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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Product review: Koolpad Qi Wireless Charger Pad for All Qi Compatible Devices


The two features that stand out for me about this charger is its large size and super light weight. I own several Qi chargers. There are four things that make me like one Qi charger over the other.

1. I always prefer a fast charger to a slow charger. My phone gets used a lot and having a charger that can keep up is important to me. I test each charger with a current monitor, so I can compare them to each other and I am including results for this charger at the end of the review for those who like the details. Koolpad falls in the middle of the pack, it is not the fastest nor is it the slowest.

2. The phone can be easily knocked off the sweet spot of the charger unintentionally (especially if you have kids or pets). The charges that handle unintentional bumps best are the ones that have sticky rather than slick surface. It helps if the size of the pad is larger than the phone so there is some room for slight movement without stopping the charging. Koolpad has a pretty slick finish, but it compensate for the slickness by its size. It sweet spot is quite large as I show in the video.

Koolpad's size is 5.875" x 3.125" x 0.375", a good match for Nexus 5. The charger is also very light 2.95 oz.

3. I like being able to see a visual indicator that the phone is charging. If the phones stops charging I like having a quick way of telling this without having to look at the phone charging status. Because Koolpad is longer than Nexus 5, I can see the charging indicator while the phone is on the charger. Koolpad's indicator light changes from green (plugged in) to blue (charging the mobile device).

4. I like the chargers that use a standard micro USB cable, so I don't need to worry about losing a special cable. Koolpad uses the standard micro USB cable.

I tested the charger with a current monitor to see what current it is drawing.

✔ Wireless Charger (phone not charging)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.01A (i.e. not drawing any current, which is good)

✔ Wireless Charger plugged into AC (Nexus 5 phone charging)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.14A and 5.17
(for comparison, for the fastest charger I own the current monitor for Nexus 5 shows 1.42A/5.21V)

Overall, I like this charger. Its good size and lightness stood out for me.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Product review: Digital Tire Pressure Gauge for Cars Trucks and Motorcycles - Including Seat Belt Cutter, Window Hammer/ Window Breaker Car Emergency Tool


This tire gauge worked very well. I compared its reading with the old mechanical gauge that has been my companion for many years and they showed the same reading. What I like about this gauge is not only that it is accurate but that the display continues to show the reading for a about a minute. I can take the reading and then have enough time to move it where I can easily see the display. It is hard for me to read the old mechanical gauge easily without my reading glasses. I have no such problems with this gauge - the display is large and I can move it into the light so I can see it clearly.

The gauge is comfortable to hold. When the valve is low I found that it is most comfortable for me to hold it by its head rather than the handle (you can see this in the video). The readout appears quickly. When I took more than one reading one after the other it showed consistent results.

In addition to being a tire gauge it also has a built flash light (not very bright), a seatbelt cutter, and a hammer for breaking a window in an emergency.

The meter is 6" x 2.125" x 1" in size. It is small enough to keep in the car console. I have not tried breaking the glass window, but the handle puts your hand it a comfortable position for using the hammer. It is shaped better than some other tools I have for this job.

Overall, this is a very nice tire gauge. It is has replaced the old tire pressure meter and the old emergency tool. Two birds killed with one stone! Not only did I get an upgrade I have more room in my console.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Friday, September 26, 2014

Product review: E-THINKER Detachable Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard PU Leather Case Cover Tablet Stand for Apple iPad Mini


I am a touch typist and I am pretty particular about the feel of the keyboards I use. I did not like the feel of this bluetooth keyboard for several reasons
♦ The keys are not hard, they feel very spongy.
♦ I am fairly light on the keyboard when I type and this keyboard did not respond to my regular touch, I had to slow down and press each key harder than I normally. It required a concious effort. I had to do a lot of corrections as I reverted to my normal typing at at times.
♦ To make the keyboard waterproof all keys are covered with a silicone cover. Many waterproof buttons are done this way (for example shower speakers) and my experience with them always that pressing them is tricky because you need to hit the switch under the silicone just the right way. This keyboard has a similar usability issue, you need to hit each key just right and therefore I found it fussy to use and it decreased my typing accuracy.

For a second opinion I asked my husband to use the keyboard, and he said it was "mushy" and did not like how it felt either.

On the positive side the keyboard paired easily with the tablet, all keys and functions keys responded correctly, it comes with a charging cable, and has an on/off switch to save the battery life.

The keyboard is attached to the case with two strips of very strong Velco. The Velco has such a strong bond that initially I thought the keyboard was glued to the case.

The case fits my iPad Mini well, all ports are accessible. However, there were some aspects of the case that I did not like.

♦ The tablet is inserted from the side rather than the middle of the case. The tab tucks in under the tablet. In all my other cases the tablet is inserted from the middle, so if the tab becomes undone the tablet cannot slide out as the opening is in the middle towards the fold.
♦ The stand only works in a horizontal position. The case is only meant to be used in a horizon position when using a keyboard. But there are occasions when I want to use it without the keyboard in a vertical position. So this case is not for universal use.

I received this keyboard case from the manufacturer with a request for an honest review and I included positives and negatives of my experience with this case. Overall, I did not like it. It would have been nice if the case was waterproof as well then the tablet and the keyboard could be used in the rain. Perhaps I am not thinking of the case where the waterproof aspect of this keyboard can overcome the usability short comings, but I hope this review provided the extra insight that is helpful.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★☆☆☆

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Product review: OnlyTM Innovative Car Cover all weather Fast & Easy to operate Y-Series for SUV


I am a short woman with a tall car (Honda CRV). My husband loves using a car cover on his car, but I have not been able to do the same on my car because the combination of my height and the height of my car made it too difficult. The manufacturer of this cover claims it is easier to use and I wanted to see if something about this cover made it easier for me to put it on and remove it by myself and without using a step stool.

The answer is yes, I can do it! What made a big difference for me are the poles attached at both ends of this cover. The stiff poles made it possible for me to reach further over the car and made covering the car much easier. However, I have to put it on and take it off differently from the instructions. Here are the reasons why:

1. My car has backup sensors on the bumper of the car (I circled them in the video). The cover is intended to be hung on the bumper when not in use. I was not able to find a position in which the cover would avoid covering the backup sensors. Therefore carrying the cover hanging off the bumper as designed is not an option for me.

2. Honda CRV is a tall car and it has a 12" antenna (rather than a knob antenna some cars have). Getting the cover over the antenna starting from the back is very difficult for a short person. Even with the poles I had hard time and felt I was at risk snapping the antenna off.

To solve both problems I decided not to attach the cover in the back of the car and decided to put the cover on starting from the front. This way I was pulling the cover over the antenna in the direction it was designed to bend (like in a car wash). Using the poles attached to the front and the back of the cover I had enough leverage to get the cover on the car and then pull it down. When taking the cover off I do the same. Working front to back allows me to take the cover in a way that does not get tangled on the antenna. Again, the poles allow me to extend my reach greatly. I rate putting the cover on and removing it as "easy" (a huge improvement over my feelings about regular car covers). However, rolling it back into the storage bag I rate "impossible". I could not get it to be nearly as small as the original. I purchased a big plastic tub to store the cover, so I don't have to worry about packing it back neatly.

My video includes a number of images of the cover and my the car. I am using Y-43 cover. For reference my car's dimensions are:
Body Length.......177.9 " (14.8 fee)
Body width........71.6 " (6 feet)
Body height.......66.1 " (5.5 feet)

The quality of the fabric looks good. It is silver on one side, white on the other side. The thickness is heavier than I imaged from the photo and it feels fairly sturdy. However only time will tell how it will hold up in New England winter. I am planning to use the cover in the snow and will post an update after I know how it handles the winter.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Monday, September 22, 2014

Product review: QiStone+ Wireless Power Bank with Qi+ 4000mAh


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

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

The finish of this battery is somewhat gritty so it forms a good bond with the phone. It has a bright charging indicator. By comparison to other wireless chargers it is not a very fast charger but its shape and size make it uniquely useful.

Its size is 2.875" x 4.125" x 0.5". It weighs 4.80 oz.

Another unique feature of QiStone+ is that it can be totally wireless - not only you can charger the phone wirelessly but you can charge the charger itself wirelessly. Fonesalesman sells receivers for the battery pack, but I found that I am able to recharge this battery pack using any other Qi charger. My video includes clips that show the QiStone+ charging the phone wirelessly as well as wireless charging of the QiStone+ battery.

How I tested the wireless charger:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

✔ Wireless Charger (phone not charging)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.49A (i.e.USB rate charging the battery pack)

✔ Wireless Charger (Nexus 5 phone charging)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
4% change in charge in 10 minutes
current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.14A and 5.17V
(for comparison, for the fastest charger I own the current monitor for Nexus 5 shows 1.42A/5.21V)

This wireless charger provided by Fonesalesman.

My husband loves this wireless battery pack, because it more than doubled the life of his phone battery when he carries it in his breast pocket. And because it is wireless he does not have to tangle with the wires and do his business on the phone as normal.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Product review: Skiva 15000mAh External Battery Pack


This external book looks like a thin notebook, a pretty slick look. It is fairly large but quite thin. It is 7.25"L x 4.25"W x 0.25"H. It has two ports (unlabeled, but they behave as 1A and 2A ports based on my current monitor tests included at the end of the review). This external battery does NOT support charge through (it can not charge devices while it is being charged).

I like its capacity and its bright charging level indicator. The indicator comes on when you plug in a device or when you press the on button and then turns off in a few seconds.

This charger did very well with my iPad Mini on 2A port. The results on 1A Port as well as the results of test for Nexus phone were below optimal (although above USB rate). I am including test results below for those who are interested in the details.

This external battery capacity is rated at 15000 mAh. Some capacity is lost to inefficiencies such as heat you can expect to get about 11250 mAh out of it. I was able to charge my Samsung Nexus phone with 3800 mAh extended battery from close to empty to full three times.

To tell how various battery packs perform I measure their performance with a current monitor. I use Samsung Nexus phone and iPad Mini for testing to give me a Android and an Apple mobile devices. I test all my chargers using the same charging cables and starting all tests at same charge level of the phone to account for non-linear charging. This allows me to compare different batteries to each other so I can rate the battery keeping everything else constant.

Samsung Nexus phone:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Skiva port 1:___ 0.91A/4.99V (slightly below optimal)
Skiva port 2:___ 0.87A/4.98V (below optimal)
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this phone is 1.00A/5V)

iPad Mini tablet:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Skiva port 1:___ 0.93A/4.80V (below optimal)
Skiva port 2:___ 1.43A/4.97V (Excellent!)
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this tablet is 1.70A/5V)

I was most impressed by the capacity of this external pack given its size. It is not the fastest power bank especially for Android but its capacity and compact size makes it a desirable bank to take along on vacation.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Product review: cheero Power Plus DANBOARD 6000mAh External Battery


This external battery is shaped as popular Japanese action figure Danboard (if you want to see this little guy you can see him here Danboard Action Figure)). The power bank is made out plastic colored to look like cardboard and have the face of Danboard character. Danboard's eyes show the charging level of the battery, and the mouse is on/off button.

It is 2.875"L x 1.875"W x 1.25"H. It has two ports. This external battery supports charge through (it can charge devices while it is being charged itself).

It charging level is indicated by the color of the two round indicators (the eyes). The colors changes from yellow (full) to orange to red (close to empty). I found the colors a bit hard to tell from each other. The indicator comes on when you plug in a device or when you press the triangular button and then turns off in a few seconds.

This charger did well with my iPad Mini on port 2A. The results on 1A Port as well as the results of test for Nexus phone were below optimal (although above USB rate). I am including test results below for those who are interested in the details.

This external battery capacity is rated at 6000 mAh. Some capacity is lost to inefficiencies such as heat you can expect to get about 4500 mAh out of it. I was able to charge my Samsung Nexus phone with 3800 mAh extended battery from close to empty to full once with some power left in the power bank.

To tell how various battery packs perform I measure their performance with a current monitor. I use Samsung Nexus phone and iPad Mini for testing to give me a Android and an Apple mobile devices. I test all my chargers using the same charging cables and starting all tests at same charge level of the phone to account for non-linear charging. This allows me to compare different batteries to each other so I can rate the battery keeping everything else constant.

Samsung Nexus phone:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Danboard 1A port:___ 0.74/4.84V (below optimal)
Danboard 2A port:___ 0.80/4.83V (below optimal)
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this phone is 1.00A/5V)

iPad Mini tablet:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Danboard 1A port:___ 0.93/4.85V (below optimal)
Danboard 2A port:___ 1.25/5.13V (Excellent!)
(for comparison the best charging monitor result for this tablet is 1.70A/5V)

This battery pack is optimized for fast charging of Apple devices on port 2A. If you use Android devices and speed of charging is important this is not the speediest battery pack available.

If you know someone who likes the Danboard character this external battery is sure to be a hit.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

link words and photo:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Product review: MY Konjac Sponge All Natural Fiber Sponge - comparison review of 6 sponges


I like using sponges to wash my face as well as my body. The sponges I use on regular basis are made from cellulose (i.e. wood pulp). Konjac sponge is made from the root of the Konjac plant (which is a potato-like plant). By comparison to a cellulose sponge my Konjac sponge has smaller holes and feels softer and more resilient. I included a photo of the Konjac sponge next to the cellulose sponge in my video, you can see the difference just by looking at them side by side.

This body sponge has a square shape and is larger than the other Konjac sponges. I found it to be a good size to use in the shower, The Konjac sponge feels very soft when wet and very hard when totally dry. It absorbs quite a lot of water. It suds up fairly well. It takes quite a long time to dry. Out of curious I left one sponge to dry without using it for several days and it took 3 days to totally dry. Each sponge has a string loop that allows you to hang it to dry, which helps to dry it on all sides. Because the sponge is soft it has a fairly limited life span. Based on what I read I expect to get 3 months out it.

I got 6 different sponges to compare them to each other as it was not clear if they would feel significantly different from each other. I they feel quite similar to each other in terms of softness and resilience. I was happy to see that none of them had a scent. The difference in color comes from what the sponges were injected with, but none of them bleed any colors. The water runs clear as you can see in my video.

♦ Red Clay Sponge improves elasticity and texture of the skin. Size: 4.5" x 2.5"
♦ Original Pure Konjac Sponge works on all skin types including very sensitive. Size: 4" x 3"
♦ French Green Clay Konjac sponge is recommended for Oily skin because it absorbs dirt and oil. Size: 4" x 3"
♦ Volcanic Scoria Kojac sponge is recommended for mature skin as volcanic scoria supposedly is good for purifying skin. Size: 4" x 3"
♦ French Pink Clay Konjac sponge is good for dehydrated skin. Size: 4" x 3"
♦ Bamboo Charcoal Konjac Sponge is good at gentle exfoliation. Size: 4" x 3"

I have been using two sponges on regular basis for about 2 weeks now. I have to say that other than color I am not able to tell the difference between the sponges by either how they feel or by the effects on my skin.

The sponges feel pleasant and soft. I like how my face feels after using them. If I have some flaking on my face the sponge removes the loose skin very effectively. Does it reduce the appearance of the pores? I can't say I notice any difference.

The sponges are very soft, so they do very gentle exfoliation. If you like the feeling of something rough on your skin this sponge is not going to give you that feeling. It is very gentle and soft. I think some of the marketing is just marketing (i.e. is a bit exaggerated). Don't expect miracles this is just a nice sponge.

These sponges are provided by Konjac.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Product review: Compact 12000mAH Portable Car Jump Starter


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

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

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

The battery comes with a nice plastic case that holds the battery, the jumping cables, the AC adapter and the car charger. Also included in the package is 4 headed cable - one USB cable one end and 4 cable on the others end (two Apple cables, and two USB cables). The jumper cable output ports are under a cover on the side of the external battery. The battery pack also has a built-in flashlight. The flashlight is quite bright and has two modes: steady light and flashing light. It is one of the brightest flashlight I have seen on an external power bank.

The power bank weighs 14.8 oz and is 6.5" x 3.125" x 1.25" in size. It is is rated as 12000mAh. Since some capacity is lost to inefficiencies such as heat you can expect to get about 9000mAh out of it. I was able to charge my Samsung Nexus phone with 3800 mAh extended battery 2 times from almost empty to full, with some power still left in the battery.

To tell how various battery packs perform I measure their performance with a current monitor. This allows me to compare different batteries to each other. I use Samsung Nexus phone and iPad Mini for testing to give me a Android and an Apple mobile devices. I test all my chargers using the same charging cables and starting all tests at same charge level of the phone to account for non-linear charging.

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

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

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

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


You can find it on Amazon by following this link

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Friday, September 12, 2014

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


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

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

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

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

How I tested the wireless charger:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

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

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

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

This wireless charger provided by Q-infinity.

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

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

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


CHOETECH got this device just right:

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

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

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

✔ Nexus Galaxy Phone
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Monday, September 8, 2014

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


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

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

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

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

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

Saturday, September 6, 2014

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


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

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

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

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

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

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Thursday, September 4, 2014

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

How I tested the wireless charger:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

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

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


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

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★




Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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


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

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

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

A minor complaint about the USB dongle is that it is not labelled. I have so many different dongles that if they get unplugged it is easy to confuse them with other USB dongles. I like it when manufacturers put a little logo on the back of their USB dongles. For this one I had to tape a little tag of my own making. The nano transmitter tucks away neatly into the back of the mouse.

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

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

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


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆