I review a lot of great products here, but this would be the very first time that I have reviewed an umbrella. I’m guessing that umbrella technology hasn’t changed much in the past…however long umbrellas have been around. This UnbelievaBrella is a step in the right direction.
You can see in the image how this umbrella looks like it has been blown away by the wind. I’ve had some umbrellas turn inside-out before, but the UnbelievaBrella opens in reverse on purpose. So what sort of purpose could a reverse-opening umbrella serve?
Well, the website says that the water will stay away from you by funneling into the umbrella when it is closed. It does create a very beautiful blooming effect when you open it.
Too bad it doesn’t have that push the button and it opens feature. It has that button that you have to push to keep it open, and sometimes, it takes a moment before it catches. That’s so far is the only drawback, and I haven’t the chance to try it in the rain.
In addition to its unique opening feature, it also has a handle that is not a U-shape, but a C-shape. In case you are wondering it has this for a reason, and that is because it allows for hands-free usability. Basically, you need to put your hand in the C shape and let the umbrella pole rest on your shoulder. Heck, that is a feature to sell the UnbelievaBrella, and it is available on the ShedRain site for $20.00 in many different colors.
I’m going to say that when I first saw the LuDeLa Perfect, I thought I had it all figured out. I said: “I get it. It’s a smart candle.” Now, considering that candles are technology from at least the medieval times, that’s like saying you have a “smart rock” or something. The truth is that the LuDeLa Perfect is a smarter candle, but it is not necessarily a candle that you can pair with your smartphone. I will explain more of what I mean later, but let me explain why the LuDeLa Perfect is the candle for you.
First of all, let’s talk candles. If you are like me, you grew up with them, and you know how good they are at setting the atmosphere, but occasionally not working correctly. You know how you get those ones that great that tunnel effect, or ones where the wick gets so buried by wax that it won’t work anymore? Well, the LuDeLa doesn’t work that way, as it always keeps the wick on top.
Yes, the LuDeLa changes technology that probably hasn’t changed for a millennium, or however long candles have been around. The flame always stays on top, so the lighting is consistent, thanks to its Everbrite Flame feature.
You can see from the image here how different these are from regular candles, and these Caring Candle Refills will keep the candle burning as good as new.
Oh, and you know how candles melt, drip, and can make everything so messy? A special feature known as the Forever-New Decor (TM) will keep it so the candle always looks brand new. And if you don’t like the way it looks, and decide to change the color of the outside, or the design, you can apply the Flex-Decor (TM) feature and do it.
Also, you know how buying a scented candle results in having that scent as long as you have it? Perhaps you should consider switching out the scents, and yes, you can do that with the Scent-On Demand (TM) feature.
Now I have already described many features of the LuDeLa Perfect, but I haven’t even discussed the highlights of being able to light it at the touch of a remote button. No more looking for matches or an Aim n’ Flame, and that is just awesome. Check out the video for more:
Oh, you can also set a timer for your candle, so if you want it to go off at a certain time, that can happen. It’s called the Timer Extinguish (TM). If you look closely at the main image above, you can see buttons for a certain number of hours. Pretty cool, right?
I’ll get more into safety later, but thanks to the Tilt Extinguish (TM) feature, the candle will automatically go out if it is knocked over. I’m guessing that will save quite a few lives every year, as there are 25 candle fires in the United States every day.
Believe it or not, it is candle safety that is the inspiration of how this Kickstarter project started out. LuDeLa founder Jamie Bianchini was on a tour of the world on a bike, and stayed at a place in Africa. He had a candle fire that he was able to put out, but it had a profound effect on him. Oh, in case you were wondering if Jamie’s story about riding around the world on a bike is worth reading about, the answer is yes, and you can find out more info here at A Bicycle Built for Two Billion.
I might do a story on that tangent someday, but Jamie envisioned the idea of a smart candle, but figured out after he received funding that a candle that lights itself using Bluetooth is actually dangerous. It is safer to create a candle with sensors all about it, as well as a remote that uses IR frequency or line of sight for extra safety.
Jamie then asked his donors if they wanted their money back, or they would be willing to wait for a safer model. As it turns out, 95 percent of the donors wanted to wait. I have a video you can watch below that is outdated (made in 2016), but I found it worth posting here because it has the creator, Jamie, and his cute two kids with him. In a recent interview that I did with him, Jamie told me that he might take the video down, so if it isn’t there, don’t blame me.
Now, I’m sure you are wondering where and when you can buy these LuDeLa Perfect candles. You can check them out with the exclusive Kickstarter campaign that started just last week. If you need more motivation to purchase, then you should know this: for every LuDela candle product sold, a book will be donated to bring libraries to under served communities.
Every once in a while, you discover a gadget that is so darn useful that you can’t help but wonder why it wasn’t already invented. I think I would like to say that the KeySmart Pro is the perfect gift and solution to something that everyone has: keys.
This KeySmart Pro has multiple selling points. The first is honestly the most useful, really, as it allows you to group your keys together in some kind of handy Swiss Army Knife formation. I have not other way to describe it than that, but these two screws at each end allow the KeySmart to come apart and store up to ten keys. Unfortunately, your thick car key fob will have to be coupled to the end of it. So much for the big jingle of keys and time to put them in an easy-to-use package.
Now the second selling point: you don’t lose your keys. Thanks to the Tile app, you can find your keys on a map thanks to your smart device. You can even make your keys ring so you can find them easier.
By the way (third selling point), the reverse is true. You can use the KeySmart Pro to find your phone, all at the touch of a button. By the way, if your phone is in silent mode, this cool “find your phone” feature will still work.
Oh, and did I mention the built-in flashlight? It has it, so that makes the fourth selling point, right? Just to let you know, there is a micro USB port for charging that light.
Oh, there is also a bottle opener, which make five selling points. Dang, you can also see on the KeySmart site that you can even get attachments like a 16 GB USB 3.0 drive ($25), a screwdriver, and a knife (both of these $12.49).
The KeySmart is available for $59.99 (and they get cheaper the more you buy). Oh, and I should mention that KeyCatch device in title, as it is a magnetic key hanger. While I don’t think it can hold a KeySmart, they are some stickable magnets capable of holding about 3 pounds.
We’ve done many a review on cameras which assist in monitoring your home, but this might be the first time we do a review of an actual security system. Today we’re covering the 2GIG Rely Home Security Kit by Nortek Security & Control .
I’m going to focus on the basic kit that we were sent, but according to your needs, you can build on it even more.
2GIG Rely Kit 1 Contents
The basic kit comes with the Rely Security Panel, 3 thin door/window contacts, a passive infrared motion detector, and a four button key ring remote.
Rely Kit 1 Specs
The security panel is 3 1/2 x 5 x 1 inches. You can either hang it on your wall, or it sits on a flat surface with the stand to set it up at a 45 degree angle. An AC adapter and mounting screws also come included. The remote to arm and disarm is small enough to fit on your keyring at 2 x 1 inches, and comes with a lithium coin battery.
The three thin door/window contacts have a magnet dimension of 1.3 x .435 x .312 inches. The sensors are 2.59 x 1.03 x .49 in. They also include batteries. Each one takes two CR2032 batteries.
Finally, there is the motion detector sensor. It detects motion within a 30 ft. by 50 ft. range. It also has the battery (3 volt lithium) included. It’s dimensions are also pretty small at about 3 x 2.5 x 2 inches. It comes with a few different mounting options. It will be immune to sensing your pets up to 55 pounds. If you have bigger animals, you might need to talk with the monitoring station you use.
Rely Kit 1 Setup
Once plugged in, you will need to download the 2GIG Rely app available for both Android and iOS. You’ll most likely be buying your kit through a dealer, and they will be able to tell you all you need to know to get it set-up. We did not actually do the set-up, as this system requires a monitoring service through Securenet or Aventguard. Again, your dealer will tell you all you need to know about setting that up. Here’s a video that explains how to set it up with your app, though.
2GIG Rely is Expandable!
We just received the basic kit, but you can buy more sensors, a wireless smoke/heat/freeze detector, a wireless glass break detector, window sensors, a wireless carbon monoxide detector, etc. This system really is versatile to work with your home security needs.
Here’s a video that shows what 2GIG can do for you:
If this product meets the need of your household, you can find a dealer near you on the 2GIG website. We haven’t been able to find the price of our basic kit, but found one with some of the extras on Amazon for $267.33.
We were sent this model to review, but not to keep, and no other compensation has been offered to us for our fair and unbiased analysis.
Promise Technology is a computer company based in California that is dedicated to improving storage capabilities for computers and the technology market. We had the opportunity to review two of their products. The 1st one is the Apollo Cloud 2 Duo- a personal Cloud storage system. The 2nd item is the Thunderbolt 3 Dock.
Apollo Cloud 2 Duo
credit: Promise Technology
If you need a massive storage system for files and photos, and don’t want to waste money on a monthly membership to the Cloud or some other on-line system elsewhere, then this is a great system.
It allows 40 users to have their own accounts on it at once, and you can access your content from anywhere and easy to sync from any device to your system from anywhere.
The software is smart, and can recognize faces and sort pictures into individualized albums if you roll like that. If you have Time Machine for macOS, that is supported as well. You can be assured that the info you store is secure with encryption of military grade.
This sleek, white tower measures 5.6 x 7.5 x 2.4 inches and weighs in at 2.64 pounds. It has a glowing light on the front that will change colors based on the status of the device. Thanks to an app you can download for your phone, you can control this light- among other things with some taps.
If you have a router with Gb port, internet connection(high-speed recommended), and a smartphone, tablet or computer, along with the free Promise Apollo Cloud app, you have what you need to get started with this great photo storage system- which you can buy with 4TB or 8TB of storage. The 2 TB model is $199, the 4TB model is $369 , and $449 will buy the extra storage at 8TB.
Thunderbolt 3 Dock
photo credit- Promise Technology
Promise Technology has thrown their hat into the ring with this Thunderbolt 3 Dock (TD-300). We’ve reviewed a Thunderbolt 3 dock from OWC before, and you can see our review of that one here.
This Thunderbolt 3 Dock is $50 cheaper than the one from OWC, but it has less USB 3.0 ports(2 on front, and 3 on back). Still, five is better than the three most docks offer. There is the Gigabit Ethernet port to allow connection to your LAN. An Audio In/Out port gives access to your tunes. The SD 3.0 card reader is also a great feature.
The dock is about the same size and look as other Thunderbolt 3s. This one is 9 x 3 1/2 inches, and about an inch tall, weighing in at about a pound. It has a black matte finish on top, but is glossy on the sides.
Included in the box is the dock, an AC/DC adapter, and a Thunderbolt 3 cable. All other cables that you might need for connections like an HDMI cable is not included.
The dock is easy to use and setup right out of the box. There are no FireWire or eSATA ports like other docks, but these don’t seem to be extremely necessary for most people. The only other downside to this dock is that it only offers 60 watts of charging power, which can be useful, but if you need something more powerful, you will probably be paying more for an 85 watt device.
Here’s another review from TheGeekChurch of a wireless router. These devices are always important in our technology-driven lives. This one is by Phicomm, a Chinese based company that is devoted to creating smart home solutions.
The Phicomm KE 2P AC1300 wireless router is dual band- which means it can work in two different bands at the same time. The KE 2P is an upgrade from their former KE 2. It’s up 100 Mbps from 300 to 400, allowing a better penetration of walls. And the 5GHz can reach 867 Mbps.
Now, you can have the fastest, best router, but the data speed will always depend on your provider and environmental factors. So don’t complain to us if this router doesn’t give you as fast a connection as expected.
The metal exteriors can be purchased in finishes of Moonlight Silver or Champagne Gold. It has a really nice look, despite looking like an alien ship, but the four antennae work together well to enhance the signal.
Another great feature is the PHICOMM Wi-Fi app you can download. This app allows you to see what all is using your signal, so you can boot off and block strangers trying to squat on your wi-fi signal. Probably the best for parents is the ability to set time limits on different devices using your wi-fi, so you can limit your kids from spending hours on-line. You can also set up a guest network to protect your password.
The best news of this wi-fi router has to be the price. Routers can be spendy, but this one only costs $59.99 on Amazon.com.
I have been wanting to review the Chilipad for a long time now, as it was a device that I saw at CES 2018. Generally, I don’t get a chance to review anything like this, so I’ll try and just summarize it, in case the picture doesn’t make it obvious.
If you share a bed with someone, then you might have an issue with one feeling too hot, while the other feels too cold. In all honesty, I don’t know if my wife and I have ever had this problem, but we have been in a car where I was too cold and she was too hot.
Well, you can see where this is going, can’t you? The Chilipad is a way of regulating two zones of climate control on your mattress, so the hot stays hot and the cool stays cool. Think of it as the McDLT for the bed, and honestly, I am not certain what age group wouldn’t understand that reference.
Now, when this thing came to me, the box was huge. I wanted to do an unboxing video, but it didn’t really work out on this occasion. Needless to say, I opened the box to find the pad itself folded on top, and this particular product isn’t like an electrical blanket or cooling. No, this is a pad that lays atop the mattress itself, and I will explain how it works later.
Once I opened the product and took out the Chilipad itself, I saw two boxes within the big box. Each of them said this: “Inside this box is your solution. No more sweating, tossing, and turning. Only Sleep Nirvana.” Within these two boxes are a cube, cord, and a remote control.
Now, these cubes are the key to how the Chilipad works. The Chilipad itself doesn’t work with the power of electricity, like an electric blanket, but water power. Yes, there is water being pumped through the Chilipad, and the cube allows that water to be either hot or cold, depending on what side of the bed that you are on. So there is now plumbing going through your mattress, but not near as much water as a waterbed. I didn’t really want to test how strong these pipes were, but you need to attach a weird pipe to the cube. I don’t know if you should let a dog or cat on the Chilipad due to their claws.
Yes, there is a Single and Dual Zone option on this, but I have said this before. I don’t know if I need to say this, but the cubes have to be filled with water into order to work. What was funny was how I couldn’t figure out how to fill them at first. There is thing that unscrews that I actually thought was a dial.
Of course, a dial is not needed, as the heat and cooling function are controls by buttons on the cube. Of course, they can also be controlled by the remote controls, which require batteries, as I found out. Honestly, I am not certain why the remotes are needed, for you are going to have to sleep with these remotes to work them. I think it might just be better to just have the burden of leaning over and playing with the switches rather than stashing the remotes under your pillows or something.
So, is the Chilipad worth it? I don’t know, as it really depends how much comfort means to you. I used to love sleeping with an electric blanket, but I had settled for sleeping near a fan or a space-heater, depending on the weather. However, I can’t guarantee a temperature of 55 or 110 F. Not only that, it uses less power.
Yes, I agree that getting a good night’s sleep is important, and if this is of paramount importance to you, then the Chilipad is for you. Still, I need to let you know that it costs a pretty penny at $999.00 on the Chilipad site. At this point, you are going to have to ask yourself how much comfort is worth to you. It certainly is quite a product, and I would not be surprised to see more from Chilipad in the future.
I’m going to have to say that I believe that Simplehuman is one of those companies that really can make a home a home. You know how some people have IKEA furniture all over their place, and it makes their home a little less classy as a result? If there was a house with Simplehuman products all over, I believe it would make a home more classy.
After all, I think we all need products like the Foam Cartridge Sensor Pump, another great Simplehuman product that we had the opportunity to review. I believe that there would be many a bathroom that would benefit from this 8-inch Round Sensor Mirror, which we also had the opportunity to review.
The Sensor is for what happens when you get close to it, as the ring of light around it will illuminate. If it is somehow too bright, you can turn down the brightness by tracing your finger around the side, and it will adjust.
Believe me, that light is helpful. It can go from 100 to 800 lux, and the mirror itself is 5x magnification. I’m not one for doing make-up in the mirror, but something like this could really help out if you need to put your “face on”. Just a word of warning, the circle of light that the sensor mirror makes creates this odd ring effect on the eyes. It kind of reminds me of the way the replicant eyes would kind of glow in Blade Runner.
In case you are wondering where the light comes from, it is rechargeable via micro USB cord. I am told that one charge is good for five weeks, which means that you can use this for quite a while before you have to plug it in again.
So, yes, I would recommend this product from the get-go. It is available for purchase without any shipping for about $200.00 on the Simplehuman site.
We’ve reviewed some items in the past from Simplehuman- including a rechargeable liquid sensor pump. This item that we’re reviewing today is similar, but different. This sensor pump is for foam soaps.
The stainless brushed steel is very elegant looking for a bathroom or kitchen. It actually comes in a variety of finishes. You can get brushed, polished, rose gold, and even Mickey Mouse(for an extra $10). The dispenser is rechargeable and will last up to three months on one charge.
The little disc pictured there is how it charges. The orange button pops out cartridges, which are easy to insert as well. It’s good to have the ability to turn it off if you aren’t going to be using it a lot during a certain time.
When the lid is down on top, the dispenser is waterproof, so you can easily clean it by running it under water.
The package comes with an included 10 oz. cartridge of foaming hand wash. The one we received was lavender, although there are other scents you can buy like cucumber, spring water, mandarin orange, fragrance free, and many more. You can get a single cartridge for $7, or save and get a 6 pack for $30. There are also other brands of soap you can buy like EO, which is made with pure essential oil. The soap can be used for hands or dishes. You can get a six pack of the EO on the Simple Human site for $40. Amazon.com runs $72.90 for a similar six pack. Not sure why there is such a difference. There are more expensive brands as well.
The dispenser retails for $50 on the Simplehuman site (the price is $20 cheaper than the one we reviewed about four years ago). It’s a great little gadget for those who don’t want to push down on a pump. There’s also a 2 year warranty, so make sure to register your product!
Simplehuman was nice enough to send us this product for free to review in exchange for an unbiased, fair review.
We’ve done many reviews of iHome products in the past. They’ve sent us a couple more more products for us to review, so we’ll do that today. We’re going to review the iB90 Bluetooth headphones and the iBT76 color changing speakers.
These lightweight wireless headphones with a long last battery (up to 43 hours of music and talk time) might not be of the same high quality as Beats or other more costly brands, but for what they do, they are well worth the money you pay.
Once you open them up, they are quick to hook up to any Bluetooth enabled device like iPhone or Samsung. From there, you can download an app called Melody which can be found in the App Store or Google Play.
Melody is a music assistant that will help you listen to songs without having to scroll through your phone. Melody works with Spotify, iHeart Radio and also NPR.
Here is a video on the Melody app:
As you can see, you can use this app with other iHome products, and with the headphones, you can simply tap the headphone to tell Melody what to play.
These headphones are also nice for answering calls, and you can use voice control to access Siri and Google Now. The have 40 mm drivers and enhanced bass response to provide a nice sound. Of course, the true audiophiles will probably disagree, but they are spending way more than $49.99 (on iHome’s site, or less on Amazon and other places).
Another product that works with Melody, and is very cool is the iHome Color Changing Bluetooth Rechargeable Speaker. This item plays your music like the headphones do, but this lets you share your music with all around you, AND… it changes colors!
Yes, my favorite part about the speaker is that the lights pulse to the music, you can make them fade slowly, change quickly, or keep it on your favorite color.
The speaker has an option to use as a speakerphone with echo noise cancellation. And if you have iOS 10, you can know when to answer a call, as it will announce the name of your incoming calls.
It’s really portable, and comes with an attachable strap, so great to take to parties or picnics. You CAN hook it up to a stereo with a 3.5 mm in-aux jack, but that is not included.
It has up to 16 hours of playback on a rechargeable battery. If this works for you, you can buy it for $49.99 on the iHome website, or at stores like Wal-Mart.
Thanks to iHome for sending us these products to review. As usual, we are not compensated for these reviews, but we were sent these review items for free in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.