Showing posts with label Electronics Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Electronics Reviews. Show all posts

Friday, June 10, 2022

Portable DVD Player Review

Portable DVD Player
A few years ago, I purchased a portable DVD player that I can use anywhere in my home, riding in a car, take with me on vacations, or even in my own backyard.  I love my DVD collection and I am happy that the movies I most enjoy are available on DVD so I can watch them whenever or wherever I wish without a television.  

I selected a 9" screen simply because I wanted the player to be small enough to carry, but have a large enough screen to really be able to see the movie.  I also wanted to be able to set it on a countertop or desk without it requiring a lot of space.  I like to be able to have a familiar movie playing when I am doing boring paperwork or data entry. Having the portable DVD player allows me to use my laptop and watch a movie on the separate DVD player that has it's own screen.

With streaming so popular these days, we tend to forget how valuable and convenient DVD's are because we can play them anytime without a subscription. Current day laptops are rarely available with built-in DVD players which may play a part in why we don't grab DVD's as often. 

I got used to being able to play my movies on DVD on my laptop. It allowed me to watch a movie that the rest of my family might not wish to hear or see. Since I can plug in headphones, everyone around me can do whatever they wish, watch something else, or even listen to music without disrupting each other.  Personally, I think it is a mistake to eliminate the DVD players from laptops, but the manufacturers didn't ask my opinion.  However, I did not carry my laptop around just so I could watch DVD's, so even with a laptop that has a DVD player, the lightweight portable DVD player is quite useful.


Selecting a Portable DVD Player

 WONNIE 12.5 inch Portable DVD PlayerThere are a few factors that should be considered before you buy a portable DVD player.  The following are specifications I considered and options I wanted included.

  1. Screen Size
  2. Weight
  3. Swivel Screen
  4. Built-in Rechargeable Battery
  5. AC Adapter
  6. Car Charger Included
  7. Headrest Mount Holder for Car if desired
  8. Built-in Speakers
  9. Earphone Jack
  10. Plays DVD or CD (for audiobooks or music) 
  11. USB Port
  12. SD card reader if desired
  13. Remote Control
  14. Region Free
  15. Cost  (I paid less than $60 for mine) 
  16. Color

My player also has a power-off resume button which I love.  If I need to turn off the DVD player for a while, it will resume playing the DVD at the point in the movie where it stopped. This was something I didn't consider before my purchase, but was most grateful it included when I started using the player.

Sadly, the portable DVD player I purchased is no longer being manufactured, but there are several comparable players available.  The player shown above on the right is the most comparable to mine at a reasonable price. It is slightly larger.

 







Read More Electronics Reviews On
ReviewThisReviews.com

 


House of Sylvestermouse




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Review of a Quality Mini Blender-Chopper

Check Out This Brand of Mini-Chopper for a Quality Product

I recommend this mini-chopper because it's lasted us nearly fifteen years.

As most of us know, it's rare for any appliance to last that long. 

What makes this mini-chopper special isn't fancy features; in my opinion, it's the company that makes it. 

A Black & Decker Product - In Business Since 1910

We've always been a fan of this company and its products. They established their beginnings in 1910 in Baltimore, Maryland, as a small machine shop. Their products range from heavy equipment, hardware, home accessories, fastening systems, power tools, and home appliances. A Black & Decker drill was even used on the moon in the early 1970s for the Apollo 15 and 16 missions. In 2010 they merged with Stanley Works to become Stanley Black & Decker.

On a personal note, my mother worked for their company in the mid-1970s. Where I'm from, Black & Decker has been known for manufacturing solid products.

What's the Big Deal About a Mini-Chopper Anyway?

I'm not one for a lot of counter appliances. I find hauling out an appliance to be time-consuming. I prefer to cut, chop and mix as much as I can without a lot of extra equipment to store and wash. However, I've made an exception for this one product. 

Our Black & Decker Mini Chopper - It's over 15 years old and still going strong

I use the mini-chopper for anything that needs shredding, cutting, or chopping. I especially like it for chopping garlic and onions. I'll chop one, two, or three heads of garlic in one go. Tonight was a chicken broccoli casserole, and its main feature was lots of garlic. Thanks to this handy item, I can dice a lot of garlic at once.

In our house, we've had to replace numerous appliances over that same time period. However, not this mini-chopper - it has never broken or needed any type of repair.

Our 15-year-old+ Black & Decker Mini Chopper

Not repairing or replacing an appliance for over fifteen years automatically earns said appliance a five-star rating. This little gadget is well made!

If you're looking for an affordable hostess gift or a small gift for someone, don't hesitate to choose the Black & Decker Mini Chopper. It's something that will absolutely get used, and best of all, last.

You can find the mini-chopper here on Amazon. You'll notice that our mini-chopper has a completely different look. Of course, the reason being, it's fifteen years old!

Don't hesitate to choose this product. Five stars.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, December 18, 2020

Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphones Reviewed

Wired Headphones
I have had my Sennheiser headphones for over 9 years and they are still awesome.  No problems internally or externally.  Therefore, I can highly recommend this brand and the old model of HD280Pro headphones.

I originally purchased the headphones so I could listen to music without disturbing anyone else in our home.  We all have different sleeping hours and schedules.  All too often, someone is sleeping when I would like to listen to music.  

I have also discovered how wonderful the headphones are when I want to watch a movie on my laptop that other family members aren't interested in seeing, or hearing.  

It is not unusual for several of us to be working in the same room on different projects.  Sometimes noise, even music we all enjoy, can be disturbing when one is trying to concentrate.  The Sennheiser headphones are essential to a happy "work" environment for everyone.

 

The Sennheiser HD280Pro Headphones

I didn't expect excellence when I purchased my headphones.  The low price tag made me think they would be acceptable.  However, I have been thrilled with the quality & clarity of sound, as well as, the noise isolation they provide.  

 Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphones
(old model - best model)
Check Price
When I am using my headphones, I can't hear other things going on in the same room, unless I uncover one ear.  Therefore, if another family member is talking on the phone, I am not disturbing them and they are not disturbing me.  Previously, I had to mute my music or movie if someone was on the phone.  It was the polite thing to do, but it often left me having to listen to one side of a conversation I wasn't the lest bit interested in hearing.

Other family members can't hear what is being "piped" through my headphones either.  Therefore, their concentration is not being disturbed by whatever I am playing.  I can even listen to instructional videos without bothering anyone else.  

The Sennheiser headphones are also comfortable to wear.  The padded earpieces allow me to wear them for hours without feeling pressure or pain.  Even if I am wearing my glasses, the glasses arm is only slightly pressed against my face or ears.  Not enough to hurt.

I plug my headphones into my laptop, but they could also be used with iPads, Android tablets, stereos, recording equipment, or whatever device uses a 1/4" plug.

Sure, you could pay a lot more for headphones, but I highly doubt you would get noticeably better headphones for sound or comfort.

One note, I do have the "old model".  I have read there is a new model available, but I cannot personally comment on them.  Their reviews would lead me to believe you would probably want to buy the "old model" if you are interested in purchasing the Sennheiser HD280Pro Headphones while they are still available.








Read More Electronics Reviews On
ReviewThisReviews.com

 


House of Sylvestermouse




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, November 6, 2020

How to Lose Weight While Playing Video Games on the Kindle Fire

Video Game AppsI have been shocked by how much weight I have lost while playing video games when exercising.  Previously, I found exercising to be boring and I simply couldn't force myself to stick with it.  That was before I discovered video games on my Kindle Fire!

How It All Began for Me ........

Several years ago, one of our fellow contributors, Susan Deppner, helped me select a new Kindle Fire.  Susan had lots of experience with the various electronic readers and I trusted her to know exactly what I needed.

I loved my Kindle Paperwhite, but I wanted a Kindle with color pictures for cookbooks and children's books.  We all know images are the first impression of either of those kinds of books and are often the determining factor in which ones we purchase.  After all, I'm not likely to even try a recipe without seeing a photo that looks delicious.

I remember laughing when Susan said a Kindle Fire with 32 GB would be more than enough, unless I played a lot of video games.  I laughed because, at the time, I didn't play video games.  The only video games I had ever encountered required a specific console & controllers connected to the television.  

Fast forward 4 years and you will find me playing video games on my Kindle Fire every day.   


Video Game on Kindle Fire

How Video Games Helped Me Lose Weight

Video Game Apps on Kindle Fire
It has been said many times that video game players pack on the pounds while playing video games.  That is simply not true for me!  I play my video games on my Kindle Fire while I exercise. 

I've never liked exercising.  Frankly, in the past, I considered it boring and most often a waste of time since I couldn't force myself to stick with something so mind-numbing.  When my daughter shared how someone she knew had lost a lot of weight on an exercise bike, I thought that very impressive, but lamented that I could not exercise an hour per day.  

Time and experience has proven me wrong on that opinion too.

Fast forward 32 weeks and I am happy to say that I have worked up to exercising an hour per day, 5 days a week, on my recumbent exercise bike.  I don't find that exercise boring because I play my video games while pedaling.  I have lost 30 lbs. in 32 weeks without giving up my favorite food!

 

Favorite Video Games I Play on My Kindle Fire  

My first encounter with a video game on my Kindle Fire, was a hidden object game.  I quickly advanced to Candy Crush.  From there, I discovered lots of games I love to play!  Perhaps an hour a day is not enough.

These are some of my favorite free game apps that I have downloaded to my Kindle Fire.  If you are already an experienced gamer, I recommend starting at the bottom of the list to discover new games you might enjoy.



Simply talking to my husband or son, you would find out quickly that everyone has a different taste or preference in game choice.  That is totally okay!  There is something for everyone in the Amazon Game Apps that can be downloaded to the Kindle Fire. 

For me, I have always chosen the free game apps.  They all have options to purchase specialty items, tokens, gems or whatever the game requires to continue playing or advance faster.  That is not necessary.  Most of the time, I simply switch to a different game and play until my "lives" are restored on my current favored game.




Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. You should consult your physician before starting this or any exercise program to determine what is best for your needs.



Read More Related Reviews On
ReviewThisProducts.com &
Health Reviews

 


House of Sylvestermouse




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, October 5, 2020

Review Updates: Anker PowerPort and Anker PowerCore

During a recent camping trip I once again depended on my Anker solar charger and battery charger. I realized how long I had been using those items. It was then that I decided to begin writing updates for a few of my favorite reviews.

One of the very best things about being a part of the Review This! team is knowing that we write about the things we truly use, enjoy, and honestly recommend. The recipes are the foods we cook and enjoy. The product reviews are the things we use. Our site is not clickbait; clogged up with ads. And we very rarely write reviews because someone has approached us, asking for a review of their products. It is an honor to be a part of this group. 

Anker PowerPort Solar Charger and Anker PowerCore Battery:

I go camping regularly; off-grid in West Virginia.  Even though I go with the plan to be unplugged and get away from it all, I still want to have a fully charged cell phone at all times. I have 2 items from Anker that have been super reliable and keep me feeling secure at all times.

The Anker PowerPort Solar Charger was my first Anker purchase.  I reviewed this charger in September 2017.  I still use this solar charger during every, single camping trip and I have had zero problems with it. On 2 occasions, it shut down briefly and I thought perhaps I had broken it. But those were 2 extremely hot days and very bright sunshine. In hindsight, I wonder if it (or my phone) got overheated and shut down temporarily. That has not happened outside of those two occasions. 

This charger is lightweight but folds up in a way that is easily to carry in a backpack. I HIGHLY recommend this item for camping, hiking, and other off-grid situations.

Because there were times that I was camping during several days of rain, or in the winter when daylight hours are shorter, I added the Anker PowerCore battery to my camping supplies in 2018. I also keep it fully charged during hurricane season. 

This item is basically a rechargeable battery. I charge it fully using the outlet or my laptop (using the USB cord) and then keep it in my camping supplies. It provides enough power to charge my cellphone for multiple days. I have only had one issue with the PowerCore Battery and that was due to operator error. In short, Willy (my dog) got the zoomies in The Shack and ripped the battery off of a shelf when he ran under the cord. It was quite impressive how far the battery flew... and the cord now has to be finessed into the opening in order to make full contact. Frankly, I'm quite impressed that the battery didn't break during that incident.

The PowerCore battery chargers are offered in different sizes (or would that be capacities?).  I purchased the largest that I could afford at that time. But I plan on purchasing one that has a larger "mAh" capacity as soon as I am able. That way I am prepared with more charges in the event of a longer term camping or weather situation.
Between the solar charger and the battery, I am prepared for any weather and several days of being off-grid - whether intentional or due to emergency circumstances. 

In Summary:

Yes, that was a lot of rambling to say that I purchased these items in 2017 and 2018. I use them regularly. The dogs and I are clumsy and a little rough on things. And these two items have withstood our abuse. These two purchases were well worth the money spent. And years later, I still highly recommend them! 
 
The Links for the original reviews:

Reviewing the Anker Portable Solar Power Charger (on my personal blog: Treasures, Travel, Tales).

Reviewing the Anker PowerCore Portable Charger.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Sunday, May 31, 2020

High Pressure Car Cleaning Tool Review

Reviewed, and Approved - Yes to a High Pressure
Car Detailing Tool
This item is a must for auto-detailing enthusiasts.

My husband loves to clean. You heard that right. Gifts for him normally include cleaning gadgets of some sort.

However, this particular gadget was entirely his idea. He's an avid cleaning-product-researcher and decided a high-pressure car cleaning tool would help to detail the car the way he likes it.

A High-Pressure Car Cleaning Tool Works With an Air Compressor

Take note that you'll need an air compressor to run this gadget. If you don't have an air compressor or access to one, this tool isn't for you.

This particular car cleaning tool lets you adjust the air pressure. You can clean an area using a level of pressure that's appropriate for the job.

He's pointed out it's the air pressure that pushes the cleaner into the fabric and on surfaces. That helps to provide deep, thorough cleanings.

The Car Cleaning Tool with the
air compressor hose attached

Easy to Use - Add Cleaning Product and Go

Just fill the container with any cleaning solution and water. Next, connect the air, set your ball valve to dispense the cleaner. Once you're ready to go, simply pull the cleaning trigger.

There's a water mode and air mode: To do the cleaning, use the water mode. Once the cleaning is complete clear away the excess water with the air mode. At that point, you can wipe the surface down with a microfiber cloth if needed.

Here's the High-Pressure Cleaning Tool in Action

Air Dried and Wiped with a Microfiber Cloth

Use The High-Pressure Cleaning Tool for the Car Seats and Rugs

My husband is quite detailed when he cleans. He also uses this handy gadget to clean the seats and rugs. After the winter months, it's very handy indeed for renewing those filthy rugs! They look like new when he's done. Check out the two photos below showing one of the seats and rugs.

By the way, this vehicle is fifteen years old. So it's not as though he's keeping up a new car that's in prime shape. This old SUV looks new because of his hard work and detailed mindset.

Oh, and something else he wanted me to mention: Cleaning the seats and rug below only took about ten or fifteen minutes. Of course, for extra dirty surfaces, the initial cleaning will take longer.

Here is the rug and seat after a quick cleaning

Here's a closeup of the seat after cleaning.
Remember, this vehicle is fifteen years old.


Yes, He Recommends This Product

It can also be used for other cleaning projects. You're not limited to just cars. Use it for bikes, motorcycles, outdoor furniture and rugs, and whatever else you can think of that needs a deep cleaning.

He didn't buy the high-end version of this product either. He selected an inexpensive model, similar to this one, and so far so good - it's still working.

Have fun, stay clean.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Review


In January, the Windows 7 operating system on my desktop computer ended all updates.  My son (an IT Tech by profession) upgraded my computer to Windows 10. At that time, I took a good look at my peripheral devices and realized that my years-old keyboard had over one-half of the letters worn off.  Being a touch-typist, I hadn't really looked at the keyboard in a long time, but now decided it was time to get a new one. 


Wireless Keyboard by UHURU

Wireless Keyboard by Uhuru

After looking online at a number of keyboards, I decided on a wireless keyboard. This one by UHURU also came with a wireless mouse and a mouse pad. In addition, the batteries needed  for operation were included, one A A battery for the mouse and two AAA batteries for the keyboard. 

My wireless keyboard is compatible with Windows 10 and provides automatic connection link for fast data transmission without any delays.  A 2 in 1 Nano receiver unifies the keyboard and mouse connections quickly into one plug and play USB port. It also has 13 hotkeys to instantly access movie, music, internet, e-mail, volume and more. The advanced chip provides automatic connection from up to 33 feet.

It is a full size keyboard and has foldable stands to provide a comfortable angle for typing. The description states that this keyboard also has a sensitive touch for smooth typing that is easy on your fingers.  My ONE complaint may be that it is a bit TOO sensitive for the way I type as I find I often end up putting 2 spaces between words when I only wanted one. Perhaps I need to slow my typing speed a bit to compensate....LOL. But having made my living as a typist, this may be hard to do. ^-^. 

The keyboard has a power-saving mode which automatically lets it go to sleep within 8 minutes of no operation.  Click any key to wake it up.

Wireless Mouse


Wireless Mouse

The wireless mouse has many of the same features as the keyboard, working from up to 33 feet away with automatic sleep feature when not in use to conserve battery power. The Mouse works off the same plug and play USB port as the keyboard. Not only is it compatible with my new Windows10 operating system on my PC, but also works with Windows 8/7/Vista and XP and works with Notebooks, Laptops  and Smart TV with no extra software or set up needed.


Summary


Altogether, with the many features and the low price, I found this wireless keyboard and Mouse to be an excellent buy. I am very pleased with my new wireless keyboard and wireless mouse. 




Related Articles:




Quick Links:

Wireless Keyboard & Mouse by Uhulu


*Wireless Keyboard and Wireless Mouse Review written by (c) Wednesday Elf (4/25/2020)




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

My Christmas Confession! Heart Warming Stories Make Me Happy!

Yes, I have a confession to make.  

Since my husband and I decided to get into Amazon Prime, my Television watching has increased by 100%.  I thought I'd take a moment and review why my TV habits have changed.

For years now, our television set was just a big black screen that we would show our family pictures on.  Neither myself nor my other half were interested in anything that was being shown for entertainment purposes, on most cable channels.  So our TV became our picture show instead.  Our cable was cancelled and the only thing he missed was his hockey games.  I did not miss anything about the TV.  I did start reading a lot more and that was not a bad thing either.  Then............

That all changed when he signed up for Prime!  Initially he signed up so that our items would ship for free and quickly.  He's the impatient one in our family.  What he did not fully realize when he signed up, was all the added bonuses that came along with his membership in the Amazon Prime community.

Because we have Prime, we are now able to watch many varied and wonderful shows that cable companies don't offer.  I haven't even scratched the surface of what's available on Amazon Prime.  

So here's part of the confession:  I go to Prime Movies and look for fun and new Christmas Specials.  After all, it is that time of year.  There are so many movies that I have never heard of before.  There is a category called Family and Kids Movies!  That is exactly what they offer!    I know when I pick something from this category, that I won't need to worry about the content being for "adult audiences".  

Family Movies is full of wonderful films that are good for all ages.  There are animated movies and movies from all over the world.

I just happened to come across a movie called the Christmas Story.  I expected the usual Santa Claus story and while it was along that line, it was a whole new story to me.  This one had a twist in it that made it a real heart tugging movie.  Filmed in Finland and Lapland, the scenery is breathtaking and the actors are pretty good too.  There is no one in the movie whose name I recognized, but, there is talent out there in the world too.



Prime not only offers you TV that you will enjoy watching, but books (with membership you get 3 free books a month), and music.  So these have all been added bonuses for us.  My other half just wanted to save money on shipping and time.  What he got was a whole lot more!  

All together I would say that getting Prime for your family would be a gift that will keep on giving long after Christmas is over.  Those are the kind of gifts I like and would really enjoy!  I'm sure there is someone out there that feels the same way and has not yet taken the plunge into the world of Prime.

I had given up watching Television for over 4 years and now that we have Prime available to us, I know that when the itch to watch something hits, I can get a show that I  know I will enjoy.

If you don't have Prime yet, consider it for your family.  I'm sure that you won't regret it.








Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, September 9, 2019

Favorite Fall Lawn Gadgets Reviewed

Oh no! What happened to summer? I say that every September though most of September is technically still summer.

September is actually I think the best month for the northern United States. The air is crisper, the humidity has decreased and the leaves are just beginning their journey through the colors. Fall also means lawn work, garden clean up, Fall planting and preparing the lawn and garden for a snowy winter.

My Favorite Fall Lawn Gadgets 

The Bagster - On Demand Debris Removal

If Fall clean up involves heavy materials whether it be concrete, wood or trees then The Bagster is a great alternative to dispose of heavy loads. Simply purchase The Bagster bag either online or at a big box store, fill the bag and schedule the pick up!


Find the full review here and see if your area qualifies for The Bagster.


Greenworks Leaf Blower

This is one of my favorite lawn tools of all purchases. The lightweight Greenworks Leaf Blower is so versatile.

I use it all year to blow leaves and debris off the driveway or deck, blow leaves to dispose of in the Fall and even use it for a Car Hack to blow dust out of the car.

Read the full review here of this easy to maneuver Leaf Blower.

City Pickers Raised Garden Bed

I really enjoyed this garden bed on wheels during the summer and will transition this raised bed garden for Fall planting. Maybe a pumpkin?!? I plan on rolling the bed into the Florida room for the winter and begin herb planting come spring.


Read the full review here of this rolling garden bed perfect for the yard, deck or patio.


Blue Shoes Disposable Shoes

Fall means rain, mud and leaves in my area of the country. Do you have trees with those itty bitty leaves which stick to everything and every shoe?

These affordable disposable shoes I have found invaluable for yard work in any weather. Pop the shoes on and dispose of in a jif if needed. If the conditions are dry the shoes can be used as a cover and then reused.

Read the full review here of these little shoe savers.


Top Ten Hallmark Christmas Movies

I know, these are not a lawn gadget. But Fall means Hallmark Christmas Movies are in the near future. As I recall the Christmas movies began at Halloween last year.


Find the full review here.

A few new favorites from last Christmas to add to the list:

  • Christmas At Pemberley Manor
  • Christmas At The Palace
  • Christmas On Honeysuckle Lane






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, July 22, 2019

Defiant Wireless Motion Sensor Solar Light Review

Need an outdoor light but no electrical outlet? The wireless motion sensor solar light by Defiant can assist. I recently needed to light an outdoor walkway which was marooned between electrical outlets and hard wiring the area was not an option.


I purchased the Defiant Wireless Solar Light to solve the no electrical outlet, need light problem and have been very impressed with its' performance. 


Brightness

Brightness
Motion Sensor

x
This is a bright light! It is not for subtle soft lighting along the deck, patio or home. The solar light has the equivalency of 20 LED lights.

The unit actually has two lights. The main light facing out and an interior back light behind the main light. The two lights are synchronized to provide the full brightness. The motion sensor feature then regulates how the lights are dimmed after activation.




Motion Sensor


I found the motion sensor to be very accurate. The small unit is deceiving as to how quickly it will pick up motion. Activity to trigger the motion sensor is up to 26 feet with a 120 degree radius according the the specifications.

There are two settings for the motion sensor:

1. When motion is detected the front and back light turns on to full brightness. After 10 seconds of no motion both lights turn to low brightness.

2. Standby mode. When motion is detected the front and back light turns to full brightness. After 10 seconds of no motion the front light turns off and the back light turns to low brightness.

The light does not have an option for both lights to be turned off after activation. 


Solar Light & Wireless

The solar light takes eight hours of charging to provide 12 hours of continuous light during the night. 

The wireless feature is perfect for areas of the home, deck, landscape or yard which are not located near an electrical outlet. The unit is easy to install as it is lightweight and requires two wall screws (included.) However I liked the portability of the unit due to its' lightweight and shape so I positioned the unit on the deck stairs to face the sun.

 

 

More Home Reviews





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Apps to Help You Learn German in Small Doses: A Review

The Best Way to Learn German or Any Language


The best way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in it and use it daily. Language is definitely a case of  "Use it or lose it." That's why my two years of college German had almost completely disappeared in the 45 years I didn't have any occasion to use it. A few years after graduation special circumstances compelled me to teach a bit of German to some select elementary students, but then I stopped teaching and started selling books and blogging. Spare time was scarce. I simply wasn't motivated to study when I'd rather be using my leisure time to read. But now I'm motivated since I discovered these two apps for my new Galaxy Note 9 phone.

Apps to Help You Learn German in Small Doses: A Review of Drops and DuoLingo

Small Doses of Language Work Best for Me


Both of the apps I use, Drops and DuoLingo, have very short daily lessons. Both have positive reinforcement built into their programs. You know immediately whether your answers are right or wrong. I have been using both of these for about two weeks now. I got tired of the ads so I bought the paid versions after trying them out. Both programs encourage you by keeping track of what you've accomplished.

In the image above are two images from Drops. The first, in purple, is my page at the end of a session. It shows me how many words I've learned so far and how long my session lasted. It also shows which level I've achieved in my current topic. Underneath the time is a brief review of the words I've learned and reviewed during this session. This is really handy, since some words need more practice than others. Sometimes I haven't quite gotten the pronunciation down. If I click on an image in this section, I will see the English meaning and hear the German pronunciation again. If I still didn't catch it, I can tap again and I will hear the word again --  more slowly. I use this feature a lot.

The second Drops image shows the current topic I'm working on. The yellow lines show how much progress I've made. The yellow stars on the red row of squares underneath indicates that I've mastered the words in those topics.

How Drops Works

I have the premium plan and no longer see ads. I also can choose the length of each session. I think the session length begins at five minutes. I am now doing fifteen minutes a session and often I do two or more sessions a day if I have time. It's fun. It keeps my brain exercising. At the beginning of each session you receive a word drop. It looks like a large water drop and it brings you a new word you haven't yet seen. You also see a picture that represents it and the English meaning as you hear the the pronunciation of the German word. If you don't want to practice that word because you already know it, you swipe it up. If you want to learn or review it, you swipe it down. 

Apps to Help You Learn German in Small Doses: A Review


The next screen shows you the word again and two pictures (far left of image.) It lets you choose the one picture it matches. You hear the German word again. After that you may have any of the other exercises pictured drop down. The rust-colored exercise helps you look more closely at the word and put the parts of the word into the blank spaces below. If you hesitate, they give you a hint of where to start by wiggling one of the ovals. If you've worked with the word a couple of times before they may add another group of letters that isn't a correct part of the word just to make it more challenging.

The blue screen shows one of my least favorite exercises. It's a word search. You get the first letter and have to tap the others in order to spell the word correctly. I've learned how to cheat when I don't know the correct article form and there's a choice. I find the blank oval and tap to get to it because I know it comes right after the article. It's tricky, though. Even if you know how to spell the word (which I often don't) you may have the same correct letter in two different positions you can choose. You have to look ahead to see which leads to spelling the rest of the word. If you guess wrong, the program will correct you until you make the right choice.

There's another spelling game I didn't show you. It has the picture and you have to keep picking letters from a group of a few letters on the bottom until you spell the word. When you pick a letter, another moves into its place, so you don't see all the choices at the beginning.

My favorite game is the last one -- the matching game. I don't have to spell anything for this one. I just tap the pairs that match. No matter which game, once you make the correct choice, you will hear the word that is the correct answer repeated again. Approaching the word in so many different ways -- as a whole, as an image, letter by letter, section by section, and as sound -- helps your brain cement it in your memory. Words you studied at the beginning keep reappearing in later lessons so that you don't get a chance to forget them. You can probably tell I really like this app. You can use it easily on a phone or a computer.




What I Don't Like So Much about Drops


Overall, I enjoy using Drops, but there are a couple of things I don't like. Part of the reason is in the program itself and part of it is my own lack of knowledge. I have a problem with the artwork. Now I definitely could not do better myself, but I have trouble figuring out what some pictures are supposed to be. Here are some examples in the screenshot below.

Apps to Help You Learn German in Small Doses: A Review of Drop and DuoLingo
Screenshot from the Drops App. Get more information here.

I had no problem with the words and pictures on the left side of this screenshot from the review at the end of the session. But I had a tough time figuring out just what that man on the right top corner was doing. I thought maybe he was doing some sort of dance. I had to check the English translation, which was "I like." Yes, his thumbs are up. But when I hear the words, this is the image with which I associate it. Verbs are hard to illustrate.

My other problem was probably one I inherited from my mother who used to keep a novel inside her geography book during class. I'm not very good at identifying countries other than my own by their map shapes and/or flags. So it's only the German word that helped me recognize Greece (lower right corner of image.) When we learn the words for nationalities instead of the countries, we keep the flag and instead of the map there is a common object or a building often associated with the country. I had no trouble figuring out that bagpipes were Scottish, but many buildings in Eastern European countries seemed similar to each other. So I had to learn flags, country shapes, and architecture along with the language. I suppose that's good, but it confused me. That's why I started to pull out the old German books from college and the children's illustrated German dictionary  I used to sell. Those books  were great supplements to the apps.

Visual dictionaries for children are very good even for adults beginning the study of a foreign language. Here are two of the best available now. Mine are out of print.



DuoLingo or Drops?


I find DuoLingo boring. There is little color as far as I've gotten. It's more like doing textbook exercises on the computer. I understand the logic behind it, but maybe I should be at a more advanced level than I chose. It seems the several short sessions I completed never got past various ways of mixing these words (in German and English, in and out of sentences) : man, woman, men, women, boy, boys, girl, girls, is, are, he, she, it, you, they, the, a, and that. They were used in questions and statements. I realize this is establishing basic sentence patterns and teaching forms of the verb "to be" and singular and plural nouns, pronouns and articles. It's still boring. More color and variety in activities would go a long way to making this more fun.  Below is the screenshot of a scorecard after a brief review exercise. These are the instructions and the right answers. 


Apps to Help You Learn German in Small Doses: A Review of Drops and DuoLingo

Below is a screenshot of the correction screen for one of the exercises above. This is about as visually exciting as it's gotten so far. I'll let you guess which app I use most often. 



In all fairness, I have not explored all the options in this app yet, even though I have paid for the premium version. I have not joined a club  to practice with other people. I can't find one in my community, and now I'm beginning to wonder if I misunderstood that. 

I did check out the stories -- one reason I got this version. They aren't very exciting.  More like the dialogues in beginning textbooks. Bilingual children's books are much more interesting and colorful. Check out the wide variety on Amazon. Many of them are available to read for free on Kindle Unlimited. That's how I've been able to read so many of them this week. Some with very familiar stories are only in German. I will need to improve my skills before I'm ready to read those, but they are on my wish list.

In my opinion Duolingo is like a textbook put on a computer. You hear or read German and write what you see or hear in English. Or you do the opposite. I can only use this program on the computer because I can't seem to switch to a German keyboard on my phone. To be able to hear and speak comfortably I need to be on my MAC because my headsets for speaking and listening on my PC are somewhat uncomfortable for a complete session.

I probably would not buy the paid Plus version of DuoLingo if I had it to do over. It does give me a kind of practice Drops doesn't have, but it is more academic than I wanted in an app. Drops is much more fun and I seem to learn better with that kind of practice. I have a stack of German texts if I want to study the subject academically. 


Apps to Help You Learn German in Small Doses: A Review
My College Texts and German References with Other Books I've Picked up Since Then
© B. Radisavljevic



My Current Plan for Studying German


My daily routine includes at least one session of using the Drops app a day, and I do it first thing in the morning on my phone before I get out of bed. That's the only way to make sure I get it done. I  also keep the Beginner's German Dictionary close to me in case I want to use it for visual review. It's a picture dictionary I used to sell. It's now out of print. For visual learning it's hard to beat Usborne books, but you can only get most of them used now. I don't think one book in my stack above is still in print, since I've had most of these for over fifty years.

Books in my stack are good for reference and review, but I need to update the dictionary. Many words have been added to the language since 1964. Here's my wish list to supplement my references. I didn't really see an adult dictionary I want yet. I will stick to the one I have until I find a more useful one. The DK Visual Dictionary (below) will have some of the more modern words in it. It will serve my purpose since it is intended for adults.

I also will keep downloading German or bilingual picture books I can read for free on Kindle Unlimited.  There are also many books there on how to learn German that I have downloaded to evaluate. When I have a bit more vocabulary, I will get the story book below. I need more experience with using the language. I hope to find my German Christmas carol book I got in college and start singing the carols again. I have some on CD's and can also listen to German music free as part of my Amazon Prime Membership. I've already found some great children's songs in German.


The most recent thing I've done is start following people on Instagram who speak German . This allows me to see how Germans actually speak informally to each other and I can read the German memes and jokes they post. I have found some real goodies so far. One of the most helpful accounts I follow is German for Mummies. Every day it posts a cute cartoon drawing with labeled thematic photos. Most of the posts include simple sentences using words in the drawing. Here's one of my favorite posts from the feed: a frog in a pond.

 I hope if you want to learn German, too, some of my ideas, reviews, and recommended materials may help you. Feel free to ask questions in the comments or talk to me on Instagram or Twitter. And don't forget to follow this blog, Review
 This Reviews, on Instagram and Twitter.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:
Review This Reviews Quick View Home Page

The Review This Contributors



Cynthia SylvestermouseCynthia SylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMary Beth - mbgphotoMary Beth - mbgphotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasWednesday ElfWednesday ElfOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisRenaissanceWoman2010RenaissanceWomanLou16Lou16The Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelRaintree AnnieRaintree AnnieTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaSam MonacoSam MonacoTracey BoyerTracey BoyerBarbRadBarbRadBev OwensBev OwensBuckHawkBuckHawkDecoratingforEventsDecoratingforEventsHeather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G



Review This is Dedicated to the
Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner


We may be apart, but
You Are Not Forgotten





“As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from purchases.” Disclosure Statement

X