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.

Smartfish Whirl Mini Wireless Mouse Review

Smartfish sent us their Whirl mouse with Comfort Pivot to take for a spin. The site claims that “the Whirlâ„¢ Mini’s patented ErgoMotionâ„¢ pivot system makes your mouse feel like it’s ‘floating on air!'” They’re really just trying to point out that the unique design allows it to pivot at a full range of angles for optimal comfort.

Smartfish Whirl Wireless Mouse

It’s All In The Wrist

I spend about 12-15 hours a day on a computer and almost all of that involves mouse interaction. I have my home office, but will often work from the couch, so a wireless mouse for my laptop is ideal. To put this mouse to the test, I made this my couch mouse for a few weeks. My biggest complaint about my current setup is the angle my wrist must be at in order to use a mouse. This problem still exists with the Whirl. To be fair, it exists with any of my mice on the couch and my Whirl mouse did provide some relief.

On my desk top, the Whirl proved to be even more comfortable, but at some expense. I found that with extended use, I was to get a little more used to the pivoting, but not completely. The only problem this creates, really, is that I found myself having to relearn to click without it feeling awkward and I still pivot the mouse forward when trying to click. Despite having to adjust, I found the pivot to be pretty fluid. Moving smoothly in any direction, I never felt like I was forcing it.

Smartfish Whirl Wireless Mouse

Additional Whirl Features

Aside from the pivot feature, the Whirl feels good in the hand and is just big enough to feel normal and just barely small enough to consider it a travel mouse. One thing I liked a lot about this mouse is that the 2.4GHz nano-tranceiver is tiny enough to lose, but tucks neatly away into a storage/battery compartment on the mouse to keep you from losing it. This is not unique to the Whirl, but definitely appreciated.

Not quite as important to this righty is the ambidextrous design, but it’s sure to make it a more comfortable choice for left-handed users. It also comes in several attractive designs for those looking to stray from the boring black mouse. The Whirl uses two AAA batteries and includes an on/off switch, as expected, to save power. I will probably use this as my travel/couch mouse for as long as it lasts me or until something better unseats it.

Conclusion

If you find your existing mouse uncomfortable to use and are willing to adjust to the Whirl, it’s certainly not a bad choice. It works well as a mid-sized travel mouse and is moderately priced at $49.95 on their web site. This is a great mouse for portable use, but I’m not ready to ditch my desktop mouse for it.

NZXT Avatar – A Beautiful 2600 DPI Gaming Mouse

I’m not much of a gamer, but it didn’t stop me from getting excited about reviewing the NZXT Avatar Gaming Mouse. Part of my excitement was the anticipation of trying out lots of features I, a non-gamer, may never use again, but I was also excited because I love beautiful tech products.

Avatar Gaming Mouse

OK. It’s a thing of beauty, and we’ll get back to that, but gaming mice don’t make it on looks, alone.

A Comfortable Power Mouse

I decided to use this mouse for a while for gaming and everything else I do on my computer. I wanted to put it to the test for a week. You know what they say about time and flying. I’ve been using the Avatar mouse for an average of 10 hours a day for much longer than a week and I’m loving almost everything about it. I say “almost” because I was annoyed at first. I dove in and started using it right out of the box, disregarding the install CD. Out of the box, the side buttons already perform various actions and are so conveniently situated for clicking that I found myself doing unexpected things with unintended side button clicks. Of course, for gaming, you’ll want to pop in the CD and program all seven buttons to your liking right after you plug it in. The other item of annoyance is the rubber grip on the sides, most specifically that it seems to collect dirt quickly. I’m thinking a simple wash cloth will remedy this.

The rubber grip was also one of the things I really liked about the Avatar mouse. Fast-paced gaming for any notable period of time generates palm sweat and even a little bit makes most mice slippery. Try dodging baddies when the mouse slips. The traction provided gets you to safety quickly. The ergonomic design makes it almost cuddle right up into your hand, so getting to feel right at home with it is a quick process. What I hadn’t planned on using longer than for the review quickly planted its flag on my desktop, even though I sometimes feel like I’m taking a Ferrari to grocery shop.

Features And Specs

When you pay about $60+ for a mouse, you want features. It’s priced well for a gaming mouse as long as it delivers and the Avatar’s features fully justify the price.

Avatar Gaming Mouse

With seven programmable buttons, Avatar does all the work while you just have to remember which button does what. In addition, you can customize some of the more common mouse functions like the scroll wheel and the optical sensor. Let’s talk about that sensor for a second. I comes in at a crazy 2600 DPI for precision accuracy. Not only that, but the 4 Speed DPI switch enables you to go from slow sniper movement to quick attack movement in a matter of seconds and the LED lights on the side show you the current DPI. And you thought the lights were just to look cool.

For the fans of the numbers, here’s the specs:
Max Speed
– 40 Inches/Second
Max Acceleration
– 15g
Max Frame Rate
– 6469 Frames/Second
Resolution
– 650-2600 DPI
Image Processing
– 5.8 Mega Pixels/Second
USB Reports
– Up to 1000 Reports/Second
Buttons
– 7 Buttons, 5 Million Clicks

Did I Say Beautiful?

I’ve mentioned it already, but I’ll say it again… This is one sexy piece of hardware, especially for something as normally mundane and boring as a mouse. The best part is that most of what makes it look better also makes it work better. From the sleek ergonomics to the Tron-like DPI LEDs, the Avatar mouse catches the attention of everyone who’s near my desk for more than a minute.

Avatar Gaming Mouse

And just look at it in with the lights off. ‘Nuff said.

Should You Buy It?

I can go on and on about how neat a product may be, but it really comes down to weighing the value against the price and factoring in “neat” last. That said, this is not a mouse I would personally buy normally. Given how rarely I play any games that require this level of sophistication, its coolness alone doesn’t squeeze it into my budget (not that I would dare part with it now that it’s on my desk). Avid gamers, on the other hand, should take a second look as this is a smart mouse that would look great with any desktop setup and just might give your kill count a boost.