I provide honest ratings and reviews on tech, toys, and consumer home goods that I've purchased and used. Reviews are based on hands-on testing and personal observations. All opinions and comments are my own.

Disclosure: ReviewedbyPhil is reader-supported. If you click on or buy something via an affiliate link on this site, I may earn a commission.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Treblab xGo True Wireless Earbud Headphones Review

Treblab xGo True Wireless Earbud Headphones Review

Buy it at Amazon: Treblab xGo True Wireless Earbud Headphones [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Small and lightweight, decent sound, convenient charging case, but slight input delay and short run time.
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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Qouya Mini USB Charger Camera Review

Qouya Mini USB Charger Camera Review

Buy it at Amazon: Qouya Mini USB Charger Camera [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Compact, discrete, easy-to-setup; clear video with sound capture.

You'll receive the charger camera, a microSD card reader, a reset pin tool, and an instruction manual. The camera is small and compact and measures 1" square by 1.5" long. On the back you'll find a standard US two prong plug and the microSD card slot. On the bottom is the unit code and QR code for setting it up in the app. On the side you'll find the status LED and reset pin hole. Then on front is the USB charging port and tiny camera lens. The card reader is for accessing the video files on your computer, but note that the unit does not come with a microSD card. The USB port actually works, and can power or charge devices that require up to 1A current.

The camera accepts a microSD card up to 32 GB in capacity. Insert the card with the gold contacts facing down and press into the slot until it clicks. To remove the card press in on the edge and it should eject itself. A card must be installed to record video in the camera. Then all you have to do is plug it in and it will power on automatically, as indicated by the status light. If you need to reset the camera press the reset tool into the pin hole on the right while the unit is plugged in.

In the quick start guide you'll find the QR code to download the mobile app for setup, called MUCam. In the app, tap the plus in the upper right hand corner to add the camera, then scan the QR code located on the bottom of the camera. The default password is ‘0000'. Once connected it'll prompt you to change the password. In the app you can change a number of the camera's settings as well as add it to your home network for remote access from anywhere with an internet connection. You can set loop recording length from 1 - 60 minutes, toggle on/off sound recording as the camera has a built-in microphone, and set schedules for when you want the camera to record or trigger via motion sensing etc. The motion sensor can also send push alerts to your phone when triggered. If you want the camera to be more discrete, you can turn off the power LED while it is operating. You'll also need to tap on the camera to access its live feed, tap the image to bring up the on-screen controls, and tap the bulb icon at the top to completely disable all recording LED lights.

When viewing the live feed from your mobile device through the app, the 480p video can be used to minimize data usage, but the image is not real clear. When you set it to 1080p, the quality is actually quite good. The only issue I sometimes have is with glare in the background if there is very bright light contrasted with the foreground, like from a sunny window. Another neat thing about the camera is that it has an infrared (IR) light for recording in pitch dark conditions. The video is black and white and clear but not super detailed. Contrast may be an issue, especially if there's other bright light present when the infrared setting is on.

Every 15 minutes of video footage takes up 50-80 MB, so on a 32 GB card you can record about 4 and a half days of footage. After that the camera will loop to overwrite the oldest video file. On my 4 GB card I was able to capture just over 12 hours of footage before the camera started to delete the oldest files. Since I connected the camera to my home WiFi, I'm also able to view the live feed from the camera from anywhere with an internet connection. This was great for when we were on vacation so we could keep an eye on the house and make sure everything was ok. I can also record video and take photos directly to my phone by using the in app soft keys. Just note that when you take a still photo of the live feed there's no feedback to indicate that the photo was taken, so if you end up tapping the photo button multiple times expecting something to happen, you'll end up with a bunch of photos!

Overall, this charger camera works very well. The video recorded by its tiny lens is clear and HD and it was super easy to set up. The unit is compact, discrete, and look and functions like any other USB charger. The WiFi setup makes it easy to monitor your home from anywhere for extra security and peace of mind.

Buy it at Amazon: Qouya Mini USB Charger Camera [Affiliate Link]
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Friday, June 14, 2019

VIVIBRIGHT F40 Projector - Finally, a budget 1080p FULL HD Projector! - Review

VIVIBRIGHT F40 Projector - Finally, a budget 1080p FULL HD Projector! - Review

Buy it at Amazon: VIVIBRIGHT F40 Projector - Finally, a budget 1080p FULL HD Projector! - [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Bright, clear, detailed video with good saturation/contrast, loud/clean audio, but some design drawbacks.

***UPDATE*** Android version available!
Model# F30UP - Buy online, affiliate links below
Buy at Amazon: https://geni.us/Il42iLP (AUN brand)
Buy at Banggood: https://www.banggood.com/custlink/D33DOmnqNM (Vivibright brand)
Buy at Gearbest: http://bit.ly/30EzMao (Vivibright brand)
As far as I can tell the only difference between F30 and F40 is that the F30 doesn't have the giant status LED on the top. All other specs are the same. Model numbers with UP at the end have Android OS included.

You'll receive the projector, remote control, 5 ft power cable, microfiber cleaning cloth, and instruction manual. The projector measures 11.5" W x 9.5" L x 4" H and weighs about 6.25 pounds. On the front of the projector is the 3" lens which has a hard plastic lens protector cover. To its right, is an IR receiver for the remote control.

On the left hand side just behind the lens are the focus wheel and keystone for adjusting for pitch. On the top of the unit is a large LED status light embedded in this tri-point star. On the back are all the controls and inputs. On the right-hand side are the menu and control buttons: Enter, source, power, left and right, up and down, menu, and back button. On the left-hand side you have the inputs: 2 USB ports, 1 HDMI, a SPDIF audio out, Aux out or headphone port, IR receiver for the remote, power port, and main power switch. On the bottom are four rubber feet. Four threaded mounting holes for use with a ceiling projector mount, and a 1-1/4" flip out front stand. On the remote control, you've got the power button, Android key, which is not used, because the OS is not Android, source, back, menu, directional navigation, enter, play/pause, mute, screen rotation button, and volume control. The remote requires 2 AAA batteries which are not included.

I set the projector about 4.5' high and 13' from my 120" projection screen. This is about a foot higher than other projectors I've used and without the tilt foot engaged, since the projector tends to cast the image lower than most mini projectors. The projector has a stated brightness of 4200 lumens. It's actually quite visible, even during the day, as long as the curtains are drawn and the lights in the room are off. Usually projectors in this price range look a bit faded during the day, but not so with the F40. The native output resolution is full HD, that is 1920 x 1080 pixels.

Of course the image is much better at night and the colors pop a little bit more. So finally, there is a budget level projector with a small foot print that can handle 1080p in and 1080p out. This makes the pixels, even at large scale off over 100" diagonal nearly imperceptible when watching from 8-10 feet away, providing a smooth and clean looking image. The colors are nicely saturated and natural-looking with deep blacks and decent contrast. The other thing that really impressed me with this projector is how nice the sound quality is from the built-in speakers. The audio is crystal clear and can be turned up quite loud, to the point where we don't actually need to use an external speaker in a small room, though if you have a sound system you like, the external audio hookups work just fine.

Now the fan is louder than my other projector, which only outputs 720p resolution but is near whisper quite in comparisson. So it's a good thing the volume on the F40 can be turned up because you'll need to, to drown out the fan noise. A few features prevent this from being my favorite projector though, despite the superior sound and image quality. The first is the fixed height tilt foot. You can either engage it, or not, but there is no in-between height adjustment so it baffles me how it would ever be useful. If the image is too low, then magically this foot is supposed to make it the right height when engaged? That's hardly ever the case, as we've found, and we're constantly looking for other things to stack under the projector to get the right height.

The other thing that we had a hard time with is the lack of inputs. One HDMI port is simply not enough when you have multiple devices vying for larger screen real estate. Whether it's the TV feed from the cable box, a gaming console, movie streaming stick, or whatever, having to constantly pull a wire out and plug the next device in is more than just annoying, it's exasperating. You could always add an HDMI switch, but that's still an extra step when you want to change devices. At least they included USB ports which can be used to power your TV sticks like Fire TV and Chromecast. You could even charge your phone off one if you wanted to.

As I mentioned earlier, the OS is not Android and is fairly basic. You'll be able to read some video file types off a USB thumb drive, though there's no SDcard input slot if that's your preferred media. I did find, however, that the decoder didn't always recognize all video file types, even if they were MP4s which likely has to do with 4K resolution sizes. If I downscale converted the video files I was able to play them back on the projector. The last sticking point, which is a minior one is that the LED status light on top is huge and always on when the main power switch is on. the light is red when in stand-by and green when in use. There's no setting in the menu to turn off the status light so the only way to turn it off is to power down the machine. Which means it'll always be on when you're using it and if you shut it down completely, you won't be able to power it on with a remote (only works in stand-by mode).

Overall, this projector does a really amazing job projecting clear, 1080p full HD images at large scale. The audio is clear and crisp, but competes a bit with the internal fan. The colors are vibrant and bright with good contrast from light to dark. You'll still want to use it in as dark a setting as possible to get the best performance, but in a room with some ambient light, it's quite watchable. If using the projector outdoors, you can probably get away without using an external speaker if you turn the volume all the way up, if you're sitting near the projector. But if you're doing rear projection, where the projector is 15 or more feet away from you, use an external speaker with a long cable. If you don't have a need for more than 1 HDMI input or don't mind using a switch, this projector is pretty awesome for movies, TV, gaming, or could even work in an office setting, as text and words displayed are easy to read.

Buy it at Amazon: VIVIBRIGHT F40 Projector - Finally, a budget 1080p FULL HD Projector! - [Affiliate Link]
Buy at Amazon: https://geni.us/Il42iLP (AUN F30UP, Android)
Buy at Banggood: https://www.banggood.com/custlink/D33DOmnqNM (Vivibright F30UP, Android)
Buy at Gearbest: http://bit.ly/30EzMao (Vivibright F30UP, Android)
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Thursday, June 13, 2019

TUSY 14 ft Inflatable Outdoor Movie Screen Review

TUSY 14 ft Inflatable Outdoor Movie Screen Review

Buy it at Amazon: TUSY 14 ft Inflatable Outdoor Movie Screen [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Quickly inflates and deflates; some fan noise but relatively quiet, lightweight and easy to setup.

When opening the box, be sure not to use a utility knife across the top. If you do need to cut the tape, use scissors or face the blade up and away from the interior to prevent damaging the screen, as it sits right below the top flaps. In the box you'll receive a large polyester canvas tote. Inside, you'll find a smaller drawstring bag, a set of setup instructions, and the inflatable movie screen. Inside the small drawstring bag are 6 aluminum lawn anchors that measure 7 inches in length. You'll also find 6 lengths of tie down ropes, which each measure about 12 feet long.

The recommended knot for use with the anchors is a tautline hitch which will allow you to slide the knot to adjust the length of the rope. The instructions for making this knot are illustrated in the manual, but I show just how to tie one in my video review. The screen comes bound up with extra strips of the polyester canvas that it is made out of. These ties aren't all that great and can be discarded. When rolling out the screen, make sure to keep the white screen facing up. The feet of the screen will have the motor of the air pump on one side. The air pump is in a zippered section, so unzip it to get to the power cord. Once the power cord is out, you'll want to zip the compartment back up. Note that when you plug in the motor it will start inflating instantly as there is no on/off switch.

The screen takes about 1 minute to fully inflate so it comes up quickly. Make sure the air pump is not blocked at any time so it can get enough air flow. When the screen is fully inflated, it can be a little challenging to maneuver with one person, which is why I recommend, placing the anchors at the front and back of each foot before inflating; they're be a loop at each end. On the sides of the screen are two anchor points where you can tie the ropes using the knot I showed you earlier. Then you'll want to plant the anchors, angling them away from the screen and hook the rope onto it. I found the screen is the most stable with two ropes on either side, and anchored at the front of each foot. You may need to adjust a couple times to get it square and level.

The fully inflated screen has the following measurements. It is 9 feet tall, 11 feet wide, has about a 16 foot overall diagonal (may be somewhat less depending on inflation level and how it's strapped down), and a viewable screen diagonal of 10 feet with a 16:9 ratio. When projecting onto the screen, the white fabric provides a clean, even surface for the projected image to render true colors with deep saturation. There is a slight border effect because the center of the screen is transluscent, while the edges, held on by Velcro are opaque. The fan does produce a little bit of noise, however, during our viewing with the loud speaker we were using, we didn't really notice it. Because the screen is transluscent, you can project from behind the screen or from in front, just remember to flip the image horizontally if projecting from the back so text will be readable from the front. When projecting from behind, you will have a strong border effect along the Velcro border as the light will not pass through it.

When you're done with the screen, it deflates as soon as you unplug the pump, so be prepared to catch the screen and control the collapse. I try to keep the white part of the screen off the ground and between the two black sections to avoid getting it dirty or stained. However, if it does get soiled, it's easily removable and machine washable as it is attached with Velcro. Packing the screen away is as easy as rolling it up from the side opposite from the pump towards the pump end and takes only a couple minutes. It fits neatly into the canvas bag for storage or travel and is fairly lightweight at only 11 pounds. Overall, the quality of the screen is good and the construction durable. It sets up and breaks down in minutes and can make any space that can accommodate it an instant movie theater.

Buy it at Amazon: TUSY 14 ft Inflatable Outdoor Movie Screen [Affiliate Link]
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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Summitter Inflatable Camping Mattress Review

Summitter Inflatable Camping Mattress Review

Buy it at Amazon: Summitter Inflatable Camping Mattress [Affiliate Link]
For the ribbed version of this mattress, check out this one on Gearbest: http://bit.ly/2IWquja [Gearbest Affiliate Product Link]

Takeaway: Inflates and deflates quickly, lightweight, compact, waterproof and comfortable, but can trap heat in warm weather.

The camping mattress and pillow come in a drawstring nylon bag. It measures 11" long with a 3" diameter and weighs about 1 lb. Inside you'll find the inflatable pillow and mattress but note that they may be slightly different colors. The set is available in several different colors.

This is the inflatable neck pillow. It has a horseshoe shape and a pull tag at one end. This opens the fill valve cap. Removing the middle section allows you to deflate the pillow. Although the fill valve cap looks solid, the rubber stopper will allow air to enter the pillow but not escape. With only a few breaths you can inflate the pillow fully, and the air will not leak out of the fill valve. The pillow is quite comfortable to use and fits around your neck for use when travelling or camping. It's lightweight, soft, and cushy to provide some neck support while you rest. Just note in warmer weather the material doesn't breathe well and can trap body heat. When you're done with it, pull the release plug and it'll deflate in seconds, rolling up compactly for storage.

This is the camping mattress. It unrolls to a size of 27.5" x 7.5' and has the same pull tag fill valve release valve combo to inflate the mattress. The material the mattress and pillow are made of is a thin but durable 40D nylon fabric that both resists punctures and is completely waterproof. The surface of it has a slightly fuzzy satiny feel to it. I did a water test and let the water sit on it for 5 minutes. Afterwards it wiped clean and dry with no residue or bleed through to the other side, making it great for the outdoors to avoid being on damp ground. This also makes it really easy to clean and care for.

The mattress can be inflated by breath and takes about 30 seconds to fill. However, this may leave you a little short of breath afterwards. Luckily you have this comfy mattress to rest on and recover when you're done. I prefer, however, to inflate the mattress using a portable electric pump like this one. You'll notice that the mattress contracts a little after the air cells have filled up and expanded. The final size of the inflated mattress is 23" x 76". The air cells are cushy and supportive, though a bit shallow. They collapse a bit when you apply pressure, but when your weight is distributed through lying down, you won't feel the ground underneath. The mattress is rated to support up to 450 pounds, though I was unable to verify the claim. You may need to keep it slightly underinflated for high weight bearing capacity.

Overall, this inflatable mattress is effective at keeping you off hard surfaces and preventing any dampness from the ground or grass from reaching you. The pillow adds neck support when you need it. Both fill up quickly and deflate just as easily and roll up compactly for travel and storage. This set is a great companion for camping, picnics, hanging out at the beach, or even just outdoor movie night.

Buy it at Amazon: Summitter Inflatable Camping Mattress [Affiliate Link]
For the ribbed version of this mattress, check out this one on Gearbest: http://bit.ly/2IWquja [Gearbest Affiliate Product Link]
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