Thursday, June 30, 2016

Product review: AIBI Black Dial Ultra-thin Waterproof Mens Stainless Steel Quartz Watch with Dat

This is a classy looking watch with a black face. Its design is very simple just the time and the date.

I measured the size of face and thickness with my digital caliper: The face is 1 7/64" inches wide, and 9/64" inches thick. In attached video you see it on my husband's hand and on 1/2" grid for size reference.

The watch has Japanese quartz movement. The band is made out real leather. It will fit wrists from 6.25" to 8.25" (measured from the buckle to the first and last hole). If needed extra holes can be made gaining another 1/4" if needed.

Because it shows only time and date the controls are simple: when the knob is all the way out you can adjust time, half way out you can adjust the date.

I received this watch for evaluation and review. If this makes you skeptical about what I say, please examine my history. You will see that getting a free product does not effect what I say, I leave critical reviews when the products deserve it.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Product review: Weiyi 12V Digital Air Compressor,3 Minutes High Speed & Tire Pressure Preset

This is a very fast tire inflator. The first time I used it I was very surprised when it claimed it was done - but double checking with another air pressure gauge confirmed it. My favorite feature is that I can pre-set it to stop at the pressure I desire. I do not have to stop and measure the pressure until I get it right. There is a catch on how this pre-set value works. I have to set it about 2 PSI higher than I want. This is because this compressor uses a valve that rotates rather than snaps on like my other compressors. While I am rotating the valve (both putting it on and taking it off) a lot of air escapes and my calibrated gauge shows that the pressure is about 2 PSI less than what I set the value to. However this 2 PSI has been consistent, and it is easy enough for me to remember to set it higher.

The compressor can run from built-in battery, from car power ports, or from AC power. Cables for car port and AC power are included. The built-in battery can inflate two tires (Amazon description says three tires, but the manual says two tires) on one charge (from 0 to 35 PSI). This inflator's battery needs to be recharged every three months. It takes 2 to 3 hours to recharge it.

I really like how fast it inflates and that it stops on its own when it reaches the setting I selected. As long as the internal battery has a charge this pre-set value is remembered when the unit is powered off and then turned on again.

The compressor comes with a case. However, the case only fits the compressor itself (tightly), there is no room for the cables. It is very important to keep the cables and the unit together, so I consider the case size to be a flaw.

I received this compressor for evaluation and review. Overall, its main features are excellent. However, it does have some minor flaws which I covered in this my review.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Product review: Janico Inc Mop Bucket Side Press Wringer Combo

This is a large bucket with a removable manual wringer. The wringer just slides on top of the bucket, it is easy to remove to empty the bucket or to use the bucket by itself. The bucket has 3" wheels that rolls smoothly and easily. The bucket is thick and heavy, it feels well built.

The wringer is a side press which gets a lot of the water out of the mop, but I am not able to exert enough pressure on the handle to get it really dry. I tested that I can hand squeeze more water by twisting after the wringer did its job. I did not know what to expect from it, so I wanted to share my experience.

The bucket holds 35 quarts (quarts are marked on the inside of the bucket).
It is 18.5" long, 14.5" wide and 12" high (not counting 3" wheels).

I use it to speed up cleaning - floors, cars, any place I need a lot of water the wheels make it easy to get it there.

I received this bucket for evaluation and review.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Friday, June 24, 2016

Product review: Ecandy Universal Wireless Bluetooth FM Transmitter

I have been using FM transmitters in my car for many years as I like listening to audio books when I drive. The key to clear transmission is to find am empty radio station, static and noise will come from the stations that are not clear rather than from the FM transmitter itself. 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. It usually take me trying a few stations to find which station gives me the best sound (the least amount of noise or hiss).

This FM transmitter can either connect via Bluetooth to a smart phone, or play music from USB micro SD card, or connect to phone/mp3 player via an audio cable.

This FM transmitter has a couple of nice features that put above many others I have tried:

1) A nice large display which clearly shows the station and other messages
2) An easy way to scan the stations, if I press the forward button it quickly advances to station I want to tune to, I don't need to click one a time
3) I have complete control and can select any station (some base models give you a limited choice of stations which may or may not correspond to vacant stations in your area)
4) The display is on a goose neck so I can turn it to face me
5) The plug forms a very right connections with the car port so it does not loose connetion when I drive

The Bluetooth connected easily with my Nexus phone (device is show as BT20), and when it connected the status "Nexus 5 Bluetooth connection" is displayed on the screen.

This FM transmitter is missing some of the features my favorite FM transmitter has (Satechi) a remote control and ability to bookmark from the remote control. However, the Satechi unit is twice as expensive. This FM transmitter performed better than other FM transmitters I have tried at this price range

This fm transmitter is provided by Ecandy.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Product review: Littleadd Multi-functional Hidden Camera Spy Alarm Clock Motion Detection Nanny Camera 720P with Remote Control,

I like the idea of having a security camera that looks like a regular clock, however I ran into a number of problems with this camera. The main issue I have that the user interface is hard to use, you cannot tell when the camera is working or not (it communicates by turning on a subtle blue light which turns off quickly). The only way to control the video settings is using the remote control. Neither continuous video nor motion activated video works reliably. I managed to get a few videos but most of the time I find the micro SD card blank. I cannot trust it to do the job.

Even if it worked more reliably recording videos the video camera has one other design flaw that would have caused me not to like this camera. It cannot run while the battery is charging. Recording running on a battery only lasts less then 2 day while the battery is new (so it will get shorter as the battery ages). I own a good number of video cameras and all of them can record while charging, this video camera cannot. For a video camera that is meant to run continuously to catch some unknown event the fact that it needs to be turned off to be charged is a problem from a practical point of view. It is easy to forget to do it. Another alternative is to have a spare battery and then instead of charging the battery flip to pre-charged battery. However having to change the battery every day is something that is inconvenient and would not work at all if one wants the camera to record while they are on vacation.

The video quality is not great, but it is certainly enough to see what is going. I include video recorded by the video camera so you can see the recordings yourself. My video has sections recorded under bright light, in low light, and in the complete darkness. The camera is able to record in each situation although the quality of the video decreases as the amount of light decreases. The infra-red video taken in the darkness is black and white, so you can tell the difference with the regular video.

I received this video camera from Littleadd at no cost with a request to test and review this clock camera. Getting a free product does not influence what I say. This camera has a number of short comings which I did my best to show and describe.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★☆☆☆☆

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Product review: Lemfo Bluetooth Smart Watch Phone GSM Pedometer Fitness Tracker

There are a number of things about this watch that I like and a number of things that I do not like. I will try to go through pluses and minuses systematically.


1. Easy to read screen - bright colors, large numbers and letters
2. Touch screen - touch screen makes the user interface more intuitive
3. A large number of applications pre-installed on the phone
4. The app that controls the app is available from GoogPlay (no request to load the app directly from untrusted manufacture's web site)
5. Two options for user interface: "Smart" user interface which has one screen with all the apps is the default but is optional. With all apps one screen it is hard to pick the right one even with my small fingers. However, this interface can be changed to 4 per page which is easy to select and get what you want

1. "Smart" interface is not good. Even with my small fingers I often touch something else and a wrong app starts executing
2. The pedometer does not seem to be accurate, it does not detect all steps and shows a lower number when compared to another pedometer and just counting a small number of steps out-loud for test purposes
3. The app on the phone has a lot of rough edges, it is not untuitive to use, and needs more work
4. The synch with my phone does not work (I tried on Nexus 5 and Nexus 6p)
5. I was not able to change the face of the watch. I do not like the looks of the default face.
6. The level of the battery is not easy to tell
6. The battery of the watch ran out of juice in 2.5 days. My other watch with similar colorful face and touch screen runs 5 days without needing a recharge. The other has watch face which include battery level - a very good feature which this watch does not have.
7. Every time I use the band I wish I had three hands. I find it fairly difficult to put on and remove.
8. The button cover of the watch (towards my hands) pops off accidentally when I don't expect it.
9. Information is displayed in metric units
10. The charging port has a proprietary connector. If you lose it you will not be able to recharge the watch.

I received this watch for evaluation and review. Getting a free product does not influence what I say, I honestly describe pluses and minuses of every product I review. This watch still needs work to bring in on par with the best of the breed.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★☆☆☆

Monday, June 20, 2016

Product review: LED Desk Lamp and Grow Light

In attached video you can see a 10 day dairy of four pea seedlings - one was growing in a sunny window, one under a 12W grow bulb, and finally one using the 6W grow lamp offered in this listing. I have been using grow lamps for a couple of seasons and how well the plants do compared to the sunny window depends on how late in the grow season I am doing the comparison. In April the grow lamps win as April sun in New England is not that strong (or frequent). In May a plant in a sunny windows did better than the plants under the grow lamps. Never the less the plants under the grow lamp are healthy, robust, and only somewhat smaller.

Both grow lamps were turned on for 14 hours a day using a timer (off at night). You might think that a plant under 6W lamp would get less light and be smaller than a the plants under the stronger 12W lamp but as you see in the photos that is not the case. The plant under the 6W plant did as well as the plant under 12W. The difference is how many plants can fit under one light. 6W lamp generates a small spot light, just right for one plant. 12W grow bulb in a goose neck lamp can light 6 small pots with seedlings.

To satisfy my curiosity I measured the light generated by 6W bulb of this lamp and the light light generated by the 12W bulb with a lux meter (which measures light intensity) and the measurements were similar.

As a final thought I want to share a tip I learned from several years of experience of using grow bulbs: having a fixture with a goose neck is very important. If the plant gets too close to the bulb it can be burned, so I adjust the neck as the plant grows.

This grow lamp has an excellent pliable neck. Howeverm it is not very long, it is 14.5" and my other goose neck lamps are longer. Because it has a clip it might be possible to clip it to something else to gain extra height. The clip of the lamp opens easily and the jaws open 2.5" wide. The cord has in-line on/off switch and a regular plug.

This grow lamp is provided by Aceple. As you see in the photo diary, the plant under this lamp did well although not quite as well as the plant under natural sunlight.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Product review: Food Storage Containers BPA Free Airtight - Keep Food Fresh and Safe - Leakproof Microwavable Plastic Set of 8 - Elacra

Elactra container storage is a set of 8 containers. Often when I get a set of containers there are some throw away sizes that I never use. This is not the case here, all containers are the sizes that I use all the time.

2 large containers: 5 cups (41oz)
2 medium containers: 3 1/3 cups (27oz) (my favorite for taking lunch to work)
4 small containers: 2 1/2 cups (20oz)

These contains are made of non BPA plastic, they are stiffer than Glad containers. The covers have gaskets and they lock very tightly. In fact so tightly that they are sometimes hard to open and I use a grippy pad to make it easier to open.

All containers are air tight. I always do a water test on any container I get to know how I can use and if I can carry liquids without worrying about a spill. And as you see in the video all containers passed with flying colors - no spills in the shake test.

When closing the container listen for the link. The large container has two locks on the long side, otherwise there is just one lock on each side.

These container are provided by Elacra for testing and review as part of the new product introduction. I hope my water test helps set your expectations.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Product review: SD Indoor Trash Can Brushed Silver Size 7L

This trashcan has a stainless steel outer shell and cover and a black plastic bin. The trash can runs on four AA batteries (not included). I am running mine on rechargeable AA batteries. I will post an update when the batteries are exhausted, so far in a couple of weeks of daily use going strong. This is a fairly small trash can, not so much in volume but in the size of the opening. The opening of the trash can is 4.5" x 4.5". It limits what kind of trash can be put into it. It works well for tissues and other small items like that.

The outside dimensions of the trash can (with the cover on) are:
13.75" tall
7.5" front to back
5 5/8" wide

The black bin dimensions are:
10" tall
6.5" front to back
4.75" wide

The finish is brushed stainless steel and it looks nice.

I use a 4 gallon trash bag liner in this trash can. The trash can does not have a ring to hold the bag so I use a large (5") rubber band to hold the trash bag on the can.

The cover operates smoothly and closes well preventing odors from escaping. The Trash Can automatic opening mechanism is not overly sensitive so it does not open when I just walk by, I need to hold my hand about 11 inches or less away from the cover for it to react.

The trash can comes without any documentation. However there is not much to document - perhaps that it runs on 4 AAA batteries which are not included and that the on/off switch is on trash can cover next to the battery compartment.

Overall I am pleased with this trash can. I am enjoying the convenience of touch-less trash can!

This trash can is provided by SD for testing and review as part of the new product introduction.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Product review: Kuprum Hand Hammered Natural Solid Copper Sauce Pot

This is a really nice pan. Copper conducts heat better than stainless steel, ceramic, iron, aluminum, so I immediately noticed how quickly this sauce pot heated up. It is also a good looking pan - I like the hand-hammered finish of the sides.

This pan is 5.5" accross and holds a quart of liquid comfortably. On the inside it is lined with tin. Tin is chemically inert so it is safe, and food lifts of tin as well as from well-seasoned steel without requiring seasoning. Out of the two common linings for copper pots - stainless steel and tin - tin is more thermally effecient than stainless steel and more similar to copper, so it makes for a better marriage for a copper pot.

Documentation recommend hand cleaning, and warns against washing in the dishwasher.

I received this pot for evaluation and review as part of a new product introduction. The pot weights 1 pound 7.6 oz and has a look and feel of a well made pot.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Product review: Rionix LB38 Premium Nano-Titanium Coating for Automobiles

The Rionix comes in a vey small pump bottle. It is hard to tell the relative size from the stock photo, so I am including a few photos in context. The pump produces a very fine mist, and should be applied on wet car preferably in the shade. The mist is very fine and if there is any wind it will be it into your face. Learn from my experience and always be aware of the wind direction. The application is pretty easy it does not need a hard polish, just light buffing.

On the negative side, not only is the bottle very small but a good portion of the solution leaked during transit. When the bottle arrived it was wet and leaking from under the cap. The packging was wet and I got a lot of it my hands. In one place in documentation it said to wear gloves when applying the solution, so I am not sure how safe it is to get on the skin.

The documentation has several inconsistencies. For example, in one place it said it could be applied to wet or dry car, in another place it said to apply only to wet car. I applied it to a wet car just be safe. It was also inconsistent on which surfaces I could spray. I avoided the glass and treated only the painted surfaces.

Ingredients from the box: Titanium Diozide, Silicon Dioxide, Ethyl Silicate, PolyDimethylsiloxane, Paraffin Distillate Aliphatic Hydrocarbone, Ultrapure Water.

100 ml NET 3.4 fl.oz.
Product of Korea

I received Rioinix for evaluation and review. The bottom line: the package and the documentation needs improvement. The amount of spray you get should be clearly stated to avoid surprises. It has been slightly over a week since I applied the coating. The car does look shiny and I see the water rolling off as beads.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

Friday, June 10, 2016

Product review: Hamer Women's Multi-color Alloy Statement Choker Necklace and Earrings Sets Jewelry for Women

This necklace/earrings set comes in two colors and select the multi-color version of it. The design is really funky and asymmetric. It looks very bold and unique. I got a couple of complimentary comments when I wore it. The beads are nicely done and remind of ocean glass.

The necklace has a chain extender which allows me to control exactly how it fits relative to the neckline. The chain with the extender is 21". The chain itself is the least attractive part of the necklace but it does not stand out so it does not draw a lot of attention. The necklace weighs 1.8 oz. The earrings are 5/8" wide and 1 1/8" long. Two earrings together weigh 0.2 oz.

This necklace was provided to me by Hamer Jewelry as part of a new product introduction with a request for evaluation and review. The necklace is well made and the stock photos match what I received well in all respects. I am adding a few extra photos of my own including the ones that I hope will be useful for size reference.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Product review: Meking 300w Bulb , 20"x28" Softbox , 29.5"x9.8"x11.4" Photography Zipper Bag,78.7" Lighting Stands Photo Video Studio Light Kit

There are many things about these studio lights that I like, but they have one serious flaw. They come with Type C electrical plugs common in Asia and South America (two round prongs, not two flat prongs known as Type A we use in USA). I happen to have plug converters from when I used to travel a lot so I am able to use them, but I wanted to start my review by drawing attention to this requirement.

- These studio lights generate nice natural light. In attached photos I set them up in complete darkness and the lights filled the room with a non-harsh light. The lights use Tri-phosphor light bulb 150w 5500K 110V E27.

- The umbrellas and the diffuser shields are nice. They collapse and pop up easily. The diffuser shields have fitted corners so they go on easily and stay on well, they also have Velcro to grab on to umbrella better.

- The electrical cords have in-line on/off switch. My old lights had a switch next to the light and it would always get ultra-hot. This is a much better design.

- Everything is pretty easy to set up and disassemble. When the lights are not in use they fits into the carrying case included in the package. The bulbs (if you want to keep them in the cartons like I do) do not fit into the carrying case, but everything else does. The bag has handles lengthwise as well as at the top end of the case. I use the handle on the top to hang the bag from a ceiling hook in the basement and the case does not take up much space while being easily accessible.

- The stand is collapsible. The screws and the stand are metal, but the fittings are plastic. This is likely to be the weak point of the system over time. However, no problems so far.

Here are a couple of minor cons:

- The stands are okay but they are a little top heavy when fully assembled. The legs could have been made to spread wider to provide more stability.

- The electric cord of each stand is only a little longer than the stand itself. I need to use an extension cord to plug in the lights. I would have liked each cord to be 5-6 feet longer so it could be used without an extension cord.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

I received these lights for evaluation and review. Getting a free product does not effect what I say, I rate each item as if I purchased it. So what's the bottom line? The light kit is not aimed at the American market, so even though I am able to use them with two converters and the light the lights generates nice light I am not able to rank the kit as good. If it is re-wired to have type A plugs that work with American outlets I would rank it as a 4 star product. I notified the seller of the problem and he said he will address it.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Product review: ZELITE INFINITY Steak Knives 5.5 Inch - Quality German High Carbon Stainless Steel

Cutting meat with these steak knives are like cutting butter. They are sharp, have a very comfortable handle, and they look very nice too. Each knife is 9.5" long with 5.5" blade. The blade is made from high carbon stainless steel.

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

This knife was provided to me for testing and review by Zelite as part of a new product introduction. These knives look and cut well.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Product review: Rear View Mirrors Blind Spot Mirrors

As you see in attached video this mirror really works to reduce a blind spot, however its weakest point is the ability to stay stuck to the car. One of our cars has textured finish and this mirror did not stick at all. The second car initial held the mirror, but it came off in a few days. The time it is staying is getting shorter with time, so I will need to come up with another way to attach it.

There is a very narrow area where you have to mount the mirror to make it show a blind spot to the driver. It takes two people to position it as I had to move it around quite a bit to find the right spot and angle. In attached video you can see how I placed it and what it looks like from the driver's seat with another car placed into a blind spot.

On the positive side, it does work and shows you what you otherwise cannot see. On the negative side,the mirror is quite small (1 5/8" x 1 7/8") and you can see that the reflection is quite small. It does not stick to all car finishes. If you have smooth plastic near the window frame (rather than textured or velvety) then chances of it sticking well are better.

The package includes two mirrors but only one adhesive enhancer prep. It should have included at least two or more. If you don't mount both mirrors at the same time you cannot use the prep for the second mirror.

The way the mirror is mounted is that the base is attached to the car via a sticky tape, and then the mirror attaches to the base with a magnet. This allows you to angle the mirror as needed. However, if your the angle is large the bond with the stand is weaker and you are increasing the chances of the mirror flying off when you hit a bump on the road. So finding a good position for the base is key.

I received this mirror for testing and review as part of new product introduction on Amazon. I described pluses and minuses of my experience with the product. Bottom line, if your has a smooth finish that takes sticky tape well this mirror reduces the blind spot.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Product review: RIALTO Permanent Coffee Filter - Stainless Steel Pour Over Coffee Dripper

I really like pour over coffee makers. I switched to using them both at home and at work. This stainless steel filter has a very fine mesh, it works fine without a filter - no coffee grounds escape and get into the cup. However I prefer to use them with a paper filter because it is easier to clean - I just remove the paper filter and then rinse the stainless steel filter.

The large opening under the dripper lets me see how full the cup is. One problem I had with my old drip filter is that it totally covered the cup and I could not tell if I pouring in too much water and about to cause a spill. I have to admit to making a bit of a mess a couple of times over the years. It is not going to happen with this filter because I can see the coffee in the cup.

In attached video you see me using it two ways with and without a paper filter.

I received this coffee filter for testing and evaluation. I love both the flavor of pour over coffee and the design of this filter. It fits all my cups and mugs.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Product review: Silk Road Internet Address & Password Logbook

This is a pretty looking password log book with hard cover book which is organized similar to an address book. It has tabs for each pair of letters in the alphabet so it is easy to locate the password you are looking for. It has a total of 144 pages. The book is 4 14" x 5 7/8".

Each entry contains 5 lines with labels and 2 blank lines:
site address

What is very thoughtful is the the label is a sleeve which can be removed, and the first two pages which identify the book as a password book can also be removed. The label on the pack is on a sticker which was easy to remove without leaving sticky goo! All this small things show that the company really understands and cares about their customers. I am always annoyed by labels which are difficult to remove!

Is there anything I would want to change? As I mentioned earlier the tabs are for a pair of letters. I would have liked to see a tab for each letter. It would make the organization easier.

I received this log book for evaluation and review. Nice looking and practical book.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★