Orbi Home Wi-Fi System RBK50 by Netgear – Review



Having internet dead spots is one of the most frustrating things!  I recently was given the chance to test a Netgear Orbi and it’s safe to say my frustrations are much less!  Previously I have tried a number of routers and ultimately needed to use boosters in the house to get the signal strength throughout the house.

What we love…

Orbi is easy to set up router that provides wi-fi in my whole house without having signal boosters or dead spots

What we’d love to see…

Reminders from the app from Netgear to update firmware or simply reboot the router every so often

Summary

Orbi has made my home internet so much faster.  Even though the cost of the Orbi is a bit higher than a traditional router – having a simple easy solution means I can spend more time with my family doing what matters without having to worry about my internet.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

netgear-ambassaodorDisclaimer: I am a NETGEAR Ambassador and I received this product in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion and review.

iMum Mary had similar experiences when she reviewed Orbi last year.  Read her review here.

Out of the box, Orbi was easy to set up.  I installed the companion app on my iPhone and within 10 minutes, I had both the main unit and satellite set up – firmware updated and running!  The best part – I no longer need to remember two network names – my devices will seamlessly swap between the 2.5G to the 5G network without me having to change anything!

Orbi is an all in one unit – there are no antenas that are external.  You place one unit close to your home modem and use an ethernet cord to plug the modem and the base unit together.  Then, you can place the satellite unit in the house where  most of your electronics are – for me that’s on the first floor near our living room.  We have a TV/DVD player that we use to stream, a home laptop as well as various bluetooth speakers and a charging dock for our devices.  Orbi is cool to the touch, so I didn’t worry about my four year old touching it in error and hurting his hand.

One of my favorite things about Orbi is the ability to configure as little or as much as you wish!  I have an Orbi app on my phone and can use my Amazon Alexa to enable or disable the guest internet with a simple spoken voice command.  I also loved the integration with Circle parental controls – as a mom I’m always watching how much screentime my kids get – with Orbi I have a second person on my shoulder helping to monitor and make sure that they are not accessing sites that I don’t want them to.  Once I got Orbi, and upgraded my cable modem to a CM 1000 I was finally getting the speeds I was paying for with my home internet!  One of the other things I liked was the ability to share WiFi with a QR code or even via a text message to other Apple devices.

 

Inside Orbi

6 dedicated WiFi antennas supporting Tri-band WiFi with dedicated 4×4 Tx/Rx backhaul.

2 antennas for Dual-band front haul connections to WiFi devices (2.4GHz + 5GHz Low-band).

 

To start using Orbi, you plug it into your cable modem using the included Ethernet cable.  Plug in Orbi and turn it on.  Orbi will turn solid white and then pulse white when it is ready for you to set up with your home internet.  The goal is with the base and satellite, that you get a blue ring.  Blue= good connection, amber= fair connection, magenta= unable to connect.   When I first set up the Orbi in one part of the house I got an Amber, so I simply moved it around a bit until I got a better connection.  My favorite part?!?  I finally got a connection in both parts of my downstairs as well as on my side deck so we could stream to our heart’s content.  If you still struggle to get a good connection, Orbi has other units you can purchase to help boost the signal throughout the house as well.  When setting up you can either plug into the included ethernet ports or use WPS setup to allow your devices to find Orbi.  You can see a device list of connected devices and turn on/off the internet with a tap.  WIth our previous router and old modem, I was lucky if I got half the speed I was paying for.  Now I can stream on multiple devices, use the internet and even play music without worrying about my connection.  I pay for Blast services with Comcast and got 296 down and 12 up once I installed Orbi.  This was not location dependent within the house either.

In terms of improvements, I wish the Orbi app would send you a reminder when you need to update firmware or do some other type of maintenance to the network.   Other than that – really there is nothing I would change.

Orbi has made my home internet so much faster.  Even though the cost of the Orbi is a bit higher than a traditional router – having a simple easy solution means I can spend more time with my family doing what matters without having to worry about my internet. Available from Amazon and other fine retailers.



NETGEAR Orbi NETGEAR Orbi by NETGEAR

Price: $FREE

The Orbi App from NETGEAR makes it easy to set up and get more from your Orbi WiFi system.

You can quickly install your WiFi in just a few steps. A dashboard provides easy access to additional.

 


Circle: Smart Family Controls Circle: Smart Family Controls by Circle Media Incorporated

Price: $FREE

Circle is the smart way for families to manage content and time online, on any device.

Circle works with your home Wi-Fi and manages every device on your network, both wireless and wired, without.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

 

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly. The iMums are  NETGEAR Ambassadors.

 

Tech Specs

Tech specs

Combined WiFi speed 3,000 Mbps (1733 + 866 + 400Mbps)
Coverage 5,000 sq ft
Dedicated Backhaul 4×4 (1.7Gbps)
WiFi Technology Tri-band

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

Bluebee Pals App by Kayle Concepts LLC – Review



Bluebee Pals App by Kayle Concepts LLC – Review

What we love…

Bluebee Pals app is a fun educational app which encourages kids to practice daily routines, using words to narrate what they are doing, sight words and play

 

Summary

Overall, the Bluebee Pals app is a fantastic app which encourages kids to learn as well as have fun. I love seeing all the different ways that my kids interact with the app and try the various activities. The app is gender neutral and allows you to pick your favorite Bluebee Pal to play along OR choose your own Bluebee Pal.

Our Rating

Bluebee Pals App

Bluebee Pals App

Bluebee Pals app by Kayle Concepts LLC  is a universal app for iOS and Android.  As many of you know, I have been part of The iMums for a really long time!  I’m pleased to note, that I had a chance to help design this app.  The app brings BlueBee Pals to life using an app which teaches life skills such as; bathing, tooth brushing, washing hands, bedtime routines, as well as a kitchen which encourages your child to feed Bluebee a variety of meals and snacks.  The app uses scaffolded learning, the first mini game is generally easier and for younger children – if you tap the arrow at the bottom you are given a more complex game for example, lining up your ABC’s turns into sight words.  In the ice cream mini game, first you find the Bluebee Pals and then you have to match them to the appropriate beach chairs. You can learn more about the app on the Bluebee Pals website.

Upon opening the app, you are able to select your favorite Bluebee Pal – or one that you already have.  Then you can view an instructional video where you learn more about Bluebee Pals and how to connect them.  From there you can enter your child’s name – and while there touch each of the Bluebees to have them say their name and wave!  Choose your favorite color balloon, and a favorite activity.  A screen is presented with a variety of things you can do with your Bluebee Pals – did you know that Bluebee works with any Bluetooth enabled device ranging from a smartphone, laptop, smart TV, to a tablet?  After that you are brought to the hub of the app where you choose a room for your daily activity – which I will highlight below.

The app features narration and a variety of fun games as well.  Below I will highlight each – these can be accessed either from the house hub or via the Bluebee Pals library.

  • Kitchen – Enter and exit the kitchen to try a variety of meal options including: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.  Be sure to enter and exit the kitchen multiple times so you can see each of the meal options.  The recycle bin lets you recycle items as well!  There are cups, plates, food and even a cake to put on the table.
  • Living Room – Enter the living room and tap on the various objects including the couch, iPad and laptop to hear their name
  • Bedroom – Enter the bedroom and see how Bluebee cleans his room and puts his sneakers away!  He also uses an animated guitar, shoe typing sequence and then a bedtime routine.  In this room you can also put Bluebee to bed, change the covers and then turn off the light.  After the Bluebee goes to sleep, you can go back to his bedroom and tap on the objects in the room.
  • Bathroom – Enter the bathroom and give your Bluebee a shower.  Turn on the water and then tap the sponge to wash Bluebee’s fur.  After getting out of the tub Bluebee needs to be dried with a bathtowel or blow drier.  Then, brush the fur so it’s soft and clean.  After bathtime, it’s time to brush teeth – kids move around the toothbrush to clean their teeth.  After 20 seconds, teeth are clean and it’s time to practice washing hands.  Then kids can tap on the items in the bathroom to hear their names.
  • Playroom – This room has learning and fun!  Kids can practice their ABC’s and sight words, drag Bluebee through the maze, find a Bluebee on the island and match them to chairs, move cars and trucks around the track and hear their horns.  Other mini games include a six piece puzzle, voice recorder so kids can record their voice — or parents can record their voice and have the app say it back.  There is also a robot game where you assemble robots, dress up and match fruits to the right color balloon.
  • Bluebee Pals Library – Using this library you can select a mini game for the playroom.
  • Bluebee Resource Section – this parental gated area requires a four digit date of birth where you can access resources including: voice recorder, activities along with app reviews, a letter from founder Laura Jiencke about Bluebee Pals.  This parental gated area does contain external links.

My son loves this app – one of his favorite mini games is the cars and trucks around the track.  He loves placing all the cars on the track at the same time and seeing them zoom around.  As a parent, I love that the app has both an educational and fun component to it.  My son will practice zooming cars, learning letters, practicing the names of foods and more!  I really liked that we can show a bath routine sequence, and then follow through in real life.  I also loved using the app with our Bluebee Pal Parker who speaks the narration and moves his head in time to the app.  My son also loved reading with Bluebee – for a full list of items that you can try with Bluebee – look in the resource section accessed from the main hub of the house or try this link.  The app contains a parental gated area with resources and external links.  I find that my son is repeating words that he learned in the app – especially in the kitchen and I’ve even gotten him to ask for a few foods like banana as a result of seeing them in the app.  Above, I have highlighted each of the individual areas and items within the app – my kids have spent hours discovering each section as well as practicing letters, puzzles, creative thinking to solve problems and more.

Overall, the Bluebee Pals app is a fantastic app which encourages kids to learn as well as have fun.  I love seeing all the different ways that my kids interact with the app and try the various activities.  The app is gender neutral and allows you to pick your favorite Bluebee Pal to play along OR choose your own Bluebee Pal.


Bluebee Pals Bluebee Pals by Kayle Concepts LLC

Price: $FREE

Bluebee Pals app is an interactive app which brings your Bluebee Pal to life! No Bluebee Pal is needed to use the app or you can use your own Bluebee Pal. The app features activities of daily living.

Google Play

NOTE: I was involved in the design of this app.  By clicking the link above and downloading this free app, you may help The iMums earn a small affiliate commission.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

Learning Upgrade – Review


What we love…

Step-by-step instructions, summaries, examples in lessons are presented through fun videos and songs.

What we’d love to see…

An option to remove or adjust the timer for the final challenge in each course.

Summary

A complete Math and English learning app that keeps students engaged and motivated to learn and upgrade.

Our Rating

Is your child having problems mastering a particular Math or English lesson no matter what you do to help? My youngest has been struggling to remember the basic rules of writing a simple sentence despite having done many written exercises. Then I let him have a go at the app, Learning Upgrade. To my surprise, he picked up the skills easily within the day!

What worked for my son (who is a visual learner) is the combination of teaching through catchy songs, lively animations and entertaining videos plus game-like exercises that are fun to do. Learning Upgrade is a very engaging learning app. It has lessons that he likes to watch again and again, pop-style songs (highlighting the key words) that he tries to sing along with and exercises that he is willing to redo because all the questions are attractively presented and it is easy for him to input his answers. He especially likes the app’s positive and enthusiastic response whenever he submits a correct answer.

What I like, on the other hand, is the use of visual representations, summaries and examples to teach, the helpful guided exercises that reinforce the learning points, the different ways of questioning to ensure a student’s full understanding of the topic, the comprehensive coverage and the gradual and progressive manner in which skills are being taught.

Students are allowed to progress to the next lesson only when they have earned 100 points (from correct answers) and attained at least 75% correct. A rewards system is in place to encourage students to repeat the exercises in order to improve on their scores. At the completion of a course, students have to pass the final challenge before moving to the next course. But you can also choose to unlock all the lessons in your account settings so that your child can jump to any lesson.

I appreciate how the app supports students who need a little extra help in answering the questions in the learning games that follow each video lesson. Lines in passages are underlined as they are read out. There is a speaker button to tap if students need to hear the questions or instructions again. For answers that require reading, students can hear the individual words before attempting to answer. They also have the opportunity to check their answers before submitting.

The app doesn’t miss any teaching moments either. A short animation repeating the answer follows the correct answer to give further reinforcement. When an incorrect answer is submitted, the correct answer is always demonstrated and the app does not move to the next screen until the student has enough time to review the answer.

Learning Upgrade is free to download and comes with a video on the course descriptions and 6 demo lessons (with exercises) – 3 each for Math and English. If you register with an email, you will have free access to 8 lessons for each subject. To begin, choose between English or Math and then decide between 3 starting points. You can choose to start from the beginning of the curriculum, take a placement test to determine a course that is appropriate for your child’s learning needs or just select a course level that you want to review.

Currently, the app offers 60 lessons for each of the English Upgrade level 1-5 and Math Upgrade level K-8 courses, that’s more than 900 lessons in total. A course on Algebra was also added recently. To continue beyond the free lessons, you have 3 subscription plans to choose from – $7.99 for 1 month access to all lessons, $19.99 for 3 months and $59.99 for 12 months. You can access your lessons from the web as well as your smart phones and tablets. An internet connection is required for loading the lessons and saving the student’s progress.

Learning Upgrade is a comprehensive Math and English learning app that complements the school curriculum. Lessons are professionally done and enjoyable. Review exercises are varied and effective. Whether your child is trying to catch up or stay ahead of the class, Learning Upgrade is an excellent learning companion to have.

 

 

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Learning Upgrade

Learning Upgrade Learning Upgrade by Learning Upgrade

Price: $FREE

Learning Upgrade is the best app for people of all ages looking to improve their English, reading, writing, listening, and mathematics skills!

It’s time to start learning English and math the.

 

 

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Grace was working in the fields of early childhood education and staff training before quitting to attend to her 4 children full time. She and her family live in Singapore, which is well known for her highly competitive education system.

Featured App: Furry Friends Run the Show in Toca Boca’s Newest App



On December 7, Toca Boca launched its newest app Toca Life: Pets, the first Toca Boca app all about pets! With more than 120 real-life and make-believe animals, kids can play with their pets IRL and virtually, creating their own worlds and embarking on silly adventures with furry friends.

In Toca Life: Pets, kids are in control of which pets they want to play with and how their pet’s story evolves. Are they bringing their pet along on a family picnic or take their pet to the vet? Maybe their pet is going to a birthday party to celebrate with friends! Kids will train, feed, bathe and entertain their pets while learning what it takes to own a real pet and letting discovery guide their play. Yes, they even have to clean up after their pets, which often takes form as a rainbow colored poop! Kids will explore the five bustling locations, including the pet park, pet hotel, veterinary and more. At the pet hotel, every pet, whether it’s a dog, cat, bird or sloth-bat, will find a nice spot to play or relax while their owners are away. There are secret features to be discovered in the pet park as kids create their own play scenario with their favorite creatures.

Additional features of Toca Life: Pets include:

  • Kids can role-play in five locations: pet park, pet hotel, veterinary, pet shop and breeder’s bungalow
  • 23 new characters for kids to meet
  • Kids can bathe muddy pets and get them clean again, or pretend to be a vet and care for sick or injured pets
  • The pets can be dressed up in fun hats — hats stack on pets stack on hats
  • By building an agility course kids can help train and exercise their pets
  • It even includes surprises for kids to discover — they can pull the branch in the pet park to see what’s hidden

For the first time, Toca Boca tapped fans to help co-create new characters in Toca Life: Pets. The brand received over 1,000 suggestions based on kids’ real and imaginary pets, and from those ideas Toca Boca produced 3 replicas in the new app. The pet rock and sloth bat featured in the app were inspired by drawing and photos from fans and transformed into real Toca Boca characters.

“Sometimes pets are cuddly, fun, weird or even scary. Regardless, they are often a big part of our lives,” said Petter Karlsson, Play Designer. “In Toca Life: Pets you pick which pets you want to play with in your life and decide their stories. As with all of the apps in the Toca Life series, Toca Life: Pets puts kids in the director’s seat to make up their own stories”

Toca Life: Pets features a kid-friendly interface without third-party advertising, free of rules, levels or high scores. Toca Life: Pets is $2.99 on the App Store, Google Play and Amazon . To download please use this link Toca Life: Pets – Toca Boca AB 


Toca Life: Pets Toca Life: Pets by Toca Boca AB

Price: $2.99 USD

Welcome to Toca Life: Pets, where you and your animal friends run the show! What’s your favorite pet like? Furry and fast? Wet and wiggly? A little bit creepy? With more than 120 animals, Toca Life: .

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

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