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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Review: MJYUN In Ear Wireless Earbuds with Charging Case, Bluetooth Headphones for iPhone Samsung Android Phones (White)

Disclaimer: This product was provided by MJYUN in exchange for an unbiased review.

Today I'm reviewing the MJYUN In Ear Earbuds, which cost £23.99 on Amazon at the time of writing this review.


Pros

  • Compact
  • Works as expected
  • Long cable
  • Built-in battery charger
  • Easy paring
  • Fits comfortably in the ear
  • Drowns out surrounding sounds
  • Small size

Cons:

  • Sound quality a bit tinny
  • Not easy to adjust the volume
  • Case and earbud a bit slippery so easy to get lost


In the box you get:
  • 2x earbuds
  • 1x charging case
  • USB charging cable
  • 2x manuals
  • 1x spare eartips
First, off the bat, there is no denying that the product is very Apple-like.  Whether that's a good thing is up to you.  However, unlike the Apple Airpods, there is no dangling bit at the end; the entire unit fit entirely in the ear.  The product is lightweight and portable, and the earbuds are surprisingly comfortable.  The earbuds fit snugly in the ear and stay in place despite moving my head around.

The product is easy to use.  You press and hold the large button on both devices to turn it on.  To pair the device, as with other Bluetooth devices, you go to your phone's Bluetooth settings and select the device named MJYUN M1.

The control works rather well but leaves much to be desired.  For example, it doesn't have a way to control the volume.  To do that you have to take out your phone and adjust the volume there.  However, you can easily pause the music or hang up calls with a single tap.  A double tap is needed to go to the next song.

It also has a charging case like the Airpods, which is also sturdy and light and can easily fit into a pocket.  The product automatically powers off when you put it back into the case.  The case has a magnet that guides the earbuds into place.  The case charges via USB-C which is rather nice.  According to the product page, the case has a 500 mAH battery and is able to charge the product 3-4 times to full charge.

For an earbud, the audio quality is rather mediocre.  The bass is missing and, compared to other earbuds, the sound is rather tinny.  Also, the sound crackles at high volume.

I used the product during my commute and it pleasingly drowns out the surrounding sound.  Despite that, I find it struggling to overcome the noise of the surrounding.  I also think that due to the design of the device, there is no pass through to let you hear the surrounding like the way more expensive Bose QuietControl (QC) 30 or the Bose QuietComfort 20i.  Therefore, you have to remove the device if you want to hear your surrounding, where its size becomes a drawback.  You can easily lose the product by dropping it.  The slipperiness of the case and the earbuds due to the smooth surface made the problem worse. Also, sometimes its a bit fiddly to get them out of the charging case.


During my use, I find that it was easy to get the two buds to disconnect from each other, and it happened twice to me.  To fix it, you have to turn off the device and then restart it.  Despite the relatively easy procedure to re-pair the two buds, it was annoying to find the two buds had disconnected from each other.  In addition, the first set I got from MJYUN had a defect where the right earbud would not switch on.  I got a replacement device from MJYUN, which thankfully didn't have the defect. 

The manual that came with the product is rather sparse but contains troubleshooting steps for common problems.  One quirk I found was that Bluetooth was misspelled as "Blueteeth."  I suspect that this might be due to a translation error.

Would I recommend this device?  Maybe.  With phone's manufacturer's adversity to include headphone jacks, the only way to listen to music without using dongles is to use Bluetooth headphones.   However, you can still use your existing headphones using a Bluetooth receiver like the Mpow Bluetooth Transmitter Receiver.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Updated: Review: VicTsing Dehumidifier


Disclaimer: This product was provided by VicTsing in exchange for an unbiased review.

Update: September 24, 2018: The dehumidifier finally gave up the ghost on me.  It no longer turned on.  So the answer to the below question about how long the product last is 2 years.

The original review is below.




Today I'm reviewing the VicTsing Dehumidifier, which cost £47.99 on Amazon.

Pros
  • Compact
  • Works as expected
  • Long cable
  • Easy to use
  • Sturdy construction
  • Large water catchment container

Cons:
  • High pitch whirring
  • Need to be plugged in
  • Limited by 2.5m power cable

At first I quite skeptical about the product after reading the negative reviews on the Amazon page.  However, to my surprise it works as expected.  During my week of use it managed to collect about a mm of water in the container.

In the box you get:
  • 1x Dehumidifier
  • 1x Adapter
  • 1x Instruction Manual

The dehumidifier is quite easy to use.  On the back of the product, there is an "on" button and that's it.  There is no other dials or switches on the product.   Plug it in and switch it on and it starts working.  At the top, there is an LED indicator to check if the water tank is full.  This also doubles as a shut-off system as if the water tank is full it will automatically shut the system off so it doesn't overflow.

The water container is easily removed. Just give it a tug and it comes out.  One thing I dislike about the product is the high pitch whirring it produces when it is working.  I am using it in an ensuite room and I can hear it through the closed bathroom door.  Though it doesn't disturb sleep, this, in my opinion, is quite annoying.  I had to turn off the product at night.

The product is lightweight and portable.  However, you are limited by the length of the power cable (2.5 m).  So if there isn't an outlet near the place you want to use the product, you will need an extension socket.

I can't comment on whether it's worth the price or not or how long it would last, but if you're skeptical on the quality, all I can say is that it works.  For how long, I don't know.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Train company lost property charges

Update (September 14 2018): Arriva Trains Wales have slightly changed their tune regarding the 10% charge:

Our customers feedback is really important to us and following recent feedback on this issue we will now be changing our policy with immediate effect. In this instance we are happy to refund the percentage that was charged to the customer who brought this to our attention. We are happy to begin the process of reviewing the Lost Property policy with customer groups and rail industry regulatory bodies.
Tens of thousands of items are lost on the railway network every year. At Arriva Trains Wales, we charge the minimum amount possible and have done since the franchise began. In addition any unclaimed items that we receive are donated to charity or are recycled appropriately. It must be noted that our lost property service is a non-profit making service and all charges are used to support the cost of administrating the service.
To safely store, record and process all these items takes a considerable amount of resource and as such we, like other train operators in the UK, have a small handling and administration fee which is clearly outlined on our website and Passenger’s Charter. Lost property charges vary across the UK train operators and this is set out in the National Rail Conditions of Travel which states train operators can charge up to £30 per item.


I was shocked to find out that Arriva Train Wales charges for lost property.


That got me thinking. Was this an isolated incident or do other train companies charge for items?

This is what I found out.

Train companies that don't charge for lost properties

  • Virgin (Network rail may charge a small fee for holding items if recovered at one of their stations)
  • ScotRail (Free if recovered at a station run by Scotrail.  Edinburgh Waverley or Glasgow Central are run by Network rail)
  • Hull Trains
  • Transpennine Express
  • C2C Rail
  • Northern

Train companies that charge for lost properties

  • Arriva
  • Chiltern Railways
  • London Northwestern Railway / West Midlands Railway
  • Southeastern

Misc

  • CrossCountry Trains (charges may be incurred depending on who runs the terminus station)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Review: Chrome OS -- Give Chrome OS a try (Updated)

Apple vs. Windows?  That's the question we often hear.  Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS has dominated the computer industry for a long time and comparison between the two is often a heated debate among computer enthusiasts and fanboys.  The two tech giants are synonymous with modern day computing.  But there is a contender on the block and its name is Chrome OS.

I have an Acer Chromebook 15 (C910), as well as a Core i7 Chromebox, which is my main desktop.  And my Windows desktop?  Given to my parents and converted to Chrome OS by installing the CloudReady home edition by Neverware.

What is Chrome OS you might ask?  Well Chrome OS is a brand new operating system built by Google from the ground up with a view toward the web.  If you have used a Chrome browser, you have pretty much used the operating system.  Chrome OS is lightweight and requires very little resource.






There is plenty of misinformation going around that Chromebooks are useless and cannot run Windows software.

While it is true that Chromebooks cannot run Windows software like Microsoft Office or iTunes, the bigger question is there replacements for those software? And the answer to that is yes.

Photo editing

Photo by Caio Resende from Pexels
Chromebook naysayers are often drumming on how Chromebooks can't run Photoshop.  But how many people actually use Photoshop to touch up holiday pictures.  Photoshop is really resource-intensive and expensive so unless you're a professional photographer or your work deal with photographs, I bet you don't really need to use the software just to crop a few images or touch up on your snaps.  Pixlr is a perfectly good replacement to Photoshop and Chrome OS can natively crop your photographs.  Another good alternative is LunaPic and Fotor. In addition, new Chromebooks can access the Play Store and almost all the apps available to Android.  That means that you can install the Adobe Photoshop Express software.  You can also access these apps made by Adobe.

Word processing

No problem.  Two solutions are available: Google docs or Microsoft Office online.  Also, you can access all these Word Processing apps made for Android.

Video editing

You can cut or trim videos using the various online editing tools available.

Music

No biggy.  I'm pretty sure most of you are on YouTube anyway.  You can also access the large library on Spotify or Amazon Prime Music.  Plus you can upload your music to Google Play Music online and it will work on any PC.  With the advent of the Play Store, the Android version of Play Music is also available.


Most modern Chromebooks can run Android apps.  That means that any apps that you use on your phone will now run on your Chromebook.  Also, there is a feature called Crostini currently in development that lets you run Linux apps!  That will allow you to access all the apps available on Linux INCLUDING Steam.  These are the Chromebooks that currently support Crostini aka Linux on Chromebooks.


Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/Crostini/wiki/getstarted/crostini-enabled-devices

And as an added bonus, Chrome OS cannot be infected!  It is basically a web browser so there is nothing to infect.  No nasty viruses or spyware.  Also, updates install on the background and simply require a reboot to start.  In addition, Chrome OS takes mere seconds (around 7 in my tests) from pressing the power button to being on the web.

So for a hassle-free computing, give Chrome OS a try.

This blog post was created and edited on Chrome OS.