Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Vtech DS6522 Cordless Handset Review

I was thrilled with this system, while it worked. It was inexpensive- I paid less $40.00 for it at Costco.  The call quality was good.  The Bluetooth connection to my cell phone was a nice bonus.  When someone called my cell phone, the home line would ring so I didn't have to be in the same room with my phone to answer.  In fact, you can use this system to replace your landline and exclusively use your cellphone and make and receive calls from three points in the house.  What's not to love?

Well, after 9 months, the system failed. But, not only did it fail, it failed in a weird way that could have cost me a fair amount of money.  One night we noticed the notice on the phone that the line was busy while there was no one was on the telephone.  When I picked up the receiver, I heard the signal you hear when a receiver is left off the hook for a while.  I tried going to all the handsets and resetting them.  No luck. I unplugged the base and plugged it back in.  Still no luck. The line was open no matter what I did.  I called my telephone service provider and they said the line was open.  They had me unplug the lines from the telephone modem and as soon as I plugged them back in- again the line was open. That's when they suggested it was probably a wiring problem and wanted me to call an electrician to check our house wiring.

That didn't seem right to me.  So, I tried one more troubleshooting step and disconnected the unit from the phone line.  When I did that, the line was available again.  Somehow this had failed such that it was holding the line open.  When I plugged it back in, it would say "no line" but it was still holding the line open.

This is probably just an anomaly. While the system worked, I really liked it and it was inexpensive. I'm only writing this negative review because of the WAY it broke, very unexpected.  By breaking in such a way to hold the line open, I could have spent money having an electrician out to troubleshoot my home phone wiring which is fine.  I also spent a couple of hours on the phone with my telephone service provider and my home security system service provider eliminating those as the source of the problem.

I would have gotten another one, but when I returned it to Costco they were no longer selling this system or any Vtech systems.  I ended up going with a more expensive AT&T option.

p.s.- big shout out to Costco again.  Even though the system was under warranty, I didn't really want the hassle of dealing with the manufacturer, having to go through their troubleshooting, mail the system back, wait days for a new phone, etc.  I called Costco and told them the phone system I bought there in March had broken. They said to box it up and bring it in.  No hassles.  They gave me the full price I paid for it which I applied toward the new system that cost about $30 more.
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Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Acase Case for iPad Air Is Skinny and Smart

I now own three iPad Air cases.  I was given two, including this one, in exchange for my honest review.  I previously owned the iPad 2- second generation iPad and appreciate the smaller, lighter and thinner iPad Air that I recently stepped up to. The last thing I want is a case that detracts from all of the engineering Apple has put into making the iPad Air feel so great in your hand.  This case does not disappoint.

The outside of the case is a nice faux leather that feels and looks high quality.  The front flap on the interior is a microfiber material that feels like a smooth suede.  Your iPad snaps into a polycarbonate shell that provides full protection for the back and around all four sides.  Unlike a previous case I purchased from another manufacturer, the stand functionality is completely intuitive and easy to use. Even though the iPad is protected on all four sides, you do not need to snap it out of any of the four sides to use the stand.  The back cover is hinged.  What becomes the base of the iPad (as pictured in the product image) sits into a groove on the front cover giving you five viewing angles.  Frankly, the grooves are kind of shallow due to the extreme thinness of the front of the case making them slightly more difficult to engage than the other case I had previously.  Still, I think I like this case a bit better because it is extremely thin and light.  I cannot imagine a case being significantly more thin and light without being completely worthless.  My iPad is protected from scratches and I get the on/off functionality from the magnet in the front cover.  This is not a case that provides a ton of drop protection and I have no problem with that.  I'm looking for something that protects my screen, keeps my iPad from getting scratched up, turns the iPad off and on and makes it feel good in my hand.  The Acase hits all of those points.  To get drop protection  you're going to need to do go to a heavy, thick case and I don't want to do that.

Pricing on this case is higher than the one I paid for myself. However, the fit and finish is probably a little better.  The other case I have includes a holder for the stylus which is nice.  Also the front cover on the other case, in addition to the magnets clips around the iPad itself when you close it for a more secure closure.  Compared to Apple's case though, this one is an incredible bargain.  Of the three I have (the other two area also reviewed here on Amazon), pricing aside, I would recommend this one over the other two by a slim margin.  Taking pricing into consideration any of them are far better bargains than the Apple branded case or the Smart Cover which provides zero protection for the back of your device and at a higher price than any of the other cases I own.
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