Category Archives: Reviews

CHOETECH T514 Pocket Wireless Car Charger

IMG_9556The CHOETECH T514 Pocket Wireless Car Charger provides charging on the go with Qi enabled devices. The product retails for $39.99 on Amazon.com, and was sent out for review.

The T514 is made of PU leather, but has the leather smell and feel to it. The build quality is good as it looks like it can take some damage and still work. The top portion of the pocket has a rubberized metal clip to hang the pocket off of one’s car air vents. Hanging the T514 off of the air vents is not ideal as it covers half of my car’s radio system. On the right side of the pocket is the stretchy material to fit one’s phone and the flat microUSB female adapter. CHOETECH provides a microUSB cable and car charger to power the device.

Many phones can fit in the product, including the iPhone 6 plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 4, as it has a wide base. The iPhone 5S was used in this review, and does not have Qi built in so a wireless charging case must be used to utilize the pocket car charger. This limits the cases one can use with the charger. The Okeler Ii100 Wireless Charging Case was also received for usage with the T514, but will only be reviewed in context to the T514. The Ii100 allows for wireless charging, but has limitations. The headphone port cutout is very narrow, and it seems like only the Apple certified headphones fit into the cutout so I had to carry around another case when I was not using the charging capabilities to listen to music.

Charging is simple as soon as the T514 is set up. The phone sits in the pocket and starts almost charging immediately. I do not drive my car that much during the weekdays as I use public transportation to commute to school so charging on the way home did not do much in terms of replenishing battery power. For longer trips, it may be useful if one knows where s/he is going.

The PU leather covers 2/3 of the phone screen so using it for GPS purposes or perhaps hands-free calling is difficult. It would be much easier to use a dash mount and supply one’s own charging cable during those times rather than use the T514. These problems could be solved with a clear front to the case so one can see the screen while using the charging capabilities. But, as a charger, it works well as it provides a quick way to charge one’s phone without having to plug one’s phone in. Also, it saves the lightning port from continual wear, which may help in the long run.

Overall, the T514 does the job in terms of wireless charging. It limits one’s ability to use the phone while charging, but the wireless feature does provide some benefits. For those who need a Qi enabled case to use this product, it is important to choose a case that allows for full functionality of one’s phone, such as access to all the ports as well as providing some protection to the phone.

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Kinivo 301BN HDMI Switch

IMG_9519Kinivo makes many awesome products, some that I have reviewed before, such as bluetooth speakers, headphones, and HDMI Switches. The product is currently out of stock on Kinivo’s website (link) and Amazon, but the 501BN (the 5-port version) is available on Amazon for $51.00 (link). The product was received for review purposes.

Kinivo’s 301BN offers up to 1080p output (depending on one’s device’s capabilities), 3D compatibility, 3 HDMI input ports  that allows one to connect 3 HDMI cables into the Switch box.  The switch comes with an IR remote and AC power adapter. The switch must be visible to the remote for changing HDMI ports. The remote comes with up and down arrows or the option to directly go to which port one wants with the 1, 2, or 3 button. There is also a switch button on the device if one wants to use the box itself to change HDMI inputs or the remote is unavailable for usage. The 5V AC adapter plugs into a wall outlet for powering the device.

The switch features a glossy finish on the top and bottom, which is a fingerprint magnet and collects dust. The sides have a brush aluminum look to them. The bottom of the case have four rubber feet to keep it from sliding, and also to protect the surface of the switch and the surface it is placed on.

Kinivo’s product allows the user to connect up to 3 different HDMI inputs into one’s TV so it allows for a greater number of connected devices, and can save on time to switch through video settings. I connect my xBox, Chromecast, and HDMI-in cord to the 301BN for usage. It saves on time to switch from video 7 all the way back to video 6. Also, since the Sony TV out in the den only has 2 HDMI ports, the switch allows for two additional devices to be connected.

Overall, using the 301BN saves a lot of time to switch between video inputs and allows for more connected devices. These two main features of the device are the reason why I would recommend this device to others looking to purchase or have the need for an HDMI switch.

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Kinivo BTD 300 Bluetooth USB Adapter

IMG_9534Kinivo’s BTD 300 allows for laptops and computers without bluetooth capability to utilize bluetooth. The device is currently on sale on Kinivo’s website (link) and Amazon (link) for $7.99 (MSRP $29.99). The bluetooth adapter was sent out for review purposes.

The BTD 300 is small, and is about the size of a dime. It offers USB 3.0, but is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and 2.1 It fits snuggly into the USB port of a computer or laptop and does not take up much real-estate. Once plugged into the computer, the adapter flashes a blue LED light a few times. It allows computers and laptops without bluetooth capability to utilize bluetooth for things such as connecting bluetooth speakers, mice, or phones to the desired device.

The device comes with installation disks for Windows XP, Vista, and 7 to install the device on one’s computer/laptop. Windows 8 is also compatible, but one must go to Kinivo’s website to install the necessary drivers. It also works with Mac10.3 or later.  My previous laptop, a Sony Vaio running Windows 7, did not have bluetooth capabilities so plugging in the BTD 300 to connect my bluetooth speakers to it was quick and simple.

Kinivo’s bluetooth adapter allowed me to connect my bluetooth headphones to the Sony Vaio laptop for playing music and games. The ability to connect to bluetooth is great for a multitude of different uses. I would recommend the BTD 300 to those that have bluetooth devices, but not a bluetooth enabled computer/laptop.

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VM Audio VM-WS525-E In-Wall Speakers

IMG_9461The VM Audio VM-WS525-E In-Wall Speakers 150 W of power. The whole speaker measures out to be about 8” x 8”, but the speakers themselves are 5.25”. The square shape of the speakers makes it easy to install into the wall. Also, the small size is great for small rooms or those who do not want to take up space to set up standing speakers that take up a lot of room (like the ones I have in the main room).

Sound quality is great. The internal bass offers some good thumping, but I would still recommend a subwoofer to get some extra thump. The sound is clear, and there was separation of instruments so they did not sound all muddled together.

These speakers are great for playing movies, video games, music, and more. The speakers give off the movie theater experience because the surround sound feature makes the sound fill the whole room. The same effect works great for playing video games and listening to music.

The in-wall speakers provide quality sound without the extra space unlike many other speaker sets. There is not a lot of space in my den area where I spend a majority of my time so the ability to provide great sound without taking up any space it great. I am able to enjoy full fledge sound that I was missing before.

This product was provided as a sample for review purposes.

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uNu Aero Series Battery Case for iPhone 5/5S

IMG_9232The uNu Aero Series case is unique because it comes with a charging mat for wireless charging. The case comes in black or white, and retails for 99.95 on uNu’s website (link) or check it out on Amazon for $59.99 (link). The Aero Series case was sent out for review.

The battery case is a two piece case that opens at the front of the case to insert the phone for charging. The case has 2000 mAh of battery, which can charge the iPhone 5S (1,350 mAh) about 1.5 times. This is great when you are on-the-go and constantly using your phone.

The power and volume buttons are covered but still easy to press. The camera and mute/orientation lock button areas are open, and easy to access. The 3.5 mm port is recessed in the case so some 3.5 mm jacks may not fit into the case, but uNu includes an adapter to plug into the case. The adapter is silver plated, and the cable is thin so it may fray easily. Also, the adapter is small so it can be easy to lose or forget to bring with you. The case charges via microUSB, and a port is located at the bottom of the case. A microUSB cable is included for charging. On the back of the case is the on/off switch to turn on the battery case, which also doubles as the LED indicator button. The blue LEDs on the back indicate how much battery power is left in the case (25% for each LED, so two LED equates to 25-50% battery power left). Also on the back is the conductive parts for wireless charging with the mat.

The wireless charging feature occurs with the charging mat. It is a lightweight, thin, plastic, but durable mat. The mat has a large surface area so charging the case is easy. The two conductive parts on the back of battery case only need to touch the mat for charging to begin. The case can be set on the mat at extreme angles and charging will still occur (see video for details). The iPhone charges up to 100% first, before the case is charged. The phone and case may charge simultaneously, but the main priority is to fully charge the phone before the case. If you do not want to use the wireless charging feature, you can directly charge the battery case with the microUSB cable.

The case is not too bulky for a battery case, which is great for carrying around in one’s pocket or bag. Also, the case is simple and sleek so it fits in with all occasions. The case has great grip. The matte finish on the case does not show any fingerprints.

When sliding the phone into the case, one has to lift the phone slightly to slide it into the lightning connector piece of the case. Also, it takes some work to put the front piece of the case back into place. You have to check all around the case to make sure the two pieces are flush because the two piece hold the phone in place.

The uNu Aero Series case is a great battery case. The wireless charging feature is great for easy access to one’s phone when it is charging. The battery case is not too bulky so I could see myself using it as an everyday case. I would recommend this case to anyone looking for a battery case that does its job as a battery case and adds in some nice features (wireless charging).

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Video

MunchPak Subscription Box Review

IMG_1175MunchPak is a subscription service that includes snacks from around the world. You can buy a one time box for yourself or someone else or sign up for a monthly subscription. Either way both are the same price, starting at $21 for the original and $39 for the family box. Each box comes with a different amount of snacks 12+ full size snacks in the original and 22+ for the family. I received the MunchPak Original for review. Visit MunchPak’s website to check them out or to sign up (website link). Use code SNACKIN to save $2 on your first box!

Flaxseed soda cracker:

Like saltine crackers (looks like a saltine cracker also), salty after taste, crispy

 

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Ellse- Chocolate cake and white cream:

Super spongy and dry, much spongier than a piece of cake, needs some milk or other drink to swallow it, not enough cream inside, looks like a small piece of cake, cream has little to no taste, cake is chocolaty

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Doritos- Pizza flavor:

Taste like regular cheese flavor Doritos with a hint of pizza flavor

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EIFFEL bon bons- Apple flavor:

Like eating a gum ball, very chewy, after chewing for some time has texture of an air head, taste like an apple air head, shaped like a flatter gum ball

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Cajillions- Watermelon flavor:

Like nerds candy, hard on outside and chewy on inside, taste like watermelon but not a great after taste, after taste is kind of like perfume, but I still ate the whole pack.

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Kasugai Grape gummy candy:

Has a white powder like substance on the purple gummy, soft gummy, strong wine grape smell, taste like grape

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Silang Potato Stick- Tomato flavor:

Looks like Pocky, crunchy, sweet tomato scent and taste

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Richin Artificial Chicken flavor crackers:

Smells like cardboard, looks like a chicken biscuit cracker, taste similar to a chicken flavor cup noodle,

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Shrimp Chips:

Crunchy straw-like pieces, taste strongly of shrimp, smells strongly of shrimp, it is an acquired taste, tasty if you can get over the smell

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Rip van Wafels Traditional Amsterdam wafel:  

Soft and chewy, shaped like a waffle, has a subtle cinnamon taste

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Elote Revolcado- Corn candy with chili covering:

Typical Mexican chili covered candy, can be a bit too spicy for some people, looks like a piece of corn on the cob, once all the chili is gone you get to a bitter (probably an aftertaste from the chili power just eaten) and sweet candy center

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Rip Rolls- Rainbow Reactions:

Tastes fruity, each color has its own flavor which you can taste individually but all together it taste fruity, sticky, softer than a sour belt candy strip but similar in texture and shape.

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Corn roll:

Like biting into a rolled up corn pop cereal piece, taste is like a corn pop but taste more like corn than cereal, the texture is soft-crunchy as it still is like biting into a corn pop cereal piece but has more crunch in it. The green herbs around the outside do not add much flavor to it.

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Wasabi peas:

Hits you right in the nose with the wasabi flavor, not a fan of these

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Overall, each box is different and you never know what you may get in a MunchPak. Some things you may like and some things you may not like. My favorite snack out of all of them were the EIFFEL bon bons, and my least favorite was the wasabi peas. It does not matter if you or someone you want to get a MunchPak for is picky with their snacks because I bought one for my sister last year as a care package and she loved it (she is picky). I would recommend this to anyone looking to try snacks from around the world or just a box full of snacks. If you ever get the chance, try this box at least once!

Video/Taste Test

CHOETECH 6 Port USB Charger

IMG_9251CHOTECH’s 6 Port USB Charger is the modern power strip. The charger provides 6 USB ports in a compact design. The rapid charger is available on Amazon (link) for $23.99, and was sent out for review.

The charger is made of plastic material, and the finish is matte black. It is about three-fourths the length of an iPhone 5S and about the same width. It is about an 1″ thick so the charger is fairly small for its capability. The compact size and minimal weight of the charger makes it idea for on-the-go use.

The charger uses a detachable power cord that plugs into the wall and supplies 50W of power. All of the USB ports are on the same side so some of the larger USB cables may not fit next to each other. But, for the standard size USB’s the USB charger can handle charging all of one’s devices at the same time.

The CHOETECH charger is great for traveling because it reduces the amount of power bricks you need to carry around. Many people have a variety of USB charged devices such as phones, cameras, bluetooth headphones, and smart watches to name a few, that they need to charge. Therefore, having a multi-port charger allows users to save wall socket space and charge all of their devices at once.

Usually, before a trip I will go on a charging spree and charge my portable battery charger, camera(s), bluetooth headphones, and other USB devices to take on the trip. This requires me to use a few different wall sockets because I usually am only able to charge one or two devices per each wall socket plug. With the 6 port charger, I can charge 6 devices in one wall socket plug and charge another device such as my laptop or camera batteries in the other plug. This is just one of many examples of ways to use the charger.

The charger can rapidly charge one’s devices. The iPhone 5S was used to test the charger. With the certified apple charger and charging brick, it took 1.17 minutes to charge the phone 1%. The CHOETECH charger (the certified apple cable was plugged into one USB port) clocked in at 0.94 minutes for 1%. This difference adds up to 23 minutes saved charging with the CHOETECH charger over the Apple wall charger.

Overall, I would recommend the CHOETECH 6 port charger because it reduces the amount of bulk you may carry around to charge your devices (or saves a wall socket) and it rapidly charges your devices, which saves time.

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