Sep 02

aLLreli® Portable Power Bank with Stand ★★★★☆

aLLreli® Portable Power Bank with Stand Black | 2 in 1 kit | Multi-Angle Stand + 7800mAh Dual USB External Battery Pack Backup Smart Charger for Tablets 7-10 inch, E-readers and Smartphones Compatible for Apple iPads, iPad Air, iPad Mini Mini 2, iPod, iPhone 5 5S 5C 4S 4 3GS; Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, Tab 3, Note 8.0 10.1 2014 Edition, Note 3, Note2, Galaxy S5, S4, S3, S2; Google Nexus 4,5,7,10; Asus EeePad Transformer; HTC One; LG Optimus 4X HD, I7; Nokia Lumia; Sony Xperia Z, Google Glass

The aLLreli® Portable Power Bank is a bulky power bank, not something I’d put in my pocket and carry around. It sits nicely on the desktop and holds everything from my little iPhone 4S to my 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD. For charging and reading, it’s highly convenient.

This power bank can give my HTC One M8 a full charge and then some. It can also charge two devices at once. I have it plugged in right now to both my HTC One M8 and my iPhone 4S. No problem.

There’s an LED light bulb, but I wouldn’t use it unless there was nothing else around. It’s just too bulky and somewhat awkward to use that way.

This product was provided for review by aLLreli.

Sep 02

Hallomall™ Inflatable PVC Enclosure Solar Lantern ★★★★★

Hallomall™ Inflatable PVC Enclosure Solar Lantern, Portable Solar Charing Lamp, Waterproof Solar 10 Led Lights with 3 Settings Low/Bright/Strobe

This little Hallomall™ Solar Lantern may not look like much, but I was beyond sad when I accidentally let it explode. I blew it up and had it out for weeks in the sun. I’d turn it on at night and it would light up a room — brighter, bright, or flashing. It never needed more air. I brought the lamp with me to the mountains on vacation. We were going to be out in the dark. It was still inflated from before but I should have let out some air. The thinner atmosphere and the heat combined to pop my lantern. My heart broke at the sight. That’s when I knew I had something special. It was a sweet lantern.

This product was provided for review by Hallomall.

Sep 02

GorillaPod Video Tripod ★★★★☆

GorillaPod Video Tripod (Black/Blue) and a Bonus Universal Smartphone Tripod Mount Adapter works for iPhone 6, HTC One, Galaxy S2, S3, S4, S5, Blackberry Z10,Q10, Motorola Droid and Most Smartphones

This is my second GorillaPod. They have made so many improvements since the early versions. This GorillaPod Video Tripod comes with a handle for adjusting the camera angle and a quick release feature. The feet sport magnets for extra stability or for attaching to things like the side of a refrigerator. Yes, my phones hold tight and don’t fall.

Also included is a phone mount that fits any small phone. I used it for my iPhone 4S. It will even stretch to fit my HTC One M8, but I prefer a medium or large cell phone mount for that.

The drawback with this tripod is in certain positions (mainly facing downwards), the neck doesn’t hold well and starts to droop. There is no way to adjust the tension. In more standard positions, I’ve not had any problems. I like the flexible legs, but I wouldn’t use them to wrap around a tree.

This product was provided for review by C&A Marketing.

Sep 02

Lemon Squeezer by Kitchen Frontier™ ★★★★☆

Lemon Squeezer by Kitchen Frontier™ – Professional Quality, Mirror-Finish Stainless Steel Press

For those times when only a few lemons need squeezing, The Lemon Squeezer by Kitchen Frontier™ will do the trick. I like the space saving design compared to other manual citrus juicers. It’s also dishwasher safe . . . or should I say nothing happened to it when I put it in the dishwasher?

The juicer will not get all the juice out of the lemons, so for larger batches of lemons, I recommend an electric juicer. Nothing beats that. On the other hand, why drag out the big guns when a pop gun will do?

This product was provided for review by Kitchen Frontier.

Sep 02

Bike Light ★★★★★

Bike Light – Divine LEDs

The Bike Light doubles as a flashlight, and a little tail light is included.

BIKE LIGHT

Installation is tool-free. I simply turn a screw knob and it’s on. Mount the flashlight and I’m done. It’s a bright light with three modes: bright, less bright, and flashing. We can also fix the beam to broad or narrow, or anything in between.

I fixed the light to my Kickbike scooter and road down the sidewalk in the dark. It worked well enough for me to see my way, except I couldn’t adjust the angle of the light. It shined a little too far to the left for me. Also, I had to be careful to hold the flashlight when I turned it on and off or else it would pop out of its mount.

The great thing about that is that I could use it just as a flashlight, which I opted to do when we went on vacation and needed an extra flashlight. I just took this from my scooter and bam! Instant waterproof flashlight.

How waterproof? Let’s just say I left it in a bowl full of water for two hours and it’s still as good as new.

TAIL LIGHT

The tail light is a tiny little thing. From the looks of it, I didn’t have much hope, but it surprised me. It comes on a little silicone strap that fit around the bar. The light has three settings: solid red, quick flashing, and slower flashing. I tested it with my daughter and was shocked I could see it from 200 yards away.

OVERALL IMPRESSION

This is a versatile design. I would like to see it more firmly mounted on the bike so that when I press the power button it won’t slide out, but I like being able to use it as a flashlight and bike light. I’m also impressed with the tail light, which doesn’t look like much but puts out a punch of a signal.

This product was provided for review by Divine LEDs.

Sep 02

Keedox® 14W Dual-Port Portable Foldable Outdoor Solar Charger ★★★★☆

Keedox® 14W Dual-Port Portable Foldable Outdoor Solar Charger External Battey Pack Backup Power Bank Travel Charger with 5V USB Port Compatible with Iphone, Ipad, Samsung Galaxy Phones and Tablets, and other Android Phones, Tablets, GPS, and All Other 5V USB Charged Devices

I went gold panning over the weekend and sat the Keedox® Solar Charger out in direct sun to charge first my power bank and then my cell phone. For my 7800 mAh power bank, it was out about four hours. The charging light on the power bank flashed, but it never seemed to increase above a 25% charge.

I hooked up my HTC One M8 so I could see real numbers and not approximations. Much better: It started at 20% charge. Four hours later, I had a 66% charge. Great! There are two ports, but the pouch in the back was only big enough to hold either my phone or my power bank, not both. To use them both, one of the devices would have to rest outside the pouch. For things like solar chargers, I prefer to charge only one product at a time. They charge faster that way.

This product was provided for review by Keedox.

Sep 02

EasyAcc® Aluminum Superspeed USB 3.0 4 Port Bus-Powered Hub ★★★★★

EasyAcc® Aluminum Superspeed USB 3.0 4 Port Bus-Powered Hub for Mac, iMac, MacBook Pro Air, Ultrabooks, Microsoft Surface RT, Laptops, Raspberry pi, and any PC, Black

The one thing to remember about the EasyAcc® Aluminum Superspeed USB Hub is that it is bus powered — i.e., it is powered by the USB port it is connected to. This is a great convenience when on-the-go, but it could mean that you may be underpowered. Usually, you know that when the hub shuts off after you plug a power hog in. My iPhone has done that to a few hubs, so I don’t plug it into anything that doesn’t plug into an outlet.

So far, I’ve been able to chug along with all four ports filled (a card reader, a flash drive, a scanner dongle, and a fingerprint reader) — all smaller devices, of course. The only device it isn’t compatible with is my Logitech Universal Receiver. That receiver is incompatible with lots of hubs, so I’m not holding anything against it for that.

Great little hub.

This product was provided for review by EasyAcc.

Sep 02

Basily 25 Oz Infuser Water Bottle ★★★★☆

Basily 25 Oz Infuser Water Bottle With Carry Around Strap

Fruit-infused water is the latest thing. I’ve seen all sorts of configurations for infusing fruit into the water, and I like this design best. No separate compartment for the fruit, just put it in the water. No worries about fruit chunks and seeds clogging up the spout and ruining the experience. There’s a little strainer included that rests inside.

A double latch design means one extra step to refreshment, but that makes the Basily Water Bottle leakproof. I placed it on its side filled with water and came back hours later to a dry counter. No kidding.

I didn’t see any instructions for cleaning, so I put it in the dishwasher (my personal default). Everything survived, but the strainer was a little bit less than circ8ular when it was over.

I like the large open spout. No sucking or biting needed. Just drink it straight. The attached lid is a little awkward but nothing I can’t get around.

This product was provided for review by Abco Tech.

Sep 02

Five Star Locker Light ★★★★☆

Five Star Locker Light, 7.5 x 1.62 Inches, Cobalt Blue (72542)

The biggest drawback is the battery compartment. They didn’t make a normal battery compartment. We have to unscrew a bunch of tiny screws, which was a pain in the rear. Whoever came up with that? It took more work than I wanted, but then I had it up. I stuck the Five Star Locker Light on my fridge for those occasions when I needed to see in the kitchen in the dark. Before I knew it, my daughter took it and put it in her locker. It’s a locker light, after all.

She says it works great — plenty of light for her locker, and it doesn’t slip. She recommends it to anyone who needs more light in their locker.

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

Sep 02

Betty Crocker Brownie Mix, Fudge ★★★★☆

Betty Crocker Brownie Mix, Fudge, Family Size, 18.3 oz

The family size Betty Crocker Brownie Mix will make one 9″ x 12″ pan of brownies. That’s more than a competing brand I looked at in the grocery store. Just add eggs, oil, and water.

Despite preheating the oven and checking for doneness with a toothpick, I found the brownies cooked unevenly. The toothpick was clean, but the center was too gooey and sides were dry. Leave it any longer and the center would cook better but the sides would be hard and dry or burned. Maybe 9″ x 12″ is just too big. Maybe there’s a reason other brands cook in square pans.

My husband complains these brownies are not as sweet and chocolatey as other brownies. He suspected they were diet brownies. Not. Personally, my daughter and I chose this mix because we didn’t want brownies that were too sweet or chocolatey. We stayed away from triple chocolate blends.

Even with the moist center, I didn’t think they tasted too bad. I served them at a potluck and they went over well; and despite complaining, my husband helped himself to seconds and thirds.