Category: Reviews

Review – Withings Blood Pressure Monitor – An Excellent Tool to Monitor Heart Health

Like many aspects of healthy living, understanding your blood pressure and the impact it has on your body is critical.  This is especially true for those with a genetic predisposition to heart disease and high blood pressure.  High blood pressure can have long term damaging impacts on your body that can include heart attack and stroke.  Monitoring your blood pressure and your pulse can be done at home with the Withing Blood Pressure Monitor.

The Withing Blood Pressure Monitor allows you to take your blood pressure at home, leveraging the Withings app on your Android or iOS phone to keep track of it on a daily or weekly basis.  While it is not as accurate as a medical office checking your blood pressure, it does serve as a solid tool to help you understand what you eat, drink, weight and exercise do to your blood pressure.  I’ve been using the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor for many months as part of keep track of my blood pressure as heart disease runs in my family.  It has become an valuable tool, giving me information that I can readily share with my doctor to discuss and make dietary or lifestyle changes.  Here is my review of this great medical tool.

Review – Sleep as Android – Wellness Begins With Good Sleep

Sleep is a critical part of any healthy lifestyle.  Getting the proper amount of restful sleep not only helps with your psychological wellness but also has other health benefits when it comes to general well being and fitness.  Sadly, most Americas struggle to get the proper amount of sleep each night or have poor quality of sleep.  Sleep as Android is an app that allows you to measure your sleep, the quality of that sleep, and integrate that data with apps like Google Fit.  By having the app running on your phone next to you as you sleep, it will track your sleep cycles, see trends and even record noises as you sleep to see if you are snoring or, worse, suffering from Sleep Apnea.

Sleep as Android, however, is so much more.  It can serve as your alarm clock, can play soothing sounds to help you relax and get to sleep and gently wake you up in the morning.  It is an all-in-one app for your sleeping.  I’ve been using the app since the beginning of 2017 as I am focusing on making sure I get the right amount of sleep each day.  It has been an eye opening app for me and has become a daily part of my life as I try to live a healthy – and rested – lifestyle.  Here’s my review.

Review – Noreve Ambition Folio Case – Luxurious Protection for Your Nexus 9

When it comes to luxury cases for your phone or tablet, few fit the bill like Noreve.  The French couture designer from Saint Tropez makes some of the most beautiful phone and tablet cases available today.  Each case is handcrafted and fits the devices they are designed for perfectly.  I’ve had the opportunity to review many of their cases over the years for a wide range of devices and when they contacted me to review the Ambition folio case for my Nexus 9 tablet, I couldn’t pass up the chance.  If you want a case that not only provides protection for your tablet but looks stunning as you use it, this case is for you.  Here is my review.

Review – Noreve Ambition Folio Case – Elegance & Protection for Your Nexus 6P

When it comes to cases for your Nexus 6P, the options are pretty endless.  But when it comes to an elegant look with excellent protection for your phone, look no further than Noreve.  The French couture designer has been making handmade, premium cases and accessories for devices for years and their line up for the Nexus 6P doesn’t disappoint.  I’ve had the privilege of reviewing several of their cases over the years for a variety of devices and jumped at the change to review the Ambition grain leather folio case for my phone.  As you would expect for a luxury case, this one is fantastically constructed with great attention to detail and a solid fit around my phone.  Here is my review of this great case.

Review of F1 2016 – A Worthy But Not Perfect F1 Game

As a Formula One fan, the desire to play a reasonably realistic game based on real drivers, teams and circuits has been there for a long time.  The challenge has been the lack of such a game.  Sure the console games are fantastic from Codemasters but on mobile devices – both Android and iOS – there were F1-style games but nothing that would truly satisfy a fan of the sport.  That changed when Codemasters, the developer behind the console F1 games, released their mobile centric game, F1 2016.  While it doesn’t have the level of controls or customizations that the console level game has, F1 2016 is a remarkably well developed game with outstanding graphics, real teams, real drivers and, of course, real circuits.

I have been playing F1 2016 since the day it was released and I will admit, despite the hype, that I was skeptical that it would be a good game playing experience.  Happily, I’m wrong.  It is a great playing experience.  It’s not perfect but it is fun and challenging and that should keep F1 fans who want to turn a few laps at Monaco, Spa or Silverstone, happy and satisfied.

Review of Google Home – Powerful But Room to Grow

Google Home, in many ways, is the physical realization of the machine learning that Google has been doing for years.  Equipped with Google Assistant, this small, unassuming device that sits in your home is a gateway to Google and all of your personal information at a voice command away.  It is powerful and handy… but not perfect.  Like many first generation products, Google Home has room for growth in what it can do, the apps it can interact with and, of course, how it interacts with you.  I’ll borrow a phrase from my Google OnHub review earlier this year:  If you are an early adopter, Google Home is a great product for you to consider.  If not, you may want to give it a few months and software updates to improve.  And it will improve.  Unlike OnHub, which Google hasn’t fully abandoned but equally isn’t doing much more investing in thanks to Google Wi-Fi, Home is a central and key part of what Google considers the next technical transition we are to see.  That transition is from mobile to machines and Google Home will be at the center of this transition.

I’ve had my Google Home for about a week now and I have to say that it is very much a part of my daily routine and work flow.  It saves me from having to pick up my Nexus 6P or Nexus 9 to use the “OK Google” voice commands (if my phone is locked, I have to unlock it to get the results) and gives me a wealth of information all a voice command away.  But I can already see things I’d like to improve, particularly around app integration and more natural language discussions.  But that will come in time.  One thing is for sure:  The speakers in Google Home are impressive and have excellent sound.  For this, you won’t be disappointed.

Review of The Choetech Nightlight & Charger – Handy and Helpful

While it is handy to have a nightlight in a room, having one that serves a bit more than just soft light at night is a bonus.  That’s exactly what Choetech has aimed to do with their nightlight.  The Cheotech Nighlight certainly gives the soft, LED light that you would expect from a nightlight but it has the bonus of two USB ports so you can charge your devices while you sleep. Best of all, Choetech designed this nightlight for energy efficiency, safety and automatic turning on and off as natural light fills the room.

The company sent me one of these nightlights to review and having used it over the course of the past few weeks, I have to say I’m pretty impressed.  For sure it isn’t going to be the fastest charging ports you will find but given that you will be using them as you sleep, they get the job done.  Equally, the lighting provide is soft and relaxing.  All this for a under $15 makes it a great value.  Here’s my review.

Sony Xperia X Compact Review – Great Performance in a Small Package

We live in a world with big display phones and in Androidland, that is most certainly the case.  It is hard to find device under 5″ that have any sort of horsepower or performance.  The problem is, not everyone wants a 5.5″ device or even a 5.2″ device and that means you are meant making compromises in either screen size (going larger than you want) or performance.  I’ve been using the Sony Xperia X Compact over the course of the last few weeks and it is the one phone in the sub-5″ screen size market that doesn’t require that compromise.  It offers solid performance, good battery life and a camera that is truly impressive.  As I posted in my initial thoughts on the Xperia X Compact, it is a phone that should not be judged on it size when it comes to performance.  This phone has plenty of horsepower to do anything you need, including gaming and streaming, but does it in a small and comfortable package.  While the $499 price tag may put some off, if you are in the market for a smaller phone that doesn’t have a lot of compromises, the Xperia X Compact should be on your short list.

Here is my review.

iClever BoostRun Bluetooth Headset – Solid Performance at a Great Price

Finding a sports Bluetooth headset can be challenging.  Either you get stuck with sub-par sound quality or have to pay a reasonable percentage of the cost of your actual phone for them.  I’ve noted on other products that iClever has seemed to have found a balance between these too challenges.  I’ve reviewed multiple products from them over the past year and they always seem to pack a lot of punch for the price.  The iClever BoostRun headset is no exception.  With outstanding audio quality, solid battery performance and a lightweight, don’t-really-notice-it-is-there design, the BoostRun meets the need for a resilient headset that you can use in the gym or on a run.

Recently the iClever team sent me the headset, which by their product name is the IC-BTH06, for review and after using them for the last few weeks, I have no problem in recommending this headset if you need a lightweight headset for your workout.

iClever Adjustable Stand – Simple but Effective Design

Like many accessories for Android phones and tablets, desktop stands are, as they say, a dime a dozen.  Everyone it seems makes one but like so many things, you do get what you pay for in most cases.  I say most because the team over at iClever have made an excellent stand that is certainly a good value for this type of accessory.  The iClever Adjustable Stand, as the name suggests, is not just a fixed stand for your phone or tablet.  Rather, it has an adjustable plane where you phone rests that can be rotated 270-degrees.  It makes the stand easy to use no matter if you are viewing your device in portrait or landscape mode.  Plus, it is made of aluminum so it looks great and is rugged enough to handle a drop from your desk to the floor.  Backed with a lifetime warranty, this $13 stand is well worth the consideration if you like desktop stands for your devices.

I recently picked up two of the IC-CS01 stands on Amazon to replace two aging stands that had lost their ability to hold my devices securely.  What appealed to me was first the iClever name (I’ve reviewed many of their products and have always found them to be excellent in price and performance) but also the non-skip pads on the stand’s base and phone plane to hold my Nexus 6P and Nexus 9 securely.  That do that and do it well.

iClever Portable Bluetooth Speaker – Great Performance and Design

Portable Bluetooth speakers are widely available in a wide range of prices.  With some you are buying the brand while others you are buying the audio performance but the two are not mutually exclusive.  iClever has been around for a few years now and have been making accessories for Android and iOS devices ranging from charging options to said Bluetooth speakers.  Their latest speaker option, the BTS04, is arguably one of the better values out there for this type of accessory.  The problem with many of these types of devices is that you end up with poor bass quality or poor treble quality.  Neither is the case in this affordably priced speaker and to top that, it looks nice and is even splash resistant.  That means you should have no worries about taking it out by the pool on a summer day.

Recently the team over at iClever sent me the BTS04 to review and I have to say I’m not disappointed.  While I do find the button combination of short presses and long presses a little confusing, overall I can’t fault the performance, size and sound quality from the speaker.  Here is my review.

Initial Impressions – The Sony Xperia X Compact

If you equate the power and performance of an Android phone based on the screen size and device size, you need to stop.  Now.  The reason is that the recently announced Sony Xperia X Compact destroys your paradigm.  This 4.6″ device is a powerhouse with a phenomenal display and dare I say unbelievable camera.  Seriously, it rivals a digital SLR in image quality and color correctness.  I’ve been using the X Compact the last few days as my main phone and while getting use to the smaller size compared to my Nexus 6P was a bit tricky at first, the performance and design of this phone is exceptional.  I’ll be doing a full review of the phone over the course of the next few weeks but here are my initial thoughts on the Xperia X Compact.