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.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Wander No show Socks Review

Wander No show Socks Review

Buy it at Amazon: Wander No show Socks [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Low, invisible sock line when wearing shoes, thin, lightweight, and breathable.

The seven pairs of socks are made of a thin, breathable cotton-poly blend and have a stretchy center arch support band just behind the ball of the foot. The material is a lightweight and soft consisting of 85/15% cotton and polyester. At the heel, there are three silicone wavy strips to help the sock grip your skin and not slide down while you are wearing them, which work pretty well. The elastic at the top is minimal and stretchy though not too tight. When wearing the socks they come only just up to the ankle and do not fully cover the tops of your feet.

This material is comfortable enough for every day wear and while the thin material does not provide a lot of cushion or heat retention this makes them suitable for warm weather and active sports. With shoes, the socks won't be visible and the quality is decent overall.

Buy it at Amazon: Wander No show Socks [Affiliate Link]
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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Mixmart Vacuum Seal Storage Bags Review

Mixmart Vacuum Seal Storage Bags Review

Buy it at Amazon: Mixmart Vacuum Seal Storage Bags [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Large roll, air tight seals, work just as well as brand name vacuum bags.

You'll receive an 11" x 50' roll and an 8.5" x 50' roll. I purchased these rolls at Amazon to use with my Foodsaver vacuum sealer because the brand name bags cost nearly twice as much (online and in-stores) and I wanted to see if these rolls perform just as well. One thing about these rolls is that they have a large diameter being 50' roll rather than the more typical 20 or 30 feet. The diameter of each roll is about 3-4" across so if you have a machine that stores rolls inside, these actually might be too big for it. Since these rolls don't have grid line or edge markers to help you cut straight lines, one thing I like to do is reuse old plastic wrap boxes that have the built-in sliding cutters will these rolls because it makes cutting straight, even lines much easier than trying to do it by hand with scissors. With my FoodSaver FM2000, the seal strip is nice and wide and you can make custom sized bags and pouches from these rolls easily. The seals are air and water tight and don't peel apart. With dry, frozen, and fresh foods, I didn't experience any problems with air leaking into the bag or it losing its vacuum seal even after many weeks so I'm confident that these bags will hold the seal and air-tightness for even longer term storage. The bags do feel a tad thinner than other bags I've used and as always, I recommend exercising cation when sealing hard or sharp foods int he bag like bone-in meats. It's best to pad sharp edges and corners with a layer of paper towel or parchment if you can to prevent punctures. Overall, these seem to work just as well as some of the more expensive name brands out there, but at half the cost.

Buy it at Amazon: Mixmart Vacuum Seal Storage Bags [Affiliate Link]
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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Xidan Soft Cotton Pastel Baby Booties Review

Xidan Soft Cotton Pastel Baby Booties Review

Buy it at Amazon: Xidan Soft Cotton Pastel Baby Booties [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Very cute, soft material, squishy/flexible batting, secures with Velcro.

These booties are great for newborns and young babies. I ordered the blue one in size 0-3M. On the front is a simple Velcro tab at the ankle and t comes with a fluff of polyester inside to keep the shape of the booties while in the package. The polyester fluff is the same stuffing material used inside the booties; the outer material is a soft, 100% cotton. The padding isn't super thick inside the booties but there seems to be enough there to keep your baby's feet and toes warm. Keep in mind these are smooth on the bottom and will be slippery so they are not designed for babies who are ready to stand or walk. They look super cute on tiny feet and would make a nice gift for a baby shower.

Buy it at Amazon: Xidan Soft Cotton Pastel Baby Booties [Affiliate Link]
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Monday, March 26, 2018

No-Show Ankle Toe Socks Review

No Show Toe Socks Review

Buy it at Amazon: No Show Toe Socks [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Lightweight and breathable, a thin lining for toe shoes, keeps feet dry/clean.

The assorted pack from artfasion comes with four pairs of socks, two in each color/pattern. Toe socks are kind of like gloves for your feet. They have individual sections for each of your toes and work well for those that wear toe shoes like the Vibrams or Skeletoes athletic runners. Normal socks won't fit in those, so usually folks go barefoot in them, but others prefer to have an extra layer that you can remove and wash, and these socks fit the bill. They're also very low profile, rising just up to the ankle and leave most of the top of your foot exposed. The material is cotton but pretty thin and light which makes it breathable. In regular shoes, they are pretty much invisible but the tops of your foot may rub on the inside of the tongue of the shoe. At the back of the sock, inside the heel are three silicone stripes that helps the sock cling to your skin so that it doesn't slide down. While having separated toes in socks feels a bit odd at first these are so lightweight that it nearly feels like you're barefoot. They add a bit of warmth and keep your feet dry and off dirty floors. It does take some extra time to put them on since you have to get your toes into each section one at a time, but it's not too difficult. Like gloves, these socks have a distinct left and right (non-chiral), and you can't swap sides or use two of the same side socks. While they may wear out quickly due to the thiness of the mateiral, it's the best way to use your toe shoes with socks without adding a lot of unecessary padding. I like these socks for what they are and would recommend them for folks who don't want to go barefoot in their toe shoes.

Buy it at Amazon: No Show Toe Socks [Affiliate Link]
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Friday, March 23, 2018

Viatech Magnetic Whiteboard with Easel Review

Viatech Magnetic Whiteboard with Easel Review

Buy it at Amazon: Viatech Magnetic Whiteboard with Easel [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Large, lightweight,magnetic, erases cleanly, but could be more stable.

The whiteboard comes flat packed and a little bit of assembly is required though relatively straightforward. You'll receive the board, a marker tray, an eraser, 3 markers, 6 magnets, two tension knobs, an Allen wrench, replacement support bracket, and three metal legs. The whiteboard measures 23.5" wide and 35" tall and weighs about 16 lbs. On the back, the upper portion of the tripod/easel is permanently installed and folds flat. The center column extends out to make the back leg of the tripod and the three legs are inserted in the bottom of each tube before securing with the tensioning nuts. Each leg has length markers so you can adjust the balance and final height of the tripod easily.

To stand the whiteboard up, simply extend the back leg. The tallest height for the whiteboard is about 5.5 ft or it can be set very near tot he ground. There is a protective plastic film on the front of the board that should be removed before use. At the top is a clip bracket with two slide hooks so you can mount a large flip chart to use the easel as a stand as well. The marker tray is optional and installed along the bottom edge of the board. It can be folded up when not in use. This tray can hold the markers along the bottom edge of the board. The whiteboard is magnetic too, so you can use the included magnets or your own magnets to attach documents to the board. Writing on the whiteboard with the included markers is smooth and the ink is highly visible. Once the ink is dry can use the soft side of the eraser to erase what you've written or drawn without any ghosting or residue. If the ink has been dry for a long time and you have trouble erasing it, you can dampen the eraser and dissolve the ink. The eraser is also magnetic and can be stored right on the board.

The one thing that could be improved is the stability of the easel as when erasing, the tripod shakes and wobbles quite a bit. I have to hold it with one hand to keep it from moving. Other than that the whiteboard and easel work great. It's good for presentations, custom signs/announcements, playing Pictionary, as a idea/drawing board.

Buy it at Amazon: Viatech Magnetic Whiteboard with Easel [Affiliate Link]
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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Easi-twist Jar and Twist-Off Bottle Opener Review

Easi-twist Jar and Twist-Off Bottle Opener Review

Buy it at Amazon: Easi-twist Jar and Twist-Off Bottle Opener [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Works on most jars and bottles, improves grip/leverage/strength, reduces effort.

The jar opener measures 9"L x 3.75"W and it's made hard plastic with a removable silicone lining. The jar opener does expand a little bit, but you should not try to fit any jars or lids in this that have a larger than 3.25" diameter because it could snap. There are four size jars this can open, 3.25", 2.5", 2", 1.5" diameter give or take ¼" or so for each size. The outside of the handles have ergonomic finger grooves so you can keep your grip on the handle; which provides leverage and grip so you can more easily open and tighten jar lids with less effort. The silicone section can be removed for washing/cleaning. The jar opener works great on regular mouth mason jars, but note that it cannot accommodate wide mouth mason jars (too big). For soda bottle tops, the smallest ring works perfectly. This jar opener worked on just about every jar we tried it on and makes it easier for folks with arthritis or reduced dexterity to open jars and bottles with less effort. For really stubborn jars, rinse the lid in hot water to expand it, or smack the bottom of the jar dead center with the flat of your palm to loosen a vacuum seal.

Buy it at Amazon: Easi-twist Jar and Twist-Off Bottle Opener [Affiliate Link]
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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Evertop Robotic Sweeper B Robot Vacuum Review

Evertop Robotic Sweeper B Robot Vacuum Review

Buy it at Amazon: Evertop Robotic Sweeper B Robot Vacuum [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Few features, doesn't clean room perimeter, dust bin is a chore to empty, hard floors only.

You'll receive the robot vacuum unit, a power adapter for charging, an extra rotary brush, and the instruction manual. The vacuum is has a plastic housing and measures 11" in diameter and 2.5" tall. It has a handle on top, a control button and an LED display. Along the front are sensors so the vacuum can avoid bumping into walls and objects. On the bottom you have the rotating sweeper brush, main roller brush, and dust bin. There are no impact bumpers or fall sensors so this vacuum cannot be used around descending stairs or steps as it will roll ovver and fall off them. The dust bin on this unit is not removable, so use care when pressing the button on the back to open it as the contents must be poured out by brushing or wiping it out.

To turn the unit on, press the red button next to the power port after charging. The LED display will show you the amount of time the vacuum is set to run and counts down during operation. To change the amount of time, press and hold the plus or minus keys to select 1 to 99 minutes. To start/stop the vacuum, press the play button. The vacuum is somewhat noisy as it runs and moves in a random pattern, though it never maps out or learns the layout of the room. The rotary sweeper can grab dust and hair a few inches away from the unit, but tends to keep wide berth from walls and objects, about 4 inches. Due to this, it leaves a lot of dirt and debris around the perimeter of the room that it cannot reach. This is a bit disappointing as that means you'll have to manually sweep out the edges of the room before or after running the vacuum.

For areas it's able to go over, it does an okay job picking up hair and dust, but larger particles like bits of paper tend to get left behind. Without perimeter cleaning, the vacuum only reduces the amount of effort it takes to vacuum with a traditional vacuum by a relatively small margin. After the timer runs out the vacuum shuts itself off, but since there's no charging dock to return to, you'll have to hunt for where the vacuum ended up on your own. You also have to plug it in after every 2 or so hours of cumulative run time and there's no way to set a daily schedule for automatic startup and cleaning. This vacuum does not work on carpet or rugs as it will get stuck. As a basic vacuum, it takes a little bit of the work out of cleaning, but not enough of it to make it a fully automated solution. It works best in a small room with few obstacles and hardwood/tile/cement floors. But you'll still have to clean around the perimeter with a broom or vacuum and clear our the dust bin after it's run. It's almost more trouble to use this robot vacuum than just vacuuming the whole area with a traditional vacuum. If you really don't have the time to clean your floors often and don't mind that the job is only really about 80% complete when it's done running, it's better than nothing.

Buy it at Amazon: Evertop Robotic Sweeper B Robot Vacuum [Affiliate Link]
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Monday, March 19, 2018

Mokcao Life M3 Bamboo Wood Speaker 30W Review

Mokcao Life M3 Bamboo Wood Speaker 30W Review

Buy it at Amazon: Mokcao Life M3 Bamboo Wood Speaker 30W [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Handsome style, loud, well-rounded sound w/a tinge of sizzle in upper ranges.

You'll receive the speaker, a microUSB charging cable, a power adapter, male-to-male audio cable, and an instruction manual. The speaker measures about 12"W x 3"D x 3.5"H. It features a durable plastic housing with bamboo wood fa├žade on front and back and black denim wrapped exterior. On the front you have dual stereo drivers and two tweeters. Then on the back you have a passive radiator for extended bass, a full size USB output port for charging a mobile device, the microUSB power input, and the Aux-in port for a wired connection. On top are the controls: power, Bluetooth pairing, volume/track navigation, EQ mode, and status LEDs. The speaker has a built-in 5000 mAh rechargeable battery that lasts up to 10 hours of playback depending on volume and EQ mode.

Pairing to the speaker is quick and simple by selecting 'Mockcao Life' in your phone's Bluetooth menu. Once paired you can wirelessly stream music to the speaker and control volume and track navigation with the '+' and '-' keys (short and long presses respectively). However, there is no way to start or pause music playback from the speaker and you'll have to do that from your phone.

The sound from the speakers in the default 'indoor' EQ mode is bright and crisp, with an emphasis on high and mid ranges. However, on tracks that feature sustained cymbal crashes and high instrumentation the tweeters have a tendency to distort with a raspy, hissing quality, even at moderate volumes. For heavier pieces of music, the distortion isn't noticeable until you push the limit of the speaker's max volume. Changing the EQ mode to 'outdoor' gives the audio a nice, rounded boost to the mid-bass, while switching to the third EQ mode gives the music a heavy-handed, low-bass push which may muddle midranges and vocals but brings out the bass beats for dance and club music. Unfortunately, there's no indicator for which EQ mode you're in, so you just have to listen for the changes in the balance and decide what you like best. Because there's pretty significant lag when streaming over Bluetooth, I don't recommend it for watching videos or movies from a mobile device as the audio won't line up with the video.

Overall, the audio quality is pretty enjoyable, and I enjoy it most when set to the outdoor EQ mode. It's got a clean, modern design/style to it and works great in small and mid-sized rooms for party music.

Buy it at Amazon: Mokcao Life M3 Bamboo Wood Speaker 30W [Affiliate Link]
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Friday, March 16, 2018

Ras Decor Queen Bed Sheets Review

Ras Decor Queen Bed Sheets Review

Buy it at Amazon: Ras Decor Queen Bed Sheets [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Soft, nicely fitted, breathable, and cool.

The bedsheet set comes with a flat sheet, 2 standard size pillow cases, and a fitted sheet. The material used is 100% cotton and they have a smooth, soft feel to them. They claim a 600 thread count but it feels quite similar to some 400 thread count sheets that I have. These have a nice alternating light and dark stripe pattern and are machine washable. The fitted sheet fits easily on my 11" queen mattress with a couple inches to spare, so it could probably handle up to 14-16" inches if you use a topper or thicker mattress. The flat sheet was also the appropriate size for the bed. The sides for the pillow cases are pocketed so that they fully encapsulate and hide the pillow. This also prevents it from sliding out or the tag from sticking out of the case. These sheets are soft and lightweight but work well in all seasons. They don't seem to trap in a lot of heat in the summer and are breathable. Overall, this is a comfortable and nice looking set of sheets.

Buy it at Amazon: Ras Decor Queen Bed Sheets [Affiliate Link]
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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Akwox Sony a6300 LCD Glass Screen Protector Review

Akwox Sony a6300 LCD Glass Screen Protector Review

Buy it at Amazon: Akwox Sony a6300 LCD Glass Screen Protector [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Clear, quick installation, durable, good protection.

These tempered glass screen protectors are thin and lightweight like the ones for smartphone screens. The screen protector fit my Sony a6300 perfectly and with the guide stickers only took a couple minutes to install. I found the glass to be clear and crisp without distorting the image, colors, or text on the LCD. Six months in and I'm still on my first screen protector out of the 3 pack. There's a tiny chip on one edge, probably from bumping into something and there's a few small fractures radiating from the point of impact, but the glass is holding together. There's also no damage to the screen beneath which means that it's done its job. I don't feel the need to replace it just yet, but I'm glad to have two spares when the time comes.

Buy it at Amazon: Akwox Sony a6300 LCD Glass Screen Protector [Affiliate Link]
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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Climix Heated Sweatshirt Hoodie Review

Climix Heated Sweatshirt Hoodie Review

Buy it at Amazon: Climix Heated Sweatshirt Hoodie [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Lightweight and comfy, provides moderate amount of warmth for cool/chilly weather.

The sweatshirt hoodie comes with a 6600 mAh Li-Po battery pack, a charger, and a mini right-angle extension cord for the battery pack. The material used for the outer layer of the sweatshirt is the typical thick, cotton, knitted fabric. There are two zipper pockets at the waist and the zipper in the front is smooth sliding; however, the pull is located on the left-hand-side, the opposite side than most US men's clothing. The hood has pulls on either side to cinch the opening but no slip-stop retainers, so remember to tie knots on the ends so they don't slip inside the hood itself..

On the inside, the sweatshirt is lined with a thin layer of polar fleece and has polyester lining for the arms and inside of the hood. There are three stitched areas where the heating pads are located. There's a large 7.5"L x 8"W pad at the lower back and two 7.5"L x 4.5"W strips at chest level on either side of the zipper. At the left hip is a zipper pocket and inside you'll find the power cable connector for the heating pads with a barrel style plug for the battery pack. The battery pack measures 4"L x 2.5"W x 3/4"H and weighs 8 oz. There's a single button on it that lets you check the battery life with a short press while a long press turns it on to power the heating pads and USB port. With the heating pad cable plugged in and the power pack on, simply press and hold the rubber logo on the outer left breast of the jacket to turn on the heating pads. By default it turns on in high heat mode indicated by the pulsing red LED. You can also short press the button to switch heat modes to medium or low. After heating up in high heat mode, the jacket automatically switches to medium to prevent overheating and risk of fire. On a full charge, the battery pack provides several hours of heat and can also be used to charge a mobile device as it has a full sized USB output port.

I ordered the US mens small size, but on me is still slightly long and a bit baggy, though I typically wear XS small sizes. The sleeves have 3" elastic cuffs which were a bit long for me as well. For reference I'm 5'4", weigh 125 lbs, and have a 35" chest (my dress shirt size is 15-1/2" and 32/33). In terms of heating performance, the heating pads worked best when the jacket is pressed snugly against your body while in high heat mode. I found that when wearing two or more layers, the sense of warmth was very slight. Also if the sweatshirt is baggy and there is an air gap to your body, you might not actually feel as much warmth as the heat does not seem to radiate very far. That said, if worn under, say a leather, wool, or polyester coat, eventually the heat will build up and transfer through to your body.

For me, because it is somewhat baggy, I feel the heat best if I'm wearing a light shirt or single layer under the sweatshirt, and when I am seated so I can lean back against the heating pad in the back. I also feel heat from the chest pads if I cross my arms to press the pads against my chest, otherwise they are generally too far from my body. The sweatshirt is machine washable; you just have to remember to zip the pocket with the power cable inside; it can also be tumble dried on low without damaging the internal components. Since you really can't wear lots of layers under it, this heated sweatshirt is better suited for mild weather like fall and spring rather than winter when you want come added warmth against a chill, but won't be freezing if you don't have the heating function on. I'd recommend getting a size that you think will be snug enough, so you can have good contact with the heating pads.

Buy it at Amazon: Climix Heated Sweatshirt Hoodie [Affiliate Link]
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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Ezapor 100 Inch Foldable Indoor/Outdoor Movie Projector Screen Review

Ezapor 100 Inch Foldable Indoor/Outdoor Movie Projector Screen Review

Buy it at Amazon: Ezapor 100 Inch Foldable Indoor/Outdoor Movie Projector Screen [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Works indoor/outdoor, tight wrinkle-free screen, durable frame, lightweight, packs compactly.

You'll receive the projector screen in a nylon padded duffel bag on which the handles can be Velcro'd together for easier carrying. Inside are the instructions for assembly, PVC screen, rectangular frame, two legs, four ground stakes, two rigging cords, and two hanging rings. Setting up the frame for the screen takes about 5-10 mins for one person to complete on their own. The entire metal steel frame is collapsible which is how it fits into a relatively small bag. It weighs about 25 lbs. Assembly is tool-less and everything snaps or screws together easily. The hardest part the first time I set this up was getting the screen stretched out enough to reach all the button clasps. It may be because I was assembling it in the cold outdoors (~40° F), so I expect that in warmer weather or indoors the screen material might be a tad more flexible. Even so, with lots of pulling I was able to get the screen buttoned down all the way and after leaving it up for a few days, the wrinkles from being folded up relaxed and faded and the screen stretched out a bit so subsequent setups have been much easier. The screen has nylon pull straps at each corner to help you with stretching it out, but it's always going to be a tight fit, which you want to ensure the screen is completely flat. I was impressed that the screen didn't rip or tear from all the tension and pulling. The outside black border around the visible white portion of the screen appears to be synthetic leather for added durability.

For windy outdoor conditions, you can add the retention rings to the top of the frame and utilize the rigging cords and ground spikes to anchor the frame and provide additional stability. However, you best solution is to simply sandbag the feet if you're worried about the wind. The back of the screen is covered in black PVC for an impenetrable light barrier that prevent light bleed from the back. This also means, however, that you won't be able to do rear projection onto this screen. The fully assembled screen measures about 79" or about 6.5' high. The width is 92" and the clearance for the legs is 35". The viewable area screen is 99.5", just under the advertised 100" diagonal. To fill the screen, I need to set my projector about 15 feet away.

The smooth white background of the screen provides an excellent surface to project onto. It doesn't distort or discolor the image like the offwhite paint on my walls/ceiling, and it reproduces the contrast of the images well. The screen performs best in very dark conditions, and the small wrinkles in the screen from creases were not visible in the projected image. There was little if any shadowing as the full-frame prevents the screen from developing waves from uneven tension. It works great indoors and outdoors. The construction is sturdy and lightweight making it easy to move fully assembled or packed away. It works great for family movie night, projecting live TV, and could also be used for work presentations.

Buy it at Amazon: Ezapor 100 Inch Foldable Indoor/Outdoor Movie Projector Screen [Affiliate Link]
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Selenechen Electronic Heated Eye Massager Review

Selenechen Electronic Heated Eye Massager Review

Buy it at Amazon: Selenechen Electronic Heated Eye Massager [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Firm pressure, lots of warmth, motor is loud so speakers could be louder.

You'll receive the eye massager, a micro USB charging cable, and an instruction manual. The eyemask is made using an ABS plastic shell, a soft microfiber eye cushion with embedded air bladder, and has a soft 1" wide elastic adjustable headband. The unit measures 8"W x 3"H. It weighs 9.5 oz and folds in half for storage. When folded, you'll have access to the microUSB charging port concealed in the middle joint and on a full charge it lasts for about a half dozen uses.

On the front of the right side is the control panel. There are two functions: heat and massaging. They can either be used together or separately and each setting has a high and low option for more heat and/or heavier pressure during the massage for a total of six modes. Pressing and holding the power button turns the unit on and it always starts up in low heat mode. To change between low and high, single click the power button. The blue icons indicate low and the red icons high. To change function, double click the power button to switch to massage mode and then into massage and heat mode. When using both heat and massage you cannot mix low massage with high heat nor high massage with low heat; its either both high or both low.

When operating I keep my eyes closed and just relax. The air bladder inflates in different areas and at different rates to simulate a variety of pressure patterns and movements. The heat gives a nice warming sensation like a hot compress though I found the high heat settings to be a bit too hot for me. The motor for the air pump however can be loud and distracting. However, there are integrated Bluetooth speakers right into the eyepiece on the outer edge near your ears. Bluetooth pairing was fast and easy and playback is controlled on your mobile device. The Bluetooth does not let you control the modes of the massager. Music played from the speakers won't be as loud or isolating as if you were wearing headphones but it does help to drown out some of the motor noise. The unit turns off automatically after 15 minutes of use.

While I didn't find that it helped me any with reducing the appearance of dark circles and puffiness under your eyes, the massager provided a refreshing and relaxing eye massage with heat compress that can help relieve stress, tension, or sinus pressure. I like that it's rechargeable and folds up compactly for storage. The only improvements I might suggest are that it come with a protective carrying case and removable eye pads or washable sleeves that could be changed for multiple users since the fabric could be tricky to clean if it gets soiled.

Buy it at Amazon: Selenechen Electronic Heated Eye Massager [Affiliate Link]
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Saturday, March 10, 2018

iRestore Laser Hair Restoration Helmet 1 Year 8 Month Update

iRestore Laser Hair Restoration Helmet 1 Year 8 Month Update

Buy it at 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: It's been 20 months since I started using the iRestore Laser Hair Restoration Helmet and over a year since my last update so let's chat about the state of my hair today.

For those of you curious about whether or not my hair has improved a lot more since my previous update at the 6 month mark, the current consensus is that while I haven't seen further improvement, I have also not seen tremendous regression of results and in fact I seem to be maintaining my hair (and improvements gained during the first 6 months) which is really comforting. Keeping what hair I have in good healthy condition is my primary goal and I think the helmet helps do that and for the last year I haven't struggled as much with shedding or further recession of my hair line, except perhaps slightly at the temples. I also noticed that my hair feel thicker and stronger overall and less like the baby fine/thin hairs I had prior to using the helmet. I plan on using the device indefinitely for maintenance and hopefully by the time the machine wears out, there will be a new and improved device on the market.

Thanks to everyone who has been supportive and asked questions. I hope I've helped you with your research and wish you well on your own hair journey.

Affiliate Product Links:
Laser Helmet: http://bit.ly/2uaNMdB

Buy it from 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!
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Friday, March 9, 2018

Bago Packing Cubes Review

Bago Packing Cubes Review

Buy it at Amazon: Bago Packing Cubes [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Sort, arrange, and streamline packing to fit more stuff in your suitcase and access items easily.

This set comes with 4 packing cubes and an assortment of various sized plastic ziptop bags for organizing/sorting your belongings. Including the external packaging which is also reusable, you'll have 7 total ziptop bags. I use these mostly for toiletries to protect the rest of my luggage from spills and leaks. The larger ones keep my documents from getting scattered, wet and crumpled.

The two larger packing cubes measure 11.5" x 15" x 3" and the two smaller ones 8" x 13" x 3". The material on these is a lightweight, durable nylon fabric that resists tears and punctures. Each bag has a mesh front so you can easily see the contents of the bag and identify what's inside. The zippers slide smoothly and have nylon cords with plastic tabs as zipper pulls. While the fabric is moisture resistant to spills, the mesh windows obviously makes these bags not waterproof. Each bag also has a fabric handle that you can use to carry the bag. These cubes come in a variety of colors (orange, black, blue, green, pink, grey, red), though the set of 4 will all be the same color. It would be great if Bago offered a set with 4 different colored bags so you can color code the contents of the bags.

I typically pack by rolling my clothes and found that these had enough room for two weeks of luggage including 1 pair of jeans, 13 shorts, 14 shirts and 14 sets of socks and underwear as well as everyday toiletries like soap, shampoo and contact solution. These packing cubes helped separate my items, so I could easily isolate and find things, rather than having to dig through the entire contents of my suitcase; I just grab the cube with the item I need and find it quickly. I've also used them to separate clean laundry from dirty while traveling.

Buy it at Amazon: Bago Packing Cubes [Affiliate Link]
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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Touchscreen Rearview Mirror Dual Dash Camera Review

Touchccreen Rearview Mirror Dual Dash Camera Review

Buy it at Amazon: Touchccreen Rearview Mirror Dual Dash Camera [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Bare minimum requirements for dashcam, easy to use and install but low quality video and audio.

You'll receive the rearview mirror camera, two mirror attachment bands, a cigarette lighter adapter w/right-angle microUSB connector, a backup camera, double-sided tape and screws for moutning, a 16GB microSD card, a microSD card reader, and instruction manual.
The mirror is quite large, it measures 12" by 3". The LCD is on the right hand side and has a 5" diagonal. The mirror is slightly darker than plain glass and has a deep blue tint to it. On the side that faces the windshield is the camera for the unit which sits on a ball joint and can swivel. There's also external speakers for sound playback. Along the top you have the miniUSB power port, AV in for the rear camera, TF card slot and this sealed off section is marked GPS, but no GPS is installed. Along the bottom of the mirror are the controls. Be sure to peel off the protective plastic sheet to get the clearest view of the glass and screen.

The unit is quick and straightforward to install in a sedan. The rear camera should be installed just over the license plate and can be connected to your reverse lights so that it automatically comes up on the screen with guide lines when backing up. When the car is started, the camera automatically turns on (if plugged into a cigarette lighter adapter port that is off when the car is off). The screen is touch sensitive so you can select options by simply tapping on the glass, although this tends to leave fingerprints on the mirror. Tapping the CSI icon switches the camera view so you can view both the front/rear cameras with picture-in-picture, half and half split, front camera only, or rear camera only. The DVR has options like a G-sensor, park monitoring mode, various clip lengths, and optional audio recording. From the main menu you can enter photo mode and take still photos for both the front and back camera, or you can go to playback mode and view the photos and videos on the card.

There's a few issues with teh camera software. First is that all the resolution modes are mislabeled, with the highest resolution being 1080p (not 1296), the second 720p, and the lowest 480p. Despite the larger file sizes and dimensions, the quality during playback remains the same for 720p and 1080p so it seems the video is simply up-scaled without any improvement to detail or clarity. While you can generally see what's going on around you, you can't really make out license plates of cars and the image is somewhat grainy and blurry at a distance. The rear camera is also not very good with dark and fuzzy images even during the day. Neither allow you to see much during nighttime driving conditions. The license plate stamp on the screen doesn't have enough characters to capture all US license plates and is always prefixed by a Chinese character which cannot be disabled. The audio is also very muffled. Overall, this dual camera set meets the bare minimum for a dashboard camera and had pretty disappointing performance. While it records both front and back but the image and audio quality aren't great. The only redeeming features for this budget camera aside from the low price point are its ease of installation and touchscreen controls.

Buy it at Amazon: Touchccreen Rearview Mirror Dual Dash Camera [Affiliate Link]
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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Inofia Queen Hybrid Spring/Foam Mattress Review

Inofia Queen Hybrid Spring/Foam Mattress Review

Buy it at Amazon: Inofia Queen Hybrid Spring/Foam Mattress [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Budget grade, expands fast, springy, top layer not substantial, a bit noisy. There's also currently a sale on their website - you can use promo code SALE15% for 15% off your purchase: http://www.inofia.com/?aff=4 [Affiliate Link] Or sign up for their mailing list for a 10% off coupon.

The mattress comes flat packed and rolled inside a box, but still weighs over 50 lbs. The product label on the mattress states that it has a 100 night trial period and 2 year guarantee. Just above the label you'll find a letter opener that will help you unwrap the mattress. Once you cut the plastic wrap off, it will pop open and expand very quickly. The full height of the mattress is 7" with 2" for the foam top layer and 5" on the bottom. You'll notice that this mattress compresses really easily if you apply pressure in one spot, and sitting on the edge causes it to compress nearly fully. The mattress also has a ton of bounce to it. On the bottom of the mattress are rubber nubs to help it grip your box spring, but that also means the mattress isn't reversible so you can't flip it over if it starts to sag. On top, the pillow layer is soft to the touch and cushy. But it's also thin enough to feel each spring if you push down on it. The foam used in the pillow top isn't memory foam as no imprint is left after pressing into it. The springs tend to compress easily under pressure if it's concentrated in one spot for example from standing on the bed.

Since I weigh 125 lbs, when I lay down on the mattress and spread out, I don't tend to sink in that much because my weight is distributed. I can still sense the springs through the topper so the pressure is uneven on different parts of my body. I assume for folks that weigh more than me, the sense of the springs would be even more noticeable. After sleeping on it a bunch of times, I can say that I didn't wake up sore, which sometimes happens on overly soft mattresses. But I'm a back sleeper, and I don't tend to move around a lot once I fall asleep. I could see where the mattress might make a lot of noise or be too springy if you roll around a lot at night. While it's not my favorite mattress, it's certainly serviceable, maybe good for a guest room or for kids. It all depends on your sleep habits and personal preference, for example, whether or not you like a squishy mattress.

Buy it at Amazon: Inofia Queen Hybrid Spring/Foam Mattress [Affiliate Link]
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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Ezapor 100 Inch Tripod Mounted Retractable Projection Screen Review

Ezapor 100 Inch Tripod Mounted Retractable Projection Screen Review

Buy it at Amazon: Ezapor 100 Inch Tripod Mounted Retractable Projection Screen [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: A basic pull up screen, easy to setup, clear images, construction is lightweight.

This projector screen is large and measures 94" long and consists of a tripod and the self-retracting screen. It weighs 25 lbs and has a handle with which you can carry it. The unit I received may have been a refurbished/returned unit as the cosmetic condition wasn't pristine. There were a couple of spots of black spray paint meant to hide some scratches and a few dents on the metal housing that didn't impact the functionality but perhaps speaks to the overall durability of the construction, which is not super heavy-duty.

The tripod can be removed from the screen for setup and opening the tripod and screen only takes a few minutes. The feet of the tripod do not locked in the closed position, but I didn't find that this was a problem as long as the tripod was locked to the screen during storage. The screen takes a little effort to pull initially to unroll it, but it slides smoothly in and out of the metal housing. The tallest height for the screen is 92" from the floor to the top, although it can be lowered about 1-2 feet if necessary. The screen itself isn't super flat when fully open and mine appeared to have slightly more tension in the lower corners results in some mild waves from the center of the top down to each corner. The very sides of the screen also tend to roll inward a little, but this affects mostly the outer black border which helps eliminate slight over-projection of the viewing area. The screen is a fairly fragile element. The material can pick up stain, scratches, and indentations you you have to be very careful if it gets dirty and that nothing gets on the screen before you roll it up and put it away. You want to keep the white portion of the screen as clean as possible without using any harsh chemicals. The paint used for the screen smells strongly of spray paint when you first open it so you may want to air it out when you first receive the screen.

Fortunately, the cosmetic defects to the outer housing and the wrinkles on the screen didn't show up when projecting an image on the screen. Even the waves in the screen only created a slight darkened band that you wouldn't know was there unless you were looking for it. Once I got the projector image up on the screen in a darkened room, you couldn't really see these issues. To fill the screen I have my 720p projector about 14-15 feet from it at shoulder level. The screen itself provides a nice clean white background for the projection image which doesn't distort the image colors and has no light bleed from the back which is painted black. Functionally, the screen worked pretty well. One thing to consider is that the screen just hangs from a single point on top, and it is easily distorted or sways if it's bumped or moved around. Even though it is advertised for "outdoor use," I would say it performs best indoors where the wind won't blow the screen around. I also don't think the tripod would be able to stand up to a big gust of wind catching the screen like a sail and that it could potentially fall over in windy conditions. Other than that it works for its intended purpose and would be great for a movie night, party slideshow, or office presentation.

Buy it at Amazon: Ezapor 100 Inch Tripod Mounted Retractable Projection Screen [Affiliate Link]
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Monday, March 5, 2018

Jaco SmartPro 2.0 AC/DC Digital Tire Inflator Air Compressor Review

Jaco SmartPro 2.0 AC/DC Digital Tire Inflator Air Compressor Review

Buy it at Amazon: Jaco SmartPro 2.0 AC/DC Digital Tire Inflator Air Compressor [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Compact, lightweight, accurate, and simple to use.

The tire inflator comes in a zippered nylon padded case. Inside you'll find the air compressor, instruction manual, and nozzle accessories for inflating sports balls and other inflatable items like pool toys and air mattresses. The tire inflator housing is made from a lightweight plastic and it measures 7.5"H x 11"L x 5"W. On the back is the dual power selector switch which lets you choose between A/C power or DC power. If using DC power, you'll find a built-in cigarette lighter power adapter cable neatly stowed in the bottom of the unit along with the nylon braided air hose. For A/C power, use the included 6' cable which can be found in the narrow pouch on the right-hand-side of the carrying case.

On the front of the unit, is an LED light which can be set to a bright flashlight mode or flashing red emergency SOS signal. On the top of the unit is an LCD display that is backlit with a bright blue LED for clear viewing even in dark conditions. The number to the left on the display is the pre-set shutoff pressure and the number to the right is the current pressure of the tire. The '+' and '-' keys allow you to select a pre-set pressure for inflation. Just press and hold either key until the display starts flashing and press up and down to increase or decrease the value in half PSI increments. The ‘M' key allows you to change the units from PSI to BAR or kPa.

The unit is easy to attach to your tires and use and pumps air quickly. Using the sports pin, you can inflate balls quickly too. When the pressure of the tire exceeds the pre-set shutoff value, the unit automatically stops pumping air. In practice, you will always end up 1 PSI higher than your shutoff value. When checked with a tire gauge, the pressure reading of the unit appears to be accurate. If your tires are over inflated, you can let the air out of your tire easily by pressing and holding the bleeder button next to the air hose nozzle.

Overall, the tire inflator was able to quickly and accurately fill my tires. It's compact, portable, and simple to use.

Buy it at Amazon: Jaco SmartPro 2.0 AC/DC Digital Tire Inflator Air Compressor [Affiliate Link]
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Friday, March 2, 2018

Homemade Bath Bombs Recipe w/Corked Essential Oils Review

Homemade Bath Bombs Recipe w/Corked Essential Oils Review

Buy the Corked Essential Oils: Corked Essential Oils [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Easy to make, pure natural ingredients, intense and pleasant aromas.

Your essential oils from Corked.com arrive packaged in crumbled cork, which not only protects the glass bottles from damage but is fully recyclable as well. I received three different scents courtesy of Corked: lemon, lavender, and rosemary. Each bottle contains 10 ml or 0.32 fl oz of essential oil. The label also has a bit of information like country of origin and extraction method, for example the lemon essential oil is cold pressed from Italy. The tops on the bottles are twist off caps and underneath you have dropper tips to control precisely the amount you use as essential oils are highly concentrated and a little goes a long way. The aromas are intensely strong as soon as you open the bottle and very pleasant. The recipe I used for the bath bombs is as follows:
- ½ cup of baking soda
- ¼ cup Epsom salt
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ cup citric acid
- 1 Tbsp of organic carrier oil, divided (for separate colors/scents)
- 1 Tbsp water, divided
- Essential oils
- Soap color (optional)

1. Combine all your dry ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Divide evenly if making multiple colors/scents.
2. Combine your wet ingredients, starting with 1 Tablespoon of your carrier oil. If your oil is solid at room temperature, like coconut oil, heat it briefly (30 secs) in the microwave until it is liquid. If making multiple colors and scents divide the oil and water evenly before adding a few drops of essential oil and scents to each. For three colors I added 8-10 drops of essential oil and 4 drops of color before adding the water (1 tsp to each). Then stir the liquid ingredients until they form a bubbly looking emulsion.
3. Quickly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients a little at a time to prevent the citric acid from activating and foaming. Continue mixing until fully combined. When it's done it should look and feel like damp sand and hold together when squeezed.
4. Lightly pack your bath bomb molds. If making spheres, leave one half off and dry 1 hour before flipping over to dry the other side. Then leave to dry overnight.
5. Once completely dry, the bath bombs should be ready to use.

A few quick tips. My lavender mix was a little bit dry so I should have added more water or a high percentage rubbing alcohol to add moisture before packing. As a result it didn't come together or stick very well to the other mixes and cracked/crumbled after drying. However, the bath bombs in general came out pretty good and the essential oils worked great for adding aromatherapy to each that was strong but not overpowering. I also did not experience any irritation to my skin with the amount that I used. Use this affiliate link to activate my exclusive coupon code ReviewedByPhil for 15% off your entire order!

Buy the molds at Amazon: Leoter Aluminum Bath Bomb Molds [Affiliate Link]

Buy the Corked Essential Oils: Corked Essential Oils [Affiliate Link]
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Thursday, March 1, 2018

0-90% Brix Refractometer for Beer Wine and Honey Review

0-90% Brix Refractometer for Beer Wine and Honey Review

Buy it at Amazon: 0-90% Brix Refractometer for Beer Wine and Honey [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Easy to use and take measurements, clear scale but lines are close together.

I got this unit to measure the sugar content and estimate the ABV of my homemade rice wine since when making rice wine you cannot take a "before" hydrometer reading since the sugars and liquid are locked up in the cooked rice grains. It can also be used when making beer or fruit wine, and I plan on using it on my next batch to compare it to the ABV results I get from hydrometer readings. This will also help me determine how accurate the tool is. I got this "high" scale one as opposed to the ones that only measure to the 30s and 40s because I wasn't sure how high the Brix in sweet rice wine would be; turns out I could have gone with a lower scale but perhaps this larger scale will come in handy if I decide to take up beekeeping for measuring the Brix of honey. I also can't wait to try it out on my orchard's fruit crop this coming harvest season.

I like that the refractometer needs only a few drops of sample to take the reading versus the large amount of liquid I need to extract from my brew to take measurements with the hydrometer. I found the scale bright and clear enough when holding the prism up to the light but the lines are quite close together, so it takes a bit of patience to get the right focus and position to take a reading. The unit is easy to use and clean and the protective carrying case is nice to have for storage.

Buy it at Amazon: 0-90% Brix Refractometer for Beer Wine and Honey [Affiliate Link]
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