Friday, January 12, 2018

Product Review: Epson - ProSense 307 GPS Heart Rate Monitor Multisport Watch in Black

The initial setup of this unit, the Epson ProSense 307 GPS Heart Rate Monitor Multisport Watch in the color of black, was a breeze to start recording my movements, heartbeat and physical activities. The architecture of the watch's operating system is super easy to navigate, starting an activity is quick and efficient while starting GPS tracking if it's an outdoor activity and not if it's an indoor activity. The specs mention that it has smart notifications, but to successfully make them work I found that you have to leave the Epson View app open on my phone, which consumes battery while maintaining a bluetooth connection with the watch. I have opted to not use it like that. I disable the bluetooth on the watch and only turn it on at the end of the day to retrieve all of my activities data from the watch, this also conserves power so I don't have to charge it every night. To view my activities on the Epson View app is simple and concise. I would love to use it to track my sleep, but it's footprint is just a bit big and uncomfortable, I have yet to last a whole night with it staying on my wrist. I can't wait to use it for some hiking and some bike rides. I would suggest to any of my fitness oriented friends, as a great addition to their workouts, but not as a true smartwatch. It is definitely geared to the fitness tracking realm of things

What I like:
Easy to use
High contrast and Backlit display
It's own GPS
Easy to sync

What I don't like:
Smart notification limitations
It's pretty big

I am using this device with a Google Pixel and only had one failed connection issue when initially setting it up. On the second attempt it synced and has been since.

*I do have a material connection regarding this piece of equipment or its manufacturer*

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Product Review: Nest - Secure Alarm System & Connect

This Security system by Nest was a pleasure to install. The directions were very easy and concise within it's app, even while installing the motion detectors and other peripherals. I was not sure this unit would provide ample coverage without needing to purchase more motion detectors. We have several entrance points on our main level. But with it's sensitivity, everything with this unit was enough to cover our entry points. This unit came with one Nest base unit. two Nest sensors(for door/window open or motion) and two Nest tags. I love that the tags can arm or disarm without having to enter a code. To my knowledge there are no monitoring options for this unit, but that is to come in the future, which means there are no monthly fees for it to work, and work well. The moment it does not see motion for a period it notifies you that it looks like no one is home, and asks if you would like to arm the system. I appreciate the fact that it is pet friendly, or at least dog friendly, our 15 pound Bishon/Poodle mutt has not set it off yet. I am a little disappointed that there is not more integration into the Google Home interface. I found several things that interface with the Nest thermostat, but not the Nest Secure??? If you are looking for this unit to alert you that a door or a window has opened immediately, this is not the unit you need. The shortest option for notification of a breach is 30 seconds. I am not sure why they would not include a night feature to enable instant notification. If I were installing this in my daughters home, or my parents home, I would want that type of a feature to be available. I may be missing something, in the software, but I feel I have seen other complaints about this.

Why I would recommend it:
Easy to install, and no monitoring fee.

This unit is one I would recommend to a friend with certain security needs, but this does not fulfill every security need.

Nest Connect.

This Nest Connect peripheral, allows to extend your Nest Secure digital security footprint. Keeping you Nest Secure system online even in a larger home. It was super easy to install, and does exactly what it states. I have had no connections issues since I installed it.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Product Review: Hisense 65h9d H9 Series 4K UHD HDR Smart TV

If you're in the market for a BIG flat screen tv, with all of the latest bells and whistles, this Hisense 65H9D is quite the ULED flat screen. It's packaging is impressive, they spared no expense getting this thing ready for shipment. Delivery across the entire United States, and carrying it up three flights of stairs and there was no damage. When I found how how thin this screen and bezel is, no damage is a big deal. Setup was easy, minus our cable provided universal remote not having many codes for this manufacturer. With a little work around we are able to control tv, cable box and sound bar with one universal remote. We have been using this display since October, and it is incredible, HD content rocks but with 4K content it is simply amazing. Blacks seem pretty black even though it is not an OLED screen. The brilliant colors that this can display is jaw dropping. The smart options that are available are all that you would expect. The apps are easy to use and seamless when using the OEM remote control. I'm still adjusting to the size of this screen, it replaced a 52 inch flat screen. We just recently started to watch Stranger Things on Netflix, it is specifically shot in 4k using HDR, and it is incredible. Our teenage girls just love to play Halo on it. It's all around a great television. I would suggest this to a friend that is in the market for a state of the art television with a BIG screen.

*I do have a material connection regarding this piece of equipment or its manufacturer*

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Product Review: Hoover - Rogue 970 App-Controlled Self-Charging Robot Vacuum in Black

I received this unit from Hoover, it's a lovely addition to take care of daily vacuuming in our family room that was once just an attic, on our third floor of our 140 year old home. This floor is all carpet and houses quite a bit of furniture and is oddly shaped. I did try this unit on our first floor that has hard woods with area rugs throughout, and it did not play well with the variety of surfaces, it would get hung up on the rugs while it was going over them and launch into the air, thus confusing it's position in the room, making the mapping of the room nearly impossible. I love that this unit will actually map out the floor plan giving you the ability to draw in smart walls keeping it out of where it may get hung up. It's mapping is not as accurate as I would like, and maybe it has to do with our family room and it's furniture. I do feel it would do better in a completely empty and  regular shaped room, which is not realistic, but it tries really hard to get the mapping right. Due to this inaccuracy, it occasionally won't find it's home/charger and just quits in the middle of the room. It is my hope that it's mapping of our room will get better with time, as I have noticed it will modify the map data as things are moved, added, or removed. The vacuuming technology of this unit picks up well, the dirt cap has dirt in it every time it is run. I feel this is great for animal lovers, as it picks up the extra dirt, fur, and other stuff that comes with pet ownership. I appreciate that it has three different levels of cleaning, Stealth, Normal, and Beast, for a variety of situations. I initially used the Apple iOS app and was disappointed that Hoover's Android app was not ready for release. The iOS app was horrible, there were several parts of the app that just did not work. Much to my surprise, a few days into my review, I happened to check back on the Google Play Store and found that they had released the app and I am happy to report it is fully functioning and may only need a little work in the mapping and smart wall category. I feel I could recommend this unit to a family or friend, but with reservation. I think this particular design is on a case by case basis. It may work well for you home layout, and it may not. All in all it is a pretty slick design that needs a little work on it's mapping features. If it can't find it's home it's really no that smart. But with some updates in both the app software and the robots firmware it could really shine.

This past week both the firmware of the robot and the app were updated, and I can say that it now finds it's home every time, and the app is much less buggy. Good job Hoover!!!

*I do have a material connection regarding this piece of equipment or its manufacturer*

Monday, November 13, 2017

Product Review: Arlo - Pro 2 Security Camera System

This Arlo Pro 2 Security Camera System is so easy to install and use. It's wireless/battery technology is amazing. These HD cameras provide stunning clarity. The ability to view, and modify  this system via it's app and online portal is essential. The cloud recording makes viewing remotely and downloading important clips incredibly easy. Did I mention the CLARITY!!! Oh my, this unit is something I would suggest to a friend. If your looking for easy quick way to monitor something with high quality video, this is the unit you're looking for.

*I do have a material connection regarding this piece of equipment or its manufacturer*

Friday, November 10, 2017

Product Review: Honeywell - Smart Color Thermostat with Wi-Fi Connectivity - Silver

This Thermostat with WiFi connectivity, was pretty simple to install. I lost control of my fan independently but I will install an additional wire to gain what I lost. This unit is so simple to schedule, you can use the app that is downloadable, or even log into a website to program your schedule. It's user interface, with it's touch controls are very easy to use and navigate. Where this unit shines is it's ability to be controlled via my Google Home. I can adjust the temp or mode on the fly with my voice. The app gives you ultimate control as well, like having the thermostat in your pocket. I love that it has built alerts at high and low limits, alerting you of a malfunction with high and low limit notifications. I would suggest that sometimes the whole smart label in many industries is misleading. The "Smart" in this unit is basically identifying that it is WiFi enabled and you can control it via an app. It will not manipulate the temperature on it's own without you programming it to. As long as you know this going into this purchase, this unit will satisfy your programmable thermostat needs with a few neat extras.

*I do have a material connection regarding this piece of equipment or its manufacturer*

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Product Review: Sony WF 1000x True Wireless In-Ear Noise-Cancelling Headphones

I wasn't sure what to expect with in-ear noise-cancellation that these Sony WF 1000x True Wireless Headphones offer. I am amazed at how well they work. First, they come with several sizes and styles of ear tips, and fitting supporters, making them customisable to even my, goofy ears. At that they fit very well without coming loose even when cutting my grass. Second with the "Headphone Connect" App from Sony, the noise cancellation works very well, adapting to your environment on the fly as it dynamically changes. The mentioned app has some preprogrammed equalizers, allowing the 6mm drivers to adjust to your listening style. The bass these little buds deliver is pretty incredible for such a small footprint. The lack of volume control onboard these earbuds is the only shortfall for this unit. It connects easily manually or with the built in NFC Chip on the case, and it maintains that connection with uninterrupted streaming capabilities, though stream ability is device dependent, I was connected to a Google Pixel 1st generation. Phone calls work, but at times it would try to adjust to ambient sound and I would miss a couple of seconds of the conversation. That's a little annoying, but turning of noise cancellation resolved that issue. Only the left earbud works during a call which isn't ideal but manageable. I absolutely love the fact that there are no wires. The specs of the device is about three hours per charge on the buds and six hours of back up charge stored in the case. I would say that this spec is accurate. These will give me the ability to stream music and podcast everywhere I go. If you're looking for the freedom of no wires, with several bonus features, these True Wireless Headphones are worth looking into.

*I do have a material connection regarding this piece of equipment or its manufacturer*