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.

Monday, December 19, 2016

6-month UPDATE iRestore Laser Hair Growth System Review, Ep. 6 (Week 22/Day 165)

Final UPDATE 6-month iRestore Laser Hair Growth System Review, Ep. 6 (Week 22/Day 165)

Buy it on iRestore: iRestore Laser Hair Growth System [Affiliate Link] Buy directly from iRestore and receive exclusive discounts when you sign up for their mailing list. Save up to $200 on your order!

Takeaway: 5th and Last Update: Dec 19, 2016. By the end of my 6 month trial with the iRestore Laser Hair Restoration Helmet, my hair has improved!
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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Exfoliate Your Face Professionally in Minutes with This Must Have Beauty Device

CosBeauty Ultrasonic Skin Scrubber Facial Spatula Review

Buy it on Amazon: CosBeauty Ultrasonic Skin Scrubber Facial Spatula [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Quick and easy facial peel tool you can use at home. Smooths, tightens, and improves product penetration.
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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Watch Movies on the Big Screen At Home for a Fraction of the Price

LW-20 Mini LED Projector Review

Buy it on Amazon: LW-20 Mini LED Projector (sold by Geeki) [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Decent image quality and reproduction, good color and contrast, but needs pitch darkness.
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Friday, December 2, 2016

Cold or Hot, This Tumbler Will Keep Your Drinks at Near Constant Temperature for Hours

Sheriff Drink 30 oz Stainless Steel Insulated Tumbler Review

Buy it on Amazon: Sheriff Drink 30 oz Stainless Steel Insulated Tumbler [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Good insulating performance, large capacity, handsome finish. Keeps drinks cold or hot.
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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Fluance RT81 Hi Fi Turntable Record Player Review

Fluance RT81 Hi Fi Turntable Record Player Review

Buy it on Amazon: Fluance RT81 Hi Fi Turntable Record Player [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Beautiful workmanship and amazing sound from an intro level and affordably priced turntable.
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Friday, November 25, 2016

This Baking Twine Ensures Your Roasted Fowl is Not a Kitchen Foul

Tenn Well White Cotton Baking Twine Review w/Spiced Cornish Hen Recipe

Buy it on Amazon: Tenn Well White Cotton Baking Twine [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Great cotton twine for baking and roasting; strong with high break strength, doesn't burn and can be used in crafts.
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Thursday, November 24, 2016

No Table Cloth Clips? You Won't Need Them with This Fitted Table Cloth

Homeware Fitted Plastic Picnic Table Cloth Review

Buy it on Amazon: Homeware Fitted Plastic Picnic Table Cloth (sold by ATK Essentials) [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: A perfect fit for standard sized 6 x 2.5 ft picnic tables. Waterproof, windproof, and durable; easy to clean.
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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Make and Store Ice, Baby Food, Treats, and More in This Versatile Silicone Tray

Multipurpose Silicone Storage Tray Review

Buy it on Amazon: Multipurpose Silicone Storage Tray Review [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Use in the freezer, fridge, and oven; perfect size for home made baby food, snacks, and desserts.
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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Stick Your Phone to Almost Any Surface with This Universal Mounting System

KiuKiu Universal Phone Mounting System Review (Velcro Sticker)

Buy it on Amazon: KiuKiu Universal Phone Mounting System [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Easy to apply/remove, secure hold for basic mobile phoen mounting; versatile and can be used on many surfaces and locations.
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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Forget Tea Bags, Steep Whole Leaf Tea in These Reusable Stainless Steel Baskets

VitaPura Naturals Stainless Steel Basket Tea Infuser Review

Buy it on Amazon: VitaPura Naturals Stainless Steel Basket Tea Infuser [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Easy to use and clean, doesn't rust; fine mesh basket keeps your tea clean and clear.
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Friday, November 18, 2016

Not Sure Your Fridge/Freezer is Cold Enough? Get This Easy Read Thermometer

Refrigerator Fridge/Freezer Thermometer

Buy it on Amazon: Refrigerator Fridge/Freezer Thermometer [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Simple to use, accurate readings, easy-to-read large numbers; outputs both C/F with variety of placement options.
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Hotel Comfort Linens are More Affordable than You Think

Oxa Queen Bed Sheet Set Review

Buy it on Amazon: Oxa White Microfiber Bed Sheet Set [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Soft, comfortable, thin and lightweight sheets for tall mattresses.
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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Easy DIY Organic Lip Balm Recipe

How to Make DIY Lip Balm with Stakich Organic Bees Wax, Review and Recipe

Buy it on Amazon: Stakich Organic Bees Wax [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Nice quality, fresh scented, smooth textured bees wax. Easy to work with.
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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Need a New Pillow? Lay Your Head on a Cloud of Fluffy Down Softness

Puredown Goose Down and Feather Pillow Review

Buy it on Amazon: Puredown Goose Down and Feather Pillow [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Soft and smooshy; puffs up a lot but has little fill. Feathers don't escape often.
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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Checkout Photive's Lightweight and Affordable Wireless Headphones

Photive HF1 On Ear Bluetooth Headphones Review

Buy it on Amazon: Photive HF1 On Ear Bluetooth Headphones [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Affordable, lightweight headphones that travel well; durable, and sound pretty good.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Capture Every Awesome Moment in 360 Degrees with This Action Camera

Homkm 360 Degree Action Camera for VR Review

Buy it on Amazon: Homkm 360 Degree Action Camera for VR [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Budget priced, w/low-med video resolution and avg sound, but fun intro to 360 video/photos. Half-hemispherical output.
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NaviskAuto Dual Screen Car Headrest DVD Player Review

NaviskAuto Dual Screen Car Headrest DVD Player Review

Buy it on Amazon: NaviskAuto Dual Screen Car Headrest DVD Player [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Clear video and audio, various input options, though some DVDs didn't play and no support for MP4/MKV.
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Thursday, October 13, 2016

iRestore Laser Hair Growth System Review, Ep. 5 (Week 15/Day 105)

iRestore Laser Hair Growth System Review, Ep. 5 (Week 15/Day 105)

Buy it on iRestore: iRestore Laser Hair Growth System [Affiliate Link] Buy directly from iRestore and receive exclusive discounts when you sign up for their mailing list. Save up to $200 on your order!

Takeaway: 4th Update: Oct 13, 2016. Follow me on my 6 month journey to see if I can get my hair to grow in fuller, thicker, and stronger.
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Okany Cotton Striped Boxer Briefs Review

Okany Cotton Striped Boxer Briefs Review

Buy it on Amazon: Okany Cotton Striped Boxer Briefs [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Soft, comfortable, & breathable, nice style/colors, conservative fit, has pass-thru fly.
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Underfit Microfiber Boxer Briefs Review

Underfit Microfiber Boxer Briefs Review

Buy it on Amazon: Underfit Microfiber Boxer Briefs [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Silky smooth, lightweight, comfy, quick drying and breathable; nice for workouts and sports.
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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Peace and Quiet Earplugs Review

Peace and Quiet Earplugs Review

Buy it on Amazon: Peace and Quiet Earplugs [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Soft, attenuating, comfortable, allows comfortable level sound to pass through.
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2QIMU Mesh Boxer Briefs Review

2QIMU Mesh Boxer Briefs Review

Buy it on Amazon: 2QIMU Mesh Boxer Briefs [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Soft, comfortable, lightweight; athletic-like mesh fabric stays cool and silky smooth.
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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Durasmile Custom Night Guard Review

Durasmile Custom Night Guard Review

Buy it on Amazon: Durasmile Custom Night Guard [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Easy molding process, quick turn around, comfortable thin/flexible silicone night guard.
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Click & Grow Smart Garden Indoor Hydroponic Gardening Kit Review

Click & Grow Smart Garden Indoor Hydroponic Gardening Kit Review

Buy it on Amazon: Click & Grow Smart Garden Indoor Hydroponic Gardening Kit [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Basil cartridges grew but leggy, tasted fine, light has 3 heights up to 13.5", app not great.
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Homdox Wood Slat Queen Platform Metal Bed Frame Assembly and Review

Homdox Wood Slat Queen Platform Metal Bed Frame Assembly and Review

Buy it on Amazon: Homdox Wood Slat Queen Platform Metal Bed Frame Assembly and [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Straight forward setup, instructions poor/contain mistake, sturdy/stable for lightweight mattress and occupants.
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Draw in the Air with This Amazing 3D Printing Pen That Anyone Can Use

TwoPages 3D Printing Pen Review and Demo

Buy it on Amazon: TwoPages 3D Printing Pen [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Good starter kit, fun and easy to use, short power cord, slow load but fast eject when changing colors.
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Friday, September 9, 2016

Plugable USB-C to HDMI Adapter Review

Plugable USB-C to HDMI Adapter Review

Buy it on Amazon: Plugable USB-C to HDMI Adapter [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Works with my LG G5, but signal cuts in and out on some devices, not reversible.
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Friday, September 2, 2016

iRestore Laser Hair Growth System Review, Ep. 4 (Week 8/Day 62)

iRestore Laser Hair Growth System Review, Ep. 4 (Week 8/Day 62)

Buy it on iRestore: iRestore Laser Hair Growth System [Affiliate Link] Buy directly from iRestore and receive exclusive discounts when you sign up for their mailing list. Save up to $200 on your order!

Takeaway: 3rd Update: Sept 2, 2016. Follow me on my 6 month journey to see if I can get my hair to grow back in thicker and stronger.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Purelux Gibbon Bathroom Sink Faucet Installation and Review

Purelux Gibbon Bathroom Sink Faucet Installation and Review

Buy it at Amazon: Purelux Gibbon Bathroom Sink Faucet Installation and [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Easy installation, smooth gentle water flow, leak-free and comes with deck plate.
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Monday, August 22, 2016

Silicone Number Lollipop Mold Review

Silicone Number Lollipop Mold Review

Buy it on Amazon: Silicone Number Lollipop Mold [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Great for candies and non-candle wax toppers.
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Monday, August 15, 2016

Apeman M4 Mini Wireless Pico Projector Review

Apeman M4 Mini Wireless Pico Projector Review

Buy it on Amazon: Apeman M4 Mini Wireless Pico Projector [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Good clarity/color saturation, but limited uses, slow WiFi streaming, no audio out, low brightness.
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Friday, August 5, 2016

Forsining Mens Automatic Watch (Rose Gold) Review

Forsining Mens Automatic Watch (Rose Gold) Review

Buy it on Amazon: Forsining Mens Automatic Watch (Rose Gold) [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Handsome watch, easy to set, fairly accurate though gains a few minutes over time, cheap band.
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Ufriday White Fabric Shower Curtain Review

Ufriday White Fabric Shower Curtain Review

Buy it on Amazon: Ufriday White Fabric Shower Curtain [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Thick polyester fabric, water resistant, no bleed through, mildew resistant, dries fast.
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EZcap Cassette to MP3 Converter to USB Flash Drive Review

EZcap Cassette to MP3 Converter to USB Flash Drive Review

Buy it on Amazon: EZcap Cassette to MP3 Converter to USB Flash Drive [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Easy to use, clear audio, little digital distortion, not compatible w/all USB drives.
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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

4K XDV Action Camera Review

4K XDV Action Camera Review

Buy it on Amazon: 4K XDV Action Camera [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Decent audio and video but compression noticeable, spotty app performance, good on a budget.
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Merry's Polarized Aviator Sunglasses Review

Buy it on Amazon: Merry's Polarized Aviator Sunglasses [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Dark lenses, crisp and clear vision, durable and heavy weight metal but comfortable.
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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

iRestore Laser Hair Growth System Review, Ep. 3 (Week 4/Day 32)

iRestore Laser Hair Growth System Review, Ep. 3 (Week 4/Day 32)

Buy it on iRestore: iRestore Laser Hair Growth System [Affiliate Link] Buy directly from iRestore and receive exclusive discounts when you sign up for their mailing list. Save up to $200 on your order!

Takeaway: 2nd Update: Aug 2, 2016. Follow me on my 6 month journey to see if I can get my hair to grow back in thicker and stronger.
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Thursday, July 14, 2016

iRestore Laser Hair Growth System Review, Ep. 2 (Week 2/Day 14)

iRestore Laser Hair Growth System Review, Ep. 2 (Week 2/Day 14)

Buy it on iRestore: iRestore Laser Hair Growth System [Affiliate Link] Buy directly from iRestore and receive exclusive discounts when you sign up for their mailing list. Save up to $200 on your order!

Takeaway: 1st Update: July 14, 2016. Follow me on my 6 month journey to see if I can get my hair to grow back in thicker and stronger.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

eBake Silicone Pyramid Baking Mat Review

eBake Silicone Pyramid Baking Mat Review

Buy it on Amazon: eBake Silicone Pyramid Baking Mat [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Good for frozen friend foods, fatty cuts of meat, bacon, cleans up easily, stores compactly.
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Homall Racing Chair Blue Full Assembly and Review

Homall Racing Chair Blue Full Assembly and Review

Buy it on Amazon: Homall Racing Chair Blue [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Comfortable, large seat, decent construction, cool look. I'll show you how to assemble it.
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Thursday, June 30, 2016

iRestore Laser Hair Growth System Review, Ep. 1 (Week 0/Day 1)

iRestore Laser Hair Growth System Review, Ep. 1 (Week 0/Day 1)

Buy it on iRestore: iRestore Laser Hair Growth System [Affiliate Link] Buy directly from iRestore and receive exclusive discounts when you sign up for their mailing list. Save up to $200 on your order!

Takeaway: My first laser session: June 30th, 2016. Follow me on my 6 month journey to see if I can get my hair to grow back in thicker and stronger.
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Friday, June 24, 2016

Peralng Automatic Timer Scheduler Remote Outlet Switch Review

Peralng Automatic Timer Scheduler Remote Outlet Switch Review

Buy it on Amazon: Peralng Automatic Timer Scheduler Remote Outlet Switch [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Works remotely w/internet connection, timers are off by 1 hr, schedules cannot be updated, only deleted.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tangkula Costway Cash Box Drawer Review

Tangkula Costway Cash Box Drawer Review

Buy it on Amazon: Tangkula Costway Cash Box Drawer [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Smooth sliding drawer, Easy to use, No locking feature, Occasionally jams if you move it around.
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Handheld Bidet Sprayer Installation and Review

Handheld Bidet Sprayer Installation and Review

Buy it on Amazon: Handheld Bidet Sprayer Installation and [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Easy to install, gentle flow and spray, 3-way shutoff valve included, works well with no leaks.
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GGMM M4 Bluetooth/WiFi Portable Multi-Room Speaker Review

GGMM M4 Bluetooth/WiFi Portable Multi-Room Speaker Review

Buy it on Amazon: GGMM M4 Bluetooth/WiFi Portable Multi-Room Speaker [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Great build & sound, loud, decent bass, semi-portable but bulky, easy connectivity, multi-speaker syncing.
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Kedsum Automatic Scheduling Timer Outlet Switch Review

Kedsum Automatic Scheduling Timer Outlet Switch Review

Buy it on Amazon: Kedsum Automatic Scheduling Timer Outlet Switch [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Large LCD, easy to press buttons, straightforward schedule setting, works well.
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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

V4Ink TN660 Replacement Printer Ink Toner Cartridge Review

V4Ink TN660 Replacement Printer Ink Toner Cartridge Review

Buy it on Amazon: V4Ink TN660 Replacement Printer Ink Toner Cartridge [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Cartridge works, but had to force printer to 'reset' the toner life.
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Monday, June 6, 2016

Vibrant Canvas 5 pc Wall Art Ocean Wave Seascape Review

Vibrant Canvas 5 pc Wall Art Ocean Wave Seascape Review

Buy it on Amazon: Vibrant Canvas 5 pc Wall Art Ocean Wave Seascape [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Large, high resolution prints on canvas, easy to hang, cool beach-y feel.
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TomAmeri MP4 Player Black 16GB New 2016 Version Review

TomAmeri MP4 Player Black 16GB New 2016 Version Review

Buy it at Amazon: TomAmeri MP4 Player Black 16GB New 2016 Version [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Not bad as an MP3 player/FM radio, but poor screen resolution for videos/photos.

The MP4 player includes a micro USB cable and a set of headphones. The player is made of a brushed aluminum shell and has a 1.75" diagonal LCD, but note that the screen is not a touch screen. On the right hand side of the player, there is a slot for loading a microSD card, but the unit also has 16 gb of built-in storage and a card is not required. Along the bottom is a microUSB charging port, the microphone, and the headphone port.

To turn the player on, press and hold the center play/pause button. The menu displays a list of options that you scroll left and right through. Note that the controls are a click wheel and not a touch sensitive scroll wheel. To select an option click the menu key in the top left corner of the control wheel. In Music mode press the up and down keys to adjust the volume and then the Menu key to accept the setting. The included headphones are not that great, so I recommend using your own set. Once you use a decent set of headphones the music quality is pretty good. Loading music to the player is easy using the included cable and you simply drop all the files into the root folder.

To exit out of a mode press and hold the menu key or use the back key in the top right corner of the controls. In video mode this player only supports AMV files, so you'll likely have to convert any files to get them to player on this player. The screen is awfully tiny, and the colors are somewhat washed out with fairly low resolution. There is a voice recorder on this unit and I recommend that if you do use it, to set the recording type to 256 kbps for better sounding quality. You'll have to go to a separate menu option to listen to the recordings. The radio mode functions and picks up a lot of stations in my area. The photo mode is as expected for such a tiny screen and the contrast will change depending on your viewing angle. In e-book mode you can read text files but not word documents, pdfs, or ebook formats. LAstly, there is a game mode with 1 game "Boxman."

Overall, for an inexpensive unit, it works as an MP3 player and portable radio. I wouldn't recommend it if you primarily want to view photos, videos and e-books. With 8 GB of storage and also the option to add an SD card up to 32 gb, you can also use it as a portable drive and card reader.

Buy it at Amazon: TomAmeri MP4 Player Black 16GB New 2016 Version [Affiliate Link]
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Ultimate Body Press Reversible Pull Up Bar Installation and Review

Ultimate Body Press Reversible Pull Up Bar Installation and Review

Buy it at Amazon: Ultimate Body Press Reversible Pull Up Bar [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Fits 16" or 24" studs, sturdy bar, multiple pull up grips, install can be done by one person.

This set includes a paper mounting template, installation instructions, 2 support brackets, the pull up bar, and a bag of hardware that contains: 6 lag bolts, 6 flat washers, an Allen wrench, 2 Allen bolts and 2 curved washers. The bar measures 41.5" from end to end with a curved section in the middle and downward sloping ends. The bar is wrapped in a firm neoprene foam that feels dense and has a soft non-slip texture. The support brackets also have two parallel bars for neutral grip pull ups.

For installation, you'll also need a pencil, a level, a tape measure, power drill, 5/16" drill bit, 17mm socket wrench, tape, and stud finder which are not included. First, you'll need to determine whether your studs are spaced every 16" or every 24". If your studs are spaced 16" apart, the brackets will curve inward towards each other, if they are 24" the brackets will curve outwards away from each other. Mark the center of each stud at the height you want to install the bar. Loosely attach the pull up bar to the two support brackets using the Allen wrench and curved washers. For this assembly, you want the curved side of the washers to face the brackets, away from the screw head. If you installed the bars in the wrong orientation (e.g. 16" vs 24"), rotate them both 180 degrees and they will be in the correct width. When assembled the parallel grip spacing should be 20" allowing you to targets lats, rhomboids, and traps.

The template lets you easily mark where to drill the holes for the lag bolts. I recommend pushing a sharp bit through the paper to mark the holes rather than drilling through the template itself, that way you can use the template again if you move the bar. Make sure to set the bar indicator line on the template to your desired height; the bar should be about 7' from the floor, more or less depending on what's comfortable for you and your ceiling height. You'll want 14-18" of clearance to the ceiling. Pre-drill the 6 holes to a depth of 3" using a 5/16" bit. Attach the support bars to the wall using the 6 lag bolts and washers. This was a bit tricky because it was awkward to hold the whole assembly up with one hand while trying to fit the bolt in the hole with the other. Having a second person hold the bar for you would be helpful here. Finally, tighten the Allen bolts on the pull up bar and check your level. Make sure the bar is secure before you attempt to use it.

The pull up bar was pretty easy to install (about 30 minutes) and comfortable to use. It feels strong and sturdy. The black paint will help the metal resist rust and corrosion, however, I don't recommend installing this bar for outdoor use. I think the grips would get moldy and if the paint chips the unit will likely rust. Overall, the construction is solid and the setup straightforward with well-written, easy to follow instructions. This bar is a great addition to my home gym and provides me with a variety of options for upper body strength training (standard grip, wide grip, neutral grip, chin ups).

Buy it at Amazon: Ultimate Body Press Reversible Pull Up Bar [Affiliate Link]
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Monday, May 16, 2016

UC46 Mini WiFi Projector Review

UC46 Mini WiFi Projector Review (by QOQOK) Review

Buy it at Amazon: UC46 Mini WiFi Projector [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Simple setup, low resolution/brightness, short cord, WiFi works ok, no tripod mounting.

The projector comes with a 5 ft power cable, RCA input cable, a remote control, and an instruction sheet. The projector is fairly compact measuring 8"W x 6"L x 3"H. It weighs just over 2 lbs. On the front of the projector is the 2.5" lens which comes with a rubber lens cap. There are two dials behind the lens, the large one controls the size/focus of the image and the smaller ring controls the pitch of the image; if the projector is on tilt it can correct for that. The remote requires 2 AAA batteries which are not included.

The lens cap for the projector is pretty flimsy and tends to fall out a lot on its own, so it's easy to lose. The cap can only be "attached" with the lens retracted all the way and there are no snaps which is why it always falls out. The power cable on this unit is a bit short and the projector doesn't have a thread mounting hole on the bottom for attaching to a tripod.

At 1200 lumens, the image isn't super bright, so you'll need pretty dark conditions to see the screen. During the day it is faded, so this unit won't be able to replace your big screen television. Also the resolution is only 800 x 480 px like a VGA computer monitor. It is not HD (Hi-Def). The WiFi connection is a bit tricky at first but once explained is straightforward. Once connected, any device on the network with DLNA can stream content tot he projector like music, video, and photos; the projector cannot browse those network locations.

The internal speaker on the unit is pretty weak so a separate external speaker hooked up to the headphone jack is recommended. The color depth produced by the projector is not deep and the color balance was way off (very orangey).

In general, the projector works alright with a bit of effort. There are a few design improvement that would make the unit more usable, like a tripod mounting option, longer power cord, a better lens cap, and more powerful internal speaker. The resolution isn't very high at 800x480 so expect pixelated picture quality similar to VHS on a tube television (low color depth and contrast). It could be okay for movie night with the kids or a slideshow at a party. Just make sure it's pretty dark wherever you use it.

Buy it at Amazon: UC46 Mini WiFi Projector [Affiliate Link]
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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Queen Sized Alternative Down Pillow Review

Queen Sized Alternative Down Pillow Review

Buy it at Amazon: Queen Sized Alternative Down Pillow [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Plush, dense, good support and heat retention/dissipation..

The Ba Li Chun pillow comes in a non-woven fabric carrying bag that zippers along the bottom. I ordered the queen sized pillow that is slightly larger than a standard pillow. It measures 30"W x 20"L and is approximately 10" thick. The pillow is very fluffy and densely packed with loose polyester fiber. The stuffing is smooth, silky, and soft. It compresses a lot while still being able to puff up again quickly. The filling does a nice job with warmth retention while still allowing plenty of air flow. Since it's polyester it's suitable for use by folks with allergies to duck/goose down. The outer case material is 100% cotton. The queen sized pillow should be used with a queen sized pillow case. The Ba Li Chun pillow is fuller and more uniform, even after a month of nightly use than my budget standard pillows which have collapsed pretty badly. This pillow is soft and comfortable, providing plenty of support for your head and neck. You'll sink into it pretty easily, and it conforms somewhat to your head for a comfortable and restful sleep. It also makes for a nice sized body pillow.

Buy it at Amazon: Queen Sized Alternative Down Pillow [Affiliate Link]
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Monday, May 9, 2016

Jeansian Patchwork Button Down Shirt Review

Jeansian Patchwork Button Down Shirt Review

Buy it at Amazon: Jeansian Patchwork Button Down Shirt [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Modern and fashionable, slim fit, comfortable.

I got the shirt in US size small, which is my usual size, though for some brands I choose XS. This shirt comes in a few color options but basically all of them look like there are two contrasting colored shirts sewn together. The material feels like a cotton/poly blend with a medium stiffness. Across the chest is a triangular crosshatch section. The shirt fits me really well and the overall cut is form fitting. For reference I am 5'4" and weigh 120 lbs. While there are seams on the patchwork pattern where the alternating fabric comes together, for the most part you can't really feel the stitches. The length is of the shirt is short so you can wear the shirt untucked, and if you do choose to tuck it in, keep in mind the shirt could become untucked if you raise your arms above your head. Overall the shirt is stylish and comfortable to wear with decent stitching.

Buy it at Amazon: Jeansian Patchwork Button Down Shirt [Affiliate Link]
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Friday, May 6, 2016

Kinsal Racing Bucketseat Gaming Chair Review

Kinsal Racing Bucketseat Gaming Chair Review

Buy it at Amazon: Kinsal Racing Bucketseat Gaming Chair [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Decent chair for smaller folks, poor assembly instructions, weak casters, noisy fabric.

The chair comes partially disassembled and it weighs a lot, almost 50 lbs. These are the parts you'll get: the chair back and seat (one piece), two arm rests, steel wheel spoke, 5 plastic wheel casters, the height adjustment assembly, piston cover, and hydraulic piston. You'll also get a set of instructions and two Allen wrenches. The chair is wrapped in a faux composite leather that has a very strong tar smell from the dyes and inks out of the box, but the smell dissipates after a few days. At the base of the seat back is a lumbar support pillow attached via clip on elastic straps (completely removable if you don't like it) and at the neck there is a smaller pillow also attached via clip on elastic (and removable as well). The seams on the chair are finely stitched, neat and straight. The seat is a racecar style bucket seat and looks pretty cool.

The instructions actually include some steps that are already completed, so they're a little bit misleading. To assemble the chair, first remove the four screws on the bottom of the seat for the height adjustment assembly, the part with the height lever. Then, attach the assembly using the screws you just removed making sure that the arrow with the word "front" points towards the front of the seat. If you install this piece backwards the chair will feel like it's tilting forward at an awkward angle when you sit in it; I found this out the hard way!

If you're installing the arms, remove the four outer screws on the sides. Then attach the arms making sure the longer section of the arm faces the front of the seat, the arms are specifically left and right but unmarked which is why this is important. The caster wheels are plastic and lightweight, but they're hard and feel pretty durable with metal stems. I was rolling these around on tile (without a person in it) and they seemed fine on their own, but they don't work as well when you're actually seated in the chair. The chair arms can be adjusted independently up and down, forward and back and angled inward a couple degrees. This is for supporting your arms and elbows when using the keyboard and mouse to prevent "mouse elbow." The seat back can be reclined to a fully horizontal position which is pretty neat. The chair itself is decently comfortable for someone my size (5'4", 120 lbs) and the lumbar support and neck pillow provide additional support, but can start to feel lumpy after a while, but at least you can remove them if you need to. The only difficulty I had was that I wasn't quite heavy enough to lower the seat with my body weight and had to bounce it down to get the seat lower. The seat also doesn't raise very high in general if you have a tall desk. Overall, the seat is pretty comfortable, but because the fabric doesn't breathe, you tend to get a little sweaty sitting in it a long time and the material squeaks a bit.

Buy it at Amazon: Kinsal Racing Bucketseat Gaming Chair [Affiliate Link]
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

IlyEver Ice Cream Scoop Review

IlyEver Ice Cream Scoop Review

Buy it at Amazon: IlyEver Ice Cream Scoop [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Strong, durable, easy to use, nice sized scoops for cones and bowls.

The individually purchased medium ice cream scoop measures 8" long, has a 4.5" long handle with 2.5" spread, and 2" diameter scoop. It is made entirely of a durable 18/8 stainless steel and weighs 4.25 oz. The scoop ejector is a simple ratcheting squeeze mechanism and can be operated easily by either hand. The neck of the ice cream scoop is hollow, but firm and does not bend under pressure. I used these on our homemade ice cream which tends to be a bit harder than store bought ones because we only used 5 ingredients and no emulsifiers (sugar, milk, cream, salt, purple sweet potatoes). I usually soak the scoop in some warm water to help make scooping easier. Though hard, the ice cream scooper rolled nice round balls.

The other way you can use the scoop is like a melon baller by pressing the scoop straight down into the ice cream and twisting to make a ball; you'll typically have to let the ice cream sit 5-10 minutes out of the freezer to soften enough for the second method. The ejection mechanism works fairly well and gets most of the ice cream out of the scoop, though a thin layer is left behind (scrape it out with your eating spoon!). The scooper benefits from periodic soaking in warm water during use and works well overall.

Buy it at Amazon: IlyEver Ice Cream Scoop [Affiliate Link]
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Desmit Cotton Bikini Thong Briefs Review

Desmit Cotton Bikini Thong Briefs Review

Buy it at Amazon: Desmit Cotton Bikini Thong Briefs [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Soft, comfortable, and revealing; needs more room in the front pouch.

You'll receive 9 pairs of underwear in different colors: navy, white, grey, red, black, blue, yellow, purple, and maroon. The underwear is a bikini thong brief style and made of 100% cotton. The front pouch is pleated to allow for some stretch and expansion in the front, but there's barely enough fabric to keep you covered if you get excited; as with most Asian styled underwear, it could use more room in the pouch area. The waistband is 1.25" wide and pretty stretchy. I have a 28" waist and the medium size fit alright, though I probably could have even ordered the large. On the back, these briefs will leave your behind mostly exposed, with just a narrow thong for separation that's basically hidden when wearing it, so in the back you'll just have a tiny triangle of fabric showing above your rear. If you like the exposed look and free feeling of bikinis and thongs, these underwear are a comfy fit and have nice bold colors. They're super low profile and have decent quality.

Buy it at Amazon: Desmit Cotton Bikini Thong Briefs [Affiliate Link]
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Kust Honda CRV 2015 Seat Covers Installation and Review

Kust Honda CRV 2015 Seat Covers Installation and Review

Buy it at Amazon: Kust Honda CRV 2015 Seat Covers Installation and [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Looks good, nice material feel, easy to install, a few design flaws.

UPDATE: 6/20/2017 After about a year of use, the elastic on the front seat portion of the covers doesn't hold them onto the seats anymore. They're all stretched out and always fall out. This is more apparent on the driver's side because it gets used more, but the seat cover slides around and has to be realigned each time you get in the car. The backseat ones are a bit better but they don't get moved around a lot because the kids' car seats are always strapped on top of them. The color hasn't faded much, but I wish there were a better way to get them to stay on the seats long-term. The other factor that someone pointed out is that the front seat covers impede the functioning of the side impact airbags which makes the vehicle a little less safe overall. There are side impact airbag compatible seat covers out there but you have to do your research.

I received a 13 piece seat cover set for the front and back seats. There are 2 sets of three piece covers for the front seats (including headrest covers) and a 7 pieces for the back seats. The covers are made of a faux leather with a soft neoprene foam-like fabric inside. The seat is mildly cushioning and the front seat back covers have metal grommets for the headrest bars. Inside each section are Velcro straps, elastic loops and/or snap clasps for anchoring depending on which piece you're working with. The stitching on the covers is decent and the lines are neat with few flaws. You'll also receive a pack of plastic rings and metal hooks for installation, however, a set of instructions for how exactly to do this is not included.

A few notes on my experience with this product. I did notice on one of my seat cushions a bit of sticky adhesive/glue on the inside. While this didn't affect the performance of the cover, I did have to cover it up with tape, so that it wouldn't get on my original upholstery. Installation was straightforward and the seller directed me to an installation video which was helpful, but it was very long and the camera work was nauseating.

In the back, the middle section that covers the fold-down arm rest is a separate piece that zippers to the rest of the cover. When you want to open the armrest, you'll have to unzip the section. What's odd about this piece is that the Velcro on the left hand side wraps around the armrest section, preventing it from opening, so it seems odd that there would be a zipper since you have to undo the Velcro anyway. The hooks on the Velcro also cross the original upholstery and I was concerned they would cause damage to them, so I simply left this side unattached. After a few tests opening and closing the zipper mechanism, the zipper broke (the metal piece fell off the anchor). A larger or higher quality zipper here would have been good. The other thing that the seat covers don't account for are the anchor points for baby car seats. Since we use these, we have to fold over the corners of the seat covers to access them.There should really be cutouts for them.

Overall, the set looks nice and wasn't too difficult to install. The covers are easier to wipe down than the fabric and will help use keep the vehicle clean. There are a few design flaws with the center section for the back and how it allows for the armrest to open, and the seat covers in the back need to be able to accommodate the child seat anchors for folks with kids.

Buy it at Amazon: Kust Honda CRV 2015 Seat Covers Installation and [Affiliate Link]
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Silkworld Ice Silk Briefs Review

Silkworld Ice Silk Briefs Review

Buy it at Amazon: Silkworld Ice Silk Briefs [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Sheer, revealing, soft and comfortable, very low profile and lightweight with enhancement bands in front.

You'll receive 8 pairs of underwear in different colors: blue, orange, yellow, red, hot pink, black, white and cyan. The underwear is made from a sheer nylon spandex blend with a mesh weave. The front pouch is framed by elastic bands and stretches to accommodate larger endowments, but does require some adjustments and manual finagling; it could use some more room in general. However, the bands lift and accentuate your package for a fuller look. While there's a seam down the middle of the pouch, it's smooth and you can barely feel it. The waist band is 1" wide and stretches quite a bit. Note that the more the material stretches, the more transparent it becomes. In back, you'll get full coverage for your backside, and it will stretch to accommodate your curves. For me, the medium size was a good fit for my 28" waist and quite smooth, soft, and comfortable to wear. The silky feeling of the material tends to run a bit cool making these great for warm weather and active wear. Overall, these are cute and low profile but show off your curves in all the right places.

Buy it at Amazon: Silkworld Ice Silk Briefs [Affiliate Link]
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Desmit Mens Mesh Briefs Review

Desmit Mens Mesh Briefs Review

Buy it at Amazon: Desmit Mens Mesh Briefs [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Soft, stretchy, comfortable, breathable briefs.

You'll receive 7 pairs of underwear in different colors: green, white, blue, red, gray, clay, and black. The material these are made of is a spandex nylon blend with a mesh weave that is slightly textured. It's slightly rough but soft feeling as well and has a little bit of transparency to them. The front pouch stretches to accommodate the well-endowed and the waistband is about 1" wide with a bit of stretch. The thinness of the mesh makes these underwear smooth and breathable; they are comfortable in warm weather and for active wear. The underwear will provide full coverage for your rear like any standard brief. The seams are nicely finished and non-abrasive. The only thing I wasn't a fan of was the tag in the back which sometimes feels scratchy. Other than that, the medium size fit my 28" waist nicely, though I probably could have gone 1 size up.

Buy it at Amazon: Desmit Mens Mesh Briefs [Affiliate Link]
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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Siggi Newsboy Cap Review

Siggi Newsboy Cap Review

Buy it at Amazon: Siggi Newsboy Cap [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Nice material, soft and comfortable, classic look.

The cap has a soft velvitine feel and is actually a finely napped, thinly ribbed, corduroy fabric. While this material is classic and feels nice, it does tend to pick up dust, lint, and pet hairs easily. Inside the hat, there is a soft cotton layer and around the perimeter there is a sweat band layer for absorbing excess sweat on a warm day. At the back on the inside, there is a drawstring for tightening the sweatband if you need it. The brim is 2" inches deep and attaches to the upper fabric of the hat; they cannot be separated. Overall, this hat has a nice fit and is comfortable to wear. I usually wear a size 8 baseball cap. I like the classic retro-style and look of the cap and it feels well-made.

Buy it at Amazon: Siggi Newsboy Cap [Affiliate Link]
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Friday, March 25, 2016

Zomei Professional Tripod Z988 Review

Zomei Professional Tripod Z988 Review

Buy it at Amazon: Zomei Professional Tripod Z988 [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Rugged, versatile, compact and lightweight with smooth 3-axis motion.

The Z988 tripod comes in a heavy duty nylon canvas bag with Velcro strapped handles for easy carrying, removable and adjustable shoulder strap, and a chunky, durable double-zipper. You'll also receive a set of instructions and Allen wrenches. This tripod is constructed from a light yet very durable aluminum alloy, and it weighs in at a hefty 4.75 lbs. The tripod measures about 19.5" when retracted and has 4 separate telescoping sections on the legs with twist activated leg locks for adjusting the lengths. At the top of each leg is a 7" neoprene handle grip. The legs have convertible feet and the rubber caps can be pulled off to reveal stainless steel metal spikes that can grip into soil and softer terrains.

To open each leg, simple pull down until it locks into place. To change the angle of the legs, press on the switch at the top of the leg. Each leg can be adjusted independently from the others for uneven terrains. At its fully opened height without the center column extended, the tripod sits around 58" tall. If you extend the center column with the twist lock below the hand strap, you can increase the final height to about 70", or just under 6'. The bubble level for the tripod is hidden under the footplate of the mounting bracket.

The most impressive piece on the tripod is undeniably the ballhead. Its functionality is very similar and comparable to a Markins Q-ball. The camera attaches to the mount via a flat plate with a screw-style quick release versus a lever lock release. The foot plate is 2.75"L x 1.5"W with 1/4" mounting screw. The footplate is also adjustable on the plate deck and can shift offset from center by about an inch to each side; locking pins at the ends of the plate prevent you from sliding the camera off the mounting plate completely.

Oversized locking knobs on the ballhead ensure secure positioning and adjustable friction control for smooth and fluid cinematic motion. There's a coarse pan at the base of the ballhead and a fine pan at the mounting plate with marked degrees of rotation for 5 and 2 degrees respectively. Since there's no L-bracket on the footplate, the ballhead has a notch for vertical portrait-orientation photography. Inset in the ballhead lock is a smaller screw which is the torque limiting screw. This setting allows you to let go of the camera without the position changing, but when you apply a bit of force you can still move around and reset the shot. Once setup properly with your camera rig, you'll basically have two positions for the ballhead lock: fully tightened for no movement or "fully" loosened to move the camera around but still let go with no change in position.

What this ballhead lacks is a panhandle, which would be really useful for cinematic movie shots. As it is, the ballhead can be used for shooting video but because you don't get as even control working directly on the ballhead, it's better suited for still photography. Panning by hand often results in some jerkiness as your muscles twitch and cause unintentional speed ups and slow downs in the pan. If you don't need the ballhead or want to use it with a different tripod, it can be removed/unscrewed and the 3/8" mounting screw below can be flipped over to convert to a standard 1/4" threaded screw for mounting accessories like flashes, mic, and speakers

Lastly, there's a spring retractable counterweight hook in the center of the tripod to help keep your tripod stable while in use, so that is doesn't move around or worse, fall over with your camera on it. Always use a counterweight when using a camera even if your setup is light because you just never know. Overall, this tripod is a great value for everything that you get, and I found that it works great for stabilizing your shoots for photos or videos.


Buy it at Amazon: Zomei Professional Tripod Z988 [Affiliate Link]
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Smayda Electric Balloon Pump Review

Buy it at Amazon: Smayda Electric Balloon Pump [Affiliate Link]
Or buy it at Gearbest: http://bit.ly/2IXGelY [Gearbest Affiliate Product Link]

Takeaway: Fast, efficient, easy to use, though a bit noisy. Note: air-filled balloons do NOT float.
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Is It A Drone Or An RC Car? Both! This Drone Flies As Well As It Drives

Contixo F1 Plus Flying RC Car Drone Quadcopter Review

Buy it at Amazon: Contixo F1 Plus Flying RC Car Drone Quadcopter [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Fun and easy to fly, great balance, durable, RC car option.

The drone comes with 4 replacement rotor blades, a remote control, 2 batteries, USB charing cable, a power adapter, mini screwdriver and instruction manual. The drone is made of a lightweight plastic and weighs only 4 oz with the battery installed. The rotors do not have blade guards on this unit. There are 4 foam wheels which makes the landings on this quadcopter pretty soft and it can also be driven like a car. There are two models of this drone: one with a 2.0 MP camera and one without. The camera is mounted in front and angled slightly downward and can take still photos and video. The version with a camera comes pre-installed with a 4GB microSD card. Be sure to charge the batteries before first use, which takes 20-30 minutes. Each battery will last 6-8 minutes of flight time. While the battery is charging, there will be no indicator light on the USB charger, but when the battery is full, a red LED light will illuminate.

The remote control requires 4 AA Batteries which are not included. Use the included screwdriver to access the battery bay on both the remote and the drone. When the drone is grounded, the left joystick (rudder) will act as the control for the car. The other buttons on the controller can adjust trim, take photo/video, change the acceleration speed (short press left-shoulder), turn on/off the LEDs (long press left-shoulder), and activate 3D flip mode (right shoulder button).

To bind the drone to the remote, turn the drone on and set it on a flat level surface. Make sure the throttle is all the way down, then switch on the remote. You'll here the remote beep and the light on the remote will be flashing. Calibrate the remote by pressing the throttle all the way forward and then bringing it all the way back. Then it's all ready to go. While on the ground, you can drive around using the rudder. I found that the foam wheels don't grip rough terrains well, and it seems kind of sluggish on asphalt and pavement. On smooth hardwood floors, however, it moved much faster.

Lift off and hovering with this drone is smooth and easy to control. I was actually impressed with how stable this drone is compared with others that I've used in its class. The drone's flight and balance were quite good and this drone would make for a great starter drone for folks new to drone flying. The camera quality is as expected for only being 2.0 MP. It's a bit grainy and at times choppy with the occasional refresh rate blur, but it's still fun to watch the videos after your flight. The only thing to note here is that the video can only be activated when the drone is in flight. You can't start a video when the drone is grounded. A 3 minute video takes up about 500 MB. The unit does record audio, but mostly you get the sound of the rotors. Keep in mind that you don't get a card reader with this unit, so you'll need to supply your own way of getting the images and video off the card. Overall, this drone is fun and easy to fly. It's well-balanced and it seems to take hard landings pretty well.

Buy it at Amazon: Contixo F1 Plus Flying RC Car Drone Quadcopter [Affiliate Link]
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Monday, March 21, 2016

Erock Luxury 10 Inch Rain Shower Head Review

Erock Luxury 10 Inch Rain Shower Head Review

Buy it at Amazon: Erock Luxury 10 Inch Rain Shower Head [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Nice gentle spray, good flow with light pressure, easy to install, no leaks.

The 10" shower head actually measures out to 9.75" square. It is made entirely of metal and has a shiny chrome finish. There are 196 rubber nozzles spaced every 3/4" in a 14 x 14 grid. On the back, the rain head is flat and attached to a ball joint and there is a plastic cap protecting the connector when you first receive it. The cap is threaded, so simply unscrew it to open it up. Inside there is a rubber washer with a debris filter/screen already included.

Installation was quick and easy with a little bit of plumber's teflon tape (not included) and simple hand tightening. The water comes out of the jets with medium pressure and there were no leaks at the connection. For the most part, the jets are pointed straight down and not off to the sides at all, so the spray doesn't spread a whole lot. The 10" square area, however, is an adequate size for showering. The flow rate is somewhat faster than my previous shower head, so the water heats up faster which is nice. The water is also quite gentle, feeling like the water is being poured over you rather than stiff streams of water hitting you like pins and needles. Overall, this showerhead works well, was easy to install, and looks great in my bathroom.

Buy it at Amazon: Erock Luxury 10 Inch Rain Shower Head [Affiliate Link]
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Friday, March 18, 2016

Uspicy Electric Hair Straightening Brush Review

Uspicy Electric Hair Straightening Brush Review

Buy it at Amazon: Uspicy Electric Hair Straightening Brush [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Easy to use, fast straightening, safe and effective.

The brush straightener has a 6 ft extension cord, and comes with a cleaning brush, a safety glove, and a nylon carrying case. The brush measures 11" long and the brush paddle is 6" long and 3" across with 1" high bristles. The brush uses a ceramic heating element set behind massaging nubs and guard spikes that prevent your head and hands from getting burned on the hot surfaces. The cord is on a 360 degree rotating cable so you can avoid it getting in the way while you use the brush.

The power button for the unit is on the bottom of the handle along with plus and minus buttons for adjusting the temperature. Press and hold the power button to turn the unit on. By default, the brush is set to warm up to 180 degrees Celsius and the target temperature blinks while the unit is heating up. It will reach 180C in about 90 seconds. The temperature can be increased by pressing the plus up to 230 degree Celsius (450F) and the lowest temperature is 120 (250F). Pressing the plus and minus keys together changes the temperature output on the LCD to Fahrenheit. If you wait more than 3 seconds without pressing any buttons, the temperature target will lock, and you won't be able to adjust it up or down to prevent accidentally changing the temperature while you're straightening. Double press the power button to unlock the buttons. Press and hold the power button while unlocked to shut the unit off.

Since I have thick, coarse, wavy hair I use the highest temperature at 450 degrees F. Use lower temperature for delicate and fine hair. For best results, your hair should be at least 2 inches long. Using the brush is very quick and easy. Brush your hair out first to remove any knots and tangles. Then run the brush through sections of your hair slowly a few times from root to tip. Don't go too slowly or you'll burn your hair. Use the included glove to further protect your hand from burns while you guide your hair through the brush. I try not to do a lot of hair at once. By working in sections, you'll avoid knotting in the brush and uneven heating of your hair which prevents effective straightening. This brush works really fast, safely and efficiently. The heat from the pad took all the waves out of my hair in just a few strokes. When using the brush, my head did feel warm, but I didn't feel like I was at risk of burning myself. My hair feels lighter and more manageable when it's straight and there wasn't any burning hair smell after using the brush. Overall, I'm happy with the performance and build quality of this brush straightener.

Buy it at Amazon: Uspicy Electric Hair Straightening Brush [Affiliate Link]
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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

NFC Smart Ring Review

NFC Smart Ring Review

Buy it at Amazon: NFC Smart Ring [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Works well, easy to read/write to it, needs a better recommendation for setup app.

On the outside of this ring, it's a smooth onyx black with a cubic zirconia stud and the inside is a smooth stainless steel. The ring slides on easily and seems to be sized accurately. This ring has two NFC zones, one beneath the stone and another on the opposite side. On the four panels inside the box it comes in are QR codes for different things like the WeChat app, manual, and NFC app.

The app QR code takes you to iDarlin's website, but it's in Chinese, so instead I installed Samsung TecTiles from the Google Play store. With this app you can program a number of actions into the ring. First, make sure NFC is enabled on your phone. Then open the app and select an action to add to each NFC chip or create a new action. For example, I programmed the NFC chip under the stone to toggling the WiFi on my phone on/off. On the opposite side, I have the phone go to mute when I tap the bottom of the ring to it. There's a number of different things you can do like share contact info, send a text, or go to a webpage. It's handy for creating a shortcuts to things that you do often or use it a digital business card so folks can just tap their phone to your ring and get your contact info. Overall, a pretty nifty piece of jewelry.

Buy it at Amazon: NFC Smart Ring [Affiliate Link]
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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Rabittgoo 3D Window Film Review

Rabittgoo 3D Window Film Review

Buy it at Amazon: Rabittgoo 3D Window Film [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Nice pattern, easy application, effective frosted screen.

You'll receive a 3' x 6.5' roll of the window film. The instructions are rolled inside the film as an insert and are straightforward and easy to follow. The film itself has a texture on one side and is glossy on the other but is overall translucent so you can't see clearly through it while still allowing light through. When marking the sheet for cutting, make sure to mark on the glossy side, since you will be removing the thin plastic backing before application.

The roll was easy to cut with a sharp pair of scissors, though I would have liked if the backing had a grid so you know that your lines are straight. It may also be difficult to "stitch" two pieces together for a larger surface since you have to line up the pattern like wall paper. Before adhering to a surface, clean it well then spray it with a cold water/liquid soap solution as per the instructions. This will help the decal stick. Note that there is no adhesive on the film, it's simply a decal and will stick with electrostatic cling. One thing I noticed is that the very edge of the film sometimes has trouble staying flat. I recommend that before applying the film it let the cut sheet sit flat on a table with something heavy on it to take any curves out of the plastic from being tightly rolled up to avoid this. The film is easily removed and reapplied and leaves behind no residue. Overall, I'm happy with the ease of application and the look of the window film and it worked great for our bathroom window to add a little privacy.

Buy it at Amazon: Rabittgoo 3D Window Film [Affiliate Link]
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EZCap USB Cassette Converter, Non-USB version Review

EZCap USB Cassette Converter, Non-USB version Review

Buy it at Amazon: EZCap USB Cassette Converter, Non-USB version [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Easy to use, accurate sound quality, straightforward digitizing of analog tapes.

The cassette converter comes with a 33" miniUSB cable, a set of headphones, and a mini software CD. This converter can help you convert all your old cassette tapes to digital files that you can store on the computer; it also works as a standalone portable cassette player as well! The unit has no internal rechargeable battery and runs off 2 AA batteries, or you can use external power using the included miniUSB cable or a 3V 500 mAh DC adapter (not included).

The cassette converter is very much like any classic cassette player. You've got a play button, stop button, fast forward and rewind, a direction button to switch from side A to B and vice versa without taking the tape out of the player, and a loop switch that will automatically switch to the other side of the tape when the current side reaches its end. On the right hand side of the unit, there is an analog volume control wheel, the USB port, headphone port, and the eject slider. When you pull the slider down, the cassette bay door opens to the left. Inside, in the bottom right corner is the door to the battery bay for loading the 2 AA batteries to power this without a cable and to use as a portable cassette player. The plastic inside the unit feel pretty cheap and lightweight though, so don't be too rough since it feels like it could crack easily.

The software CD simply has the installation files for Audacity on it, which is a free software that can also be downloaded from the internet. A copy of the instruction manual is also on the disk. Recording the output from the cassette player was really straightforward and easy. The included instructions on the CD even had screen shots of the program to help you get all the settings right. Note that Audacity records in real time, so if you have a 2 hour tape, you'll need to allow Audacity to record for the full 2 hours. The recorded sound is very accurate to what you hear if you plug the headphones directly into the player. There was a slight hum of line noise in the background bother during recording and just listening to playback both through the computer and through headphones. However, but the digital file can be cleaned up in post processing if you have audio software like Adobe Audition. Keep in mind that when recording from analog to digital, any imperfection in the tape or cable will end up in your final recording including pops and crackles from the tape medium. Overall, this converter did exactly what I wanted, and it's a great way to preserve older cassettes. I'll definitely be converting some tapes that I have in my collection and stuff my parents recorded when I was young.

Buy it at Amazon: EZCap USB Cassette Converter, Non-USB version [Affiliate Link]
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P6 Bluetooth Headphones Review

P6 Bluetooth Headphones Review

Buy it at Amazon: P6 Bluetooth Headphones [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Weak plastic construction, sub-par sound, medium comfort.

The headphones come with a 5' braided nylon gold-plated male-to-male audio cable and a 14" microUSB cable. These are made of a hard plastic shell with a shiny finish, but don't feel terribly durable. The headband has a little bit of padding on the top, but not much, and the earpieces are adjustable in length but don't rotate at all. The earcups are 3" in diameter and are soft and cushy at least. The controls are on the outside of the left earpiece. You have controls for power/mode, volume/skip tracks, and play/pause/answer calls. On the bottom of the left earpiece is the AUX port for the audio cable, microphone, and LED indicator. Towards the front on the same earpiece, is the microUSB charging port and a TF card slot for listening to MP3s loaded to a microSD card.

To turn the unit on, press and hold the power button and continue to hold it until the LED flashes green and blue; this puts the headphones in pairing mode and you'll be able to connect to the device called 'P6' in your device's Bluetooth menu. Use the power/mode button to switch to TF card mode is you havean SD card installed or Radio mode. The radio mode is okay, but it didn't pick up a lot of stations in my area. Pressing the play button in radio mode starts the auto scan and pressing it again pauses on the current channel. This feature was difficult to use because the stations change pretty quickly and by the time you press the play button to stop the scan, it's already moved onto the next station and you end up scrolling back through the channels to find it. You also can't save the scanned channeled to any presets so you have to find them every time. If you want to use this set as a regular wired headset, you can use the included audio cable which works as advertised.

The audio quality is okay, but it's not amazing. It's a bit thin and muffled sounding like the music is coming from far away. It also brings the mid-ranges forward way too much to compensate for this. There's just not enough depth or fullness to the sound; the bass and low ranges tend to sound a bit garbled. The other thing I didn't like was that the button presses on the outside of the left ear piece were really loud, distracting, and obnoxious. Overall, the construction quality of the headphone is very basic and the sound quality is average. For a low cost set of wireless headphones it is okay, but I'd rather shell out a little bit more for better quality.

Buy it at Amazon: P6 Bluetooth Headphones [Affiliate Link]
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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

So & Co Mens Diver Watch Review

So & Co Mens Diver Watch Review

Buy it at Amazon: So & Co Mens Diver Watch [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Handsome timepiece, easy to set and alter band size, accurate time keeping.

This watch comes in a simple black giftbox. The watch is a Diver's style watch which has a metal clasp band that can accommodate wrists from 6.5" - 9.5" in circumference via 8 removable links. The watch face is 1.5" in diameter and has a metallic blue background with different shapes representing the numbers. This watch has a screw-down crown and to unlock it, scroll the crown towards you until it pops out. Then you can pull the crown out all the way to position 2 to change the time. Pay attention to when the date changes as this will signal to you when the time has passed midnight rather than 12 noon. Pushing the crown in slightly puts it in position 1 which allows you to change the date which is behind a magnified portion of the glass. To lock the crown, press it in and turn it away from you until it cannot be tightened anymore. In order to preserve the waterproof properties of the watch, the crown must be fully closed.

There is a Diver's Bezel around the face which rotates counter clockwise. This will help you determine how many minutes you've been underwater. The watch is rated to be water resistant to a depth of 330 ft which is more than enough for a free dive or casual diver, though I haven't verified this claim. The watch clasp is easy to operate, but there's no divers extension on the clasp to expand and accommodate a wet suit. The band was a bit large for me so I took out some links. The watch doesn't come with a link removal tool, so if you don't have one, take the watch to a jeweler who can remove the links for you. If you're taking the links out yourself, on the bottom of the removable links there are arrows that indicate the direction in which you should push the pins out. After removing 3 links from each side, the watch fits much better. The watch is very handsome and the watch face isn't too large for my wrist which is narrow. It's a great casual watch and also goes well with business attire.

Buy it at Amazon: So & Co Mens Diver Watch [Affiliate Link]
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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

QianYing Canvas Vintage Schoolbag Backpack Review

QianYing Canvas Vintage Schoolbag Backpack Review

Buy it at Amazon: QianYing Canvas Vintage Schoolbag Backpack [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: A well made, rugged schoolbag with plenty of pocket options.

The backpack is branded Auger Strauss and Co. It measures 17.5"H x 14"W x 6.5"D. The bag is made using heavy weight thick canvas, leather straps and pulls, and metal fixtures. On the left and right side of the bag are two zippered pockets that are wide enough for water bottles. In the front you've got a 7" x 8" x 1" zippered pocket with a leather zipper pull. At the top of the bag, there's a leather accented heavy duty webbing strap for carrying the bag.

The main compartment features a flip down cover flap that's secured using two snap buttons under the buckles; however, there's not much under the snap buttons to pull on so sometimes undoing the snap buttons can be tricky. The compartment underneath closes via a drawstring which has a leather cinch to keep string from loosening, though with enough force, the cinch does allow the cord to loosen. Inside the main compartment you have a 6" x 7" flip-out zipper pocket along the back wall with a Velcro topped half-pocket for a laptop or tablet beneath it. On the opposite side, there's a Velcro-topped flat pocket with a zippered pocket on its face and two smaller open pockets. The bottom of the backpack isn't padded, but it is reinforced with a thick vinyl core.

The back of the backpack and the shoulder straps have about 1/4" of foam padding and there's even a hidden zippered side pocket on the left-hand side, which will be accessible with your right hand when wearing the bag on your back. Overall, the bag is nicely constructed and feels durable and heavy duty. The backing on the leather tends to shed a lot though, so they will probably be the first pieces to wear down. However, the bag is comfortable to wear and has a decent amount of capacity and pocket options.

Buy it at Amazon: QianYing Canvas Vintage Schoolbag Backpack [Affiliate Link]
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Lecmal R300 Dual Camera Dashboard DVR Review

Lecmal R300 Dual Camera Dashboard DVR Review

Buy it at Amazon: Lecmal R300 Dual Camera Dashboard DVR [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Okay video, good interior/exterior view, lacks some functions, good viewer app.

This unit comes with the dual camera DVR, a holder bracket, 3-axis suction cup mount, 11.5' cigarette lighter microUSB power cable, a 4-pin GPS antenna with 5 ft cable, and 3 extra adhesive sticky pads. Note that it does NOT come with a microSD card, which you must supply in order to record any video. The manual recommends Class 6 card or higher up to 32 GB. You won't be able to enter menu settings or view the live video feed without a card installed.

The unit measures 5"W x 2"H x 1.25" D. It is made of a plastic shell with a thin powdered aluminum finished front. While I like how it looks, the finish scratches easily, especially from the plastic mounting bracket when you put it in or take it out. On the side of the device that faces the windshield you have a 140 degree wide angle forward lens that can pitch up and down 20 degrees and a speaker. On the side facing into the car you have the 2.7" LCD, power button, menu navigation and mode buttons, the inside facing camera, the OK button, and a microphone. The ports are o nthe right hand side under a rubber door and includes: 4-pin port for the GPS, microSD card slot, and microUSB charging port.

Assembling the unit and mount was straightforward. Make sure to insert the microSD card with the contacts facing toward you. The suction cup is pretty firma dn I haven't had it fall off my windshield yet. The one thing I didn't like about this design is that with all the cables plugged in, the rubber door just kind of hangs there in the way. I would prefer exposed but flush with the surface ports over that.

With a new card inserted into the unit, the camera will need to format it first. This step is required since the camera loads some software on the card called X2Player, that you run on your computer to view the video files. When the camera starts up, it will begin recording automatically by default and I didn't see a way to switch this to manual only. You can, of course, always stop recording manually and start it again when you want. For whatever reason, my unit was not in English when I first powered it on. If this happens to you, to change the language, press the menu button then scroll down to the icon with the person and speech bubble; click 'OK', then select English and click 'OK' again.

In the menu you can set the various options like date and time, audio recording, and g-sensor sensitivity to lock videos from being recorded over in case of an accident. You cannot set the loop length for the videos which is about 90 seconds long per video clip. Each clip on dual camera recording takes up about 125 megabytes but you can choose to record only one camera at a time instead of both.

On the LCD screen when the camera is running, you'll see the live feed from the recording, the date and time, the current speed, and the direction of travel. If the GPS is not hooked up, you will not see speed or direction. Note also that GPS location, speed, and direction will not appear in the video during playback, but you'll be able to see that information when using the software to view the video. The program for viewing the videos, X2Player, is pretty cool. You'll see all the aforementioned data, can choose to view side-by-side dual feeds or only one feed at a time. You can even toggle on a map that tracks your trip based on the recorded GPS location data points, though in general, the path is not exact and tends to misplace you a lot. Each trip is logged as a single line in the bottom left quadrant of the window, but is then broken out into the smaller 90 second clips on the bottom right quadrant. The software also allows you to save the video clips off the card piecemeal or all at once.

The video quality is decent but not high definition. There's definitely some graininess to the video and even within one car length, the license plate of the car in front of you will be unreadable. Despite the low resolution and relative darkness of the videos, they're still useful in case of an accident and the inside facing camera may be useful for car share drivers like Uber and Lyft. This is overall a fairly nice dashboard DVR but it lacks some features like motion detection, parking monitor, loop length, and a still camera mode.

Buy it at Amazon: Lecmal R300 Dual Camera Dashboard DVR [Affiliate Link]
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