Hello and welcome to! Home of the GRANNY REVIEWS!!

We are relaunching our site and will soon have written reviews for you to enjoy including the new GRANNY REVIEWS! which will bring videos of males and females 50+ of varying technical ability unboxing and commenting on products, trying to set them up and use them, and if unable to, calling tech support and seeing if they can help. We see this bringing a bit of comedy and proving ease of use of a product.

We are currently reaching out to companies to get products to do this and will start posting when we have enough product to keep a continuous stream of content coming at you to enjoy!

D-Link DIR-813 AC750 Wifi Router

The D-Link DIR-813 AC750 Wireless router is probably the cheapest 802.11ac router on the market today. The router, which retailed for $29.99 on and during the days leading up to Black Friday 2015 was quite the steal. The retail price for this router is $79.99 and for that price it is not a bad router, but its not without its quirks.

Dlink_Dir813-3The router was particularly chosen as a potential replacement router to my tried and trusted Buffalo WHR-HP-G300N DDWRT open router. While the Buffalo continues to chug along with no apparent issues, the desire for a 5Ghz band and newer AC technology drove me to test out this D-Link router.

The 802.11ac frequency is a new one. Over the last decade, we have been exposed to various routers in the 2.4 Ghz frequency that started with a max theoretical speed of 11 mb/s (802.11b), to 54 mb/s (802.11g) and then finally a slew of 150-450 mb/s (802.11n) routers on the market. Each promising faster throughput and more device connectivity with greater range.

In principle, the improvements in wireless technology is real. I’ve personally gone through all the different variations of wireless connectivity since its advent in the early 2000. The current 802.11n, personally think is as good as it gets.

Dlink_Dir813So what is the fascination with 802.11ac, after all all the manufacturers are now bringing out AC routers that claim to improve on an already excellent product for the casual user. Most wireless users would have never had the opportunity to test out the old 802.11a (5Ghz) band that was around in the early 2000’s. The 802.11a never really took off in the Small Office / Home Office market. It did get taken up in the enterprise market. Most devices until the advent of the iPhone 4s could not read 802.11a frequencies, the capabilities were never there. This is for a good reason. Unlike its sibling 802.11b, which operates on the 2.4 Ghz spectrum, 802.11a worked on 5 Ghz. Chip-set costs were higher and the overall range for the throughput was as low as the original 802.11b. In the end wireless devices in the 2.4 Ghz gained universal acceptance.

Fast forward to today, the throughput gained by the 5 Ghz frequencies out pace the already crowded 2.4 Ghz frequencies. With wifi popping up in every house hold, the airwaves are getting more crowded. 802.11ac aims to correct the congestion problem by use of various technologies including beam forming and increased bandwidth.

So back to my D-Link DIR-813 review:
The question asked most often, why is it back in the box. You see, 802.11ac is a great piece of technology. However its also a very new piece of technology. While it can connectDlink_Dir813-2 to virtually all the older frequencies, the benefits of the 802.11ac only comes about if you use it to connect with a device that supports 802.11ac or (the draft 802.11ac). Without which the advanced technology – beam forming and bandwidth increases are a moot point. The maximum theoretical bandwidth provided by this router is 300Mbps on 2.4 Ghz and 433 Mbps on the 5 Ghz.

In real world testing, the only devices that could benefit in my use case scenario was my iDevices and the Google Nexus Tablet & Google Nexus Player that could see the 5 Ghz frequencies (but are not 802.11ac devices). Segmenting my network to use the upper frequencies for streaming would have helped if I had a congestion issue, however for my use case scenario, it would have no made a difference. The range of 5 Ghz was also limiting despite the three big antenna’s that make up the router. The 2.4 Ghz range was better suited for my use.

In the end, 802.11ac is a great device, and there is nothing wrong with the D-Link DIR-813 wifi router. It will one day make a good backup router for me. It is just that for most users, the need to upgrade to the latest and greatest is unnecessary. Your requirement for a new router could easily be satisfied by a cheaper 802.11n router. Unless you plan on upgrading all your devices to use the 802.11ac chip-set, there is no benefit to upgrading to a new routers for the casual user.

Forbes wrote an excellent article on 802.11ac and its benefits. It is well worth the read.

To purchase this router click on our Amazon Link.

Luma Candles – LED Color Changing Candles

LumaCandlesLuma Candles, its a name you probably may have heard before. If you spend any time in front of the TV at odd hours, perhaps that name is familiar. The product was first sold on late night infomercials on TV. This is not your regular Ginsu knife infomercial, yet this particular product made its way to my local Fry’s Electronic’s store checkout line. At 19.95, it is hard to pass up on LED Candles.

Luma Candles shtick is that it looks, feels and smells like a real candle as it is a real candle. The outside of the candle has a nice smooth waxy finish. It is soft to touch and smells like vanilla (lavender is also available). The candles are well packaged in Styrofoam, a much needed accessory to keep these delicate candles from breaking during shipping. The candles come wrapped in plastic which may be removed. A box of Luma Candles encloses 3 candles, batteries and a wireless remote. The RF remote allows for one to change between 12 set colors as well as set a timer. The candles when unlit are a pale custard yellow color. These colors soon fade when the candle is turned on. Utilizing 3 AAA batteries per candle (& a CR2302 on the remote) these candles probably wont last as long as the MiPow Playbulb Candle. However the light put out is of very nice quality.

The LED’s used in the Luma Candles are exposed and are a bit harsher to the eye (when looking at from above) but the lighting through the sides of the candle are wonderfully smooth. We like the Luma Candles; they make for good mood lighting at home.

At 19.99 for box of 3 candles, the Luma Candle is a perfect gift accessory to a candle fanatic.  To purchase Luma Candles, follow the link to Amazon

TP-LINK N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender with Pass-Through Outlet (TL-WA860RE)

TPLINK_WA860RE_1TP-Link Technologies Co., Ltd is a Chinese manufacturer of computer networking products. They are a recently company to the networking space in the United States, but in their home country of China, they are one the largest market share holders of networking products for small office / home office. In their short time on the US market, TP-LINK has proven themselves to produce some outstanding networking equipment.

TP-LINK as their trademark goes manufacturers a wide variety of products. This Editor of Gizmo Scoop tried out several of their products and over time their reviews would show up at Gizmo Scoop.

This particular review is for the TP-LINK N300 Wi-fi Range Extender with Pass-Through outlet (TL-WA860RE). The device features 2 antenna’s, a Ethernet port on the bottom and a 110v outlet up front. Setup is reasonably simple, but I’ll admit that TP-LINK’s instructions were a bit convoluted and unnecessarily complicated.TPLINK_WA860RE_2

The easiest way to configure this device is to plug it into the wall. Once plugged in, use your computer to find the wireless network (information on a card given) and connect to the said device. From that point forward, open up a browser to the IP address of the device and configure it from there. The device has quite a few configuration options. I did not particularly need the device to extend my wifi network, but rather provide an Ethernet port to another part of the house (without requiring me to run Cat5e or Cat6 cables though the wall). The easiest option is to let the device clone the name of your default network. I preferred to isolate the extender by giving it a unique name. Thus allowing me to connect and configure the device at a later time without doing a hard reset.

The web configuration allows for a lot of unique settings, much of which are far too advanced for most casual users. That said, it does allow you to set the power out of the extender.  If your extender is reasonably close to the main router, the efficiency of the network will drop at the default power levels. This is when, reducing the extenders power helps keep your wireless network stable at all times. Another suggestion is to assign a static IP to the extender and to turn off the default DHCP server and let your primary router issue DHCP IP’s. This would cause less interference with overlapped IP’s.

Overall the setup is not for the casual user. I would state it is more an an enthusiast that has the time to tinker around a bit. However once setup, it is highly stable. I have had no issues with the wifi extender. This particular extender powers my VoIP lines, which were relocated to another section of my home. The audio quality has not skipped and the fear that I would have ‘tunnel audio’ is long gone.

If you would like to purchase this product, follow our link to Amazon .



Mophie Juice Pack Air – Long Term Test

During CES 2014, Gizmo Scoop was provided samples of Mophie Juice Pack Air for review.

Mobile is a very crowded and competitive space to introduce a new product. At CES 2014, no less than 10 different manufacturers were hawking iPhone battery cases. The designs were unique but they all provided one common feature. Extra battery life.

Mophie, is one of the larger manufacturers in this space. Having been to the market first with their iPhone battery cases. The Juice Pack line includes the Helium (80% battery life), Air Mophie_JuicePack_Air_Red(100% battery life) and Plus (120% battery life). Each of the products within the line provide extra talk time (or game time) when running low.

The Juice Pack Air that was provided to Gizmo Scoop was noted to be very well designed. Unlike the Juice Pack Helium, which is coated with a slightly slippery plastic, the Juice Pack Air is coated with a slightly rubberized and snug fitting exterior. One cant help see how much more well engineered the Juice Pack Air is to the Juice Pack Helium. The differences between the two models extend beyond the battery life. The Juice Pack Air has enclosed buttons versus the exposed buttons on the Juice Pack Helium.

Gizmo Scoop editors ended up buying a Juice Pack Helium for comparison A-B testing. Our long term test has proved that the Juice Pack Helium cannot hold up to the Juice Pack Air in durability and toughness. When accidental dropped, our iPhones protected by the Juice Pack Air held up much better than the Helium. Both devices protected the phone very well, neither iPhone had a broken screen. But the damage on the external case revealed which was tougher.

On the positive side the case is perfect for a klutz like me. On the downside the case does require thinner headphone connectors to work. The iPhone headset would barely fit, and necessiated the use of the headphone jack extension that Mophie provides.

The Mophie case worked great, and continues to work. Though its battery life after close to 16 months of use has reduced by half. The phone is heavily used and the fact that it still operates in late 2015 is amazing. Needless to say this editor of Gizmo Scoop just placed an order for a new Mophie Juice Pack Air for his aging iPhone5s.

Want to order a Mophie Juice Pack Air? Follow us to our amazon link

MiPow Playbulb Candle

MiPow is a Hong Kong based company that is a leader in mobile device accessories. The company’s main products until now have been backup batteries, chargers, bluetooth headsets and bluetooth speakers until now.

During CES 2015, Gizmo Scoop had the pleasure of being acquainted with MiPow’s latest playbulb_candleproduct(s). In this case a bluetooth speaker lightbulb and the cute and cuddly Playbulb Candle.

The Playbulb Candle is a bluetooth based LED candle that operates on 3 AA batteries. The candle can be remotely controlled in groups via an app on your mobile device. The app allows for various modes including semi-realistic flame-less candle, strobe and flicker. The default option is a very smooth rainbow fade when turned on. The device also features a microphone for sound controlled mood lighting. It also has a neat parting gift where in one can blow off the candle just like a real candle. Needless to say one can blow it back on with just as much ease.

Here at Gizmo Scoop, we put this device to quite an exhaustive test. The first thing apparent to the the editors of Gizmo Scoop was that the battery life of the device far exceeds other manufacturers in this space. On regular use, one was able to use the Playbulb Candle for almost 50 days, with usage 4-5 hours per night. This candle is very energy efficient. The colors are beautiful and vibrant. We found the Playbulb Candle living up to our expectations. The number of uses for this candle are limitless. When we took it camping, and the candle provided subtle lighting to our tent and space.

At $19.99 for one, $29.99 for two and $49.99 for a pack of 3 on Amazon, the Playbulb is a must have for anybody who loves candles at home. I find I use these more than competitor “Luma Candles”

Looking to purchase a Playbulb Candle: Amazon Link


TP-LINK TL-PA2010KIT AV200 Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit

TPLINK_TL-PA2010KIT-2TP-Link Technologies Co., Ltd is a Chinese manufacturer of computer networking products. They are a recently company to the networking space in the United States, but in their home country of China, they are one the largest market share holders of networking products for small office / home office. In their short time on the US market, TP-LINK has proven themselves to produce some outstanding networking equipment.

TP-LINK as their trademark goes manufacturers a wide variety of products. This Editor of Gizmo Scoop tried out several of their products and over time their reviews would show up at Gizmo Scoop.

This particular review is for the TP-LINK AV200 Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit (TL-PA2010KIT). The device features 2 power plug outlets with a sync button up front and Ethernet ports on the bottom. The 110v outlet devices are designed to extend your home network using the existing wiring of your house. Setup is reasonably simple, but it is not without it’s issues.

Setup of the AV200 kit is incredibly simple. Plug in one device close to your main router with an Ethernet cable plugged in between the router and the AV200 Nano adapter, which plugs directly into the wall socket. The other device is plugged into the wall in some other part of your house. In theory TP-LINK suggests that the devices be sync’d by pressing the sync button to initialize and encrypt your network. In practice, it works without doing so.

Here is where the caveat is. If you live in a housing complex with multiple units, stay away from these devices. In theory, you should not be able to see your neighbor’s network, evenTPLINK_TL-PA2010KIT-1 if encrypted. However, it seems under my testing, network stability was never achieved, and eventually I found myself staring into a neighbor of mine’s network over IPV6.

IPV4, which inherently does not allow cross-over on a private network, IPV6 unfortunately has a different set of rules including neighbor discovery protocol. I found these devices crossing over and revealing my lovely neighbors network to my prying eyes. Resetting the encryption only worked for a few hours before the network stopped working forcing a unplug and re-plug.

It seems IPV6 implementation on these devices is not complete. Talking to my neighbor on his network design (which incidentally was a bit of a shock to him) lead me to the conclusion that there is something wrong with the way TP-LINK has designed their firmware.

The devices work, but I would err on the side of caution until TP-LINK resolves their issue on network wire-line security. For whatever reason this implementation did not work for this editor. The convenience of extending the network was thwarted by the lack of security. It seems network security maybe achieved if you own a single family home. In theory, the network extension would stop at your electrical meter. In my case, my electrical meter is in close proximity to my other neighbors, and hence the cross over and lack of network security.

If you would like to purchase this TP-LINK device, please follow us on to Amazon .

PhoneSuit Iphone 5/5s Battery Case – Long Term Review

PhoneSuit_Iphone_CaseIn the crowded mobile battery case market PhoneSuit is probably a brand you would not readily recognize. In CES 2014, Gizmo Scoop was given a tester PhoneSuit Elite iPhone 5/5s battery case.

This is the same year that Gizmo Scoop received the Mophie Juice Pack Air and the EnerPlex Surfr phone battery cases. Among the three mobile battery cases received, PhoneSuit was probably the most underwhelming to look at. Its matte black case made it really stylish and yet hard to find in the center console of a car with black interior.

GizmoScoop found the case very well made. Each of the manufacturers provided a different form factor to inserting the phone. Of the three, PhoneSuit was the easier to get in and out. It also was the easiest to connect an headphone to. The design is so simple that we were surprised that the other manufactures had not considered it.

PhoneSuit’s case is extremely simple to operate. All the buttons are fully exposed (unlike the Mophie Juice Pack Air and the EnerPlex Surfr) like the Mophie Juice Pack Helium. The battery system could be turned on and off by a simple button on the back. The sleek looks
PhoneSuit_Iphone_Case2 made its way to operations too. PhoneSuit had a 80% battery life, meaning your iDevice could be recharged from 20% to full. The overall life of the battery was good, but it seemed the overly heavy use by this editors girlfriend drained its lifespan by half. By October of 2014, the battery was down to roughly 50% of life. By February of 2015, the battery in the PhoneSuit was down to 25%.

The battery life may be an statistical outlier, as this editors girlfriend is a huge candy crush addict. So much so that the battery would get charged individually when drained. One thing we noticed was the way PhoneSuit charged the phone vs. other manufacturer’s whose products were tested at the same time. The PhoneSuit case would charge itself first before charging the phone. EnerPlex and Mophie charged the phone first before the case.  This meant that the PhoneSuit case was faster to charge separately from the phone than charged together with a 2 amp charger.

EnerPlex Surfr iPhone 5/5s Solar Charging Battery Case

Enerplex is a division of Ascent Solar Technologies Inc. Ascent is known for their highly efficient thin-film solar modules (otherwise known as CIGS (copper Iridium Gallium (di)Selenium). Enerplex brand products include portable solar battery chargers as well as battery packs for mobile devices.

When EnerPlex came up with the brilliant idea of combining an iPhone 5/5s battery case with their solar panels for recharge capabilities, they had hit on a jackpot. Integrating a CIGS thin solar panel with a battery pack case is an ideal solution to satisfying the energy sapping vampires that are characteristic to mobile devices.

Gizmo Scoop was provided a sample EnerPlex Surfr device to review during CES 2014. It must be noted that the device was a pre-production model and was not due for retail for another 6-8 months. Due to confidentiality reasons, Gizmo Scoop did not write a public review until the product was launched to the public. However Gizmo Scoop did provide EnerPlex feedback on the device. enerplex_surfr

Gizmo Scoop editors used the device for a period 8 months. During the the time, the build quality of the device deteriorated. The glue holding the outer ‘blue’ ring wore down. Eventually the inserts that correspond to the buttons on the iPhone fell out. The editors super glued the trim ring of the case back but eventually other sections of the trim ring glue deteriorated. At this point Gizmo Scoop editors decided that the build quality issues of the device have to be addressed and contacted EnerPlex.

Outside of the trim ring issue, the device actually worked like promised. The battery life is rated 80% of an iPhone 5s battery (thus recharging your phone from 20% to 100%). The sound quality of the phone was great and the overall build quality of the case is excellent. The solar panel were the only issue. The manufacturer claim of 15 minutes of talk time per hour of recharge was only good if the phone was left in direct sunlight or close enough to direct sunlight. Leaving the phone in the hot sun seemed to drain the battery faster. We noted the case would not charge in office or artificial lighting. This maybe an issue with CIGS panels.
Overall we were very pleased with the device. It is our understanding that EnerPlex fixed the trim ring issues and the product is now available for retail purchase. The device is a good competitor to Mophie and PhoneSuit.

If you would like to purchase a EnerPlex Surfr, follow our link to Amazon


ZTE’s Tango-running Mimosa gets pictured, benchmarked

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If you thought ZTE’s insatiable lust for Windows Phonehandsets ended with the Tania and the Orbit, then you haven’t been keeping up with the company’s plan for global domination. WPDang has revealed that the ZTE Mimosa is going to occupy the same Tango-ified strata of the market as the Lumia 610. While it shares a name with Android-powered Mimosa X, it won’t share specs. Apparently it’s only packing an 800MHz Qualcomm CPU — confirmed when the handset appeared inWPBench. Unfortunately our choice will remain binary: the Mimosa isn’t likely to be released outside of China.


ZTE’s Tango-running Mimosa gets pictured, benchmarked originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 21 Mar 2012 18:52:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.