Saturday, April 30, 2016

Product review: Segawoot Wireless Doorbell Kit Waterproof Transmitter with 2 Receivers

I reviewed a number of door bells in the past and none of them got a 5 star rating from me before. In the past there were three main issued I had with other door bells: either they were not waterproof, or they had a logo on the door bell, or they forgot the selected chime when the wall unit was unplugged. The other door bells had at least one of these issues, sometimes more than one issue. This door bell has IP44 rating (protected from water spray from any direction), it has no logos on the bell, and when I changed the chime and unplugged the receiver it still remembered the chime change when I plugged it back again. The negative I state is that to changing the battery on the door bell requires not only to unscrew the back (which is common for waterproof electronics) but to move a circuit board. Strange design! However, similar door bells have lasted years for me without changing batteries, so it is not a fatal flaw.

This package includes one transmitter (door bell) and two receivers. This means I can put one in the basement, where I have trouble hearing the front door bell.

√ I like:

1. No logos on the door bell, it has a simple design.
2. IP44 waterproof rating, it means it is okay if the rain hits it
3. I like that this door bell has a plug in base (the receiver). I don't need to feed it batteries.
The door bell (the transmitter) does need a battery, it runs on 12V 23A Alkaline Battery (which is pre-installed). Replacement batteries are quite inexpensive (under $2 of Amazon). This is a common battery and Amazon carries many options when time will come to buy a replacement.
4. I like that the distance between the door bell and the base unit can be quite large. The documentation states that the range is 300 meters (which is 1000 feet). I was not able to test such large distances but I did I attached the door bell button to the front door and plugged in the unit in an outlet on the second floor as far as I could from the front door and it worked.
5. The loudness of the base unit is adjustable
6. There are 52 chime sounds (demonstrated in the video)
7. The remote control button is 1 1/4" wide and 3 3/8" long. I have a fairly narrow area where I can place a door bell and it fits.
8. The door bell button comes with two option for mounting: a double sticky tape and screws.
9. If the wall unit is mounted on the bottom outlet the other outlet can still be used. The wall unit is 3 1/8" square.
10. It remembers the selected chime even when I unplug the receiver to move it.

√ I don't like:

1. The design that requires to move the circuit board to change a battery
2. The manual is not very clear. In particular, the instructions for changing the chime are not very clear. To change the chime you need to first select the chime you like by pressing >> button, then put the receiver into pairing mode by holding the volume button down for 5 seconds until it starts and then stops blinking, finally you need to press the transmitter. It should play the selected tune from there on.

I received this door bell from the manufacturer to share my experiences with it (positive and negative) with potential future buyers. I included both the positives and the negative of my experience with this door bell and I hope it helps set your expectation.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Product review: VINCA DCLA-0605 High Quality Electronic Digital Caliper

Excellent caliper. I checked that results it gives me are accurate, and that it gives me the same reading if I measure multiple times. I like that I can get the read out not only in inches and millimeters but as a fraction as well. The display is easy to read. I am attaching a video which shows the caliper in use.

The caliper has two sets of jaws: one can measure items on the outside, the other on the inside. It also has a button for tare (zeroing).

There is one gotcha to watch out when using the caliper. The display turns on automatically as soon as you move the caliper's jaws. This is very convenient when you measure, but it is also easy to do accidentally turn it on when you place it back into the case (happened to me a couple of times). And this can drain the battery while the caliper is sitting in the case. I now always take a look at the display to make sure the screen is off as close the case.

The caliper came with a case, a spare battery, and an instruction manual. The only thing I am not super pleased about is the latches on the case. They are compression latches rather than the type that flips up. I find them a little hard to open.

This is a reasonably priced caliper and a display in fractions is not something every digital caliper has.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Product review: Rhea Flats Lightweight Suede Slip-Resistant Premium Cushion Shoes Slip-on Loafer

I normally wear size 7.5, I ordered 7.5 size shoes and they were a perfect match in width and length. These shoes are very comfortable to wear, I have been wearing them all day long. The soles of the shoes are very textured, they provide excellent traction (but do not leave black marks on my wood floor). These shoes have some arch support but it is not a lot.

I selected the blue color and it a very pretty navy color. I like the color of the shoes, but the stock photo shows them brighter than they in most photos. They are dark navy color, not the electric blue that is shown in some stock images.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Product review: P&G Market 22x44x5 Sunbrella Outdoor High Back Chair Channeled Cushion

This is a thick cushion (5" loft) so it is very comfortable. It is quite large 22" wide and 44" long. The width is a little wider than my deck chairs but I was able to push it in. The benefit of such tight fit is that this cushion is not flying off even in high wind. It also has tie downs to secure it to the chair at the top and in the middle.

To test it for water resistance I pour some water on it as you see in the video. The water beads off and runs off. The surface dried pretty quickly, with the slowest are being in the crease between the back and the seat.

I received this cushion for testing and review. It is comfortable and I like the cheerful colors. I will post an update in the fall to update on how the colors held up in the sun.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Friday, April 22, 2016

Product review: Megatainer SafeTouch Nitrile Exam Disposable Gloves, Non Latex, Powder-Free

This is a comparison review of size Small and size Medium Nitrile gloves from Megatainer. I normally wear small size gloves, however in the past I purchased Dynarex SafeTouch Nitrile gloves and they run small, based on reviews that indicate this I purchased Medium size gloves they are a tight fit (the way I would have expected size small to fit my hand).

This is not the case with these gloves. Megatainer gloves are sized true to size. The Small size gloves fit well and give me skin tight fit. In attached photos the Small size gloves are pink. The length of the fingers and well as the palm match the size of hand. The medium size are slightly large on me: (1) there is a little bit of extra material at the finger tips and (2) the glove on my palm has no folds, but is not skin tight. The Medium size glove in the video is white.

Here are the measurements:
-- Pink (small) unstrech palm width just above the thumb is 3 3/8"
-- White (medium) unstrech palm width just above the thumb is 3 5/8"
-- Pink (small) from the top of the middle finger to the glove edge 9.5"
-- White (medium) from the top of the middle finger to the glove edge 9.5"

The glove does not have any powder inside. They have no smell. When I remove them from my gloves my hands do not smell bad. The material of the glove is pretty thin and I can feel things well with the gloves on.

Overall, I am pleased with the gloves and I hope my review will help you select the right size.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Product review: VIKI LYNN Tahitian Pearl Necklace, Sterling Silver 9-10mm Round Tahitian Cultured Pearl

The black pearl in this necklace is lovely. I took several photos from different angles so you can see for yourself. I see no imperfections in the pearl. I put it next to my own set Tahitian earrings and even though the hue of my earrings is different the luster looks very similar. The easiest way to compare and evaluate luster is to look at the clarity of the reflections in the pearl - the sharper and the more distinct the reflection the higher quality is the pearl. I would say this pear has good luster (with the excellent luster being the best and the fair luster and the poor luster below the good rating).

The size of the earring is rated as 10mm and my digital caliper shows 9.97mm. The silver setting and chain are very plain, and I like that they let the pearl be the star of the show. I think the necklace looks very classy.

I received this necklace for evaluation and review as part of the new product introduction. If you are skeptical of my review because of this, please take a moment to look at my other reviews and see that I leave many critical review when the product deserves it.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Monday, April 18, 2016

Product review: Ogima Latex Expandable Garden All Brass Fittings

I have been using flexible hoses for about three summers. I have gone through a few of them. The main thing to know is that you cannot treat them the same as a regular garden hose. They are more fragile and require more care. Despite taking all the precautions this hose got busted the third time I used it. It seems to be more fragile than the hoses I used in the past. Luckily the breaks are somewhere in the middle so for now the hose is still usable with a couple of fountains in the middle of the hose, I used it twice since the first break and the fountains are still fairly small (see photos) but this hose is working on borrowed time.

I am still using it because flexible hoses are so easy to work with - this hose is light and when it has no water it gets much shorter so it is easy to store. The worst thing about these hoses that they are fairly fragile and don't last a long time. I had other hoses develop leaks, but not as quickly.

I take the following precautions:
1. When I use the hose I do not put the water pressure all the way up, I open the faucet at about half force (my water pressure is quite strong).
2. When I store the hose, I store it a bucket and bring it inside so it does not sit in the sun. Because they are light it really not difficult.
3. I make sure there it has no pressure on any part of the hose. I never hang it like I do with regular hoses. I store flexible hoses in a bucket. Even a 100 foot flexible hose bits into a regular size bucket.
4. Before storing the hose I drain it completely
5. When I use it I make sure I don't step on it and it does not tangle on anything. I lay it out straight toward the area that I need to water then fill it with water, then stretch to full length.

Yes, it is a lot of extra care but I really like that it is so light which makes it easier on my bad back.

I have used flex hoses with plastic and brass connections. Since I unscrew connect and disconnect the hose every time I use it I have a strong preference for brass connections, and this Ogima hose has brass connections. It also has a plastic on/off swtich between the hose and the sprayer which I find useful. The sprayer is an 8-pattern sprayer. The sprayer is plastic. The patterns are: soaker, cone, flat, center, mist, shower, angle, full. It has a dial that allows me to control the force of the water.

I received this flex hose for testing and review. Getting a sample does effect what I say whether I had a good experience or bad experience you will hear exactly what happened.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★☆☆☆

Ali Julia review

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Product review: Type C Car Charger by Segawoot Direct

This is my second car charger with a type-C port. The first one was a disappointment - it did not do rapid charging with my Nexus 6p. This car charger does!

Nexus 6p is capable of rapid charging when the battery is low. The best charging rate using a type-c wall charger I have seen in the 2600-2700 mA range (with the wall charger that came in the package with the phone), This charger gets me a similar rate when I use it in the car.

I ran a large number of tests with the phone at different charge levels and the screen shots from some of the tests are included in the video are 2610 mAh, 2470 mAh, 2320 mAh, and 2370 mAh.

What could make it even better? I wish it had three ports - one for the phone which does navigation, one for the dash cam, and one to charge the passenger's phone. This car charger has two ports - the type C port and the type A USB port. The built-in C-type connector is on 38.5" cord.

I received this car charger for evaluation and review. Getting a free product to review does not effect what I say. My review and opinions are purely based on the testing and my experience with many different chargers and cables. Great to have a car charger that works well as the wall charger I got from Google.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Product review: BUREI Men's Luminous Day and Date Automatic Watch Mechanical Watch

This Burei watch is a mechanical watch. At the time when I am writing this review the watch is just under $66. Despite the price is looks very elegant and works well. This watch works either by winding or from auto winding just from the movement of the person's hand. Turning the crown about 40 times will fully wind the mainspring. One full winding keeps the mainspring wound for about 34 hours. The manual says that if the watch is worn for 8 hours a day it typically does not need winding. However, this depends on how active the person's hands are during the day. My husband has a desk job and most of the days his hands are busy using a computer, which does not involve a lot of movement. He wound the watch on Saturday and without any additional winding it stopped at 5 am on Thursday morning. He loves mechanical watches and has a couple of others, so we have some basis for comparison and this Burei watch ran longer at his level of activity than the other watches.

The watch looks great, it is accurate (after two weeks of use still matches the computer time which was used to set it). There is however a strange restrictions on setting date and time. Since the date has to be adjusted once a month like on any mechanical watch this information is important. The documentation warns not to set the date when the watch's time is between 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. Quick-setting of the date during this period is prohibited, because this can break the operating movements and damage the watch. The manual says that when making day and date adjustments one should bring the hour hand out of the "danger zone" prior to setting the day and date. Sounds like a design flaw which the maker decided to document rather than fix.

The watch has a stainless steel body and genuine leather band. The band's maximum width 8.25" (last hole), if needed additional holes could be made to make it as wide as 8.5". My husband has slim wrists and the band fits him, but if you have big hands this might be an issue. The band's minimum length is 6.5". The watch weighs 2.4 oz. The watch's face is 1.6" wide and the watch is 0.4" thick. The silver face is not only attractive, but easy to read. It is water resistant to rain and splashing, but cannot be submerged under water.

Overall, this is a very attractive classy looking watch. Given the price of many mechanical watches this watch is a good deal. My husband has been wearing it for 2 weeks checking its accuracy against his smart phone - it keeps accurate time.

The watch comes in attractive box with a pillow and the package also included a gift bag, so this watch works well for gift giving.

This watch is provided by BUREI for testing and review as part of a new product introduction. I like how it looks and it is keeping good time. You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Product review: Solar Weatherproof Outdoor Solar Light Garden

I noticed that these type of LED lights come in two flavors: one flavor is a two mode lights and the second flavor is a three mode lights. In the two mode flavor the lights are "on" when motion is detected (in the dark) and "off" otherwise. In the three mode flavor the lights are on dimly "on" all the time when it is dark, brighter when motion is detected and "off" when it is light outside. I have a strong preference for on/off two mode flavor because they last longer. When the light is dimly on all the time it totally exhausts the battery overnight. I was happy to discover that these lights are the on/off kind.

I am using this light during the harsh New England winter when we are not getting a lot of sunlight every day. This light is doing much better than the one that glows dimly in the dark.

One other small nag is that this light has a logo on the front panel. I have several other lights of this type and I like using them in pairs. They have the same shape and size, but the logo makes this light look like a mismatch. I hope the manufacture will consider moving the logo to the back as the logo detracts from the overall appearance of the light.

So how bright is this light? To give a numeric measurement of brightness I use a lux meter which measures light intensity. For comparison I take a measurement of 60 watt bulb (since we all have a good feel for how bright those bulbs are) and measurement of this light from the same distance.

1. at 19" a 60 watt fluorescent bulb registers 613 lux
2. a single LED lights registers 133 lux
3. two LED lights next to each other register 243 lux

The light generated by this light is not as bright as a 60 watt bulb, but it is within the range of other similar sized solar lights. It gives enough light to see icy steps.

The light has one hole at the top and comes with mounting hardware. I have it mounted through the hole at the top of the light on a metal garden stake, so I can position exactly where I need it near the steps and snow clearing equipment.

To activate the light for the very first time you need to push a tiny button on the front of the light by poking it with something sharp. You only need to activate the light once.

The light detected me approaching from any direction (135 degrees) from about 6 feet away. After the movement stopped it went back to dim setting fairly quickly.

This light is provided for testing and review. I described the pluses and minuses of my experience. Bottom line is that this light is not super bright, but lasts longer than the type that glows all the time.

YOu can find this Solar Motion Light Light on Amazon via this link

Ali Julia review

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Product review: RecorderGear FD50 USB Flash Drive Voice Recorder 8GB

At the time I am writing this review the price of this recorder is around $90 and for the price I expected a better all purposes recorder. It did a reasonable job recording human voice, but did a very poor job recording music. The recorded music is clipped and sounds distorted. When I held the recorder in my hand the recording picked up a lot of crackling. I did not purposely do anything to generate that noise but as you hear in attached audio the difference between me holding the recorder and having it put down is dramatic.

The recorder looks like a regular flash memory stick. To make it discrete looking the interface that makes it work is not obvious. The recording switch looks like a loop for hanging the recorder on a key chain. The switch has three positions left, center, right. The center position is off, and left/right are the two modes. The two modes are "continuous recording" and "voice activated recording". They are indicated by a small dash and two small dots on the front of the recorder. The markings are black on black and are barely visible. The dash indicates continuous recording and the two dots indicate voice activated recording. The charge level indicator is barely visible as it points down when you plug the recorder to be charged. When it is charging you see an occasionally shadow of a red flash. I took about a dozen photos and on one of them I managed to time my photo and captured this flash of red light, so you would know where to look to see it.

To set the time and to see the recorded files you need to use a Windows computer. Normally fat32 flash drives can be read by Linux desktop, but this flash drive is not seen by my Linux computer so it is doing something non-standard. My Windows laptop has no problem accessing the memory stick.

I included several audio clips in my video so you can judge the quality of the recording for yourself.

My video includes four types of clips under different situations:
(1) Two clips with human voice
The recording has some echo, but not bad.
(2) Classical music
Clipped and distorted, not acceptable
(3) Pop song
Clipped and distorted, not acceptable

The recorder can be re-charged in any USB outlet. It runs on built-in 180mA rechargeable Lithium. Documentation states that battery lasts da day on stand-by. The recordings are produced in MP3 audio file format.

RecorderGear provided this voice recorder for an honest review be it good or bad. What is the bottom line? I thought it did a decent job for human voice in a quiet environment. The microphone is pretty sensitive so in a noisy environment it picks up a lot of surrounding sounds. It works for recording lectures and presentations where is one clear source of sound. It did a terrible job recording music. If it was priced in the $20-30 range I would have rated it as 3 star - ok for lecture recording. For $90 (the price at the time I am writing this review) I expected a more general purpose recorder which produced better results.

You can locate RecorderGear FD50 on Amazon via this link.

Ali Julia review

Friday, April 8, 2016

Product review: Utility Knife 6" by Zelite Infinity.

Zelite utility knife is midway in size between a Chef's knife and a Paring knife. in the past, I have not used utility knife as often as my chef knife or my pairing knife. But this knife is so sharp and maneuverable that I am using it quite a lot. My most common use for it is for cutting cheese and meats for making sandwiches. It also works well on cutting tomatoes for those sandwiches. I use it when a paring knife feels too short, and chef's an overkill.

Zelite utility knife is very sharp, and its handle fits my hand very well. The knife feels sturdy but it is not heavy. The knife weighs 5.2 oz.

It has a beautiful pattern on the blade. This is because the knife's blade is made out of laminated stainless steel. The higher quality of Japanese knives use laminated steel which has this beautiful pattern. The use of laminated steel improves the strength and rust resistance of the blade (and it looks beautiful).

A note on packaging. I don't often comment on packaging unless there is something special about it. This knive comes in a very attractive packaging, the box packing is sculpted to the knives shape and is made out of red velvety material. The presentation of the knife is suited for a gift.

This knife was provided to me for testing and review by Zelite as part of the new product introduction. It is a nice quality knife and good to work with. Using automobile analogy if the chef's knife is the car's engine, the utility knife is the sun roof. It is not strictly necessary, but often nice to have.

You can locate this Utility Knife on Amazon via this link.

Ali Julia review

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Product review: UEB US Plug Socket with Energy meter Watt Voltage Current Meter

UEB socket is a nice tool for anyone who is energy conscious. For example, I have two things that keep my feet warm in the winter equally well - a set of electric booties and an electric carpet mat. I have been wondering which one is more efficient from the energy consumption point of view. Now I know!

Electric booties draw 41.5 W
Electric carpet is 49.5 W

UEB socket has a large easy to read display. Documentation is not the best, some portions of it is hard to understand due to translation, but the socket itself is not that complicated to figure out. UEB meter has several different modes. One of the modes allows you to see the actual costs of electricity of an appliance plugged directly into UEB (you need to enter the cost of electricity in you area using "set" mode) another shows electricity consumption graph for the last 7 days.

The unit runs on two button batteries either LR-44 or AG13. One set of batteries is included in the package. It comes with an insulator which can be just pulled out. You don't need to open the battery compartment. If you do closing the compartment is little finicky because you need to make sure that contacts in the cover are inserted into the slots in the body of the unit.

I am an energy conscious person, I find the ability to compare different appliances (like lamps and monitors and my feet heating options) more useful than the ability to track the cost of one specific appliance. I can see it being useful for tax purposes if someone had a home-based business and wanted to deduct the cost of electricity for the appliance they were using in the business.

This product was received at no cost to inspect and provide an honest review. No compensation besides the product was provided and the company was made aware that my review may be positive or negative depending on my experience with the product.

You can find this Socket energy meter on Amazon via this link.

Ali Julia review

Monday, April 4, 2016

Product review: Polaroid 2x3 inch Premium ZINK Photo Paper

This is a review  of Premium Zink Photo paper.  I am using Premium Zink paper in a Polaroid Snap camera. I took photos both inside and outside and they came out slightly blueish. I have used Zink paper in the past and saw no blue cast. When I look closer at the packaging I noticed that the temperature range for the use of the Premium paper is fairly narrow: 68°F to 77°F degrees. It was definitely colder than that for my outside shots, and probably on the border for the inside shots as we keep the house at about 68 degrees in the winter.

Other than the blueish tint I like many things about Zink paper. The image on the paper cannot be smudge as the process uses no ink. The print feels thick and very glossy. Unlike the glossy print I get from my ink jet printer Zink paper does not show finger prints. Pretty neat!

Each paper sheet is 2" x 3". The paper is inserted into the camera with the bar code facing down, shiny side up. The camera takes 10 pieces of paper at a time.

I received this paper for evaluation and review. Bottom line: Premium paper is a cheaper alternative for Zink paper (about 25 cents per sheet as I write this review) if a blueish cast will bother you make sure you plan to use it the recommended temperature range. Unfortunately the temperature range is not shown in Amazon description, only on the foil wrapper of the paper itself.

You can locate Polaroid Premium ZINK Photo Paper on Amazon via this link.

Ali Julia review

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Product review: Boning Knife 6 inch by Zelite Infinity

This boning knife is longer and thinner knife than the chef's knife and a pairing knife. I do not think of it as essential to have in the kitchen, but if is very handy for fine work. If you do a lot of boning it will be easier to use than a chef's knife because it is easier to follow curves. I also like it for work that requires finesse such as coring an apple because this knife is so maneuverable.

It is very sharp, and its handle fits my hand very well. The knife feels sturdy but it is not heavy. Its weight is 5.1 oz.

This knife has a beautiful pattern on the blade. This is because the knife's blade is made out of laminated stainless steel. The higher quality of Japanese knives use laminated steel which has this beautiful pattern. The use of laminated steel improves the strength and rust resistance of the blade (and it looks beautiful).

A note on packaging. I don't often comment on packaging unless there is something special about it. This knife comes in a very attractive packaging, the box packing is sculpted to the knives shape and is made out of red velvety material. The presentation of the knife is suited for a gift.

This knife was provided to me for testing and review by Zelite as part of the new product introduction. If you are skeptical of my review because of this, please take a moment to look at my other reviews and see that I leave many critical review (1 star, 2 star, 3 star) when the product deserves it. Getting a free product does not guarantee a glowing review and I always state this before accepting a product for review. It is a nice quality knife and good to work with. If the chef's knife is the car's engine, the boning knife is the car's stereo system. You can get to your destination without it, but it makes it more fun getting there.

You can find this "Boning Knife" on Amazon via this link.

Ali Julia review