Reviews of lots of very cool products!

Archive for November, 2015

Car Window Shade by Fast Mile


Find this product here: Car Window Shade by Fast Mile

My son’s eyes are extremely sensitive to bright sunlight, with him insisting on sunglasses almost all the time, so I was really intrigued when I saw this unique type of window shade.  I like the idea that it can cover up the *entire* back window, not leaving patches uncovered like most traditional child shades.  Unfortunately, as you can see on my video, this nylon cover when I try to use it on our Subaru Legacy is absolutely HUGE.  It’s simply just too large for the window, and I don’t like that the fabric that gathers on the outside of the car billows out in the breeze, which can potentially be distracting in the side view mirrors for the driver.   I will say that it does the job of blocking sun glare for the back seat passenger.  In short, I think this is a really clever concept, but just can’t be one size fits all for every type of car.
I’m very glad that I was able to order this as a free promotional sample in order to evaluate and provide my honest review.

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Wonster Words: ABC Phonics & Spelling App

Get this product here: http://www.77sparx.com

When I saw the Wordsters app, I thought this would be perfect to try out with my 7 year old beginning reader and 5 year old who is just learning the very basics of phonics.  This is a cute and nicely put together app, with a lot of visual appeal for kids.  My kids are both really enjoying it.  The phonics element is very basic – each “level” or section has a single word, and it’s basically like a drag and drop puzzle to put the letters into the outline of the word.  Each letter (or sometimes a group of letters) repeats its own phonic sound  while it is being dragged.  This does have some learning benefit, but I had been hoping that there would be more in depth activities with respect to learning the phonics or spelling of the words.  Since the word is already spelled out on the screen, it’s really just a matching exercise.

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With that said, I feel that the charm of the app is in the fun little games and activites that accompany many of the words.  For example, once the word “cat” is spelled out, it lets my kids access a cute activity with a cat that can be brushed, washed, fed, and dressed up in wacky outfits.  There is also a music box, which when turned on makes the cat start dancing.  You can see some of this in this video:

Some of the special “racetrack” levels have more complicated words, which I would not really expect a young kid to be able to read or even be familiar with (like “prototype”), although it is nice that I was seeing that my 7 year old was picking up some of the vocabulary, since it does give a spoken definition for each word.

In order to get the full featured version of the app, you have to go into the parent’s screen to do the purchase.  As part of a promotion, I was given the code to enter, but I’m assuming that when you pay you get a similar code.  One thing I feel the need to mention is that unlike many games in which you sign in via e-mail or Google Play Games in order to save your account, there doesn’t seem to currently be any such feature here.  Usually if I pay for an unlocked version of an app, I can install it on both of our tablets (so both of my kids can use it at the same time), but here I’ve only been able to get the full version on one device.  I’m a bit concerned that we’re hoping to get a new tablet with upcoming holiday sales and I’m not sure how I can get the full version onto the new device!

All in all I’d say that this is a nicely done app with a bit of learning value and a lot of fun.  My kids are really enjoying it, and that is obviously a huge plus.

I’m very glad that I was able to receive the full version of this app as a free promotional sample in order to evaluate and provide my honest review.

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Powerboard by Hoverboard

Get this awesome product here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01541MVA6/

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These self balancing scooters are such a big thing right now and I’ve been really curious to give one a try, so I was so excited to try out the Powerboard by Hoverboard.  When I first took it out of the box, I was impressed with the shiny red finish – much like a car’s paint job.  My husband and I, having never used this kind of scooter before, first tried to stand on it while it was turned off and I got so worried at how wobbly it is and how I would ever be able to balance – if you get one of these, don’t make that same mistake that we did!  The moment that it is turned on, the left and right platforms instantly stabilize so that it is MUCH easier to get on and stay balanced!

It’s actually remarkably simple the way that it operates.  When the rider presses forward with his or her feet, the Hoverboard senses the movement and moves forward, and the same for reverse.  Leaning just towards the left causes the board to turn right and leaning right turns the board to the left (that may sound counterintuitive, but it actually feels totally natural).  If you keep turning to the same side, you can spin around in circles (like my husband does in the video).  There are nice bright blue lights on one side of the board which are nice for nighttime use.  The motor is extremely quiet – even when I’m riding it myself I can hardly hear it going at all.

Inside our house it can navigate just fine on carpet or linoleum, although the transition between floor types can sometimes be a bit tricky.  We’ve been having a lot of fun with it outdoors as well.  It rides well on the sidewalks or the street and as long as your balance is decent (like my husband’s), you can do it on minor inclines like driveways.  It may look like just a fun toy, but there’s actually some real exercise involved in keeping that balance – it can definitely help to tone the core and leg muscles – we’ve noticed a bit of soreness after practicing for a while!  I can also see this being a hit with older kids (like high school or college) to get to and from school, although for that it would be helpful if there were a way to use a cable lock to secure it and perhaps a key to start it up, so it could be secured to a standard bike rack.  It weighs about 30-40 lbs, so it might not be the easiest to lug around inside a university building.

All in all this seems like a very sturdy, well made product and we’re having a lot of fun with it.  It’s easy to charge up with the included power cord – it doesn’t seem to even need to really stay overnight plugged in to get a full charge.

I’m very glad that I was able to order this as a free promotional sample in order to evaluate and provide my honest review.

10 Foot Droid Charging Cable by Reach Cables

Get this great product here: 10 Foot Droid Charging Cable by Reach Cables

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We have more mobile devices in the house than I can keep track of, and they all use micro USB cords to charge, so I was happy to try out this 10 foot micro USB cord from Reach Cables. Having a cord that is so long is really convenient, because I can run it behind my sofa and have it pop out between the cushions, so there is still plenty of length to be able to plug in my phone or tablet and use them while sitting on the sofa. I really like the design of this cord – I’ve found in the past that the flat, ribbon style cords tend to tangle less and overall be more durable than the traditional skinny round style, and this cable takes that design and makes it even more heavy duty by covering it in a braided fabric material. The metal micro USB connector is long enough to fit easily and tightly into the charging port of my phone (some cords have shorter connectors that can struggle to go through the case of my phone and make a secure connection, but this one works perfectly!). I’m sure it will be one of my go to cables for a long time to come.

I’m very glad that I was able to order this as a free promotional sample in order to evaluate and provide my honest review.