Leviton Part 3: Decora Digital

Leviton 3I suppose that this is a good time to end our discussion of the Leviton Decora Digital. I have to admit that this illustration looks like the product I reviewed last time.

The Decora Digital Controls has Bluetooth technology so you can use your Decora Digital Timer app to control, adjust, as well as time lighting for daily activities. Yeah, this does sound like the product that I reviewed.

So, the Decora Digital Dimmer and 24 hour timer with Bluetooth Technology, and it has Universal 450W 120VAC Dimmable LED and CFL, 1000W-120VAC Incandescent, and 1000 VA mark 10, along with 60 Hz Single Pole and 3-Way/Multi-location control.

Other features include an LED locator light which can be turned off via app, an automatic daylight saving time adjustment, as well as an astronomical clock that can automatically adjust to local sunrise/sunset times.

Anyway, you should be able to purchase this on the Leviton site for about $58.00.

Leviton Part 2: Decora Smart Dimmer with Z-Wave Technology (and Bluetooth)

Leviton 2Well, this is another Leviton product today, and it is similar to the one that we reviewed the other one that we reviewed. It is the Decora Smart Dimmer with Z-Wave Technology.

The new Decora Digital Controls with Bluetooth technology allows for smartphone or tablet control with the Decora Digital Dimmer and Timer app. The app is easy to use, and helps to really set the mood in a room. It is what you need to adjust for timed lighting as well as daily activities for a “lived-in” look while you are away.

Since this is Bluetooth, that means that it has the usual range of 30 feet, and you don’t need any hub, gateway, or even an internet connection. Installation requires a neutral connection, but the dimmer switch allows for setting the brightness level. By the way, it supports Z-Wave Plus capabilities, and I still don’t know what Z-Wave is. It also has a built-in radio/TV interference filter.

If you would like to get with this, the Decora Digital Dimmer and Timer can be purchased on the Leviton site for about $58.00.

Leviton Part 1: Decora Smart Plug-In Dimmer with Z-Wave Technology

Leviton 1It has been a while since I have done trilogies of product reviews, but I have received some products post-CES 2017, and I need to review them accordingly. I’ll go ahead and start with the Decora Smart Plug-In Dimmer with Z-Wave Technology.

In case you don’t realize it, this is a universal lamp module. What you do is plug it into your wall and plug your hopefully two-prong lamp into it. From there, you have some dimming control for plug-in lamps. Because you never know when you want to have some dimming control, and it is good for 100 W dimmable LED/CFL, and 300W Incandescent, Halogen.

If you have the Wink Hub, Samsung SmartThings, and other Z-Wave controllers. If you aren’t familiar with Z-Wave technology, then this is the time where I am supposed to explain it. Yeah, I’m not certain what it is either. The good thing is that it supports Amazon Echo, Fire TV, Echo Dot, and Amazon Tap for even greater control, like vocal control.

So if this is something that you want, the Leviton Z-Wave can be purchased on the Leviton site for about $44.99.

Sengled Pulse Solo, a Light Bulb/Speaker

sengled-1Here’s a really interesting product from Sengled known as the Pulse Solo, which has a function as cool as it’s name. It is essentially a light bulb that acts as a Bluetooth speaker.

Not just any type of Bluetooth speaker, but an integrated JBL speaker. It has 3-watt speakers, on two sides of the bulb. All you need to do is just screw it in, and you can hear the tones as you pair it.

From there, it is as simple as playing your tunes, and now what makes light also makes sound as well. Whoa, that sentence actually came out better than I thought. In case you are wondering why it is called the Pulse Solo, it is because it can only work on itself.

By the way, there is an Android/iOS app that can control the light, not to mention the sound. Now that is one useful feature!

Yes, this is something really great, but I will have to say that I wish the light was more spread-out, as it is only on top. Yeah, this is hard to explain, but I suppose if you have a product that is a stereo speaker, where else are you going to have the speaker.

You should be able to purchase the Pulse Solo on the Sengled website for about $49.99, which might be a mark down from the usual $59.99 price.

iHome for the Holidays, Part 1: Vanity Speaker or iHome iCVBT5

ihome-1Ah, yes, there is nothing like iHome for the Holidays. I have reviewed many iHome products many a time. So many times, that I just don’t feel like putting in hyperlinks. I’m going to close out this week with three different iHome products, and I’m going to start with the most unusual: the iHome Vanity Speaker or iCVBT5.

The iCVBT5 is essentially made to be that one vanity mirror that we all have to take a good look at ourselves. It has the 1x and 5x magnification settings, and it also has some bright LED action going on. The issue is that this vanity mirror is a speaker.

You can join it with a mobile device via Bluetooth or just a wired connection. The iHome Vanity Speaker is something that should be wireless, but it does require plugging it into the wall. I’m not certain if you should use it by your bathroom sink if you are worried that the cord could get wet. What is interesting is how the iHome iCVBT5 has a USB port, so you can charge something while you’re looking at yourself.

The one drawback for the iCVBT5 is that the box says full spectrum color, and I thought that meant you could make the LED light on it any color. That might be a great feature for the next version of this product, but sadly, the only color of the light is white.

Still, the iHome Vanity Speaker is a very, very useful item for any home in any room. It is available on the iHome website for $99.99.

Netatmo, Part 2: Healthy Home Coach

netatmo-home-coachIn addition to the Presence Security Light/Camera that we had a chance to try out the other day, Netatmo also sent us a Healthy Home Coach. That is this copper can that you see here.

The Healthy Home Coach bills itself as a “Smart Indoor Climate Monitor”, and it appears to be targeted to families. The Healthy Home Monitor is like a thermometer for your home, as it measures its health in four ways. If you want any updates on the four of these areas, just tap it on top.

1) Humidity: If you are concerned about the humidity of your house affecting your skin or creating mold, this will tell you if you need a humidifier or not.

2) Air Quality: This is for the one who is concerned with indoor air pollution, as well as just poor ventilation in general.

3) Noise: This is for monitoring the sound level in your house, which will literally help you sleep better at night.

4) Temperature: Just like it reads, this will allow you make certain that your house is at the optimal setting of warm or cool, whichever you like.

Netatmo seems to imply that this is good for a baby’s room, and you definitely want to be concerned about that if you have a child in the house. However, the Healthy Home Coach is made for all rooms, and you can even connect them together with the help of the application. Best of all, there is an easy set up via Wi-Fi, and there are no subscription fees.

You should be able purchase the Healthy Home Coach on the Netatmo site for $99.99. Don’t be surprised if you see other devices like it in the future.

D-Link AC3150 Ultra Wi-Fi Router Review

D-Link AC3150Okay, I have reviewed a lot of routers in the past, and I’m starting to get used to setting them up. It is something that I never look forward to, because it is never fun to set up stuff when it can screw up that which you know works. Still, if you can make something work better, it is worth the time to do it.

Such is the case for the AC3150 Ultra Wi-Fi Router, and it resembles a crab or an upside-down dead spider. In case you are wondering, those antennas are made for delivering maximum range around the home. You should be able to get faster Wi-Fi speeds of up to 3165 Mpbs (1000 Mbps on 2.4 GHz + 2165 Mbps on 5 GHz).

Now, I have had a chance to test this out, and I have noticed that my websites come up very, very fast. The issue is that I don’t get a cure for blackouts. Yeah, I am going to have to blame my provider for that (I’m talking to you, Time Warner!).

It is apparently set up for gaming with this kind of set-up, and I suppose that is good! You should be able to get this on the D-Link site for $279.99.

Black and Decker Electric 3-in-1 Compact Mower

Black and Decker MTE912Okay, so all of you probably have lawns, and all of you have to mow them, and if you are like me, then you have some edge that is impossible to mow. This is why I was so glad that Black and Decker sent me that toolkit as well as this 6.5 Amp 12-inch Electric 3-in-1 Compact Mower.

I will have to say that I never had any luck with the weed whackers that I have had in the past. I don’t know they just break down. I’ve since just adopted a pair of hedgeclippers and mow my lawn with the mower. I don’t have to with this, as it is an edger that can turn into a mower.

Basically, it is a set of wheels that you can use like a mower to cut your grass, provided you to can snap it in. I thought it was going to be a pretty complicated procedure, but it works really well and snaps in easily.

Now, this thing is essentially an edger at heart, so if you use it as a mower, your grass will be cut by twine and not a blade. I’ll let you decide if that is good, as there is an Automatic Feed Spool to do the cutting. Since I hate replacing those spools and they are costly, I might have to rewrite this article a few months later.

I’m going to recommend this for now, as the 6.5 Amp motor will do your yard right. Now, you might want to think about that when you purchase it. The issue is on the specs for the product site, it says there is a “charge time”, but this wouldn’t work without a cord.

Okay, I guess there is a corded version for about $77.04 and a cordless $133.69 version. At least that’s what shows up on Amazon.

ISSA (More Than an Electric Toothbrush) from FOREO

ISSA ForeoIt has been a while since our first foray into FOREO, and the company is known for making some high quality electric Health and Beauty Aid products. Today, it is the ISSA, which is “more than just an electric toothbrush”.

After getting a chance to review it, I can agree with that. You know how most toothbrushes are a plastic handle, and then some bristles attached to it? The ISSA bristles and its handle are one rubbery thing that vibrates to be strong on plaque and gentle on gums.

The end result is some whiter teeth, particularly for those with sensitive teeth and gums. Apparently, this Sonic Pulse Technology is made to break up and remove plaque, to prevent buildup and cavities. It is all about massaging the gums to prevent recession and damage to tooth enamel.

You can purchase the ISSA from the FOREO site for about $199.00. Yes, I know that costs $200.00 for a toothbrush, but it might be a good investment if it can save you trips to the dentist. Still, it has a 2-year limited warranty and 10-year Quality Guarantee. So, if there is a problem, yeah, I’ll solve it, get the refund before the company dissolves it…ISSA baby (ding ding ding da da ding ding).

Our Review of the Keurig Kold Drinkmaker

Keurig KOLD drinkmaker - WhiteAt CES 2016, my wife and I had a great time trying out gadgets, and we were grateful to discover that Keurig was willing to send a Keurig KOLD Drinkmaker to us for testing out for this article. I will have to say that we our reviews of it are…mixed. I will explain that it is more than just a pun.

In case you can’t tell by the name, The Keurig KOLD Drinkmaker is made to make cold drinks on the spot. I must say that the box that this device came in was big, and it was heavy. This means that it also takes up a lot of countertop space as well.

You know how most fast food restaurants have that fountain drink, where you can get unlimited refills for a low price? Some people say that soda tastes better from one of these, and I am in that club. I remember when I worked a pizza restaurant, and discovered that fountain soda comes from the combination of seltzer water with a dash of syrup.

Keurig KOLD Wire CarouselIn the case of the Keurig KOLD, the water comes right from your tap, but it must be flavored with these little flavor pods. All that is required to do is put in a small flavor pod that is the shape of…you know those gumball machines in front of grocery stores that will give you a toy when you put a quarter in? You remember the shape of those plastic things that the toy would come in? The Flavor Pods are that shape, but flat on both ends. I think that is the best description of it that I could possibly give.

Anyway, we took out the Keurig KOLD Drinkmaker out of the box, and it required two hours of cooling down plugged in the wall before you could get it to work. There is this bar of an indicator to let you know when it is ready. Then you had to use a purple thing to cleanse it, so it can fill an empty glass with water. One of the sides detaches so you can fill it with water, and it good for six cups as the indicator light then goes from purple to blue.

Then you can put in a flavor pod, and it will fill with authentic soda from brands like Dr. Pepper, Coke, Sprite, and much more. It starts with the water, and then it adds the color and the fizz. It sounds a little funny, but it works. I have to admit that even without ice, the soda tastes pretty darn authentic.

So what are pluses? Well, if you want an authentic fountain drink in your home, this is the way to go. I actually think that a restaurant soda fountain would cost more and take up a lot more room.

The minuses might outweigh the pluses. Those flavor pods cost a lot, and it is just easier to just buy six-packs or cases. You can get 20 of these for $20.99, and that is good enough for 20 individual 8 ounce drinks. In comparison, it would be cheaper to buy it by the case at 75 cents per can.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not the price for fountain soda is worth it. If you do, you can go to Keurig’s site and pay about $369.99 with a discount applied to the cart. It comes with 2 glasses, but packets are sold separately.