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Monday, June 30, 2014

Product review: J&S Dental Lab Professional Grade Custom Made Soft Night Guard Upper for Light Teeth Grinding


My dentist told me that I am a mild tooth grinder. This is my first night guard. I was told that most people who grind their teeth usually prefer wearing upper night guard especially for those who wear it for the first time.

First, I received the impression kit. The kit comes with three trays from small to large and two patty bags that need to be mixed before taking an impression. The instruction were simple and clearly explain what I needed to do. I had to select the tray that fit my mouth best, then mix the putty (taking no more than 30 seconds to do it), then put it my mouth, push it up with my fingers holding in that position for 3-4 minutes.

When I initially put the tray in my mouth there was a bit of a gag reflex which quickly settled. Since you cannot swallow for 4 minutes you will drool so have a towel handy. Getting the mold out was a little hard, but it came out cleanly not leaving any gunk on my teeth.

The original box came with a pre-paid return box that I used to ship back the impression. I mailed mine on May 19, received the guard back on May 30, and has been using it for three weeks prior to writing this review.

It takes a while to get used to wearing a night guard. The first time I put it in I had a strong gag reflex. The same thing happened the second time. On the third time I could wear it for a few minutes and then had to take it out. It took a good week of every day "practice" before I could tolerate the night guard enough to actually wear it to bed.

Because the night guard is made from the impression of my teeth it fits me very well, I feel it but it is not tight and it does not fall out. I am still aware of the night guard being there, but I no longer gag every time I put it in.

I keep the night guard clean by rinsing it every morning and periodically brushing it with a toothbrush and toothpaste.

This night guard is provided by JS Dental. Note that JS Dental told me that they do not do upper guards for people who have missing or loose teeth in the upper, for those people they recommend lower night guards or none at all. When there is a missing or loose tooth the night guard fitting is compromised and it might do more harm than produce benefits.

Night guards are not fun, but if you grind your teeth they can to prevent tooth damage. If you need a night guard this one fits well.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★



Saturday, June 28, 2014

Product review: Ouddy Steel Can Opener


This is a surprisingly heavy can opener, it weights 11.6 oz.

Its construction is different from my other mechanical can openers. It opens flat as you can see in the video. This has its pluses and minuses. The positive is that it is very easy to clean well. The negative is that it is harder to position correctly on the can, and when I use I sometimes have to reposition it several time which generates an uneven edge. My other mechanical can openers hang on to the edge of the can better when I rotate the spindle.

The teeth of the can opener is made out of stainless steel, the rest is made out steel alloy. This can opener is not magnetic, so it is probably steel/nickel alloy. As you see in the video the teeth of the can opener are pretty sharp and once you have it in position it cuts easily. It is not as comfortable in my hand as my Kitchen Aid mechanical can opener.

Cleaning the can opener is super easy. Because it opens flat it is very easy to use a brush to clean the the teeth of the can opener that catch food remnants. Since this can opener is not made entirely out of stainless steel I wash it by hand and dry immediately.

Overall, best feature is how it opens up for cleaning, weakest feature is weight distribution. I wish the handles were longer. The can opener feels top heavy when I use it and longer handles would have made it more comfortable to hold.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Product review: Satechi RideMate USB Rechargeable Bicycle Taillight


My bike's tail light is a reflector. I decided that will be a nice safety upgrade and it is!

This taillight has three modes bright steady red light, dim steady red light, and flashing red light.

♦ Bright steady light functions three hours on one charge
♦ Dim steady light functions six hours on one charge
♦ Flashing light functions six hours on one charge

The taillight recharges in 2.5 hours. When you plug it in the red light turns on and when it is fully charged the red light turns off. The charging cable is a little difficult to insert as the bracket for mounting makes it a bit difficult to insert the cable straight down, so just make sure that the red light charging indicator turns on to indicate that proper contact has been made.

The mounting bracket is made out of rubber and it is easy to mount and get a good fit. Since it is rubber it is not going to scratch the bike finish.

This taillight is bright and very noticable. A good safety feature!


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Product review: Zeetron Ultra Compact Emergency Keychain Usb Cable



This gizmo is pretty neat! It is very compact (1 7/8" x 1 1/4" x 1/4") plastic case which can be threaded on your keychain. It gives you 3.25" USB cord.

Sure, it is small and cute, but does it work well as a micro USB cable? Yes.

I used the current monitor to see how well this cable chargers my Samsung Nexus phone. This cable provided 0.96A and 5.10V.

I test all my chargers and cables with the current monitor, running the tests starting with the same charge level of the phone to account for non-linear charging. My favorite charging cables using the same phone and the same charger gives me 0.98A - 1.02A. So this little cable comes very close to being as good as my best cables.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Product review: Satechi RideMate 2500mAh Portable Energy Station 500 lumen Bicycle Light



This is a bright light with 4 different light modes. It is designed to work a forward facing bike light. But the stand is removable and it can be used a powerful hand held flash light as well. It also works as an external power bank when needed.

The button closest to the rider is is the on/off button, the button closest to the light head changes the mode from bright to low to flashing light. To turn on the light you need to press the Power button first then press the Function button to turn on the LEDs. This is because the Power button powers both the LED and power bank. The power bank is operational after the initial Power button push.

Four lighting modes:
♦ High powered beam lasts 2 hours on one charge
♦ Medium powered beam lasts 4 hours on one charge
♦ Low powered beam lasts 8 hours on one charge
♦ Flash mode lasts 120 hours on one charge
♦ The beam has upper cut-off so it does not blind on-coming traffic

The light is water resistant when the charging ports cap is closed. It is not water resistant when the light is being charged or when the light is used as an emergency charger. As a charger it provides 1A of current, which works well for MP3 player and Android phones, but a underpowered for Apple devices (this means it will charger them slowly).

The light is easy to mount, its bracket adjust to bar from 1" to 1.25". The light feels high quality. The mounting bracket is plastic. It feels solid, but plastics gets britle in the sun so if the bicycle is left in the sun when not in use, I remove the bracket when taking the unit to get re-charge. It is easy to reinstall and not leaving it the sun I hope will prolong its life.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Friday, June 20, 2014

Product review: Rocketek LED Illuminated Backlight Keyboard - Programmable Gaming Keyboard


My computer desk has a keyboard tray so the physical size of the keyboard is very important for me to have a good fit next to the mouse pad, so I will start with dimensions:

Rocketek keyboard is 19 inches wide, 9 inches front to back, 1 inches thick at the tallest part (in the back). It weights 2 pound and 10.5 oz. This is a wired keyboard with a 60" cloth covered cord.

In the attached video I show this keyboard next to a regular sized DELL keyboard. DELL is 1 inch wider, and 2 inches shorter front to back.

Rocketek keyboard has a large number of programmable keys and a big knob at the keyboard that can control keyboard illumination. The light comes from between the keys and it can be totally turned off. The video includes the keyboard with the light at its maximum and turned way down (but not totally off).

The keyboard has a nice heavy feel. The keyboard feedback felt a little spongy to me, but I like the feedback of an old mechanical keyboard that's why I keep using my old DELL keyboard. It has built-in wrist rests which I did not particularly liked, but they don't interfere with typing just take up a bit of extra room.

The description of this keyboard says it is Windows compatible, but I am using it with Linux without any problems, including setting up programming of the special M function keys.

To program M function keys:
♦ To start definition of the key hit "Mr" key on the left
♦ Hit the M key want to program, say M1, the special <-> on the left hand start will blink slowly indicating you are in the recording mode
♦ Enter the sequence of keys you want to be played out next time you hit M (stands for Macro) key
♦ Hit Mr key again
♦ <-> light will blink quickly several time and turn off
♦ Hit your newly defined key, M1, and you will see the sequence of keystrokes played out

Overall, pretty good keyboard with a standard key layout. All special keys are above so they don't interfere with anything I do as a touch typist.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Product review: Jumbl Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner


The first steam cleaner I received did not work. By reading other reviews I saw that I needed to push on/off button on the side which the manual does not mention and then use the steam button on the handle, but on the first model the on/off button had no effect. The replacement unit I received works fine. By comparison when I pushed the on/off button on the second unit it immediately began making noise indicating that the steamer is doing something.

As I mentioned earlier the instructions are not clear on how to turn on the unit. The instructions refers to the button on the side as "calcium removal button", but it is also an on/off button. It needs to be pressed in order for the steam button on the handle to work. Once the button on the side is pushed then you need to slide the steam button located on the handle. The on/off button can be also pumped on/off on/off to remove calcium build up.

Jumbl steamer generates quite a bit of steam. It takes it a few seconds to get going but when it does the steam is stronger than my old hand held steamer. It should be noted that the steam continues to blow for about 5-6 seconds after I turned off the steam button. Be careful not to burn yourself and give the steam time to escape. This long steam action caught me by surprised the first time I used the steamer.

The steamer comes with with several nozzle heads: steam nozzle, ironing nozzle with a brush, round brush nozzle, and fiber cloth cover. A small squeegee is also included in the package. This squeegee does not attach to the steamer but can be used together with the steam for glass cleaning. The steam cleaner has a fairly long (114 inches) cord that gives me a good range for cleaning without moving the plug.

In attached video I included cleaning of bathroom sink with 1 week worth of mess in it, including dried up toothpaste. Everything came off with steam, no cleaning solution was needed.

I rate this steamer as "okay". The second steam cleaner works well, it was easy to assemble, the steam flow is strong, a long cord makes it easy to use without needing to move the plug. On the negative, the first steamer was defective and I don't like how long the steam continues to blow after the steam button is turned off.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

Product review: Mpow® Streambot Y Wireless Bluetooth FM Transmitter Radio Adapter Handsfree Car Kit


Mpow Streambot Y FM transmitter allows you to transmit sound from your mobile devices to your car stereo if it does not have a built-in bluetooth. To start the transmission you need to find a vacant station on your FM dial and then tune both the car the Mpow transmitter to that station. To find vacant FM stations in my area I used a web site "radio-locator (dot) com/cgi-bin/vacant" where you can enter your zip code and get a list of stations to try. This web site ranks vacant stations as "best", "great" and "good". Their suggestion worked well for me, the first station are tried gave me a clear reception.

To change what station is tuned on the transmitter you need to rotate the ring on the transmitter. The bluetooth operated smoothly and connected to my iPad Mini without any problems. You can see this transmitter in action in attached video.

Mpow FM transmitter has a USB port. This port can be used for a pass through charging. Since the Mpow transmitter is using the car outlet pass port allows me to run another device from the same car port, for example, to power a GPS without a splitter.

Overall I am very pleased. This transmitter has not lost the transmission when I drive even over some bumpy road.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Product review: Ogio Brooklyn Women's Purse



What a great bag! First, I love the cobalt color. It matches many of my things and it looks really nice. Second, I love all the compartments. There are three main compartments and 4 small pockets.

♦ The purse is 11" long (measured from top to bottom in the middle). It is 12.5 wide (side to side). It is 4" deep.
♦ The inside the bag there are three main compartments. One of them is padded and zipped. It could be used for a tablet, or for things you want to keep from flying around in the purse. The two open compartments are equal in size (11" long x 12.5" wide x 2" in depth)
♦ In addition one side a large zipped side pocket (9" wide), and the one one has 2 small open pockets plust 2 pen holders.
♦ It also has a "hidden" zipped compartment under the buttons on the front. I call it hidden because the buttons are pretty fussy to open, so I only put things in that pocket that I don't use all the time.
♦ The strap is 41" long and 1.75" wide in the most narrow part at the top. It is nice and comfortable and spreads the weight of the purse well on my shoulder. It also feels comfortable when I hung it across the body.

The inside lining is white with colorful dots. This is the only thing I wish was different. It is pretty but from the practical point of view I wish it had a darker lining so it does show the dirt.

I love this bag and I use it pretty much all the time.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Monday, June 16, 2014

Product review: Rocketek 6-Port USB Charger with Smart-chip Technology



We own a number of mobile devices from different manufactures, we have Android devices, Apple devices, Samsung devices. In the past I often observed different behavior for the same device on different ports. Google (starting with Jelly Bean 4.21) figured out the Apple protocol and starting with that release is able to draw the optimal charge on ports designed for Apple. My Nexus devices work well on ports, but the same is not true for my Apple devices and my older Samsung Tablet.

And now we see that some of the better chargers are beginning to add intelligent technology to the chargers so can figure out the optimal protocol to use for each device on any port. Rocketeck with Smart-chip Technology is one of the chargers that attempts to negotiate the right charging protocol for each device it is talking to, so it can provide the optimal current for every device on every port. Is it successful? My devices say "yes".

I tested both Rocketek using a current monitor and three mobile devices Nexus Phone, iPad Mini, and and Samsung Galaxy Tablet. The performance on every port was excellent. It provided each mobile device the optimal maximum current and thus charged them very quickly. Detailed current monitor readings are included below for those who are interested.

Rocketeck 6 port charger comes with a 40 inch cord and a regular sized plug. I was able to replace several chargers that took up many slots on my power strip with one regular size plug which is connected to this 6 port USB charger. I am always running out of slots on my power strips so this charging station a big space saver for me.

The charger's size is 7"L x 2.125"W x 1.25"H. The slots are positioned on the top, which I find very convenient.

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

The performance on all ports was consistent and optimal for each device I have charged. 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, 5.16V
Port 2: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.94A, 5.19V
Port 3: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.98A, 5.17V
Port 4: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.95A, 5.13V
Port 5: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.96A, 5.16V
Port 6: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.94A, 5.13V

✔ iPad Mini Tablet
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Port 1: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.70A, 5.08V
Port 2: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.66A, 4.99V
Port 3: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.67A, 5.08V
Port 4: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.67A, 5.06V
Port 5: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.64A, 5.03V
Port 6: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.69A, 5.01V

✔ Samsung Galaxy Tablet
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Port 1: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.37A, 5.15V
Port 2: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.38A, 5.16V
Port 3: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.35A, 5.17V
Port 4: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.37A, 5.15V
Port 5: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.35A, 5.12V
Port 6: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.38A, 5.15V

I really like this charger. It charges all devices with optimal speed and I like that it takes up just one slot on my power strip.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Product review: Pyle PSCHD90BK eXpo Hi-Res Mini Action Video Camera with 20 Mega Pixel Camera


This tiny camera has some very interesting features and the video quality is quite good. My video includes video shot by camera as well as the video of the camera itself.

♦ The unique feature that none of my other cameras have is an option to have video capture activated by motion. Since the camera comes with a waterproof case this is a neat feature for capturing wild life by leaving the camera outside. If you want to leave it on for a long time, you need to set "auto shut off" setting to off (the options are 3 min, 5 mins, 10 mins, off). This camera also has an opton for time lapse photography.

♦ The camera has a wide angle fixed size lens. There is no ZOOM capability. Because the lens is pretty wide the resulting video has a lot of distortion. What I mean by distortion is that the lines that were in reality straight and parallel may now look curved and converging. In the video you can see pictures taken with a 1" grid as a background which will give you a good idea of the lens distortion. This distortion happens in any wide angle lens so this is not a problem with this camera, I am just setting the expectations.

♦ Expo camera is very small, it is only 2.25"L x 1.75"W x 1"H (body only) or 1.5" (including the lens) in size. It weighs slightly over 2 oz.

♦ The camera requires an micro SD card to run. The Micro SD card is not included and needs to be purchased separately.

♦ The screen of the camera is not touch sensitive. To control the camera you have 4 buttons on top of the camera, and on button on the side. The function of each button changes depending what mode you are in. The button on the side is on/off as well as OK to select menu items. The buttons on top the right select camera or video, or navigate up and down the menus. The two buttons on the left allows you navigate through the menu, and a long push on left button puts you in the settings mode. The manual does not include any information on how buttons work, but there are fairly easy to figure out and the defaults are pretty good. I typically change many settings of the default settings on the cameras I buy, but I was happy with most of the default choices on this one. The buttons respond well and they fairly reasonable in size and well spaced out.

♦ The initial boot up is also not documented in any detail. I ran into an issue with the camera displaying blank screen when I selected either camera or video. Turns out this happens until the camera gets a chance to initialize the micro sd card. The documentation states that the micro sd card should be blank when you intially insert into the camera. I formated a micro sd card and inserted into the camera. The first time I inserted the card I received no prompts, saw an SD card logo without a red X (which is shown where there is no micro SD card in the camera), and then 0G (number zero and letter G) displayed next to the micro SD logo. When you see 0G it is a sign of the problem that the camera did not initialize the card. I took the card out, reinserted it, and this time I was prompted "Format SD?". I selected "OK" and then I saw 7.6G displayed next the SD icon. Now the camera recognized the micro SD. However the screen remained blank when I selected camera and video. After I powered off the camera and restarted it one more time after the format, the blank screen issue did not re-occur.

♦ Another glitch I ran into is that at one point the camera became unresponsive. None of the buttons responded, and I could not even turn it off. The solution to this problem was to remove the battery and then put it back in. Then the camera started normally. I do not know how I got into that mode, and it has not happened again.

♦ Speaking of the battery, the battery compartment cover is the front of the camera. To open it slide it away from the camera lens. The cover has two small hindges that hold the cover on the edge of the camera.

♦ The package comes with a lot of accessories. The package includes a remote control, a waterproof case, a charger for the battery, and a variety of mounts. The video contains several shots that show everything included in the box.
Note that I recharge the battery while it is in the camera by using a regular USB cable. The separate battery charger seems to have a loose fit with the battery and there is no documentation to guide me on how to make it fit better.

So what is the bottom line? The quality of video is quite good, especially in the bright light. Even though it is not as good as my full size SLRs camera the quality is impressive. The size of the camera is remarkably small and it is very light. The camera comes with a lot of mounts so it can be used in a lot of situations. I have tried several small cameras and I always found the controls somewhat awkward, the controls on this camera are very good, responsive and well spaced out. The motion sensor works well and it is a very cool feature.

The weakest points are that LED screen becomes very difficult to see in the sun, shooting video direct into the sun got a lot of flares. The documentation is very weak, be prepared for doing a bit of experimentation. I hope my experience with the boot up issues will save you some time.

I hope pluses and minuses of my experience as well as the video will help you get a better idea of what to expect.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Product review: UtechSmart Venus 16400 DPI High Precision Laser MMO Gaming Mouse for PC


This mouse looks very large and I was not sure if I would find it comfortable as I do not have a large hand, but the slope of the mouse made the size work very well for me. I spend almost the entire day with a mouse in my hand for work and play, I am finding this mouse to be very comfortable. In the attached video you see it next to my Logitech mouse. Both mice are the same length, the Utechsmart mouse is a bit wider, and sloped. This angle keeps my hand relaxed and comfortable.

✔ I am able to use this mouse both on Windows and Linux machines. The basic functionality works well under both operating system, but the special buttons require configuration in Windows software and they do nothing under Linux. Note that DPI buttons do work under Linux. I was able to use the DPI buttons to control the sensitivity on the mouse. Even though it works under Linux I would not recommend this mouse for Linux users because the full functionality for all buttons is not available.

✔ This mouse has a LOT of controls. It has 18 programmable buttons, including 12 thumb buttons. You can define what each button does, one of the options is "macro" which combines multiple actions. You can save 5 different profiles. There is a special button on the bottom of the mouse that allows you to quickly swap between different profiles without loading them through the configuration software. My video includes several sample menus from the mouse configuration software. One of the options I show is changing of the mouse color schemes including turning off all color changes.

✔ UtechSmart Mouse is 5" long, 3" inches wide, 1.7" height at its tallest point.

✔ This is a wired mouse, it runs on the power it get from USB port. The mouse cable is 71".

✔ This mouse has a unique feature of including 8 small weights which you can be added to the bottom of the mouse to make it heavier. I really like this option. One of the reasons I liked my very old Logitech mouse that it is heavy and feels substantial in my hand. I loaded the mouse with all 8 weights and I like how it feels.

Overall, this is a very nice sensitive mouse and worked well on several surfaces that I have tried. Because of the macro functionality this mouse is handy not only for gamers but those who do repetitive operations. Those operations can be automated to be one mouse click.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Product review: Mipow Power 5200mAh Simple Tube Phone Charger Power Bank


Mipow external battery is unusual in its wiring. It has a built-in micro USB cord and a standard USB port. To charge the battery you need to use a special female USB to male USB connector included with the charger. This cord attaches to a special port which is part of the built in cable. If you lose this special cord you will not be able to recharge the battery.

The battery size is 3.875"L x 1.5"W x 0.875"H, its weight is 5.7oz. The battery is rated as 5200 mAh. Since some power during charging is lost to inefficiencies (such as heat) it will provide approximately 3900 mAh. I was able charge my phone with 3800mAh extended battery from low levels to full once.

The battery has a bright charging indicator. The indicator does not stay on when you charge, you can turn it back on for a few seconds by pressing the ON button. The indicator is also off when you charging the battery itself, so you don't know if it is fully recharged until you plug in your mobile device. The indicator tells you the charge level by combination of blinks and lights:
1 LED blinkging - 0-25% full
1 LED is on - 10-25% full
2 LEDs on - 25-50% full
3 LEDs on - 50-75% full
4 LEDs on - 100% full

This charger has 2 ports one via a built-in micro-USB cable, another a regular USB output.

I tested this charger with Samsung Nexus phone and iPad Mini. This external battery worked with both devices charging them above average speed. If you are interested in the details of the tests I am including them below in the "test results" section.

Test results
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I use the current monitor and a 10 minute charging to test to test all my chargers, this gives me two data points to compare them to each other so I can tell which chargers perform well relative to their peers. I start the charging tests at about the same charge level of my devices to account for non-linear charging.

I started running these tests when my Android devices had HoneyComb operating system so I was able to observe the improvements in charging with different version of the Android OS. Before 4.21 I could only get fast charging on 1A port, and would get poor performance on 2.1A port (designed for Apple devices) on my Android devices. After upgrade to Jelly Bean 4.21 I see the same performance on 2A and 1A ports as Google figured out the Apple protocol and now my Android devices typically charge similar in speed on both ports of a good charger. The devices draws what it needs on either of the ports. The Apple devices do better on the ports designed for Apple (2.1A ports).

Samsung Nexus phone
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Built-in cord - AC charging - 9% in 10 minutes
Built-in cord current monitor measurement: cannot be measured

My own charging cable - AC charging - 6 % in 10 minutes
My own charging cable current monitor measurement: 0.85A / 5.07V

iPad Mini tablet
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My own charging cable - AC charging - 5% in 10 minutes
My own charging cable current monitor measurement: 1.67A / 4.92V

Overall, on the positive side good charging speed, fairly compact size. However, I did not like the non-standard wiring and the danger of losing the special cord needed to recharge the battery.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Friday, June 6, 2014

Product review: Yubi Power YPOR61AB 30W 4-Port USB Rapid Wall Charger


The first thing you will notice about Yubi wall charger is that it is large. It is 3.5" long, 3 1/8" tall and 1 1/4" wide. It weighs 6.2 oz. If you put this charger in the middle of an old fashioned power strip 4 slots become unusable, if you put on the edge of end of the old fashioned power strip 2 slots become unusable. This charger works best in power strips that allow prongs to be in a position that orients the unit perpendicular to a slot. On this new style power strip this charger takes only one slot.

I tested Yubi charger with Samsung Nexus Phone and iPad Mini. Speed is always very important to me in wall charger and this charger did well for both my Android and Apple devices. For those who are interested in the details of how I tested the charger I am including the details below.

Test results
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I use the current monitor and a 10 minute charging to test to test all my chargers, this gives me two data points to compare them to each other so I can tell which chargers perform well relative to their peers. I start the charging tests at about the same charge level of my devices to account for non-linear charging.

I started running these tests when my Android devices had HoneyComb operating system so I was able to observe the improvements in charging with different version of the Android OS. Before 4.21 I could only get fast charging on 1A port, and would get poor performance on 2.1A port (designed for Apple devices) on my Android devices. After upgrade to Jelly Bean 4.21 I see the same performance on 2A and 1A ports as Google figured out the Apple protocol and now my Android devices typically charge similar in speed on both ports of a good charger. The devices draws what it needs on either of the ports. The Apple devices do better on the ports designed for Apple (2.1A ports).

Note that only port 2 is labelled as Apple port. However, my current monitor showed that my iPad Mini was able to draw more than 1amp on both Port 2 and Port 3. I repeated the tests on Port 3 several times because I did not expect it based on the label, but the results were consistent.

Samsung Nexus phone
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Port1 - Samsung - 6% change in 10 minutes
Port1 - Samsung - current monitor - 1.02A / 5.15V

Port2 - iPad - 5% change in 10 minutes
Port2 - iPad - current monitor - 1.02A / 5.15V

Port3 - Universal - 5% change in 10 minutes
Port3 - Universal - current monitor - 1.03A / 5.15V

Port4 - Universal - 5% change in 10 minutes
Port4 - Universal - current monitor - 1.01A / 5.16V

iPad Mini tablet
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Port1 - Samsung - 0% change in 10 minutes
Port1 - Samsung - current monitor - 0.47A / 5.15V

Port2 - iPad - 6% change in 10 minutes
Port2 - iPad - current monitor - 1.91A / 5.15V

Port3 - Universal - 5% change in 10 minutes
Port3 - Universal - current monitor - 1.91A / 5.15V

Port4 - Universal - 2% change in 10 minutes
Port4 - Universal - current monitor - 0.92A / 5.14V

➨ Key finding:
------------------
This is a very fast charger. If you have a power strip where you can fit its large size without giving up 4 outlets it does a very nice job.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Product review: Rocketek 4 Slots USB 3.0 Card Reader with 2 SD slots and 2 Micro SD (TF) slots



The card reader is 3" long, 1.25" at its widest point, it extends 0.375" on each side beyond the USB connector, and the cards stick out of the sides. If your USB ports are tightly spaced this width might create a problem. In that case you can use a USB hub or a cable extender. I tested that using a 3.0 USB hub did not introduce measurable delays. I am using this card reader on both Windows and Linux operating system. Even though Linux support is not listed in the product description it works fine.

The design of the card reader has a couple of thoughtful features. The cap is attached to the cardreader's body by a lease and it has a built in lanyard to hook to a keychain.

To test how well the card reader worked I ran benchmarking utility for this the card reader on both USB 2.0 port, USB 3.0 port, and USB 3.0 hub plugged into USB 3.0 hub. The actual graphs generated by the benchmarking utility are included in my video for those who like the visual details.

➨ USB 3.0 port (PNY Pro SD card)
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Average read rate ~~~~~~ 17.9 MB/s
Average write rate ~~~~~~ 4.7 MB/s
Average Access time ~~~~~ 1.53 msec

➨ USB 2.0 port (PNY Pro SD card)
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Average read rate ~~~~~~ 16.9 MB/s
Average write rate ~~~~~~ 4.9 MB/s
Average Access time ~~~~~ 1.61 msec

➨ USB 3.0 port (SanDisk micro SD HC)
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Average read rate ~~~~~~ 41.3 MB/s
Average write rate ~~~~~~ 5.3 MB/s
Average Access time ~~~~~ 48.07 msec

➨ USB 2.0 port (SanDisk micro SD HC)
==============
Average read rate ~~~~~~ 4.3 MB/s
Average write rate ~~~~~~ 6.1 MB/s
Average Access time ~~~~~ 8.97 msec

This card reader feels solid, the card slides into it smoothly, the benchmarking tests showed fine performance, any limitations come from the media limits not the card reader. I liked that micro SD card is not seeded deeply so it is easy to insert and remove.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★



Ali Julia review

Monday, June 2, 2014

Product revieww: Brainwavz R3 Dual Dynamic Driver Earphones



I thought these earphones sounded very good, but I did not find them very comfortable to wear. The driver housings is bigger than any of my other earphones and they felt to be too large for my small ears. The earphones come with a large selection of tips (6 pairs of silicone tips, 1 pair bi and 1 pair tri-flange tips, 1 set of foam tips). I have tried a number of them but I could not find a pair that helped with how the housing fit in my ear. The metal housing from tip to tip is 1.5" inches. The earplug is located 1/4" from the top of the earphone.

The earphones have a stiff memory wire built in which can be hold the weight of the housing by wrapping the wire up and over the ear. However I felt the stiffness of the wire and I had to fiddle with the wire ever time I put the earphones in. The manufacturer notified me that the memory wire will be removed in the next version of these earphones, the new version without memory wire will be marked as "version 2".

Even though my small ears were not a good match for these earphones, the sound they generate is rich with a good separation, and to me they sounded good at all levels. Because of the fit for me they are 3.5 stars, for someone with a bigger ear it is likely to be a much better fit.

The package includes not only the tips but a very nice hard shell, which is large enough to fit my MP3 player on one side and the earphones on the other side. Also included are an airplane adapter, an 6.3mm adapter.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆