Issues with Freezer Temperature? Calling Appliance Repair Service in Manhattan

Freezer and Appliance Repair in Manhattan

While perhaps not as essential as other appliance units in the house, the freezer still plays an important role in the kitchen throughout the world. Be it for a little ice cream after dinner or a quick frozen snack, the freezer is an integral part of the cooking experience. For that reason, having a freezer break down can be a massive pain. For starters, the mess that it can create when everything begins to melt and food goes bad can be enough to make anyone not want to deal with the problem. When dealing with appliance repair in Manhattan and just freezers and refrigerators in general, there are a few things to keep in mind that should help out in many instances.

Freezer Too Warm

One of the most glaring issues people will experience with freezers and one of the most important issues when it comes to freezer repair is that the freezer is too warm. If this is the case, the freezer of obviously not functioning properly as it is not performing its sole task of keeping food frozen. If this has happened, there are four possible fixes that you can look into.

The first fix is an easy one and it involves the light inside the freezer. The door of the freezer has a switch so that the light will turn off when the door is shut. Yes, the light does really turn off when you shut the door. To test if this switch is working, locate it when the door is open. It is usually somewhere along the frame of the door. Simply push in the switch to see if the light is turning on and off.

If it has no effect, the switch will need to be replaced. It is always best to consult the owner’s manual for unit specific directions on replacing parts of the unit; however it is very important to remember to disconnect the freezer from any electrical source prior to doing any freezer repairs.

Issues with the Defrost Thermostat

The second common issue is the defrost thermostat. Once again, ensure that the unit is unplugged from the wall before doing any work and consult the owner’s manual to find information regarding where the thermostat is located. Once you have located it, use pliers to remove the connecters from the terminals and then proceed to remove the thermostat from the unit. Use a multitester to test the thermostat. It should give a reading of zero when cold, however if it has removed and sitting outside for some time it will have warmed up. If this is the case, the reading will show as infinity. If the readings differ from that, the thermostat is defective and will need to be replaced.

Next, there may be a problem with the defrost timer. As with before, use the owner’s manual to find the defrost timer and after removing it from the device you will need to test it. Test each connection using your multitester as with the thermostat. The reading on the 1st and 2nd connection should read zero, while the reading on the third connection will read as infinity. If you do not receive these readings, then the defrost timer is not functioning properly and will need to be replaced.

Issues with the Defrost Heater

The final part of this particular area in freezer repair involves the defrost heater. The defrost heater will need to be removed from the freezer before it can be tested. Using pliers remove the device from the unit; however do not pull on the wires to remove it. Once again, use a multitester to test the connections. Unlike before however, the connections should read more than zero, but less than infinity. If you receive any other readings the defrost heater is malfunctioning and will need to be replaced.

All of these items can be replaced on your own if you are comfortable working on the unit, however if not it is best to call a professional who specializes in freezer repair. These four devices are the core of controlling the temperature in the freezer, so if you are having any issues it is always best to check them before jumping to any other conclusions. For instance, even if the opposite of before is true and now the freezer is far too cold and the fridge too warm, check for faults in those four parts.

Calling a Freezer Repair Service in New York

If you cannot locate the problem or if you do not feel comfortable working on the machine, it is always best to call for help. Luckily, appliance repair shops are common throughout the country and there is always someone close by who will be able to assist you. If you have not used a company in the past, doing a quick online search will yield results. You can also read online reviews and find a company or individual who seems trustworthy and that you would be willing to call to take a look at the unit. An online search may also be able to answer any questions you have in regards to what might be wrong with the unit before the repairmen comes over to take a look at it. If the machine is newer, it is also important to remember that it might still be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. However, if it is older it is not likely to be covered and you will likely to need to contact local freezer repair in Manhattan.

If and when the freezer stops working, don’t panic as it does not have to be too much of a headache to deal with. Keep in mind that it happens to everyone and there are plenty of people there to help you. Most people will not hesitate to pick up the phone and call a repair shop, however if you are willing and have the tools, you can always play around with it yourself and try and fix the problem. Just remember that safety is very important when dealing with appliances and you should always take the proper precautions to ensure your own safety.

Why you should choose Bear Appliance Repair for your appliance repair in Brooklyn

Bear Appliance Repair has been in the appliance repair business for years with technicians that are courteous and knowledgeable. Our prices are affordable, and our first priority is always our customers. With no work too small or too big for us, we will always be prepared to work in favor of you. All our work of appliance repair in Brooklyn is always 100% fulfillment guaranteed.

At Bear Appliance Repair, our goal is to provide our customer with the best value and better service. We will offer you the best quote for our appliance repair in Brooklyn and we are also accessible on all days in a week, even on Holidays and Weekends.

You can rely on our affordable and dedicated appliance repair service because our technicians are suitable trained to carry out the repair work of any appliance, irrespective of their model and make. Our appliance repair company is crammed with incredibly experienced, expert technicians and well-informed, gracious office staff, who provide our patrons with the finest quality work.

Who we are?

At Bear Appliance Repair, we continuously endeavor to stay well informed on any modifications in our industry, so that we will be capable of offering our customers the latest and most up to date information and services at all times.

Our well-trained technicians will always offer you a precise estimate for your appliance repair in Brooklyn and will get your approval earlier than starting any repair work. We have 95% of the most common components in our stock that are required for washers, refrigerators, dryers, microwaves, dishwashers, ovens, stoves, ranges etc, regardless of their model and make..

We offer our dedicated services throughout Brooklyn and the adjoining areas, including Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island. If you come across any challenging issues with your appliances, you can get in touch with Bear Appliance Repair over your phone on any day at any time and let us address those issues so as to bring your appliance to usual working condition.

What appliances we service in Brooklyn?

As an approved, licensed and bonded appliance repair company in Brooklyn, New York, we are specialized in repairing:

  • v Freezers.
  • v Refrigerators.
  • v Washers.
  • v Ovens.
  • v Dryers.
  • v Stoves.
  • v Ranges.
  • v Dishwashers.
  • v Microwaves.
  • v Air conditioners.

We consider that the best appreciation for our technicians is client’s satisfaction.

Why you should choose Bear Appliance Repair in Brooklyn NY?

Although there are several reasons that Bear Appliance Repair happens to be the primary option for homeowners in and around Brooklyn for their entire appliance repair needs, some of the notable reasons include:

  • As a reliable appliance repair company in Brooklyn, we offer punctual, guaranteed and professional repairs on all leading brands.
  • We are the only business in the neighborhood to offer the lowest prices for repairing your appliances.
  • We do not charge you extra for evenings, holidays and weekends.
  • We offer our appliance repair service in Brooklyn on the same day of receiving your service call.

If any of your appliances have a problem, irrespective of its nature, we can assist. We even offer emergency appliance service in the neighborhood whenever an emergency exists.

Our service in the neighborhood is swift, gracious, and reliable from the time your service call is received by us. Our dedicated and knowledgeable repair technicians have been trained to pay attention, help and respond to your service requirements quickly.

Our technicians and we are Insured and licensed for your protection. We would like to make sure that you know who you have in your house and that you are entirely protected.

Bear Appliance Repair technicians are highly experienced and they have several years of field occupation behind them. We tender same day service on the majority of orders placed.

We are easily accessible in Brooklyn at all times, as we are situated at the heart of the neighborhood. Our appliance repair technicians will carry 95% of factory components in the trucks, so the majority of the jobs are completed during the first visit itself.

Above all, we offer a written guarantee for all the appliance repair work we undertake.

Whenever you are in necessity of an appliance repair in Brooklyn on emergency basis, give us a phone call. We would be glad to service your appliance requirements in a professional and in an affordable way. Get in touch with Bear Appliance Repair today to get an affordable quote for all of your appliance repairs in Brooklyn.

How to Find Reputable Refrigerator Repair in Brooklyn NY

RefrigeratorWe have been carrying out the service of finding refrigerator repair in Brooklyn for many years with technicians that are well-informed and polite. Our first priority is our customers and we offer our dedicated and professional services at affordable prices. For us, no job is too small or too big. Our technicians are appropriately trained to carry out the refrigerator repair in Brooklyn with great professionalism, irrespective of their model and make. We are 100 % dedicated to our services, so we are always prepared to work for you and our work is always 100% guaranteed.

Find Refrigerator Repair in Brooklyn, NY on all Leading Brands

At our Brooklyn-based business, our aim is to offer our clients the best value and best service. We will provide you with the best estimate for performing your refrigerator repair in Brooklyn and we are available on all days in a week, even on Holidays and Weekends, as well.

When you hire our service to fix your refrigerator, you can rest guaranteed that the job is in the hands of an approved, bonded and insured business, so you can relax or concentrate on your other usual errands. We are capable of fixing all leading brands of refrigerators, as our business is crammed with very experienced, expert, knowledgeable, gracious technicians, who supply our customers with the highest quality work. We consider that the best appreciation for our technicians is client’s satisfaction.

A refrigerator is one of the vital and most required domestic appliances in any Brooklyn, NY family. If it breaks down, all food items you preserve into it would get spoiled, so you have to fix it as quickly as possible by hiring a professional business, like us. We are the leading professional business in the neighborhood who can carry out your refrigerator repair in Brooklyn in a more professional way. When you hire our services, you will get a lot of benefits. Some of them include:

  • You will get the same day repair service.
  • There are no hidden charges involved in our services.
  • Our services are more professional.
  • We offer our work guarantee in writing.
  • You will get your refrigerator fixed at more affordable rates.
  • When you call us, you will get a quick response from our technicians.
  • Above all, we are insured and licensed providers, so you can rest assured that you will get your work done in a professional way.

Though there are several reasons that our business happens to be the primary option for refrigerator repair in Brooklyn, NY some notable reasons include:

  • We offer punctual, expert, guaranteed repairs on all foremost brands.
  • We are providing our services with the lowest prices for your refrigerator repair in Brooklyn.
  • We do not charge you extra for our services in evenings,holidays and weekends.

As we service all models and makes of refrigerators, if your refrigerator has a problem, we can assist on any day at any time, according to your convenience.

Our refrigerator repair service in Brooklyn is friendly, fast and reliable from the time your call is acknowledged by us. Our technicians have been trained to pay attention, help and react to your service requirements quickly. Our whole staff is insured and licensed. We would like to ensure that you know who you have in your Brooklyn home and that you are entirely protected.

The cost involved in repairing your refrigerator in Brooklyn, NY relies on:

  • Direct labor costs that include planning, material purchase and job equipment, area research, set up and onslaught.
  • Cost of materials that may be essential to repair a refrigerator, including fittings and connectors.

Furthermore, the cost of fixing a refrigerator will count on the nature of the fault, irrespective of the model and make.

Bear Appliance Repair is your fast and effective Brooklyn, NY refrigerator repair service with over 22 years of experience! At Bear Appliance Repair, we’ll do what it takes to get your fridge running at a high level once again, and our office is conveniently located in Brooklyn, NY. When you contact us for a refrigerator repair, we’ll quickly address your concerns and schedule your appointment with one of our trained and knowledgeable technicians.

How to Find a Reliable Service Provider for Stove Repair in Queens, NY

GE_Profile_stoveSometimes you wake up one morning on your way to work and you discover that there is a barrier between you and your favorite breakfast. The stove burner won’t spark or it is faulty and thus you can’t prepare your quick fix, or special morning heavy; a situation that prompts you to look for a reliable service provider for stove repair in Queens. You are left with no option other than reaching out to the corn or cereals with your ice cold milk or quick coffee. Especially due to the fact that it is a place quite busy and sometime tricky to navigate, getting a firm you can trust with your kitchenware may not as it may seem, come in as bread and butter in Queens, but can rather be daunting task that demands a few considerations. The process can however be less stressful if you utilize the below pointers and guide tips.

Importance of Seeking Stove Repair in Queens, NY

When problems arise with your stove, you can either choose to fix it yourself or hire a professional technician to do the job. Doing it yourself might be effective in the short run, but you may not have the repair time, expertise, equipment, and the parts required in case replacements are necessary. If unprofessionally done, there is a possibility of faults reoccurring and leading to extra damages, not to mention your kitchen catching fire, or the appliance loosing functionality altogether. The beauty with a reliable firm for stove repair in Queens, NY is that they can fix your stove efficiently and professionally, which will save you from the possible risks, save you time and money.

  1. Start by Conducting a Research and Getting Referrals

Your friends and neighbors can come in handy as the first places to seek credible information. You never know, they too might have encountered the same thing in their kitchens. As you get a few referrals, also rely on your other friend, the internet for more research. Start by typing on the search bars, term such as “a list of best stove repair in Queens Companies.” If you know of a few real estate firms or hoteliers, you can as well liaise with them for credible referrals. From here you can come up with a list of some prospective companies ton vet based on the following considerations.

  1. Their Service Experience

How long a repair service provider has been in business will matter a lot, as more often than not, experience may be a direct translation of the level of expertise and as such their reliability for effective service and long-lasting solutions. Take precaution and only go for fully certified and registered appliance service companies in Queens. You do not want to have a newbie in the field experiment with your kitchenware. They might leave a potential hazard with you. If you manage to meet a representative from a prospective firm in person, you can ask them about training of their technicians and their experience levels as well.

  1. Their Customer Support Levels and Reputation

Just from the way a representative from a prospective firm answers your call, you can be able to summarize their service levels. Look for supportive customer service in your reliable service provider; by the way they handle your queries and concerns. How long they take to respond and how helpful they sound is highly important. A good firm will even give you directions and help you understand the various electrical requirements that will be involved. However, looking at their service history is also crucial. You don’t want to deal with a firm for Stove Repair in Queens; that has a track record of bad reputation. You can always get credible information from reviews and testimonials online. How previous customers and corporate references rate them determines how reliable they are.

  1. Consider the Cost Factor and Warranties

It would be unrealistic to say that price is not an important factor when choosing an appliance repair company. It is important to call a few service providers for stove repair in Queens and ask for their quotes to do comparisons. A good way to go about it as you make the call would be to go to the main problem direct, like “how much will you charge me to fix my stove burner that has a sparking problem.” However, it is crucial that you be on the lookout for extremely know service prices that may look unrealistic. This may suggest an inexperienced technician or pretender out to make some quick money from people like you.

Make comparisons carefully, and remember to consider quality more than price. Seek to know the rates (whether hourly, or per piece of work) and remember to ask whether there are other charges apart from the service fees as some notorious firms like hiding fees. The mode of payment is also important, s most people prefer credit cards for you can reverse a transaction if you were not satisfied by their services. You might also want to determine their warranty policies and whether they offer workmanship guarantees for their services. This is of crucial importance, just in case the appliance malfunctions after being serviced or ends up causing damages to your home, you need and insured service provider.



This iPhone Cord Claims to be 40% Stronger Than Kevlar

This iPhone Cord Claims to be 40% Stronger Than Kevlar Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

It’s not often I post about iPhone cables and those alike, but alas, that’s exactly what I’m doing. Why so? A few reasons. First, the company behind these cords, called Syncwire, says that their new line of cables, Unbreakcable (see the “c” in there), are 40% stronger than Kevlar and the “toughest on the market today”. It’s because of that, they’re positioning them as the “last cable” you’ll ever need.

Presumably with that kind of “rating” they’ll never break. But just in case it does – which you know happens overtime to most cables, especially the cheap ones – Syncwire offers a lifetime warranty (that’s the second reason, btw). To be candid, I’m not sure what the Lifetime Warranty really means as there are no details on their site, but the back of the packaging has some playful verbiage that might connect with millennials better than older folks. I can only assume that if the cable does break they’ll send you a new one. How fast and with what stipulations remains to be seen.

That all being said, the cables – they sent me three in total (USB C, iPhone and microUSB) feel like they’re decently made, though they don’t exude the high end feel I’ve come to enjoy with some braided cables. The packaging offers a decent presentation, though the would be cable organizer is something I’m throwing away. Truth be told I’m not sure if they intend one to keep it, but if you do, I’m sure you could wrap other cables around it, such as a pair of earbuds. Lastly, there is no mention of a MFI certification, which is odd, because on Amazon and they’re own site, they claim that their other, previous products are.

Price and where you can buy them you ask? Unknown.

The post This iPhone Cord Claims to be 40% Stronger Than Kevlar appeared first on Gadget Review.

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LG G6 Android Smartphone Review: The Best Yet?

LG G6 Android Smartphone Review: The Best Yet? Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

It’s a new year, and with it comes a new LG G-series Android flagship smartphone. While the G5 last year was swell enough to hold its own against the top-end competition, it was clearly not at the top of the bunch. Sure, we gave LG kudos for taking a risk and trying a bold, new modular concept, but without on-going support of neat add-on modules, the idea nose-dived to a flat note.

LG was quick to recognize its shortcomings, and in 2017 the Korean giant’s efforts are renewed with a more concise approach – to simply make most attractive, refined, and solidly functioning smartphone that it can. Continue on to find out if this is what we’ve been waiting for from LG or if it’s just another nice try in our LG G6 Android Smartphone Review!


Price: $672 or $28/month on Verizon
Available: Apr. 2017
Model: G6

Summary: The G6 is LG’s newest and strongest flagship Android smartphone release. Its design/construction is as premium as it gets, and fully packed with top-end features like wireless charging, wide-angle camera, and HDR-supported, nearly bezel-less display. The G6 is certainly not perfect (particularly, the display and camera quality could still be improved), but it will no doubt be one of the top phone picks of 2017.

What We Liked

  • The first beautiful LG phone
  • Nearly bezel-less display
  • Solid battery life
  • Wide-Angle camera is special

What We Didn’t

  • Only 32 GB base storage
  • LCD screen still inferior to AMOLED
  • Camera quality still a step behind the best

LG G6 Specs

Display 5.7″ QHD IPS LCD (18:9 aspect ratio)
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 (quad-core, 2.35 GHz)
Memory 4GB of RAM
Storage 32GB internal with microSD card support (up to 256 GB)
Rear Camera 13 MP standard angle (f/1.8, OIS) and 13 MP wide-angle (f/2.4, no OIS)
Front Camera 5MP Wide-Angle (switchable to standard angle), f/2.2
Battery 3,300 mAh (non-removeable)
Software Android 7.0 (Nougat)
Colors Black or Silver
Price $672 or $28/month on Verizon
Buy Now


Suffice it to say, LG has been having trouble finding its place design-wise as of late. Last year’s G5 flagship smartphone was the overhaul we’ve been waiting for, just not in the right direction, as that plastic-like metal chassis and modular design ended up being completely trashed. This is all while the company’s biggest competitor – Samsung – was well under way to perfecting its successful premium, glass-dominated formula with the Galaxy S7 series. Fortunately in 2017, LG is done lollygagging around.

LG G6 Smartphone

The build of the G6 is a job well done; lack of refinement is now a thing of the past. The curved glass around the rear is a pleasure to see and feel, and the phone’s thick sides provide ample grip.

We are super impressed how quickly LG could turnaround a completely new, solidly built smartphone. Not only is every piece of the G6 high-grade, but it’s impeccably constructed. There are no cut corners to speak of, so much so that the face is a source of its beauty. For instance, the perimeter of the glass back curves down into the metal frame, seemingly fusing into it (there is also no more camera hump). Furthermore, the front glass simply sits flush with the frame, providing all the attention to the phone’s display-dominated face.

LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone

Manufacturers are finally realizing that minimizing bezel and maximizing screen size is important, and LG is among the first out the gate to deliver. Its approach was to cut the top and bottom bezels, while maintaining roughly the same width as the 5.3″ G5. This interestingly gives us a phone with an aspect ratio of 18:9, instead of the 16:9 that has always been used, and now a 5.7″ device that can be comfortably handled with one hand.

LG G6 Smartphone

Size comparison between LG G6 (left) and LG V20 (right). Despite both having a 5.7″ display, the G6 is much more slender and manageable.

Consumers may think that the new, taller aspect ratio would come with ergonomic concerns, but it has phased us very little. The only thing that takes getting used to is reaching to drop down the notification panel at the extended top. The fingerprint scanner on the back, which in LG fashion doubles at the power button, is ideally placed and comfortable to use.


Typically, Spring flagships in the U.S. share a new top-end chipset from Qualcomm. For this year that is the 10nm, octa-core Snapdragon 835. However, because of a shortage of supply, LG had to settle with the previous quad-core Snapdragon 821 or delay the G6’s release. We would assure buyers with the concern to not put too much weight on this spec. The Snapdragon 821 has a beast of a processor, and in our use with the G6, we never wished that we had more horsepower. Despite having a substantial user interface, the snappy and smooth software experience is a pleasure that never let up.

LG G6 Smartphone

Battery drainage was as expected – roughly 10% an hour with usage on network and 75% brightness, and excellent idle time.

The only woe we see on the spec sheet, and an inexcusable oversight, is the mere 32 GB of internal storage. This is the only memory option you can get in the U.S. LG tries to overlook the fact by touting expandability via microSD card, which is of course great, but it just shouldn’t be that a flagship in this day and age to come with less than 64 GB standard. LG also had to make a compromise on a couple extra features. There wasn’t space to fit both wireless charging and the HiFi 32-bit Quad DAC that we loved in the V20, so the company made the decision on which to include based on regional demographic. It deemed Asian markets caring more about quality audio and the U.S. market preferring wireless charging. Pity.

An area that LG didn’t hold back on was battery life. It held on to the removable battery feature as long as possible, but since it’s now gone, there’s at least a sizable 3,300 mAh battery capacity sealed in (at least for the size of the device). And it does translates to some respectable results in our real-world use with the phone. Unless you’re doing heavy-lifting like gaming, the G6 should reliably get through the day without a pit stop and sometimes well into the next morning.


LG G6 Smartphone

LG’s Full Vision display takes up about 80% of the front of the device. The corners are rounded for not only a more aesthetically pleasing look but also less stress concentration (which can lead to cracks) if a drop occurs.

The star of the G6’s show is undoubtedly that dominating Full Vision display. Because LG almost eliminated the bezel space that we’re so used to on the front of our mobile devices, it was able to stuff practically a phablet-sized screen in a regularly-sized smartphone. That is, much of the top and bottom bezel were replaced by screen, resulting in the first smartphone with an 18:9 (or twice as high as it is wide) aspect ratio. So buyers must not be mislead by the seemingly large 5.7″ screen spec. Since the screen is taller than we’re used to with a 16:9 phone, this diagonal measurement doesn’t follow the same indication of size as we’re used to.

LG G6 Smartphone

16:9 video is the standard across the internet (especially YouTube), so you’ll have to get used to black bars on the sides of your media.

To our eyes, the quality of the IPS LCD screen is on par with what we saw last year on the G5 and V20, which gives us some mixed feelings. It’s a totally adequate screen and undoubtedly passes for a flagship smartphone, but we don’t think LG should be stopping there. This LCD is missing some brilliance, color, and brightness of the current AMOLED panels that much of the top-end have adopted (with Samsung clearly leading the pack). LG’s LCD looks dull in comparison, and that noticeable brightness shift when tilting the phone away from a direct view is still present. But at least HDR support is there to boost colors and contrast in compatible content (which Netflix and Amazon are beginning to roll out).


LG G6 Smartphone

The G6’s camera interface is jam-packed with features that include a mode selector (Panorama, Food capture, Slo-mo, Time-lapse), numerous filters, and multiple collage tricks that take advantage of the extra screen space (such as scroll-able thumbnail previews on the left). You switch between the main and wide-angle cameras with either the selector on top or by zooming in and out.

LG made minimal improvements on its camera setup as well. From a rear view, you’ll see that the secondary, wide-angle sensor which started with the G5 isn’t a feature that was thrown into the forgotten land of gimmicks. It was a good idea and a real nice-to-have in our experience, especially for landscape or group shots. Unfortunately, the capability came with compromise. The standard-angle 16 MP, f/1.8, OIS sensor was clearly superior in performance to the wide-angle one with 8 MP, f/2.4, and no OIS. Things are more balanced out this time around. Both cameras now have the same 13 MP capture resolution, but photography in less ideal situations is still a concern for the wide-angle shooter since the aperture is still at a significantly smaller f/2.4 and there still being no OIS to counter potential blur from shaky handling.

LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone

In practical use, we found that to be less of a concern than it sounds like. The wide-angle camera can pull off some stunning shots if you’re patient with it. Sure, some grainy-ness and blur can creep in at lower lighting, but having the ability to capture a expansive view in one shot somewhat outweighs any complaint about the quality. Speaking of the standard sensor, the megapixel hit didn’t phase it much to our eyes. We actually don’t notice much of a difference from before, which like in our discussion about the phone’s display, is a little disappointing. There’s still improvements to be had that the top-end competition has addressed. Detail, sharpness, and colors (albeit leaning a tad much on the cold side) are generally a pleasure, but the sensors continue to struggle with higher lightning dynamics, too often resulting in over-highlighted or darkened areas.

Check out some of our sample shots below:

LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone


We’re hard-pressed to call this latest user interface (UI) from LG an update from the V20 in late 2016, which also packed the latest Android version, 7.0 (aka Nougat) out of the box. It looks and functions virtually the same to us (down to the user having to choose to have an app drawer or not).

LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone

In other words, you’ll get a UI that focuses on function rather than appeal, as dressings around icons, folders, and menus strike as bland and somewhat dated. At least Theming is still around to let the user add some much needed style. Some of our favorite LG software features also make a return, such as the Always-On Display, double-tap to wake gesture, ability to alter the navigation keys (change orientation or add a couple new ones), Smart Cleaning (flushes out system to free up resources), and Smart Settings (automatic functions based on selected actions).

LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone
LG G6 Smartphone

Digging in does reveal some changes, for better or worse. The taller aspect ratio causes some disruption in the ways things have been done. Basically, Android isn’t quite prepared for new layout. Letter-boxing (black bars at the left and right of a picture) is inevitable for mobile media – which essentially forces the content back to 16:9. This means that you won’t see the benefit from that large display from videos and games. LG has built in a scaling option, but it zooms into the picture to fill the screen and cuts off some of the top and bottom. Another drawback is that the feature to hide the navigation keys within selected apps has disappeared itself. LG may have done this to avoid scaling complications on apps. Where the extra screen real estate comes in handy is in the browser, social media, and other apps you use for reading. The extra vertical screen displays more content and results in a little less scrolling.

Final Thoughts

All-in-all, the G6 is the best phone that LG has made, and a breathe of fresh air for the manufacturer that has been struggling to find its place. This is the kind of refinement that the company has needed to be able to compete with its colossal Korean neighbor. We can no longer say that the quality of LG’s flagship smartphone is trumped but Samsung’s robust Galaxy S series.

They are now toe-to-toe, and consumers will have to think hard about which particular features matter more. Do you want the G6’s grippy, flat screen, hefty battery, wide-angle camera, and appropriately-placed fingerprint scanner, or do you want a gorgeous S-AMOLED, curved display, highest-end Snapdragon chipset, and lightning-quick Dual Pixel camera that will come on the Galaxy S8? Either way, you’ll be getting a beautifully constructed and fully-featured flagship smartphone.

The post LG G6 Android Smartphone Review: The Best Yet? appeared first on Gadget Review.

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How To Program a Dish Network Remote: Using Your Remote with a New Device

How To Program a Dish Network Remote: Using Your Remote with a New Device Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

Did you just get a new device like a TV or Blu-Ray player? What about a new Dish Network remote control or receiver? If you did, then you’ll need to program your Dish Network remote so that it can control that device before you start channel surfing. The process is a bit more involved than you might expect, so let’s go over how to program a few Dish Network remote models!

One reason people have trouble trying to program Dish Network remotes is because there are a lot of different models out there, for a collection of different devices. We’re going to try to cover the most popular remotes, but if we don’t get to yours, we have a suggestion: find the remote that looks the most similar to yours, and see if the instructions are close enough to apply. If you just can’t figure it out, call up customer service and ask them to walk you through it. Sometimes a step-by-step lesson is just what you need to figure out how the remote works.

Table of Contents

Connecting to TVs or Other Devices (Not Receivers)

50.0 and 52.0 Models

Dish Network - 52.0 Remote

Dish 52.0 model

These models are some of the more advanced versions of Disk Network remotes, and tend to work with modern, more modular menus. Because the two processes are so similar, we’re grouping them under the same set of instructions. However, since the remotes are a little different, stay patient and make sure that you are picking the right buttons and on-screen options.

Dish Network - 50.0 Remote

Dish 50.0 Remote model

Step 1: Turn your TV/Device on, and press the Home button on the remote twice – it’s the house icon in the upper left corner. This should pop open the Dish menu, with rows of colorful icons to choose from. If your TV stays blank, make sure that your Dish receiver is properly connected to the TV using the right ports (this is a common early problem, and should always be the first thing that you check if something goes wrong).

Step 2: In the Dish menu, look for a turning gears icon (see below)  to find Settings. Select Settings, which will bring up another menu that deals with all your accessories and controls. Toward the top you should find an icon for your Remote Control. Head over there and select it next.

Dish Network - Settings

Settings is easy to spot in the menu section.

Step 3: This brings to a screen that lists TV and additional device sections, and if any models are already known to the unit (none probably are, or you wouldn’t be doing this). Select the type of device that you are trying to create a permanent connection to.

Step 4: This will bring up a screen with a few different options for interaction with the device. Keep this screen in mind because it’s handy for programming additional features on smart TVs, but for now you want to choose the TV Pairing Wizard at the top to make this easy.

Step 5: The next screen will bring up a list of brands. Choose your device brand, then choose Next. This will lead you to a testing screen that will ask you to push the Volume and Mute buttons on your remote. The system has automatically chosen a pairing code that it thinks will work, but it needs you to make sure. The Volume and Mute buttons are easy ways to see if the remote is interacting with the TV: push them, and you should immediately seen volume change/mute effects on the screen.

Dish Network - Brand Setup

TV brand selection

Step 6: If you see the Volume effects on the screen, congratulations! Your remote is paired. You can select Finished and get out of here. If you don’t see any Volume effects and nothing seems to work, then choose Try Next Code instead. This will move to a different code that the system thinks will work with the remote and brand. Try again, and keep cycling through codes until you find one that works.

40.0 Model

Dish Network - 40.0 Remote

Dish 40.0 model remote

The 40.0 remote is a little weird, because it’s used with two different Dish Network remote programming menus. Here’s the deal: if your typical Dish channel lineup menu (where you browse what’s on TV) has the preview and summary to the right side of the screen, then go up to our instructions for the 50.0 and 52.0, because they are exactly the same. However, if your menu screen has the preview and info at the top of the screen, the process is similar but a new walkthrough is helpful. Start here.

Step 1: Press the Menu button on your control – it’s toward the top, and says “Menu” right above it, so it’s kind of hard to miss.

Step 2: This should bring up a series of icons that you can access for more information and apps. Again, if this menu doesn’t come up then you need to check your cable connections and make sure that everything is working correctly. Look for the icon that says Settings and select it.

Step 3: Another series of icons will pop up. Select the one that says Remote Manager. This will bring you to a screen that says “TV Code,” “DVD Code” and “AUX Code.” Pick the one that matches the device you are setting up, and proceed.

Dish Network - Dish Code Screen

Make sure to choose the right device!

Step 4: You can check your manual for a setup code if you want at this point, but the system can help you find one if you choose “Lookup Code.” This choice will take you to another screen where you can choose the brand of your device and select Next.

Step 5: You will now be asked to test your Volume controls. The Volume buttons are the plus and minus signs above the “wheel” on your remote. Try them out and make sure that the volume signals on the TV/device are responding.

Step 6: If the volume controls do nothing and there’s no sign on any readout, then try another code. While you can go through every code available on your model, we suggest instead that you choose “Enter Model” and enter the exact model of your device to pinpoint just what you need. When you find the right code, select Yes and Save. You’re done!

20.0, 20.1, 21.0, and 21.1 Models

Dish Network - Other Remote

Older Dish remote models

These are all earlier remote controls for Dish Network: they have a lot of buttons, but the programming process is thankfully a bit easier. Note, however, that these older products may not be as compatible with newer TVs and other devices. Like other tech, Dish Network devices can age out of the market, so if you haven’t updated your Dish receiver in a while, it may be time to look into an upgrade – especially if you run into problems trying to figure out how to program Dish Network remotes to TV models that are far newer.

Step 1: Look up your three-digit remote control code. These remotes don’t support an automatic search for remote control codes for whatever device you happen to be using. So your first step should be to break out the manual and check for the right Dish Network remote programming codes for your TV, DVD player, or whatever other device that you’re using. Check in the early pages of the manual, or if you can’t find it, then Google your model number and “remote control code” because others may have had the same question. If you have to, you can always call customer service or look up support on the Dish website.

Dish - Old Remote Close

Choose the right device button.

Step 2: Activate the right device setup. Look at the four buttons at the very top of your remote. You’ll see options for TV, DVD, and AUX. Choose the option that describes the device you are connecting the most accurately, and then hold down that button until all four of the buttons flash.

Step 3: You should now be able to enter the three-digit code using the number pad at the bottom of the remote. But wait! If you are using the AUX mode, there’s a special extra step: You have to identify which type of device is connected to the AUX port. This effectively turns the three number code into a four number code. If you are connecting a TV, start with a 0. If you’re connecting a DVD or similar device, start with 1. If it’s another device, start with 2. Note that this only applies to the AUX button. If you are setting up the other two buttons, stick with the three-digit code.

Step 4: Once you are done inputting numbers, press the pound/hashtag sign. This should cause the button you are programming to flash three times.

Step 5: Test out the connection by pressing the power button. The device you are trying to connect to should turn on or off! If the Dish remote is not working, make sure the connections are set up correctly.

Connecting to Receivers

Are you trying to connect a remote to an existing DISH Network receiver and having some trouble? There’s a separate setup procedure for connecting to receivers that you’ll need to follow. The good news is that it’s generally simpler than connecting to other devices. So, let’s again break it down by remote and what steps you need to take!

Note: These remotes are designed to be paired with the intended DISH Network receiver. They aren’t designed to be paired with DISH receivers that are too much older or too much newer. In other words, don’t try to pair a remote from one model with a receiver from different model.

52.0 Model

Dish Network - 52.0 Remote

Dish 52.0 model

Step 1: Take a look at your receiver. You should see a smaller, round button on the right side called Sys Info, right by the red reset button. Give it a press. This should cause the System Info screen to pop up on your TV, but you can ignore it for now.

Step 2: Look on the side of your remote – the first side button should be SAT. Give it a press, too.

Step 3. Now look at the front, top portion of your remote. Right under the home button, you should find a button that says Back. Press it too.

Step 4: Now look at your TV. The System Info screen should vanish. If it doesn’t, manually reset the remote and try again.

50.0 Model

Dish Network - 50.0 Remote

Dish 50.0 Remote model

Good news! This is just like the 52.0 model. The only difference is that, when you press the SAT button on the side of the remote, it should respond with three chimes to let you know that you’re doing the right thing (the 52.0 model doesn’t make any sound). Otherwise, repeat the steps just as they are for the 52.0.

40.0 Model

Step 1: Head over to your receiver and look for a button that says Sys Info. It’s usually on the right-hand side, although this can vary between receiver models. Once you find it, press it and wait for the System Info screen to pop up on your TV so you know that you’re in the right mode.

Dish Network - 40.0 Remote

Dish 40.0 model remote

Step 2: Now go to your remote. Along the top you should see four buttons. The first one should say SAT: press it down. You should hire three growing chimes to let you know that this step worked.

Step 3: Look down on the lower right part of your remote, next to the selection wheel. You should see a button labeled as “Cancel.” Press it. This should automatically make the System Info window vanish from your screen. If it stays, then the connection didn’t work. Try to reset your remote and try again.

Other (Older) Models

Dish Network - Other Remote

Older Dish remote models

This applies to any other, older receivers you may have – in other words, the silver remotes. This is unlikely to apply to your situation unless you broke your old remote and received a brand new version. Since it’s probably been a few years since you paired the remote, it’s time for a refresher on how to do it.

Step 1: Press the System Info button. For older receivers, this button is located behind the door on the receiver front – the panel that pops open. This should also bring up the System Info screen on your TV screen.

Step 2: On your remote, you should see four buttons at the very top. Press the SAT button on the very left.

Step 3: Now look down for the red Record button, which should be in the lower center of your remote. Press it next (don’t worry, it won’t start recording anything).

Step 4: On the System Info screen, the middle button should say “Done.” Select this, and you should be finished!

The post How To Program a Dish Network Remote: Using Your Remote with a New Device appeared first on Gadget Review.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet Review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet Review Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

This post was made possible through a sponsorship with CJ Affiliate’s VIP Content Service and Samsung, which we thank for the opportunity. Despite being a sponsored review, all content and opinions expressed here are our own.

The tablet craze seems to have dwindled down, but that’s not stopping mobile device manufacturers, particularly prime players like Samsung and Apple, from releasing new and improved ones. Such happens to be the case with Samsung’s kick off to 2017; not a Galaxy smartphone but an updated flagship tablet. Let’s find out if this is the new Android tablet king in our Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet Review!


Price: $599 (32GB WiFi model)
Available: Now
Model: Galaxy Tab S3

Summary: The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is the latest in the company’s flagship tablet line. The improvements it brings are incremental, especially on the exterior, but they are just the right refinements that may make this the Android tablet to beat. Namely, features like quad speakers tuned by AKG, HDR support, and an included S Pen stylus.

What We Liked

  • Quad external speakers
  • Bright and vibrant display
  • S Pen included in the box
  • Refined hardware and software

What We Didn’t

  • Tablet size may be unweidly for some, and glass back is slippery
  • 32 GB base storage
  • Hit or miss camera quality

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Specs

Display 9.7″, Super AMOLED,
1536 x 2048 resolution
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon
820 (quad-core), Adreno 530 GPU
Memory 4GB of RAM
Storage 32GB internal,
256GB microSD expansion
Cameras 13 MP (f/1.9) rear and
5 MP (f/2.2) front
Battery 6,000 mAh, non-removable
Software Android 7.0 (Nougat)
with Samsung UI
Colors Black, Silver
Price $599 (32GB, WiFi model)
Buy Now


Samsung’s tablets could historically be summed up as blown up variants of the company’s Galaxy smartphones, albeit a generation behind the very latest design. The same can be said for the new Galaxy Tab S3 flagship Android tablet.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

The navigation button layout copies Samsung’s smartphone line: a Home button flanked by Recent Apps and Back capacitive buttons. The fingerprint scanner on the Home Button is as quick and reliable as we’d expect from Samsung.

Therefore, we’re very much talking about a refinement rather than an overhaul of its predecessor, the Tab S2, launched in the Fall of 2015. The square-like footprint and even the entire front layout appears unchanged. So users who consider bezel reduction a selling point will be disappointed. Also, interestingly, the thickness increased ever-so by 0.4″, but which should be of little consequence for a still super-thin 6mm profile. And while an extra 40g brings the total up to 429 grams, the tablet is still a nice weight considering the substantial housing for the 9.7″ display.

Speaking of which, Samsung decided to forgo the option of a smaller 8″ variant. It seems like tablet users prefer to go big. Just be mindful that the Tab S3 is handful (or two) for those of us with average-to-smaller hands. The thinness helps make the device not feel as unwieldy as it should, but handling will still take effort. Some of that fact has to do with the choice of material of the back panel.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

Glass is premium, but there’s more chance of scratches/cracks on this sizable tablet.

Whereas the Tab S2 had a smooth, plastic backing, the Tab S3 predictably adopted the same design language of Samsung’s current flagships smartphones. That is, a metal frame sandwiched between full glass panels. It’s more premium and sure feels great, but our consensus remains that glass’ slippery and fragile nature makes it not the most practical choice.

The matte finished metal edging extends to the power and volume rocker pair on the right side of the device, interrupted at the top and bottom by white, antenna-allowing plastic inserts. When comparing the top and bottom, you’ll also find an external speaker at each corner. Yes, Samsung gave the Tab S3 quite the audio boost. The combined acoustic output makes for a more immersive experience than we’re used to, but we’d still pick front-facing speakers as the winning solution.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

The Tab S3 boasts a total of four external speakers (set of two equivalently placed on the top and bottom). They’re excellent when consuming media, but the corner placement means that your grip can cover them when holding the tablet in landscape.


Like with the build, the Tab S3’s internals also received incremental upgrades. No, the Snapdragon 820 chipset that debuted in smartphones at the beginning of 2016 isn’t the latest and greatest, but it’s a sufficient powerhouse nonetheless. Navigation through the Tab S3’s interface is consistently smooth and responsive, though stutters do rear around some corners. We’re not sure if that’s due to optimization on the end of the chipset or software interface. The similarly spec’d Galaxy S7 seemed a bit more steady to us.

Storage space has unfortunately remained the same, at 32 GB internally. Samsung may figure that a microSD slot well makes for that, but there’s less excuse when the flagship smartphones now come with 64 GB standard. However, we are thrown a bone on the battery end, at now an even 6,000 mAh capacity.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

We felt that equated to ample juice for a 2017 flagship tablet. At 50% brightness and moderate use (internet browsing, email, social media apps, etc.), we’d see about 8-10% drain short of an hour. But cranking up the brightness and playing videos/games can take a drastic toll; cutting your time in half. That said, on and off usage consistently got us through two days. Superbly minimal idle drainage certainly helped with that.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

The main 13 MP rear camera is capable, but don’t expect it to hold a candle to the quality of Samsung’s flagship smartphones. Thanks to a larger f/1.9 lens aperture, captures are well-lit and hold their ground in darker environments. Sharpness could use some work, as well as the hit or miss auto-focus. Check out some of our shots below.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet


The star of the show is undoubtedly that massive 9.7″ display, and this is where you’ll be glad that this is a Samsung-made tablet. The company’s S-AMOLED panels are arguably the best in the mobile device industry. However, we’d be pressed to say it’s better than what we got in 2015, aside from the addition of HDR support with content that uses it.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

The Tab S3’s display is a reflection of Samsung’s brilliant S-AMOLED panels on the Galaxy flagship smartphones.

The resolution stays at the same 1536 x 2048 (264 ppi) pixel density and our eyes see a similarly vibrant and color-rich viewing experience. There’s little to complain about. Blacks are as deep as they can go and details are brilliantly vivid. The screen can also get stupendously bright. But we can see a case where color accuracy could be in question, as colors on some videos look over-saturated to our eyes.


Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

The S Pen functions as flawlessly as we remember on the Note 7. The Air Command menu pops up with a touch on the floating pen icon, and the Samsung Notes app can robustly tailor your note/drawing desires.

Samsung largely focuses on usability in its tablets, which means that there’s a couple invaluable accessories that boost the experience. And one of these is generously included in the box – a stylus. This S Pen has more girth than the slim pop-out stylus you’d find in the Note smartphone line, making it more comfortable to hold and a joy to write/draw with (boasting a 0.7mm fine tip and over 4,000 levels of pressure sensitivity). The drawback is that you cannot attach it to the tablet, not even magnetically like on the Microsoft Surface Pro.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

Another nifty and well-made accessory is the Tab S3 Book Cover Keyboard – a flexible book-style case that clings to the tablet via magnets. We loved how seamlessly and effortlessly the cover interfaces with the tablet, and its smooth, quality feel all-around. A crease on the cover allows the tablet to tilt and magnetically merge with pin connectors above the keyboard, turning the Tab S3 into a productivity machine. Our biggest complaint is that there’s no way to adjust the tilt angle. The keyboard functions well aside from a few keys that have to get squished in to fit the tablet’s footprint.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

The keyboard has no battery of its own, so you won’t be able to depend on it to keep you running longer. An option like that would’ve been great. This also means that the keys don’t have a back light.


Android 7.0 (Nougat) is the talk of the town when it comes to Android, and the Tab S3 certainly packs it. On a Samsung device, that more means the company’s refined UI elements, like matured icons, fonts, and layouts. The drop-down notification shade, for instance, has a flatter and more classy aesthetic, of which also carries over the new Quick Settings customizations and notification interactions (i.e. replying to a message directly from the notification).

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

The user interface is still as heavy as ever, but as of late that’s been less of a concern. Samsung has trimmed the fat and refined the valued features, such as dual app windows and the Briefing news aggregator on the left-most panel. Digging in the Settings menu will reveal useful functions. We really appreciate how easy it is to flush the system of resource hogging processes – the software automatically looks for battery-hogging apps and let’s you put them to sleep. Other notable mentions are a Secure Folder option that grants only you access to files you place there, a Blue Light Filter that helps reduce eye strain, and an audio resolution upscaler.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet

Final Thoughts

The Samsung Tab S3 is no doubt one of the best and most refined tablets out there. We think that Samsung could have evolved the design further than just essentially throwing a glass panel on the back, but there are plenty of other improvements that makes the update worthwhile: quad speakers, HDR-capable display, USB Type-C port, and a superb stylus in the box. Not to mention a boost on the battery, camera, and horsepower. Unfortunately, that means that the Tab S3 has a top-tier price tag to match, at $599 to start. And if you fancy that snazzy keyboard cover case, that’ll set you back another $129.

The post Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Tablet Review appeared first on Gadget Review.

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Oster Versa Blender Review: Priced Right For Power and Size

Oster Versa Blender Review: Priced Right For Power and Size Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

The Oster Versa is yet another in the sub-$200 blender market that attempts to use ingenuity and a few shortcuts to produce the same level of consistency and product that the $500+ Vitamix blender puts out on a daily basis. But does that effort pay off without making you pay an arm and a leg for the privilege of a cold breakfast shake every morning?

Read on in my Oster Versa 1400 series blender review to find out!


Price: $174.98 on Amazon
Available: Now

Summary: The Oster Versa is a budet-priced powerhouse which may look a little awkward on some counters, but should fit right in with the techy crowd no problem.

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Priced right for its power and size.

What We Liked

  • Unique design
  • Simple operation
  • Decent power for the price

What We Didn’t

  • No locking mechanism for base/pitcher
  • Ice results were mediocre
Oster Versa Blender

Simple controls are the best to have when you’ve got messy hands

Oster Versa 1400 Series Blender Specs

Oster Versa 1400 Series Blender
Power 1400-Watt
Included Jar Size 1 x 64oz pitcher
Loudness Rating 83.4.3dB dry, 101.3dB smoothie, 109.8dB ice
Max Warranty Lifetime (upgradable for $)
Price $174.98
Buy Now


When I first pulled the Versa out of the box, I have to admit I was a little taken aback by just how…well…shamelessly Oster ripped off Tesla with all its design accents. Everything from the base of the unit to the lettering on the side of the pitcher just scream “Elon Musk-approved”, and while I certainly can’t blame them for trying to emulate one of the best technology companies on the scene today, just a bit more subtlety here would have been appreciated. Overall I don’t mind the look, and think everything is a bit more refined than what we’ve seen on competitors like the Ninja. Less clutter, more focus on getting the job done; everything you could want in a kitchen appliance.

Oster Versa Blender

One of these things is almost exactly like the other…

At 9.3 x 10 x 17.5 inches around and just under 12lbs standing weight, the Oster Versa was just small enough to fit underneath our cabinets, and slid easily enough from where it was being stored to a place where we could actually use it on the counter. 

Between the similarly priced NutriNinja Duo and the Oster Versa, the Oster was definitely the more “sturdy” feeling of the two, with a rubberized grip on the 64oz pitcher and more of an industrial approach to how the controls are handled on the front of the unit. A lot of what’s happening here is reminiscent of the the Vitamix approach – simplicity over all else.


The Oster Versa 1400 series blender system uses – if you hadn’t already guessed from the name – a 1400-Watt motor to buzz and blend through any ingredients you send its way. A single, hefty dial handles all the manual controls, and works just as you would expect it to with a quick clockwise turn dictating the level of blending power between 1-10.

Other than that, there are just four circular buttons at the base of the dial, one for each preset: Smoothie, Soups, Dip/Spread, and Pulse. To get the blender running we only had to plop the container on top of the gear driver, which fit well enough but didn’t have any sort of locking mechanism to keep the pitcher locked to the base.

Oster Versa Blender

Ice vs. Smoothie

Personally I don’t mind this as it makes it easier to get the blender on and off quickly, but anyone with kids should steer clear of this blender if they don’t like cleaning up 64oz of spilled boiling hot soup. Seriously, even the slightest push is enough to send the entire top-half of the blender tumbling onto the floor. Again, this is fine for people like me who basically spent the first year of their cooking career living in front of a blender (15 gallons of carrot soup per night – just as fun as it sounds), but as a general rule you don’t want to buy a blender that might tip over completely if a breeze blows the wrong way.

As always when we test a new blender, we first ran it through the ice test to see what kind of consistency it could put out on a dry run. The result was about 90% fine-ground snow, however there was still about 10% left that was filled with larger chunks about the size of a pea.

When we turned on the smoothie setting, we got mixed results (pun fully intended). On the one hand when we ran the smoothie with ingredients only (kale, frozen fruit, banana and almond milk), we got a buttery smooth consistency that was reminiscent (though not quite as smooth) as what we got with the Vitamix. However once we added some ice to the mix to cool things down, we got the result you see above. Somehow many of the ingredients separated, and we were left with a chunky film of bubbles on top, and nearly empty almond milk settled at the bottom.


Oster Versa Loudness

Of all the sub-$200 blenders we’ve tested thus far, the Oster Versa was definitely one of the quietest. Now that’s not to say it’s quiet, per se, just quieter.

We ran the Oster Versa through three separate tests to determine its loudness profile: once dry with the 64oz pitcher, one with ice, and once in the smoothie cup filled with various smoothie ingredients. Of those runs the smoothie tests was the quietest, thanks to the muffling effect of the ingredients weighing down on the blade assembly. At the peak RPM we read a dB rating of 74.6, a number which climbed to around 98.7dB during the dry run.

Unsurprisingly the ice test was the worst offender of the bunch, registering an ear-splitting 102.1dB from over 5ft away. If you make smoothies early in the morning before your family is up you might be able to get away with it without waking anyone, but it’ll probably be a good idea to hold off on that 6AM margarita until daylight hours at the very least.

Wrap Up

Overall the Oster Versa performed just as you expect a sub-$200 blender might, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Personally I was a fan of the brave design choices that the Versa goes with (no matter how much they resemble a Tesla logo), and although its smoothie performance could have a been a bit better, it was still well and above beyond what we’d expect out of a blender at this price.

If you’re stuck between the Nutri Ninja iQ and the Oster Versa, as long as you don’t need an additional food processor or smoothie cups added on top, this is definitely the model to get.

The post Oster Versa Blender Review: Priced Right For Power and Size appeared first on Gadget Review.

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How to Reupholster an Office Chair

How to Reupholster an Office Chair Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

Do you have an old office chair with worn out upholstery and a look that just doesn’t match anything else you own? Maybe it’s time to reupholster that office chair and give it a new life at your desk or in another part of the home! As long as you have the right fabric and a little bit of time, this DIY reupholster project can add years on your office chair – and actually make it look like it belongs! Our guide can help you out.

Note: This project is designed to work with office chairs that have upholstery. In other words, you can’t really do this to chairs that are made of lightweight fabric weaves, because that’s all there is. Likewise, some pleather or vinyl coverings may not be designed for reupholstering, since their surfaces and padding may be created as a single unit – trying to reupholster a leather office chair is a problem for the same reason.

The project works best when you use it on traditional offices that have separate foam padding that can be uncovered and recovered with new fabric. You’ll find out very quickly if your chair qualifies or not. If you have really taken this project to heart, we suggest heading to a garage sale or giveaway and choosing a chair that’s several years old, with either cotton or jute (cotton is smoother, jute is rougher) that can be easily removed. Synthetic cloth like microfiber and nylon can often be removed as well. Look for the telltale folds of fabric down under the corners of the seat that show the upholstery was tucked under and can be lifted away.

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials

Office Chairs - Refurbished Chair

Prepare for your project first for best results!

The cost to reupholster an office chair can vary, but if you already have the tools you should only need to pay for the fabric costs!

  1. The new fabric: Simple, cotton-based fabrics work best for these upholstering projects. If you choose outdoor fabrics they will come with extra protection, but they will also be more difficult to work with. It’s harder to say how much you need: A half yard or so is usually sufficient, but don’t be afraid to get more in case you make a mistake or need more fabric than you thought. “Fat” quarters work best when covering office chair seats, so go bigger if possible. Keep in mind where the chair is going to be: colors that resist sun damage, have flame retardant properties, or don’t stain easily may be important!
  2. A screwdriver set: If you have an electric drill or similar device that you can use as a screwdriver, this will work even better for a DIY reupholstering office chair project. But the screwdriver head must match the bolts or screws that you see on the underside of your office chair. You may need to switch out to wrenches, pliers or sockets if necessary – but we’ve found that a good screwdriver set and a wrench work most of the time.
  3. Pliers: Needle-nose is probably best here, you’ll be surprised how much you will use them.
  4. Scissors and a boxcutter: Both come in handy when cutting your fabric.
  5. A professional staple gun: You need some heavy-duty staples for this project, so don’t skimp out and try to use the office stapler to reupholster an office chair.
  6. Space: You need some space to work with here, so clear off the floor and get ready to work. A protective sheet is a good addition as well.
  7. A protective, light foam layer: If your chair is a little hard and you want to add some more padding, consider buying a padding layer along with new fabric. You don’t need much – we’re talking about lightweight foam, maybe a centimeter thick at the most, to provide some extra support and comfort.

Step 2: Take Your Chair Apart

First, does your chair have armrests? If it does, unlatch or unscrew them first and get them out of the way. If you’re wondering how to reupholster an office chair with arms, you can usually find a way, but you’ll have to take them off first.

Next, flip your chair upside down and look for the bolts or screws that secure the base to the “seat” of the chair. You will need to detach the base fully to work on upholstering the chair. It’s best to this by unscrewing all attachments at once and lifting the base fully off the seat cushion.

There are many different chair designs, and for some you will have to detach the back of the chair at the same time as the base.

After this step is done, you should have the back and seat of the chair, typically covered by a plastic base or framework of some kind. You will need to remove this next, so look for deep-set screws and get ready to work, because these screws are typically driven deep into wood framework within the chair (we told you electric tools may come in handy). Keep careful track of all screws and go very slowly when necessary so that you don’t strip any bolts or damage any of your framework materials.

Office Chair - Chair Base

Unscrew the chair base carefully!

Unscrew the shell-like base from the bottom of the seat and, if necessary, the back of the chair. If everything has gone correctly, then this should expose the (usually) wooden surface that’s used as a brace for the chair padding and fabric. There is typically a wood base for the seat and for the back, which should be separated at this point. The upholstery should be stapled with a vigorous circle of staples or fasteners at the edge of this base.

Note: Some office chairs have fabric “buttons” inset. You can usually remove these buttons and even cover them with spare fabric pieces so that everything matches. However, be careful – chairs that include fabric buttons aren’t always easy to reupholster, since their original layer of fabric may not come off easily.

Step 3: Remove the Staples and Strip Away the Old Upholstery

Office Chairs - Chair Staples

Get ready to remove a lot of staples.

You see those staples? It’s time to get rid of them. Bring out the needle-nose pliers and start pulling the staples out. Depending on how the chair was manufactured, these staples could range from many small staples to several large metal fasteners. Either way, pry them out carefully and try to avoid damaging the wood beneath. For smaller staples the pliers are an ideal tool, but you may find a heavy-duty staple remover better for larger fasteners.

Grab a bag or box to put the old staples in once you worm them out, and work your way from corner to corner of the seat.

At each corner you will see that the fabric is folded over itself to form a tight fit. Unfold the fabric carefully as you go and spread it out. When you are finished, you should be able to pull the old upholstery off the seat. You should see that a simple foam layer or protective covering is all that’s left. When you are finished, do the same to the back of the chair if necessary.

Alternative Step: Skip Right to Installing New Upholstery

If your new fabric is thin enough and the construction of the seat and back simple enough, you may not have to remove the old upholstery – you can just install your new upholstery right on top of it. This may even work with vinyl chairs where you cannot remove the old upholstery, allowing you to completely change the look and feel of the chair.

There are a lot of caveats to this choice: the old fabric may not have the right texture, and you may not be able to get the new upholstery firm enough to avoid scratching and wrinkles. But if it’s viable, this step can save a lot of time and you will end up with a chair that has a little more protection. It works best with chairs that do not have a lot of contours and “ergonomic” shapes, which cannot easily be covered by fabric. The goal here is to create a DIY office chair cover with no sewing required, but sowing is an option if you’re desperate.

Step 4: Place and Cut The New Upholstery Fabric

Office Chairs - Chair Fabric

Cut your fabric carefully!

Take your fabric and position it underneath the seat, with the wood backing facing upward. If you have a foam layer to install, do this with the foam layer first! Fold the fabric around the seat for some measurements – it doesn’t have to be exact, but you should have enough fabric for four inches along the edges of the wood base. Once you have enough, cut your fabric.

Step 5: Attach the New Upholstery

Office Chair - Upholstery Planning

Measure and attach carefully.

This is easily the most difficult step. Because of the awkward shape of most seats and office chair backs, the fabric will not fold neatly around the base. The most important tool that you have for this process is patience.

Fold the fabric layer up and around the back of the seat. Slowly attach it, alternating sides to keep the fabric as smooth and flat as possible. Leave the corners for last. If you have a glue gun or similar adhesive option, you may want to attach the fabric with a little glue first before stapling it down.

When you reach the corners, try to imitate the folds that you undid in the old upholstery. Use “triangle” folds that wrap the fabric tightly around the corner, a little like wrapping a Christmas present. It’s a good idea to leave a little bit of give – if you pull the fabric too tight, it can create wrinkles and other problems up front. If you used glue, now is the time to leave the project for a while and wait for it dry.

Office Chairs - Reupholstered Pieces

Attach fabric patiently!

Once you have worked the fabric into a smooth fit, use your staple gun and fasten the fabric down with a line of staples at least every inch or so. There are other options, such as fabric tacks, but heavy-duty staples tend to work best here. If there’s a lot of leftover folds of fabric dangling from the base, then cut it out with your scissors so the fit is smooth.

Step 6: Reattach the Backing to Your Chair

Now it’s time to return the back to your chair with those screws that you carefully preserved. For some office chairs, you may have the option to cover these backs (usually the non-plastic kind) in upholstery as well so that everything matches, but it isn’t always necessary. Again, it’s fine to tweak you plans to fit the unique design of your office chair, since they’re all a little different.

If you have to place screws directly through your new fabric covering, don’t worry about it – just poke a hole and keep going. Remember that the fit may be a little different with new upholstery, so go slowly and make adjustments as needed.

Step 7: Continue the Process as Needed with the Other Chair Components

Specifically, if your armrests also have fabric on them, you may want to replace this upholstery as well. Fortunately, it should be just like a smaller version of the project you just did. So start unscrewing the armrests from their base and carefully peel back their fabric: They may not fully detach the way that the seat did!

Detachable neck or headrests are more complicated, since they may come with fitted fabric sleeves that are harder to replicate. You can decide if you want to tackle this project to make sure everything matches or not.

This is also the place to consider if you want to change anything else, such as casters or the color of base, which you can update with a thorough (and careful) spray paint project. Take your time, and make sure everything is just the way you want it before you move on. Perfectionists tend to spend a lot of time on this step.

Step 8: Put the Office Chair Back Together Again

Office Chair - Assembly

Put it back together again!

If the seat and back of the office chair are still in separate pieces, attach them again before moving on. Then attach the wheeled base of the chair (this doesn’t work as well if you switch up the order). Reverse the steps you used in the deconstruction and replace all bolts and screws as necessary. Test components to make sure they are safely connected, sturdy, and at the right angles.

As long as you go slowly and make sure you have all the necessary pieces together, this step should be pretty easy. When the chair is returned to its old form, set it down and test it out! Check for any loose pieces or weird angles that may need further readjustment. If there are any annoying fabric wrinkles, see if you can tuck them back into the depths of the chair. In the future, it’s a good idea to avoid wearing pants with metal buttons or other objects that can rip your new fabric while using your office chair.

The post How to Reupholster an Office Chair appeared first on Gadget Review.

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How To Connect an Xbox One Headset: Easy Setup for Wired and Wireless Headphones

How To Connect an Xbox One Headset: Easy Setup for Wired and Wireless Headphones Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

We know – you just got a new Xbox One wireless headset, and you can’t wait to try it out. Between you and all that sweet sound is just one thing – the setup process. But with the variety of different wired and wireless headsets on the market, setup isn’t as easy as just plug-and-play; sometimes it can get pretty complicated.

Fortunately, we have experience in setting up a number of different Xbox One headsets, from the simple to the confounding (and more than a few without much instruction at all), so allow us to break it down for you. Here’s how to connect your Xbox One headset, based on the kind of headset you’re unboxing!

Setting Up a Wired Headset

Xbox Headset - Xbox One Jack

The 3.5mm jack on your Xbox One controller accommodates most headsets.

Don’t worry, these headsets typically use your controller as a source of power and are very easy to plug in and start using.

Step 1: Turn off your Xbox One. This isn’t always required, but it’s usually a good idea, and it prevents any unexpected problems.

Step 2: Check what kind of cable connection that your headset has. There are two basic connection options: the first is the classic 3.5mm jack, and your controller should have a small port for between the handles, toward the left. The second option is the full headset adapter for the controller, which plugs into the entire bottom of your controller. Note that there is some overlap here! Some headsets come with their own separate Xbox adapters that plug into the full port, but then end in a 3.5mm jack for the headset or another headset of your choice. There’s not much difference, except that the larger adapter option is sturdier and gives you some chat/mute options right there on the controller for faster changes.

Xbox Headsets - Xbox One Adapter

Some headsets come with a full adapter for the controller.

Note: Some headsets have RCA cables or stereo chat options that require a connection to your console or TV. Those headsets are pretty rare these days (we actually haven’t tried any in years), but keep in mind that, in some cases you may need a free USB port or RCA connection to get the headset to work.

Step 3: Plug your headset into the controller according to its cable, and then try the headset on! Take this time to make any adjustments so that the fit is just right. Take particularly notice of how to control the volume and where the mute button is.

Step 4: Turn on your Xbox One and the controller. Listen for the startup and menu sounds immediately. Adjust your volume and experiment with the mute button to find out how these controls work – and to make sure that you are picking up on sound properly.

Step 5: Start up a game and see how the headphones sound! If the headphones do not work, no matter how much you mess with the volume, then we have an important suggestion for you to try: go to the left sidebar menu in the Xbox One home screen and head down to Settings. Once there, look for Devices & accessories. Head over to controllers, and check to see if the controller that you are using can be updated. Controllers need firmware updates too, and a common reason for headsets to stop working is a lack of updates that make it compatible with a new headset, especially if haven’t updated the controller before.

Step 6: Try a multiplayer game to make sure that the chat function works. You can also record your own voice in a message, send it to yourself, and then listen to it to make sure that the mic is picking up your own words, but if you have a couple friends online it’s usually easier to just link with them on a game and test it out.

Note: If you are wondering how to connect Xbox 360 headsets to Xbox One…it might be tricky. The Xbox One 3.5mm controller jack isn’t present on the 360, and this Xbox One headphone jack may limit what older headsets will fit. The good news is that it’s easier to connect a new headset to Xbox One now, no matter where it comes from.

How to Connect a Wireless Headset to Xbox One

Xbox headsets - Headset USB Receiver

Wireless receiver hubs allow headsets to communicate.

Wireless headsets are a little tricky, since Xbox One lacks true Bluetooth capabilities (no, you cannot connect a traditional Bluetooth headset to Xbox One) and developers find it difficult to create wireless headsets for the system. Adapters and workarounds have gotten better lately, and there’s hope that Scorpio will change this trend when the new console appears. For now, here’s what you need to know.

With a tether to the controller

Step 1: Most current Xbox One compatible wireless headsets need a tether primarily for audio communication – in other words, you will have one wireless connection for audio-in, and one tethered connection for audio-out. The other option is a full controller adapter for audio comes in and goes out entirely through the controller, but we don’t see as many of these. So prepare both your tether cable, which is typically a 3.5mm jack, and your wireless connection, which should be a USB attachment or stick. Turn your Xbox One and controller on.

Step 2: Connect your USB connection and pair it with your headset. There should be a pairing command button on the USB connection or the wireless headset that allows the two to successfully connect. Once again, we suggest that you know exactly where your volume and mute buttons. Start up some audio content and experiment with these buttons so you understand the sound range of your headset and can get it working. Note that if you have a full controller adapter, you can skip this step and go right to step 3.

Step 3: Now plug your tethering cable into your Xbox One controller, either in the 3.5mm jack or with a full adapter. Make sure that your mic is attached, unmuted, and ready to go. Test this mic by jumping into a game with friends, or sending a voice message to yourself. Both ways work, your goal here is to make sure that the Xbox One headset connection is picking up your audio through the controller successfully.

Note: Is your controller running low on batteries? Careful! Many tethered wireless headsets really don’t like to be connected to controllers that are also charging their batteries. If you want to charge, disconnect the headset and switch to a controller with a full battery. Otherwise, you could be inviting audio issues or even disconnections.

With a base station or adapter (no tether)

Step 1: Because of the complications involved here, it’s best to check first to see if the controller needs any updates. Head to Settings, Devices & accessories, and then controllers. Try the Update option to search for any available updates.

Step 2: Make sure that your headset is charged and ready to go.

Step 3: Check to see if your station or adapter needs to be updated. In some cases, you may need to attach the base station to your computer via USB and search for any updates. Your headset instructions should let you know if this is necessary.

Step 4: Connect the base station to your Xbox One. There should be a microUSB cable included for this. It doesn’t matter which USB port on your Xbox that you use, but one of the back ports is probably best.

Xbox Headset - Astro Headset Connection

Astro Connections

Step 5: Connect any additional cables. This isn’t always necessary, but some headsets include optical audio cables for additional sound quality improvements, and this is the best time to make these connections as well. Note: If you do connect an optical audio cable, then head over to Settings, go to Display & sound, and head over to audio output. Make sure that HDMI audio is off and Optical audio is set to bitstream out, so everything works properly.

Step 6: Turn your Xbox One on if necessary, and pair the wireless headset and the station/hub. There’s usually a “search” button on one or the other (sometimes it’s the power button) that allows them to connect. If everything is working properly, this should start up your headphones and you will begin hearing sound. Take a little time to experiment with the volume and muting controls to find out how everything works.

Note: Keep in mind that even fully wireless headsets may need tether cables for some things, like voice chat. This varies from headset to headset, so take a look at instructions for chatting before you throw anything away.

With an HDMI setup

We’ve seen a few HDMI wireless headsets appear, most notably the Tritton Katana headset, which use HDMI capabilities as part of their wireless capabilities. These are similar to the base station option, but involve a little more work to get things started.

The steps are largely the same, but when it comes to connect cables, you have a USB cable and an HDMI cable. Route your traditional Xbox One HDMI cable into the HDMI hub, and then use the new HDMI cable to route out and into your TV or receiver. Otherwise, you will get neither picture nor sound when you try using the headset.

Note on Xbox One Sound Settings

Xbox Headset - Xbox One Audio Settings

Xbox One audio settings can help you set up your headset.

We know, nothing’s worse than setting up a great new Xbox headset, only to find out you can’t hear any audio. So let’s take a little bit to talk about some important Xbox One settings in addition to checking for updates. If something goes wrong and you can’t figure out what to do based on the directions, head to these settings and see if you need to tweak them as you set up.

  • Audio output: We mentioned this section briefly, but if you head to Settings and then Display & sound, you can find the audio output section, which is divided into three parts. The first is HDMI audio, which can be either off or on. It’s usually fine left on as long as you are not using an optical audio cable, but if sound has suddenly shut down, try toggling this option. The second option is optical audio format, which you should try changing if your optical audio connection isn’t responding. The same is true of Bitstream format, which should usually be set on Dolby Digital – change it if your headset isn’t formatted for Dolby Digital sound.
  • Volume: Right by the Audio output section is Volume. There are several sections here, but you want to pay attention to the first three. Sound mixer allows you to control how much sound enters the headphones – if volume is absent or very low, your sound mixer may need some adjustment while you are setting up. Second is the chat mixer, which balances sound between chat noise and normal game noise levels. Some headsets actually have recommendations on where to set the chat mixer at, but you can experiment at will with it to see what works. Finally, there’s the Party chat output. Some headsets don’t care about this setting, but some do: make sure that it is set to “headset” while you are using a headset.
  • Kinect chat: If you have a Kinect, in the first sidebar menu where you go to Settings you should see an option to turn Kinect chat on or off. The Xbox One is pretty good about automatically turning this on or off, but if the Kinect keeps picking up sound instead of using your mix, you may have to adjust it manually.
  • Party Chat: Your mic may have become accidentally muted here. Your physical mute button on the headset should reverse the problem, but this on-screen option is an easy way to check for issues.
  • NAT Type: This is a more complicated, but in summary: your Internet connection needs to be “free” enough to connect with other people if you want to voice chat (with some variance from game to game and router to router). That’s what NAT type is about. You can find this by heading to Settings, Network, and then Set up wireless network. Your current net connection is shown here with a small section for NAT. If it is set to open or moderate, it should be fine. If it’s set to strict, this could be why you can’t chat. Take a look at how you can change NAT to be open. It helps if the rest of your party has an open or moderate NAT too – but be warned, this does involve some in-depth router work.
  • Privacy & online safety: This is worth a mention if you have a kid’s account set up for a child or sibling. There’s an option here to control how to “communicate with voice and text” which can be limited to current friends – and is automatically restricted if the account holder’s age is under 17. To fully open up chat options, this needs to be changed using the “parent” account.

The post How To Connect an Xbox One Headset: Easy Setup for Wired and Wireless Headphones appeared first on Gadget Review.

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Wireless Access Point vs Router: Don’t Buy the Wrong One

Wireless Access Point vs Router: Don’t Buy the Wrong One Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

If you’ve found this page, you might be one of the many people who each year find themselves asking, what’s the difference between a wireless access point vs. router? Not as much as you might think, so read on in our guide to find out everything you need to know!


Linksys WRT3200ACM

The Linksys WRT3200ACM is still one of the best examples of what a router can do in 2017.

To start off, you can learn everything you need to know about what a router is, how they work, and the best purposes they can serve in your own home networking setup from our article How Does a Wireless Router Work? As a brief recap, for the most part all you need to know is that a router is the device that’s responsible for taking the signal you receive from your internet service provider/their modem, and splitting it up into dozens of different signals that can all be utilized by those in or around your home, such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets.

Because you only receive a single IP address from your ISP, a router is necessary if you plan on connecting any more than one computer at a time using an ethernet cable. Although they’re rare these days, you can still find routers that don’t have any wireless components on them. That said, Wi-Fi capability is a staple accessory on pretty much every router released in the past ten years, which brings us to the next point: wireless access points, or WAP.

Wireless Access Points

Wireless Access Point

Linksys is always happy to provide a visual aid for those who learn better that way.

Technically, any router with Wi-Fi onboard can be called a wireless access point, but that’s not their only definition. For example, a router can be an access point, but an access point can’t be a router.

The best real world application of this idea is the new mesh networking systems that have begun popping up as of late. Utilizing external antennas, or “access points”, these routers use multiple hops and jumps in their own network to spread the wireless signal as far as it can possibly go. The main hub is the router, however every antenna plugged in after the fact is what you would refer to as an access point.

This is useful in larger homes where the modem jack may not be in a central location, and you want to get as much signal to every corner of your house possible. Again, the router itself can also count as one of those wireless access points, but the wireless access points wouldn’t work as a router on their own.

Routers vs. Wireless Access Points

So what’s the main rub of choosing a wireless access point over a router, or vice versa? Well for one, there are two different types of systems you should keep an eye out for when choosing the right setup for your home: mesh networks, and routers with range extenders.

Range extenders are an older technology, are generally more complicated to setup than a mesh networking system, and can end up being cost comparative features-wise to more modern mesh options like the AmpliFi.

Second, you may not actually need a wireless access point extender or mesh system if the router you’re already using has large enough antennas to cover your whole home without loss of service. That said, many ISP-leased modem/wireless access point combos don’t have any external antenna in order to look more sleek in central parts of the home, leading to weaker signal that can’t get into vital places like the basement or the backyard.

Wrap Up

There can be a lot of confusing terminology that pops up when it comes to home networking, which is why it’s important that you stay tuned to all the latest news, guides and reviews popping up every day here at Gadget Review!

The post Wireless Access Point vs Router: Don’t Buy the Wrong One appeared first on Gadget Review.

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Review: The BarMax MBE Questions App

Review: The BarMax MBE Questions App Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

Need to get ready for the MBE? There are a lot of test prep options and classes out there, but we’re seeing the rise of a new type of aid – test prep apps designed to help with information-intense questions like you may find on the bar exam. The BarMax MBE Questions app from creator TestMax is one of the best examples of this growing field that we’ve seen, taking the natural advantages of a study app (mobility, ease of use, the ability to plop down for 10 minutes sessions during the day) and combining them with in-depth information and support for a test that, according to BarMax, saw a 33-year low in scores in 2016. Let’s take a look at what the app’s all about.

Price: $299.99

Preparation: MBE (Multistate Bar Exam)

Platform: iOS

Test Prep Features: Here’s What You Get

MBE Questions - BarMax Logo

BarMax’s app is clean and responsive.

The MBE Questions app focuses specifically on test prep questions for the MBE (BarMax offers other training options, but this app specifically focuses on questions), including over 1,500 real MBE questions from previous bar exams. It is designed to get you into test-taking mode, and get you there fast: one of the first things we noticed about MBE Questions is just how little time it takes to get set up and straight into question mode.

There’s a technical advantage to this as well. The app proved speedy, responsive, and never faltered while we were using it. Every tool was designed with time-saving features in mind. There’s a cost to this – the app is low on visuals and is primarily just text on a white background – but MBE questions don’t lend themselves to visuals anyway, so this isn’t really an issue.

Jump in, and you find a variety of different timed tests that you can approach in different ways. Tackle all the multiple choice tests at once, pick a particular subject, or try one of four past OPE exams with real questions. All questions are permanently available once you purchase the app.

Question by Question

MBE App - BarMax Test Question

In-depth questions add great value.

MBE Questions includes between 200 and 300 questions on specific subjects, along with OPE (online practice exams) tests divided into 100 question sections. Start a timed test, launch into the first question, and several basic components emerge:

  • Study mode vs. Test mode: You can switch between the two if you don’t want to be scored for a particular session. Study mode is particularly valuable, because it offers explanations for most right answers and many wrong answers as well. Not just one-liners about why you guessed right/wrong, but in-depth paragraphs about the correct legal interpretation that could just be the most valuable part of the whole app. Use study mode often if you want to improve.
  • Timer: You can see the timer, both in numbers and bar progression.
  • Comments: The comments are particularly interesting. They allow you to field particular questions and comments to the community about the question you are currently on, divided into recent and active categories. While these comment sections vary in quality – some complaints and discussions are valid, others are basically white noise – they are an invaluable addition as a whole, and promise to grow more useful as the BarMax community grows. The BarMax team can also swoop down on these questions and provide more specific information, although this isn’t a guarantee.
  • Starring: You can star any particularly difficult or interesting question for later review.
  • Skip to question: This allows you to skip to a particular question on the list immediately.
  • Review: This shows you your overall performance on the quiz section. It allows you to see your overall score, and skip to any particular question you had.

Interface and Design

With so many options for unveiling additional information or answering further questions, the interface could have been a real problem on a more cluttered app. Fortunately, you should have no trouble navigating MBE Questions. The tools are laid out with clear, rounded buttons and icons that are easy to find and natural to use. If you have experience with any apps at all, you will have no trouble finding your way around here. Again, part of this is due to the text-on-white nature of the app, but it again proves to be a feature, not a bug, when test prep is foremost on your mind.

However, we did find that the app works best on a larger screen, such as an iPad, where it’s easier to see full questions and access tools without fumbling. You can use it on a smartphone screen in a pinch, but the experience isn’t nearly as fluid.

Customization Options

MBE Questions - BarMax Phone App

BarMax offers plenty of analytics.

When you first log into the app, you are asked to create a quick profile, which identifies, among other things, both when you’re thinking about taking the exam and what state you are taking the exam in. You can change either of these at any time. For now, it doesn’t appear to do much – this is MBE prep, after all, not state-specific prep, but it is encouraging to note that could eventually be a feature within the app.

You also have the ability to turn message board notifications on or off, and to show or not show how others answered the quiz over time. But the true value of the customized experiences lies within the Analytics section. Here the app breaks down, by subject, how you are doing at the various quizzes, and what answers you seem to have trouble with. This is particular valuable if you run through every subject, because you can then check what area of law you need to brush up on the most before test time.

When it comes to the questions themselves, there are currently three categories to choose from. A general multiple choice section allows you to attack all the questions at once. A subject section divides the questions into different areas of law, such as Civil Procedure, Crimes, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts. Each icon includes its own built-in timer animation that shows you how much you have left for a particular section. Finally, there are the four current OPE tests to choose from.


Current support is excellent compared to the average testing app. BarMax, via TestMax’s resources, appears to have an active team available to answer questions both the community as a whole and to individual users. At any time you can head to the sidebar menu and click on Support, which immediately opens

We are curious to see how support continues over the life of the app. The BarMax team has proven adept at keeping users informed on a question by question basis, but as issues of law evolve over time, the app will need new tests and questions to keep up. There also seems to be a lot of room for expansion into deeper, more customized questions over the life of the app, which could add plenty of value over time.

Final Word

The BarMax MBE Questions app is a sign of the future. In many ways, it renders other types of test prep obsolete (with the exception of standbys like in-person tutoring and discussion). The speed and ease of use make it ideal for a busy law student who only has short period of time to whip out the app and go through a few questions before getting on to their next responsibility. The combination of analysis, online discussion and real IPE tests cement the question: why would you want to study any other way?

It’s too bad that the app is only available on iOS for now, but this also seems to be the reason for its strengths: The speed, respond, and super-tight interface management are all signs of an app expertly designed for a specific platform. It will hopefully come to other devices in time, but it’s also easy to see why its release is limited to iOS.

Additionally, for its price, it’s best to grab this app early and use it often to get the most value of the training features. The excellent review and explanation tools won’t be much good if you never use them, so it’s in every test-takers best interest to get familiar with the app as quickly as they can.

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How to Setup a Wireless Router

How to Setup a Wireless Router Gadget Review – Your lifestyle gadget site

With so many new routers hitting the scene last year packed to the brim with features like 802.11ad transmission and mesh range extenders, figuring out how to setup a wireless router isn’t always as straightforward as you might think. Buying the router is only half the battle, and knowing how to set up your new device is imperative to getting your home WiFi network up, running, and secured in 20 minutes or less!

Things You’ll Need

  1. A wireless router
  2. Ethernet Cable
  3. An internet modem
  4. An internet subscription

Setting Up a Wireless Router

1. Getting Things Hooked Up

The first step in any router setup is to pull everything you need out of the box, and take stock of what you have to work with. If you’re buying your router brand new it should come with its own 3ft (or more, in some cases) Ethernet cable that you can use to hook up to your modem.

how to setup a wireless router-box

Check to make sure you have all the parts you need when you first pull the router out of the box.

Once you have everything unpackaged, plug in the router to a wall, preferably in a space that’s close enough to your modem so the cord you have can reach. If you’re worried about range from the modem or don’t have mesh extenders, you can buy 25ft Ethernet cables off Amazon for only $7.99.

2. Choose Your Setup Platform

After the router runs through its bootup process, you should see a new WiFi network in your vicinity that’s named after the manufacturer themselves. For example, a router made by Netgear might have “NETGEAR-39” as the network that you can connect to from the device of your choosing.

Which brings us to the next step: picking your setup platform. While the traditional route of using your desktop or laptop to setup the router is still a solid way to go, many of the bigger manufacturers like Linksys and Netgear have begun turning to mobile platforms as an easier way to get you up and running in a matter of minutes, rather than the hours it used to take in the old days.

No matter which platform you choose though, the steps beyond this point all remain the same, so don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything if you choose to go desktop over mobile, or vice versa.

3. Connect to the Network

Once you’ve found the new wireless network on the device you plan to use, it’s time to connect. Although this isn’t true for older routers, pretty much any made in the past five years will start out as a WPA2-protected network. To find the default password for it, either consult your router’s manual, or flip it over and look on the bottom.

Many routers will include both the default SSID and the password somewhere on the router itself, as a backup just in case you lose your documentation at some point in the process. It should look something like the example below, found on the Linksys 3200ACM which we had the pleasure of reviewing earlier this year (and also topped our list as the #1 Top Wireless Router for 2017).

Once you’re connected, the process of getting your router through its actual configuration process will differ, depending on the manufacturer. We’re going to go through the general steps that all routers will ask you to complete, as well as go over a few of the features you should have enabled, but unfortunately there’s no way to write a master guide on the setup steps from here because they vary between different hardware makers and software approaches.

4. Enter New Credentials

how to setup a wireless router

Look for the barcode panel underneath your router for the default credentials

Although it may be tempting to simply leave your router at the configuration it came with out of the box and call it a day, we recommend changing both the default SSID and password to something unique to your home. Oftentimes, prospective hackers will look for networks that carry default SSIDs (NETGEAR-39, for example) as easier targets than those with more complicated names, as a default configuration shows that not much effort must have been paid to the rest of the setup, making it all that much easier for them to get in.

Another option is to stop publicly broadcasting the SSID altogether, a good move for the especially security conscious among us. Again, how you actually do this will change depending on the router dashboard you’re using and the platform you’re connecting through, but consult your user’s manual to find the location of these settings and learn how they can be toggled on or off accordingly.

5. Enable Extra Features

As we’ve already mentioned a few times (and this will be the last, we promise), the exact extra features you’re going to get from your router are going to be wildly different depending not only on the manufacturer, but also the cost tier of the router you’re trying to setup.

Read More: Top Wireless Router for 2017 – The In-Depth Buyer’s Guide

Some of the more common features we can comment on, however, include things like the option to turn your router into a home-based media server (check the back of your router for a USB port, this is the first indication). Others like parental controls and firewall configurations are a must for big homes with a lot of people who browse at the same time, and if your router comes with choices like phishing filters and DDoS protection, this is also the time to get it enabled so you don’t have to come back and worry about it later.

6. Connect to Your Modem

how to setup a wireless router-internet

Your router may read either “Internet” or “LAN”, depending on the model

Once the router has been properly configured, it’s time to get it online. Depending on your ISP (Internet Service Provider), you may have one of two separate kinds of modems: those with WiFi, and those without. Modems with no internal WiFi will connect directly to your router with no problems, and all it takes in this case is cycling the modem (unplug for 30 seconds, then back on), and then plugging the Ethernet cable from the “Internet” port on your modem to the “Internet” port on the back of your router.

If you have a modem with internal WiFi, you might need to either disable the internal WiFi first (again, consult your user’s manual for the exact directions on how to do this), or run it in what’s called “Bridge Mode”. Bridge Mode allows you to transfer the wireless responsibility over to the router, rather than sourcing it from the modem first. This is most common in fiber optic and DSL modems, however there are still a few select cases where cable broadband providers might have given you a modem which will only work on an external router when Bridge Mode is enabled.

7. Test for Proper Operation

Once the modem is plugged in and all the lights are flashing green (both on the modem and the router you’re hooked into), it’s time to test the connection. Using either a mobile device or a computer, you can start out by simply visiting as a nice starting point. If that loads without any problems, you can then move into more acute testing scenarios, like running it through to see what kind of speed improvements you’re getting off your brand new router!

Another good test to run before you pack up, is for range. To do this, simply grab a phone or tablet that’s connected to the router, and roam throughout your home while keeping an eye on the number of bars you’re getting at any given time. Run more speed tests from the outer reaches of your property, and if for any reason you’re not getting a good signal in vital areas of use (the living room, for example), you have a few different options available. The first (and most obvious), is simply to move the modem and the router to a more centralized location of your home – as long as there is a jack you can plug into nearby.

If that’s not an option, you might want to invest in newer “mesh networking” systems like the AmpliFi HD, which uses a series of external antennas that can plug into any standard electrical socket and boost your router’s signal by 50% or more in optimal use scenarios.


As much as we would have liked to have been able to delve deeper into the many extra features and options you’ll find on some of the top routers on shelves in 2017, there are simply too many different options and configurations out there to cover in a single post! That said, this guide should still give you the basics of everything you need to get your router out of the box and onto the internet, at a level that both protects your family from hackers and increases your wireless speeds in the places where you need them most.

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