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

IMG_2574.JPG
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.

Even Pac Man Would Like iBoo

One of the cutest little gadgets I’ve gotten in my mailbox is the Speakal iBoo, a little speaker, shaped like a ghost and available in red, white or blue. The one they sent out was blue and has become device number two that my wife claimed as her own on sight.

iBoo

What’s in the box?
It can be frustrating to find the right speaker system to match not only your needs, but also the connection requirements of the device providing the music. It’s worse when you upgrade from one iPod to the next just to find that the new one doesn’t fit in the speaker system you already own. A lot of systems that are geared towards iPods take this into consideration and so does the iBoo. It comes with a bunch of adapters to make any iPod fit. One difference here is that they provide a prying wedge to remove the attached iPod adapter and replace it with another one. It also comes with a kind of cap for when you don’t want any adapter.

iBoo

Also in the box is an audio cable, the power adapter, user manual, and a small remote control. The remote is a nice addition. Although not necessary, the remote could be handy when you place the iBoo on a shelf or otherwise not easily within reach. The remote also has more functions on it than the iBoo, itself, so it’s good to have even when the iBoo is right next to you.

Appearances aren’t everything, but…
Honestly, of the three colors they offer, blue would be my preference, but I also think any decent sound system should come in sleek black, silver or titanium. That’s just my opinion, and apparently, blue isn’t all that bad, either. Michelle took her new iBoo in to the office to replace her existing stereo speakers and it was, as I’m told, the talk of the office, briefly. Everyone loved it. It is pretty cute, and the design is sleek enough, even in blue. The most thoughtful aspect of the design is that it doesn’t really have any protruding buttons or controls. The play/pause and volume controls are easy to find if you’re looking and not too easy to see if you’re not looking. They’re part of the iBoo’s surface, so you just have to touch the right area on iBoo to control the audio in various ways. It’s not like some small controls sticking out of iBoo would make much of a difference, but it’s the little details that count, sometimes.

iBoo iBoo
iBoo iBoo

(You can see all the photos here)

How is it as a sound system?
Something that I always fear with devices that are made to fit a theme like this is that they focus too much on making it look cute and not enough on making it sound good. Luckily, that’s not so here. Speakal offers up a system that looks cute and sounds good too. I already mentioned that it takes all the iPods as input but I also mentioned an included audio cable. That cable is for the auxiliary input so you can hook up a game system, stereo, television, etc. Where it failed was with my iPhone. When I plugged the iPhone in, it displayed a message on the screen indicating that the device wasn’t made to work with an iPhone. It’s not the first device that has been rejected by my iPhone and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but it’s worth noting. Michelle pointed out that you can’t grab it by the top (because of the touch sensitive controls) to turn it off, although that seems like a minor inconvenience.

Conclusions
iBoo is supposed to be cute, but I want one in black or titanium and I want it to work with my iPhone, but did prove itself as device that can easily please an office crowd and it sounds good. For the money (about $80), it’s a great way to free your music from your standard ear buds or replace larger speakers for more desk space. They also have iPanda and iPig, but I’m holding out for iNinja.