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, August 31, 2018

Ulikit Corner L-Shaped Computer Desk Review

Ulikit Corner L-Shaped Computer Desk Review

Buy it at Amazon: Ulikit Corner L-Shaped Computer Desk [Affiliate Link] UPDATED: All discount codes are gone and the promotional period mentioned in the video is now finished.

Takeaway: Clean modern look with natural wood grain pattern, easy assembly, lightweight but sturdy and durable under a decent load.

The desk arrives flat packed so there will be some assembly required. The frame of the deck is all hollow steel bars that are pre-drilled and threaded for easy assembly with the included hardware. The desktop surface is made of wood with a glossy black veneer finish. All the parts in the box are either marked directly on the part or on the bag they're contained in, so in order to keep track of which part is which, don't unwrap them until you're ready to use it during assembly. The pack of hardware also includes a small screwdriver and wrench that you'll need for the assembly. You may also need a rubber mallet which is not included.

Included is a multi-page set of illustrated instructions, without words. Although it may look a bit daunting, it's actually pretty straight forward and if you watch my full review video, I'll show you exactly how to put it together. Assembly takes less than an hour if doing it alone but may go fater with some help. When fully assembled, you'll have one spare piece of each of the bolts and nut. The finish of the surface of the desk is glossy and slightly rough with a wood grain pattern. The desk feels pretty lightweight and is easily picked up and moved by two people but can also support at least 30 lbs or more. In my setup, I have my computer LCD monitor, with keyboard in front, mouse, printer, speakers, and other accessories on the long side and still have plenty of room on the short side to use. The length of the long side is about 66" to the wall and the length of the short side is about 48" to the wall; the height from the floor is about 29". I now have plenty of addition work space from the angled side of the desk that I can easily turn to when not working on the computer. The one thing about the open back design is that all your cables will be visible underneath so if that's going to bother you, it's worth implementing some sort of cable management and organization to hide it. I also like that my office chair can slide completely under the desk, including the arms.

Overall, this is computer desk is functional, feels durable, has a clean look and style, and was easily assembled in less than an hour. It gives me plenty of room to work with on top and space underneath for the computer or short file cabinet.

Buy it at Amazon: Ulikit Corner L-Shaped Computer Desk [Affiliate Link]
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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

HiCool 120 Inch Portable Fabric Projection Screen Review

HiCool 120 Inch Portable Fabric Projection Screen Review

Buy it at Amazon: HiCool 120 Inch Portable Fabric Projection Screen [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Large screen size, lighweight, good quality, easy to set up but doesn't always stay "square."

You'll receive the movie screen, two nylon cords, 16 damage-free double-sided stick tapes, and 16 plastic hanging hooks. The nylon cords are about 17' long each but have frayed ends because they don't come sealed. However, it's simple enough to use a small torch of stick lighter to melt the ends preventing them from unraveling on you.

The projector screen is lightweight and only weighs about 2 pounds. It has a 1-1/4" black fabric border and stretchy white interior made of 92% Polyster, 8% Spandex like that of sports and athletic wear. The border is not as stretchy though and is made of a stiffer material. The corners are only partially finished and remain open on the ends, so I had to close them off with a needle and thread although it's not expressly necessary unless you're worried about it fraying. The metal grommets are spaced about every 2 feet. Since the screen is fabric, you can clean it with mild detergent or a damp cloth. However, the screen needs to remain white to be useful so machine washing is not recommended, and you should avoid allowing it to come into contact with anything that may stain it or rub off color. The material is opaque enough so you can't see through it, but will allow for both front and rear projection for viewing movies.

For me, I don't really have a lot of wall space, so I ended up hanging the screen on a lightweight aluminum frame using the cords. This worked okay, although my frame was a tad small for the dimensions (despite being marketed as a 120" frame). I imagine it's probably a bit tricky to find the right space and anchor points to hang this outdoors using the cords. Also, keep in mind if hanging on the wall using the mounting hooks, make sure they pull the screen outward towards the borders, rather than installing all the hooks face "up." I did appreciate that the included double-sided tape is the damage-free kind that stretches to release and won't rip the paint off your walls.

When fully open, the screen measures 105"W x 65"L making the visible diagonal 120" (not including the black border). Even without being pulled completely taught, the screen performed well on the frame. There were very few wrinkles where properly stretched, giving my projected image bright colors and a smooth surface to display on. Just be aware that 120" requires most mini projectors to be placed 16-18' away from the screen, so if your room isn't large enough the projected image won't fill the screen. When viewed from the opposite side of the screen from where the projector is located you can watch the projected video/images clearly, although the brightness will be slightly dimmer. You'll also have to make sure to change the settings in the projector to flip the image horizontally, otherwise you'll see a mirror image when rear projecting.

Overall, the projector screen worked pretty well with my mini LED DLP projector. The colors were bright and properly reproduced, the screen is lightweight making it easy to transport, and it was quick to set up with either the ropes or wall hangers, as long as you have something to hang it on and a large enough space. I do wish it came with a better carrying bag than the plastic ziplock to keep it clean and protected, but a clean bag or box should do the trick.

Buy it at Amazon: HiCool 120 Inch Portable Fabric Projection Screen [Affiliate Link]
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Monday, August 27, 2018

Three Gun Boxer Briefs Review

Three Gun Boxer Briefs Review

Buy it at Amazon: Three Gun Boxer Briefs [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Nicely cut and fit, with a low profile, ample contour pouch, unnoticeable seams, and smooth breathable fabric.

In each set, you'll receive 4 pairs of boxer shorts. I received an apple green, sky blue, and 2 pairs of the black colors, but these also come in navy, grey, and white as well. The material these are made of is a 96% cotton 4% spandex blend. These have a very soft, comfortable feel and a fly-less contour pouch. The 1-3/8" elastic waistband is smooth and extra stretchy for durability and wear-resistance over time. The underwear itself is quite elastic too, even at the cuff at the thigh, to conform to most body shapes and sizes while remaining mostly opaque and retaining its shape and breathability when stretched. The seams are sewn straight and smooth and as a result, you don't feel them against your skin, making these super comfy to wear. The back of the underwear does not have any contouring nor provides any lift.

I wear the Asian "Large" size which fits like a US men's small (waist sizes 28-30"). They fit fine on my 28" waist with less than a finger's width of looseness. On the sides, they tended to wrinkle slightly since they pull up just a little on the hips, however, don't ride up too much in the front and back. Mobility in these boxer briefs was good with plenty of freedom to move around in. The single stitch in the back on the waistband was non-irritating and the small fabric tag didn't scratch or rub either. Also, the lack of contouring forthe rear may end up flattening out your backside profile.

While I liked the bright neon colors of the greena nd blue pair, the black style had a more casual and classic look. Because these underwear are made of mostly cotton, they do retain some body heat and perspiration, so aren't great for intensive sports or working out. However, their breathability makes them well-suited for every season casual wear. All colors are machine washable in warm water but should be hang dried rather than tumble dried. Overall, a decently flattering and comfortable fitting pair of boxer shorts.

Buy it at Amazon: Three Gun Boxer Briefs [Affiliate Link]
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Friday, August 24, 2018

AUAG Immersion Sous Vide Cooker Review

AUAG Immersion Sous Vide Cooker Review

Buy it at Amazon: AUAG Immersion Sous Vide Cooker [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Precise temperatures, easy operation and cleaning, built-in safety shutoff; delicious results.

You'll receive the sous vide cooker, GFCI power cable, and an instruction manual. The sous vide cooker is made mostly of plastic and measures 14" long and 3" in diameter, not including the clamp. The clamp extends out about an inch and a half. The clamp is wide enough to accommodate containers with walls as thick as 1" though it opens as wide as 3" for ease of installation. It even has a silicone pad at the tip to help grip your container and protect your cookware from scratches. The bottom black portion of the sous vide cooker can be removed for cleaning by twisting clockwise towards the unlock symbol then, squeezing the clamp and pulling straight down. Inside you have the heating coil, pump impeller, and temperature and water level sensors. To re-assemble, line up the horizontal min and max water level markings on the cover with the lock symbol and twist counter-clockwise to lock. This unit has a status LED indicator on the front, a touchscreen LCD screen on top, a settings scroll ring, and power input on the back.

The power cable is 5 ft long and has a built-in GFCI safety module that will trip the circuit to cut off power if a ground fault occurs, that is, if the electrical circuit accidentally comes into contact with water, the unit will stop the flow of electricity to protect you from electrocution. The unit simply clamps onto the side of a pot or heat proof container filled with water. Anything that can be used on the stovetop and can hold over 3" water works well, like a large soup pot, though I found that with very tall containers, taller than the length of the clamp, the cooker tends to tilt precariously towards the water.

The unit is pretty simple to operate, although the instructions were a bit tedious to read through. The LED status light will show different colors for standby, preheat, target temp reached, and keep warm (white, orange, green, blue). The touchscreen on top of the unit works well and is responsive, but could be a tad brighter. It's also only viewable from certain angles so you can't read it from the side or back. The settings scroll wheel makes it easy to make quick adjustments of time, temperature, and pre-set mode selection. The temperature increments are fairly exact allowing for 0.1° changes per scroll click in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. The max cooking time is 99 hours and 59 minutes. You can also lock the touchscreen to prevent accident changes or cancellation during cooking. While there are many pre-set modes for different kinds of foods, you can also make adjustment to those settings after selecting it to customize and cook your food how you like it; just note that your customizations will not be saved to the pre-set and you'll have to make the same adjustments each time.

When testing the accuracy of the sous vide's thermometer, the reading seemed to run a little high when compared to both a calibrated instant read thermometer and analog meat thermometer. Fortunately you can manually adjust the offset for temperature reading but only when the display is shown in Celsius (tap and hold clock and thermometer icons), however, the setting will convert over to the Fahrenheit measurement as well.

I've tried a number of sous vide recipes with this machine and so far its yielded amazing and delicious results. With sous vide cooking, as long as the temperature can be held steady and is accurate and your food is properly sealed before putting in the water bath, it's hard to go wrong. One thing to note is that after the cooking timer runs out, the unit goes into at about 104°F or 40°C for up to 2 hours. After that it automatically shuts off. Also, since it cannot connect to your phone or WiFi, you can't get remote notifications when the food is done cooking so you do have to be around to monitor the device.

Overall, I was completely satisfied with the results achievable with this sous vide cooker. It's easy to adjust and set, simple to use, and with a few tweaks accurately warms your food within fractions of degrees of your target temperature. With a little bit of pre-prep, it'll take some of the work and guesswork out of cooking delicious restaurant-quality food.

Buy it at Amazon: AUAG Immersion Sous Vide Cooker [Affiliate Link]
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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

MOZA Mini Mi Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer Review

MOZA Mini Mi Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer Review

Buy it at Amazon: MOZA Mini Mi Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Lightweight, fully featured, good stabilization, though app is a bit finicky

You'll receive the gimbal in semi-rigid clamshell carry case, a flat microUSB charging cable, a mini tripod, and an instruction manual. The gimbal handle and arms are made of a lightweight yet hard, durable plastic. The handle has a flattened, wide 7" long handle that's easier to hold onto than a skinny cylinder, even without rubber grip pads. The unit contains a rechargeable Li-ion battery that takes about 4 hours to charge via the USB port near the bottom and powers the gimbal for about 10 hours of continuous use. On the side of the handle facing you are the onboard controls. There's a 4-directional joystick for controlling pan, tilt, and roll, of the gimbal, 4 LED lights to indicate battery life and mode, a click and scroll wheel for menu navigation, shutter button, and the power button is off to the right hand side. There are four ¼"-20 mounting points on this gimbal: one on the bottom, one on the back of the handle, and one on either side of the phone grip. These are great for attaching accessories like the mini tripod, extra lights, microphones, etc. One feature that this gimbal doesn't have that we've become accustomed to on other gimbals is a trigger button on the other side, but I found that I didn't miss it much.

While the plastic doesn't feel as durable as metal, it is remarkably lightweight weighing just over 1 lb without a phone. Even with the max payload of 10.5 oz added, it's still under 2 lbs and isn't that tiring to hold over longer recording sessions as heavier gimbals might be. There are two ways to charge your phone while using this gimbal. The phone mount grip has integrated wireless Qi charging (for supported phones), however, for phones without wireless charging there is a full-size USB port on the underside of the tilt arm so you can charge your phone with its cable. The grip mount expands to accommodate smartphones up to 3.25" in width. It'll also accept adapters for stabilizing action cameras like the GoPro.

For most larger phones, I found the grip mount to be a tight fit so even if you use a slim case, you might have to take it off to mount your phone, like I did with the LG G5. The max payload for this gimbal is 300 grams or about 10.5 oz. Its relatively quick and straightforward to balance the roll and tilt of the phone prior to turning the gimbal on. This will alleviate the stress on the motor which imrpoves battery life and reduces wear and tear on the motors. The mount can also be rotated into portrait mode for taking panoramic photos and Instagram photos/videos.

Before first use, I chose to update the firmware on the gimbal, which was pretty simple and only took a few minutes. The MOZA Genie app, while still under development, is fairly functional with only a few blips in operation (and sporadic crashing). The biggest complaint that most folks have is that the subject tracking feature hadn't been operational, however, as of mid-August, 2018 I was able to use this feature successfully on both Android and iOS, although occasionally the tracking would "lose" the subject on the Android phone. When turning on the gimbal, the default mode is Pan/Yaw-Follow which allows the camera to follow the movement of the gimbal when turning left and right but locks the tilt and roll axes.

One of the things I found tricky about this gimbal is the combination of button clicks to perform specific actions. Nearly every button has multiple actions depending on how many times you click it. So for example, clicking the left button twice toggles on and off the pan or yaw-axis lock, while clicking it three times toggles the tilt or pitch-axis lock. Then if you long press the left button, this toggles the roll-axis lock. Whenever an axis is locked, you can use the joystick to change its position, or manually positioning it along the locked axis. You can control the speed of the movement based on how far you move the joystick from center, so small movements move the gimbal slowly while fully pressing in the direction will move the gimbal quickly.

There's also a Sports mode which allows to gimbal yaw motor to react more quickly to follow fast moving subjects, a selfie-mode, a quick re-center command, and "inception" or vertigo mode. So it's a lot of function/key combinations to remember if you don't end up using the gimbal that often. There are also some limitations to the tilt and roll compensations. For panning you get 360° rotation, but for roll you'll only get 165° and for tilt 310°.

The MOZA Genie app allows you to pair your phone to the gimbal via Bluetooth, so you can control it remotely rather than using the controls on the handle, but it can be finicky and some phone models may not be fully supported. If you are able to use the app it'll allow you to adjust gimbal and camera settings on the fly like motor speed and follow smoothness. You can also adjust focus and zoom using the scroll wheel. Again there are plenty of other key combinations to learn that are specific to controlling the app if you're connected via Bluetooth.

Overall, the MOZA Mini-Mi is a decently fully featured handheld gimbal for smartphones that stabilizes well and has a lot of options for different users from beginner to professional. It's also inexpensive compared to other gimbal options out there with less competitive features/performance making it a good choice for filmmakers on a budget who shoot with their smartphones.

Buy it at Amazon: MOZA Mini Mi Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer [Affiliate Link]
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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Awake Lion Sous Vide Immersion Cooker Review

Awake Lion Sous Vide Immersion Cooker Review

Buy it at Amazon: Awake Lion Sous Vide Immersion Cooker [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Easy to use, a cinch to clean; but fine adjustments to temperature are not possible, especially in F. Still makes amazing restaurant quality food.

If you're not familiar with sous vide, it's a method of cooking food in a vacuum sealed bag to a precise temperature using a water bath. The reason you'd want to do this is that the food will always finish at the precise temperature and doneness all the way through since it would be impossible to overcook anything in a water bath that never exceeds your finish temperature. The sous vide machine is the temperature controller and heater for the water bath and my review will explain to you exactly the kinds of results you can expect with this unit.

You'll receive the immersion sous vide cooker, a clear plastic pump cover, an instruction manual, and a short cookbook. The bottom portion of the immersion cooker is made of stainless steel while the top portion is made of plastic and cannot be submerged. The length of the unit is 14.5", 15" with the pump cover and the diameter of the tube is 2-1/4". This plastic propeller is the water pump impeller which needs to be covered by the pump cover during operation. The pump cover has three teeth on it to catch on the tube but note that they are different sizes so it only goes on one way, you'll need to line up the arrow which is directly below the min and max water lines to the ridge on the pump cover and then twist to lock it in place. The immersion cooker is held in place in the water bath by this strong plastic side clamp. The inside of the clamp has a silicone pad on it to 1. Help grip the container better and two prevent scratches to your cookware. The maximum thickness of the vessel wall is 3/8". The 6-3/8" metal housing over the heating element can be removed for cleaning if necessary. Simply turn towards the unlock symbol and pull straight down. When reassembling, make sure to line up the arrow with the lock symbol, then turn counter clockwise.

On top of the unit you have the touchscreen display and controls, which measures 3" by 2.5". The power cord is about 50" long and has a 3-prong grounded plug. The sous vide machine is pretty simple to use and operate. Just clamp it to a pot or heat proof vessel filled with water (the water bath). Anything that can be used on a stovetop and can hold over 2.5" water should work fine, like a large stock pot. The water should be above the minimum water level line and below the max level line. I've used large stock pots, but the Rubbermaid 12 Qt Food Storage container works well too, a favorite vessel of sous vide chefs. The unit enters standby mode when plugged in (red LED above the screen) and the temperature units will show on the screen. If you want to change the unit of measure from Celsius to Fahrenheit or vice versa, touch and hold the power button for 3 seconds. Initially I thought my screen was a bit scratched up out of the box, but then I realized it's actually got a thin blue plastic protective film over it. I decided to leave it on to keep the screen clean and prevent actual scratches, but if you don't like how it looks, you can certainly peel it off.

To turn the unit on, just tap the power button and it'll display the last settings that you used. The large blinking numbers up top is the target temperature which in Fahrenheit can be adjusted in 5 degree from 0°F to 194°F using the plus and minus buttons on the left. In Celsius adjustments are made in 0.5° increments up to 90°C. Then to lock the target temperature and adjust the time, tap the gear icon. Set the hours and minutes separately using the plus and minus keys and tapping the gear icon to save each setting. The maximum cooking time that can be set is 99 hours and 59 minutes. Once you have the settings you want, tap the power icon to begin heating the water bath. It takes a while to heat up the water bath to your target temperature, and on average it takes 1 minute to raise the water temperature in 8-10 quarts of water 3-4 degrees. If you need to change your settings on the fly, you can hold the gear icon and make any adjustments before tapping the power button to continue. If you want to stop cooking, just press and hold the power button. When checking the accuracy of the sous vide's temperature I found that it was consistently about 2 degrees above my calibrated instant read thermometer. This was true using multiple thermometers like this instant read which is showing 108°F which the unit shows 110°F. In Celsius, it was reading about 0.6 degrees above the instant read thermometer, so it seems the calibration of the sous vide simply runs a bit high. That's preferable to running on the low side as the actual finishing temperature of your food will be a couple degrees lower than you set, limiting the chance that your food will be overcooked.

While preheating the LED indicator on top will be a solid color but when it reaches the target temperature, the LED starts flashing (the unit beeps as well) and the cook timer will start to countdown immediately. So far I've made several dishes withe the sous vide including sirloin steak, soft cooked eggs, and chicken breast. All of the food came out tender, moist, and full of flavor. I didn't try any of the recipes in the cookbook as it is quite limited, but searching online for recipes turns out hundreds for you to choose from. Overall, I was pretty happy with the cooking results of the Awake Lion sous vide cooker. Even though you can't set the temperature precisely down to the degree or even fraction of a degree that other brand immersion sous vide cookers can, the results of using the machine for cooking were quite good and the meals we've made with it so far were amazing. At least the temperature readings run a little high, so the possibility of overcooking is minimized and for most foods this won't be an issue anyway. It's easy to use and clean and you can certainly make some tasty and enjoyable meals with it.

Buy it at Amazon: Awake Lion Sous Vide Immersion Cooker [Affiliate Link]
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Monday, August 13, 2018

FiveHome WiFi Extender Repeater w/LAN port Review

FiveHome WiFi Extender Repeater w/LAN port Review

Buy it at Amazon: FiveHome WiFi Extender Repeater w/LAN port [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Quick and simple to setup, extends WiFi and improves signal from host router but only at close-medium range.

You'll receive the Range Extender, an instruction manual, and reset pin taped to the user manual. The range extender is a lightweight plastic box that simply plugs into any wall outlet in range of your existing WiFi signal. It measures about 3" square and will stick out about 1-1/4" from the wall when plugged in. On the left and right hand side are two antennae which can be swiveled into the up position. On the front of the unit is a WPS one-touch setup button and 4 LEDs for the different functions: Extender, WiFi, LAN, and Power. On the back is some information about the network settings including the IP address, network name, default login, and MAC address. This unit can be used in outlets with 100-240V and 50-60Hz.

The extender should be basically plug-and-play. It can be setup via WPS or direct connection to the extender's WiFi. When setting up with WPS, the extender will use the same network name as the host router like a mesh network. However, with direct connection setup, the extender SSID name cannot be the same as the host network SSID. Once successfully connected, if you want to change the network settings on the extender, you will have to reset the extender using the reset pin tool.

After setup, you're free to move the extender to any room to improve the WiFi signal and connection speeds, as long as it's still in range of your host router. I found that the extend was able to improve the WiFi signal srength in some locations of my house. In general, the signal had to already be around 70-80% strength in order for the extender to make a good connection. When signal strength from the host router dropped to 65% or lower, the extender had trouble maintaining a reliable connection to it. The other thing this unit does is give me access to an Ethernet port without running cable throughout my home and this feature worked well. Overall, the WiFi extender was super quick and simple to setup on my network. It improved the overall signal strength of the WiFi on the second floor of my home, one story away from where the router is located, although it wasn't powerful enough to bring the signal down to the basement.

Buy it at Amazon: FiveHome WiFi Extender Repeater w/LAN port [Affiliate Link]
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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Vogyal Blue White Red Stripe Swim Trunks Review

Vogyal Blue White Red Stripe Swim Trunks Review

Buy it at Amazon: Vogyal Blue White Red Stripe Swim Trunks [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Nice cut/fit, comfortable, quick-drying, though not every stitch is perfectly hidden or aligned.

These swim trunks made of a 100% opaque nylon fabric that's thin, lightweight, and quick-drying. The outseam on this "Medium" size is 15 inches and the inseam measures 3 inches making these a mid-thigh length short. There is no fly on the front of these shorts. Inside, you have a soft, fine mesh liner. The tag here is an Asian "Medium" which is the equivalent of a US men's XS. The waistband is pretty stretchy and covers a range of about 3 inches (28-30"). In the middle you have two reinforced button holes for the drawstring. On either side there are decent sized mesh-lined pockets that allow the water to drain out through the inside. On the back there are no pockets.

If we take a close look at the stitching and seams on these, at the leg cuffs there's a little bit of an uneven stitch at the point where the two thread ends meet. It's not egregious, but looks a little sloppy up close. Some of the lines are also not exactly flush giving a slightly "off" appearance under scrutiny. However, most of the stitching seems alright on the outside and there were no big "mistakes." Inside, I found a few long thread tails that I had to snip with a sharp pair of scissors. Also, after washing, the unfinished materil edges started to fray slightly, though I expect the seams to hold for at least a season or two. One other thing I should mention is that these should be laundered separately, at least the first couple times, because the red color might bleed a little initially. I found that the mesh liner edges were a little pink after the first wash. However, it's on the inside and you won't see it, but you'll want to avoid staining your other clothing so wash it by itself the frist couple times.

The US XS size fits fit nicely on my 29" waist. It wasn't too tight nor too loose with the drawstring tied. The medium length cut off a few inches above my knees for a fun, sporty look that's still fairly conservative. After getting out of the pool, the swim shorts dried quickly, after about 15-20 minutes in 90 degree heat. Overall, these swim trunks are a nice cut and fit, are comfortable and quick-drying, and are decently made even if the lines for every stitch aren't perfectly hidden or aligned.

Buy it at Amazon: Vogyal Blue White Red Stripe Swim Trunks [Affiliate Link]
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Silkworld Swim Trunks Style 0714 Navy Blue Fish Review

Silkworld Swim Trunks Style 0714 Navy Blue Fish Review

Buy it at Amazon: Silkworld Swim Trunks Style 0714 Navy Blue Fish [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Fun style and print, comfortable, and well-made.

While the style is called navy blue fish, the printed animals are clearly sharks (though technically also "fish"). The trunks are made of a 100% thin and lightweight nylon that's opaque and quick drying. The outseam on this Asian "Large" size is 16 inches and the inseam measures 5 inches making these a mid-thigh length short. In the front you have a false fly-stitch that does not open nor pass through. At the center of the waist you have two metal grommets that feed the drawstring intot he waistband and inside you have a 100% polyester mesh lining with small holes.

The Asian Large size according to Amazon is the equivalent of a US men's Small (30-32"). The waist band is fairly stretchy and expands about 3 inches. On either side there are decently sized mesh-lined pockets and on the back there is one Velcro-flap pocket which despite not having a bleeder hole still allows water to drain through the fabric. If we take a close look at the stitching and seams on these, they're smooth, straight, and even without loose threads. On a 31" waist, the size I received wasn't too tight nor too loose and the drawstring allowed the swim suit to stay on when swimming and diving. The medium short length cut off just below mid-thigh above the knee and wasn't as long as board shorts would be.

After getting out of the pool, the swim shorts dried quickly, after 15 or so minutes in 90 degree weather. Overall, these swim trunks have a fun style and print, were comfortable, and are well-made.

Buy it at Amazon: Silkworld Swim Trunks Style 0714 Navy Blue Fish [Affiliate Link]
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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

AUAG Gaming Racing Chair Review

AUAG Gaming Racing Chair Review

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

Takeaway: Comfortable, cool look/style, wide seat and shoulders, easy to assemble but plastic covers are a bit cheap.

This chair requires a bit of assembly on arrival, but it's actually pretty straight forward. You'll receive the chair back and seat, neck pillow, lumbar pillow, 5 plastic caster wheels, two arm bracket covers, the seat adjustment assembly, hydraulic piston, 3-piece piston cover, two arm rests, ABS plastic wheel spoke, a bag of screws with an Allen wrench/screwdriver, and an illustrated instruction sheet. The instructions are fairly simple to follow, even though they don't have don't have any words. Watch the review video above for full assembly instructions. Although the wheels of this chair are plastic with metal stems and lightweight, they're hard and feel pretty durable.

A few tips for assembly: While the arm rests are not labeled left and right, the wider portion of the arm rest should face front with the slightly narrower end facing the back of the chair. When attaching the back to the lower portion of the seat, start on the right hand side with the fixed position metal bracket and tighten those two bolts only about 75% of the way; you'll want a bit of wiggle room to work on the other side. On the left side of the chair, line up the bracket with the two bolt holes and insert two silver bolts. Then tighten them all the way. Once fully tight, you can go back to the other side and tighten those bolts as well. One thing to look out for is that the plastic covers over the metal brackets is a little fragile. In fact there was a small crack in one of the covers that didn't affect performance but was noticeable up close. The other defect I encountered is that one of the screw holes for the plastic covers was not threaded, an oversight that happened during manufacturing, though I was assured by the vendor this was a one-off mistake. Luckily I had a tap/die set and was able to cut the 3 or 4 threads needed to complete the assembly. The thread size is #4-40 for the small black screws.

The chair's material is a PU composite leather but has a very convincing look and feel. The seams on the chair are nicely stitched in even, neat, straight lines. The seat is a racecar style bucket seat that is nice and wide at the legs and at shoulder level. The wheels roll smoothly, even over an area rug, but performs better on hard floors. The chair itself is pretty comfortable, though gets a little hot because of the leather material as it tends to retain and reflect some heat from your body. The lumbar support and neck pillow provide added support for common stress points. The lumbar pillow can be adjusted up and down on the seat by simply sliding it. The seat back can be adjusted and reclined to a full horizontal position as well, and you can also raise and lower the seat using the lower lever under the chair. While seated in the chair, there's a bit of give to the back for rocking and you can lock the rocking ability by pushing in the height adjustment lever and pull it out to unlock it. You can also adjust the amount of rock by tightening the spring on the bottom of the chair by twisting the large plastic knob. Overall, this gaming chair is quite comfortable and gives you a lot of room and freedom, but because the fabric doesn't breathe well, you may feel a little hot or sweaty if you sit in it for a long time on a warm day.

Buy it at Amazon: AUAG Gaming Racing Chair [Affiliate Link]
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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Zen Bidet Cascada-350 Sink Installed Bidet Sprayer Review

Zen Bidet Cascada-350 Sink Installed Bidet Sprayer Review

Buy it at Amazon: Zen Bidet Cascada-350 Sink Installed Bidet Sprayer [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Durable all-metal construction, easy to install, strong or gentle spray.

You'll receive the bidet sprayer head, 2-way diverter, a female thread adapter, a male thread adapter, two rubber washers, a sprayer hanging bracket, wall mounting hardware, a roll of plumber's tape, an all metal 5.5' flexible hose, and a set of illustrated instructions. The instructions are well-written and easy to follow with helpful tips, so be sure to read them completely before beginning installation. The way this bidet sprayer works is the diverter will connect to your bathroom sink faucet in place of the typical aerator. The hose connection on the right attaches to the bidet hose and sprayer, while on the bottom you have a faucet aerator, so you can continue to use the sink faucet. The lever on the left allows you to switch the water flow between the faucet on the bottom and the bidet sprayer.

The kit comes with rubber washers to be used at all the connections, so the plumber's tape is not expressly necessary, but you can use it if you experience any leaking. Note that some faucets may require use of an adapter for the diverter to fit the faucet and the kit includes an M24x1 and F22x1 thread adapters. If you need a different size adapter for your sink, reach out to Zen Bidet and they'll either send you the adapter you need or help you find a vendor where you can purchase one. Installation takes only a few minutes and requires no plumbing experience or knowledge. Just make sure your sink tap is off before starting.

With the diverter lever in the up position, when the water is turned on, it will dispense from the faucet on the bottom of the diverter. Moving the lever to the down position cuts off water flow to the aerator and switches it to the bidet. To activate the bidet, press down on the thumb trigger; to stop the flow of water, simply let go of the trigger. There are two ways to adjust the pressure of the bidet spray. One is press the trigger only partway rather than fully, for a gently spray versus a hard spray, and the other is to change the water pressure at the tap. You can also adjust the temperature by using the faucet's mixer or turning on the hot water tap. If you want to use both the faucet and the sprayer at the same time, you can set the diverter level in the middle.

You can store/hang the bidet sprayer head nearby the toilet using the hanging bracket by either wall mounting it or hanging the bracket off the side of the toilet tank. The sprayer is also useful for cleaning your tub or shower or even giving your pets or children a bath. It can be attached to many standard kitchen sink faucets as well, using the same adapters, to add a convenient sprayer for washing dishes if your sink doesn't already have one.

Overall the bidet sprayer is well-made, easy to install, and hygienic. It'll save you money on toilet paper and leave you feeling fresh and clean. You can retrofit almost any sink faucet and still be able to use it to wash your hands after washing up.

Buy it at Amazon: Zen Bidet Cascada-350 Sink Installed Bidet Sprayer [Affiliate Link]
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