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Friday, September 30, 2016

Product review: Qiwang Genuine Leather Luxury Style Soft Tote Top Handle Shoulder Crossbody Bag Satchel Purse Handbag for Women


This is a very practical bag - very roomy and well organized. It has a fully adjustable shoulder strap that can be made long or short as needed. I would not describe is as beautiful, but from the practical point of view I like a lot. This bag just the right size - not too large and not too small - for my everyday needs. It is 13" wide and 11" tall. It is made out of real leather and feels soft. The inside has my favorite organization - three compartments, with the central zipped compartment being attached to the bottom, so there is true separation for all three compartment, nothing shifts through the bottom.

There is a couple of nice unexpected touches. For example the sides have metal clasps which are decorative and functional - I can hang a hat, a camera case, or what ever else I might want to attach to the purse. The second small surprise is how tastefully the logos are done. There is a logo on the leather flap of the inside pocket and small logos are engraved on on metal clasps. All logos are classy and do not stand out in ugly way.

' The purse is 13" long (measuring the bottom of the purse).
' The purse narrows towards the top and zipped closure is 11.5". The zipper is a single zipper with a large pull which operates smoothly.
' The inside the bag there are three main compartments. One of them is zipped. The zipped compartment is attached to the bottom (another purse I have has a floating central pocket and it does not work as well because you lose the separation between compartments).
' There are three inside pockets on the sides: two open and one zipped.
' There are no pockets on the outside.
' The purse has handles and a shoulder strap. The shoulder strap which is 46.5" long and 1" wide. It adjusts like a belt with a buckle. The shoulder strap attaches with metal clasps and looks sturdy. The nice part of having a buckle that a small person can additional holes in the leather strap and make it much shorter than designed. This is an unusual design and I have not seen such flexibility in length of the strap in other purses I own.

The inside lining is mustard colored (deep tan). I generally prefer brown lining so it does not show any dirt.

Last but not least the bag is made out genuine leather. It has several interesting design elements like straps down the front and back. The bag does feel heavy (when empty).

What would I want to change/add if I could? I would like to have a small pocket on the outside for quick access. I would also like have preferred a darker liner. In overall scheme of things these are minor things.

This purse is provided for evaluation by Qiwang as part of new product introduction. Getting a product for review does not bias me, I have a history of leaving critical reviews when the products deserve it. My experienced has been positive - I have been using it as my everyday bag now for over two weeks and find it to be very convenient.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Product review: NETGEAR Orbi High-Performance AC3000 Tri-Band WiFi System (RBK50)



Orbi has an excellent WIFI performance and reach. I tested Orbi with and without satellite placed in a central position in the house. I used Nexus6p Android phone and OOKLA Speedtest and WiFI analyzer to measure Orbi's performance. Prior to Orbi I was using Nighthawk X45 R7800 (circa 2016) and I am including the same tests using R7800 router for comparison.

Even though Orbi's performance is impressive, it has some short comings as well. I'll start with short comings to get them out of the way:
1. Orbi does not support a guest network. Most modern routers support a separate guest network so that you can give guests access to the Internet without giving them access to your local network. I use guest network not only for visitors to access the internet, but also to connect any insecure devices such as IP cameras and other devices which have a connection to an internet cloud. To overcome this short coming I am using my old router to set up a guest network.
2. Orbi main router has only three ports. However, I have a very large number of devices and even if Orbi had 4 ports like my older router it would not be enough. To solve this issue I attach a 24 port switch to any router I use to provide me all the ports I need.
3. It's not possible to give separate names to the 2.4GHz and 5GHz access points. Orbi only supports automatic band selection and it is not possible to select the band manually (which I prefer).
4. The main ORBI router has no network indicator lights. I rely on the lights to tell me if my Ethernet connection is working. Orbi has a small light on the back to indicate that power is on, but it is on the back and hard to see. The Orbi satellite has an LED ring light on top of the unit, which changes color to indicate that it is hunting for a connection with the main router. Once connection is successful the color ring turns off after 10 seconds.

Now, here are specifics for the performance tests.

I setup the main Orbi router one side of the house and then did tests in four rooms: the same room as the Orbi, one room away, two rooms away and three rooms away. I ran these tests both with and without the satellite (placed in the room in the center, two rooms away from the main router).

Even without the satellite Orbi router is better than the other routers I have used and with the satellite it is in a class of it's own.

TEST 1 - OOKLA Speedtest
======================

Main router___same Room_______Down 152 MBits/second____Up 158 MBits/second

Main router___1 room over_____Down 152 MBits/second____Up 151 MBits/second

Main router___2 rooms over____Down 48 MBits/second_____Up 23 MBits/second
Satellite_____2 rooms over____Down 152 MBits/second____Up 159 MBits/second (satellite is in this room)

Main router_____3 rooms over____Down 33.5 MBits/second_____Up 10 MBits/second
Satellite_______3 rooms over____Down 153 MBits/second______Up 155 MBits/second

*** For comparison Ookla Speedtest using NightHawk R7800

NightHawk R7800___same room____2.4GHz___Down 85.22 MBits/second____Up 106.68 MBits/second
NightHawk R7800___same room____5Ghz_____Down 154.29 MBits/second____Up 151.05 MBits/second

NightHawk R7800___1 room away___2.4GHz__Down 74.26 MBits/second____Up 53.27 MBits/second
NightHawk R7800___1 room away___5Ghz____Down 154.08 MBits/second____Up 155.05 MBits/second

NightHawk R7800___2 rooms away__2.4GHz__Down 35.20 MBits/second____Up 47.93 MBits/second
NightHawk R7800___2 rooms away__5Ghz____Down 154.00 MBits/second____Up 103.43 MBits/second

NightHawk R7800___3 rooms away__2.4GHz__Down 36.74 MBits/second____Up 25.89 MBits/second
NightHawk R7800___3 rooms away__5Ghz____Down 70.67 MBits/second____Up 10.53 MBits/second

TEST 2 - WIFI analyzer
======================

WIFI analyzer shows the strength of both 2.4GHz and 5 GHz bands, even though ORBI does not let me select which one to use. The Satellite does not help in the same room and the next room over because the main router already has the best performance possible. However in the rooms that are further away you see the beneficial effects of having the Satellite unit.

Signal Strength measured with WiFI analyzer (lower numbers are better, i.e. -28dBm is better than -82dBm)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Main router___same room__2.4GHz___-28dBm
Main router___same room__5GHz_____-27dBm

Sattelite - N/A because main router is already at maximum speed according to Speedtest

Main router___1 room away__2.4GHz___-48dBm
Main router___1 room away__5GHz_____-56dBm

Sattelite - N/A because main router is already at maximum speed according to Speedtest

Main router___2 room away__2.4GHz___-61dBm
Main router___2 room away__5GHz_____-82dBm

Satellite___2 room away__2.4GHz___-20dBm (Satellite is in this room)
Satellite___2 room away__5Ghz_____-23dBm (Satellite is in this room)

Main router___3 rooms away__2.4GHz___-77dBm
Main router___3 rooms away__5GHz_____-82dBm

Satellite___3 rooms away__2.4GHz___-38dBm
Satellite___3 rooms away__5Ghz_____-45dBm

*** For comparison signal strength using NightHawk R7800

NightHawk R7800___same room________2.4GHz___-25 dBm
NightHawk R7800___same room________5Ghz_____-36 dBm

NightHawk R7800___1 room away______2.4GHz___-55 dBm
NightHawk R7800___1 room away______5Ghz_____-58 dBm

NightHawk R7800___2 rooms away_____2.4GHz___-64 dBm
NightHawk R7800___2 rooms away_____5Ghz_____-68 dBm

NightHawk R7800___3 rooms away_____2.4GHz___-75 dBm
NightHawk R7800___3 rooms away_____5Ghz_____-82 dBm

I received this router at no cost for testing and review as part of the new production introduction. I have no association with Netgear. If reviews for product given for evaluation make you skeptical please examine the reviewer record. I have a history of leaving critical reviews on consistent basis, every time the product deserves it based on tests and unbiased evaluation of data.

Bottom line: even though Orbi router is not perfect I was able to come up with work arounds for what is important to me (guest network, small number of ports) and the performance of this router is outstanding.

Update 12/3/16: Orbi system in firmware version 1.4.0.16 (just released) supports the guest network.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Monday, September 26, 2016

Product review: FancyStyle Women Trifold RFID Wallet Travel Clutch Purse Cellphone Genuine Leather Red








There are two aspects to this wallet - organization and RFID protection. As wallet this wallet is excellent. I love having more than one ID window.

Initially, I thought RFID did not work because my badge in this wallet was able to open locked doors controlled by RFID. I contacted the seller about this problem and he told me that security badges typically use 125khz which is low frenquency. Credit cards and other smart cards use higher frequence and this wallet's has material protects from 13.56 MHz or higher that are used by these cards.

I tested an RFID credit card first in two old wallets that have no RFID protection and was able to get a reading with an app called Credit Card Reader and a phone that has NFC. The I tried the same card in the Fancy Style wallet and could not get a reading .

The wallet itself is excellent. It is great to have multiple id windows (I have three ids cards that I have to use fairly often), lots (11 total) of credit cards slots and 6 pockets large enough enough for currency, receipts and so forth (one of them zips).

Initially the credit card slots were very tight and it took some effort to pull out each credit cards but they are getting looser and looser as I use them. The wallet is made out of real leather and it will stretch with time.

Its size is 3.875" x 7.5" (closed and stuffed with credit cards and receipts)

The id compartment is 3.5" long and 2.5" wide. It fits both the drivers license and the passport card but the passport card is very tight because it is slightly larger than the driver's license.

Drivers license is 3 3/8" X 2 1/8"
Passport card is 3 1/2" x 2 1/4"

This wallet is provided by Fancy Style for evaluation and review as part of a new product introduction. This is an excellent wallet and provides protection for RFID used in credit cards and smart cards.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Product review: FancyStyle Safe RFID Blocking Travel Wallet & Passport Holder Genuine Leather Red Black





There are two aspects to this wallet - organization and RFID protection. As wallet this wallet is excellent. It has good size, large window for the passport, a good number of credit card slots.

Initially, I thought RFID did not work because my badge in this wallet was able to open locked doors controlled by RFID. I contacted the seller about this problem and he told me that security badges typically use 125khz which is low frenquency. Credit cards and other smart cards use higher frequence and this wallet's has material protects from 13.56 MHz or higher that are used by these cards.

I tested an RFID credit card first in two old wallets that have no RFID protection and was able to get a reading with an app called Credit Card Reader and a phone that has NFC. The I tried the same card in the Fancy Style wallet and could not get a reading.

This is a fairly large wallet 4.5" wide x 6" long when closed and 9.25" wide and 6" long when opened. It has 7 credit card slots, one open pocket for the passport, three pockets behind the credit cards for papers or tickets. This is a flip wallet, it has not closure.

This wallet is provided by Fancy Style for evaluation and review as part of a new product introduction. This is an excellent wallet and provides protection for RFID used in credit cards and smart cards.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Product review: DEEPPRO Silent Wall Clock Solid Wood 14-inches Square Non Ticking Digital Quiet Sweep Decorative Vintage Wooden Clocks


I waited several weeks to write this review to see if the clock remained as quiet as it was right out of the box. I have had a couple of wall clocks that started out totally silent but developed a bit of noise after a week of use. So far so good - this clock is totally silent.

This is a very simple basic clock with an easy to read face and nice looking wood finish. It runs on one AA battery which is not included. The face clock shows the time very clearly. Each number is about 1.25" tall. When measured in the center the clock is 12.25" x 12.25" (including the wood frame).

I am attaching a video to show this clock in action, as you hear in the video the clock is not making any noise at all.

This clock is provided by Deepro for evaluation and review. If this makes you skeptical about my review, check my review history. I leave critical reviews when products deserve it. I like this clock - simple design, quiet and looks good.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Product review: 50FT Flexible Garden Hose and Spray Nozzle by BeautyGal


I like flexible hoses because they make gardening easy on my bad back. I have been using them for several years and by comparison do not like this hose as much as the other hoses I have used. This hose has plastic fittings, I have a preference to brass fittings as they form a better connection in my experience and don't get brittle in the sun. The hose ends in my other hoses are protected by brass couplers, in this hose these couplers are plastic. The plastic nozzle included in the package is bad, It does NOT make a satisfying click when I change the spray mode, so it is difficult to get a "perfect" alignment and it requires fiddling back and forth. The setting called "mist" is a spray, it does not mist like a true mist setting.

I have been using flex hoses for a few years and they are much more fragile than regular hoses. Through experience I learned how to "baby" them to make them last longer and here is what I do in case someone finds these measures helpful:

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. Even a 100 foot flexible hose fits into a regular size bucket, no problems with fitting this 50 feet hose into a 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 in small section (i.e. I do not pull from the nozzle end to stretch the entire length). If you stretch these hoses too much they burst.

I received this flex hose for testing and review at a special discount. Getting a sample does effect what I say. I have a history of leaving critical reviews when the product deserves it. Even though I like using flex hoses in general, I did not like the construction of this flex hose and this nozzle.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★☆☆☆

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Product review: Cooksmark Copper Pan 10 inches Induction Compatible Nonstick Frying Pan, Skillet, Saute Pan



Cooksmart asked me if I wanted to try this skillet and write a review about my experience. If this makes you skeptical about the review, examine the track record of the reviewer. I have a long history of leaving critical reviews when the products deserve it.

So how did this skillet do? Surprisingly well! It has a few short comings but they are not major.

My package had no instructions. No information on whether to use oil or not, whether it needs to be cured, how it should be cleaned. It also comes without a cover and in attached video you see me using my own cover as I was able to find one that is reasonable match in size. I also do not like the shape or thickness of the handle. It is fairly thin and not particularly comfortable, and it gets quite hot.

With the negative things out of the way I now get to the good parts. The coating really works well. I cook several things in attached video, all of them on medium heat, no butter or oil at all.

The surface of the skillets gets a little brown, and until I put it under water I was not sure how much cleaning it would require... half of the baked on stuff came off just from the water flow, the other half with a gentle rub of a soft sponge. Frying meatballs is something that typically requires a lot of scrubbing with a steel brush when I use my stainless steel skillet. This was so easy!

Some other observations:

~ The bottom is mostly magnetic, so it will work on the induction cooktop. I say "mostly" because there is a small circle in the center that is not magnetic. I show this in the video.
~ The bottom of this skillet us totally flat. Which means it will work on induction cooktop, gas stoves, electric stoves as well as halogen stoves.

Overall, even though not perfect the coating works really well, I like not having to scrub and I like being able to cook without adding extra oil.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Product review: Bestten 6 Outlet Outdoor Power Stake with Covers





This outdoor power strip has a number of good features (16/3-gauge cord, long sharp stake) but turned out not to fit several of the plugs I wanted to use in it. The designers of this plug chose to put the cover for the outlet on the side of the outlet rather than on top of the outlet. This limits the width of the plugs that can be plugged into the outlet on one side. I am having a lot of trouble with most plugs that are not the small standard plugs. The built-in outlet cover is not removable. I looked at my other outdoor strips and I see that the covers are attached in different orientation, limiting the size of the plug from the top rather than from the side. The outlets are spaced pretty tightly so the larger (thin and long) plugs that fit width-wise cover up more than one outlet.

This outdoor outlet strip has no GFCI protection. GCI is a device that shuts off an electric power circuit when it detects that current is flowing along an unintended path, such as through water or a person. It is used to reduce the risk of electric shock and is common in outlet used around water and outdoors.

The outlet itself works reliably, and the stake is nice, it is sharp and fairly long so it holds well.

I received this outdoor outlet for evaluation and review at no cost as part of new product introduction. Getting a free product not effect what I say. I have a long history of writing critical reviews and this is one of them. The outlet cover limits this power strip to regular size small plugs.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

Friday, September 16, 2016

Product review: JULIUS JA-577 Women's Silver-Tone Ultra Thin Dial Mesh Band


The band on this watch is beautiful. It is made out of stainless steel and really nice. The face of the watch is simple and classy which contributes to the watch's expensive look.

This is a fairly small watch. Its face is 1" wide and 0.3" wide. The band is 8" long and has an adjustable buckle. To adjust the band size it takes a small screw driver to open the clasp (a screw driver is used for leverage, not to unscrew). This little guy is particularly tough, I tried doing with out a small screw driver and could not.

My video shows how to adjust the clasp, and how to open/close it. To adjust the clasp you need to open the lock. The lock lifts up by putting small screw driver in the opening and pressing down. Once the clasp is open I put it on my hand to get the new position. The hooks of the closing clasp go over a bar in the clasp. Before closing the clasp, you need to flip the watch over and make sure a small groove on the clasp aligns with the grooves on the band. This what holds the clasp in place, if the grove on the clasp is between groves on the band you will not be able to close the clasp. Once the clasp is in its proper position you need to close the clasp, which is again easier to do with a small screwdriver. Insert the tip of the screwdriver in the slot on the clasp and push down. Listen for the click. If this is done correctly the clasp no longer slides on the band.

To close the clasp on your hand or open it is easy to do with one hand and it does not take a lot of force. The small hooks on the safety plate go over the bar on the clasp and then the safety plate clicks in to close if you press down.

The time on the watch is pretty simple to set as it shows only time, the knob has only two positions - "in" position is regular operation, "out" position sets the time. The watch has Japanese quartz movement.

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. I hope the video helps to see what to expect from this watch. I really like the watch, I think it looks really elegant.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Product review: Silk Scarf by Salutto



This scarf comes with several designs and I got I got "Color 64" color which looks like a Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night. Its beautiful and the silk quality is very nice. The stock photos do not show the entire length of the scarf (they show only one half). I included a photo of the full length scarf and I really like how the full length looks. The stock photo colors are pretty accurate. This is a bright silk scarf with a dominant royal blue color. The silk is medium thickness. In attached video I show my hand behind the scarf so you can see that it has some thickness to it. The scarf is fairly long (60") and is 16.5" in width. This length is enough to tie the scarf into a French knot.

This scarf is hand hemmed. The edge is nicely rolled and neatly finished, the stitches are almost invisible. The scarf design is the same on both sides with the reverse side having somewhat muted colors.

This scarf was provided to me by Salutto for evaluation as part of the new product introduction. Getting a sample does effect what I say. I have a history of leaving critical reviews when the product deserves it. I described pluses and minuses of this scarf. The visible stitching is a minor issue and from a distance they do not detract from the beauty of this scarf.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Monday, September 12, 2016

Product review: Solomark Brass Pirate Monocular -10x50 High Magnification


I was excited about getting this Monocular to work with my smart phone. Unfortunately, I does not work well. I took about 50 photos, my video has the three best. They are not good.

1) Lining up the camera lens and the monocular view finder is quite difficult. There is a very small range where you get a full view rather than a sliver. The monocular can work with the phone that have a camera mounted in the center or to the side. It took me a while to figure out how to get it to line with a camera mounted off center. If you leave the screw slightly loose you can shift the camera in the holder (see video). Once you find the best position (i.e. when the camera shows something through the view finder) tighten the screw..

2) In order to line up the phone on the eye piece of the monocular the camera mount is attached to the ring that is used for focusing and the weight of the phone rotates it just from the weight it puts on the ring, so it is practically impossible to keep anything in focus because the phone always turns it to be in a certain position. I found that if I hold the camera in one hand and support monocular in the other hand (i.e. not using the tripod) I can control the focus better.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to take photos, unfortunately none of the result were worth the time I invested in them.

I received this monocular for testing and review. Overall, this is a neat idea, but as designed is at best difficult to use and it is difficult to take photos that are in focus and that show the entire image.

Ali Julia review


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Product review: Hotder HT6399 Luxury 2-in-1 Cordless Wireless Bagless Stick Vacuum Dust Cleaner


I love this vacuum. I love everything about it except one thing - its battery life. It has excellent suction and it is so convenient not to have a cord. The only reason I am not giving it a 5 star rating because its battery life is about 9 minutes. I can't do the whole house on one charge. I can do the stairs and the bathrooms. Or I can do one floor. But because I like it so much I changed how I do cleaning so I can use it as my main vacuum. Now I don't vacuum the entire house at once. I chunk up my vacuuming into sections to give this vacuum time to recharge.

The thing I hate cleaning most are the stairs. I have to tangles with cord, unplug it half way up, plug it back to the second half of the stairs... This just got much easier with this cordless vacuum. It has just the right size head to handle the steps. It is pretty light weighing only 7.5". Its suction is good. It has two modes regular and "max". I use regular setting for wood floors and max on the carpets.

The construction of this vacuum is clever. It is a hand vacuum that plugs into an upright shell. The upright shell lets me vacuum without bending over, once I get to a spot that the upright can't reach I push a button and release the hand-held. Pretty nice!

I received this vacuum for evaluation and review. If you are skeptical about my review because of this I can only ask you to review my history. I am not shy about leaving critical reviews if the product deserves it. And even when a review is positive like this one, I always point out the weaknesses of the product. I really like this vacuum and It has become my primary vacuum, I just had to change my routine to accommodate its battery life. This vacuum made my least favorite chore less unpleasant. I did not think it was possible.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Product review: Homdox Day Clock, Memory Loss Digital Calendar Day Clock





I got this clock my elderly mother, who began loosing track of what day of the week it is. This clock display the day of the week (spelling out Monday, Tuesday, etc) as well as time and date.

The first thing that made a good impression was the fact that it showed the right time and date when I turned it on. I did not have to change anything. I unplugged and plugged it back in, it still shows the right time. Perfect for my mother, I don't want her to worry about resetting it if she has to unplug the clock to move it. There are several options of what the clock can display, I liked the default which shows everything.

The size of the clock is 8.5" x 7", 1.5", the size of tme is 1.5". The numbers and letters are large and clear. She will be able to see it from a distance. The face of the clock does not reflect light.

The clock runs from AC and comes with fairly long cord (69" inches). It has two mounting options: a stand to make it a table top and a key hole in the back so it can be hung on the wall.

If you have an elderly parent this clock is perfect. But it not only for elderly, I think it is nicer than just about any other digital clock I have because its visibility during the day and during the night is so good.

I received this clock for evaluation and review. Getting a product for review does not influence me in any way, I leave critical reviews every week when products deserve it. However, this clock exceeded my expectations.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Product review: Safemore Smart 8-Outlet with 4-USB Surge Protection Power Socket Tower Power Strip




This review is for two level power strip with 8 AC outlets and 4 USB ports.  This tower power strip has a 74" non-retractable power cord with a regular sized powe plug.

I love tower power strips because they have a small footprint and because they outlets are so well spaced out. This tower power strip has no problems fitting my eneloop charger next to each, where as in many regular shaped power strips each of the battery chargers can cover up 2 or 3 outlets.

I own several power strips and this power strip fell a bit short in a couple of areas.  First, the fit and finish if power strip is bad.  The USB panel sticks out 1/8" away from the body at the top of the strip. When I looked at the stock photo the panel appears to be flush with the other panel, so mine just has sloppy workmanship that was not caught by quality control.   The second issue, is that my phone only gets USB power on all 4 ports, none of then provided AC power.  This is not an issue that I have encourtered in other tower strips.


This power strip is provided by Safemore.  Getting a free product for testing does not make me like any better than if I purchased it with my own hard earned money. I still love the shape of this power strip, but workmanship and slow charging rates detract from my overall satisfaction and I thought the product was OK - works but not the best of the breed.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Product review: Finether Folding Side Table with Mesh Drink Holders



I'll start with the thing I wanted to know and could not find in the Amazon description. How tall is this table? 22 inches tall. The table area is 14.5" x 14.5 square. The cup holders are 2 5/8" wide and 4" deep. They hold a Styrofoam cup tightly. They are not wide enough to hold a mug or any of my stainless steel water bottles. The table weight 5 pounds and 5 oz. The top is tightly weaved and does not sag. This table is very sturdy, it does not wobble at all.

Overall: light weight and sturdy. I wish it was a little taller, but in all other respects I like it.

I received this folding table at no cost for testing and review. Getting a sample does effect what I say. I have a history of leaving critical reviews when the product deserves it. 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 ★★★★★

Friday, September 2, 2016

Product review: BroadLink SP3 Wi-Fi Remote Control Mini Size Smart Timing Plug


The smart works well, it was easy to pair with the phone and it has not failed to turn on or off the plug in the last two weeks I have been using it. I used it both within the house using WI FI as well as while being away from home using a external network.

However, I had some security concerns with the app used for the plug. The documentation leads to get the app from an untrusted website located in China. I am software engineer with a lot of experience in web security. Downloading apps from untrusted web site is not safe, such app can comprise your entire home network. I contacted the seller and told them that this smart plug is not ready to be sold in USA until the app is available in Googlplay. The seller was very responsive, not only provided answers but asked questions on how best to provide this information to those who already purchased the product. It showed me the level of concern for the customers that I liked.

The seller told me that the app is now available in GooglePlay and told me that its name of the app is e-Control. I installed e-Control app from Googleplay however as soon as I installed the software recommended that I download an updated from the vendor's web site. The update prompt warned me that without the update I may not be able to control my devices from external networks. For security reasons, I did not perform this upgrade and again notified the vendor that all updates need to come directly from GooglePlay.

On the positive side, even though I am running a version without the update I have not encountered any problems turning on the plug while I an on a remote network.

Bottom line - use e-Control app from Googleplay, do not get any apps or updates from other websites.

This smart outlet was provided to me by Broadlink for beta testing and review. I always honestly describe pluses and minuses of my experience with the product. I have a long history of leaving critical reviews when the product deserves it. I also post updates when I have new information to share, and I will do so for this smart plug.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Product review: ZETOLL Circular Sprayer Rotary Three Arm Water Sprinkler




This is an OK sprinkler. It works. But it is not the best sprinkler I have used. This sprinkler is very light weight and feels a bit on the flimsy side. It weights 5.8 oz and has all plastic constructions. It has no built-in controls for shape or size of the circle, however you can control the size of the area it is watering by changing the water pressure that goes into it. In two weeks since I began using it is working without a problem, but because it is so sensitive to water pressure I have to make that no timers start during the time when I am using it.

Note that the weight measurement I got is different from Amazon description. My digital scale is calibrated so I am not quite sure how to explain 1.2 oz difference in weight, perhaps Amazon description states the weight of the sprinkler in the box (the shipping weight).

I received this sprinkler for testing and evaluation. Getting a sample does effect what I say. I have a history of leaving critical reviews when the product deserves it. Whether I had a good experience or bad experience you will hear exactly what happened. Bottom line on this one? If you need need to water a small to medium area this sprinkler will do the job, but it is not as good as my old sprinkler by Gilmore.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆