charge my phone with 3800mAh extended battery from low levels to slight above 50%.

This battery has a light which indicates when the battery is charging or being charged, but it does not have a charge level indicator. If the battery is almost exhausted I will not know this until the light goes out and stops charging.

I tested the port with a current monitor and it delivers 1A. Which means it a bit underpowered for Apple devices. It charged my iPad Mini but slowly. It was faster charging my Nexus phone but not at the optimal speed. If you are interested in the details of the next I am including them below in the "test results" section.

This battery's size is 4"L x 1", its weight is 2.5 oz.

The package included the battery itself, a micro USB charging cable and an instruction sheet.

Test results:
I use the current monitor to test all my chargers. This gives me a numerical way to compare different external batteries to each other so I can tell different chargers perform relative to their peers. For each test I use the phone and tablet, same cables, and I start each test at the same level to account for non-linear charging.

iPad Mini:______________0.93A / 4.90V_________(optimal rate is 1.60A / 5.00V)
Nexus Samsung phone:____0.86A / 4.89V_________(optimal rate is 1.00A / 5.00V)

Because this externally battery pack is small and light and did not charge my phone at the optimal speed I am using it with my Sansa MP3 player. Sansa has a built-in battery and I typically listen to it attached to a small external charger this way it never runs out of juice. This battery is working very well in this role.

You can find this charging station on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Product review: Shacke™ Pak - 4 Set Packing Cubes - Travel Organizers with Laundry Bag


These nylon bags have a double zipper and they open flat. The top of the bag has 4 mesh openings, so you can see what is in the bag without needing to open them. The mesh also allows air to escape so the bags can flatten out nicely. Each bag has a handle. The nylon is of a nice thickness, not flimsy. The seams are double stitched. The packing cube feel like a good quality product that should last a long time.

The packing cubes came in a matching nylon bag. This bag can be used as a storage bag for the packing cubes when they are not in use and as bag for keeping your dirty cloth separate from the rest when you travel.

Size info:
♦ Extra Large cube is 17.5" x 12.75" x 4"
♦ Large cube is 13.75" x 12.75" x 4"
♦ Medium cube is 13.75" x 9.75" x 4"
♦ Small cube is 11" x 6.75" x 4"
♦ Laundry bag 20.5" x 14.5"

When I travel dedicate each cube to a specific type of clothing. Even if I don't fill them to full capacity I use all 4 as it makes it easier for me to find what I need. The small one I use for socks, I was able to fit 10 pairs of socks. The medium one I use for tops (blouses, t-shirts). I can fit 11 or 12 of them into the medium bag. The large one goes for pants/jeans. The extra large is used for warm items such as sweaters, fleece jackets, turtle necks. I can fit one or two of each, depending on how lofty the sweaters/cardigans are. I still need another bag for the underwear, so I am using another bag for that.

Cleaning instructions:
♦ Hand wash in cold water
♦ Line Dry in the shade
♦ Do not bleach, iron, or dry clean

Ever since I can remember I travel with all my stuff neatly packed in extra large Ziploc bags. Shirts in one bag, pants in another bag, stuff I need for sleeping in another bag, and so forth. I used to travel a lot and this allowed me to live out of a suitcase and quickly find everything I needed without turning my suitcase upside down or needing to fully unpack. And years later I began seeing packing cubes being sold to do exactly the same thing that I've been doing for years. I should have created this product 20 years ago! Darn!

All in all excellent this is an packing system for a traveller. They work better than my plastic bag solution because they compress better (air escapes from the mesh).

You can find these packing cubes on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Product review: EZOPower 5V 7.2A High Output 5-Port USB Wall Adapter with 8ft Extension


The EzoPower Charger comes in two parts: a compact 5 port charging station and a large power adapter.
♦ charging station is 2.8 oz, 4" x 2.25" x 0.8"
♦ power supply is 7.8 oz, 4.5" x 2" x 1.5"
♦ the cord that connects the charging station to the power supply is 48"
♦ the cord that connect the power supply to the outlet is 39.5"
Note that Amazon description states that the cord is 8.25 feet, this is the sum of the two cords as well as the length of the plugs and the power adapter all added together.

This wall charger has 5 ports. Three of them are labelled universal and 2 ports are called super chargers. I measured the performance of each port with current monitor and three different devices: Apple, Nexus, and Samsung.

The three universal ports give the best performance for Android devices(Nexus and Samsung), the Apple devices drew under 1A on them which means it will charge slower than optimal on these ports. The super charger ports have an excellent performance for Apple devices, but on these super ports the Android devices drew a little less the universal ports. Google (starting with Jelly Bean 4.21) figured out the Apple protocol and starting with that release is able to draw the right charge on ports designed for Apple. So the performance on the Super Charger ports is fairly close to the universal ports. Detailed current monitor readings are included below for those who are interested.

EziPower has 5 port charger and the power adapter has a regular sized plug. If you are running out of space on your power strip for all the chargers (and who is not?) this wall charger is good solution.

➨ Test Results:
All measurements are taken at the same level of charge for the device to account for non-liner charging rate.

✔ Nexus Galaxy Phone

Port 1: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.03A, 5.21V
Port 2: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.04A, 5.21V
Port 3: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.04A, 5.19V
Port 4: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.93A, 5.06V
Port 5: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.95A, 5.09V

✔ iPad Mini Tablet

Port 1: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.93A, 5.18V
Port 2: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.93A, 5.18V
Port 3: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.93A, 5.18V
Port 4: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.62A, 5.00V
Port 5: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.69A, 5.09V

✔ Samsung Galaxy Tablet

Port 1: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.42A, 5.18V
Port 2: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.38A, 5.18V
Port 3: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.37A, 5.18V
Port 4: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.29A, 5.06V
Port 5: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.29A, 5.06V

I got good performance on all 5 ports for Android devices and good performance for Apple devices on the two super charger ports. I like that it takes up just one slot on my power strip. The large power supply makes the entire set a bit too large to travel within USA, however for international travel this power supply might be useful as it works with inputs range of 100-240V.

You can find this charging station on Amazon <a asin="B00KJ0QV9K" href="" type="amzn"> by following this link </a>

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Product review: Dual USB Car Charger 3.1Amp 15.5W - 1.0&2.1A Universal Ports


Over the last year I have tested a large number of car chargers. I use a current monitor to compare their performance and the manufacturer of this charger contacted me and asked me to do a comparison review for this charger to the best chargers I have tested thus far.

After running the tests I came up with somewhat surprising results. Samsung Nexus phone (running Jelly Bean 4.2.2) that I use for most of my tests charged relatively slowly. Nexus 5, which was just upgraded to KitKat 4.4.3 charged very quickly. I have not seen such a difference between the two phones in the past. The only difference with prior tests is the OS upgrade on Mexus 5 and this charger.

Vority USB Car charger is compact (1.2" x 2.4") and provides up to 3.1Amps the combined power between two USB slots. The slots are labelled 1A and 2.1A. The front of the panel lights up to indicate that the charger is working. It fit the car port very firmly and did not get dislodged even on rough roads.

For those who are interested in detail of how I tested this charger I am including them below.

➨ Test Results:

✔ Samsung Nexus Phone
Port 2.1A: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.43A and 5.16V
Port 1A: current monitor: ~~~~~~~ 0.74A and 5.17V
For comparison best charger I have tested showed the current rating of 1.02A and 5.14V at the same level of charge for this phone using the same charging cable.

✔ Nexus 5 Phone
Port 2.1A: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.34A and 5.00V
Port 1A: current monitor: ~~~~~~~ 1.35A and 5.0V
For comparison best charger I have tested showed the current rating of 1.42A and 5.21V at the same level of charge for this phone using the same charging cable.

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

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆