Archive for the ‘Product Review’ Category

Polaroid Rechargeable Panorama Pan Head (Review)

March 9, 2016 Comments off

Polaroid Panorama Pan HeadPolaroid Panorama Pan Head
$49.99 Amazon (Prime)

The Polaroid Panorama Pan Head (Pan Head) is a tripod-mountable, remote control panoramic head attachment. It features still shots, 360-degree continuous motion panoramas, a 75-degree sweep mode, and a 10 second delayed 5-degree slow movement option.

In the box:

  • Panorama Pan Head Ball/Tripod
  • Remote Control Unit
  • GoPro Tripod Attachment
  • Phone attachment
  • UBS to microUSB cable
  • Instruction booklet
  • Carrying bag

The head unit is a fully rechargeable, stand-alone unit, meaning that it requires no wires or other attachments to make it work. It requires a few hours of recharge time, but once charged, the charge lasts up to three hours or more depending on conditions and usage.

The whole unit is coated with a non-skid coating that also won’t mar furniture or other delicate surfaces.

The bottom of the Pan Head has a female 1/4″-20 standard tripod mount and the top, where the panorama takes place, has a male 1/4″-20 tripod mount. The phone attachment has a padded inner surface so that you won’t scratch your screen or the rear surface, but be careful to only snug the phone in place. If you over-tighten, you can crack your screen.

My box didn’t ship with the GoPro nut that securely attaches the included GoPro tripod mount to the male tripod screw. I had my own, so it wasn’t a problem, but just be aware that it might not ship with one.

Personal Experience

Polaroid Pan Head Phone AttachmentUsing the Pan Head is a lot of fun and using the three attachments (tripod mount, phone mount, and GoPro mount) is easy. I’ve used this unit with my GoPro, my iPhone 5, and my Canon T3. I didn’t try it with my Canon RF H600, but I’m sure that it would work well too. Since the Pan Head can easily hold up to about a pound’s worth of camera, it can easily support old school film cameras, such as my Canon AE-1, Diana, Smena, or any of the other Lomography type cameras that are all the rage.

I used the Bluetooth connection between the Pan Head and the iPhone. It worked perfectly every time. You actually pair the powered-on Pan Head with your camera although it is the remote control unit that fires the camera. I assume it does so through the Pan Head. Since creating the review video, I have tested the unit with starting and stopping videos and it does work. Press the camera button to start video on your phone or remote device and press it again to stop video. Worked every time.

One thing to note: Infrared (IR) is line-of-sight, so be sure that you test your aim at the Pan Head from the Remote Control unit prior to attempting to take real photos or video. The IR receiver on the Pan Head is not the red button–the red button is the power button. The small black window is the IR receiver and you must be able to beam to that for the functions to work. Be patient with your aim and the response from the Pan Head–as it is not instantaneous. There is a short (half-second or less) delay between pressing the button and the reaction from the Pan Head. Don’t press twice, because either you’ll undo what you want to do or you’ll speed up or slow down the panorama head.

Using something like a Gorilla Pod, you can get some cool angles and panoramas. iPhones have a built-in Panorama photo function, but with this Pan Head unit, you’ll get perfect panorama shots every time and you can do them remotely. The same goes for time lapse shots.

Why it’s Frugal: The Polaroid Panorama Pan Head is frugal because for $50, you can have a real remote controlled panorama tripod head attachment that is also a tripod itself. Hardware with comparable functionality costs hundreds of dollars. This unit is affordable, durable, and a good investment for any level of photographer oRemote Control Detailr videographer.

I really like the Polaroid Pan Head. In fact, I love it. I’ve wanted one of these types of units for many years and now there’s an affordable one. Before this, they were just out of my financial range–good ones at least were and still are. The ball shape and flip out “wings” are very innovative and compact. I really love that the ball head is a tripod itself as well as a tripod head.

I think every photographer, phoneographer, and videographer should own one of these. Seriously, to be able to move your camera’s perspective remotely is extremely valuable. And to be able to start/stop video or take photos remotely is just too cool for school. Yes, I know, I just carbon dated myself with that saying, but seriously, this is a big bargain for an extremely practical photographic accessory. I’m glad to see that Polaroid is still innovating and still has its finger on the photographer’s creative pulse. I can’t wait to see what else Polaroid has up its sleeve. Now I’m going to have to dig out my 600 series Polaroid camera, buy some Impossible film, and get to shooting again. Thanks Polaroid, my wife will love you for the inspiring me to purchase instant film after all this time. I knew I saved that camera for some reason.

Rating: 10/10

Recommendation: Every photographer, phoneographer, and videographer should own at least one of these. Strong buy.


Getting fit with Withings Activité Pop and Activité Steel Fitness Tracker Watches (Review)

January 22, 2016 Comments off

Activité Pop
Activité Pop and Activité Steel Fitness Tracker Watches
$149.95 (Pop) and $169.95 (Steel)

When I first heard of so-called wearables, I was skeptical–skeptical of the hype, the price, and the practicality. I was curious though, so I decided to check out the Withings Activité Pop (Pop) Fitness Tracker Watch–or rather I decided to let my wife check it out, since she’s the avid walker/half-marathoner in the family. I’m also a walker/runner, but I am more in the category of fan/support rather than competitive walking and running.

I reviewed the black Activité Steel (Steel) Fitness Tracker Watch. I believe that the Pop and the Steel are very similar in functionality, workmanship, features, and look. The Pop came out first and we had time to work with it a bit before I received the Steel.

Activité SteelOne word of caution before I start the feature overview and review. The Activité Fitness Tracker Watches might make you obsess over your activity to the point where you are cognizant of every step you take. I’m not kidding.

Here’s an example: One day I went to the local Sam’s Club store to shop. Of course I had on my Steel, because I seem to wear it 24 hours a day now and I haven’t worn a watch in years. Anyway, I walked around pushing a shopping cart for about an hour, when I realized that I hadn’t received any steps (I’ll explain later) for this activity. I was annoyed. After I came home, I told my wife about this. Apparently, she had already solved this problem, by pulling the cart and not pushing it.

You see, the way most of these fitness trackers record your steps is by recording your arm swings as you walk. It is pretty accurate too. At first, the Pop was not so accurate, but there’s been an update since that time and now it’s spot on. If you walk 1,000 steps, the watch registers 1,000 steps. I’ve tested it, so you can trust that you have walked the number of steps that shows up on your watch and on your app.

Unlike some fitness trackers, the Withings ones do not have to be tethered to a phone. In fact, I never carry my phone on a walk. It’s too heavy and it just bugs me, so I leave it at home, while I torture…I mean while I walk.

A Journey of a Thousand Miles begins with a single Step

Daily Step GoalI set my daily steps goal at 10,000. That’s a convenient and widely accepted target. You set your daily goal when you setup your Withings app on your mobile device, but you can also change it at any time by swiping in a new number. Whatever number you select for your daily goal will be fed into the watch and split into tenths. As you can see on the dial face, there is an analog tracker that shows how close you are to your goal. Since mine is 10,000 steps, each large tick mark is 1,000 steps or around my block one time. It’s good that I know my target goal and a simple milestone, such as my block, that way I can compare the two results to be sure that I’m tracking correctly on walks in which I’m not sure of the distance.


Sleep AnalysisThe Pop and the Steel both also track your sleep patterns. This is a bonus feature because sleep patterns are directly related to health. And the Withings products give you a sleep pattern assessment for each night’s sleep and then a weekly assessment. By assessment, you can see how long you slept, how many times you were awake during a night, and even see your sleep patterns of deep and light sleep.

Oh, and it knows when you take a nap. On a recent trip, I took a nap and it knew. One hour and thirty-three minutes of monitored bliss.

Take it for a Swim

App and SteelAnother bonus feature that surprised us is that the watch knows when you’ve gone for a swim. My wife went for an hour-long swim one day and exclaimed, “It knew I swam for an hour!” She didn’t have to tell it, nor do you have to do anything special when you sleep. I call these the Santa Claus watches because they know when you’ve been sleeping, they know when you’re awake, and they know when you’ve been bad (not reaching your goals) or good (when you have reached your goals). The watch is water resistant to 50m/150ft.

Get a Move On

To encourage you along the way, you win fitness badges at milestone distances. You also receive encouraging messages along the way, when you achieve your goals. Seriously, it becomes a personal competitive thing once you get into this whole fitness tracking shtick. You’ll find yourself taking more steps, making sure that your arm is swinging appropriately for the steps to count. You’ll self deprecate when you don’t reach your goal, but the app no longer scolds you for missing a goal. Originally it did.

Although I’ve never done it, you can set a wake up alarm on the watch. My daughter and my wife did this on the Pop, through the app.

Stylistically Speaking

I want to turn your attention to the look of the Withings Fitness Tracker Watches. Personally, I think they’re the best looking ones out there. They look like normal watches. They’re normal watch sized and they don’t have any unnecessary do-dads on the face or on the body of the watch. If people don’t know that you’re wearing a fitness tracker, then they don’t know from the Withings watch. They’re stylish, come in many colors, and all perform the same functions.

Withings Fitness Tracker Watches

I’ve looked at several different fitness tracker type watches over the past year and I really like the Withings ones. I like that they don’t have that blocky, ugly look of some fitness trackers or a huge profile. I like the watch-sized footprint and the fact that the watch itself is analog. I’ve never thought digital readouts looked like watches. It’s a personal thing. I love watches. I have a whole collection of different ones and they’re all gloriously analog. Not a digital readout in the bunch.

The Bumsters

What I don’t like in these fitness trackers is that I have to have a free swinging arm for it to measure my steps. But, to do it any other way would require a GPS unit and that would spoil the small, watch-like footprint of the Withings watches, so maybe that’s only half a bummer.
The app won’t update unless it is in the foreground on your mobile device–or at least it doesn’t on mine, although I receive messages that I need to open my Withings App to get background updates. Mine won’t do background updates. Be aware of that and your mileage may vary. I have an Apple iPhone 5 with iOS 9.x on it, so maybe that’s the issue.


At 149.95 for the Pop and 169.95 for the Steel, I’d say that they’re a little high for me. I’d prefer something a bit more competitive at say $99.95 and maybe as high as $129.95 for the Steel. When I see a price for a watch/fitness bad that approaches the $150 mark, I tend to drift away and look at the other options available to me.

The watches themselves are quality made. The bands are made of a silicone rubber material that seems durable and sturdy. The watches are certainly not afraid of water and that’s worth something too. The Withings watches would make great gifts, especially for those who want a simple fitness tracking experience. There’s no plugging in of the watch to sync it, no charging, no messing about with any on-watch apps, and no need to always have the phone nearby.

Bottom Line

The Withings watches do exactly what they say they’ll do. They accurately measure your steps, your sleep, your swimming, and they record the whole of your activity into an app that does not have to be constantly tethered to your phone. The watch connects via Bluetooth when in range and updates for you. I suggest not letting it go more than a couple of days without updating so that you don’t lose any data. If you take the steps, you want them to count.

There are features of the watch and of the app that I’m positive that I’m not using. I have simple needs. I want it to measure my steps and my sleep and it does.

The Withings Fitness Tracker Watches are simple to use and that’s a huge plus for me. If you know someone who wants a fitness tracker, but is afraid of all the complexity, these are the ones you want to buy–no doubt about it.

A well-made, well-supported, simple-to-use wearable that’s both stylish and functional.

Rating: 8.5/10

Recommendation: Buy as a gift or for yourself. At half the price and size of other fitness trackers, you’ll like it a lot.

The 24/7 Messenger Bag from Adorama (Review)

January 20, 2016 Comments off

24/7 Messenger Bag24/7 Messenger Bag

Joseph (thevideoguyjoe) Butler and I created a video review of the 24/7 Messenger Bag from Adorama on our My Technical Romance YouTube show. In the video, you’ll see our complete take on the Messenger Bag (Messenger) that is part of the 24/7 Traffic Collection. I was the primary reviewer of the Messenger. Joseph’s first time to see the bag was just before we performed the review on camera, so his impressions and commentary are all from his first impressions of it.

In the video, we discuss the bag’s style, its contrasting colors, its interior features, its 3-in-1 bag feature, its wearability, and its composition. We demo the bag’s fully and quickly adjustable shoulder strap, its protective raincoat, and its capacity to carry photography and computing equipment.

The Messenger is a classic style bag that is dual-purpose designed as a walkabout bag and as a bicycle rider’s bag. Since Joseph is an avid bicyclist, he takes the bicyclist’s perspective on photography gear and accessories. I’m more of a walkabout street photography with a tendency toward stealth and a bit of guerilla photography and filming. I snap candid photos of people on public transportation, on the street, in restaurants (often to my wife’s chagrin), and I love to catch people sleeping in public places. Carrying a visible camera isn’t always the best method for capturing unposed, impromptu shots. With the Messenger, I can “hide” the fact that I’m going to take your picture by posing as a random hipster with a cool bag.

The bag’s main flap either is coated with or completely composed of a water-resistant material, plus the Messenger has a built-in raincoat that pulls out of a bottom compartment. I really like that the raincoat, as I call it, does not detach from the bag. Being permanently attached means that you always have it available. Additionally, when the raincoat is tucked away in the bag’s bottom flap, it provides extra cushion to everything inside the bag. An added bonus for sure.

Messenger Bag and Bonus BagsThe Messenger is actually three bags in one. That is to say that within the large Messenger bag, there is a small mesh bag and a small camera and lens carrier. In the video, you can see the relative sizes of each bag. The mesh bag is for cables. It keeps your cables, chargers, and other items organized so that they aren’t lost by getting attached to other items that you’re pulling out of your other bags.

Camera BagThe camera bag is a smaller bag with a handle and double zippers. It will comfortably hold a DSLR with a lens attached plus at least two other lenses. This smaller bag is for quick camera access that doesn’t include a shoulder strap and a lot of accessories. For street photography, run-and-gun, or a bit of open-ended shooting where lugging around a larger bag won’t work.

The entire bag is well put together with very strong stitching and materials that are easy to clean, water resistant, and very sturdy. I feel like this bag would be one that could last for ten years or more even with very harsh handling and less than desirable conditions. You’ll change cameras long before this Traffic Collection series wears out. I’d love to see one of these bags five and tens years out to observe the type of abuse they can take. My guess is a lot.

I like the size of the Messenger. It’s not bulky and stiff like some messenger style bags are. It’s supple, but sturdy. It feels good in my hands and I have no fear of placing my most valuable equipment into it for a full-on street run.

24/7 Messenger BagNow the tricky part. There is possibly only one thing that I don’t like about the 24/7 Messenger, and honestly it won’t bother everyone, but it bothers me: The shoulder strap isn’t removable. I would prefer to have a removable strap that I could tuck away into a pocket or slot until I’m ready to use it again. At the ridiculously low price of $79.95 (Seriously, I thought it was a misprint until I called Adorama for confirmation), it’s a must have. If you ride a bike, motorcycle, or if you walk and shoot, I’m not sure that you could find a better bag at a comparable price. I’m actually not sure if you could find a comparable bag at twice the price.

If you check out our review of the 24/7 Sling Bag, near the end of the video Joseph says that he wishes the Sling had more room in it. Well, the Messenger is the bag with extra room, so guess who now has the Messenger bag as well as the Sling? If you guessed Joseph, you’d be correct. He convinced me that the Sling and the Messenger are two different bags (duh) with two different applications. Fifteen minutes later I’m too exhausted to argue, so he walks away with two bags. That’s OK, because he’s the one who usually carries around the DSLR and various accessories. For larger shoots, I have a small pullman bag that is part of a set of luggage my wife bought me last year. The luggage is really ugly, but at least this way no one would steal it. And if they do, the thief will be easy to spot.

Ken’s Review: 8/10

Recommendation: A great big bag bargain that’s actually three bags for an excellent price. One of the best values every. Buy it.

The 24/7 Sling Bag from Adorama (Review)

January 19, 2016 Comments off

24/7 Sling Bag24/7 Sling Bag

Joseph (thevideoguyjoe) Butler and I created a video review of this bag on our My Technical Romance YouTube show. In the video, you’ll see our complete take on the 24/7 Sling Bag (Sling) from The Sling is the perfect street photographer accessory. Not only is it comfortable for carrying while you walk, but you can also ride your bike with it on, which Joseph describes in the video. He’s the avid bike rider and he thoroughly tests items that are touted to be “bike friendly.” He also doesn’t mind telling you what’s wrong with an item. I’m also known for that too. We try to tell it like it is so that if you purchase an item from one of our reviews, you aren’t surprised or disappointed by what we think are negative aspects of it.

The focus of this review is really from Joseph’s perspective because he tested it himself. I only saw the bag for a very short five minutes before he grabbed it, read about it, put it on, and then disappeared on his bike with it strapped on him like it was his first-born child.

A few days later, we caught up with each other for the review video (below).

In this 12 minute video, Joseph tells you everything you need to know about the Sling and how he used it. In fact, he has to unpack all of his stuff from it during the video. Among the items he packed into it are his Canon 70D with the 18-135mm lens, bike tools, camera battery charger, and a few other items. After all that, I’m not sure he had room for a sandwich or even a candy…I mean energy bar in it.

The many faces of the 24/7 SlingHe’s the kind of guy who packs everything he needs, and then some, for his bike-powered photographic excursions. So, if you can believe anyone on how well this bag is made, how much stuff you can pack into it, and how it works on a bike, it’s him.

Joseph also demonstrates the adjustable strap and how to maneuver the bag once you have it placed comfortably on your body.

During the video, we discuss the workmanship, the design, the materials, and we demonstrate all aspects and features of the bag including its built-in raincoat that doubles as a reflective visual notification to drivers that you exist.

If you’re not a person who likes to watch videos or video reviews, let me spoil the surprise for you. He really likes the Sling. I really liked it too after seeing it in action. As I wrote, I didn’t see it or touch it very much when it first arrived, so I was as excited as everyone else to see it reviewed. If I were a bicycle rider, someone who walked to work, rode a bus or subway, this is the bag that I’d have. It has room for a tablet or laptop, plus a camera, lens, and accessories.

I actually wish I’d had such a bag when I was trapped in a thunderstorm a couple of years ago in Vedauwoo (Wyoming). My Canon DSLR got very wet even though I ran bent over for about two miles with it under my shirt. The outcome of that was that now my onboard flash doesn’t pop up when I need for it to. It just clicks and then gives me an error. Sometimes I can pull it up manually, but it’s a problem that I can’t solve. The Sling would have prevented that, plus I could have held the bag over my head during the downpour for a bit of protection. Unfortunately, I didn’t have such a bag because they didn’t exist yet. My normal camera bag, had I had it with me, would have been drenched too because it has no waterproofing.

The Sling also has plenty of interior padding to prevent breakage from accidental drops, plus the stitching and materials are really tough. Trust me on this point, because if they weren’t up to a very high standard, Joseph would have mentioned it. He puts items through their paces for these reviews in order to give you an honest, non-marketing, real world view of the product.

Joseph’s rating: 7.5/10

Recommendation: Strong buy. You’ll love the Sling for its compact size and big capacity.

Acer Chromebook 15 C910 (Review)

November 20, 2015 Comments off

Acer Chromebook C910-54M1Acer Chromebook 15 C910-54M1
$499.99 Retail

Being a Chromebook owner and dedicated convert doesn’t hurt when reviewing a beautiful piece of hardware like the Acer Chromebook 15 C910. In fact, it helps. It also makes me a little jealous of those who have the $500 to buy one. The Acer Chromebook 15 C910 (C910) is a large format, very fast, delicious version of a Chromebook. It also doesn’t hurt that I love Acer products. I own several–all of various ages and platforms, but all still run and are used on an almost daily basis. While I don’t own the C910, I’m only reviewing it, it is certainly another worthy hunk of awesome from a superb personal computer company.

The C910 is a large laptop computer that sports a 15.6″ full HD screen, although as I stated in the review video, “It reads more like a 17”. What I mean is that it is a laptop with a wall-to-wall video screen. It has less of a frame around it than my iPad 4 does, which makes its screen feel like something much larger than a 15-inch by comparison.

Acer Chromebook 15 Review Video

Acer Chromebook 15 Extra Video created with the Chromebook 15

Acer Chromebook 15 Extra Video 2 created with the Chromebook C720.

The C910 is a business grade laptop computer that’s suitable for any application or situation. You can connect an external monitor–not that you’d need to. You can connect an external mouse and keyboard and any other peripheral that you might have or want. It has a built-in webcam and microphone. It also has two huge speakers in the unit’s base. It is a multi-media aficionado’s dream machine.

Features at a Glance:

  • Chrome OS™
  • Intel Core i5-5200U Dual-core 2.20 GHz
  • 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9
  • Intel HD 5500 with Shared Memory
  • 32 GB SSD

A few Words about Chrome OS

For those of you who believe that you need a Windows system to run “standard” applications, you don’t. The Sixth Flag is a great solution for that complaint, but that’s another story. There are web-based applications for just about everything you use. Even Microsoft has created Office365 to promote the use of web-based applications for any platform or device.
The only Chromebook shortcoming that I’ve found so far is Skype, which doesn’t work on Chrome OS. Supposedly there’s a workaround so that you can use Skype, and perhaps The Sixth Flag web-based Windows desktop is also the answer to that problem, but I haven’t tried it. It is unfortunate that Skype doesn’t/won’t work because I use it so much. It is the one shortfall that prevents me from using a Chromebook 24x7x365. Solve that one issue and it’s a done deal.

Chrome OS is the most secure operating system that a computer can run. As I explain in the video, there’s just nothing for a hacker to latch onto over the network. And even if someone were to steal your Chromebook, your data isn’t saved on it, so there’s nothing to steal except the hardware. The only way your data is vulnerable on a Chromebook is for you to be logged on and either someone looks over your shoulder while you’re working or if they steal it while you’re actually using the device.

More features of the Chromebook 15 C910:

  • 1 HDMI port
  • Non-skid, non-slip coating
  • 2 USB ports (1 USB 2.0 & 1 USB 3.0)
  • Audio out port (3.5mm jack)
  • Built-in webcam (720p)
  • Built-in microphone
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Wi-Fi networking (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac)
  • 4-cell, Li-ion battery that lasts 8 hours or more
  • 4.8 lbs.


Flashpoint 300 LED on Camera Light (Review)

October 1, 2015 Comments off

Flashpoint 300 LEDFlashpoint 300 LED

The Flashpoint 300 (300) LED is the first on-camera LED light that I’ve tried and I have to say up front that I love it. The 300 is a lightweight, versatile, fully adjustable light source that delivers as much or as little light as you want for a very good price. 300 individual LEDs provide you with strong, even light that you can’t reproduce with a standard flash unit.

Flashpoint 300 LED: On-Camera Light with Audio

The large 300 diode LED gives action videographers and still photographers super bright, high-quality output. With auto light levels, stereo microphones and a signal flash mode, the 300 LED can sense lighting requirements and delivers automatic balance exposure as it passes from one environment to another, making it ideal for run-and-gun shooters looking for the most light on demand. The on-board stereo electret condenser microphones are also invaluable for traveling shooters, minimizing the need to cage-rig a camera for attaching an external microphone. The sensitive mics are distanced from camera sounds on either top corner of the light, delivering clean audio directly to the camera. All fitting comfortably atop a camera’s hot shoe or off-camera via the convenient stand thread, the 300 LED is a comprehensive package in a superior, sleek design.

I like that the unit delivers consistent light at all levels. There’s no flicker or any odd color shifting at full power or at any power setting.

  • Advanced 300 LED lamp count in a sleek but strong unit.
  • Delivers amazing flicker free Daylight 7140 lux at 50cm.
  • Generous beautiful wrap around 80 degree angle emission.
  • Automatic light level mode responds to conditions automatically or total manual control with fine settings.
  • Dimmer dial from 0-100% with shift free color.
  • Renders at least 85% of total spectral value.
  • Digital display for battery level and light output .
  • Uses standard Sony NP 7.4v Lithium battery plus DC power adapters.
  • Built-in Stereo Microphones delivers clean audio to camera.
  • Constructed of super tough black ABS.
  • Keeps subjects and gear cool and comfortable when used close up.
  • Special emergency signal capabilities.

FP 300 LED BackWhy it’s Frugal: The Flashpoint 300 LED is frugal because it’s the only light you need for a variety of situations including run-n-gun, still photography, video, and fill lighting. When you only need one light that can fill almost every need, then it’s frugal.

I took the 300 with me to SpiceWorld 2015 in Austin last week and I had a professional photographer ask me all about it. I showed him all the same features that I explained in the video. I’ll bet that he’s already placed an order for one.

If you can only carry one light with you, this should be the one. In its bag, with two extra batteries (sold separately), that I highly recommend that you purchase, the space cost is approximately 9″x7″x1.5″. That small space contains the 300 LED, the audio cable, two batteries, and your filters.

NP-F550 BatteryThe only reason that the 300 didn’t get the coveted 10/10 is that it drains batteries (sold separately for $22.70) pretty fast. And it drains them even when the unit is off, but the the batteries are connected. So, remove your battery from the unit if it’s going to be off for more than 30 minutes. Buy more than one battery. You get two plus a charger from the link above at Amazon.

Rating: 9.5/10

Recommendation: If you are a photographer or videographer, this light must be in your bag. And the batteries too.

Pet Pods Solve Lost or Damaged Earbuds Problem (Review)

August 10, 2015 Comments off

Pet Pods
Education OutdoorsPetPods
$15.99 – Amazon $5.98

So everyone loses earbuds, right? I’ve lost them. You’ve lost them. Your kids probably have lost more than one pair. It’s frustrating and it gets expensive too. Most often, my earbuds get misplaced to replace ones that have been lost. That’s even more frustrating. Well, Education Outdoors has a pretty good solution for your earbud problem that it calls Pet Pods. They’re cute little animal plush toys with earbuds inside.

The Pet Pods come in six different animal styles: Beaver, Buck, Bear, Fawn, Eagle, and Moose. Your child will love the stuffed animal and you’ll love that he or she will have a place to stash those earbuds. My daughter never knew where her earbuds were from one hour to the next, but now, she stores hers in the animal when they’re not in use.

BeaverEarplugsSmall children (not recommended for children under three years of age due to choking hazard) will love the plush animal as an extra “friend” to play with. Teenagers can carry the plush animal ironically to show how cool they are by carrying a stuffed animal with earbuds inside.

“My wife and I have teenage daughters and between the four of us on any given day, we always used to be at least one pair of earbuds short,” said Education Outdoors CEO Tim Paczesny. “Tired of constantly searching for earbuds, I decided to create a solution and came up with the Pet Pod. America already loves stuffed animals so I figured why not make a mini version that serves dual purposes by storing a pair of headphones inside.”

You can scan the QR code to learn more about your animal.

My daughter, who actually uses the Pet Pod and earbuds told me that the Amazon price is a real value at $5.98, “Because you’ll pay that much or more just for the earbuds alone. Plus, you get the animal that you can put your earbuds into.”

She told me that her earbuds had a “bend” in them that doesn’t affect their sound or functionality now, but might in the future. She also wishes that there was something to wind up the earbuds on instead of just having them loose.

Why it’s Frugal: Earbuds generally cost from $3.00 to $50.00 or more and even at $3.00 per pair, lost ones add up over time. The Pet Pod is a cute storage compartment for your earbuds and anything that prevents lost money is frugal.

The earbuds are quality made. The plush toy is a nice little toy with the added bonus of being storage for the earbuds. In all, Pet Pods make a great gift for birthdays, stocking stuffers, or just because you don’t want to keep replacing earbuds once a month.

About Education Outdoors

EagleEarplugAn avid outdoorsman, Tim Paczesny grew up at his family’s log cabin resort in Northern Michigan. As an adult with children of his own, Tim wanted to create a way to share his knowledge of the outdoors with his children and his “city” friends. He came up with the idea of creating games that would be able to teach families about the outdoors through trivia questions and fun facts. For more information, please visit

Rating: 8/10

Recommendation: Buy it, but not for children under three.

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