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Reviewing the RAVPower 26,800mAh Portable Powerbank Charger

Having used a few different powerbank models over the years – mostly cheap models which barely gave a reliable (nevermind fast!) charge, back in 2014 I decided to upgrade to the best rated powerbank I could find. After lots of research, I decided on the popular 16,750mAh model from RAVPower, which promised to charge an iPhone 6 just over 6 times.

To offer some comparison, those small powerbanks only have a capacity of ~2,000mAh. For perspective, the iPhone 7 has a 1,960mAh battery. So while they look handy, they’re only really suitable as an emergency backup rather than for more regular use.

It served me well and was a great size, however when going to festivals it only just lasted (since I was usually working there from 6-7 days and using my phone a lot). So after seeing the RAVPower 26,800mAh powerbank in Amazon’s Black Friday deals, I decided to upgrade – the great price compared with seriously good reviews made it an easy buy!

I ordered it on Saturday and received it on Tuesday with free delivery (I don’t have Amazon Prime at the moment).

Great packaging - an ideal gift

Great packaging – an ideal gift

Be sure to register online for an extended warranty

Be sure to register online for an extended warranty

Accessories included too!

It includes two USB to microUSB cables (one short, the other long) for charging the powerbank.

It's not as bulky as I expected

It’s not as bulky as I expected

Three USB ports and a microUSB (for charging)

Three USB ports and a microUSB (for charging)

Looking at the tech specs, it can provide up to 2.4A power to each USB port. A regular USB charger would provide 1A of power, so it’s more than twice as fast to charge from the powerbank than a mains to USB plug.

 

Overall, a great device. It has a solid, robust feel to it, without being so bulky you can’t take it with you. I could easily carry it in side pocket of cargo trousers/shorts or throw it in my backpack.

On a side note, buying through Amazon takes away any risk of the item becoming defective – even if you’re out of any official warranty period, in my experience they’ll offer a replacement or refund, even if you’ve had the product for a few years.

P.S. Stay tuned to my blog for an update on the device’s performance.

Adventures with WiFi-controlled RGB LED strips

I’ve had a few 5m rolls of 5050 RGB LED strip that I haven’t done anything with, so decided it was time to do something. So I ordered a WiFi LED strip controller (from AliExpress) which arrived after a few weeks.

Once connected to my home router, I can control the colour, brightness etc from my iPhone, as well as setting timers. There are also other modes such as flashing the LEDs to the beat of music (either by playing music within the app, or from my iPhone’s microphone).

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I ‘mounted’ a 250W PSU (with duct-tape) above my door-frame, wired it up to a mains connection, with the 12V output going into the WiFi controller and then the LED strip.

The makeshift mounting!

The makeshift mounting!

WiFi controller

WiFi controller

Though the LED strip is backed with 3M tape, I decided to initially use small pieces of duct-tape so I could see if I wanted to make it a permanent feature.

So I set about taping it around the coving on my bedroom ceiling to see how it’d look.

I’m quite impressed with the end result!

Amazon’s ‘On-The-Box’ Marketing for The Grand Tour

Over the past few months, I’ve felt bombarded with advertisements for The Grand Tour. Shown prominently on Amazon’s website, on other websites as display marketing, as well as on digital signage in London, I’ve been aware of the upcoming show on Amazon Video for some time now.

Anyway, after placing an Amazon order recently, I got this box.

amazon-gt-box-blurred-side_mini

I’m guessing the intent of this isn’t just to portray The Grand Tour brand, but also grab people’s attention. At first glance, the box looks roughed up/damaged, so it draws your attention – at which point you’re forced to see the GT branding.

It makes sense really – back in 2013, Amazon were shipping 608m orders per year. All of these are potential advertising opportunities. They’ve already added flyers inside the boxes for a few years now, so why not take that one step further and brand the outside of the box.

Will this be a whole new marketing channel? Amazon OnTheBox™, where you pay per thousand impressions (boxes)? Ha! Either way, I thought I’d share this with those who might’ve not seen this.

10 Tips for Saving Money

For those that know me, I’m often seen as a very frugal… (okay, tight!) person. I’m always looking for ways I can save money.

Anyway, here are 10 tips I’ve found useful.

  1. Pay subscriptions in USD where possible

    1. Most global businesses have their base pricing in USD, so other currencies will face less preferential pricing.
    2. Whilst this doesn’t save as much as it used to (due to an ever worsening exchange rate), it can be around 10% cheaper to pay in USD (even taking into account GBP>USD conversion fees).
    3. For example, Spotify charge US customers $9.99/mo (~£7), whilst Brits pay £9.99/mo.
  2. Use cashback sites

    1. Sites such as TopCashback and Quidco ‘track’ your purchase and give you a percentage of the sale back in cash a few months later. There’s really nothing to lose, so sign up if you’re not already using a cashback site.
  3. Audit your monthly expenses

    1. If you’ve got a few minutes to spare on a Sunday afternoon, take a look through your bank statement or PayPal account, looking for any odd transactions. You’ll thank yourself later.
    2. Also, decide if you really need that Spotify Premium, Amazon Prime, Netflix or Sky TV account.
  4. Buy own-branded products where possible

    1. There’s often a stigma around buying own-brand goods. However, the difference is generally insignificant – apart from the fact that brands have massive marketing budgets that they need to pay for somehow!
  5. Prepare your own packed-lunch

    1. You’ll be amazed at the amount you can save. If you’re in the office 240 days a year, buying a £3 sandwich everyday will set you back £720. If you prepare a packed lunch (~£1) instead, you’ll save £480/year.
  6. Buy used or refurbished products instead of new

    1. For high value items such as an iPhone, it’s worth buying new so you have the warranty.
  7. Add more to your basket to qualify for free delivery

    1. If the online store offers free returns, you could even return any unwanted items later.
  8. Buy essentials in bulk (if you’ve got the space!)

    1. For household essentials such as kitchen roll, toilet paper and dishwasher tablets, you’ll often find bulk packs are discounted.
  9. If you’re not in a rush, consider buying from China

    1. Using websites such as AliExpress, you can buy almost anything that you’ll find on Amazon, eBay or in retail stores, but often at half the price. You just have to wait a few weeks for delivery.
  10. Make use of any other discounts that might apply to you;

    1. Student Discount
    2. NHS Discount
    3. Emergency Services Discount
    4. Armed Forces Discount
    5. 60+ Discount (OAP)

 
ALWAYS haggle if you’re

This excludes Chinese sellers – you’ll usually end up with a lower quality product.

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