Oct 01

Encust 5.2A / 26W Three USB Port Rapid Portable Car Charger ★★★★★

Encust 5.2A / 26W Three USB Port Rapid Portable Car Charger For iPhone 6, 5s, 5c, 5, 4s, 4, iPad Air , iPad 5 4 iPad Mini, Samsung s5, s4, s3, Note 3, Note 2, Galaxy Tab 10, 7, 5, LG G3, Optimus, HTC ONE X M8, Motorola Moto G, Moto X, Bluetooth Speaker, GPS, External Battery Charger and ALL USB-Powered Mobile Devices – Black (Black)

One of the nicest things about the Encust Car Chargeris the arrangement of the ports. With two 2.1 amp ports sit side-by-side, while one 1 amp port lies on top. This helps tremendously with identifying which ports are which at a glance.

Can we use all three ports at once? Yes! I did just that yesterday, driving all over town with the dash cam, phone, and power bank all plugged in. Charging is quick, especially with the 2.1 amp ports. I reserved the 1 amp port for my dash cam.

So far, so good. Great port placement, Encust. Funny how something so simple can win me over.

This product was provided for review by Encust.

Oct 01

Sabrent 40 Watt (8 Amp) 4-Port Family-Sized Rapid USB Wall Charger ★★★★★

Sabrent 40 Watt (8 Amp) 4-Port Family-Sized Rapid USB Wall Charger. Smart USB Charger with Auto Detect Technology for iPhone 6 5s 5c 5, iPad Air mini, Galaxy S5 S4, Note 3 2, the new HTC One (M8), Nexus and More [White] (AX-U4PW)

I’m always so happy to have a smart charger. What’s a smart charger? A charger that will optimize charging for specific devices, like iPhone, Samsung, etc. No longer do I need to hunt for the port that says “Apple.”

The Sabrent Family-Sized Rapid USB Wall Charger is even better. It gives a total of 8 amps split among four ports. That’s 2 amps per port, if need be. I can have fast charging for four tablets, except that I don’t have four devices that need 2 amps. Most chargers only have a one or two ports dedicated to 2 amps. The rest are usually 1 amp.

Smart charger, indeed. I plugged four devices in last night and it handled them like a champ. It’s only drawback? The prongs don’t retract. That’s not so great for travel, because exposed prongs tend to rub holes in things, or they get bent from banging around.

For home use, this is a great USB wall charger.

This product was provided for review by Sabrent.

Oct 01

YGDZ 9ft 3 Meter Micro USB SYNC Cable ★★★☆☆

2 Pcs YGDZ 9ft 3 Meter Micro USB SYNC Cable Cord Charger For Google Nexus 7, Google Nexus 10, Google Nexus 4, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Samsung Galaxy Note, Samsung Galaxy S3/S4, Nokia Lumia, and Most Android Tablets, Android Phones, and Windows Phones – White

YGDZ 9ft 3 Meter Micro USB SYNC Cables are some serious micro USB cables. They look like the type of cables that belong behind the computer. They are thicker and longer and very heavy duty. I see them as more of a permanent fixture. They aren’t something I’d want to carry with me in my purse. They make short, thin cables for that.

No sir, these are cables that live in an IT environment in a place that needs cables – long, thick cables.

The problem, though, is they are advertised as sync cables. They charge everything just fine, but they do not sync. I tried a couple with my HTC One M8, but it was a no-go.

This product was provided for review by YGDZ.

Oct 01

aLLreli Premium 4 Port v1.4 HDMI Switch ★★★★★

aLLreli Premium 4 Port v1.4 HDMI Switch – Support PiP (Picture-in-Picture) | 4 Hd Input 1 Output | Ver 1.4 Certified with Full Ultra HD 4K/2K 1080p & 3D Resolutions for PS3 / Xbox 360 (slim) / Sky HD / Freesat HD / Virgin + / Bluray Player / DVD / HD Camcorder / HTPC / Laptop

We have a television with three HDMI ports. We have three devices which use those three HDMI ports. We don’t need more HDMI ports, so I often passed on these HDMI hubs. Little did I know what I was missing.

The beauty of the aLLreli HDMI Switch is that we no longer have to fiddle with the television input modes when we switch devices. Turn on the TV and satellite box – watch TV. Turn on the Wii – play the Wii. Turn off the Wii – it switches right back to satellite. Wow.

What if I have three devices all going at once and I want to switch to another device? There’s picture-in-picture so that I don’t have to guess which port goes to what. No need to toggle the switch.

What if I ever lose that handy remote? There is a button on the HDMI switch to manually toggle, not that I think I’ll ever need to toggle again. The automatic switching has me spoiled.

Never have I been so excited about a new discovery. My son told me I need to keep this one. I will.

This product was provided for review by aLLreli.

Oct 01

Griot’s Garage Cleaner Car Wax ★★★★★

Griot’s Garage (11013) Cleaner Car Wax

My husband runs my minivan where only off road vehicles belong. The poor thing is covered in pock marks and dings. I decided to give my car a bath and experimented with Griot’s Garage Cleaner Car Wax to see if it would improve the finish.

When I asked my daughter what she thought of the results, she said, “Looks like you just bought [the car].” Maybe she didn’t look hard enough. The scratches are still there, but I admit it is much improved.

This wax was easy to apply. Wax on, wax off. The off part was easy, also.

This product was provided for review by the Amazon Vine program.

Oct 01

Samsung SC-MX20 Flash Memory Camcorder ★★★★☆

This review was originally posted November 23, 2008.

Samsung SC-MX20 Flash Memory Camcorder w/34x Optical Zoom (Black)

The Samsung SC-MX20 isn’t a camera for the filmmaker. It’s for moms who want to just point and shoot.

The very first thing I notice out of the box is it’s compact and light weight. Weighing in with the battery, it’s less than 12 ounces. It weighs less than my Sony Handycam or my Sharp Viewcam or even the Samsung SC-HMX20C. That is a real plus, because I just can’t stand to lug my camcorders around because of the bulk and weight and thus I miss out on filming some memorable moments.

I charged it up and it was up and running very quickly. My son kept wanting me to film him and I told him to wait, wait, but when I came out not long after plugging it in, my camcorder flashed green. It was ready to go!

I started filming right away. In dim light, the picture was pretty grainy, but it’s like that with my Handycam. Outdoors in sunlight, the video was acceptable. It was still slightly grainy, but not noticeably so. The focus wasn’t very quick, but not so much that it bothered me. The sound was nice. The zoom was significant, but then a tripod would be needed, because the image becomes very shaky. Objects in the distance, when not zoomed on, are unclear. I had a neighbor wave at me, but I couldn’t see her face on film.

I wanted to take the SDHC card out and read it on my computer, but unfortunately, my computer is too ancient and the card reader only reads SD cards, not SDHC, so I have to buy a new reader.

I plugged the camera into my tv via cable, and everything shows up nicely.

I used a USB cable to transfer the video to my computer and the transfer took a few minutes, though I had only recorded a few minutes worth of film.

The camcorder came with Media Show software. The software was nice but not completely intuitive. It makes a nice video out of the clips, but I think I would need to upgrade it or else it is very limited. Of course, that’s how it always is with included software.

The printed manual is very basic, just enough to get you going. There is a manual on CD, which I haven’t read, but I don’t like manuals on disc, so I’d only consult that if I was really lost.

There is one minor annoyance for me and that is the lens. It doesn’t open and close automatically. I have to remember to flip a switch to close it. I’m not used to that and have left it open by accident a few times. I’m afraid the lens will get scratched before I get in the habit of closing it. Not a problem for some people, but it is for me. If it didn’t have a lens that closed, I’d like a lens cap that comes off and is an annoyance so that I’m reminded to close the lens.

The swivel grip is nice, because it’s so compact that it needs the swivel to make the grip less awkward.

The battery life is good. I’ve been playing with this uploading movies, filming and such since I charged it up yesterday and it has about 2 hours of battery life left. That’s very good.

The memory card I used (bought separately) has 8 MB of memory and there are about 3 hours of recording time on the superfine setting.

Overall, this is a nice started camcorder, something for someone who just wants to point and shoot.

+ small, lightweight
+ easy point and shoot, not frills operation
+ good zoom capability
+ good battery life
+ long recording time

- slightly grainy (but acceptable to me) image
- no built-in memory
- zoomed image is shaky
- lens doesn’t open and close automatically
- no frills, no bells and whistles, no camera function

This product was provided for review by the Amazon Vine program.

Sep 29

Bravolink Fashion Cosmetic Brush Set with Burgundy Case ★★★★★

Bravolink Fashion Cosmetic Brush Set with Burgundy Case

When I saw this clutch, it was just so pretty. I couldn’t have guessed it was full of makeup brushes. What lovely brushes they are. I have been in need of a good set for some time, which I’ve been putting off because I don’t wear makeup often enough. Just seeing the Bravolink Fashion Cosmetic Brush Set made me want to go throw some on.

The bristles are soft and they don’t fall out. We get all different sizes, but I would like to have one a little bit larger than the largest brush. I had very good control of my powder with these brushes. They’ve made me very happy.

This product was provided for review by Bravolink.

Sep 29

Adir Corp. Customizable Wood Suggestion Box – Mahogany ★★★★★

Adir Corp. Customizable Wood Suggestion Box – Mahogany

The Adir Corp. Wood Suggestion Box is a beautiful suggestion box. The finish is lovely, the construction is solid, no gaps along the door. Inside is a little rough, but who’s going to see that?

The box comes with two keys. It has a hole on top for a pen or pencil and a slot to hold suggestion pads (suggestion pad included). This slot is too deep for #6 envelopes and it’s too narrow for business size envelopes.

It comes with hardware for mounting, or do what I did and install the foot on the bottom to stand it on a counter.

The door of the box holds a flyer that can be inserted à la picture frame style.

I’m planning on placing this in our gold prospector’s meeting hall. They are always asking for suggestions, but it might also be used to hold submitted forms, payments, or other paperwork. Business envelopes will fit inside.

If it’s to hold anything valuable, I wouldn’t put it outside. Wood is just a little too easy to get into for someone who is determined. Just saw through it.

This product was provided for review by Valley Supplies.

Sep 29

Adir Corp. Steel Suggestion/Key Drop Box ★★★★★

Adir Corp. Steel Suggestion/Key Drop Box (Black)

My Adir Corp. Steel Box lives not as a suggestion box, but as a payment box for the boosters in my daughter’s gym. The box comes with mounting hardware, but they elected to sit it on the counter. It comes with two keys, a suggestion pad, and some labels which we did not use.

The box will fit #6 envelopes but not #11 envelopes. The slot in front will hold the envelopes or suggestion pad, but it’s not a good place for pens.  (They fall over.)

We did not mount this outside for fear that someone would take a sledgehammer to it or somehow try to take the payments. However, it’s working out well for payments dropped off in the office.

This product was provided for review by Valley Supplies.

Sep 29

KMASHI® Wooden Portable DIY Charging Station ★★★★☆

KMASHI® Wooden Portable DIY Charging Station Desk — Cable Cord Organizer Box, Cable Management System For Power Strip

For whatever reason, I think Japanese when I see the KMASHI® Wooden Portable DIY Charging Station. Perhaps it’s the simplicity: flowers on the front, cables running through them, devices on top.

The box ships flat, but assembly is easy. The hardest part was figuring out how to place the plastic locks, and that wasn’t all that difficult.

I’d like it more if the plastic locks weren’t visible. It sort of ruins the feeling of Zen. Aside from that, it looks great. The top lifts off so we can manipulate the cables and charger inside (charger not included). The charging cables snake through the front. Cable ties are included, if we want to tame the gnarly mess.

If you only have a set number of cables that are always plugged in, this is a good setup. If you have to constantly plug and unplug your cables from the charger inside, this box is a hindrance.

Make sure your charger or power strip is no larger than 10 ¾” x 4 ½” x 4 ½” or else it won’t fit.

This product was provided for review by Luxtech.