Sunday, November 29, 2020

OtterBox OtterSpot Wireless Charging System

In our society, phones are becoming ubiquitous.  Anymore, anyone without a phone attached to their hand is the odd one out. And as we use our phones more and more away from places where we can plug in for a quick charge, portable power banks will become more and more necessary. Portable power banks are nothing new. But they can be awkward with the cords attaching the phone and the bank and they are not often portable and power at the same time. Enter the Otterbox OtterSpot which combine the convenience of a portable power bank and the ease of use of a wireless charger.

Features and specs:


36-watt base charging pad powers up to three OtterSpot wireless batteries and one device simultaneously

Eliminates tangled mess of wires on countertops and nightstands with one stackable charging pad base

Anti-slip surface holds device in place while charging

Portable 10-watt speed, 5,000 mAh capacity OtterSpot wireless battery

System includes: OtterSpot Wireless Charging Base, one Wireless Charging Battery, USB A-C Cable (1.6-ft/0.5-m), USB C-C Cable (3.9-ft/1.2-m) and 36W Wall Adapter. Additional Wireless Charging Batteries sold separately.


Wireless charging system base works with OtterSpot wireless batteries to wirelessly charge Apple, Samsung, Google and other Qi wireless enabled devices — without the hassle of removing most cases


The OtterBox OtterSpot came in great looking black and white box with a clear plastic window allowing you to see the product inside. The OtterSpot comes in a package with one base and one charger but Otterbox allows you to customize your power needs by purchasing additional bases or batteries. The system we chose to get was one base and battery, and an additional battery. They were packaged in a clear plastic, custom molded container that fit perfectly in the box for protection. Materials used in the construction were mostly plastic. Quality of materials used, as well as fit and finish was very good. It seems to be a very well made product with nothing sticking out to catch and pull off and small enough to fit easily in a pocket. Also included were the charger cord and a charging block.

The design of the OtterSpot was excellently thought out. The disks are thin and light enough for easy carrying and the button on the side easily found but recessed enough not to be hit accidentally. It sits flat on any surface and can be stacked on the base to charge all at once. You can also set your device on the top of the stack to charge wirelessly at the same time as the batteries are charging. They can be stacked as high as you wish, but they will charge slower the higher the stack gets. Each battery holds 5,000 mAh that will give at least one complete charge of your smartphone you have and they are fully compatible with all wireless charging technology. We tested this by completely draining our phone, the LG V40 Thinq, and we did receive a complete charge with a bit left over for a small partial charge before having to stack the battery on the base again.


The OtterSpot is an excellent product and an excellent solution for those situations where you will be away from electricity for any length of time. The design is multifunctional and efficient. With a price of $99.95 for the base and battery, and $54.95 for an additional battery, it’s well worth the money. Based on their design, features, quality and performance, the OtterBox OtterSpot has earned our Highly Recommended Award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at

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Sunday, November 22, 2020

Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) Home Wi-Fi 6 Wireless System.

More and more of our devices, even appliances and household devices, like lights, are connecting to the internet. So it’s not just your computer, smartphones or gaming consoles, for example, that need to connect to the internet. Smart homes are growing in popularity, and with it the number of household devices that connect online. So the introduction of the new and improved wi-fi 6 format came in perfect timing.


The new wi-fi 6 format basically improves on the previous wi-fi 5 format. It allows more devices to connect, more devices to connect at the same time, and improves bandwidth. So in the world of 4K streaming, this is very important. Especially if you want to be able to stream multiple 4K sources at the same time. The more household members you have, especially teenagers, this is even more critical. And if you have a large home, getting a good strong signal can be hard. When given the opportunity to review the Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8), we naturally jumped at the opportunity. After all, we have multiple teenagers, multiple 4K gaming systems, multiple 4K smart TV’s, all in a 3 story 4500 square foot house. If anyone is going to have Wi-Fi complaints, they are in my household. It was time for us to check out the new Wi-Fi 6.

Features and specs:


Network Standard: IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11ax, IPv4, IPv6

Coverage:  Very large homes

Data Rate: 

802.11a : 6,9,12,18,24,36,48,54 Mbps

802.11b : 1, 2, 5.5, 11 Mbps

802.11g : 6,9,12,18,24,36,48,54 Mbps

802.11n : up to 300 Mbps

802.11ac (5GHZ-1)up to 867 Mbps

802.11ac (5GHZ-2)up to 3466 Mbps

802.11ax (2.4GHz) : up to 574 Mbps

802.11ax (5GHZ-1)up to 1201 Mbps

802.11ax (5GHZ-2)up to 4804 Mbps

Antenna:  Internal antenna x 6

Transmit/Receive:  2.4 GHz 2 x 2, 5 GHz-1 2 x 2, 5 GHz-2 4 x 4

Processor:  1.5 GHz quad-core processor

Memory:  256 MB Flash

512 MB RAM:  Wi-Fi Technology

OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access):  Beamforming: standard-based and universal

1024-QAM high data rate:  20/40/80/160 MHz bandwidth

Operating Frequency:  2.4G Hz, 5 GHz-1, 5 GHz-2

Encryption:  WPA3-Personal, WPA2-Personal, WPA-Personal, WPA-Enterprise , WPA2-Enterprise , WPS support

Firewall & Access Control

Firewall: SPI intrusion detection, DoS protection

Access controlParental control, Network service filter, URL filter, Port filter


UPnP, IGMP v1/v2/v3, DNS Proxy, DHCP, NTP Client, DDNS, Port Trigger, Port Forwarding, DMZ, System Event Log

VPN Support:  IPSec Pass-Through, PPTP Pass-Through, L2TP Pass-Through, PPTP server, OpenVPN server, PPTP client, L2TP client, OpenVPN client

WAN Connection Type

Internet connection type : Automatic IP, Static IP, PPPoE(MPPE supported), PPTP, L2TP

Ports: RJ45 for 2.5G BaseT for WAN x 1, RJ45 for Gigabits BaseT for LAN x 3, USB 3.1 Gen 1 x 1

Features:  Range Boost, Router app, MU-MIMO, Smart Connect, Traffic Analyzer, Adaptive QoS, AiProtection Pro

Parental Control:

Guest Network : 2.4 GHz x 3, 5 GHz-1 x 3, 5 GHz-2 x 3

VPN server : PPTP Server, OpenVPN Server, IPSec server

VPN client : PPTP client, L2TP client, OpenVPN client

NAT Pass-Through :PPTP Pass-Through, L2TP Pass-Through, IPSec Pass-Through, RTSP Pass-Through, H.323 Pass-Through, SIP Pass-Through, PPPoE relay

Mac OS Backup

Enhanced media server (AiPlayer app compatible)

- Image : Jpeg

- Audio : mp3, wma, wav, pcm, mp4, lpcm, ogg

- Video : asf, avi, divx, mpeg, mpg, ts, vob, wmv, mkv, mov

AiCloud personal cloud service

3G/4G data sharing

Printer Server

- Multifunctional printer support (Windows only)

- LPR protocol support

Download Master

- Support bt, nzb, http, ed2k

- Support encryption, DHT, PEX and magnet link

- Upload and download bandwidth control

- Download scheduling

AiDisk file server

- Samba and FTP server with account management

IPTV support

Roaming Assist




WPS Button, Reset Button, Power Switch

Power Supply: AC Input : 110V~240V(50~60Hz), DC Output : 19 V with max. 1.75 A current

OS Support:  Windows® 10, Windows® 8, , Windows® 7, Mac OS X 10.6, Mac OS X 10.7, Mac OS X 10.8

Dimensions: 160 x 75 x 161.5 mm

Weight: 716 g

Package Content: ZenWiFi AX, RJ-45 Cable, Power Adapter, Quick Start Guide, Warranty Card

The Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8), came in a great looking color printed box with images and specs of the router system. Opening the box revealed a well protected router system held in place by custom molding. Materials used in the construction was mostly plastic. Quality of materials used, as well as the fit and finish was very good. And the heft test, it felt like a well made product. Also included is the owner’s manual, power cords and network cables for both the main router and the slave.


I love the design of the ZenWiFi AX system which consists of a pair of Asus AX6600 Wi-Fi 6 routers, and provide coverage for up to 5500 sq ft and bandwidth of up to 6600 Mbps. It also provides all of the features you have come to expect, such as top notch security as well as parental controls. The AiProtection has free lifetime support, protects against internet based attacks and blocks access to malicious websites. Even if a device connected to the network is already infected, it keeps my personal data on the device from being compromised.


With the parental controls, you can manage your kids’ devices, and manage the devices individually. That way each device security settings can be where you want them to be. The internet Activity Dashboard lets you view each kids’ internet activity, and the kind on content they are viewing. You can even apply scheduled block times as well as apply content filters.


The ZenWiFi AX is also engineered for high performance, thanks to the quad-core CPU. The specially designed antenna and circuit board with its vertical housing yields better airflow for more reliability. The AiMesh Technology also makes it very easy to expand the system as needed. It’s fully scalable, being able to add additional compatible routers as needed.


Setting up the system proved to be very simple. And the included manual was actually well written and easy to follow. It all started with downloading the ASUS router app, and following the instructions on the app, setting up your main router. Once set up on the main router was completed it was time to set up the 2nd router or extender mode. And the LED lights on each device clearly shows you the status, with this initial set up, both routers need to be within a few feet of each other. But once the link and set up is complete, you can set the extender node where it needs to be. And once set in its new location, the LED will again tell you the strength of the connection between it and the main router. That way you know if the connection is good, or it you need to change locations. I set the main router next to the modem in the basement. The extender node went in the loft all the way up on the 2nd floor. I was very impressed to see that the 2 had a strong connection. This to me spoke volumes to the robustness of the devices. Now that it’s set-up, it’s time to test its performance.


The first test for the strength of signal was the strength of signal between the great distance between the main router in the basement, and the node all the way up in the loft, on the 2nd floor. The fact that the signal strength between the two was strong, said a lot of the system capabilities in providing a strong signal over a great distance. Next I pulled out my smartphone and did a speed test, on all 3 floors. Our level of internet service provides 100 Mb/s download. I was equally impressed, that no matter my location, I got between 98 Mb/s-102Mb/s. Rated at up to 5500 sq ft, my 4500 sq ft home was well provided for in Wi-Fi coverage. Our 4K gaming systems, as well as our 4K smart TV’s, all performed very well. As with any Wi-Fi system, there can be the occasional hiccup. There were a couple times when I heard a teenager of mine ask what’s wrong with the Wi-Fi. But it was short lived and back to normal.


With today’s electronic devices and the number that connect to the internet, it’s almost a must to have a strong robust Wi-Fi network, with high speed and large bandwidth. The Wi-Fi 6 is designed just for that purpose. And the ASUS ZenWiFi 6 can give, along with some excellent features. With a price of $449.99, it’s not cheap. But you do get what you pay for. And for a strong Wi-Fi system that does what it should is worth every penny. Based on their design, features, quality and performance, the ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8) has earned our Editor’s Choice Award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at

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Thursday, November 19, 2020

2020 Annual Holiday Gadget Gift Guide

Well, it’s that time of year again. And while Black Friday as we traditionally knew it has been cancelled with a lot of sales going away, due to Covid, it has been replaced with extended sales that have started earlier. So that means it’s time for our annual Holiday Gadget Gift Guide. We try to include a variety of different products. But due to the Pandemic, we have focused on home products. Some reviews have already been completed, and for those full reviews, click on the link to the review.  For the other reviews, check back for the review on the review date listed below.

A lot has changed due to COVID. Many are now working remote from home that weren’t before. And many kids are also doing school remotely from home. This may have put a big strain on your homes wireless internet system. You may need more speed. ASUS can help with their ZenWiFI AX (XT8). Check back on our site for their review, scheduled for week ending 11/22.

Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Copper, they have taken their award-winning Tesla Driver, and put it in a wireless model. They designed to be super comfy for hours long listening sessions. Their MIY app is also included. Find a link to the full review here:

While more of us are spending more time at home, there’s still a lot of driving happening. Unfortunately, accidents can happen, so it could be smart to have a dash cam. And if you suffer from lead foot syndrome like I do, it could also be smart to get a radar detector. Now you could save on dash clutter and get both in one product, thanks to Cobra with their Road Scout. Check out their review here

I know I’m not the only one who has done a lot of binge watching lately. And not only do I want to get the best performance out of my home theater gear, I also want to keep it protected. Helios has a great product for that with their Helios Smart Power Surge Protector Line Conditioner AS-P-603W. Check out their review here:

While no one wants to catch COVID, there also comes a time when you have to get out of the house. More people have turned to camping, and other outdoor activities. But don’t forget to take your tunes with you. Thanks to JBL and their Pulse 4, you can do just that. Check out their review here:

I love my music, and that includes in the can. Kenwood gives some of the biggest bang for the buck. And if you want all of the features, including GPS and a hi-resolution display, it has to be their top-of-the-line DNX-997XR, from their Excelon Reference line. Check back for their review here, scheduled for the week ending 12/13/2020.

If you want the best case for your smartphone that provides the best protection, you may already know to turn to OtterBox. But you may not know about some of their other products. One of those is their wireless charging system. It’s the OtterSpot Wireless Charging System. Check back here for their review scheduled 11/29/20.

If you’re like me, being quarantined and stuck at home may have given you a good look at your home theater gear. A home theater receiver can do a good job powering most speakers. But if you want the best sound out of your home theater speakers, you need a separate amp. One of the best bangs for the buck is Outlaw Audio, with their Model 7000X. Check out their review here:

There are a lot of options when it comes to speakers for your home theater system. But if you demand high end sound quality, one of the best companies out there with a long history of quality products is RBH Sound. And one of their best in-wall speakers is from their Signature Reference Series for CCR, their SI-663R. Check out their review here:

Another great option for in-wall home theater speakers, again from RBH sound is their SI-760R. You may have a large room and use their SI-663R for the fronts, the SI-760R is perfect for the side and rear surrounds. But you may have a smaller room, or the SI-663R isn’t in your budget, the SI-760R is also a great choice for fronts or surrounds or both. Check out their review here 12/06/20.

In planning out your home theater system, you can’t forget the height channel. RBH Sound has you covered here as well. The same quality and sound can be found in their SI-615. That review is scheduled for the week ending 12/20/2020.

4K TV’s have significantly come down in price since they first came out. Pricing has also come down on 4K front projectors. If you really want a big picture, front projection is the way to go. One of the biggest bang for the buck is the ViewSonic X10-4KE. Check out their review here:

Every year, we try to give you some good options for gift ideas, and reviews on those products. No matter your budget, if it’s tight or if its price is no option, we have you covered. From the economical Otter Box wireless charging system, to the ultra high end built-in home theater system, there’s something for everyone. It’s been a crazy year, and if you think like us, you may also be happy to see this year end. But in the meantime, from our family to yours, Happy Holidays.

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Sunday, November 8, 2020

Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Copper Premium Bluetooth Wireless Headphones

Beyerdynamic is a great manufacturer and provides some excellent headphones. Up for review is their Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Copper Bluetooth Wireless Headphones. They employed their highly awarded Tesla driver, and is made in Germany. It also incorporates their sound customization software. MSRP is $699.

Features and specs:

Circumaural headphones with optimum sound quality (Qualcomm® aptX™ HD und AAC - plus aptX™ LL)

Elegant copper elements: decorative rings made of solid copper

MOSAYC sound personalization thanks to beyerdynamic MIY app

Touchpad control and more than 30 hours battery life

Made in Germany

Operating principle: Closed

Transmission Type: Wireless via Bluetooth®

Remote: Without Remote

Nominal impedance headphones: 32 ohms

weight headphones without cable : 400 g

battery runtime: More than 30 hours

Headphone frequency response: 5-40,000 Hz

Nominal sound pressure level: 100 dB

Supported Bluetooth profiles: HSP, HFP, A2DP, AVRCP, GAVDP

Codecs: aptX™, aptX™ LL, aptX™ HD, AAC, SBC


The Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Copper came in a nice color printed box with photos of the headphones, along with it’s features. Opening the box revealed a hard zipper case. Opening the zipper case revealed a well protected headphone. Materials used in the construction was metal, plastic, cloth and foam. The headband and earpads have foam covered with a soft microfiber. The back of the earcups are plastic with copper styling. Quality of materials used as well as the fit and finish is excellent. Also included was the audio and charging cable, and owner’s manual.

The Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Copper have a stellar design. The copper highlights are stylish. The soft Alcantara headband and soft earpads are extremely comfortable, for long listening periods. Controls on the headphones are minimal. All of the controls are found on the right earcup, for charging port, audio cable port, LED button, microphone, as well as the touch pad for gesture control.

The last part of the design is one that I really love! It’s the MIY app. We all don’t hear the same, and as we get older, we tend to lose part of our hearing. The MIY app through our smartphone, guides us through setting up a unique personal sound profile. It does this by basically taking us through a hearing test. It can then adjust the sound output based on your hearing profile. Then the app is a true game changer! Now, let’s see how they sound.

Mulan: Reflections – excellent resolution of the plucking of the strings, and hearing the bow across the strings. Strings were also as smooth as honey. Bass had very good depth and played with authority. Flute was also very smooth with lots of air. Piano sounded extremely natural. Vocals had layers of resolution with excellent harmonics, timbre and texture and dynamics.

Earth, Wind, & Fire: September- shaker and cow bell were crisp and clean with excellent resolution and depth. Guitar was nice and raw. Cymbals were extremely dynamic and crisp and clean. Trumpets were silky smooth without being brassy. Vocals were extremely natural with silky smooth harmonics and excellent resolution of the texture and timbre. Soundstage was wide and deep. Imaging also spot on.

Journey: Don’t Stop Believing – Piano sounded extremely natural. Guitar was nice and raw. Cymbals were crisp and clean. Kick drum had very good depth and played with a ton of authority. Percussion was extremely dynamic. Vocals were extremely natural sounding and were silky smooth with excellent resolution of the timbre and texture, with excellent harmonics. Soundstage was large both wide and deep.

Lady Gaga: Starstruck – The snaps were extremely crisp, clean and dynamic. Bass was extremely deep with a ton of low-end extension. It also played really clean while playing with a ton of authority, so much that it got my ear lobes vibrating. Vocals were also extremely natural sounding with a ton of resolution.

The Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Copper was a premium design with made in Germany quality.  And the sound personalization software takes its top of the line sound to the next level, just the way you need it, customized to your hearing.  The Bluetooth performance was a little disappointing.  It definitely did not like going between floors with multiple hiccups, and while it reached 200ft outside, it also had some hiccups doing so.

When it comes to headphones, there are a lot of different options and price points to choose from.  You tend to get what you pay for.  And that often tends to include build quality at lower price points.  Based on its design, features, quality, and performance, the Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless Copper have earned our Editor’s Choice Award.  For more info and complete specs, check out their websites at 

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