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.

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.

Take Better Photos And Video With An XShot

With over 9,000 photos on Flickr alone, I think it’s safe to say that I like to take a lot of pictures. Like just about everyone these days, I have a digital point-and-shoot camera for documenting parties, nights out with friends, road trips, fun in the snow, and the list goes on. I also have a couple video cameras and a DSLR. I’ve heard about the Xshot! camera extender and saw one in action, but didn’t have my own… until now, thanks to a kind gift from an BC Blogger, Heather.

XShot

What Does It Do?

Those who have never seen an XShot usually have one of two reactions when they finally encounter someone using one. One reaction is to ask what it is, but more often than not people just comment on how cool it is. For those wondering what it does, the answer is easy. It extends the reach of your own arm by way of a telescoping pole that has an attachment at one end to connect your camera and a rubber grip at the other end to hold it. The result is a better shot in self-photos, making photos with the length of your arm in them a thing of the past.

How To Use An XShot

It’s too easy, really. Just screw the tripod mount into the adapter (found on the bottom of most cameras) and adjust the tilt to your liking (usually 90 to 110 degrees is good). Next, set the timer on your camera, extend, and smile. Now you know how to use it, but what about all the different ways you can make use of an XShot? There’s the obvious self-photo, but here’s a few more ideas:

– Photos with a friend
– Artsy photos from all angles
– Photos well above the crowd like at a concert
– Photos in hard to reach places (inside a wall, under the couch)
– Self-shot videos
– Unique perspective shots like from outside a moving car

You can see these last two in the following video:

Conclusions

Obviously, I love my Xshot! and Heather rocks for sending it to me. I’ve used it several times already and I’m sure it will get used a ton more at upcoming events. For about $30, it’s cheap enough to make up its purchase price before long and it’s compact enough for travel. It’s a great little accessory for anyone with a camera and if I hadn’t gotten one in the mail, I had already planned to buy one. You should too.