Performance Mouse MP230L by Kensington – Review

What we love…

uses batteries that you can easily change, works for both left and right handed users, works on almost any surface, good range

What we’d love to see…

bag or something to hold the mouse and USB plug in – currently you pull the back off the mouse to store it

Summary

Easy to use mouse with great battery life, works on almost any surface, very comfortable in your hand.  Perfect as an everyday and a travel mouse.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

 

Kensington Introduces MP230L Performance Mouse for Wireless Freedom and Precision TrackingI cut the “mouse cord” several years ago and am always hunting for the best cordless mice.  I tried the Kensington MP230L Wireless Performance Mouse and was surprised at how much I liked it straight out of the box.  The mouse includes batteries and once you plug in the USB nano receiver you are ready to go in less than 3 minutes from opening the package.   It uses a 2.4 GHz Wireless connection meaning you can move the mouse without the cord using the nano receiver and it automatically installs once you plug it in for the first time.  It is universal and works with both Mac and Windows and easily switches between computers.  It also features two side buttons which you can use when browsing the web as well as DPI adjustment which allows you to fine tune how fast or slow the cursor moves while using it.

Wireless mice these days often don’t come with batteries, which means that your brand new tech is forced to sit in the box while you go out and purchase batteries.  I loved that this one had batteries right in the box.  It’s got an amazing battery life – and goes to “sleep” when not in use or you can switch it off on the bottom.  I also liked the ergonomic shape and ability to use it either left or right handed.  The best feature by far is the fact it works on pretty much any surface I tried including glass, a patio table with bumps, a wooden desk, and even a notebook cover.   I liked it for both my everyday desk mouse as well as a travel mouse – the size is small and it fit easily in my travel bag when I needed to use it.  I also liked the DPI adjustment because I could use it to scroll fast when I was skimming a webpage or slow it down when I was looking for more specific content.

In terms of enhancements, I’d like to see a bag for the mouse as there were a few times I went to put the receiver in it and didn’t latch the cover fully which left me digging in my tech bag for the mouse and receiver.  I’d also like to see some sort of a “battery alert” if your batteries are getting low, because I don’t always carry backup batteries (even though I should).  There is no charging port, but you can use it with rechargeable batteries and just charge them in a separate location.

Overall, this is an easy to hold wireless mouse that works on both Mac & PC as well as being easy to use and install within moments.  Features fantastic battery life, very ergonomic and works with both left and right hands.  It is priced at $35 49.99 on Kensington and Amazon.  Easy to use mouse with great battery life, works on almost any surface, very comfortable in your hand.  Perfect as an everyday and a travel mouse.

 Dimensions

  • Height: 132mm / 5.2″
  • Width: 84mm / 3.3″
  • Depth: 38mm / 1.5″

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.

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.

Review of the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 AC5300Tri-Band WiFi Router

x85

Summary…

The X8 offers great performance with 3 Wifi Bands, Quad Stream, Dynamic QoS and Smart Connectivity. This gives it up to 12 data streams that are actively managed to give the best connection for each device. Its active antennae help to improve the connection for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

I have been very impressed with the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 AC5300Tri-Band WiFi Router and found it to perform even better than the X6. The main areas that we saw improvement in were the performance when multiple devices are connected at once, and a noticeable improvement in the WiFi range.

recommended-by-the-imums

NetGear Ambassaodor

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

The Nighthawk X8 AC5300 Router is the newest Tri-band router from NETGEAR. It uses 802.11ac WiFi technology with one 2.4GHz and two 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands. It has combined wireless speeds up to 5.3Gbps. It has a dual core 1.4GHz processor, 128 MB Flash and 512 MB RAM memory. It has Quad Stream and Implicit & Explicit Beamforming for  both 2.4 & 5GHz bands.

We reviewed the Nighthawk X6 last year, which was NETGEAR’s first Tri-Band router and were impressed with its performance, so I was interested to see how the X8 compares.

Set Up

The Nighthawk X8 is very quick and easy to set up. With the included quick start guide it was up and running in no time. You basically connect the modem, power on the router, connect a computer or device and complete the setup using the free NETGEAR Genie app. The external antennae come already attached, no assembly required.

The X8 comes with a pre-assigned Wi-Fi network name, typically NETGEAR plus a number, and password, which are on a peelable label on the X8. There is an option to change the name and/or password if you wish. The X8 has a WPS button so it is very quick and easy to connect any device with a WPS button, for other devices you just enter the Wi-Fi name and password as usual.

Size and Form Factor

You do need to make sure you have a large space available for it as the X8 is huge! It measures 12.44″ x 10.39″ x 2.40″  (316 x 264 x 61 mm), which is even bigger than the X6. It has 4 external antennae, so it also needs a lot of headroom- with the antennae extended upright it is approximately 19cm/ 7 1/2″ tall. The top surface has a wavy black plastic grille which looks futuristic, but also has the practical effect of preventing you stacking anything on top of it, important to prevent overheating.

Antennae

The X8 has a total of 8 antennae- 4 internal plus 4 external. The external antennae are movable in many directions. NETGEAR recommends setting them up with the 2 central ones upright and the side ones at 45°, but you can change this if you wish. The external antennas are active antennae, which is a new feature. This means that instead of the WiFi amplifiers being on the router’s motherboard (the standard location) they are on top of the antennae so they can amplify the signal in the antenna itself. This is designed to improve connection to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The external antennae have blue LEDs to show when they are active, but you can switch the LEDs off if you find them distracting.

X81

USB Ports and Secure Storage

The X8 has 2 USB ports- one is USB 2.0, the other 3.0. I like having two USB ports available, but I’m not sure why they didn’t make them both 3.0.

If you attach an external hard drive to a USB port you can use the free NETGEAR ReadyCLOUD mobile app or web portal to access the drive’s content from anywhere. This is a very simple way to create your own personal cloud.

Wired Connections

The X8 has six Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, and one WAN. This means you can connect up to six wired devices for maximum performance. There is also the option to combine two of the six to double the connection speed for a Network Attached Storage device to allow 4K HD streaming or multiple fast WiFi backups.

x82

Wireless Speeds

The X8 has a number of features designed to maximize Wifi speeds and performance for gaming and video streaming.

Like the X6 this is a Tri-band router, it has one 2.4 GHz and two 5GHz Bands. 2.4GHz is an old Wi-Fi standard, it is slow and prone to interference, but is necessary to allow older devices to connect to your network. 5.0 GHz is the newer standard, and gives faster performance with less interference, but if you have a lot of devices on the 5.0 GHz it can slow down the connection and affect performance. Having two 5.0 GHz bands helps to prevent slowdowns from lots of devices using it at once.

The X8 delivers a combined wireless speed of up to 5.3Gbp- 1000Mbps for the 2.4GHz  band, plus 2166 Mbps for each of the two 5.0 GHz bands.

It has Quad Streaming to deliver up to four data streams per WiFi band, making 12 in total. Smart Connect selects the fastest WiFi band for each device and Dynamic QoS prioritizes traffic by application and device.

Performance

When we installed the X6 we saw a big leap in performance compared to our previous router, an Apple Airport Express, and we have seen a further improvement with the X8 vs the X6. We have a challenging home for WiFi – it has an unusual layout over 3 staggered floors and poor incoming signal because we live a long way from the DSL hub. With the X6 we found it optimized our signal near the router but for the far flung parts of the house we still needed to use a booster such as the NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi Range Extender Model EX7000 to get a useable signal.

With the X8 we have a slightly stronger signal near the router- but the improvement is marginal. Where we have seen most gains is further from the router – we now get a useable signal throughout the entire house without having to use a WiFi booster- which is a huge improvement! In the master bedroom (unless I used a signal booster) we barely had a signal at all and couldn’t even read email reliably, with the X8 I can surf the web, download apps, do email and even watch Youtube videos. The X8 has done a great job of #eliminating deadspots.

We cut the cable almost two years ago and only have TV via DVD and streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, so good quality video streaming is very important to us. Unfortunately we have a weak incoming internet connection  which can cause hangups in our streaming. The performance with the X6 was much better than with the Airport Express and has improved again with the X8. Our family has a lot of connected devices including multiple iPads, Smartphones, tablets, Smart TV and Xbox. In the past when the Smart TV is streaming video and multiple family members are streaming to different devices at the same time we have had some connectivity issues, but I have not seen this happen with X8.

Security.

Both the X6 and X8 have the option to set up a guest network to allow visiting family and friends to access Wi-Fi  without sharing your main network password.

Like the X6, the X8 has the option to enable parental controls. This lets you choose from different levels of protection against things such as phishing scams, pornography, illegal activity, adult-related sites and even video sharing sites and social media. You can customize different setting for different times of the day.

The X8 has WiFi Protected Access® (WPA/WPA2—PSK), Double firewall protection (SPI and NAT) and Denial-of-service (DoS) attack prevention.

 

Summary

The X8 offers great performance with 3 Wifi Bands, Quad Stream, Dynamic QoS and Smart Connectivity. This gives it up to 12 data streams that are actively managed to give the best connection for each device. Its active antennae help to improve the connection for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

I have been very impressed with the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 AC5300Tri-Band WiFi Router and found it to perform even better than the X6. The main areas that we saw improvement in were the performance when multiple devices are connected at once, and a noticeable improvement in the WiFi range.

The X6 and X8 are both great routers, for many homes the X6 is a great choice. However if you have a large or challenging home, heavy demand for high speed internet for gaming or video streaming or large numbers of connected devices the X8 may be a better choice.

Price and Availability

The NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 AC5300Tri-Band WiFi Router has an RRP of $399.99 and is available from Amazon and other retailers.

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).

Review of the iRULU WalknBook Hybrid Windows 10 Laptop /Tablet – an Affordable Alternative to the Microsoft Surface

61xS6FeqW8L._SL1000_

What we love…

Lightweight portable alternative to laptop, runs full Office Software, can use as tablet as well as PC, keyboard case included, very affordable

What we’d love to see…

Charging via USB cable rather than special charger, longer battery life

Summary

The WalknBook is a very useful product for the price. It is similar to the Microsoft Surface 3 base model with slightly lower specs, it includes the keyboard case  for around $400 less than the Surface 3 with keyboard. I see its primary use as a lightweight alternative to carrying a laptop, with the added bonus of also being able to play games and use apps.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

The WalknBook from iRULU is a 10.1″ hybrid Windows 10 laptop / tablet designed to be a more affordable alternative to the Microsoft Surface tablet PCs.

The WalknBook comes with a folding case, detachable keyboard, a micro USB cable and dedicated charger. The tablet has an unusual design- the back panel is black glass, and it has a bright colorful green or orange plastic bumper around the sides. The case is deep grey, and the bright green or orange provides a lively splash of color. It has Windows 10 software pre-installed and you can switch back and forth between PC and Windows tablet modes.

Software

The WalknBook comes with Windows 10 pre-installed and works just like a PC running Windows 10. It has Cortana, Microsoft’s voice activated assistant. I’d recommend spending a few minutes setting up Cortana, getting her trained to your voice and telling her things like where you live, so that she can be a very useful tool. The default web browser is Microsoft Edge. On your home screen windows show notifications from your calendar, linked social Media, email, local weather, news and more. You can also personalize the display by changing out the windows to include what is most important to you.  You can set the WalknBook up to work with your iPhone, Android or Windows smartphone. As well as the Microsoft music and videos app it will also run iTunes.

The WalknBook will run the full PC version of Microsoft office. It comes with an option to sign up for a free month of Office 365 (after the trial it costs $99 per annum), or you can purchase and install Office 2016 or just use the pre-installed free mobile Office apps.  I opted to buy and install Office 2016 to get the full PC Office experience without an annual fee.

I’m usually a Mac user rather than a PC user so for me the user interface was unfamiliar, but for PC users it will feel very familiar. As a Mac user I still find there are times when I want to use software than is only available for the PC and not Mac. I can use a virtual PC program but that doesn’t always work well, and this is a nice affordable way of being able to run PC based software.

Comparison to Microsoft Surface 3

Of all the Microsoft surface models the WalknBook is best compared to the Surface 3. It has a similar size and functionality. The WalknBook has a 10.1″ screen compared to the Surface 3’s 10.8″. The WalknBook does have slightly lower specs, but is less than half the price of the base model Surface 3, and comes with the keyboard included, which costs an extra $130 for the Surface.

Like the Surface 3 it will run the full PC version of Microsoft office, it has 2 GB RAM which is the same as the base model of the Surface 3. The Surface 3 comes with 64GB ($499) 0r 128GB ($599) of storage, the WalknBook only has 32GB but you can add a MicroUSB card to expand the storage- I added a SanDisk Ultra 128GB microSD cardfor under $45.

They both have Intel Quad Core CPUs. The Surface 3 has an Intel Atom x7-z8700 (quad core, 1.66GHzI- 2.4GHz.), whilst the WalknBook has it’s predecessor the Intel Atom Bay Trail-T (quad core, 1.33GHz – 1.83 GHz). You can read more about the differences between these chips in this PC World article, but the main difference seems to be improved graphics performance. The WalknBook does also have a lower screen resolution at 1280 x 800 vs 1920 x 1280. However, I found that for how I was using it – as a PC, playing a few games and watching movies on Netflix, the resolution was fine.

They are a similar size and weight. Without the keyboard the Surface 3 weighs 1.37 lbs (622 g) and measures 10.52 x 7.36 x 0.34 in (267 x 187 x 8.7 mm.) The WalknBook is 260 mm x 174mm x 10 mm, with the keyboard it weighs 1660g, without approx. 750gm.

Case and Keyboard

The case has a soft micro-suede style surface and a magnetic closure. When you open it up the back panel folds, origami style, to form a stand. The stand only has 1 position, and is landscape mode only, but is on a flat surface it is surprisingly stable. The keyboard is built in to the case and is automatically switched on, when the WalknBook is in the case and in use.  The WalknBook attaches to the case and keyboard by strong magnets so is simple to insert and remove.

The case does need to be on a flat surface such as a table or tray, if you use it on an uneven surface, such as your lap, the tablet tends to come out of its groove and disconnect the keyboard.

The keyboard is black plastic and has a built-in trackpad, it is designed to be the same width as the tablet so is a little smaller than a standard laptop keyboard.  Although not as comfortable as my Macbook keyboard, it is similar in feel to many external keyboards that I have tested for the iPad and I had no problems typing with it. My one gripe is the trackpad surface is textured plastic which feels a little odd running your finger over it- a smoother surface would be nicer. Of course it has a touchscreen, so you can use that instead of the trackpad, or connect an external mouse.

Tablet Mode

The WalknBook can also be used as a Windows tablet – you can download apps from the Windows store and you can play XBox Live games.  The Windows appstore does have less selection than iTunes but there are still lots of apps to choose from. My kids were pleased to see you can get the Windows 10 Minecraft (Beta) as a free download if you already own the PC or Mac version (as we do) and are enjoying playing Minecraft on it. We had no problems using it to play games.

Removing it from the case disconnects the keyboard, then you can use it in either portrait or landscape mode. Putting it in Tablet Mode increases the sensitivity of the touchscreen. If you need to type you have the option to use an onscreen popup keypad instead of the keyboard case.

Battery and Power Supply

The WalknBook has a 7800 mAh battery and charges with an included charger, this connects to the tablet via a round pin it does not charge via USB. The iRULU website states the battery lasts up to 6hrs, this will of course vary depending on screen brightness setting and what you are using it for.  I did find that the battery life was noticeably less than my iPad. I do wish that it charged via USB so that you could easily use a back up battery when away from a power outlet such on on a plane or in a car.

Overall Impressions

I think that the WalknBook is a very useful product for the price. It is similar to the Microsoft Surface 3 base model. Although the specs are a little lower, it includes the keyboard case and comes in for around $400 less than the Surface 3 with keyboard. I see its primary use as a lightweight alternative to carrying a laptop, with the added bonus of also being able to play games and use apps. Although it isn’t going to be a powerful as a full high spec laptop it does have enough computing power to browse the web, work on Office documents, watch videos and play games. I like that you can run the full version of Office rather than just the pared down mobile version. I’d love to see an option to charge it from an external battery pack to extend the length of time you could use it without access to an electric outlet.

This is a product that the more I use the more I like it. I like how it looks- the design is unusual but fun. It is much lighter and easier to carry than my MacBook, but feels more like a miniature laptop than my iPad with a keyboard case does. If you are looking for a lightweight, affordable alternative to using your laptop on the go I would recommend checking out the WalknBook.

Price and Availability

The WalknBook is available from iRULU.com and Amazon, it’s current price is $212.99

Tech Specs (from iRULU website):

CPU Processor:Intel BayTrail-T Quad core, 1.33-1.83GHz

Operating System:Windows 10

LCD:10.1″   1280*800 IPS

RAM:2GB DDRIII

Memory:32GB NAND Flash

Touch Panel:10 points Capacitive touch screen

Wi-fi:802.11 b/g/n

Bluetooth:4.0 Version

Camera:2.0 MP front-facing camera, 5.0 MP rear camera

Battery:7800 mAh

Weight:1660g (including the keyboard case)

Gravity:3D gravity sensor

Music Format:MP3,WMA,FLAC,AAC, WAV,APE

Video Format:VP8,MOV,MPG,MP4,AVI,3GP,FLV,MKV…etc.

Picture Format:JPEG, BMP, GIF,PNG

Ports: USB, Mini HDMI, micro USB, headphone jack, power supply, MicroSD card.

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.

 

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).

Kensington Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic – Review

KensingtonHeadphoneswith mic

Summary

Kensington Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic are a great kids headphone, they are well made, durable, have good sound quality, will fit a variety of head sizes and are a great choice both for home and school use. Priced at under $25 they are a great value. Their grown-up styling will be popular with kids who have outgrown cute character headphones.

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

If you are looking for headphones for your children for school or home use Kensington’s new Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic are a great option and good value for money too.

Over the last few years my childrens’ schools have been incorporating more technology into the curriculum and even their State testing is transitioning to being done on the computer instead of with pencil and paper. Because of this parents need to provide their kids with headphones for use during computer or tablet time at school. My kids also use headphones when using the computer or tablet at home so they can work simultaneously without disturbing each other. With 3 kids needing them for both home and school we get through a lot of headphones !

When looking for headphones for my kids there are a number of features that are important to me: clear sound, comfortable, fit a range of head sizes, sound limited to a safe level and they must be tough and durable.

I recently had the opportunity to test out Kensington’s new Headphones With Mic that they have designed specifically for students in K-12. The first thing I noticed as they don’t look like kids headphones, although they are designed for kids they look very much like an adult headphone. My kids are 8, 8 and 12 and will shun anything they consider “too babyish” and all 3 approved of this design.

They have a wide black headband that is padded at the top and when you expand it shows a silver metal band at the sides. My 8 year-old daughter has a small head for her age and my 12 year-old son’s head is on the large side and the headphones fit both of them comfortably.

The headphones have 40mm drivers and I found the sound quality very good for a sub- $30 headphone – the sound was clear and crisp with a good dynamic range. The maximum sound level is 94db, which gives me peace of mind as they can’t turn the sound to unsafe levels.

The microphone is a nice bonus feature and very useful for using apps with dictation and voice recognition. This is especially important for kids who have difficulty typing. I like the flexible microphone stalk and how it rotates out of the way when not in use.

My kids (especially the younger boy) are tough on headphones but these feel well-made and durable so I am confident they will last him a good while. The cord is 9 foot long, rubberized and flexible and it has a gold-plated jack. The cord comes coiled up and we keep it that way most of the time, but it is nice to have the extra length for times we need it. The one thing I would like to see added is an attached velcro cord tidy for keeping the cord neat instead of the current wire tie.

Overall, I think these are a great kids headphone, they are well made, durable, have good sound quality, will fit a variety of head sizes and are a great choice both for home and school use. Priced at under $25 they are a great value. Their grown-up styling will be popular with kids who have outgrown cute character headphones. They are popular with my kids and are my 8 year old son’s favorite headphones.

Kensington Hi-Fi Headphones with Mic (SRP $24.99) are available from Kensington.com, Amazon and other retailers.

You may also wish to read Kensington iPad Accessories for the Classroom
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.

 

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).

Pin It on Pinterest