ANDBON AD-30S 30L Electronic Automatic Digital Control Dry Cabinet Storage Review

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional reviewer; I review the things I buy as a consumer. I am not at all sponsored. I am an average consumer, giving my consumer thoughts.


INTRO:

I have been a photography hobbyist and enthusiast since 2010, and since then, my gear has become more and more expensive (well, expensive is subjective, and for me, my current gear is expensive enough – you can scoff if you think my gear is cheap), and as expensive gears go, you want to keep them in tip top shape and condition as to avoid having to spend money on repairs, or God forbid, replace the entire unit in question. That hard earned cash saved upon taking care of your gear can be used to further add to that said gear and improve further your craft in photography.

That being said, I never owned a dry box or dry cabinet, because I would always end up using that money somewhere else, and being a person with obsessive compulsive personality disorder, I am quite the perfectionist, so I was still able to keep my photography gear in great condition all through the years.

However, I finally decided to get one of those digitally controlled dry cabinets since I have upgraded my DSLR and added a couple new lenses recently that I felt it was high time to finally invest on a dry cabinet to ensure that my gear will be in great condition for as long as possible. And there in lies one of the key words… INVEST.

It is a great investment to spend a couple bucks on a dry box or dry cabinet, because you owe to yourself and your gear. It is not an expenditure, it is an investment… a form of security and insurance.

And so, we will be reviewing the ANDBON AD-30S 30L Electronic Automatic Digital Control Dry Cabinet Storage.


SPECS:

•Model NO: AD-30S
•External Size: W290 x D320 x H420 mm (11.5″x12.6″x16.5″)
•Internal Size: W288 x D290 x H355 mm (11.3″x11.5″x14.0″)
•Pack Size: W350 x D380 x H470 mm (13.8″x14.9″x18.5″)

•Digital LCD display
•Andbon Dry Box Series (25%~60% RH) provides the best moisture damage prevention for aging, molding, spoiling, rusting, corrosion, denaturing, etc
•Auto Memory Last RH Setting
•Slide/Pullable Trays,Anti-Rust Cabinet (special coated paint), Silent Operation
•Low Power Consumption,Worldwide Voltage: 100-240V,Lockable — Door (comes with two keys), Magnetic Sealed Door for best RH control
•Power Input: AC 100V ~ 240V / 5W

Inside the box includes the power adapter and an instruction manual that is kept underneath one of the foams in the bottom compartment of the unit. I must admit, I was scratching my head as to were the manual was, but I always inspect the entire unit of whatever I purchased just to see any hidden damages, and thankfully, upon removing the foam, I found the instructions.

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The manual is hiding underneath the foam

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It also comes with 2 keys for the locking mechanism.


REVIEW:

As always, we start with the packaging, and the unit was packaged well enough, being flanked by hard Styrofoam; I like harder Styrofoam material than the softer ones, as the former will help ensure a safer delivery.

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The glass on the door wasn’t protected by its own plastic cover (the ones you usually peel off in new phones or the like), but was happy to see that the glass wasn’t scratched up as much or at all. But it would be nice to have its own dedicated plastic cover to peel off… There was no mention as to what material this glass was made of. But it is ever so slightly smoked, but under well lit environment or when you switch on the LED inside, it can showcase your gear wonderfully. I wished the LED strip were situated on both sides for even lighting, but either way, it does the job.

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The unit itself is VERY light, as it doesn’t really need a lot of electronics; this may look like a mini fridge, but all it in needs is a electronic display, a strip of LED, the actual dehumidifier with anti bacterial wafer chip, and a simple power supply to power them all. This is essentially just a display case with the added features of dehumidify inside the little controlled environment.

Overall, the build is great and very sleek, and compared to the plastic dry boxes, this adds a bit of flare to your gear. I love the looks!

The foams are firm, but the top foam with the contours for lenses should have spaced the contours/concavities a little bit more; as you can see, there are too close to each other that my lenses are not sitting flush with the concavities. This should not be a problem for mirrorless camera lenses and such, but I wished they thought about spacing them out just a little but more to accommodate lenses like mine –  and my lenses are pretty much the Trinity of lenses that most professional photographers or hobbyists like myself would own. There is still enough space to space the contours out a bit more. But I can always ask someone locally to make me a custom foam with my specifications in the future.

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The foam contour/concavities don’t really accommadate my lenses

The actual sliding tray is made of a very tough plastic material that I suspect is ABS plastic; the mounting mechanism is also made of plastic, most likely also ABS plastic, and surprisingly, it can carry the weight of my 4 lenses even when extended fully (it locks into place when extended fully, but a little lift and pull, you can pull of the entire assembly). The mount can also be adjusted to certain heights for your needs. I am still wary when I extend the tray out with my lenses on, so for peace of mine, I still secure the tray underneath with my palm while I select what lens to use.

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There is a tape holding the tray in place for shipping purposes; there are 1 on each side, so remove them

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The tray can accommodate my 150-50mm, my 17-50mm, and my 30mm; seeing that there is still space, I placed my old kit lens in there and I can still add either a 10-20mm or a fisheye in the future.

The bottom compartment I use to house my 2 DSLR’s, the Nikon D5000 and the Nikon D7200 with the MB-D15 battery grip installed. I also included my 2 Nikon SB-600 speedlights, a Meike FC-110 LED ring flash, my DSLR’ batteries and chargers, my LYNCA memory card reader and case (review here!), and seeing I still had enough space, I just threw in the lens hoods just for fun (they won’t stay in there forever). And I know I can still add another DSLR or another flash here in the future no problem.

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Of course, the top tray and bottom compartment isn’t strictly for lenses and bodies/flashes respectively, you can interchange them or even not use the entire unit for you photography gear as it can be used for books, bags, jewelry, etc. Of course, with different items, comes different relative humidity percentages (%RH). For my needs I am told 40-50%RH will be ideal for cameras and lenses, and since this unit has a +2-3%RH, I placed set mine in 42%RH (that means if it reaches 42%RH, it will then go up to 44%RH or 45%RH and then dehumidify again to 42%RH). The %RH will obviously shoot up when you open the unit to grab a piece of item, so you shouldn’t be surprised by it.

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%RH reference guide as per the manual

It is also of note, if you are not in a humid environment, the dehumidifier will not work if your ambient humidity is lower than the humidity set on your unit.

Let’s look at the display and buttons and how to set this up for the first time:

Display

Buttons

Wrong
This part of the instructions are wrong, read on below…

As you can see from the screenshots from the manual, it said that you have to tap the up button TWICE to choose what %RH you want to set, this for me was wrong; I had to press the SET button TWICE, then use up and down buttons to choose my %RH and press SET again to confirm the change.

After setting the %RH, it is suggested in the manual and several forums to leave it empty for at least 8 hours; from my photo, I showed the time I started and the time I would start adding my gear, but I decided to make it 10 hours.

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And thus, here is a shot of my dedicated photography gear corner of my room; this corner has all the most commonly used gear and accessories, and the other less commonly used items are stored elsewhere.

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CONCLUSION:

I paid PHP4,200 (~$80) plus shipping, and somehow it didn’t feel as if I spent a cent on this, because as I said above, this is not an expenditure, it is an investment.

It looks sleek and professional, unlike the conventional dry boxes, and you need not have to “settle” in unlike in the dry boxes where it can take a day or two to dial and settle in the silica gels to the right %RH – this is done digitally and immediately with this one.

The near clear glass shows off your gear wonderfully in proper lighting or when the LED is lit inside, but again, I wish the LED strips were on either end for more even lighting.

The tray and tray mount would give me more peace of mind if they just made it metal; I wouldn’t mind paying a little more for that. Being a very tough plastic, it does hold my lenses well enough but not enough for me to feel confident when I slide the tray out; I still have one palm underneath the tray.

The foam, particularly for the lenses, I wished the contours/concavities were spaced out just a tad more for larger lenses to fit better; I don’t imagine this being a problem for lenses with 62mm threads or mirrorless camera lenses though.

But with all that said and done, would I recommend this? A BIG YES… I mean I already said it twice: this is not an expenditure, it is an investment.

This keeps most of the dust away from my gear, heck even insects; it inside a controlled environment to inhibit fungal growth, yet humid enough to to keep the lubrication of my lenses from evaporating; and it serves as a nice display case for my gear – I do just sit down and stare at it at times.

Of course, this is another one of those Chinese OEM products that have different brands slapping their name on it… So, find one similar to mine, and you will most likely get the same performance.

Well, that’s all! Time for me to stare at my gear inside the ANDBON AD-30S 30L Electronic Automatic Digital Control Dry Cabinet Storage again.


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LYNCA Waterproof Memory Card Case with Built-In USB 3.0 Card Reader Review

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional reviewer; I review the things I buy as a consumer. I am not at all sponsored. I am an average consumer, giving my consumer thoughts.

INTRO:

Ever since I switched my PC chassis roughly 2 years ago, I no longer had the benefit of using a 3.5 inch internal card reader, because my current chassis, the Phanteks Enthoo Eveolv ATX doesn’t have mounts for 5.25 or 3.5 inch drives, thus I had to forego my Bitfenix internal card reader.

I didn’t own any USB 3.0 card reader hubs back then since I was mainly using the internal card reader, so I have to revert to connecting my DSLR’s using the supplied USB cable from Nikon. And as you’d expect, the transfer rates are slow. Not only that, I hated always connecting my Nikon D5000 or D7200 thru USB especially if I forgot to copy over a photo, because Windows will read the whole card (slowly) inside the DSLR’s as it seems it doesn’t save any information of the photos in the cache.

Knowing I needed a USB 3.0 card reader and a new SD card case (since my old one is so cheap), it was time to hit the market for those items.

Lucky for me, there is the LYNCA Waterproof Memory Card Case with Built-In USB 3.0 Card Reader. Yes that was a mouthful… and it always seems to have a different name in different shops… but at least, the LYNCA branding stays the same.

By the name, it is obviously hitting 2 birds with 1 stone for me; a case and a USB 3.0 card reader.

I didn’t get it right off the bat as I wasn’t to keen in PHP 2,000 (~$40) for such an item, and that is due to the looks, which I will get more into down below in the review. Then it went on sale with a 50% off, then I had no other reason not to get it; whether it will it has bad performance, or God forbid, die out within a few months, I wouldn’t cry a river knowing I only paid PHP 1,000 (~$20).

SPECS:

Item in Review:
Material: ABS,PC,TPV
Size: 15.5x10x3cm/6.1×3.9×1.2”
Number of Slot: 19
Weight: 205g

Suitable for:
CFx3, SDx7 and TFx9 Card (for those wondering what TF is, it is Transflash, aka, MicroSD; Transflash was simply the original name for MicroSD’s untile MicroSD nomenclature became mainstream)

Package:
1x Card Case/Reader
1x USB 3.0 Type A Female to USB 3.0 Type B Male 10 Pin (38.1cm/15″)
1x USB Type A to Micro USB adapter
1x Micro USB to USB 3.0 Type C adapter
1x Sim card tray remover

REVIEW:

First off, it was surprisingly well packaged; sure it doesn’t hang the bang or presentation of products of AAA companies, but the main point for me is that the packing is well enough to keep the item protected in shipping, so it will arrive to me in great condition. Close friends of mine know that I usually keep boxes and display them for 2 reasons: 1 is to have some bragging rights for the awesome gear I have and 2, simply great for reselling purposes. But for little gadgets like these, I care not to keep the boxes honestly, so it may lack in the presentation, but it gets the job done.

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In fact, lacking is the presentation that it doesn’t give much specs in the box, so you can always use the specs I placed above instead, if you are wondering about the item and what comes with it.

The USB 3.0 Type A Female to USB 3.0 Type B Male 10 Pin is roughly 15 inches in length, however, I find that very short even if you connect it in the front USB panel of your PC (well it depends on the height of your PC chassis and its location, either on the desk or on the floor, but for my use and my setup, it is indeed short), thus it is absolutely short if you plan to connect this to the back of your PC; be prepared either way to stand up each time you want to change the card you are trying to import pictures from. An easy fix, which I already did, was buy a 3rd part USB 3.0 Type A Female to USB 3.0 Type B Male 10 Pin cable. I understand why it is only 15 inches, because, after all, this seems to have travel in mind, so you want to pack shorter cables when traveling as to save space, and honestly, you’d want a shorter cable for your laptop when you travel. And speaking of laptop users, you won’t have the same problems with the shorter cable as mentioned above.

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The package also includes 2 adapters, a USB Type A to Micro USB adapterand a Micro USB to USB 3.0 Type C adapter, that have their own rubber sleeves making them linked to the USB cable, thus not losing them, but I find the rubber sleeve a dirt magnet. Of course, if you want, you can simply remove the rubber sleeve links, especially if you are not planning to use those interfaces for you devices.

I mentioned earlier that I was not keen on paying full price for this item due to the over all looks, and I still stand by the fact that I wished they didn’t go for that miniature suit case look. I am more of the minimalist type, and sleeker clean designs are what I wanted best. If it had that sleek design, maybe I would pay full price, with that said, it looks like a toy. That may not bother a lot of people, but for those that still love form AND function, like me, it does put a bit of a letdown especially since most photographers and hobbyists will definitely have photography gear that is respectable and the looks of this case/card reader is kinda tacky. But that’s just me.

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Build quality, well I did say toy earlier, and it does feel like a toy, but a tough toy at that since they did use ABS plastic. I still would want to constantly thrash this around, but for normal everyday use and travel, it will definitely stand the test. Though I might want to mention the tabs are also made of plastic and as far as plastics go, they may wear out in time with the constant opening and closing of the case/card reader

The rubber cover for the actual card reader, is held on by a very small piece of rubber that will definitely break off if you abuse it.

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The USB 3.0 Type B 10 pin female connection is not covered… just something to keep in mind. It is also situated on the side of where the hinges of the case are placed, so having the case wide open and transferring photos won’t be possible; that is to say, that you can open the case and still transfer photos, but not fully open. You can still access the cards inside if need be very easily.

As for the inside of the case, it is mostly made of rubber as to keep the cards in place safely and supposedly be waterproof on the edges; I am a bit skeptical and am lazy to actually test this, but I am skeptical since the rubber edges don’t seem to create a very good seal. But yeah, maybe I will update this once I tested the waterproof capabilities, but I also mentioned above, that the USB 3.0 Type B 10 pin female connection is not covered, so maybe the waterproof aspect is just to save the memory cards inside, then again, why have a rubber cover that seals the card reading connections? Why leave the USB 3.0 Type B 10 pin female connection to dry, errrr, to wet? (LOL) Anyways, that is another reason why I also don’t want to test the waterproof capabilities of the item.

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On the actual card reader, it can also house once more SD card if need be. And speaking of housing the cards, it advertises that it can store CFx3, SDx7 and TFx9 Cards, but what I found out, you can stack your SD cards on top of another, thus you can house up to 12 in the rubber casing plus one on the actual card reader, totaling up to 13 SD cards. As for the CF and TF, since I don’t own any CF cards, I can’t give a definite answer, but I can say that it does only hold as advertised, as with TF.

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You will also notice there is a sim card tray remover, just in case you ever need it. A nice touch in my opinion as there are times when I wished I had one while I’m out.

Now for the actual performance: being a USB 3.0, which can handle up to 5GB/s, we can suspect speedy read and write speeds. I will give you is my transfer times and real time average transfer rates compared to my DSLR, in this case, we will use the Nikon D7200 to transfer 15GB of RAW files from my more recent shoot using a SanDisk Ultra 32GB, 48MB/s read speed, SDHC card.

Using the Nikon D7200, I was took me over a little over 12 minutes. Not too bad at all, but my main gripe is what I mentioned earlier in which it constantly buffers the photos so having to search for that certain photo or photos you want to transfer only can be a chore. Windows, sadly didn’t give me the transfer rate.

Then using the LYNCA card reader, I transferred 15GB of only RAW files in 4 minutes; there was also little to no buffering when searching for selected photos unlike the DSLR where it seems there was no cache saved in the PC, thus it rebuffers, costing time, if you are just looking for certain photos in the card. As for transfer rate, I was averaging 42MB/s. So, it was definitely faster.

I didn’t test it with my other SD card like a SanDisk SDHC class 4, I can say it will be slightly slower, and I didn’t test it with my SanDisk Extreme PRO 32GB SDHC Class 10 U3 UHS 1 card, because I would suspect that it would transfer faster since it has a 95MB/s read speed. And that is another point to make, the transfer speed depends on the card and the files as much as it depends on the interface of transferring.

CONCLUSION:

It does the job! And it does it well. If we simply look at this as a card reader, then it is definitely a great item especially when you get it at 50% off like me. The fact that it is also a case for your memory cards comes as gravy, a cherry on top, or whatever analogy you want. I wished the design leans more to the professional and be more sleek and minimalist, but again, that is just me. I would also would have loved a longer USB cable, but I guess it is understandable as this is also geared towards travel, thus you won’t want to lug around long cables.

Another gripe would be the USB 3.0 Type B 10 pin female connection is not covered like the other connections, thus even if this is waterproof, that being exposed, will not end well.

Will I recommend this? Absolutely! But I feel the asking price originally is still a lot especially from a brand that is not really super known. I would wait for a sale. Keep in mind, this is definitely one of those OEM type products where niche companies will just slap their brand on. So you can find similar products like this with different branding. But as far as OEM goes, this review should also cover them.

So there you go! This is bang for the buck especially when on sale. Still bang for the buck, in a way, full price, but like I said, from a company like them, I rather pay less, so even if, God forbid, this bites the dust in time, it won’t hurt at all paying half price.

-0-

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Move over DX Racer, GT Omega, Maxnomic Gaming Chair; I found an alternative… ADDENDUM! Ergodynamic F1 Gaming Chair Review

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional reviewer, I am like you, a consumer, giving his consumer thoughts on purchases straight from his pocket. Also, if I place prices, remember, prices may, and probably will, change without prior notice.

Introduction:

My previous review on a non-branded gaming chair has been getting a lot of traffic, and since then, I have answered messages from Facebook, Twitter, and in Steam about that chair. Of course, I have since then upgraded my chair and now I have new recommendations on gaming chairs.

I decided to review my current chair and update the previous post as readers still think I have the old chair. And with all these new questions, I just wanna give them more info and alternatives so they can choose the perfect chair for themselves at the best price the see fit.

For this post, I will review my current chair and give new recommendations as alternatives to this chair as the price may not always sit too well (see what I did there?) with many people.

So here we! Let us begin!

Notable Mentions:

RAKK Gear/EasyPC

As much as I enjoyed my previous gaming chair, I felt that it is missing some features such as the ability to recline, missing head rest (I got that pink head rest from a friend) and lumbar pillow, and frankly, the mesh parts are starting to irritate me.

So I knew, it was high time to upgrade.

We start at the alternatives that I considered:

I stumbled into RAKK Gear/EasyPC and they were selling a gaming chair akin to those like DX Racer, Maxnomic, or GT Omega, etc, but at a reasonably low price of PHP 5,450.

It can recline, tilt, and it has the head rest and lumbar pillow.

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As to why I didn’t order this is simply it was not on stock and I waited quite awhile for it to be on stock. You can reach out to RAKK Gear (FB Page) EasyPC (FB Page or Official Site) for the availability and I highly recommend this chair as I have friends who swear by it.

I heard, however, they have 2 new models, with similar features, and similar price, just different design. Also of note, it doesn’t come with lumbar pillow and head rest.

Again, just reach out to Rakk Gear or EasyPC for the availability.

PCHub

Another shop that sells good alternatives to the more expensive brands, but like the shops above, the chairs were taking too long for my taste to restock.

But the one that caught my eye was the FTW Frag series. Like the Rakk Gear/Easy PC XRACE 01, Kabil, and Takus chairs, it is sweetly priced at PHP5,490 with similar feartures you now expect in a gaming chair.

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For those looking for a more of a premium and even more designs, they also carry AKRACING chairs.

Again, if PC Hub had this back then, I would have gotten the FTW Frag series of chairs; just reach out to them in their FB Page. If you find either this or the RAKK Gear/Easy PC equivalents, I highly recommend them. And if you will get either one of them, do pick it up from the shop; shipping is a pain in the wallet and you will know in a bit.

Ergodynamic/Cost U Less

Now, I really wanted to upgrade my chair, and I didn’t care about the price or shipping (I am not rich, I am just desperate to upgrade), so instead of waiting for either one previously mentioned to restock their products, I decided to look at the Ergodynamic F1 Gaming chairs that can be purchased from Cost U Less (FB Page or Official Site).

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It is a premium as you can see by the price, but for me, it is still slightly less than the more expensive brands, and this can hold up on its own against them.

The shipping hurts, since it is a large object to ship, and I live outside Manila, the shipping cost me nearly or about half the price of the chair. That’s how desperate I was… Did I regret it? No, not at all.

Now time for the short review…

Review:

  • Base Type: Nylon Base
  • Base Size: 350mm
  • Base Capacity: 300kgs
  • Gas Lift Type: 120D
  • Gas Lift: 80mm
  • Caster Type: PP
  • Mechanism Thickness: 2.5mm
  • Chair Seating Capacity: 110kgs
  • Tilt-Lock Function
  • Pneumatic Height Adjustment
  • 360° Swivel Function

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First off, I have the faux leather version of this, and for me, I like it better than the fabric version. Your skin tends to “breathe” more with faux leather.

For the price I was a bit letdown by the fact the star base is still made of plastic, albeit very, very  strong plastic that can carry upwards to 300kgs, but with that price I was at least a metal start base. I hardly think with that price, you can’t have at least an aluminum star base, but oh well.

Next are the arm rests, I like how it can go up or down, tilt in or out, but the latter doesn’t have a lock feature, so sometimes, once you get it in the orientation you like, it may tilt outwards or inwards beyond your comfort. Not so much of a problem, but annoying.

Also, the plastic feels so cheap. Again, with that price I spent on it, I was hoping a little more. It can get a wee bit uncomfortable at times when I rest my arms on them, I would have loved a thin fabric or something, but it never really gets uncomfortable all the time… just…at times.

The best part of this chair, I know it sounds crazy, but its the included pillows. Now most chairs are already supplying this apart from the 2 other models from RAKK Gear/ EasyPC, the Takus and Kabil, but upgrading from a chair that doesn’t even recline or have these is a welcome change. I just wished the head rest pillow also had the clip loncking mechanism like the lumbar pillow. I say this, cos I’m short, and I do mean short! Like most girls are taller than me… Okay, I digress. So I had to lower down the head rest to make it feel comfy but the strap is like strangling the chair as you can see below.

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It is also nice to note that even if the castor wheels are much better than my previous chair, it is still not the large castor wheels that can easily glide on carpet, like in my case. It can move around, but once you sit on it, the wheels do bury unto the carpet and you have to make the effort to move. That, or I’m just gaining too much weight for my own good.

Since the chair itself is quite heavy, the tilt function while the chair is upright can oppose you. I am used to a certain level of tilt from my previous chair, and when I sat on this, and loosened the tilt maximally, I still can’t tilt when the chair is upright. With that said, you can feel the tilting a lot when you start to recline. Either that, or I’m too weak and short to tilt the chair like a rocking chair if it isn’t reclined.

Reclining is pretty much what you expect from it, and it does it well; it doesn’t recline completely 180 degrees, but that is good, as the center of gravity will shift and you may just fall on your back. Now I mentioned I loosened the tilt on this chair and I will admit, when I tried to recline this fully, I always think I would fall over, but I didn’t. Up to now, I still get scared. Great way to have a pick me up when I am sleepy.

I got the faux leather finish and it is a dust magnet, I would suspect the fabric finish would be a lot worse. Of course, you can easily wipe it off with a damp cloth, but I think at this price, it is best to get a leather polisher or something to wipe it off.

The cushion, I am unsure if it memory foam, but it is comfortable and firm, in the sense that it is unlike other chairs with cushions that if you sit on it for long periods of time, throughout most of the day of the week,  it would start to lose it structural integrity. This one, I had it since December 2016, and the cushion are still firm and has no signs of going away (I hope I didn’t just jinx it)

Verdict:

So, the price may hurt in a way and it is close to the more expensive ones, well the lower end models of the expensive ones, but we can’t deny that it is a premium especially compared to the products from RAKK Gear/EasyPC or PCHub, and truth be told, I would have purchased from them if the products were available at them time.

That is not to say that I regret this particular purchase (plus the expensive shipping), I love this chair, it was everything I hoped the first chair I bought would be. Apart from my nitpicking in the review section, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS PRODUCT IN SPITE OF THE PRICE.

Of course, my advice would be to go to Cost U Less’ showroom to get the item and avoid the shipping fee, but if you are desperate like me or you live far, then you have to weigh it in for yourself if it is worth the extra shipping fee. Take it from me, after this chair arrived and I started using it, I didn’t care about the shipping fee.

Til next time! PEACE!

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Review on the Tecware Haste XXL Mousepad/Mousemat/Deskmat

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional reviewer; I review the things I buy as a consumer. I am not at all sponsored. I am an average consumer, giving my consumer thoughts.

I have reverted to using my DSLR for taking photos of products for review as I have been getting complaints when I just lazily use my smartphone camera. So, there, better photos coming up!

-o-

It is no surprise to many that I am techie; techie in the sense that I like computers and audio gear – I am not as good when it comes to smartphones; that is to say, I own Android phones, but I need a lot of research before buying and tweaking them. It is not like computers where I know it by heart.

With that out of the way, I know a lot of brands for computer components. From GPUs, RAM, to even those that make custom sleeved cables. I know my stuff… And I am confident about that.

To my surprise, and honestly, my embarrassment, is that I didn’t realize, for all these years, there was a company here in the Philippines that make radiators for water cooling and actually out source them to other countries.

Okay, there are other facilities that are here in the Philippines that make items that are exported, sure, like other countries, but those facilities are owned by big name companies of other countries. So, this one, is really from the Philippines.

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Check out more of their radiators HERE!

And to think that I know watercooling parts and have heard of Black Ice radiators over and over again and not knowing it was made here – boy is my face red.

Then a few days ago I was still hell bent on looking for a simple designed extended mousepad/deskmat. I honestly DO NOT like the over the top design of Razer Goliathus (And I simply don’t like Razer products; overpriced pieces of poorly made accessories – no hating on me. I am entitled to my own opinion. And if you say it is because I can’t afford it… I owned a lot of Razer stuff and died on me. PLUS. Look at my system! You honestly think I can’t afford a keyboard, mouse, or headset from them!? Heck, I even bought a Razer Mouse Bungee even if it is technically useless! *rages on*).

Then I saw Corsair’s MM200 extended edition; it was nice… it wasn’t truly the pure black I wanted as it had a long yellow line on the bottom and their logo there, too. The drawback? It had no stitched ends. So it is prone to fraying. That is the reason why I wanted to change my current mousepad from Roccat (Taito) because it was already fraying. And I said to myself, if I were to buy a new mousepad, I have to make sure it had stitched ends. That’s what was good about Razer, but it just had to go OVER the top with their designs and the heavy use of GREEN. (Like everyone has a green build… There are more blue builds than green according to stats of modded PCs!)

Then their is wonderfully designed, still not pure black, but closest to the minimalist design I was looking for was also from Corsair, the Corsair CGMM200 extended, but again like the regular MM200, it is prone to fraying. Sigh…

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I would love to represent TekSyndicate with this deskmat; even if isn’t pure black, representing them would be great! Find more products HERE and join the TekSyndicate community HERE!

I am a fan of Logan from TekSyndicate way back in his days at TigerDirect and RazeTheWorld (Which I was also a forum member) and he was selling this awesome deskmat with their burning earth logo; sure it ain’t pure black, but to represent TekSyndicate with a nearly minimalist design is great! Sadly, I live in the Philippines so ordering from his store would have me ending up to pay for nearly 50 bucks. As much as I want to represent, it was too much for a piece of cloth. If only they had a partner to resell their mousepad/mousemats/deskmats here without having to worry about the price of shipping (maybe just raise the overall price a touch but not as much as it would be to ship it here), then without a moments breath, I will buy the TekSyndicate Burning Earth Logo Deskmat. Hands down.

Sadly… that isn’t the case.

Much like my previous post about searching for a chair, my search continued, to the point where I thought, hey, I will just buy the TekSyndicate deskmat when I go the States for vacation later this year.

Then out of nowhere, like the chair in my previous post, I found this… a Tecware Haste XXL mousemat/deskmat.

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From a Filipino company named Tecware. Surprised by the quality! Check em out HERE!

To clarify my segue about the Black Ice radiators being made by a local company, Tecware is also a local company that has been around for quite a while and are making cheap, quality built, PC chassis; and quite recently extended mousepads.

It is nearly everything I wanted; I say nearly because I wish they hadn’t added the “Haste” branding on the mouse pad. The little label on the side of the deskmat with their company logo and name on, I feel is enough and makes it even more minimalist if it were the only one. But I am now just nitpicking.

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Along side my old, unwashed for a year, Roccat Taito MidSize 3mm mousepad.

Just like my (worn and dirty; last washed a year ago) Roccat Taito mousepad, it has rubber base that is non slip, but unlike my Roccat Taito, this mouse is stitched on the ends to prevent fraying and has a water resistant surface that is like the Aorus Thunder P3 Gaming Deskmat – I remember JayzTwoCents feature that deskmat once and mentioned it was water resistant for accidental spill of your drink and was easily cleaned by using window cleaners like Windex or something. If this could also be cleaned with Windex that would be great, but if not, this is fully washable anyways.

It certainly makes the desk look a lot cleaner, I get to place my phone on the deskmat (I can also put it on my Roccat Taito but it does take a bit of real estate away), heck any gadget, and it won’t look cluttered or have the fear of the device getting scratched or something.

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Initial size check
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With the keyboard and mouse housed; ignore dusty desk…

Immediately upon using it, believe or not, there are some people like me that will notice a difference in a mouse pad if it is good quality, etc. This one was just like my Roccat Taito, it was an easy transition – it had a little smoother (maybe because I didn’t clean my Roccat Taito in a year), so there is a false sense of an increase in pulling rate of the mouse that I just lowered the speed down down 100dpi (originall at 1000dpi, now 900dpi). Apart from that, it was like any other good mousepad/mousemat/deskmat I ever used that was great quality.

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Even the packaging is nice!

Overall, I am surprised by the amount I paid for a great deskmat that nearly had all the minimalist feel I want in it (I just want that “Haste” branding gone, or at least be placed like the label on the side with their company logo on it. Heck even the packaging isn’t a cheap box or something. It is good packaging and not on a freakin’ blister pack! Hello other companies! Don’t use blister packs! They injure people!

So, if you’re in the country, and in need of a minimalist deskmat that isn’t as over the top as Razer’s extended deskmats, then do look at this from Tecware. For php500 (roughly 12 bucks), this is the definition of bang for the buck!

Now time for some shameless glamour shots:

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There yah go! PEACE!

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Romoss Solo 5 10,000mAh Power Bank Review

Charging my ASUS Zenfone 5 with my Romoss Solo 5 10,000mAh Power Bank
I have been on the market for a powerbank ever since I bought my ASUS Zenfone 5 last October 2014, because, even though the Zenfone 5 has a slightly higher capacity battery life (2110mAh) compared to, let’s say an iPhone 5s (1560mAh), it still drains a good deal within the day, especially that I am still a Senior Medical Intern in the hospital where I call up the Residents in the department that I am currently rotating in, search online for some answers the Consultants would ask me, or when the going gets tough and I need a little break, I would play some emulators on my phone.
At first, I would just find a free socket in the hospital and charge my phone, but everyone knows, that finding a free socket is like finding a needle in a hay stack. To a point where I even thought of buying an extension cord that had multiple sockets and name it “iShare” to share the sockets for charging. And that’s where the real problem comes to play.
Charging is obviously a long process; and being a Senior Medical Intern, I am up and about, and can’t stay behind in one place too long, thus if I really need to charge my phone in one place, I have to leave it behind to accomplish some tasks in the hospital, risking my phone getting stolen, missing messages and calls. Not good indeed.
So, I knew I needed a powerbank. But I didn’t want jsut any powerbank, I wanted something that looks professional, clean, compact enough to be placed in my pocket, able to charge my devices while I am also charging the power bank itself, and have the USB ports on the top/bottom ends as to not hinder me placing it in my pocket while charging my devices.
At first, I saw Logan from TekSyndicate and Jerry AKA Barnacules (look for both of them at YouTube) use Vivis Knight V3 13,000mAH power bank, but living here in the Philippines, I haven’t stumbled upon such a sleek looking power bank. Thus, I had to search for an alternative.
Vivis Knight v3 13,000mAh

Most power banks, sorry to say, that I have seen here, which I will name and show pictures of just a few, looked like a toy; not professional looking, or doesn’t fit any of the parameters I sought after.
Millerton Power Banks

Mi Power Banks
Then, I found Romoss.
Romoss Solo 5 10,000mAh Power Bank
From left to right: Micro USB for charging the power bank; power button;
LED indicators (each light represents 25% of battery life); and Dual USB output (top 2.1 A and bottom 1 A)
It was a love at first sight for me when I laid my eyes on the Romoss Solo 5 10,000mAh power bank; it was white, just like my ASUS Zenfone 5; it was clean and professional looking, no odd shapes or the like; it had dual USB charging outputs, on top mounted; it can charge my devices while the power bank itself was charging; and being 10,000mAh, for PHP 1,000, I can’t go wrong.
Sure the have been 30,000mAh knock offs, but something like a power bank, buying cheaper, higher capacity knock offs, won’t assure me of a long life span, and potentially being a bomb in my pocket. Better to be safe, buying a little more expensive, longer lasting, lower capacity one, than gamble on a knock off.
At this point of writing this review of sorts, I have had it for 3 weeks now. I decided to postpone this review so I can have real world tests, while I was still rotating in the Department of Psychiatry in Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City, and give my honest opinion on it, instead of writing a review at the peak of my euphoria; yes, I am always too psyched about getting a new gadget that it blinds me while reviewing products.
Upon purchasing this product in the mall, my Zenfone 5 was around 5% of battery life left, so I was fortunate and happy to have opened the box and found the power bank still has juice in it for me to charge my phone immediately after purchasing it. So I had my first real world test in the mall, charging on the go, while looking for my friends so we can have dinner together. It charged my phone to full battery ~30-45mins, I found my friends, had dinner, and to my surprise, still had over 75% of juice left in my power bank (as indicated by the 4 LEDs after charging my phone; of course, even if the 4 LED signify 100%, I have already charged my phone to full, hence it is not 100% full, and also not less than 75% full. Math.)
After dinner, we went back to our rooms in PMA, right next to the mall, and just for a few chuckles, I had one of those octopus/squid/tentacle cord thingies (simply a USB split to lightning, micro USB, and a proprietary Samsung connector) to see if it can charge a multitude of devices at once. It did!
Surely it will charge them slower than normal, because the outputs will be split equally to the number of devices charging in that one USB output, it is just nice to know, it can work.
Still didn’t charge my power bank upon going to Veterans the next day for my 8am-5pm shift, I charged both my pocket WiFi and phone during that period and was surprised to see by the end of my shift, I still had around 25-50% left in the power bank. Remember, this is uncharged upon purchase, this is still the juice left upon opening the box.
I would usually tell all my friends to fully discharge any device before charging them, and if charging, they must fully charge it to 100%, and not interrupt it in the middle of charging (of course, this can’t always be followed, but at least try enough times to avoid doing otherwise). I had to break my rule, still having between 25-50% left in the power bank I decided to charge it up.
I had around 5 more days in Manila, and wanted to see how it will go for the rest of my stay in Manila, with a fully charged one.
Get your pen, papers, and calculators ready children! We have a pop quiz in math!
NOW! Remember my phone has a 2,100mAh battery, and the Romoss Solo 5 is around 10,000mAh capacity. So I should have at least been able to charge my phone up to 4 times and still have 1,600mAh for emergency charging or have it used for charging my pocket WiFi a number of times. And I usually charge my phone once a day depending on its usage. Well, it did just that alright, it charged my phone for 5 days (the last charge, I got to charge my phone up to 75%), next thing I knew, I was home here in Pampanga, charging my drained power bank that I charged 5 days prior.
Very impressed.
It did what it said it would do.
One thing I was worried about was that if my phone was 100%, the power bank would notice that, and stop charging immediately; this would of course, make my phone, that is still plugged in the power bank, start to drain, and I was worried that if it goes to 99%, the power bank would power on again. Hence, and endless cycle of charging and discharging, fluctuating between 100% and 99%. Others would say “Why not just unplug it when it’s 100%”, sure, but I will not always look at my phone charging every so often when I am busy even if it just in my pocket.
Thankfully, this device doesn’t power back on when it is asleep. You have to push the power button to wake it up and charge.
Most power banks I hear, automatically searches for devices that may be plugged in, so you need not power it on; it will charge automatically as soon as you plug the device in. For me, this is bad, because what I mentioned above, the fluctuations in charging and discharging, plus, the power bank is still technically awake, searching for possible connected devices, this drains the power bank’s charge as well.
So, I like still having to push a button once my power bank goes to sleep; this saves battery charge on the power bank itself. Good job Romoss!
Like I mentioned earlier, you can charge 2 devices thanks to the dual output (and more if you have the splitter USB things), and it didn’t have a slower charge on my devices, seeing as the dual output have their own power output (2.1 A and 1A, respectively).
Charging the power bank when fully drained does take a while, probably around 4-6 hours; it becomes slower to charge the power bank when I am simultaneously charging the power bank and have my phone connected to one of the outputs. In fact, my phone was also charging slower in that regard. Understandable since the USB AC Adapter usually are 5V, 1.35A, so it is split when I am simultaneously charging.
The power bank has significant weight to it, but not so heavy that it is a hassle to bring around with you in your pocket. I say you can bring this in your pocket, but looking at the above dimensions, not all pockets would accommodate this obviously. I have no qualms, because I have a white coat that I need to wear for work, and it has large pockets for whatever a doctor would need.
Build quality is amazing! Mostly metallic, with some portions being plastic. Sure, with the weight it has, if you drop it, it will dent, but I believe it will still work.
As a summary, I love this power bank. It looks professional and clean, it does what it says it would do, and it is built well. I would recommend this brand to anyone! In fact, I got 3 of my friends to buy the exact same power bank, and I will continue to persuade any of my friends who are looking for a power bank to buy from Romoss.
I highly, HIGHLY recommend this!

My Review on the Ozaki WoW Dual Bass 2.2 Audio System

Being a (wannabe) musician and the go to guy when it comes to wiring up home theaters, I am certainly no stranger when it comes to speaker systems; heck, me and my cousin have built countless custom full or half stacks/cabinets of speakers back in the day (I’m talking like an old man again).
My custom 5.1 speaker system before was hooked up to my TV, DVD player, and my gaming systems, as well as my desktop (when it was still alive, R.I.P. Rinax 1.0 T.T), but was soon replaced with another 5.1 system, quite fittingly, the early generations of Ozaki speakers… but shockingly died along with my desktop (I’ve done a lot of customizing on my desktop, plus overclocking; customized how the power reached each of my systems, including the speakers, ultimately caused the death of them all).
So I reverted to my trusty 2.1 speakers I got for 10 bucks back at ’06 in the States; though, it is built cheap, the sound quality was enough to make me happy since I can’t buy any new speaker system or build 1 as of the moment.
Hearing better days with those speakers, I thought of finally getting me new speakers for my laptop; and stumbled into Ozaki WoW (Woofer of Woofer) Dual Bass 2.2 Audio System. Having used Ozaki in the past, I knew of their sound and build quality. But time sure flies, and they have indeed improved their build quality since then. As for the sound? Well, for something smaller than my previous Ozaki system, and lowered down the satellites from a 5 into a 2 satellites system, may make this speaker system the underdog, but no! This was more than what I expected, especially from the price I had to pay (P980 in Marquee), it made than made up for the lack of more satellites as they are loud enough, plus, instead of 1 subwoofer, you get 2 (hence, 2.2)!!
Really happy with how the sounds come off of this in general. But of course, I can’t always sing praises…
As you should know by now, I am disappointed by the lack of more satellite speakers to create a full surround sound, but apart from that, as I may praise the sound quality, I feel that sounds from the higher end is a bit too… well… high. It’s as if the treble is on the max (which it isn’t); I did fix this with my many EQ presets. There are occasional “pop/crackling” sounds, but that might be my copy of the speaker system. The lower end of the sounds are great, owing to the dual bass, and for the mids, it could be better… but that’s prolly just my ears and you can always fix that if you know your EQ settings.
With all that said, ehrm typed, I still love these speakers. Literally BANG (of the bass) for the buck! Apart from the subtle mids and highs needing a bit of tinkering with the EQ, this is indeed a well built, great sounding system.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone needing a cheap upgrade (yes, I consider this an upgrade) to their speakers.
I am not an official reviewer of electronic gears/gadgets, but if I were to rate this out of 10 (being the highest), I’d give this a solid 8 out of 10.
Here are some photos from my iPhone (bad quality, I know; LOL I won’t use my DSLR just for these kinds of shots! Waste of actuations!)
The Box: In all it’s yellow glory

The Gold Plated Ozaki Logo on the Dual Bass subwoofer cabinet
The whole system plus it’s 3.5mm to RCA cable (I’m glad the guys at the shop weren’t confused when I designated the wires base on their real names and not by their description; yes, geek moment). Ignore the messy living room LOL
 Close inspection… well not that close
Closer inspection… again, not really that close
The left satellite next to my current workstation, Acer Aspire 4920G (a beast in it’s day; hope to upgrade by the end of the summer to an Acer Aspire AS4755G)
The right satellite next to my HP f1703 17″ LCD monitor (now being used as a secondary since Rinax 1.0 died; hope to upgrade into an affordable AOC 20″ LED by the end of summer… I like the idea of dual monitors nowadays LOL). NOTE: the wallpaper on the monitor is from a fellow flickr photographer and not mine.
My current setup
The subwoofer cab featuring not 1 but 2 subwoofers. The blinding (and in a few articles, cancerous) blue LED to signify it being powered on. And my eneloops on the floor just in from of Rinax 1.0 (A Quad Core Q9400, 4gb DDR2 800mhz, Geforce 8800gt… I built this myself T.T I miss her)