Product Review Follow-Up : 5 Time-Tested Winners

I get a lot of stuff to review and I try to put things to the test before I complete a review, but the best test of a product is to use it over a longer period of time. Will it stand up to real life testing beyond the review? Some products are given away and others sit around in a box, only used occasionally. Below are five six products that I have continued to use over and over again.

1. LED Lenser P7 Flashlight

LED Lenser P7 Flashlight
This flashlight is the best one I’ve owned personally. I still might find it hard to spend $90 on a flashlight, but it sure seems worth the price. Since I posted the LED Lenser P7 Flashlight review nearly three years ago, I have taken it to several states, and used it hundreds of times. When it’s stormy out, my wife goes for the candles and I find my P7. It always ends up back in its case and I still haven’t had to replace the 4 AAA batteries that came with it. I’m sure this thing will serve me well for many more years.

2. XShot iPhone 4 Case

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A little more recently, I completed an XShot iPhone 4 Case review, in which I demonstrated its ability to hold my iPhone 4 snugly at the end of an XShot camera extender to get some unique video and photo perspectives. Since then, I’ve used the case several more times, combined with a tripod, for steady video. Like the Lenser P7, I know where this is at all times in case I need it.

3. LA Besace Lime Drop Laptop Bag

LA besace Laptop Bag
After my LA Besace Lime Drop review, I decided to keep this good-looking case for myself and what a great choice. Tomorrow, as I have done for every flight in the past two years, I will pack my laptop, crossword books, pens, gadgets, and a couple magazines into my Lime Drop bag to take on the plane with me. It’s unique and fashionable and there isn’t a trip I go on without it.

4. NZXT Avatar Gaming Mouse

Avatar Gaming Mouse
I can’t tell you how many hours I spend on my computer every day, but I’ll bet it’s unhealthy. Since I posted my Avatar mouse review over a year ago, I have used this mouse somewhere around 4,600 hours. It’s precise, feels great in my hand, and looks incredible. I have one at home and another at the office.

5. id America’s Brushed Aluminum Gasket iPhone Case

id America - Gasket
iPhone cases don’t get much cooler than id America’s brushed aluminum gasket case. Just a picture of it on my Facebook wall inspired a friend to buy one for himself, but it was more than looks that got it on this list long after my id America review last November. It protected my iPhone for the first time when it was dropped in October, before the review was published. Since then, it has taken the fall for my iPhone many times while still looking incredible. It was after I dropped my phone again the other day that I decided to write this follow-up for items that continue to prove themselves.

Bonus: iBoo

iBoo
My wife wanted the iBoo iPod sound system from the moment she saw it so, after completing my iBoo review, I handed it over and it vanished to it’s new home at her office, where it has remained for three years. Without mentioning why, I asked my wife if she still uses the iBoo. Without hesitation, she replied, “Every day. It rocks!”. She loves iBoo and says she gets asked about it all the time. That excitement about this product made it the bonus sixth item on the list.

I like a lot of the products sent to me for review and there are some that just don’t work well at all, but there are products like the ones listed above that prove to be more than expected and get regular use. Those products truly deserved another mention.

Keystone ECO NautiCase Protects Your iPhone From Water, Sand, Shock

Last year, I brought you a Ballistic HC iPhone Case Review and found it to be an awesome rugged case. At the time, I wished it would protect my iPhone from water, too. Today, I have a Keystone ECO NautiCase, which promises to be shock proof, sand proof, and splash proof, so I put it to the test.

Keystone ECO NautiCase

NautiCase Features

The NautiCase is made with a polycarbonate hard shell surrounded by a rubber skin and has a clear membrane for interfacing with the screen while protecting it. Also included with the case was a thick holster with a belt clip and the belt clip doubles as a stand.

Some of the key features as mentioned on the Keystone site are:
– Shock proof, sand/dust proof and splash proof. IP54 certified.
– 3-layer integrated one-piece design, no assembly needed.
– Redesigned sound channel for clear voice transmission.
– Full touch screen and phone functionality.
– Access to all buttons.
– Enhanced lens protection allowing glare free photography.
– Hard impact hard shell with durable rubber skin & textured bumper for firm grip and shock absorption.
– Holster holds phone face in or face out and with built-in stand.

How Well Did It Work?

The case has a very small rubber seal around its inner perimeter that came out a little the first time I opened it. I wedged it back in and it wasn’t a problem, but this had me worried from the beginning. Another thing to note is that the included user guide warned that this case is splash proof, not water proof. The case has a hinged front that opens to insert or remove your iPhone and snaps tight with three small plastic clips on the top, left, and right edges. Getting my phone in and out of this case was easier than a lot of other cases I’ve reviewed, and that’s important for a case like this. The holster was, well, a holster and worked like it should. The Swivel belt clip moved only when I wanted it to, but it sometimes required a bit of pressure. This is a good thing, really. As an added feature, the belt clip has a little plastic prop that pops out to make it double as a stand. This only worked for horizontal viewing, but it worked well. I put the case and holster on my iPhone for just this feature to view MIT video courses one night.

Keystone ECO Nauticase

The NautiCase did pretty well with some basic tests with dirt and dropping, but I was really interested in just how splash proof it was. Despite the warnings in the user guide, I fully submerged my NautiCase in a sink full of water (as seen above). What you might also notice in the image above is that I did not have my phone in the case for this test. I heeded the warnings and opted, instead, for paper towels. With the case completely packed with two paper towels, I submerged it in the sink for 60 seconds, giving it any chance to fill with water. When I retrieved it, there was a small amount of wet paper towel at the bottom edge. This was much better than anticipated, as I expected the front membrane to let a lot of water in. The top two-thirds of the paper towel was bone dry, which also surprised me. Splash proof? It’s almost completely water proof. Keep in mind that the operative word is “almost”, so when you use this case, heed the same warnings about submerging it.

Conclusions

While a little bulky, the Keystone ECO NautiCase comes in several color combinations to help it fit your style. Regardless, this is a case designed for function more than for style and it works well for that purpose. At $49.99, it’s priced for a higher budget, but if it saves your phone once, it’s worth the price. This is not a case I would have on my phone all the time, but will definitely come in handy when on a hike, by a pool, or anywhere I know the likelihood of iPhone catastrophe is high.

XShot iPhone 4 Case Review With A Hike And Lamborghinis

Almost two years ago, I brought you a review of a great little device called XShot that lets you put your camera out past arm’s length for better photos. Not wanting to leave out iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S users, XShot sent me a case that is compatible with these latest iPhones and lets you mount your phone to not only the XShot, but also to an included mini tripod. Check it out.

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In The Box

Inside the box is a hard iPhone 4/4S case that snaps onto your phone in two pieces. Your phone slides into the bottom piece and the top piece then slides onto your phone and snaps in place with the bottom. The case has all the expected gaps and holes in it that allow for the continued use of your phone’s buttons and connectors and, of course, a hole for the camera lens. In addition, there are two grooves on this case to slide in a special XShot adapter for a tripod mount. These are placed on the bottom and side of the case to allow for mounting both horizontally and vertically.

The box also includes the adapter mentioned above (as well as a spare) and a mini flexible tripod to use it with. The adapter slides into either of the grooves on the iPhone case as mentioned above and has a standard tripod mount screw hole on the bottom to mount to a tripod. To make it easier to get on and off the case, the adapter includes a quick-release. The mini tripod does well to hold the phone up for videos and photos as well as propping your phone up to watch video. The tripod did exhibit one flaw after a few uses that surprised me. Two of the legs became detached. They’re glued in, so this obviously should not happen and may be unique to the one I got.

XShot Usage Examples

I really wanted to get the best use from this case, so I borrowed an XShot from Wes Novack and headed out for a Saturday with XShot. The photo below is an example of getting a picture of yourself with the XShot case on an iPhone 4. In fact, this is a capture from video taken.

Lamborghini and Joe XShot

My Saturday included casual hiking and some time drooling over Ferraris and Lamborghinis at a local car show. While hiking, the XShot case allowed me to get into the video I shot showing all of the scenery. The mini tripod came in handy when I wanted to set the phone on the ground to capture some of the wild life. At the car show, I snapped the phone back onto the XShot to get above the crowd for a bird’s eye view.

Conclusions

This case sells on the XShot site for $34.95, which falls in line with other quality iPhone cases, but the price includes the mini tripod and it would be nice if this was an option rather than included. Barring the easily solvable tripod problem, I felt like I got a lot out of this case in just one day and I’m sure I’ll use it over and over again. Tripod or not, this is a great accessory to your iPhone 4.