Saturday, February 27, 2016

Hand Retractable Tip Stylus Review

When you use your smart phone, iPad, Galaxy Pad, or other touch-sensitive device, a stylus can be much more accurate than a fat finger tip. There are many styli and pen/styli available. This review examines the Hand retractable tip stylus.

First impressions. I first encountered the Hand stylus at the Consumer Electronics Show, where it was being demonstrated as a brush to use with a drawing program on an iPad. I was given one to review. My first impression after beginning to use the Hand stylus was its heft. Generally, I like heavy items, because my brain somehow associates weight with quality. So, just holding the Hand produces the satisfying sensation that I'm holding a quality object,  However, in use, the weight causes the stylus to slip frequently out of hand out of my hand.

Here is a comparison chart to show how weighty by comparison the Hand stylus is:

Item                                           Weight in Grams        Length in Millimeters
Typical stylus-pen combo                  8                            147
Another typical stylus-pen                 9                            150
Pocket stylus                                      4                             114
Mini stylus                                         3                                51
Hand retractable stylus                     26                             130 (retracted)
Bic stick ballpoint pen w/o cap          5                              144
Bic stick ballpoint pen with cap         6                              150
Bic B3 Grip retractable ballpoint      10                              145
Bic highlighter, cap on                      10                              140
Stainless steel gel pen cap on            25                              137
Stainless steel pen cap off                  19                              124

The Hand stylus is the heaviest of the examined items. Note that the stainless steel pen is close in weight. In use, however, I do not experience the slipping out of my hand that I do with the Hand stylus. The weight of the Hand might not be a problem, but shoppers should be aware of it.

For Men? I don't want to appear sexist, but my sense is that the Hand stylus will appeal to men especially. The weight, the hexagonal barrel (hexagons are my favorite shape) and knurled tip (reminds me of a metal file) all say "manly man."

Rotating Retractable Tip. The 4 millimeter tip retracts like an ordinary ballpoint pen, thus protecting it from damage. The retraction-extension cycle also rotates the tip a quarter of a turn, so that wear will be even. Tips are replaceable, too.

Performance. The Hand stylus works well on my Android phone (Galaxy S4) and a bit less well on my Galaxy Tab 2 (as all the other styli work less well on it). I installed a drawing app on the tablet and the Hand worked very well following the assignments from thin pencil line to thick brush line. The overall performance of the stylus is fine. The 4 mm tip makes using tiny keyboards much easier.

Customer Service. The original Hand stylus given to me for review at CES stopped retracting after only few uses. I emailed the company and they replied immediately with apologies and sent a replacement in just a couple of days.

When I disassembled the broken unit, I noticed that at least one internal part is made of plastic--nylon would be my guess. This may limit longevity.

Recommendation. Especially for men--and most especially for men who like to show off their techno toys--the Hand stylus will make a great gift. And at a price of about $20, it bears the cachet of costliness.

Monday, February 1, 2016

LED Light Bulbs Review Continued

Here's some advice on purchasing LED light bulbs.

1. Shop wisely. The technology, manufacturing costs, and retail prices are all changing rapidly. Bulbs that used to be $10 each are now $2.50 each, and soon we will likely see $1 for those same items.

2. Dimmable LED bulbs require a bit more circuitry than nondimmable bulbs, so as a consequence you (a) pay more for them and (b) get less light from them at the same rating. That is,  a nondimmable bulb rated at a 60 or 65-watt "equivalent" will put out 800 lumens and use 8.5 or 9 watts. The dimmable version will put out 650 lumens and use 10 or 11 watts.

3. Life span of the bulb is given in hours. If years are listed, that's usually based on 3 hours per day. So a bulb claiming 22,000 hours of life might also claim that it will last 20 years (365 days per year times 3 hours a day is 1095 hours per year. 22,000 divided by 1095 is 20.) Today I noticed some nondimmable 60-watt equivalent bulbs claiming a life of only 10,000 hours. It's difficult to say how this compares to what you will actually experience. I know that with CFL fluorescent bulbs I've never gotten the seven years claimed from them.

4. Should you replace most or all of  your incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs? Yes. The energy savings will be well worth it. Lower electric bills. And you'll feel comfortable leaving a bright porch light on all night because it uses only 9 watts.

5. Should you replace most or all of your CFL bulbs with LED bulbs? That's a more difficult question. CFL bulbs already are well down the scale on energy use and they likely cost a couple of dollars each. So you might use  LEDs as your replacements when the CFLs go out. The exception is that most CFL bulbs create radio interference. (When I drive into my garage containing CFLs on the garage door opener motor box) my AM radio goes to a loud buzz.)

6. You might want to avoid yesterday's and the awkward new LED bulbs. Some of those are flat, some are too directional. Just buy the bulbs that look like traditional incandescent bulbs.

7. Once again, you have your choice of color temperature. The 2700K are the soft-white equivalents. I've noticed that they seem to run whiter than incandescents. (Some are labeled 3000K, which might be more accurate.) Daylight bulbs are about 5000K and up.

8. You can put brighter bulbs in sockets that were limited before. That is, you might  have a lamp that is labeled, "Do not exceed maximum bulb wattage of 60 watts." That was because of the heat created by incandescent bulbs. But LEDs of 85-watt equivalence (1100 lumens), use only about 14 watts. So feel free to go large.