Saturday, November 30, 2013

Product review: Toddy Gear 5 x 7 Inch Premium Microfiber Smart Cloth


This cleaning cloth is generously sized 6 7/8" on one side and 5" on the other side. You get one cleaning cloth in the package. One side is terri-cloth like micro fiber, the other side is satiny cloth. It is machine washable.

Toddy cleaning cloths comes in many colorful designs. The design appears only on the satiny slipery side, the micro fiber side has a solid color.

I am attaching a photo collage which shows both sides, as well as in use cleaning glasses for relative size. The photo can be located by following 'customer photo' link under the main photo.

I received a sample cleaning cloth from the manufacture to share my opinion with it whether positive or negative.

Is it better than other less expensive micro-fiber cleaning cloth? No. But one side has a colorful print and you are paying premium price for the colorful design.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Product review: Ferry-Morse Annual Flower Seeds 1009 Annual Cut Flower Mixture 600 Milligram Packet

video
This was a disappointing purchase in several aspects.

First, the amount of seeds you get in the package is quite small. I am attaching a photo which shows the entire content of the package on a white sheet of paper (placed on 1 inch gridded mat for size reference).
My local nurseries sell this amount of seeds for around $1.

Second, three weeks after I planted the seeds, watered them daily, I have practically zero germination rate. I planted another bag of seeds in another flower bed at the same time and it has quite a few seedlings. Both areas were watered at the same time and are located in the same sunny area.

I am attaching a photo collage containing four photos (1) the seeds contained in this package (2) the back of the packet which shows different planting zones (3) Flower bed with Ferry Morse Flower Mix, you can see one tiny seedling in the middle of the flower bed (4) Another seed package planted at the same time totally brimming with seedlings of various size.

I can't recommend this flower seeds mix.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★☆☆☆☆

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Product review: Norpro 1059DB Norpro Garlic Peeler

video

This is as simple as a kitchen gadget gets. But it works! I am attaching a short video which shows the garlic peeler at work.

You need to roll a garlic clove inside the garlic peeler and then roll it with a palm of your hand. If you push a little harder you can smash the garlic as well as peel it. The garlic clove is peeled quickly and your hands are left clean and ordor free. I use a paper towel to clean the peeler between the cloves when needed so it is not slippery.

I also use this garlic peeler to open sticky bottle caps. Its textures surface grips very well and it is a little thicker than the other gripper cloth I have for opening caps, so I find that the garlic peeler gives my hands a slightly better protection.

The size of the peeler is 5" x 5".

I received this garlic peeler from the manufacture for testing and sharing my experience with it (good or bad) with other potential buyers. I hope the video gives you a good idea of what to expect.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Product review: Poweradd™ Pilot E2 12000mAh High Capacity Dual USB External Battery Pack

I tested Poweradd 12000mAh External Battery Pack with Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet (running ICS 4.0.4) and iPad Mini.

I received this power bank from the manufacture for an honest review be it positive or negative. Top reviewers are often asked to review battery packs and one of the benefits of being asked to test different power banks is that it gives me an opportunity to compare them to each other using the same charging test, so I can compare them 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. Based on these tests I rate this power bank as good - it is not the fastest but it has good capacity and performed equally well for both my Android and Apple mobile devices.

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. In addition I tested charging two mobile devices at the same time. Each line in the table below represents a separate 10 minute test.

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.

➨ General features:
======================

Poweradd 12000mAh external battery weighs 9.3 oz. Its size is 4.375" x 2.75" x 0.875". The pack has two USB output ports labelled 1A and 2.1A.

The external battery comes with coiled charging cable which is 7" when coiled and 4 connector tips (USB, micro USB, Apple, and one other which documentation does not identify and I don't recognize).

The power pack does not have auto power off. I left turned on and not attached to any device, 45 minutes later it was still on. Holding the button down for several seconds turns it off.

➨ Test Results:
======================

✔ Samsung Galaxy 7.7 tablet
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Port 1A ~~~~ AC ~~~~~ 3% change in charge in 10 minutes
Port 2.1A ~~ AC ~~~~~ 4% change in charge in 10 minutes

✔ iPad Mini tablet
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Port 1A ~~~~ AC ~~~~~ 2% change in charge in 10 minutes
Port 2.1A ~~ AC ~~~~~ 3% change in charge in 10 minutes

✔ Samsung Galaxy 7.7 tablet and iPad Mini tablet at the same time
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Port 1A ~~~~ AC ~~~~~ 3% change in charge in 10 minutes (Galaxy Tablet)
Port 2.1A ~~ AC ~~~~~ 2% change in charge in 10 minutes (iPad Mini)

Port 1A ~~~~ AC ~~~~~ 2% change in charge in 10 minutes (iPad Mini)
Port 2.1A ~~ AC ~~~~~ 3% change in charge in 10 minutes (Galaxy Tablet)

➨ Key finding:
======================
✔ This power pack performance falls in the middle of the power packs I have tested for both Galaxy 7.7 Tablet and iPad Mini. It is a good all purposes power pack that can handle both Android and Apple devices.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Friday, November 22, 2013

Product review: Metrokane Wine Rabbit Corkscrew with Houdini Aerating Pourer

video

After a couple of back surgeries my hand strength is pretty bad. When Metrokane asked me to test and review their Rabbit Corkscrew I eagerly agreed knowing I will be one of their weakling testers. I hoped for a magically easy bottle opener. I found that the initial push needed to pull the cork required more strength than I was able to provide and I was not able to do it. I decided that given my weak hands this was not a fair test of the Rabbit Corkscrew and I took it to a party where I asked a friend to open a bottle of wine using Rabbit Corkscrew while I recorded it.

✔ My friend was able to open the bottle of wine with a synthetic cork. As you see in the video it took a bit of work for the initial push and then was easy
✔ Releasing the cork from the corkscrew was easy by repeating the same motion as was used to open the bottle
✔ The foil remover got rave reviews - it was quick and easy and my friend asked me where she can get one of these
✔ The pourer/aerator was easy to use but not being wine connoisseurs our taste volunteers were not able to detect the difference between wine poured with it and without it
✔ The package comes with a spare worm, so if the original wears out or gets bent you have another one without having to buy it

Rabbit Corkscrew comes with a 10 year warranty. The warranty applies if Rabbit Corkscrew pull fails within 10 years of purchase. It can be returned for repair or replacement to Metrokane using the following address:

Metrokane
150 East 58th Street
New York, NY 10155

I hope the video gives you a good idea of what expect.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Product review: Epica Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Digital Radio, Flashlight, Cell Phone Charger

video

I live in a tree dense area and lose power often during various storms. In the last few years I have been without power for 3 to 6 days several times. At times like that this emergency radio/flashlight would have been very handy.

This unit is unique because it has three sources of energy:

✔ USB which can be used to quickly recharge it
✔ Solar which can recharge it when there is sun
✔ Manual crank, where 1 minute of cranking will provide 30 minutes of light or 20 minutes of radio power

In the attached video I show various features of this emergency radio/flashlight. I was impressed that it gets fairly decent reception.

The Epica unit in addition to being a radio with FM/AM/WB bands also a flash light and can serve as an external power bank for brief charging of a cell phone (i.e. it will not fully recharge it, but will give it enough juice to make an emergency phone call). The radio has auto-tune capability. When you press and briefly hold ">" button it will scan until it finds the next adequate radio signal.

The radio is 5" by 3" by 1.75" in size, weighs 8.4 oz.

It has a handy handle so you can hold it on clip it as needed. It is water resistant and can be used in the rain or in a water craft, but it should not be submerged in water. Maintenance recommendation from the manufacture is to crank the handle for a few moments and turn on the flashlight for 5 seconds every 60 to 90 days if the unit is stored without use for several months. Manufacture states that battery life expectancy is more than 3 years and more than 5000 charging cycles (with 3 hours of daily use).

Overall, I am impressed with the radio reception I got. The flashlight is not the brightest flashlight I own but it is adequate. Cranking is not hard, and true to advertising 1 minute of cranking gave me about 30 minutes of light. I am feeling better about the next long power outage, and would recommend this unit to others. I hope my video gives you a good idea of what to expect.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Monday, November 18, 2013

Product review: Palm Pearl PowerBank - The Portable Power Source 4000mAh


There are many external packs on the market, many of them are very similar to each other. This power pack has several unique features.

✔ It is all-in-one charger, meaning it has built-in cables. You don't need to worry that you forget to bring a charging cable when you travel, and you don't need to deal with a table of wires.

✔ On the negative side if these cables are not the right cables for your device, you are stuck as there is no option to plug in your own cable.
The charger has three built-in charging cables one for micro USB, mini USB, and iPad. It has no lightning connector for iPad Mini, it has no Galaxy tab connector.
It has no outlets to attach a charging cable of your own or change connector tips.

✔ The charging cables are very short. Three of the 4 cables are 1/2" long (3 USB cables), and iPad cable is 1.25". The cables cannot be expanded.
I found them a bit cumbersome to work with due to short length.

✔ Palm charger has a unique shape with nicely sloped edges, it reminds me of a flying saucer shape. The charger is fairly small in size in size (2.5" by 3.5") and weights only 4.1 oz.

✔ Finally, the charging speed of this external power is very slow, it can only provide USB level of charge, none of my devices were able to get AC level which is the case with almost every other external power brick I have tested.
I tested this power pack with 5 mobile devices we own: Nexus 7 Tablet, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Pyle Tablet, Samsung Galaxy 7.7 tablet, and iPad Mini tablet. This test shows that this external power pack performed below average compared to other power packs I have tested. Results of my tests are below.

Top reviewers are often asked to review battery packs and one of the benefits of being asked to test different power banks is that it gives me an opportunity to compare them to each other using the same charging test, so I can compare them to each other using "apples to apples" comparison. 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. In addition I tested charging two mobile devices at the same time. Each line in the table below represents a separate 10 minute test. 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.

➨ Test Results:
======================

✔ Nexus 7 Tablet
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
➨ USB level of charge.......+1 % charge in 10 minutes

✔ Samsung Galaxy Nexus Phone
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
➨ USB level of charge.......0 % charge in 10 minutes (+1% charge in 20 minutes)

✔ Pyle Tablet
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
➨ USB level of charge.......0 % charge in 10 minutes (-1% charge in 20 minutes)

✔ Samsung Galaxy 7.7 tablet
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
➨ Not supported

✔ iPad Mini tablet
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
➨ Not supported

For comparison, the fastest chargers in my tests provide 5-6% in a 10 minute. 3%-4% up charge in 10 minute is fairly common.

I received this power bank from the manufacture for an honest review be it positive or negative. In fact, they specifically interested in what could be improved in the next version of the product.
Here is my wish list:

✔ I would like the charger to provide AC level of charging.
✔ I would like to see a change to replaceable charging tip so the charger can be used with a larger variety of devices.
✔ I would like to see the cable be retractable, so they can be made longer during use and retracted for storage.

I am attaching a collage of 3 photos which shows the charger on 1" gridded mat for size reference. Photo #1 shows the charger with cables extended and cover closed, photo #2 shows the charger with cables extended and cover open, photo #3 shows the charger during one of the tests. The photos can be located by following 'customer photos' link under the main photo.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Product review: V7 Edge Backpack for 17.3-Inch Laptop (CBD2-9N)


V7 backpack is very roomy and has a nice number of pockets. When I travel for work I often need to lug more than one laptop with me. This backpack fits two laptops and all their cords and power supplies comfortably, leaving room for a good number of personal items as well. The backpack will fit laptops with screens up to 17.3".

I am attaching a collage of several photos showing different compartments of the backpack. These photos can be located by following a link 'customer photos' under the main photo of this listing.

Photo #1 shows the main compartment. It has a divider and Velcro to hold a laptop, and as you can see I was able to fit one laptop in that compartment and another next to it.
Photo #2 shows the back of the backpack. It has a lot of padding and wide straps with a lot of room for expansion. The handle is very well padded feels well attached to the backpack.
Photo #3 shows the front, which has additional four compartments (three zipped).
Photo #4 is the view from the top of the two main compartments, unzipped
Photo #5 show the sides of the backpack, each side has an elastic pocket that can hold a water bottle or glasses.

I was supplied a sample for testing and an honest review, be it positive or negative.

I really like this backpack. It is roomy, comfortable, and solidly built. This backpack is made in China and has a lifetime warranty.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Product review: Bolse® AON5 11000mAh 5 USB Port 5.9Amp External Battery Pack

I tested Bolse® AON5 11000mAh External Battery Pack with Samsung Galaxy 7.7 Tablet (ICS 4.0.4) and iPad Mini.

I received this power bank from the manufacture for an honest review be it positive or negative. One of the benefits of being requested to test different power banks is that it gives me an opportunity to compare them to each other using the same charging test, so I can compare them 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. They can also help to do comparison shopping when selecting a power pack that works best your device.

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. In addition I tested charging two mobile devices at the same time. Each line in the table below represents a separate 10 minute test.

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.

➨ Key finding:
======================
✔ I found that this power pack worked much better with my Samsung Galaxy tablet than it did with iPad Mini.

➨ General features:
======================

Bolse® AON5 11000mAh external battery weighs 10.1 oz, the power supplies weights 3.4 oz. Its size is 5" x 3" x 0.75". It has five USB ports labelled 1 through 5.

The external battery comes with 8 connectors for mobile devices. Neither my iPad Mini nor Samsung Galaxy had a connector that fit and I use my own charging cords.

The package also includes a coiled charging cable.

It comes with a nice nylon carrying pouch, which fits the battery and tips. However it does not fit the AC adapter. It would be nice if everything could be kept together in one carrying bag.

This power pack looks good - slick black package with pretty blue LEDs indicating the charge level of the external battery. I am attaching a photo of the Bolse pack during one of the test next to my tablet for size reference. You can find this photo by following 'customer photos' link under the main photo in this listing.

From Manufactures booklet contains the specs for each port, in the table below you can see how my devices behaved on each of these ports. As you can see I got excellent performance from my Samsung Android tablet on every port, and got ok performance from iPad Mini on Ports 2,3,4.

Port 1: 5V / 1.3A...(MAX).....For Samsung Devices
Port 2: 5V / 2.1A...(MAX).....For Apple iPad
Port 3: 5V / 1A.....(MAX).....For iPhones, iPad
Port 4: 5V / 1A.....(MAX).....For iPhones, iPad
Port 5: 5V / 0.5A...(MAX).....Other mobile devices

➨ Test Results:
======================

✔ Samsung Galaxy 7.7 tablet
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Port 1 ~~ AC ~~~~~ 5% change in charge in 10 minutes
Port 2 ~~ AC ~~~~~ 6% change in charge in 10 minutes
Port 3 ~~ AC ~~~~~ 5% change in charge in 10 minutes
Port 4 ~~ AC ~~~~~ 5% change in charge in 10 minutes
Port 5 ~~ AC ~~~~~ 5% change in charge in 10 minutes

✔ iPad Mini tablet
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Port 1 ~~ AC ~~~~~ 0% change in charge in 10 minutes
Port 2 ~~ AC ~~~~~ 4% change in charge in 10 minutes
Port 3 ~~ AC ~~~~~ 2% change in charge in 10 minutes
Port 4 ~~ AC ~~~~~ 2% change in charge in 10 minutes
Port 5 ~~ AC ~~~~~ 0% change in charge in 10 minutes

✔ iPad Mini tablet and iPad Mini tablet at the same time
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Port 1 ~~ AC ~~~~~ 3% change in charge in 10 minutes (Galaxy Tablet)
Port 3 ~~ AC ~~~~~ 2% change in charge in 10 minutes (iPad Mini)

➨ Key finding:
======================
✔ This power pack performed above average for Galaxy 7.7 Tablet on all 5 ports and an OK performance for iPadMini on three ports designated for iPad devices.

I give this power pack 5 star for Android devices and 4 stars for Apple devices. If you are looking for a power battery pack for iPadMini and speed of charging is important to you you might want to look at Bolse® AON2 (ASIN B00CXAD9WG), which showed 5%-6% charge for iPadMini in a 10 minutes test.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Product review: TUDIA 3.1A / 15W (2.1A + 1.0A) Dual Port USB Car Charger


I tested TUDIA USB Car Charger with Nexus 7 Tablet and Samsung Galaxy Nexus cell phone. The charger provides a total of 3.1A, 2.1A on one port and 1.0A on the second port.

I received this car charger from the manufacture with a request for an honest review be it positive or negative. One of the benefits of being requested to test different car chargers that it gives me an opportunity to compare them to each other using the same charging test, so I can compare them using "apples to apples" comparison. These test provide unbiased results as the numbers speak for the performance of each unit. My tests show that this charger performed above average compared with the other car chargers I have tested. You will find the details of my tests below.

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

The charger has two ports labeled "1.0A" and "2.1A".

The table below summarizes my findings:

Nexus 7 Tablet
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1.0A port.........AC power source.....4% change in charge in 10 minutes
2.1A port.........AC power source.....2% change in charge in 10 minutes

Samsung Galaxy Nexus Phone
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1.0A port.........AC power source.....4% change in charge in 10 minutes
2.1A port.........AC power source.....3% change in charge in 10 minutes

➨ To summarize:
======================
✔ The charger has a good firm fit in the car charging port. It did not wobble or became dislodged on bumpy roads.
✔ This charger had one of the best performances in car chargers that I have tested

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Product review: Epica Stainless Steel Electric Citrus Juicer

video

This juicer makes orange juice just the way I like it with a just bit orange pulp. It is easy to use and quick to clean. I have to admit drinking a lot more orange juice since I got it.

The video shows the juicer in use. I am not applying much pressure yet the fruit is totally juiced. The juice is squeezed directly into a cup. The flow is controlled by a spout which can be lifted up to stop the flow of juice. Before you remove the cup remember to tip the spout up to stop the drip. I forgot to do it during the video, so you can see what happens if you do not. Puddles!

The Epica Stainless Steel Electric Citrus Juicer looks nice and works for any citrus. It comes with two cone reamers a large one for oranges and grapefruits, and a small one for lemons. The two cones fit into each other and you can use the orange cone without removing the lemon cone, which is what I do. This way I know I will not lose the lemon reamer which I use less often.

The clean up is very easy if you do it right away before the juice dries up and becomes sticky. The manufacturer does not recommend washing the removable parts of the juicer in a dishwasher.

The cord can be stored under the juicer but it is a bit time consuming to do so I just loop the cord around the body of the juicer, since I use it every day and want the set up to be quick and easy.

I received this juicer from the manufacture for an honest review, positive or negative. I have been using this juicer every day for 2 weeks, I encountered no problems, and I really like it. I hope the video will give you a good idea of what to expect.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Friday, November 8, 2013

Product review: V7 32GB MicroSDHC Class 4 Flash Memory Card with SD Adapter (VAMSDH32GCL4R)

video

My V7 microSDHC memory card has 8 GB capacity. This capacity allows you to store 1354 photos each one is 12 MegaPixels or 63 minutes of 13 Mpbps HD video. The memory card has a 5 year limited warranty.

I testd both the microSDHC card directly and the microSDHC with SD sleeve.

I measured the performance of V7 microSDHC memory card with several utilities and found its speed reasonable. It falls in the mid range of various memory cards I have tested in the past, it is neither the slowest nor the fastest.

To test various memory cards I run the same set of tests so I can compare them to each in "apples to apples" comparison, this way if some unit does not perform well I notice it by comparing it to other devices I have tested. My test consist of copying a large set of mp3 files totalling 638916 Megabytes.

V7 microSDHC write performance:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
✔ 1.654s (cpu) 2:37.83 (clock time)

V7 microSDHC with sleeve write performance:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
✔ 1.437s (cpu) 2:40.11 (clock time)

For comparison I including numbers for copying the same set of files to SanDisk USB2 memory stick, Transcent microSDHC class 6 card, to hard disk of my computer,

✔ Transcent microSDHC : 1.482s (CPU time), 1:33.97 (clock time)
✔ SanDisk USB2: 1.358s (CPU time), 1:23.53 (clock time)
✔ Hard Drive: 0.573s (CPU time), 0:00.58 (clock time)

For read performance test I use Linux Disk Utility Benchmarks.

V7 SDHC Read-only performance:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
✔ Minimum read rate 19.1 MB/s
✔ Maximum read rate 22.3 MB/s
✔ Average read rate 21.9 MB/s
✔ Average access time 0.9 ms

V7 SDHC with sleeve Read-only performance:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
✔ Minimum read rate 14.9 MB/s
✔ Maximum read rate 22.2 MB/s
✔ Average read rate 19.3 MB/s
✔ Average access time 1.0 ms

The only small negative I have to say that the packaging of the card does not include a plastic case which is included with some other cards. I like having a spare memory card when I travel and find these cases pretty handy.

I was supplied a sample for testing and an honest review, be it positive or negative.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Product review: Metrokane Wine Rabbit Corkscrew with Houdini Aerating Pourer

video


After a couple of back surgeries my hand strength is pretty bad. When Metrokane asked me to test and review their Rabbit Corkscrew I eagerly agreed knowing I will be one of their weakling testers. I hoped for a magically easy bottle opener. I found that the initial push needed to pull the cork required more strength than I was able to provide and I was not able to do it. I decided that given my weak hands this was not a fair test of the Rabbit Corkscrew and I took it to a party where I asked a friend to open a bottle of wine using Rabbit Corkscrew while I recorded it.

✔ My friend was able to open the bottle of wine with a synthetic cork. As you see in the video it took a bit of work for the initial push and then was easy
✔ Releasing the cork from the corkscrew was easy by repeating the same motion as was used to open the bottle
✔ The foil remover got rave reviews - it was quick and easy and my friend asked me where she can get one of these
✔ The pourer/aerator was easy to use but not being wine connoisseurs our taste volunteers were not able to detect the difference between wine poured with it and without it
✔ The package comes with a spare worm, so if the original wears out or gets bent you have another one without having to buy it

Rabbit Corkscrew comes with a 10 year warranty. The warranty applies if Rabbit Corkscrew pull fails within 10 years of purchase. It can be returned for repair or replacement to Metrokane using the following address:

Metrokane
150 East 58th Street
New York, NY 10155

I hope the video gives you a good idea of what expect.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Monday, November 4, 2013

Product review: V7 Wireless Optical Mobile Blue Trace Mouse

video

I spend almost the entire day with a mouse in my hand, so I am very sensitive to the mouse shape. When I shop for a mouse the shape of the mouse and how it fits into my hand is the most important selection criteria. When I received an offer from V7 to test and review several of their mice I decided to do a comparison review of the differences between the different V7 mice, including photos of how they fit into my hand so it might be easier to make the selection without being able to try them out.

In this review I am comparing two optical wireless three button mice: Blue Trace Mobile mouse and LED Mobile mouse.

✔ Blue Trace Mouse is 4.25 inches long, 2.125" inches wide at the top, 1.125" height at its tallest point.
✔ LED Mouse is 4 inches long, 2.25" inches wide at the top, 1.125" height at its tallest point.

Both mice felt very comfortable in my hand. I liked their profile which is fairly flat. They are responsive without being too jumpy. Blue Trace mouse runs on one AA battery (included), LED Mouse runs on two AAA batteries (included). Both mice have a switch on the bottom of the mouse that allows the mouse to be to turned off, so battery does not drain when the mouse is not in use. Both mice operate with a Nano receiver that plugs in into the PC/laptop USB port, or if it is not in use it can be stored inside of the mouse in its battery compartment.

The top of the Blue Trace Mouse goes all the way to the desk, the LED mouse ends 1/2 inch above the desk. I find Blue Trace mouse to be slightly more comfortable in my hand because of this difference, I can feel the edge of the LED mouse inside of my palm.

I tested the mice in Windows and Linux, and both operating systems operated with mouse with the native drivers, they required no software installations.

Blue Trace Mouse uses laser tracking and works on many different surfaces, not just a mouse pad. I tested it on wood and paper with excellent results. LED mouse behaved flawless on a mouse pad, but was a little harder to control on a wood surface. I liked that the scroll wheel can be used to scroll up and down as well as side to side. Both mice have 1600 dpi with HD sensors so they work precisely on high-resolution wide screen displays. The buttons work for both lefties and righties, as these mice have ambidextrous design. Both mice come with a 3 year warranty.

For visual comparison I am attaching a photo which shows V7 Blue Trace Mouse and V7 LED mouse flanked by two Logitech mice I use. In photo #1 and #2 left to right are Logitech RM67A, V7 Blue Trace mouse, V7 LED mouse and Logictech M305. I show the pictures from the side and from the above to demonstrate the profile of the mouse. Photos #4 and #5 show the V7 Blue Trace Mouse in my hand. Photos #5 and #6 show the V7 LED mouse in my hand.

I like the mice without a pronounced hump so I found both of these mice very comfortable to use. I now use Blue Trace mouse on daily basis and would recommend both of these mice to others.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Product review: XBOOM Mini Portable Capsule Speake

video

XBOOM speaker is 3.5" tall when extended, and can be collapsed into a 2" ball when not in use. It weighs in at 3.5 oz. Its small size makes a perfect companion.

The speaker comes with split cable - one part of it is a charging cable (6.5 inches long) the other part is an audio cable (23.5 inches). The charging cable is quite short, but it does not have to be attached when the speaker is playing. This speaker can be daisy changed to another speaker, it has a built in audio cable to connect multiple speakers to each other.

The package also includes is a cloth pouch we can be used the keep the speaker in its cable together so they don't get separated.

I am attaching a video which has several short snippets of music to demonstrate the speaker's sound. As one of the top reviewers I get asked to test and review a fairly large number of speakers. This allows me to compare a large number of speakers to each other. To help me make an unbiased comparison I always use the same two pieces of music to test the speakers, so I can compare them using "apples-to-apples" comparison. As a stress test for the bass I use Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor. The second piece of music (Tchaikovsky) does not have a lot bass and allows me to test the mid-range. XBOOM speaker did well on the mid-tone test, it did break up a bit in a bass range, but it did better than a number of other small speaker which could not handle Toccata's bass at all.

In the video I switch between the tablet's built-in speaker and XBOOM speaker so you can compare the sound. You can hear that the speaker produce the sound that is richer, fuller, and louder sound the the built-in speaker.

I received XBOOM speaker and XBOOM CERAMIC speaker from the manufacture for testing. I found that the XBOOM speaker performed somewhat better than XBOOM CERAMIC speaker at the bass range. I am posting reviews for both of these speakers so you can compare the audio clips I posted if you are trying to decide between these two speakers. I hope the video will give you a good idea of what to expect.

Based on other speakers of similar size/price I rated these speaker as good (4 stars). The XBOOM CERAMIC speaker performed well with music without strong base as well as when I listened to spoken human voice (e.g. news), bass did not sound as well but not terrible.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆