Don't miss Prime Day: July 10 (9pm) though July 11

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Product review: Recycled Rubber Coasters

video

These coasters are 3.875" in diameter and 0.25" thick. Each coaster is pretty substantial, each weighs 1.7 oz. They are made of recycled rubber, one side has a printed design.  The coasters look rugged and sturdy (i.e. not pretty and dainty).  This is a masculine looking coaster if there is such a thing.  Since they are made out of rubber they are not slippery and make a really good coaster.

The coasters have a fairy strong rubber scent.  The scent might air out in a while, but in one week that I have had them the scent has not disappeared.

The coasters are made from 100% recycled rubber and they are made in the USA.  I received the coasters from the manufacturer who asked for an honest review be it positive or negative.

I am attaching a video of the coasters to give you a good idea what to expect.

You can find "Flox 'Moroccanometry in Orange' Rubber Coasters" on Amazon via this link


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Product review: Vibe Essentials iPad Mini Aluminum Bluetooth Keyboard Case & Stand

video
Vibe Essentials keyboard is 8 1/8" wide and 5 1/2" deep and 3/8" high. It weighs 7.1 oz on my digital postal scale. Each key is 1/2" wide and 1/2" tall.  The keys have a comfortable size, I did not feel I had to adjust my hand position much. The individual keys are made out of hard plastic.  The keyboard tray is made out of aluminium. The keys have very good feedback, I felt confident that I was making good contact. The keyboard is good overall.  There is one small thing I don't like about it.  There is a raised latch near the space bar (see video) and I find that it got in my way when I hit the space bar. I wish the front was totally flat. I am able to work around it, but if it was not there I would have been happier.

I am using this keyboard with my two tablets, iPad Mini and Samsung Galaxy 7.7 tablet. These two tablets are almost identical in size and the keyboard's stand mechanism worked well with both tablets in both horizontal and vertical orientation.  In order to fit the stand, I had to remove the case from both tablets. The design is such that neither the skin nor the leather case would fit into the keyboard stand.  The keyboard can also be used as "case" cover for iPad Mini by snapping to the tablet (thus that little latch near the space bar).  I prefer a bit more cushioning providing by the leather case, so I don't think I will be using this particular aspect of the keyboard.  When I tried snapping the keyboard case to the tablet, it seemed to need a bit of force and I did not proceed any further as it did not go in easily.

I have used several other blue tooth keyboards and here are some of the major comparison points:
1. This keyboard has a very good balance between key size to typing comfort. It is small enough to be portable yet comfortable for typing
2. It has very good feedback which aided in good accuracy
3. This keyboard has no back lighting, so I needed external light to use it in the dark
4. The front of the key board is not flat, I felt the latch with my thumbs when I was hitting the space bar

I found that I type much faster using this keyboard than the on-screen keyboard, especially when I have to mix letters and numbers in the text. Pairing is remembered from previous sessions even when I turn off the keyboard and the device.

I am attaching a video which shows Vibe keyboard in use with both tablets.  What is particularly nice is that some application do not display on-screen keyboard, so you get the benefit of the entire screen containing the information without being covered by on screen keyboard. Some applications still display on screen keyboard even when the keyboard paired with the device, so it depends if the application developer anticipated bluetooth keyboard use or not.

I received Vibe Essentials  keyboard for testing and review (be it positive or negative) from the manufacturer. I hope the video will help get a better idea of what to expect from this keyboard.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Friday, July 26, 2013

Product review: Toddy Gear WIY-W03 Universal Wedge Stand and Screen Cleaning Cloth

As a stand for a phone or a tablet it is bulky and cannot be adjusted. It can hold a phone, although it does not provide it good stability like a rigid stand. It cannot be used with a tablet, the lip is slippery and too shallow to hold the weight of a tablet. Both my Galaxy 7.7 and iPad Mini just slipped out. Just about any other stand works better.

The bottom is microfiber cloth which was intended to be use for cleaning, but it is the part that rests on the surface and thus will pick up dirt and grit because microfiber grips dirt so well.  This is not what I want to apply to my screen.  It is also cumbersome to hold. Just about any other cleaning cloth works better.

The wedge is 3.5" tall, 5" wide. The sides are 5.5", 5.5" and 4" wide.  I am attaching a photo collage which shows the wedge on 1 inch gridded mat for size reference. 

I received a sample wedge from the manufacturer to share my experience with it whether positive or negative.

I try to be balanced in my reviews and try to include both positives and negatives.  I can say this item is well made, the stitching is even and did NOT have a bad smell (some cloth items pick up warehouse scent, but this is not the case here).  I cannot recommend it however, based on functionality either as a stand or as a cleaning cloth.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★☆☆☆

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Product review: Bolse® 3.1A 15W Dual USB Port High Output Wall/Travel/AC Charger


I tested Bolse 3.1A 15W Dual USB Port Wall Charger with Nexus 7 Tablet (JellyBean 4.2.2), Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet (ICS 4.0.4), and Samsung Galaxy Nexus cell phone (JellyBean 4.2.2), and iPad Mini.

I own several wall chargers and power bricks and run the same set on tests on each of them, so they can be compared to each other using "apples to apples" comparison. This set of tests allows me to provide unbiased results as the numbers speak for the performance of each unit. These comparison tests reveal that this charger does not work as well as other chargers I have tested, including other Bolse wall chargers. The charger works, but does not charge as fast as other chargers. I am giving it OK rating of 3 stars.

My methodology is to charge each mobile device on each port of the unit for 10 minutes and measuring how much each unit was charge in that 10 minute period. Each line in the table below represents a separate 10 minute test, 16 tests in total.

I use Battery App by Elvison to determine how each device recognized the charging source. 'AC' status means the charging is at full charging rate. 'USB' status indicates charging at a lower charging rate. 'Discharging' status means that the charging rate is below the power that the device is consuming so it slows down the discharge rate but does not re-charge.

I am attaching a collage with 3 photos that to illustrate this review.  They show the charger during the test with various devices. In the photos can also see a close up of the charger itself. It is 2 3/5" long, 1 1/2" tall, and 1 1/4" wide. If you use it on the old fashioned power strips this charger would cover 2 slots. Bolse wall charger has re-tractable prongs which is very handy for travel.

The two ports of the charger are marked as 1.0A and 2.1A and this is how I will refer to them in the tables below.

The table below shows the results of my tests. The manufacture offers the identical USB chargers in two colors "white" and "black". I received both for testing and evaluation. I tested both and both chargers performed similarly. I am including the results for both chargers, as seeing consistency in results increases the likelihood that others chargers will behave in a similar way.

✔ Nexus 7 Tablet (black charger)
--------------
2.1A -- AC ............. -1% change in charge in 10 minutes
1.0A -- AC ............. 0% change in charge in 10 minutes

✔ Nexus 7 Tablet (white charger)
--------------
2.1A -- AC ............. 0% change in charge in 10 minutes
1.0A -- AC ............. 0% change in charge in 10 minutes

✔ Samsung Galaxy Nexus Phone (black charger)
--------------------------
2.1A -- USB ............. 0% change in charge in 10 minutes
1.0A -- USB ............. 2% change in charge in 10 minutes

✔ Samsung Galaxy Nexus Phone (white charger)
--------------------------
2.1A -- USB ............. 0% change in charge in 10 minutes
1.0A -- USB ............. 1% change in charge in 10 minutes

✔ Samsung Galaxy Tablet 7.7 (black charger)
--------------------------
2.1A -- AC ............. 3% change in charge in 10 minutes
1.0A -- discharging .... 0% change in charge in 10 minutes

✔ Samsung Galaxy Tablet 7.7 (white charger)
--------------------------
2.1A -- AC ............. 2% change in charge in 10 minutes
1.0A -- discharging .... -1% change in charge in 10 minutes

✔ iPad Mini (black charger)
--------------------------
2.1A -- AC ............. 2% change in charge in 10 minutes
1.0A -- AC ............. 2% change in charge in 10 minutes

✔ iPad Mini (white charger)
--------------------------
2.1A -- AC ............. 4% change in charge in 10 minutes
1.0A -- AC ............. 2% change in charge in 10 minutes

➨ Key findings:
------------------
This charger works, but does not charge as fast as other wall chargers, including other Bolse wall chargers, for example (ASIN: B00BFQ9R0W) Bolse® 4 Port Premium High Output USB Wall/Travel/AC Rapid Charger) For iPhone, iPad, Samsung Android Smartphones , which in the same test showed 7% charge rather than 0%/2%. This charger showed the best behavior with Apple products on both ports, so if you have two Apple products this charger would be a good fit.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

Monday, July 22, 2013

Product review: Kinivo BTX270 Wireless Bluetooth Portable Speaker

video

I am very impressed with this speaker. In the attached video I used several pieces of music to test this speaker, including Bach Toccata and Fugue in D minor which is a stress test for the bass. Some speakers crackle and can't handle the bass, but Kinivo Speaker handled it exceptionally well. This small speaker has a big sound.
In the video I start with the music playing through the built-in speakers of the tablet, turn on bluetooth and then the sound switches to the speakers. You can see how much richer, fuller, and louder the sound is when the speakers are used. Then I repeat the same sequence for the second piece of music which shows how the speaker handles base. There is no cracking even in the most challenging parts of the Bach Toccata.



I am attaching a collage of 4 photos for reference in this review. Photo #1 shows the speaker and an optional audio cable. The speaker is 6"L x 1 7/8"W x 2 1/4"H. Photo #4 shows the speaker on the digital scale, and it weighs in at 9.7 oz.

Pairing of the speaker to my tablet was easy. The speakers are in the pairing mode when the light on the front flickers red and blue.

I received this speaker from the manufacture for an honest review be it positive or negative. One of the benefits of being requested to test different speakers is that it gives me an opportunity to compare them to each other using the same music test, so I can compare them using "apples to apples" comparison. I would say this has been the best small speaker I have tested in the last year. I am very impressed with this speaker, especially how it handled the bass! I hope the video will help you see what to expect.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Product review: Wifi Sd Memory Card Class 10 New New Inc® Ez Share

video

I am using this card in SONY NEX-5N camera and I tested it with iPad Mini, Samsung Galaxy 7.7 tablet, and Galaxy Nexus Phone. The functionality of the card works, but the documentation is somewhat lacking. I had to figure out several configuration issues. The two main issues was finding the mobile app and resetting passwords back to default. In addition it turned out that my Galaxy Tablet 7.7 is not compatible with the ezShare app.

To use this card you need to perform the following steps
1. Verify that you mobile device is compatible with the mobile app prior to purchasing the card by downloading the app. You don't need to install it at this step, the app store notifies you if it is not compatible on the first screen as shown in my video.
Once you have the card....
2. Install the card into your camera.
3. Download ezShare app to your mobile device and install it
4. Make sure the camera is turned on
5. Connect to a Wi Hi hot spot created by the sd card
6. Run the app to change the passwords (Wi Fi password and admin password). You can also change the hot spot name (also referred to as SSID).



HOW TO RESET PASSWORD BACK TO DEFAULT
________________________________________________

If you forget the password or what to change it after the initial change, you need to be able to set the card settings back to the defaults. The official procedure (option #1) did not work for me, I contacted the manufacture and he suggested option #2, which did work:

OPTION #1:
1. Insert the ezShare WIFI sd card into SD slot of the computer(Use USB to SD converter if no slot in the computer).
2. Delete the file named "ezshare.cfg" in the root directory.
3. Eject the ezShare sd card and re-insert back into the
4. Hotspot name(SSID), WiFi password and admin password should be result back to defaults.

OPTION #2:
1. Reformat SD card either in the camera or in the SD slot of the computer

When I used procedure #1 neither the SSID nor the password was changed, even though the file was deleted from the SD (I tried deleting on both Windows and Linux operating systems and verified that the file was gone). The second procedure (I reformatted SD using the camera) worked like a charm. Note that if you reformat your card to clean it from old photos after moving them to your computer, you will lose your SD settings every time you do it.

Obtaining the app
_________________

I tested the card on iPad Mini, Samsung Galaxy 7.7 tablet (running Android ICS 4.0.4), and Galaxy Nexus Phone (running Android Jelly Bean 4.21). The name of the Apple app is "ez Share WI-FO SD". The name of the Android app is "ezShare Android" (note no space between ez and Share).

When I got the Android app page it told me that the app is not compatible with my Galaxy 7.7 tablet. I visited the ezShare web site, where it it shows that this app requires Android 2.2 or higher. So there is something about Galaxy Tablets that the app cannot handle. Based on this experience my recommendation that you try to download the app before buying the card to make sure you will be able to use it.

Note that later I installed this app on my husband's Samsung Nexus Phone and it installed fine.

Configuring the mobile device
________________________________

The rest of my testing I completed with iPad Mini which worked without problems.

In my video I show the set up steps, as well as some useful screen shots (e.g. Android store page for ezShare, how App store looks for a mobile device that is not compatible, iTunes page for ezShare, ezShare official tutorial, ezShare home page)
1. The video starts by locating and installing the ezShare app
2. Then you will see me starting the app for the first time and getting an error 'card is not connected', this happened to me quite often because my camera automatically turns itself off in about 1 minute of inactivity. To fix the problem you need to turn the camera back on
3. When you get an error, the ezShare hot spot turns itself off, and you need to turn it back on. Default password for the hot spot is '88888888'.
4. Then restart ezShare app, the default admin password is 'admin'
5. When the app starts you will have a chance to change the hot spot name (SSID)
6. Next I show how to see the card video (i.e. videos on the card that are in my camera). Card Album shows the photos that are on the card in the camera.
7. From the Card album page I have an option to select individual photos and add them to the download queue.
8. Next I look at the download queue and see the photo being transferred. When the download is finished, the entry moves to the history column.
9. The final segment shares useful screen shots

Using SD card without WI FI
_______________________________

WI FI hot spot capability of the card takes a lot of extra power from the camera. The card has a switch which allows it to turn of HI FI and function as a regular card. The switch on the edge which is visible when you insert the card.
I am attaching a collage of two photos showing the card and switch. Sharing mode is when the switch is towards the short edge of the card (photo #2).

The SD card can me used a normal SD card. You can access files on it by connecting the camera with USB cable to your computer, or removing the card from the camera and inserting it into the computer's SD reader. I tested being able delete and change files on the SD card as I do normally with SD cards that do not have HI FI functionality. As mentioned earlier if you reformat SD hard you will reset the passwords and SSID name back to defaults.

WI FI vs USB
_______________________________

What is this card best suited for? Sending small files or videos to your mobile devices for sharing. In my video you might have noticed that downloading an image takes a bit of time. This is because my camera is set to shoot photos in FINE format, and the size of the files is around 3.5 MB. If you want to transfer large files to your computer it will be much faster using a USB connection (more than 3 times faster). If you are interested in the numerical comparison and charts, there is an interesting article "Exploring Time Capsule: theoretical speed vs practical throughput" by Prince McLean which includes comparison of USB 2.0 and WI FI networks.

Wish List
_______________________________

I would have liked if the mobile app had direct integration with Dropbox
I would have liked that reset to default worked another way - switch on the card or via a pin push on the edge of the card (i.e. I want to be able to reformat the card without resetting passwords)

I received this card from the manufacture with a request for a video review that will help other people configure and use the card. I hope my video helps you get started.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Product review: Bolse® 300Mbps Wireless-N mini Router / AP / Repeater (802.11 b/g/n)


The Bolse 300Mbps Wireless-N mini router is very compact 3"L x 2"W x1.5"H (not counting the prongs). When it is plugged into a standard 2 plug outlet, the second plug can be used by slim standard plugs. I am attaching a collage of 4 photos showing the plug on 1" gridded mat for size reference.

It comes with a pretty good brochure that documents the set-up.

As the first step I needed to change the ip address of the device so my local subnet would see it. This is done using WI FI interface.

Once the IP address was changed I was able to connect to the router via web interface and change the configuration: password and the mode it functions in.

The mini router has three modes (1) router access point, (2) bridge and (3) repeater. I also change the Band to 2.4GHz(N) which is the fastest speed my devices are capable of so it does not default to something slower.

I ran Speedtest app from Speedtest.net from Nexus 7 and Samsung Galaxy 7.7 from different distance from the mini router. I ran a separate test for the router mode and for the bridge/repeater mode (showing the average of 2 tests below)

➨ Router Mode (connected by Ethernet)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When I was near the mini route speed test showed

Download...........28,000kbps

Upload.............4,991kbps

When I was downstairs below the mini router location

Download...........23,060bps

Upload.............4,498kbps

When I was downstairs furthest away point

Download...........19,016bps

Upload.............4,575kbps

✔ These are very good numbers on par or better than connecting directly to my main router.

➨ Repeater/Bridge Mode (not connected by Ethernet)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When I was near the mini route speed test showed

Download...........20,054kbps

Upload.............4,212kbps

When I was downstairs below the mini router location

Download...........14,718bps

Upload.............4,419kbps

When I was downstairs furthest away point

Download...........13,718bps

Upload.............4,377kbps

✔ As a repeater it did worse than the router mode, so using in the furthest away point did not give me a boost.

A friend of mine is using a similar type of mini router in combination with LINKSYS PLSK400 Powerline AV 4-Port Network Adapter Kit, which uses house wires to allow Ethernet connection at any power plug. In combination with a mini router this gives him a very speedy connection in the part of the house that otherwise gets a poor connection.

I received this mini router from manufacture for evaluation and review (be it positive or negative). My testing shows that this is a very capable router and less capable repeater. I think it will work very well in combination with powerline network adapter kit.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Product review: Kinivo BTX270 Wireless Bluetooth Portable Speaker

I am very impressed with this speaker. In the attached video I used several pieces of music to test this speaker, including Bach Toccata and Fugue in D minor which is a stress test for the bass. Some speakers crackle and can't handle the bass, but Kinivo Speaker handled it exceptionally well. This small speaker has a big sound.

In the video I start with the music playing through the built-in speakers of the tablet, turn on bluetooth and then the sound switches to the speakers. You can see how much richer, fuller, and louder the sound is when the speakers are used. Then I repeat the same sequence for the second piece of music which shows how the speaker handles base. There is no cracking even in the most challenging parts of the Bach Toccata.

I am attaching a collage of 4 photos for reference in this review. Photo #1 shows the speaker and an optional audio cable. The speaker is 6"L x 1 7/8"W x 2 1/4"H. Photo #4 shows the speaker on the digital scale, and it weighs in at 9.7 oz.

Pairing of the speaker to my tablet was easy. The speakers are in the pairing mode when the light on the front flickers red and blue.

I received this speaker from the manufacture for an honest review be it positive or negative. One of the benefits of being requested to test different speakers is that it gives me an opportunity to compare them to each other using the same music test, so I can compare them using "apples to apples" comparison. I would say this has been the best small speaker I have tested in the last year. I am very impressed with this speaker, especially how it handled the bass! I hope the video will help you see what to expect.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Product review: Satechi Dual Sonic Speaker 2.0 Channel Computer Speakers


I am impressed with this speaker. I am attaching a video where I play music with the speakers on, then with built-in speaker of my tablet, and then back to the speakers. You can see how much richer, fuller, and louder the sound is when the speakers are used. I used several pieces of music to demonstrate the speakers, including Bach Toccata and Fugue in D minor which is a stress test for the bass. Some speakers crackle and can't handle it, but Satechi Speaker handled it well. The sound is not distorted, they have great mid-tones and even a pretty good bass.

The speakers are pretty heavy for their size. One of the photos I am attaching to this review is both speakers on the digital scale. Two speakers weigh in at 1 lb 6.7 oz. The base of the speaker is 4" by 2.5", and their height is 3" tall.

The cable between the two speakers is 33". The second cable is a split cable with two connections: USB Power and 3.5mm audio stereo plug. The split cable has in-line volume control. In my use I separated the split cable up to the volume control so the audio and usb plug can be plugged at a longer distance from each other. Note that the speaker needs both cables plugged to play. The second photo I am attaching shows the close-up of the back and bottom of the speaker, as well as the cables. The cable is the thing I liked least about these speakers.

The base of the speaker is pretty heavy and is lined with soft felt-like material. The overall effect is that it minimizes vibrations at high volume as well as provides traction.

I received these speakers from the manufacture for testing and an honest review. I hope the video will help you see what to expect. I am impressed with these speakers - small speakers with a big sound!


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★




Friday, July 12, 2013

Product review: LUGULAKE Rechargeable Wireless Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse


I received a vertical mouse for evaluation and an honest review. The mouse was defective and had a short. I posted a 1 star review and notified the manufacture of the problem. Lugulake, the manufacture, asked me if I would be willing to test another mouse, and I agreed provided that any consumer reporting the same problem would be able to receive a replacement mouse free of cost. Lugulake confirmed that this is in fact is their policy.

The second mouse worked briefly and then stopped working as well.

I tested it both with Windows operating system and Linux operating system and it worked on both.

The mouse can operate in one of two modes:
1) using the batteries in the battery compartment
2) using USB cable (turning it into a wired mouse)

The mouse comes without a manual, but Amazon description contains some bare bones documentation. The Amazob description states that the USB cable is a charging cable. This description is somewhat ambiguous. It could mean that the mouse needs to connected to be used without batteries, or that the mouse has a built-in battery that would be charged by this cable. I left the mouse attached via this cable (with the batteries removed) for a number of hours and unless the cable remained attached to the computer the mouse did not function. The cable is 40 inches, which is a fairly short wire. I was able to use it with my laptop for testing, but not with my desktop where the distance between the case and my desk is larger than 40 inches. For comparison my old wired mouse has a wire that is 74 inches.

In both configuration you need to use the dongle in one of the USB 2.0 slots, so if you are using a USB cable you would need to dedicate two slots to the mouse. Using the mouse with the batteries is a lot more convenient. Note that the bottom of the mouse contains a small on/off switch. This switch needs to be turned on to use the mouse with the batteries.

This is my first encounter with a vertical mouse and I found it comfortable to hold. If you are a righty your thumb rests in an indention on the left hand side of the mouse, and the controls (buttons and the wheel) on the left hand side of the mouse, so the position of your wrist is different from a regular mouse. If you have issues using a regular mouse the ability to change the position of your hand is a good thing. I am attaching collage of several pictures which show me holding it. Note that if you are left-handed you need to order a mouse designed for a lefthander.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★☆☆☆☆



Monday, July 8, 2013

Book review: My Mother's Secret: Based on a True Holocaust Story, by J.L.Witterick

It is hard to get through this book without tears in your eyes. Once I started reading it I could not put it down.

The book is inspired by the story of Franciszka Halamajowa who saved fifteen Jews by hiding them in her house for 20 months. She also hid one young German soldier defector. Before World War II Polish town of Sokol had six thousand Jews, only 30 of them survived the war. Half of them were hidden in Franciszka house. One family was hidden in the pigsty, the second family in a hole dug in under the floor boards, and the young soldier was hiding in the tiny cubby hole in the attic. None of them knew of the others until the German soldiers left Sokol in 1944.

The story is intricately weaved together from different points of view. We hear about the same events from the point of view of Franciszka's daughter, then from the point of view of the people she saved.

Why did Franciszka do it? She had no special affinity with the Jewish people. She just did what felt right. She knew that if she did not do it they would be facing certain death. She had no special affinity to German soldiers, yet she knew the young German soldier who did not want to follow orders to kill Jews was also facing death. She was just doing the decent thing. How wonderful would the world be if every person just did the decent thing?

This is a wonderful book, well told and inspirational. I am grateful to the author for sending me a review copy of the book. It moved me!


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Product review: FRIEQ® New Conductive Fiber/Rubber Hybrid Stylus Pen for iPad Mini, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, Nexus 7, Galaxy S3

This stylus is 5.5" long, 1.25" in diameter at the grip point, 0.4 oz in weight. The tip of this stylus looks like a metal fiber mesh weaved into a rounded tip. In the past I have only used rubber tips. I use the stylus most for typing and editing text while on the road. It is much more precise than using a finger, and it works as well as the stylus I have used previously. This mesh tip worked precisely on Samsung Galaxy 7.7 screen (no screen protector). In my use I could not tell the difference between rubber tip and a metal fiber tip, but this pen is much better than using a finger tip.

I am attaching a collage of two photos (which can be located by following 'customer photos' link under the main photo) that I will be referencing in this review

✔ Sensitivity and performance of this stylus was very good. I most frequently use the stylus for typing and editing text, as it gives me best precision for positioning insertion point between characters. Photo #2 shows the pen in use.

✔ The I really like the grip of this stylus. The textured area is very grippy, so it does not slip out even when wearing gloves. I find the width of the stylus, the weight and the length of the stylus very comfortable to hold even when I used it for a long time. Photo #1 provides a close-up of the pen.

✔ It comes in several very attractive colors: cyan, magenta, black and silver.

✔ It has a clip, which allows me to clip the stylus while carrying it around. It does not get separated from my tablet in my purse, so it is there as soon as I need it.

Overall, I really like how this stylus fits and balances in my hand, and the how the grip feels under my fingers.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

I received a sample stylus for evaluation and an unbiased review.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Product review: Gurin Steam Inhaler

video


I got this steamer a few months ago and waited to write this review until I had a cold so I could evaluate if it helped my congestion. The inhaler provided some relief although the effect were fairly brief. In that sense it is similar to taking a hot shower: you feel better while you are in the shower and for a brief time afterwards. Note that I am comparing only the feeling, not the actual effect. The steamed shower has much more steam.

The documentation included with the unit was not totally clear on where you add water to the unit, and I made a video which shows how to add water and control the amount of steam the unit generates. The steam is easy to hear but hard to see, so in the video I used a mirror so you can see how steam fogs up the mirror.

The steam that this inhaler generates is fairly hot. I used the inhaler by hovering about 1 inch above the mask of the unit, not putting my face directly against it. The steam was not generated totally evenly, sometimes you could see and hear puffs of extra steam. Hovering 1 inch above gave me enough steam to make me feel better.

The neck of the unit can be extended about 1 inch to make the unit taller. I am fairly short so the distance to the unit felt quite comfortable for me. I suspect a taller person might want to put the unit on a couple of books rather then bend down towards it. Underneath the unit there is a plastic container with two compartments. One side can be used to add saline solution or aromatherapy. The other side collects any condensed steam.

I timed how long various stages of operation took. After I turned on the unit, the steam appeared in 1 minute. I was able to use the unit for 6 minutes until the inhaler ran out of water. I left the unit turned on and 1 minute after the last puff of steam escaped the inhaler automatically turned off. The automatic turn off is a good safety feature. When the unit is turned on the light on the front of the unit is turned on. When the auto shut of turned off the unit, I heard a click and the light on the front of the unit was turned off.

I was provided a sample for review, and I noted pluses and minuses of the unit to provide a fair and balanced review.

Overall, I found this inhaler helpful in easing my congestion and will use it again.
You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

DVD review: Orchestra of Exiles

When I finished watching this documentary the first time, I immediately restarted and watched it again, I liked it that much!

"Orchestra of Exiles" combines beautiful classical music background and a riveting true story told through archive films, interviews, and re-enactments.

This documentary film tells the story of great Polish violist Brawnislaw Huberman who in 1935 created Palestine Symphony Orchestra from the greatest Jewish musicians from Germany and Eastern Europe. It was clear to Huberman that all these people would be exterminated. By providing them a legal way to emigrate from their countries he saved them from Hitler and a certain death. Between 1935 and 1939 he saved almost 1000 Jews. He knew his selections were not just selections of musicians, he was a judge of who is going to live and who is going to die.

Huberman invited Toscanini, who at the time was a giant figure in music at the time, to be the first conductor of the orchestra. The story of how Toscanini interacted with the orchestra when they did speak the same language was amusing and enlightening. The orchestra was a tremendous success, not only because it brought together great musicians but because it brought peoples a feeling of victory over evil.

The documentary traces the lives of some of the musicians, their children, and grandchildren. It contains interviews, photos, movie clips, as well as re-enactments. Beautiful music is played through out this documentary.

It is a compelling story, which makes you feel proud of the human spirit and the power of music to unite people.

I am grateful to First Run Features for providing me a review copy of this DVD.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★