All posts by jeff gedgaud

Freelance Writer, Product Reviewer, Do-It-Yourself enthusiast and all around MacGyver when it comes to getting things done around the house.

Jabra Stealth Bluetooth Headset

Jabra Stealth Bluetooth Headset

The Jabra Stealth Bluetooth headset makes phone calls as easy as speaking a name and a word that includes clear communication with high definition clarity.

Ease of Use, Performance:  3/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features:  3/5
How much I enjoy:  2/5

Recommendation:  3/5 Stars

Jabra Stealth Bluetooth Headset
Jabra Stealth Bluetooth Headset

The Jabra Stealth is a Bluetooth mono headset that includes a variety of ear hooks and gels along with a USB charging cable and quick setup instructions. The main purpose of a bluetooth headset that has only one earpiece is to connect with a phone and allow hands free calling and communication.

The Jabra Stealth does a good job at this but I did have a few issues that made my experience not as positive as other users and reviewers. The Jabra Stealth easily paired with my Samsung Galaxy S4 phone as well as my wife’s but voice recognition has a way to go before it’s useful.

I tried both phones and checked several things but the simple Call Jeff would not work for either phone so I was disappointed from the start. I tried using Samsung’s version of voice recognition called S Voice and it works much better but still has its problems.

whats in the box
Whats in the Box

I could call Chele which is the nickname of my wife if I elongated the e sound or simply changed her name to Shell to make it work better. It seems both Google and Samsung have problems with names that are not mainstream or nicknames but with those common ones it does alright.

Other commands work somewhat well like open calendar but once the current page is open what next?, it seems that voice recognition and hands free have a long way to go beyond calling John, Jane or Susan. I like the Jabra Stealth but once you get past the talking without having to hold a phone to your ear there really is not much else to the device.

You can use it to text and write memos but other commands are hit and miss while having to always touch the headset to wake up Galaxy or say Ok Google gets tiring. The headset has an on off switch, a button for starting communication between the headset and your phone as well as a answer end button.

usb port & power switch
USB Port & Power Switch

The USB connection for charging is under a small door and battery life is pretty good for such a small headset at about six hours. The Jabra has a full set of ear gels and hooks so finding a combination or individual one that works for your ear is pretty easy.

Of course I may not know or have not researched the commands available but sitting at my desk and opening my calendar I can’t do anything else without touching the phone. I can find restaurants and other useful things using the voice commands but they are just too limited for me to worry about.

The main function I was interested in was being able to call someone but this is limited to how well voice recognition works for my contact list. When both Samsung and Google has me changing names so they can recognize them the functionality of a hands free headset goes out the window.

jabra stealth ear gels
Jabra Stealth Ear Gels

The Jabra Stealth works fine for call clarity, ease of pairing and all the other features like being able to redial by double clicking the side of the headset. The battery life seems fine to me for the size of the device and the ear pieces are comfortable once you get a little used to the fit.

The headset is just too dependent on voice recognition and if that does not work well it limits the usefulness of the headset for the cost you’re paying. I did have luck making several calls and using the Jabra Stealth as a general wireless headset which is one of the main uses I wanted it for but controlling my phone without having to touch it is not going to work.

The Jabra also does not have any volume control on the device so you do have to use your phones volume to turn up and down the volume so hands free is not exactly a full time commitment. I like the Jabra Stealth but it is still a long way form being the total hands free headset that people are wanting.

If you need a comfortable hands free way to talk the Jabra Stealth works well but voice control is still a futuristic concept and not today’s technology.

Stealth @ Jabra

Jabra @ Amazon

Pros
Clear sound and phone calls
Good battery life
Easy pairing

Cons
Voice control and hands free are not good
No volume on headset

olloclip 4-in-1 Mobile Phone Lens

olloclip 4-in-1 Mobile Phone Lens

The olloclip 4-in-1 lens for the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a unique lens add on for smartphones that includes a 10x and 15x magnifying lens as well as a wide angle and fisheye lens.

Ease of Use, Performance:  3/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features:  5/5
How much I enjoy:  4/5

Recommendation:  4/5 Stars

olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens
olloclip 4-in-1 Photo Lens

The olloclip is a small add-on lens system for phones with the Galaxy S4 and S5 lenses using a metal frame with two lenses side by side. Apple phones and tablets use a similar lens mount system but have a lens on each side of the frame so you simply turn the mount around to change lenses.

olloclip 4-in-1 on S4

olloclip 4-in-1 Lens on S4

Looking beyond the single lens solution I found for smartphone accessories I found the olloclip add on lens that includes four different lenses in a single package. The olloclip 4-in-1 lens comes in designs for both Samsung galaxy s and apple devices with the Samsung Galaxy S4 being my model.

olloclip on Galaxy S4
olloclip on Galayx S4

I wanted to check out the smartphone add on lenses available for my Galaxy S4 that would take photography to a new level and the olloclip does work well. The Galaxy S4 version is a metal clip on device that has two magnifying lenses that center over the camera lens.

If you simply swap the olloclip around it brings the other lens to the camera while the wide angle and fisheye lens simply screws on each magnifying lens. You don’t have to worry about matching the correct removable lens to the proper lens on the olloclip as each uses a different male or female thread type.

Image without add on Lens
Image without add on Lens

olloclip Fish Eye Lens

olloclip Fish Eye Lens

olloclip Wide Angle Lens

olloclip Wide Angle Lens

The olloclip does require you to clip the lens assembly directly onto the body of the phone so no case can be used while mounting the olloclip on your Galaxy phone. According to the images of the apple phones and tablets that also have versions of the olloclip you can also not use cases with other olloclip lenses.

Circuit Board without Magnification
Circuit Board without Magnification
Smartphone 4X Magnification
Smartphone 4X Magnification

The 10x and 15x lenses allow you a good range of macro image photography while the fisheye and wide angle give you a great addition to the cameras ability. I enjoy photography but the smartphones do limit you in what you can do so adding lenses to your devices features just makes sense.

10X Magnifier Lens
10X Magnifier Lens

15x mag lens

15X Magnifier Lens

10x mag len 4x phone

10X Magnifier Lens with 4X Phone Magnification

15X Magnifier Lens with 4X Phone Magnification

15X Magnifier Lens with 4X Phone Magnification

The olloclip works well but the one area I am concerned with is the lack of protection for my phone while using the snap on lens system. I always want to have a case on my phone and want my OtterBox to stay on for my phones protection as I really do know the cost of repairing it.

You simply cannot use a case while using the lens which just makes me concerned for the protection of devices but the olloclip does work well. I had little trouble using the snap on lens but you also cannot use the power or volume buttons depending on which way the lens is on your phone while the lens in on.

The pictures I get from the olloclip look good and especially the macro shots give you a wide range to use for whatever photography you want. I can recommend the olloclip for a good lens system but not being able to use a case while using the lens system does bother me some.

The olloclip lenses for the Galaxy S4 and S% are about $70 while the apple versions range from $50 to $100 depending on the phone model and which lens combination you are interested in.

Olloclip website

Olloclip @ Amazon

Pros
Good range of lenses in a single package
Quality images and good range of magnification
Quality materials

Cons
Cannot use case while using the olloclip
Side button is under clip on lens frame

Photojojo Lens Set

Photojojo Lens Set

The Photojojo Lens Set for android and iPhones works simply by adhering a small metal ring for each lens to mount on your smartphones rear camera for additional photography features.

Ease of Use, Performance:  5/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features:  5/5
How much I enjoy:  5/5

Recommendation:  5/5 Stars

photojojo lens set
Photojojo Lens Set

My first digital camera was the Canon PowerShot A610 with a 5 megapixel sensor which was a powerhouse at the time I bought it in a compact camera. Today my Samsung Galaxy S4 has more than twice the megapixels in a size that surprises me every time I take apart the same model phone.

I work at a cell phone repair shop and see every day the tragedy that befalls phones as well as tablets and other devices but phones have really taken over in today’s technology. They do lack a few features of those standalone cameras with notable features like aperture and exposure settings but most notably lenses.

lens mount rings on s4
Lens Mount Ring on S4

Having the ability to add a lens to the camera would be great but the body of the Galaxy S4 and other similar smartphones does not make this easy. Enter the new market of the attachable lenses for smartphones with the Photojojo Phone Lenses being a really great choice.

Photojojo has a whole set of lenses that attach to your smartphone with a simple magnetic ring and metal adhesive backed ring that sticks to your camera. The metal ring with adhesive comes in two varieties with the iPhone variety having a small dent for the microphone that sits close by the camera lens.

super fisheye lens on galaxy s4
Super Fish Eye Lens on Galaxy S4

The other models of phones including my Samsung S4 can use the full metal ring that has adhesive to secure it to the phone right around the rear camera. Once you install the metal ring you’re ready to shoot simply by placing any of the five lenses right on the ring and taking your shots.

The five lenses make up a six lens series with the wide angle lens being able to split into a macro lens simply by unscrewing the wide angle section. The macro/wide angle lens is the start to a full range of photography add-ons for your smartphone with the two fisheye lenses, telephoto lens and the polarizer finishing up the set.

fisheye lens
Fish Eye Lens

The two fish eye lenses add the curved view with the super fisheye adding a larger amount of distortion to your view with a full 235 degrees. The classic fisheye lens has a 180 degree view while the telephoto lens is a 2X zoom to get you closer to your subject.

The polarizer adds glare reduction so you can take clearer and sharper pictures while the combined macro and wide angle lens adds both close up photography and a larger field of view. All the lenses are made of quality aluminum and high clarity glass that are higher quality.

super fisheye
Super Fish Eye Lens

I have seen cheap photography lenses, add on filters and other things made from plastic and cheap glass that you could see the defects in and the Photojojo lenses are clear and well made. The magnetic attachment is simply a ring magnet on the base of each lens that adheres to the metal ring you stick to your camera.

On my S4 the ring sits right on the rounded square cover over the rear camera and I have not had a problem on two Galaxy s4 phones using the lenses. The lens attaches well and is hard to knock off which was one concern of mine but the major one I had was ease of use while out taking photos.

without polarizer
Without Polarizer

If you purchase the full lens kit you also get a small woolen pouch that zippers shut while each lens in the kit has a plastic cover and a lanyard attached to a small metal disc to protect the lens base. Whether you buy the kit or lenses separately you get a cover for each side of the lens for protection and several of the adhesive backed rings.

I have checked iPhones and several other brands of phones and the metal rings will fit on most of the ones I have seen in the repair shop I work at. The lenses attach easily and have great clarity as well as doing exactly what you would expect which is enhance your photography ability.

with polarizer
With Photojojo Polarizer

I was first interested in the macro lens due to my work on smartphones and wanting to capture the occasional snapshot of detail on a device I’m working on. The macro lens works great and you can see with a comparison between the shots without the lens and with it that you can get much closer with it.

Due to a lack of manual focus the camera just cannot focus on what you want when you’re close so macro photography does not work well with a smartphone without some help. The macro lens adds the ability to get really close and get detail that you cannot otherwise get.

circuit board with macro lens
Circuit Board with Macro Lens

closest my s4 will get and still focus

Closest the S4 will get and still focus

1x zoom with close up lens

1X Zoom with Close Up Lens

4x zoom with closeup lens

4X Zoom with Close Up Lens

The polarizer works well to reduce glare and for more realistic color in photos both indoors and outside but I was surprised at this shot indoors of our foster dog Mysty and how well it turned out with the lens. The other lenses add a great variety to photography using you smartphone and I truly enjoyed checking out the variety of lenses available with the set from Photojojo.

Each lens costs about $20 and the kit of all five lenses comes in at about $100 but you can also order a couple of other kits with an additional lens or just 3 lenses. The Photojojo lenses are the best solution for adding features like macro, fisheye and polarizing without gimmicky apps or software solutions.

Photojojo Website
Photojojo @ Amazon

Pros
Easy to mount and use
Lens covers are easy to use as well
No gimmicky mounts
Can be used with a phone case

Cons
None

Carson MagniLamp Pro CP-80

Carson MagniLamp Pro CP-80

The MagniLamp Pro from Carson Optical is a hands free magnifier lamp with an adjustable arm system and a heavy base for hobby and work use such as soldering or inspection.

Ease of Use, Performance:  5/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features:  5/5
How much I enjoy:  5/5

Recommendation:  5/5 Stars

The MagniLamp Pro CP-80 is a 4X 5 inch LED magnifier that has a solid base and arms with knob fasteners to tighten each adjustment. The LED lighting provides enough light for hobby and work use like inspections or soldering but room may be a bit of a problem under the lens.

The five inch lens allows a good viewing area but to keep things in focus and work you may need to adjust your subject a bit close depending on your eyesight. The magnifier has sixteen sets of LED lights around the lens that is powered by a detachable power adapter.

Carson Optical MagniLamp Pro
MagniLamp Pro CP-80

 

The base of the unit is heavy enough to swivel fully around but if the lens is at full height and out as far as it will go the lens may be tipped over accidently due to being top heavy. This is not much of a problem once you use the magnifier some and you can always clamp the base down to your work surface.

I received the MagniLamp Pro while looking for a magnifier lamp for both hobbies like model building and jewelry making but for use in inspections of electronics devices like smartphones. I wanted to see if there was anything better than those swing arm magnifier lamps that would be more useful or handy around the house and shop.

LED Lights of the Carson MagniLamp Pro
LED Lights

 

The MagniLamp Pro does work well for inspection but when trying to solder some components I did not have enough room to use a soldering iron under the lamp lens assembly. To keep items in focus you will need to adjust the lens or move your object up and down which works well for many situations.

I had no problems using the lamp while doing some model building and my wife likes it a lot for working on small parts for jewelry which is probably where the lamp will work the best. The lamp does not work well for soldering because the work piece needs to be a bit too close to the lens when working with smaller components and wires.

Model Building with the Carson Magnifier
Model Building

 

Stereo microscopes are much better for soldering while magnifier lamps like the CP-80 work much better for medium magnification and objects not quite as small as electronic components. The MagniLamp Pro works much better for those small links and rings of necklaces and bracelets.

The base gives you a nice working surface and being able to individually adjust the lamp in many different directions allows you to have it set up for your particular needs. Not having a bendable arm like many magnifier lamps means you can adjust and quickly move the lens to your needs without having the lens move and bounce when adjusting.

Perfect for Jewelry
Perfect for Jewelry

 

The MagniLamp Pro has a dust cover for the lens on a chain so it doesn’t get lost and can be stored on the lens or on the horizontal arm when not in use over the lens. The on off switch on the lens top means no searching the base for the power switch.

The MagniLamp Pro is a professional quality magnifier lamp and well worth the cost for a handy and well-made magnifier with the base and arms metal while the lens is glass. I highly recommend the MagniLamp Pro for a professional quality magnifier for work or hobbies.

Inspecting a Circuit Board
Inspecting a Circuit Board

 

MagniLamp Pro @ Carson Optical

MagniLamp Pro @ Amazon

Pros
4X 5” Glass magnifying lens
Metal base, arms and lens body
fully adjustable

Cons
None

CHOE Stadium Qi Wireless Charger

CHOE Stadium Qi Wireless Charger

The CHOE Stadium charger uses Qi wireless coils to magnetically charge your devices including smartphones and tablets that have Qi wireless receivers in them.

Ease of Use, Performance:  5/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features:  5/5
How much I enjoy:  5/5

Recommendation:  5/5 Stars

Qi wireless charging is a type of technology that is now becoming main stream with its ease of daily use and saving your devices charge port. To use a Qi charger you need both a transmitter and receiver to make up the wireless charging but wireless is a bit of a misleading term.

Wireless actually means you have no wires connecting directly to your device but you still need to plug the Qi transmitter into a power source. Magnetism takes care of the rest and charges your device using the two coils placed close together just like a transformer.

CHOE has a few Qi chargers and the Stadium is a three coil charger that can charge small devices like smartphones and larger ones like tablets. Some phones and tablets have Qi receivers built in but you can also install them on your own in devices that don’t have them easily.

CHOE Stadium Wireless Charger
CHOE Stadium Wireless Charger

There are two ways to do this with the rear contacts being the easiest but some devices have no contacts for this easier way to install a receiver. You can buy receivers for devices like my Galaxy S4 for those rear contacts but some devices also have rear covers with receivers built in.

Some devices like my 1st generation Nexus 7 tablet does not have the contacts but you can buy a Qi receiver with a USB connection that is made as a low profile charger. This connection does have to be removed if you want to transfer data using the USB port but you can use it to charge your de vice without the wear and tear on your USB port.

That is the main benefit but the actual reason you would want to use a Qi wireless charger is simple every day ease of use when needing to charge your device. The CHOE Stadium even works with cases like the Otterbox Defender and the Impact Gel cases I have on my Galaxy s4’s.

Charging with the CHOE Stadium
Charging with the CHOE Stadium

The CHOE stadium simply works, every time you set your phone or tablet on it in about the right place without any fuss or adjustment. I have the charger on a small counter near my kitchen door where I also have a coffee machine for my daily caffeine fix and can simply drop my phone off when I get home on my way to the kitchen.

I set the phone down and a few seconds later the tell-tale tone plays saying it is charging but for my tablet there is no tone to tell you it’s charging. You simply look at the battery and see the lightning bolt in the corner and you’re ready to let magnetism do its thing.

It does take a little longer to charge devices but this is the trade off with the hassle free way to charge your devices without the wear and tear on the charge port or USB connection. Charge times will be longer using any Qi wireless charger so using a wireless charger is more the nightly charging or for when you do reach the office for that round of daily work.

The CHOE Stadium charger simply works and there is nothing I like more than a device that does exactly what it’s supposed to do without hassles. The charger has a USB mini connection to plug it into a power source and you simply set you device on it and the Qi wireless charger even senses a compatible receiver.

The CHOE Stadium comes with a simple instruction book and a USB mini cable but you will need to use a power adapter or computer connection to use the charger. Some computer connections may not have enough amperage to charge your device so you may need to experiment with this type of power supply.

I have no problems charging up my phones and tablets that do not have Qi receivers built in but the CHOE charger also works with built in receivers. The CHOE Stadium Qi Wireless Charger simply works and I have had absolutely no problems with it at all over the past month.

I highly recommend the CHOE Stadium Qi Wireless Charger for a hassle free way to charge your devices that are Qi compatible.

CHOE Stadium @ CHOETECH

CHOE Stadium @ Amazon

Pros
Simply works without hassles
Inexpensive for both receivers and charger

Cons
Does not come with power adapter

HUB IT Sync & Charge Station with Qi Wireless Charging

HUB IT Sync & Charge Station with Qi Wireless Charging

The HUB IT is a unique charging station that has several features and can even go the extra distance as a wireless charging station using Qi wireless charging.

Ease of Use, Performance:  3/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features:  5/5
How much I enjoy:  5/5

Recommendation:  5/5 Stars

Eggtronic is an Italian company that sells a unique product called HUB IT that allows you to connect and charge most of your electronics. The HUB IT uses removable cartridges inside its trapezoid shape to make sure you have the charge and sync cables your devices need.

The three USB 3.0 connections allow you to connect devices like external drives using a USB cable while the USB micro cable connects your device to one computer to use as a transfer point. The cartridges can be either a cable with connector like the Lightning or 30 pin Apple connections or a Qi charger but they are not interchangeable in the slots of the charger.

HUB IT Sync & Charge Station
HUB IT Sync & Charge Station

Eggtronic has 13 cartridges for the wide variety of devices while the Qi charger cartridge uses a devices Qi receiver to wirelessly charge your device. The package you order with the HUB IT Sync & Charge Station comes with the charge station, AC adapter, four cable cartridges and an instruction booklet.

The Qi charger is also available separately or as a set with the charge station which you can use with a receiver already built in some devices or with a receiver you install in your device. You can even use a receiver that has a smaller USB connection to wirelessly charge devices that are not QI ready if you like which works well on my 1st generation Nexus 7.

Whats in the Box
Whats in the Box

I did have a few problems with the Hub-It which shows more about the quality of the device which I will explain along with how the charge station is designed. The cartridges plug into the base of the HUB IT under the top cover which is easy to pop off and put on.

There are nine places for cartridges but two different kinds of plugins that cannot be used in the other slots because of the placement of the connector. The four corner spots and the middle spot has the connector closer to the center while the four middle cartridges have the connector closer to the edge of the square.

HUB IT Cartridges
HUB IT Cartridges

The four retractable cartridges I received only go in the four middle spots while the Qi cartridge can go in any of the other five slots. I’m not sure why you would want more Qi chargers as I can only see being able to fit two smaller phones on the charger at one time using the Qi charger.

The Qi Charger did not work all that well until I opened the cartridge to see how it was built and discovered the foam piece inside the plastic case did not hold the wire disc near the top. I added some fiberglass insulation and got the wire circle that is the heart of the charger near the top of the cartridge and the charger did much better at charging my phone.

HUB IT w/ Galaxy S4 Qi Charger
HUB IT w/ Galaxy S4 Qi Charger

I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 that was in an OtterBox Defender case and when I first tried it with the HUB IT it would not charge but I did find a smaller case that would charge my phone. I then opened up the charger and altered the position of the coil and the charger then worked on my phone with all the cases I have.

Eggtronic did send me a Qi receiver for my phone along with the HUB IT and the Qi charger cartridge that worked just fine in my phone. I also purchased the Samsung Galaxy Qi receiver cover for my S4 which also worked well with my phone even in a protective case.

HUB IT w/ 1st Gen Nexus 7 & Qi Receiver
HUB IT w/ 1st Gen Nexus 7 & Qi Receiver

The HUB IT not only charges phones but can transfer data using the same charge connections but not at a very fast pace but no slower than the same drive connected directly to the computer. Transfer speeds were about the same between my pc and a USB thumb drive and through the HUB IT station so the station does not slow down transfers.

I like the idea of keeping down the amount of cables lying around and having the ability to use the Qi wireless charger means less wear and tear on my charge port. I really like the HUB IT and the only downside I found was the Qi charger not being filled with enough insulation to keep the charger coil at the very top of the cartridge.

The Hub-it sync and charge station works well and is an easy recommendation to keep your charging area neat and under control as well as being able to easily charge and sync your devices.

Hub-It @ Eggtronic

Hub-It @ Amazon

Pros
Charge and sync devices
Can also charge with Qi wireless
Removable cartridges for many USB types
Retractable cords keep clutter down

Cons
Qi Wireless cartridge needed a mod

Capresso Coffee TEAM PRO Glass

The Capresso CoffeeTEAM PRO is an attempt at a combination machine that grinds your beans and drip brews coffee that Capresso has a history with.

Ease of Use/Performance: 2/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 2/5
How much I enjoy 3/5

Total: 2/5

The Capresso CoffeeTEAM PRO is a glass or thermal carafe drip brew coffee machine that also grinds the beans as part of the brewing process. The CoffeeTEAM PRO also has a setting to brew ground coffee without the grinder as well as a setting for the coarseness of the grind.

The previous grind and brew machine I reviewed was called the Capresso 455 CoffeeTEAM Therm which worked well but also missed the mark on design. Models to follow got rid of clunky mechanics but it seems the company is intent on perfecting this corner of the coffee brewing market.

The latest release is yet another near miss with its burr grinder just not handling the finer grinds and dark roast beans but the machine does work for light and medium roast coffees. The Coffee TEAM PRO comes in two versions with a glass carafe and warming element or a thermal carafe without the bottom heating platform.

Capresso CoffeeTEAM PRO Glass
Capresso CoffeeTEAM PRO Glass

 

The Capresso CoffeeTEAM PRO is a unique burr grinder that grinds whole beans right through the machine into a brewing basket and then drip brews your coffee. The CoffeeTEAM PRO has the usual removable 12 cup water tank with a charcoal filter that is easy to install.

The CoffeeTEAM PRO has a course, medium and fine setting for the top mounted burr grinder with a removable bean container. The burr grinder seems to be out of adjustment but this is more a design flaw than an assembly defect as I received two machines that have the same exact problem.

Customers who purchased the machine at Amazon also complain about the same things with clogging and not working as designed. I am disappointed and really do not understand why they released this with such an obvious design flaw as the company does have some really good products.

Whats in the Box
Whats in the Box

 

The burr grinder grinds medium and light roast beans just fine on course but if you try medium or fine you may get the machine to jamb up on you. I could not grind any dark or flavored beans which clog up the burr grinder every time I tried no matter the bean kind or distributor.

I tried whole beans from Gevalia and Starbucks as well as cheaper varieties like Cameron’s and Java Delight but could not find a dark roast bean that would work in the brewer. I also purchased some dark and light roast beans from a local roaster called Dunn Brothers and had the same issue of light roast working fine while the dark roast clogs the grinder.

water tank and bean container
Water Tank and Bean Container

 

You can set the brewer up on a timer and brew coffee in the morning while getting things all set up the night before as well as brewing the coffee from pre ground coffee. The front panel has an oily bean setting which adds some time to the final grind cycle hoping to clear out the grinder and chute but this really doesn’t work.

I had the first machine for about a month and the second for another month but just could not get things working well. On the up side the burr grinder is easy to clean and removing the upper burr only takes a few seconds while cleaning out the chute is pretty easy as well.

bean container
Bean Container

 

I just should not have to worry about doing this after every cycle and could not grind any dark roast beans without it jamming up and stopping the machine. Grinding to a halt is what the machine does with loud clacking sounds when the burr stops because of the too fine ground beans.

The CoffeeTEAM PRO does work well for light and medium beans if you use the course grind but even on medium grind with beans Capresso sent me it clogged. The Capresso CoffeeTEAM PRO is just a miss and really not worth bothering with as it does not work well enough.

filter basker and carafe
Filter Basket and Glass Carafe

 

I would just look elsewhere for a grind and brew coffee machine as the Capresso CoffeeTEAM PRO just does not work well enough for what it was made for.

CoffeeTEAM PRO @ Capresso

CoffeeTEAM PRO @ Amazon

Pros
Works well with light and medium roast beans
Brews fresher coffee
Removable water tank and bean container

Cons
Clogs using medium beans on medium or fine setting
Clogs if I used any dark roast beans
Clogs when using many flavored beans

Milwaukee Auto Voltage Continuity Tester

Milwaukee Auto Voltage Continuity Tester

The Milwaukee Auto Voltage Continuity Tester is an easy to use tester for home and work use that easily checks voltage and continuity without any switching.

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Recommendation: 5/5

milwaukee tester
Milwaukee Auto Voltage Continuity Tester

 

The Milwaukee Auto Voltage Continuity Tester model 2212-20 is a handheld tester for both professionals and home users that checks both voltage and continuity. The Milwaukee Auto Voltage and Continuity Tester can check for both alternating and direct current voltages as well as resistance.

The voltage side of the tester checks AC and DC voltage up to 600 volts while it only gives an audible alarm and a small continuity indicator to show the meter is reading good continuity. The voltage tester will also give an audio alarm when it reads voltage above 35 volts but also shows the voltage on the meters LCD display.

The LCD display has a backlight along with a small helpful LED light to shine a bit of light when needed while the audio indicators allow for quick readings. The Milwaukee voltage tester comes in two versions with one showing exact resistance while the other shows continuity using an audible alarm and a simple indicator.

whats in the box
Whats in the Box

The Auto Voltage Tester will check for voltage and automatically show alternating or direct current without having to switch anything. The auto tester will automatically switch to whatever type of voltage is present as well as check for continuity when no voltage is present and the tester reads less than 20,000 ohms.

Voltage comes in two types with the tester automatically switching to either AC or DC and giving the appropriate readings according to what the tester reads. The tester also has an audible warning for voltage over 35 volts for both AC and DC to ensure you know there is hazardous current present as a precaution.

When testing for continuity the tester will also give an audible alarm and indicate continuity with a yellow light while the presence of voltage is indicated by a red warning light. The audible warning for AC voltage is a constant beeping tone while the continuity is a single tone that does not vary.

Milwaukee Continuity Tester Indicators
Milwaukee Continuity Tester Indicators

Low voltages under 35 volts are not as dangerous so Milwaukee has no audible warning when checking for voltage but the audible alarm can be very helpful in many situations. When checking house wiring before working on it having an audible alarm warns you there is voltage without the need to look at the screen for every check.

When you’re done with the tester you can shut it off using the power button but it will shut down on its own when it has not been used after 10 minutes. To turn the unit on simply push the power button and touch the leads to your circuit and the tester will show and give you an audible indication of voltage or continuity.

The Milwaukee tester is easy to use and with its backlit display allows you to use it in low light situations like attics and basements easily. The belt clip is removable and does rotate sideways to hold the wires when wrapped around the body for storage.

battery compartment belt clip
Battery Compartment & Belt Clip

The tester is handy and a great tool for do it yourselfers and for professionals who only need voltage readings and continuity indications. The tester comes in handy around the house for checking circuits as well as installing wiring from doorbells and thermostats.

You can also check smaller voltages like USB connections and power adapters as well as those higher voltages like incoming power to a home or building. The continuity is great for checking shorts or cuts in wires without having to look at the screen using the audible tones.

I have done several jobs around the house including some wiring in my kitchen and a new outlet for an electric fireplace in the living room. The tester came in handy for both checking for voltage on circuits before working on them and to ensure things were set up properly after the work was done.

belt clip holding cables
Belt Clip Holding Cables

I really like the lack of switches for checking voltage and resistance while the leads are a general purpose size to use on small cables like USB for computers. I have also used the continuity tester checking wires while repairing a sewing machine to make sure the wires were not cut completely from some nicks.

The tester works well and the convenient audible alarm makes for an easy way to quickly check things out without having to see the screen. The Milwaukee Auto Voltage and Continuity Tester model 2212-20 costs about $40 and is available at Milwaukee as well as sites and stores that sell Milwaukee products.

I highly recommend the Milwaukee Auto Voltage and Continuity Tester for a low cost tool for home electricians as well as professionals.

Milwaukee Auto Tester Website

Pros
Auto tester for voltage and resistance
Switches to AC or DC as well as continuity automatically
Audible alarm for easier reading
Backlit display and LED light for low light situations
Belt clip rotates to hold cables

Cons
None

The Great Scrape Woody Paddle BBQ Tool Review

The Great Scrape Woody Paddle BBQ Tool Review

The Woody Paddle Great Scrape is a barbeque cleaning tool that keeps your grill clean safely and can also be used to handle food on and off the grill.

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 5/5

My wife saw a barbeque tool at a local craft market that intrigued her and just made my wallet itch with its high price tag. $35 for a piece of wood to scrape my grill clean seemed like a lot of money and boy was I shown the error of my ways.

I received the Woody Paddle from The Great Scrape for reviewing and am switched to the benefits of all natural wood grill scrapers. A wooden grill scraper is a paddle like piece of wood that tapers to a fine chiseled point touse on a hot grill to clean off the burnt food.

The fine point of the paddle is grooved after the first use and you use these grooves to clean in between the bars of your grill. The Woody Paddle can be used on any type of grill whether its round wire type grills or porcelain coated cast iron grills.

The Woody Paddle by The Great Scrape
The Woody Paddle by The Great Scrape

Simply put you are burning the grooves into the paddle the first time you use it and it’s these grooves that get in between the grill pieces to clean off the grill. The grooves are made from both pressure and burning so you will notice that the end does get burned on your scraper.

I just hate the idea of a wire brush and getting bits of metal in my food or scraping loose bits of grill with a metal blade and eating them. The Woody Paddle will not leave harmful bits behind and by the time you put food on the grill after cleaning anything left behind should be burned off.

The Woody Paddle and other Great Scrape tools are natural hardwood and only oiled to preserve the tool and keep it ready for use. You can use a good cutting board oil to treat your Woody Paddle the same as you oil cutting boards to preserve the tool but usually just cleaning will suffice.

The Great Scrape after some use
The Great Scrape after some use

The Woody Paddle is 20 inches long and 4 3/4 inches wide with a one inch thickness after the front taper which goes from an inch to the tip in two inches. The Woody Paddle is long enough for most grills and I really had no problems with my hands too close to the fire when using it on my Coleman portable grill.

If you have a larger grill the Big Woody is an extra fur inches and if you only need a smaller scraper the Woody is 12 inches long. I have really enjoyed using the Woody Paddle for cooking and even found you can flip burgers and fish with it much better than using a spatula.

The grooves of the p[addle after it has been grooved fit nicely between the grill bars and lift the food out much better than other tools. I found especially with salmon fillets that the Woody Paddle is a great all around BBQ tool instead of just a scraper for cleaning.

Great Scrape Grooves
Great Scrape Grooves

The Woody Paddle costs about $35 from the Great Scrape website with an additional $10 for shipping but can be found for a bit less on other sites. I highly recommend the Woody Paddle for the ultimate barbeque tool that makes an excellent grill scraper and a handy tool for flipping and moving foods on the grill as well.

The Woody Paddle @ The Great Scrape

The Woody Paddle @ The Grommet

Pros

Easy to use grill scraper
Does not wear down fast
Can be used to flip burgers and fish
Easy to clean and maintain

Cons
None

Fagor Cayenne 6 Quart Pressure Cooker Review

Fagor Cayenne 6 Quart Pressure Cooker Review

The Fagor Cayenne is a 6 or 8 quart pressure cooker for faster cooking using liquid to build pressure which infuses food and keeps them flavorful as well as looking good.

Ease of Use/Performance: 5/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 5/5

Pressure cooking has been a way to both cook foods faster since the late 1600’s while the more modern method of using glass jars to preserve has become popular once again. Canning can be done in some of the pressure cooker varieties but the design of the Fagor Cayenne allows you to both pressure cook and can in them.

The Cayenne pressure cooker from Fagor is a handy piece of cookware which uses pressure from boiling liquid to cook foods faster. The Cayenne comes with the cooking pot, lid with safety release valve, a steamer basket and rack along with a user’s manual and 50 recipe cookbook.

Fagor Cayenne Pressure Cooker
Fagor Cayenne Pressure Cooker

I received the smaller 6 quart pressure cooker which ca      n only fit 4 and 8 ounce jars for canning which works well for canning jams and jellies. The pressure cooker is also used for cooking foods using pressure created from steam in a closed container which forces liquid into the food for faster cooking.

Pressure cooking helps to retain the color of fruits and vegetables while foods cooked under pressure also retain more of their vitamins and nutritional value. Pressure cooking using the Cayenne is as easy as filling the cooker with the desired food and some liquid like water or broth and closing the lid.

parts of pressure cooker
Parts of Pressure Cooker

Heating the cooker till the liquid boils usually takes less time than boiling in an open container and once up to pressure you can turn down the heat. Time for cooking used for recipes starts when the cooker is blowing steam out of the pressure regulator on the lid.

Once the steam is coming out at a steady but lower amount you can start timing your recipe and when it is done you simply turn the dial to the steam release mark. The steam will take a minute or so to come out and you can check your food for doneness.

searing a roast
Searing a Roast

If you need to cook some more you go through the process of bringing the cooker up to pressure and then turning it down to a steady release temperature. I have cooked beef roasts, chicken, pork chops and a turkey breast in the pressure cooker with great results.

Meat comes out juicy and tender while the browning you should do first ensures a good looking entrée that also tastes great. I have not canned in the Cayenne but have cooked several meals and side dishes including a delicious French onion soup and a fennel potato soup.

pot roast with mushrooms
Pot Roast w/ Mushrooms

The Cayenne includes the larger bottom that is an encapsulated copper or aluminum disc for even heating of the bottom. The lid has the rubber seal that is easily removed for cleaning which you should do after each use to prolong its life.

The safety release valve comes out for simple cleaning of the lid and the entire cooker should be washed by hand so you don’t ruin the cookware. The manual states for stubborn stains you can boil some lemon juice and water under pressure which will remove the stains.

steamer basket
Steamer Basket

I tried this and it really does work well especially if you use the pressure cooker to sear meats a lot and end up with stains in the bottom. Pressure cooking has become one of my favorites with the Cayenne and it really does keep flavor locked into foods as well as making meats tender.

The Cayenne has the enamel outside which helps to keep stains off the outer surface and makes the pressure cooker a more attractive piece of cookware. The Fagor Cayenne in the 6 quart size costs about $120 and can be found at the Fagor website, Amazon and other kitchen suppliers.

I highly recommend the Fagor Cayenne as a fantastic addition to any kitchen and a great way to cook meals and meats.

Cayenne @ Fagor

Cayenne @ Amazon

Pros

Quick and easy cooking of meats and meals
Canning safely using pressure
Easy to open and safety locked
Easy to clean and removable seal

Cons
None