Product Reviews

Apr 182014
 

PapaGo GS330 - The Car DVR Dashboard Camera That Records Your Trips And Assists You Driving [Product Review]

Dashboard cameras are fast becoming a must-have for drivers. They record footage in case of an unhappy event (read crash), many insurance companies accept them as proofs for identifying accident liability, can be used to record trips for fun and, last but not least, can passively assist you while driving.

There are many car camera models available on the market to choose from, and even more manufacturers are turning to this niche every day. Today I’ll walk you over one of the top mid class DVR models (read packed with features but with a decent price) out-there – The PapaGo GS 330 or USGoSafe 300 as it’s sold in US. If you’re eager to see it in action, scroll down to the bottom of the post and check the 4 trip tests I did (sunny and rainy day as well as clear and rainy night) and an unboxing clip.

PapaGo GS330 - The Car DVR Dashboard Camera Safe File Saving

I used this camera for the past 2 weeks now and it was a pleasure to test it. It is compact, easy to mount and un-mount from the windshield holder (the holding mechanism was a bit stiff the first few tries, but after a couple of uses it worked perfectly), it’s made of solid black plastic (no danger if you drop it), very simple to operate (basically it starts recording as soon as you hook up the power source or start the engine if the charger is already plugged in) and set up. The four buttons below the LCD serve navigation in the menu as well as to use the emergency recording function or turn the screen ON/OFF.

The beauty of a dashboard camera or car DVR as some call it is that once you did the initial setup there is no need to tweak the settings like you would with a handheld camcorder. It simply stays in it’s place and records what’s in front of the car. That’s it. So, as recording quality counts mostly with a such gadget, I’ll let go through some of the dashcam features below and I invite you to check the video tests at the bottom of the post for the real deal – recording in action!

Let’s dive into it. As this camera is fully loaded with features I’ll list them in bullet-list form for easier following:

  • A 5MP sensor matched with a F2.0 lens offers great day time recording and performs very well in low light conditions
  • Three quality recording modes: full HD 1080p recording at 30 fps (frames per second); HD 720p at 60 fps and 30 fps
  • 142 degree wide viewing angle helps recording the entire road in front of the car as well as a good part of the sidewalks (you know … in case some crazy stuntman tries to pull one of his tricks when you pass by and jumps in front of your car!!!)PapaGo GS330 - The Car DVR Dashboard Camera 142 Degree Wide Angle Recording
  • Connectivity – the GS330 offers a regular HDMI plug, a classic AV plug (output available in PAL and NTSC), Mini USB for power and PC data transfers, Micro SD card as storage unit for the recorded videos
  • 2″ LCD screen for playback videos, live recording monitoring and camera setup
  • Motion detection mode – leave your car in the parking and if the G Sensor feels someone bump into your car the GS330 will automatically start recording
  • Stop And Go – this is a cool feature. If your anything like me, your stops at the red light are full SMS and browsing sessions. The Stop And Go feature monitors the car in front of you and when it detects it departed lets you know via a beep that it’s time to let your friends alone and start driving
  • Lights Reminder – Detects low light conditions and let you know via a beep and a visual display that it’s time to turn the lights ON
  • Driver Fatigue Alarm – You can set this feature to remind you to take breaks every now and then to avoid driving fatigue
  • Speed Restriction Signs – this is another cool feature – the car DVR constantly monitors the sides of the road and notifies you whenever it notices a speed sign. The new speed restriction is also displayed on the dashcam’s LCD screen.PapaGo GS330 - The Car DVR Dashboard Camera F2.0 Lens 5MP Sensor
  • Cycle Recording – the dash camera saves the recorded file every 5 minutes and automatically starts a new one. The last 10 files are saved on the Micro SD card and, when recording an 11th file, the oldest one is overwritten. This way, by cycling the files, you always have available the last 10 recording (that’s the last 50 minutes of your driving trip)
  • Auto Bump Files Copy – this features automatically saves the files when a hit/bump/accident is noted by the camera. This way, if you’re involved in an accident, you’re sure the recorded files are not overwritten by newer files and you can use them in your defense
  • Emergency Recording and Snapshots – Simply press the Emergency button on the camera and it will record a new fill which will not be included in the cycling recording
  • Auto Start – If you decide to leave your dashboard camera in the car, simply start your car in the morning and the GS330 starts recording automatically
  • Mounting Options – Windshield mount (included with the GS330) and Dashboard (a dashbag is needed for this option)

Take a minute and check the test recordings below to see the Papago USGoSafe 330 in action and let me know in the comments your take on it or if you have any questions about it.

$135 | BUY NOW
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Mar 052014
 

Tempo Bluetooth Smart Temperature Monitor by BlueMaestro
The BlueMaestro Tempo Bluetooth Smart Temperature Monitor is a cool piece of home gadgetry that allows you to constantly monitor the temperature inside and outside your home and set alarms based on predefined temperature thresholds.
The BlueMaestro monitor works on devices equipped with low energy Bluetooth 4.0 running on Android 4.3 and iOs 6 and higher (check your device’s compatibility here)
Here’s how it works: first, make sure your Bluetooth connection is set to not time out (some smartphones come with connection timeout setup to 2 minutes), instal the free Android or iOs app, hold the monitor’s button pressed for 1 second (you’ll hear a small beep when it turns ON) and you’re ready to roll. That’s it, no setup, no syncing or any other action required. In a couple of seconds the device will start reading information from the monitor.

Both Android and iOs apps will show you temperature stats and will allow you to set triggers based on your temperature preferences. I find this feature very useful as it can help you quickly identify sudden temperature drops or increases and gives you the chance to take action before it’s too late (think about saving those flowers when you forget the window open in the middle of the winter … this actually happened to us while we were testing the device) as well as smaller differences which, addressed in time, can help you cut heating and AC costs.

The Smart Monitor can connect to your phone for up to 75 meters (that’s about 225 feet) if it has a direct line of sight, is weather proof (can be used outside as well as in humid environments), allows multiple units to hook up at the same smartphone or tablet (you can easily monitor multiple rooms at the same time) and is conveniently powered by 2XAA batteries (included) which will last for about 1 year (you can easily change them by unscrewing 2 screws and removing the back cover).

$48.4 | BUY NOW
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Mar 042014
 

Case Logic 15.6-in Laptop & Tablet Backpack [Product Review]
Working in today’s world implies (most times) carrying gear back and forth between your home and your office. And this is not an easy job … laptop, tablet, mouse and cables, chargers, headphones, paper files and who knows what else … gear packs up and gets more and more difficult to carry around.

The Case Logic 15.6-in Laptop & Tablet Backpack is designed around this issue and offers a convenient solution for storing and carrying your gear while you roam around. The backpack sports a laptop and tablet dedicated compartment padded for anti-shock protection and a middle compartment designed around carrying more bulky items like books, laptop chargers, umbrellas, some light clothing or paper files. Other than these two main compartments, we find a handful of other useful smaller pockets such us: a top loading pocket with plush lining for smartphones, 2 side pockets (one sports an incorporated key ring to secure your keys, the other one has a headphones thread designated slot for easy music listening), a lumbar anti-smuggler pocket designed to keep your most precious gear away of prying eyes, a top-front pocket for small gear you need handy at any moment (thing about pens, USB drives, external HDD, etc …) and a front larger pocket which can easily hold a newspaper, sunglasses case or a smaller umbrella.

The backpack features lumbar padding for comfortable transport, the thick foam back padding with breathable mesh is designed to allow a constant air flow for increased comfort, a secondary front bottom handle allows easy grip in case of carrying heavy gear, an adjustable sternum strap secures the backpack while the padded shoulder straps provide comfort while carrying the backpack for longer periods of time.

I used this backpack for around 1 month and I am pretty impressed with it’s quality and storage capabilities (check the attached video to have an idea how much I fit in it and there was still plenty of room available for other gear). Before using it I was never a big fan of laptop backpacks and I always preferred classic laptop cases such as this one or this one. Well, this Case Logic backpack changed my opinion and became pretty quickly my preferred laptop bag. Check it out …

$79.99 | BUY NOW
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Mar 042014
 

5-in Smartphone Distressed Leather Wallet Case
Safely carrying a smartphone in your pockets is no longer an easy job. While most people protect their smartphones with cases, pouches or sleeves, most of protective gear out-there is not that fancy at all. More than that, most cases make your smartphone bulkier.

So, why not protect your smartphone with something else than a case? Why not protect it with something you already have on you every day? Why not carry it in your wallet?

The Smartphone Distressed Leather Wallet Case does just that, and it does it in style! Compatible with smartphones up to 5 inch (works with Samsung Galaxy S4 and smaller models as well as all iPhone versions) the wallet case is handmade of sturdy distressed leather and can carry up to 3 card, and few bills as well as you smartphone.

I use this wallet since about a month ago and it took it only one day to make it to the top of my proffered wallet list (now, keep in mind that I am a wallet freak and I own about 15 wallets. I used to rotate wallets on almost daily basis … until one month ago). The thick leather, it’s vintage look, the cool design make this wallet case a real head turner (now … bear with me … I am trying to be as unbiased as possible here … but this wallet is so cool, that it’s tough for me to hide my excitement!!!).

So, back to business – it’s simpler you check out the video review in this post and you judge for yourself. Please note that this particular model requires folding USD and CAD bills in order to fit properly in it’s bill pocket. If you’re in EU and using Euros, smaller EUR bills might fit unfolded, but bigger bills need to be folded as well. Not really a big issue, but I felt I had to mention it. Check it out now …

$39 | BUY NOW
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Jan 272014
 

Do Your Park Magnetic Insult Cards - Because Someone Has To Teach Those Bad Parking Drivers A Lesson

If you have a driving license, chances are you this already happened to you: You’re driving through the crowded parking lot looking for a spot to leave your car and, as you go slowly, you notice an empty space. Happy to end your parking sufferance, you get in front of the spot and … you find a Bozo parked his own vehicle in such way that the near space is useless!
Some people park on two spaces because they want to protect their new shiny ride, which is still not cool for the rest of us … but some other people (most of these bad “parkers”) do it because it’s easier to just dump the car there and they simply don’t care about the rest of the world.

While you can always leave a little note in the windshield or play the guy a little parking prank, DoYourPark.com came up with an ingenious way of attracting their attention and letting them know that they parked in an un-cool manner! The Magnetic Park Cards are funny messages printed on magnetic material which will stick to the offender’s car body (without bringing any damages) and will patiently wait there to teach him a lesson!!!

The cards come in assorted 10-packs, are waterproof and can be re-used. Simply leave a card on bad parked vehicle and, hopefully, it’s driver will pay more attention next time. At his turn, the driver can re-use the card by leaving it on somebody else’s bad parked car! An so on … Check the vid and the below gallery for a cool selection of magnetic cards …
Hopefully, with enough cards out there, everybody will soon park in a decent way!!!

$12 | BUY NOW
MORE: GEAR | REVENGE | PARKING
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Jan 182014
 

Black Velocity Series V1x Armband for 5-in Screen Smartphones By Sporteer.com
If you use your phone as MP3 player, calorie counter or GPS tracker during your workouts, or simply have to take it with you as you have no other place to leave it, an armband is the best way to go to hold your smartphone and even some basic gear like a couple of bills, locker or car key and credit or ID cards!

Today we’ll take a look at one of the most convenient and practical armbands on the market – the Sporteer.com‘s Velocity Series V1x Armband. Make sure you check the real user pic and the vid review of an actual armband below.

The Velocity Series V1x is designed to fit phones up to 5-inch. I tested it with an iPhone 4 (3.5-inch), iPhone 5S (4-inch), Galaxy S4 (5-inch) and a 4.65-inch Galaxy Nexus and it fit very well, so it’ll work with most smartphones out-there, even without removing their cases! Here is a closer look at it’s features:

  • The armband is made of moisture resistant material designed to keep your gear and smartphone safe from sweat
  • Handy side elastic band that allows you store you your headphones, a small flashlight, a gel pack or any other small piece you need handy when jogging
  • Easy adjustment for any size – the armband’s closing strap features Velcro material on it’s entire length, so getting a proper fix can’t be easier
  • The main compartment sports an elastic holder designed to keep your smartphone secured in place while leaving some extra storage space allowing you to stash additional gear behind it.
  • The front panel is touch friendly and allows you to use your smartphone without having to remove it from the armband
  • The lower part of the main compartment features two plug openings allowing you to easily connect your headphones while two locking zippers allow you to easily connect your headphones in any position if your smartphone’s plug is located on the top
  • An external back pocket allows you to keep your keys, a couple of cards and cash bills safe. The pocket is moisture resistant. I was able to stash in an apartment key, a remote knob, two credit cards and a $20 bill without any loss of comfort while wearing the armband
  • The main compartment is surrounded by reflective piping and the closure tab is padded with the same material to help you stay visible to vehicles when night-training,
  • Strap-Lok technology allows easy adjusting even while in the middle of the action and helps preventing the armband from falling.

After using the Velocity Series V1x for about 2 weeks I can definitively say the guys from Sporteer.com did a great job with this product! The armband is well built, fully functional, stays well on your arm and the little addons like the side elastic band, the locking zippers and the moisture-safe back pocket are designed to improve your training experience.

Check out the below picture gallery and video clip to watch a user review of the Sporteer.com Velocity Series V1x Armband I recorded for you.

$29.99 | BUY NOW
MORE: GEAR | SPORTS | FITNESS
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May 292013
 

Hand-Crafted Stitch-Less Leather Rivet Card Holder By The Leather Shop Product Review

Here’s another cool review of a Moose Brand leather product. Just as the Hand-Crafted Stitch-Less Palm Wallet, the River Card Holder is made of one piece of high quality saddle leather folded with great craftsmanship and held together by a single brass rivet.

Before I get into this review, you have to understand that I am a big fan of simple, minimalistic wallets, and I gave up my bulky card carrier about 5-6 years. I also owned about 10 minimalistic wallets in this period and I tried/tested another 15-20 models which gives me a pretty good idea of what I want from a such product.

The River Card Holder is one of the simplest wallets I ever used. The only thing simpler than this wallet is to keep your cards and bills together with an elastic band (honestly, never do that, not only you’ll look like street dealer, but you also risk loosing your gear … believe me, I’ve been there!!!).

The card holder is hand made in Seattle, USA, of one piece of folded thick leather which gives it a very good strength. There are no stitches to wear down the leather (the fine line you see in the pic, around the edges, is drawn on the leather), everything is hold in place by a golden-tone brass rivet and the closing flap has a hook shaped end that, when closed, comes around the brass securing the wallet’s content. A nice little hand and the Made In USA” logo are stamped on the back to confirm the wallet’s provenience.

It’s design makes it perfect to carry up to 5-6 cards and some cash bills. I used this wallet when wearing jeans, dress pants, short canvas pants, basketball shorts and a running suit and it’s low weight slick design passed unnoticed every-time.
I know, I know … wearing a such leather wallet with a running suit or basketball shorts is an instant fashion suicide … but I had to do it to be able to properly test it.

Although the manufacturer states the card holder‘s weight is around 1.2-oz (34 grams), the unit I tested was about 1-oz (28 grams) which was a nice surprise and proved (again) that even same model hand made pieces have their own uniqueness.

The Rivet Card Holder is available in four colors – Yellow, Blue, Green and Red for $40 @ TheLeatherShop.com. There’s also a premium version made of Shell Cordovan leather available in Black for $60. Check it out for more info …

$40+ | BUY NOW
MORE: GEAR | LEATHER | US MADE
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