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, April 30, 2018

ZeroM Bone Conduction Headphones Review

ZeroM Bone Conduction Headphones Review

Buy it at Amazon: ZeroM Bone Conduction Headphones [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Decent audio for bone conduction headphones, good battery life, comfort is so-so.

You'll receive the headphones, a microUSB charging cable, a set of foam earplugs, and a brief instruction manual. The headphones are made of a lightweight plastic and consist of a single wrap around headband and two sound emitters. On the bottom of the right sound emitter is a small microphone so you can make hands free calls. There also a play pause button on the outside face of it. The two sound emitters are simple rubber pads that rest just in front of the opening of your ears. What they'll do is send sound waves through your skin into the bone beneath so you can hear the sound directly at your ear drum. This leaves your ears open and free to hear ambient sounds and be generally aware of your surroundings, for example, if you're on your bike and need to be able to hear traffic around you. It's also great for the airport so you can hear announcements for your flights while listening to your music.

On the bottom of the right arm is a status LED light, the charging port, under this rubber door, and plus and minus keys for volume. The plus key also serves as the power and pairing button. To turn the unit on and enter pairing mode, press and hold the plus button. The LED will flash blue then red several times, but continue to hold the plus button until the unit says "pairing" and the red and blue lights flash alternately. Then you can go into your Bluetooth menu on your phone and select the BC headphones device to connect with it. In terms of comfort, the plastic of the headband is flexible enough to stretch and accommodate a range of head sizes, but the band isn't padded at all. There's also no way to adjust the amount of tension on the sides of your head, so some folks may not like the sensation of having the area in front of their ears pinched, especially for long-term listening. While I didn't experience ear fatigue, I did experience a bit of head fatigue from the pressure put on the sides of my face after about an hour. The sound experience is decent for headphones that aren't pumping sound into your ears. It's not going to produce as good of a sound as music travel over the air and in general you lose details in the upper ranges and produces a fairly weak bass. Also, with the volume up pretty high, the stronger vibrations makes a sort of buzzing feeling against your face which may be uncomfortable for some. That said, the volume can't get quite as high as normal earphones, which the unintentional benefit of protecting your hearing somewhat. As for sound leakage, it's minimal unless you have the volume way up, then maybe folks around you might start to hear a bit of what you're listening to.

Overall, these may not be the most comfortable nor have the best sound, but if you're looking for a decent set of lightweight wireless earphones that let you stay on top of your surroundings, these bone conduction headphones have decent battery life at 6 hours on a 2 hour charge and functional easy-to-use playback controls.

Buy it at Amazon: ZeroM Bone Conduction Headphones [Affiliate Link]
Share:

RavPower Dual NP-F550 Battery Charger Review

RavPower Dual NP F550 Battery Charger Review

Buy it at Amazon: RavPower Dual NP-F550 Battery Charger [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Long lasting batteries, both charge fully in about 6 hours.

You'll receive the battery charger, a flat microUSB cable, and two Sony style NP-F550 batteries. The charger measures 2.5"W x 4.5"L x 5/8"H. It is powered by microUSB but doesn't come with a wall adapter. However, you can plug it into any full sized powered USB port or adapter. The batteries are rated 7.2V 2900 mAh and fit a number of different photography accessories like remote LCD monitors and LED Lights. Both batteries work as expected in my devices, providing long-lasting rechargeable power. Then can also be used with a battery pack converter adapter for my Sony camera for extended battery life when going on shoots. When the batteries need to be charged, simply slide them into the charger and plug it in. The indicator lights for each bay are red when charging and change to green when the battery is full. Overall the abttery charger works great and can fully charge two NP-F550 battery in about 6 hours.

Buy it at Amazon: RavPower Dual NP F550 Battery Charger [Affiliate Link]
Share:

Friday, April 27, 2018

Kainnt Handheld Vacuum Cleaner VAC-626 Review

Kainnt Handheld Vacuum Cleaner VAC-626 Review

Buy it at Amazon: Kainnt Handheld Vacuum Cleaner VAC-626 [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Good for small clean up jobs, moderately lightweight but can cause fatigue

You'll receive the vacuum motor, nylon storage bag, two tapered extension tubes, attachment adapter, floor sweeper, three attachment nozzles and brushes, and an instruction manual. The two extension tubes are identical and each has a wide end and a tapered end allowing them to nest and be used interchangeably. To attach to the vacuum motor, insert the attachment adapter, then the tubes. The floor sweeper does not have a motorized brushhead. Instead it has a stationary hard surfaces brush and two felt pads surrounding the vacuum hole. There's also two plastic wheels just behind the head, but they don't swivel much or spin easily which makes this attachment feel pretty cheap. On the top of the sweeper is a toggle button that raises or lowers the short brush in the front depending on whether you are cleaning hard surfaces or carpet (down for hardwood/tile and up for carpets). Each of the nozzles can then be fitted onto the end of the tubes: crevice nozzle, brush nozzle, and convertible wedge nozzle w/side brush. The motor base weighs about 4 lbs and has a 15 ft power cord. The length of the vacuum tube is customizable for the job. One both, one, or neither of the extension tubes with the nozzles based on your needs.

When you need to empty the dust from the collection canister, there's a small gray switch in the front that when pressed down releases the bottom door so the dust inside the bin can drop out. You should also periodically disassemble and clean the canister to prevent loss of suction power. Disassembling and reassembling the canister is pretty easy to do and requires no special tools. To turn the vacuum on you just need to click the power button trigger in the handle. There's no need to keep the button pressed down. To turn it off, click the button again. The extended tube and light weight makes this vacuum nice for hard to reach places like ceiling corners where cobwebs tend to collect. You can also run it along wall edges and the tops of door jambs where you wouldn't be able to clean with a large floor vacuum. On hard floors with the brush down, I found that I wasn't a huge fan of the wide brush head because the wheels on it don't swivel and are so lightweight, they didn't really feel effective. You have to turn the whole unit rather than just the vacuum brush making it a bigger chore. That's not to say the cleaning ability wasn't good because it did pick up plenty of dust and debris. For large pieaces of debris, you have to make sure it passes under the middle of the sweeper head to get sucked into the vacuum tube.

On carpet, the vacuum performed a bit better, although without a rotating brush, it doesn't get deep into the pile. However, you also don't run the risk of tangling in any rug fringe. The brushes and felt pads on the bottom of the sweeper head pick up/stick to pet hair and dust, but you'll have to pull these stuck pieces off when you're done cleaning. My main complaint with this vacuum is that is it very loud and gets tiring to use after about 20 minutes. When emptying out the bin you might have to shake or pull some of the dust bunnies out. Overall the vacuum worked quite nicely for cleaning a small space. For short quick cleanup jobs like spills and occasional tidying up it's a big helper since I don't have to pull out the big floor vacuum or drag around the central vacuuming hose.

Buy it at Amazon: Kainnt Handheld Vacuum Cleaner VAC-626 [Affiliate Link]
Share:

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Suncast Elements Loveseat Bench Assembly and Review

Suncast Elements Loveseat Bench Assembly and Review

Buy it at Amazon: Suncast Elements Loveseat Bench Assembly and [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Easy to assemble, durable, waterproof and lightweight.

We've had this loveseat for two years and it's just great. The color hasn't faded and there's very little noticeable wear in that time. We keep it out on the patio for the spring, summer and fall and put it in the shed over the winter, although I'm sure it could probably withstand the snowy winters we have in PA. The assembly took about 20 minutes after reading through the instructions and the only tool you need is a screwdriver. Everything else you need to assemble in included. We keep a long seat cushion inside the bench as the seat on its own is a tad hard, but it supports the weight of two adults or three kids easily. There are vent/drainage holes inside the bench, and I haven't noticed any water build up or damage from rainstorms inside, but this also leaves open the possibility of spiders and other bugs getting in. The bench is also lightweight so you can move it around but heavy enough to stay put in a wind storm. We got this to replace a wood/cement bench that deteriorated over the years from being left out in the elements so hopefully this will hold up better than that over time. Very little maintenance and easy to care for. Cleans up quickly with a hose and a plastic brush.

Buy it at Amazon: Suncast Elements Loveseat Bench Assembly and [Affiliate Link]
Share:

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Leoter Aluminum Bath Bomb Molds Review

Leoter Aluminum Bath Bomb Molds Review

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

Takeaway: Lightweight, easy to use and clean, sturdy metal molds.

You'll receive a color coded set of measuring spoons, 10 large (#3), 10 medium (#2), and 10 small (#1) aluminum half sphere molds, and 100 pieces of plastic shrink wrap bags. The diameter of the smallest mold is 1-3/4", the medium molds are 2", and the large molds are 2.5" in diameter. These metal molds are made of aluminum and are lightweight; while you are meant to press two halves together to make a sphere, they don't interlock, which makes it a little easier to unmold your bath bombs later on. The measuring spoons are labeled in metric with the smallest being 1 ml, then 2.5 ml, 5 ml, 7.5 ml, and 15 ml which is about 1 Tablespoon. 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. The essential oils were from Corked.com and if you use this affiliate link for your purchase you'll receive 15% off your entire order.

Overall, the bath bomb kit gives you all the pieces you need to make bath bombs, minus the ingredients and any recipes or instructions how to use them. The kit was easy to use and I like having the option to make the different sizes of bath bombs.

Buy it at Amazon: Leoter Aluminum Bath Bomb Molds [Affiliate Link]
Share:

Friday, April 20, 2018

Spedal Electric Instant Wine Dispenser and Aerator Review

Spedal Electric Instant Wine Dispenser and Aerator Review

Buy it at Amazon: Spedal Electric Instant Wine Dispenser and Aerator [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Instant aeration, clean, precise pours; avoids spills, splashes, drips, and pouring off sediments.

You'll receive the dispenser pump unit, two 11" rubber hoses, and an instruction manual. The aerator pump dispenser is made from a lightweight plastic with a brushed nickel finish. It has a narrow metal spout that extends 3" and the unit itself is 5.5" tall. The top half is wrapped in a soft touch silicone rubber, and to open the battery bay, twist the top counter-clockwise and slide it up. Inside, you'll need to install 4 AAA batteries which are not included. A fresh set of batteries can purportedly dispense over 200 full bottles of wine (it will take me some time to find out if this is true!). The rubber hoses attach to the nipple on the bottom of the built-in stopper. The instructions indicate one hose should be rigid while the other flexible, but I received 2 flexible hoses, which suits me fine anyhow. When seating the pump in a bottle, be careful not to press down on the top because the wine will start dispensing! That said, dispensing the wine is as easy as a push of a button. When you have enough wine in your glass (e.g. when it's full!) release the button to stop dispensing. To rinse out the hose and pump, fill a clean empty bottle with plain water and pump the water through the unit to clean it after each use.

The dispenser also adds a lot of tiny air bubbles to the liquid while it dispenses which makes the wine a bit frothy. This is how the pump aerates the wine to open up its bouquet and flavors for a deeper, fuller taste, and takes the place of transferring the wine to a decanter the breathe for 30 minutes before drinking. Instant gratification at the touch of a button. The dispenser also doesn't pump the last half inch or so of liquid out from a standard 750 ml bottle which helps you avoid adding sediments to your glass. Most folks prefer their wine aerated if they'll be consuming it straight away after opening the bottle, and I agree that aeration does tends to make the flavors more robust, softens the edges a bit, and smooths out the mouthfeel when compared to the same wine that hasn't been aerated. I use this dispenser when having parties because it reduces the chances of drips, spills, and splashes when serving wine and lets your guest easily pour as much or as little wine as they need into their glasses. I also use it sometimes when serving wine for dinner, but because it's so tall, I swap to a regular stopper if I have to store an open bottle.

Buy it at Amazon: Spedal Electric Instant Wine Dispenser and Aerator [Affiliate Link]
Share:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Sternsteiger Achilles Chef's Knife Review

Sternsteiger Achilles Chef's Knife Review

Browse similar knives at Amazon: All metal full tang chef's knife [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Beautifully designed, elegant, and satisfyingly sharp


The Achilles knife is made from a single solid piece of forged stainless steel and as a result the handle is actually fairly thick and heavy. This balances out with the long blade length, however, the actual cutting edge is only about 7.5". You'll notice here where the bolster typically is a circular cutout, which is ostensibly for improving your grip on the knife, though I'm not convinced that I love it the feel of it in my hand, especially if I choke up a bit and place either my thumb or side of my index finger over the hole. An interesting feature of having such a wide handle is that the knife is self-supporting in the vertical position. However it balances in both the edge up and edge down which in the edge up position poses an obvious safety hazard and even in the edge down position you'll have to watch that knife point. The center of balance of the knife sits just behind the hole cutout and this ends up being the point where I feel most comfortable gripping or pinching the knife with my fingers. Out of the box, the knife does have a factory edge on it. Visually inspecting and testing it against the flat of my finger I could tell it's sharp but not razor sharp. The blade angle on this knife is 20 degrees double-beveled which is standard giving you a good balance between sharpness and durability given the hardness of the steel.

I put the knife through a few tests including the paper test, ripe tomato, hard vegetable, and cooked meat. The knife performed as well as I'd hoped, though did require some honing after a few uses. However, a few quick draws through a conventional knife sharpener and the edge was sharp to my satisfaction. Overall, this knife performed well within my expectations. It's a handsome tool with a serviceable edge, even for a few uses out of the box. I'm not sold on the hole cutout as a functional element, but it's a very interested design feature that might look cool on a magnetic knife bar. For your basic chopping, slicing, and mincing needs, it should serve you pretty well in the kitchen.

Browse similar knives at Amazon: All metal full tang chef's knife [Affiliate Link]
Share:

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Cooya USB-C Charging and Data Cables Review

Cooya USB-C Charging and Data Cables Review

Buy it at Amazon: Cooya USB-C Charging and Data Cables [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Durable, tangle resistant, tight connections, quick charging and transfer speeds.

These cables measure about 40" long and have a rubber sheath exterior with a "braided" crosshatch texture (does not use braided nylon fabric). The cables are flexible though won't tangle easily. At one end is a reversible USB-C connecter and at the other a USB 3.0 connector. The connectors have metal housings with thick rubber strain reliefs at the bases to prevent cracking and breakage. I use these cables with my LG G5 smartphone for charging and data transfers. When plugged into my computer, my phone is immediately recognized, and I can freely transfer files to and from the phone. Transferring 1 GB of data took about 1 minute. When plugged in for charging, the phone registers the charging speed with the cable (and compatible power adapter) as "fast charging" and it take a little over an hour to fully charge my phone from 0%. Overall, the cables work great with my phone so far, and I haven't had any issues with them.

Buy it at Amazon: Cooya USB-C Charging and Data Cables [Affiliate Link]
Share:

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Echo Dot 2 Battery Base (by EAUOH) Review

Echo Dot 2 Battery Base (by EAUOH) Review

Buy it at Amazon: Echo Dot 2 Battery Base (by EAUOH) [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Compact, easy to install, but can't charge w/Echo in use, resets Echo when unplugged from power.

You'll receive the battery base, a metal disc, a microUSB to plug adapter, and instruction manual. This base is compatible with the 2nd generation version of the Echo dot. The Echo dot does not have an internal battery, instead it needs to be plugged in to power via the USB cord at all times, which usually means it needs to stay near an outlet. However, with the battery base, you can get portable power with the Echo Dot and use it on the go, as long as it's still in range of your home WiFi network. The base is about the same size and dimension of the Dot. It has a microUSB charging port, barrel style output port, and 4 LED battery life indicators. The base has a 5200 mAh battery which can last about 6 hours of continuous use or 8 hours on standby. It takes 4 hours to fully charge. Note though, that it does not come with a microUSB charging cable, though you can use the one that came with your Echo Dot.

The inside of the base is magnetic and you're supposed to stick the metal disc onto the bottom of your Echo Dot, but it didn't want it permanently on the bottom of my Echo and I found that the magnetic force isn't super strong anyway so I did not use it. Once in the base, just line up the power port of the Dot with the power port in the base and plug in the adapter. There is no on/off switch for the battery and when plugged in; it will turn on automatically and stay on. I like that the base makes my Echo Dot wireless, and I can move the unit from room to room and still have access to streaming music and Alexa. However, the battery won't last all day and eventually you'll need to plug it in again. The other finicky thing I found is that if I'm using the Echo Dot in the battery base and plug the base in to charge, it doesn't charge. I have to first unplug the Echo Dot and plug in the base on its own. Then I can plug in the Echo Dot and use it while the base is charging. However, when you unplug the base while its charging and Echo is on, the Echo will lose power momentarily and reset so plugging and unplugging the charging base while using the Dot is not a seamless experience. Other than that it works fine. I don't leave the Echo Dot in the base. Instead I only attach the Echo to it when I need to take it to another room. Eventually I think I will just get multiple Echo units for the other rooms.

Buy it at Amazon: Echo Dot 2 Battery Base (by EAUOH) [Affiliate Link]
Share:

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Chew Fun 5.8 Qt XL Air Fryer Review

Chew Fun 5.8 Qt XL Air Fryer Review

Buy it at Amazon: Chew Fun 5.8 Qt XL Air Fryer [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Heats up fast, cooks evenly, uses little oil, great tasting and healthy meals, easy to use.

I already have a 2.5 Qt air fryer, but I wanted to get this larger 5.8 Qt one, so I could make more portions at once and bigger meals like a whole chicken. This air fryer measures 16" tall and has a 12" diameter but is 15" wide including the handle. The power cable is 4' long and heavy duty. It comes with an instruction manual, though it has tons of spelling errors and pretty poor grammar. Luckily the unit is largely self explanatory. You'll also receive a short recipe book with a handle full of recipes, a stainless steel rack, and a 6" non-stick round baking pan.

The fryer bowl is easily removed by simply pulling firmly on the handle. The bowl is a rounded square that measures 11" x 10". The inner basket is removable for easier cleaning and has a release lock and cover just above the handle so it doesn't come apart by accident. I like that this model has a small support tab in the back of the outer bowl that keeps the inner basket from rubbing and thus scratching the non-stick surface (a problem that I found with my other smaller air fryer). Both the bowl and fry basket have non-stick surfaces, and the frying basket has fluted sides and a perforated bottom to allow air to circulate uniformly inside the unit.

On the front face of the unit you have the display and touch controls which I like better than the analog dials on my Farberware unit. You can set the temperature in 10 degrees Fahrenheit increments from 180 to 400 and time from 1 to 30 minutes in 1 minute increments. After the timer runs out, the machine shuts itself off automatically and beeps loudly 5 times. There is no setting for "always on" for safety reasons. If you open the fryer at any time while it is on, the entire unit shuts down (display, fan, heating element) until the fryer bowl is replaced and then it will start back up and pick up where it left off. This helps prevents burns and undercooking as the timer does not continue to run while you are stirring or flipping your food.

There's a mode button to will select from a variety of preset modes, which you can also customize after choosing a setting. I've already made a number of things in the air fryer including a whole 4.5 lb chicken, corn tortilla strips/chips, French fries, potato chips, and kale chips. The only improvement I would recommend would be that the heating element have a mesh screen over it to prevent foods from blowing into it and burning as the kale chips and potato chips are sometimes light enough to "float" in the chamber and touch/burn on the heating element, but the stainless steel rack placed over them while cooking helps to prevent that. Everything came out delicious by the way and you don't have to use much oil to get things crispy and crunchy (but do use a little to keep things from burning too quickly or becoming crumbly).

Overall, the air fryer works great. It heats up fast and cooks food evenly and quickly. With this bigger air fryer, I can make more portions if I have guests coming over and don't have to do as many batches. Since more food can be placed in a single layer, I don't have to turn food as often as with my smaller air fryer. The touch controls are straightforward and exact versus analog dials, and I rarely go a week without using this appliance several times for cooking or reheating various foods. It does a very nice job with prepared frozen foods and reheating fried leftovers so that they're crunchy again.

Buy it at Amazon: Chew Fun 5.8 Qt XL Air Fryer [Affiliate Link]
Share:

Monday, April 9, 2018

QQCute Handheld Electric Blackhead Extractor Review

QQCute Handheld Electric Blackhead Extractor Review

Buy it at Amazon: QQCute Handheld Electric Blackhead Extractor [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Powerful suction, deep clean, easy to use, promotes smooth/clear skin.

You'll receive the blackhead remover, four plastic nozzle tips, 2 x large, 1 x small, and 1 x oval, a USB charging cable, 15 cotton nose pads, a set of replacement rubber washers and screens, 2 bottles of pore relaxer, a microfiber carrying bag, and some instruction booklets. The blackhead remover is essentially a mini handheld vacuum that applies suction to a very small area on your face to extract blackheads, oil, and sebum from your pores. The unit is curved and fits nicely in the palm of your hand. It has a soft touch silicone exterior and has a single power button on the front. The unit charges via a microUSB port on the bottom.

The three different style tips are used for different purposes, for example the large tip (one is pre-fitted on the unit) is for strong suction that works best for oily and resilient skin. The small tip is used for gentler suction on sensitive or delicate skin and the oval tip is best for smoothing fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating collagen production beneath the skin. To turn the unit on or off, press and hold the power button for a few seconds. The default mode is low suction indicated by the green light. Press the power button once to change to medium suction, indicated by the blue light. A third press puts it in high suction with a LED red light. The fourth mode is intermittent suction (high) which is indicated by a yellow light.

Using the tool is straightforward, following the directions in the manual and quick start guides. You do want to be sure to move the tool quick in short sweeps to ensure that your skin doesn't start to bruise. You will likely, however, experience some puffiness and redness, even from using the tool properly. This is typical and you should expect your skin to calm down after about 30 minutes. For me, the medium mode was the strongest suction my skin could handle, though I prefer the low mode for most areas on my face. Even without using high suction, the tool was able to extract plenty from my pores, leaving them clear and clean. The results are most apparent about 12 hours later so I like to do the treatment at night and wake up in the morning with smoother, brighter skin. I did find that you have to periodically clean out the tip while using it so that the oil doesn't build up too much in the tip and on top of the screen. This is also why it's important to sanitize the tips and screen before each use to avoid bacteria growth, contamination, and possible infection.

Overall, the blackhead does a good job with extracting stuff from my pores. It's a lot less rough on your skin than squeeze your pores with your fingers and over time you should see clearer, smooth skin with less visible pores and fine lines.

Buy it at Amazon: QQCute Handheld Electric Blackhead Extractor [Affiliate Link]
Share:

Friday, April 6, 2018

Arrinew WiFi Smart Plug Review

Arrinew WiFi Smart Plug Review

Buy it at Amazon: Arrinew WiFi Smart Plug [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Easy to set up but I used a different app for timers/schedules, works with Alexa/Smart Life.

The smart outlet comes with an instruction manual, although the unit is basically plug-and-play. The manual does recommend an app, though based on the feedback from others here, and the fact that all my other smart home devices are connected to Alexa via the Smart Life app, I skipped trying the recommended app altogether and simply set up the plug with Smart Life which works fine. The WiFi outlet is made of a durable ABS plastic, and it measures 3.75" x 2.25" x 1.75". On the back is a single 3-prong plug and the stated voltage ratings is for 100-240 VAC with 10A current and 2000W max load. It's designed for indoor use only and is not waterproof. On the front is a single socket and power button with LED light.

Setting it up on my network with Smart Life took less than a minute and afterward the unit functioned fine for the schedule, timer, and on/off functions. I was also able to use Alexa to control it with voice commands using my Echo Dot and Alexa app on my phone. The socket is simple and straightforward to setup and leaves enough space underneath in a dual outlet configuration for most 2-prong plugs (some 3-prong and large adapters might not have enough space though). Not sure why the unit has to be so big since it doesn't do electrical consumption monitoring. I have other units which are smaller that have the same exact functionality, but overall this unit unit performs as expected do far.

Buy it at Amazon: Arrinew WiFi Smart Plug [Affiliate Link]
Share:

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Kimdecent iPhone X Battery Case with Wireless Charging Review

Kimdecent iPhone X Battery Case with Wireless Charging Review

Buy it at Amazon: Kimdecent iPhone X Battery Case with Wireless Charging [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: All-around protection, doubles battery life, easy to use, wireless charging.

The battery case comes with a tempered glass screen protector and a brief instruction sheet. The glass protector is simple to install though, a little tricky because you don't get any guide stickers to help you. However, once installed the glass is clear, durable, and scratch resistant. The case is a slide-in style shell case with a thick backside that houses the 4000 mAh battery (the iPhone X comes with a 2716 mAh internal battery). It just about doubles the thickness, weight, and battery life of the iPhone X. The back has a brushed nylon textured feel which is less slippery than the native glass back of the iPhone X. There's also a cutout for the camera and a power button in the left hand corner. Short pressing the button briefly displays the battery life of the case using 4 LEDs in the bottom right corner. Inside the case is a plain matte surface that is not padded. At the bottom of the inside is a flexible Lightning connector that plugs into your phone. This type of connector should be less susceptible to damage than a rigid connector which tends to bend, loosen, or snap over time. The case itself uses Apple's Lightning connector for charging but does not come with a charging cable; you'll need to use the one that came with your phone.

Alternately, the case also supports wireless Qi charging and if you have a compatible wireless charging pad, the case will charge when you set it down on the charging surface. Installing the phone in the case takes only a few seconds and the flexible connector makes it easy to line it up with the phone's Lightning port. The case fits the iPhone X snugly and the ridged sides give your hands a bit of extra grip on the phone. To charge your phone using the external battery, just long press the button on the back of the case. The cutout for the camera does not obstruct the lens and the rubberized buttons are fairly easy to press to use the volume and sleep keys. Overall, the case works well. When used with the screen protector, it provides side, front, and back protection against drops, scratches, and drops and the battery delivers at least 1 full charge for your phone on the go. It is easy to use and charges fine wirelessly. It does adds a bit of bulk and extra weight but not a ton.

Buy it at Amazon: Kimdecent iPhone X Battery Case with Wireless Charging [Affiliate Link]
Share:

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Sanhooii Mini Rotary Tool Drill Dremel Review

Sanhooii Mini Rotary Tool Drill Dremel Review

Buy it at Amazon: Sanhooii Mini Rotary Tool Drill Dremel [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Lightweight, easy to handle, good for sanding, polishing, engraving, and cutting plastic/wood/metal.

You'll receive the mini rotary tool, a canvas zippered bag, an AC Plug adapter, a box of tool tips, and a second larger set of tool tips. The tool tips and mandrels range from sanders, to grinders, disc cutters, drill bits, wire brushes, and buffing/polishing wheels. The rotary tool itself is 8" long and made from a lightweight plastic. Towards the back is a power rocker and on the end the DC power port. This unit only has 1 speed and spins at 16000 RPMs.

Loading the different mandrels for the tool is quick and easy. Just press and hold the lock button near the tip and twist the collet nut to loosen or tighten. I've used this tool for a number of different craft and repair projects. The cutting discs work on plastic and wood, though if your wood is thick or very hard there may not be enough RPMs to go very deep. For those materials I still need to use my Dremel 3000 which has a max RPM of nearly double. The set includes buffing compound to be used with the buffing and polishing pads, although the container makes it a little messy to get the compound onto the pad; however, the results were satisfactory. The sanding bands also worked as well as expected for smoothing and rounding off edges on wood projects.

While in operation, the tool is pretty loud, about as loud as a dentist's drill, but not as loud as a hair dryer. Even though it doesn't get to a super high speed, it spins fast enough to cut and etch hard surfaces, as long as you go slowly and don't try to cut very deep all at once. You may need to make several passes depending on the material you're working with and the desired result. With all the various tool tips, this rotary tool is pretty versatile in what you can do with it, from precision craftwork to sanding and polishing different items. I've used it about a dozen times so far with decent results.

Buy it at Amazon: Sanhooii Mini Rotary Tool Drill Dremel [Affiliate Link]
Share:

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Multi Purpose Rubber Grip Jar Opener Review

Multi Purpose Rubber Grip Jar Opener Review

Buy it at Amazon: Multi Purpose Rubber Grip Jar Opener [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Improves grip on slippery jar lids and allows you to side twist versus rotate your wrist.

The jar opener measures 6.25" long and 3" wide at the widest part. The opener is made from a thick rubber that is flexible but durable with multiple gripping ridge along the inside track. The jar opener rings can be expanded to accommodate jar/bottle lids up to about 3.25" in diameter. There are three different size openings depending on the size of the lid you need to grip, small, medium, or large. To use the opener, slip the appropriate size ring over the jar lid and squeeze it tight. Then twist. The opener allows you to get a firm grip on the lid if it is slippery, and you can also rotate from the side, using the rest of the grip as a handle instead rotating your wrist over the top of the lid. It does not, however, give you a lot more leverage to open the jars, so while this will keep your hands from sliding off the lids, you will still need about the same amount of force to open the jars as you would normally; however, some of the pressure might be alleviated from your wrist while twisting.

The jar opener works well on regular mouth mason jars; for wide mouth jars, you'll have to stretch the grip out a lot but it should still fit most of the way around the lid and does seem to handle those fine too. It also works on soda bottle tops, jam jars, and anything in between. For really stuck metal lids, run the lid/cap under hot water for a few seconds to allow it to expand and soften any sticky residues underneath. For sealed jars with large tops and liquid contents, smacking the bottom center of the jar with the flat of your palm may help decrease the vacuum pressure allowing you to open it more easily.

Buy it at Amazon: Multi Purpose Rubber Grip Jar Opener [Affiliate Link]
Share:

Monday, April 2, 2018

YTE Anbes Smart WiFi Outlet Socket Review

YTE Anbes Smart WiFi Outlet Socket Review

Buy it at Amazon: YTE Anbes Smart WiFi Outlet Socket [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Quick and easy way to add smart/voice capability to an outlet.

You'll receive the WiFi outlet and instruction manual. The outlet has a plastic housing with a shiny piano white finish and measures 1.75" in diameter and a little over 1" thick. It has a three-prong grounded US style plug and accepts 110-240V 10A input. On the left-hand-side is a single power button with embedded status LED.

To set up the socket for WiFi control on your home network, you'll need to download and install the Smart Life app to a mobile device. Then just plug the device into any outlet. When plugged in to a dual outlet panel, you should still be able to access the other outlet, but there isn't enough room to stack two of these plugs together and large plug connector may might not fit (I recommend using the smart outlet in the bottom socket). The LED light will start flashing blue when it's ready to connect. Setup was fast and straightforward and took less than a minute.

I have a number of different brand smart outlets and they all basically work the same way and I use Smart Life/Alexa to control all of them without conflicts. In the app you can turn the outlet on and off by tapping the socket icon. You can also add weekly schedules for the outlet with specific on/off times on repeating days of the week or one-off basis. The third function is a simple countdown timer that will flip the status of the light from off to on or vice versa after the timer runs out.

The outlet works as expected, and I can control the outlet from anywhere with an internet connection using the app. The voice commands work great when I'm at home with my Alexa enabled devices, and the plug is useful for lights, air conditioning units, and box fans.

Buy it at Amazon: YTE Anbes Smart WiFi Outlet Socket [Affiliate Link]
Share:

Blog Archive

Ads

Get Email Notifications