VELAGOL Wireless Charger, QI Certified, 10W Fast Wireless Charging Pad for iPhone X/8/8 Plus Samsung Galaxy S8/S8 Plus/Note 8/S7/S7 edge/S6/S6 Edge/S6 edge plus/Note 5 (Space Gray)

More and more phones are able to use wireless chargers.  There are some tradeoffs when it comes to using wireless chargers (For my device, slower charging vs the speed charger) but wireless chargers are SUPER easy to use!!  For example, everyone lays their phone on their desk at work, correct?  Lay it on this charger and while its on your desk it’s charging! Simple as that!!

Pros
1.) High Quality – Premium Materials

2.) Efficient Charger –  Charges as quickly as a wireless charger can.  This is a very efficient charger!

3.) Anti Slip Surface – Provides a soft surface that your device will not slide on!! This not only protects your phone from scratches of this tossing it on a table BUT ALSO protects it from falling on the floor!!

4.) Safe and reliable – Protects your device from overcharging.  Includes a status light letting you know if your device is charging or not.

5.) Value – Name brand chargers from Samsung, apple, and others cost over $30!! This, at the time of this review, is under $10!!

Specs Below

Specifications:
  •  Charging Status: Indicator
  • Charging Distance: 1-8mm
  •  Input: 5V-2A 9V-1.67A
  •  Output: 5V-1A 9V-1.2A
  • Color: space gray 

Compatibility list: 
  • Qi-enabled devices (no need to install additional Qi receiver).
  • But fast charging mode requires a QUICK CHARGE CHARGER (NOT INCLUDED).          
          – iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X with(ONLY standard charging, No Fast charging)
          – Samsung Galaxy S8, S8 Plus(With Fast Change Mode)
          – Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 edge(With Fast Change Mode)
         – Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge, edge+, S6 active (With Fast Change Mode)
         – Samsung Galaxy Note 5, 8(With Fast Change Mode)

Package includes:
  • 1  Wireless Charger
  • 1  Micro USB Cable
  • 1 User Manual 

MetroPCS vs Cricket & MetroPCS Review

Another Phone Service Review

Short Review:  I have received a lot of questions after my Cricket Review to compare Cricket with MetroPCS.  Simply put, in East Tennessee, Cricket kills MetroPCS in coverage BUT MetroPCS kills Cricket in speed.  And guess what?  The areas I use a cell phone MetroPCS works fine!!  Do the MetroPCS dead spots even matter then?  Well to some they will but not to me!  Cricket has dead spots as well!  All carriers do!!

Comparison:

I compared the $50 Unlimited plan on MetroPCS and the $60 ($55 with autopay) plan on Cricket,  Both plans offer 100% unlimited everything including High Speed LTE.. Neither plan includes HotSpot

Speeds:  Cricket in my town almost always hits 7 – 8Mbps.  MetroPCS hits 45+Mbps the majority of the time BUT during rush hour I have seen it drop as low as 4Mbps..  Cricket will normally hold the 7 – 8.  Both are very useable at all times however.

Features:  Features are nearly identical.  One pro for Cricket is that they offer HD video on the $55 plan.  Metro charges a $10 add-on for HD Video.  Metro does offer a limited plan option that includes HotSpot.  Cricket DOES NOT offer this on their unlimited.

Coverage:  Like I mentioned above, coverage is fairly similar but I have ran into a few areas where MetroPCS doesn’t work like Cricket did.  On the flip side, I have found several areas where Metro works that Cricket didn’t!

Features:  This is one area metro shines.  While both carriers are limited on “base” features, Metro offers several paid features that you can add to your service.  One way these prepaid brands keep their prices lower is the lack of features on the base plan.  Cricket doesn’t offer many add on features but Metro has plenty.  You can pay to have an itemized bill (Can’t with Cricket), you can pay to have numbers blocked (Can’t with Cricket) and the list goes on.  Personally, I don’t need these features but I love having the option for them!!

Overall:  Whos the winner!?!  Well I enjoyed both services a lot.. However, for me, MetroPCS is the service I am sticking with!! Why?  I plan on upgrading to the $60 plan so I can have tethering.  So the value, in my eye, is much better on MetroPCS

Device used for this test: Huawei Mate 9

Cricket Wireless (Formally AIO Wireless) by AT&T

Today I want to review something a little different than my normal reviews.  I actually believe I have done this review before but hey another year has passed!  I want to review Cricket Wireless (The new Cricket by AT&T).  They have been my wireless provider since 2013 (The AIO Wireless days) and I am still VERY happy with them.  They have had their ups and downs, but all carriers have these.  The worst “down” was the so called “Cricket Crawl” where AT&T was saying they had no issues but thousands of folks posted daily to their Twitter, Facebook, and other channels but it was finally fixed.

A few things to note about Cricket

1.) They are tethered to 8Mbps – Don’t let this worry you!  I stream HD content, stream music daily, and even play multiplayer games with no issues.  8Mbps is PLENTY!  Apps from Google Play download very fast, system updates download in 15 – 20 minutes and so on.  While other carriers provide 15, 20, and even 40+Mbps on mobile phones, who really needs that?

2.) No Tethering except on THEIR phones and only limited phones at that – BUT I have an unlocked Huawei Mate 9 and I can tether just fine.  It’s mostly just “Carrier” phones that have tethering blocked.

3.) Network Priority – You will hear that Cricket receives lower priority and that a user will be deprioritized if they go over 20 or so GBs of data on the unlimited plan.  Let me tell you, this has NEVER happened to me and I used 50+ GBs of data all the time, every month!

Pros
1.) Network Coverage – While different locations might be much worse, around my home AT&T is about the best.  Most will say they are about the best anywhere.  Be sure to check coverage before you buy but hey its prepaid.  If it sucks, change carriers!

2.) No Contract – Need I say more?

3.) Cheap or Free phones – Remember when prepaid meant buying you own phones?  Cricket runs promos and normally has very cheap or even free phones!  I however buy much nicer phones than Cricket provides!

4.) SAVINGS – Lets do the math.  T-Mobile  $70 for their cheapest postpaid plan, plus a discounted IPhone 7 for say $15/month.  That’s $85/month for two years (to pay off the phone).  That’s $2040.  Me, I can purchase an iPhone 7 outright for say $549 (Plenty online for this price right now) pay $55/month for my plan and only pay a total of $1869!  So you think there is really a “DEAL” in T-Mobiles IPhone 7?  Yeah, your only paying $360 for the phone but T-Mobile is making up for it with the “plan”.. Why pick on T-Mobile?  I’m not! They are just the cheapest Postpaid carrier out there so OTHER CARRIERS will cost more!!!

5.) Not locked to a phone – Who likes paying for their phone over 2 years?  There is a reason why carriers lock you into 2 year contracts or device payment plans for 2 years.  It’s to KEEP YOU but I like changing phones, sometimes every year.  I can do that with Prepaid and Cricket

6.) Easy Payments – Back during the early days of prepaid you had to buy air time cards and whatnot.  Not anymore, I am billed monthly just like a postpaid carrier.  If you need access to airtime cards, they are still available and you can still pay in person at Cricket Stores but payments are just as simple as postpaid.  It’s billed monthly, to my credit card, on Auto-Pay

7.) Advanced Features – You really don’t lose any features on prepaid.  I have international features, I have unlimited everything, I have visual voicemail, and more!

Overall:  I am very impressed with Cricket Wireless.  Below is a speedtest that I would like to share, and this is normal with Cricket.

LaView Wireless Security Camera, 1080P HD Indoor Outdoor Home Surveillance WiFi IP Camera IP65 Waterproof Two-way Audio Night Vision Motion Alarm Baby Monitor Nanny Cam with 16GB MicroSD Card – White

Short Review: There are a few things I look for when buying these cameras for myself or suggesting them to a friend to buy (I used to install CCTV systems so I get asked for advice all the time)

1.) Does it take a micro SD card – The answer has to be yes for me to recommend a camera and this camera DOES take a SD card. This is important because not all of these cameras save video locally, and that’s because not all of these cameras allow SD cards. This camera allows the card plus saves video locally.

2.) Does the camera have a decent app – The app doesn’t have to be the best but before I recommend a camera like this, it does need a decent app. This camera has a great app

3.) is it reliable? This is another question I ask before recommended cameras. You are protecting something with this camera, possibly your family! it has to be very reliable and this is reliable

4.) Is the camera safe and secure? A lot of folks don’t trust these cameras but if you set them up correctly, with good passwords and whatnot, they are VERY safe and secure!!!

This camera passes all 4 of those questions, is very easy to setup, and offered at a good value! Thats why I recommend this camera!

Pros
1.) Easy Setup – Follow in app instructions

2.) Saves video locally – no need to purchase a cloud plan. (Why spend more money?)

3.) Notifications work GREAT – All these cameras have basic issues with notifications.. Like bugs landing on them usually set off a notification. But for the most part, notifications work great and I had no issues or no false notifications (A bug landing on the camera isn’t a false notification because it DOES detect movement)

4.) Wonderful Quality!

5.) Excellent Price

6.) Works on both Android and IOS

7.) Night vision works well

8.) Offers two way communication! Talk to your family through your phone or even the intruder! Let them know you are watching

9.) Wide field of view – this camera sees a lot!

Cons
1.) No 5GHZ

Overall: Excellent Camera!! Easy to install and full of features!

True Wireless Earbuds, Dockin LED Wireless Bluetooth Earphone with Charging Dock Truly Wireless Stereo Headphone Mini Twins Waterproof Earphones Black

Short Review:  In the world of truly wireless earbuds, you have a lot of options.  You can spend $300+ on a pair or get some as cheap as $30.  All have very mixed reviews, even the expensive versions.  I opted to try these from Dockin and must say I am very IMPRESSED.  Do they have issues? Yes but not many and the issues I have seen are present in all of these that I have tried (Even my Bose and JayBirds)

So what are those issues?

1.) Video Sync – When using both earbuds SOMETIMES the video and audio is out of sync.  I will admit, these actually have less sync issues than my JayBirds!

2.) Earbuds losing connection with each other – This normally happens outside in congested areas. I have this issue with all my wireless earbuds.

Pros
1.) Performance – These perform VERY WELL.  I experience VERY FEW connection issues or drops! Battery performance is great and so is sound performance!

2.) Audio Quality – Audio Quality is GREAT for the price.  Some of the best I have heard on truly wireless earbuds.  They have plenty of bass, plenty of volume, and most everything sounds very good on them.  I watch movies, listen to music, and have voice calls. Everything is GREAT

3.) Battery – Depending on Volume, content, and other factors I get 2 – 3 hours from the earbuds themselves PLUS I get 4 – 5 charges from the battery case. So you are looking at 8 – 12 hours or so total on average!

4.) Touch Controls – I have used several different brands with very sensitive touch controls making them hard to use.  These have GREAT touch controls.

5.) Can use individually (The right earpiece is the “main”)

6.) Excellent quality charge case

7.) Easy pairing – They go into pairing mode when you turn them on.  Nothing else needed

8.) Holds very strong connections

9.) Quickly charges

Tested with

1.) Android

2.) IPhone

3.) Microsoft Surface

4.) TV

5.) Kindle Fire

Overall: These are GREAT and something I highly recommend!  They are super simple to use, have great sound quality, and the price can’t be beat!

True Wireless Earbuds VAVA Bluetooth 4.1 Wire-Free In-Ear Headphones (12 Hours Playtime with the Portable Charging Case, 3 Sets of Ear Buds, Built-In Microphone)

Short Review (Summary): Vava makes some of the best generic Bluetooth products out there! They offer them at a fair price and they work great! Same with these 100% wireless earphones! They offer great battery life, a great case, and a Bluetooth connection that is on par with the best Bluetooth companies out there!

Pros
1.) Premium Quality – Vava offers a premium product! These are not only built well but come in packaging that is Apple Standard!! Meaning if you give these as a gift, even the packaging feels premium!!

2.) Sound Quality is excellent.. plenty of volume.. plenty of bass.. everything is blended well.. callers sound great, music sounds great, everything is wonderful when it comes to sound

3.) Easy to use and pair – Very easy to use and pair! Anyone can do it.. Vava also offers easy to follow instructions!!

4.) Great battery life

5.) Tested and works great with Android, Windows, and IOS!

Overall why not save some money and get these over $150+ brands out there?? Just look at the reviews of most of Vavas products and you will see they are great and people love them! They are my go-to Generic!

Maxcio Mini Smart Plug, No Hub Required, Wi-Fi, Control your Devices from Anywhere – Smart Timer Wireless Outlet – Works with Alexa and Google Home



Short Review (Summary): Great WiFi Outlet that works with the “Smart Life” app meaning it is VERY SIMPLE to use with other smart outlets and very simple to use with Amazon Alexa or Google Home!! I always look for these “Generic” outlets that are compatible with “Smart Life”. Why? Because I don’t want to have 50 different outlets using different apps!! That’s hard to manage..

Use: Purchased this to use with Christmas Tree this season (Video review will be up when I finish getting my Christmas Tree setup something later this week I know, it’s early but we always do it BEFORE Thanksgiving). I have already tested the outlet with Alexa (Amazon Echo) and it works GREAT!!

Pros
1.) No Hub Required – This is also my only Con because it also means it doesn’t work with Wink which is what I use to control the rest of my smarthome in conjunction with my Echo (Alexa) devices

2.) Easy Setup – Hold the button then follow prompts in “Smart Life”. It really is that simple!

3.) Works with “Smart Life” – I am not sure if Maxcio has their own app or not, I just saw that this worked with the Smart Life app which is great!! That’s my app of choice because so many of these outlets work GREAT with smart life

4.) Can be Scheduled – If you use the Smart Life app, you can create schedules for this.. I will be having it turn off my Christmas Tree late at night and then turning it back on by itself..

5.) Can be controlled with your voice (Alexa or google home) – For Alexa, simply download the smartlife skill.. That’s it!! I can now say “Alexa turn on the Christmas Tree” and it will!! Even if the outlet is scheduled to be off.. Simple!!!

6.) Outlet can be named – At least if you use Smart Life. I know I keep saying if you use that app, but that’s because these do work with other apps, but Smartlife is one of the best apps out there for these outlets.. I am not sure how other apps function

7.) Very GOOD QUALITY

Cons
1.) Not compatable with Wink Hubs meaning while these work GREAT with Lamps and stuff, I normally use them with other products that way Wink compatable plugs can be used to control my home lighting.. (Wink is a hub that controls smart things such as light bulbs.. I use mine to control my lighting mainly and can control it from my Echo)

Overall: This is an EXCELLENT OUTLET, one that I highly recommend!! I am happy with mine and it is offered at a very good price

YI Outdoor Security Camera, Cloud Cam Wireless IP Waterproof Night Vision Security Surveillance System White


Short Review (Summary): This is a wonderful camera! I used to work security so I will also try to answer some of the design questions with this camera.. Overall, the camera is very easy to setup, it integrates very well and easily into the other home cameras Yi makes, and a cloud subscription IS NOT Required!

First let’s mix things up and do the cons

1.) Echo Show – While Yi finally released an Alexa skill, that skill is pretty much useless.. Sorry Yi, but it is! Basically all it does is turn on/off the camera.. you can say “Alexa turn on/off the porch camera” and it will! I really hope they update the skill so we can see vidoe on the Echo Show or the upcoming Echo Spot.

Aside from that, I can’t really name any other cons at the moment!

Pros

1.) Local Storage – No need for cloud plan.. The local storage works great! Cloud might be nice if you’re afraid someone will steal your camera but remember your camera will send “Alerts” to your phone that can be saved! Save the alert and if they steal your camera you will still have proof. Yes the SD card slot is protected meaning it would take a crook several mins to get the SD card out if they tried.. Yi did a great job designing this camera

2.) Easy to install and setup – Just follow prompts in the app

3.) Includes everything needed for setup (might require a USB extension cord if not around a power outlet)

4.) Wonderful picture and video quality

5.) Alerts work Very Very well! I have been using alerts from Yi cameras for years and never had any issues

6.) Easy to setup with other cameras of the same brand and works well with other models of the same brand

7.) Powered via USB so if worse comes to worse, very easy to setup a portable battery pack to power this camera.. and you can even grab a nice quality solar panel such as GoalZero or any other brand and charge the battery pack with it! I’d suggest a 20 watt panel or higher and a fairly robust battery pack 50,000 plus mAh and it might still die at night

8.) Cloud is optional.. some makers force you to subscribe to cloud just for alerts. They do not! I have never paid a dime for the cloud and get all my alerts

9.) Auto upgrade – Cameras upgrade on their own

10.) Speakers and mics work great so can be used as an intercom to speak with guest outside

11.) Saves packages! I installed an indoor version looking out the window beside my door after I had packages stolen for 5 straight days. I made sure the camera was able to be seen by the guys stealing packages.. day after I hooked it up, a shady character shows up on my patio and then runs off because he saw the camera.. I have yet to have another package stolen! That camera is now replaced by a real outdoor one so it can be seen even clearer!

Design Choices

1.) Cable coming out of the bottom – This helps with waterproofing the camera and if you are really worried about someone cutting the cable, sign of for alerts or even cloud storage.. I installed cameras for a security company and the cable location doesn’t matter.. most criminals just smash the cameras anyways so if the cable is in the back, they would just hit it with a hammer or bat.. I have seen it happen hundreds of times. Remember water runs down cables so if the cable was stretched up, through the back of the camera, water could pool and then finally work it’s way into the camera. I have seen that cause cameras to fail before, expensive real security cameras

Overall this is a great option for those wanting an outdoor camera and one that is Waterproof!

CenterStage DigiCast DC-2 Dual Digital Wireless Handheld Microphone System – 300” range – 48kHz / 24 bit – Simple set up – Detailed sound

Excellent range and very easy to plug into an existing sound system! Easy setup and wonderful quality!

Pros
1.) Range – up to 300 ft and it can really make that range!! I had no issues with 275 ft using this system

2.) Easy Setup

3.) Wonderful Quality

4.) Easily works with my current system!

5.) Tested 9+ hours with battery.. no issues!

6.) Plenty of uses – I have used with singing, speaking, and even setup with drums and had no issues! Sound quality is Amazing

7.) Amazing Sound Quality

Overall: I highly recommend these for either a new or existing system!