Leesa mattress in a box review

leesa mattress review mattress in a box how to pick mattress*Leesa provided a free product for me to review. However, all opinions stated here are my own.

Mattress technology has come a long way. Now you don’t need to go to a store; you can have a mattress delivered to your door in a small box. I thought the idea of a mattress in a box was a bit weird. Mainly because buying something you’ll sleep on for a long time without testing it seems risky. But the more I read about the Leesa mattress, the more I was intrigued.

Leesa Mattress Review

Leesa mattress was of the first things that popped up when searched Google for mattress info. I was fascinated by the technology involved, and wondered how a mattress that gets squished down to much for shipping could ever be comfortable. I reached out to Leesa to talk about the technology involved in their mattress. Leesa offered it to send me a mattress at no cost so I could try it out. They gave me the option of keeping the mattress afterwards. As such they consider this to be a sponsored post. However Leesa did not ask for, nor would I grant them if they did, approval over what I would say in this blog review or in my YouTube video review.

Order a bed onlineleesa mattress review mattress in a box how to pick mattress

The online ordering process was simple. On the website you select the size of mattress you want and everything is displayed clearly and simply. Once you input your delivery information you’re good to go.

My mattress arrived about 10 days later, and was dropped off on my driveway near my front door. I should point out the mattress box is quite heavy. That’s probably why the delivery person didn’t carry it up the three front steps to place it near the door. It was quite the struggle for me to get it there myself, but it was manageable. If you aren’t confident about your ability to carry a queen size mattress, you might want to prepare for some help on delivery day.

Mattress in a box – set up & assemblyleesa mattress review mattress in a box how to pick mattress

Setting up the bed couldn’t be simpler. You’ll drag the box into your bedroom, cut it open, and slide the rolled up mattress onto the base or box spring. (Leesa can be placed on virtually any bed frame or base.) Watch my YouTube video for a quick peek at the set up process (thanks to time lapse video!)

Mattress perfect for small spaces, narrow hallways

As a side note, this type of mattress concept is pure genius for people that live in small spaces. If you have a very narrow hallways, or unusually narrow staircases, or have otherwise had difficulty moving a mattress into your space previously, you’re in luck. I’m confident in saying you could probably get to this mattress into any space anywhere.

With the mattress now on the box spring, you cut off be several layers of plastic that keeps it rolled up. Then unroll the mattress and orient the three white stripes on the mattress to the foot of the bed. When everything is in place, carefully cut off that last layer of plastic, and stand back and watch. As soon as some air is let in, the mattress will pop up to a normal mattress thickness. Leesa recommends you leave it to sit for a little while so it can return to its normal shape. This also allows any potential chemical smell that some people might be sensitive to to dissipate. I did not notice any smell, and I felt like the mattress took shape quite quickly. Nonetheless I let it sit for a couple of hours.

How is Leesa mattress made?leesa mattress review mattress in a box how to pick mattress

The Leesa mattress has one configuration only and can’t be flipped over. That’s because it has been specially formed from three layers of foam.

Top: 2-inch Avena™ foam top layer perforated to keep you cool and provide cushiony bounce.
Middle: 2-inch memory foam middle layer for body contouring.
Bottom: 6-inch dense core support foam for durability and edge support.

Leesa mattress sleep & comfort

leesa mattress review mattress in a box how to pick mattressWith the bed was made up I laid down on it just to test out its initial comfort. I have to say I found it a lot firmer than I was expecting, knowing that its simply foam. It felt quite supportive and definitely comfortable right from the start.

It took about two nights for me to get used to sleeping on it. This is not unusual as any time I sleep in an unfamiliar bed while traveling, it usually takes a couple of nights before I’m accustomed to the sleep. After those two nights I thoroughly enjoyed sleeping on the Leesa mattress.

I found the mattress quite comfortable overall and definitely supportive enough for me. A friend asked if I found the foam hot and some foam mattresses can leave you sweaty since they don’t breathe so well but I definitely did not. Apparently the cooling properties of the Avena foam are working.

I asked my husband how he was enjoying the mattress and surprisingly he too was enjoying it. We have often have different preferences when it comes to mattresses so I was quite pleasantly surprised that we were both having a good experience with this one.

To sum it up, I  really like the sleep experience on the Leesa mattress and hubby and I’ve agreed to keep it.

Buying a mattress off the internet!? What if you don’t like it?

leesa mattress review mattress in a box how to pick mattressOne of the big questions when it comes to buying a mattress off the internet – that you’ve never tested out before – is what happens if you don’t like it? It’s a valid point and a serious concern, so Leesa has made it easy for customers. They ask you to try it out for a full 30 days before you judge. If after that time you still aren’t enjoying your sleep, you have 100 days to get your money back. Leesa will then arrange for the mattress to be donated to a local charity in your area.  So there’s no downside to trying out a Leesa mattress, as far as I can see.

Prices + US & Canadian availability – Leesa mattress

Prices for the Leesa mattresses start at $700CAD for a twin and go up to $1300 CAD for a king. In the United States all prices are available for under $1000. I also really like the fact that delivery is free whether you live in Canada or the US. Another plus for Canadian buyers? Duties, taxes, and anything else, is already factored in.

Yes, you can get cheaper beds. But you can also pay more for beds; anywhere up to $1500 dollars up to $3000. Department stores and specialty mattress shops have prices that run the gamut from cheap to luxury. But in many of those cases, you’re stuck with the bed afterwards. Or if you need to buy a special mattress cover in order to be able to return it.

Overall -Leesa Mattress review

I thought this experience was great. Many readers and viewers have seen my social media posts about this mattress test and have been extremely curious about how it works. After reporting back how well things have gone, I think I may have created a few new customers. I’m glad; the mattress is comfortable, and appears durable, though only time will be able to tell for that.

The overall experience was top-notch, and despite the fact you’re getting a product sight unseen, you got an insurance policy if you’re not happy in the end.

For more info on a Leesa mattress in Canada, click here. For US orders & info click here.

Thermomix kitchen robot can replace all your small appliances

If I said one device could replace nearly every kitchen appliance you own, you’d probably think I was starting a late-night infomercial. But an appliance I’ve discovered may actually be able to deliver on that promise. It’s called a Thermomix, and though it’s very popular in Australia and Europe, it’s virtually unknown in Canada and the US.

The Thermomix is a kitchen device that looks like an oversized food processor that’s been bred with a huge blender.  And while it can blend, puree and liquefy, it can also chop, grate, beat, whip, knead and shred.  But Thermomix also has some other properties that will blow your mind; it can steam vegetables and fish, cook rice, make risotto, sauté onions and garlic, weigh your ingredients, and even go as far as cooking not just a dish, but an entire meal. I received a newer model Thermomix TM5 for several weeks to test and review.

What is a Thermomix?

Thermomix is a kitchen robot that combines the functions of 12 kitchen appliances onto one unit. The device comes with a cookbook and computerized recipe chip which is installed into the side of the Thermomix, and that means the Thermomix can automatically execute a variety of recipes — with your help. Of course you can also make food from scratch and use it as an appliance without computerized direction too. Included with the device are a small steamer basket for use inside the mixing bowl, a spatula, a two-level steamer basket for use on top of the device and a whisk.

What can Thermomix do?

cooks
-mills grain
-grinds spices or coffee
-scale
-blender
-whisk
-warmer
-food processor/chopper
-mixer
-steamer
-dough kneader

Thermomix Cookbooks & Recipesthermomix tomato soup recipe erin

If you like the freedom of having pre-programed recipes, know that there are several cookbooks produced by Thermomix. The Basic Cookbook is the quintessential Thermomix bible and comes with the device.  You can purchase other books that come with recipe chips, such as a British Cookbook, gluten free recipes, vegetarian foods, a ‘taste of Asia’ book and even one for lunches and after school snacks. Prices range from about $15USD to $38 USD.

I tested several recipes from the Thermomix Basic cookbook.

One of my favourites was a Creamy Tomato Soup. The recipe sautées onions and garlic, then used canned tomatoes and fresh cream to create a fast and easy hot soup that’s absolutely delicious.

Mashed potatoes in the Thermomix are so easy; they’re steamed in milk in the basin, then whipped to perfection; and all with just one ‘pot’ that needs washing.thermomix broccoli salad erin robot kitchen

I also repeatedly made a broccoli salad that took just minutes; broccoli florets, apples, peppers and all the ingredients for a dressing get tossed in the Thermomix bowl and in 4 seconds (not even exaggerating) you have a perfectly chopped and dressed salad that tastes fantastic.

Cook an entire meal using Thermomix

thermomix 7 review recipes

A fun and easy feature of the Thermomix is its ability to cook a whole meal in the device. Thermomix will have you load the steamer basket with potatoes and some water, then the 2-tier steamer basket gets added on top; veggies in the bottom and fresh fish on top. The device lets you know precisely when to add each set of ingredients so that each gets cooked properly to perfection.

Powerful blending with Thermomix

The Thermomix has a very powerful motor and large sharp blades.  While devices like the Vitamix (read my review of that here) get all the press for making the best blended drinks and smoothies, the Thermomix is just as good at shredding and liquefying frozen fruit and seeds into drinkable meals. I have used the Vitamix and the Thermomix and as far as I’m concerned, when it comes to smoothing making and blending functions, I’d be hard pressed to pick a winner. They’re both fantastic.

Cleaning the Thermomix

All the parts and pieces of the Thermomix are dishwasher safe, but one of the easiest ways to clean the basin is to add soap and hot water, then to run the motor for 10 seconds. It cleans the inside instantly!

How Thermomix works

With the recipe chip installed in the device, you use the dial on the front to select the meal you’d like to make. With the recipe loaded, the device takes you through the steps necessary in order; from adding ingredients, to chopping or whipping sauces, then walking you through the rest of the process. A chime lets you know when you’ve completed each step, and the recipe.

You can also go fully manual with the device, so you can chop, sautée or blend on your own.  A word to the wise; the machine is very powerful; it’s easy to turn potatoes into glue, or whip cream into butter. Until you’re familiar with the device, start out slow and work your way up.

How can I get a Thermomix? Where do I buy Thermomix in Canada or US?

Sadly for some of you, you can’t just go online and order a Thermomix.
Thermomix is only available directly from Vorwerk’s subsidiaries or official distributors.  You must see the device privately demonstrated and order from the authorized rep to get one. Think the Amway, Avon or Tupperware sales model.  It’s not for everyone, but I will say having a personal demonstration allows you to ensure you’re going to make the most of this device.

Overall review of Thermomix

I really enjoyed my Thermomix experience.  I found it easy to learn and use, and the recipes I tried were delicious from the cookbook. Making guided recipes was simple and fun, and even using the machine manually was easy.  I found it quite handy, particularly for things like sautéing onions, whipping cream, grating cheese ad pureeing soups.

If I have my druthers, I’d definitely look at replacing some of my older small appliances with this one device, but it’s not an inexpensive prospect.  A Thermomix costs about $1700 CAD so it’s certainly an investment.  But considering a good food processor will cost you $100-200, a good blender like a Vitamix is upwards of $500, a hand mixer is about $75, a KitchenAid stand mixer is $200-300, not to mention of you want a hand blender or chopper kit ($150) you can see how it might make sense to just have one device.

If you’ve got the budget to invest in a machine like this, I have no doubt you’ll love it.

Get more info on Thermomix here in Canada, or here in USA.

Who to Call When Your Mac is Acting Up: MelroseMAC

There’s never a good time for your computer to start acting up on you. You depend on your computer for so many different things, and when it begins to let you down, you may not know where to turn. I’ve partnered with my friends at MelroseMAC on this sponsored post so you know where to turn when it comes to all your Mac tech support needs. MelroseMAC is an Apple Authorized store and one of the few Apple Premier Partner in the United States. This article is provided by MelroseMAC.

Data Recovery  – Don’t lose everything!

One of the first things that may send you into a panic when your computer gives you trouble is the worry about whether or not your precious data is lost forever. MelroseMAC has Apple-certified technicians who can help you with data recovery. If you want to learn more about how they have helped clients in the past, you can look for a MelroseMac review on the website and read about other customers’ experiences in data recovery.melrose mac2

Upgrades – Make your Mac even better

Your computer may be acting up because it’s out of date and no longer able to handle the work you need it to do. A tech professional can recommend the right upgrades for your system to ensure that you don’t spend more money than you need to, while getting the right components to bring your Mac up to speed.

Repair Loaners – No downtime

MelroseMAC knows that professionals in the country’s creative capital can’t do their jobs without their Macs. That’s why they offer a repair loaner service for you to take advantage of when your computer has to be in the shop for repairs. With a simple flat-rate fee, you won’t miss a minute of precious work time while your primary computer is being serviced.

Apple certified tech support who are specialized in working with professionals in digital media, video, audio, broadcast and post-production have encountered the specific problems these industries face when it comes to getting the most out of their Macs. Many of these professionals wouldn’t trust their Macs to anyone other than Apple Premier Partner MelroseMAC.

For more visit http://www.melrosemac.com/

This post is sponsored by MelroseMAC.

CTV Tech Talk smart tooth technology & CONTEST

This month on CTV Tech Talk we looked at smart tooth & dental technology.

We sampled a variety of toothbrushing gadgets from several companies.

Oral B Genius 8000

The Genius is a rechargeable electric toothbrush that uses vibration and an oscillating head to deep-clean your teeth. It also pairs with an app so that you can track and record your toothbrushing habits in real time and get feedback on how you’re doing.

Read the full review here or check out the video.

Philips Sonicare Platinum & Diamond

We checked out two brushes on the segment; the smart app-connected Platinum and the more basic electric toothbrush, the Diamond.

The Sonicare Platinum is a smart toothbrush that connects via Bluetooth with your smartphone to track your brushing patterns, coverage and time spent cleaning your teeth. It works without the app as a simple electric toothbrush and it’s fully rechargeable too.

The Sonicare Diamond is a gorgeous electric/rechargeable toothbrush, but unlike its Platinum cousin, it’s not smart and won’t connect to the app. It does have a timer function built in that will buzz you when it’s time to move from quadrant to quadrant of your mouth to ensure an even clean. It’s also got high tech induction charging.

The first thing I noticed is how appealing the overall package is. The brush actually won numerous product design awards back in 2012, so Philips has stuck with the sleek and modern design ever since.

The included travel case looks really cool and modern. The silver canvas casing hides a lime green interior which cradles the smooth white brush handle inside. The whole thing looks sleek and elegant.

Read the full review of the Platinum or Diamond here or watch the video below.

Foreo Issa ultrasonic toothbrush

The Issa is a silicone toothbrush that uses ultrasonic waves to clean and polish your teeth. The brush is made up of two parts; the base and the brush head, and the brush heads are interchangeable and replaceable.

I love the idea of this toothbrush; it incorporates both the vibrations of an electric toothbrush, with the softness of silicone, and the ability to keep it bacteria free, unlike most regular toothbrushes that are simply gross toothpaste residue and bacteria magnets.

Read the review or check out the video.

Blizzident 3D printed toothbrush

This toothbrush is made from a 3D digital scan of your teeth, and is built to precisely scrub each of your teeth individually with minimal effort.

To get one of these brushes, you’ll first need to get your mouth scanned so Blizzident can custom make your brush. In Calgary, I was able to have the needed scan done quickly and conveniently at Family Braces in the northwest. The scan is then sent along to Blizzident, who use the data to create the brush. (You can also have one of the old fashioned moulds made of your mouth and Blizzident can use that to form your brush).

3D scan done at Family Braces in Calgary (FamilyBraces.ca)

Similar in shape to a mouth guard, the Blizzident brush has tiny fibres or bristles that are tailored to your own teeth. They are lined up against the surface of your teeth and gumline on a 45 degree angle. There are also bristles that work between all your teeth.

To get more info about Blizzident, click here, and watch for a full review and demonstration video in the coming weeks here on the blog.

Tech Talk Contest Tech Talk Contest

Enter to win a Foreo toothbrush or a Philips Sonicare smart Platinum !

How to enter: Simply post a comment below (hopefully a nice one!) NOTE – You must be able to come to CTV Calgary studios to claim your prize.

You may enter only once per day – Contest closes at 11:59pm MT Tuesday April 25th, 2017. One entry per person, per day. Duplicate/additional entries on the same day will be discarded. Prizes that are unclaimed after 30 days are forfeited.

The Fine Print: tech-talk-2 I’ll pick one winner for each available prize at random from among all the website entries. Only 1 entry per person, per day please; duplicate entries will be discarded. Winners must be able to come to CTV Calgary studios to claim their prize within 30 days from today. I’ll pick one winner for each available prize at random from among all the website entries.

get in touch with the winner via a supplied email address, which is provided by the entrant on login or signup in order to post a comment on this blog. Winner must respond to my email within 24 hours. If I do not receive a response/acknowledgement of the win, your entry is forfeited/discarded and I’ll redraw under same 24 hour timeframe until I get a winner to acknowledge.
Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received. Not valid in Quebec. Contest is open only to residents of Calgary and area, as winners must be able to come to CTV Calgary studios to claim their prize.
Erinlyyc.com bears no responsibility for prizes not delivered, delayed or misdirected, or not claimed after 30 days. Prize has no cash value. Both the manufacturers and the public relations agencies have the right to substitute a similar prize in the event one or more items becomes unavailable, so the prizes may not be exactly as shown.
Winner’s name(s) Will be posted to this website and/or social media after the drawing.
If for any reason the internet portion of the contest is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures or any other causes beyond the control of this website which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this contest, erinlyyc reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process, and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the contest.

Prize may not be exactly as show in accompanying photographs. Prizes are supplied to erinlyyc.com by a third party, as such erinlyyc.com bears no responsibility for prizes delayed, misdirected, adjusted, substituted, or otherwise not supplied.
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Tooth Technology: Philips smart Platinum Connected & sexy DiamondClean

Philips sonicare thumbnailsDental technology is huge these days, believe it or not. For proof, look no further than my mini review series on toothbrush technology. In this post we’re looking at two brushes in the Philips Sonicare line; the Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected and the Sonicare DiamondClean. (Read part one of our series on the Oral B Genius 8000 here.)

What is Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected?

The Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected is a smart toothbrush that connects via Bluetooth with your smartphone to track your brushing patterns, coverage and time spent cleaning your teeth. It works without the app as a simple electric toothbrush and it’s fully rechargeable too.

How to get set up

Setting up the toothbrush is quite simple. You’ll download the app then open it. As soon as you turn on your brush the app will find the toothbrush and connect instantly.

While the handle is not as slick and minimalist as the DiamondClean version (which you’ll read about soon), it’s still nice looking. It has several buttons on the front; a power button, a speed button, and a button that changes the different modes of cleaning.

What’s in the box?

Inside the box you’ll find the brush handle, two different brush heads with travel caps, a charging base, a bracket that fits over the charging base to hold toothbrush heads, and a travel case. Unlike some other models, such as the Sonicare DiamondClean, this case does not double as a charger.

You’ll need to allow 24 hours to fully charge the battery in the handle for the first time, so once you get it unboxed plug it in and leave it alone for a while.

Get brushing coaching
The Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected brush is designed to pair with the app to give you timed and illustrated instructions on your brushing technique and coverage. While you can use it without the app, what’s the point? If you’re spending this kind of money on a fancy brush, you’ll want to commit to using it in its technologically connected mode. If you’re not the kind of person who wants to whip out their phone every time they brush, skip ahead and read about the DiamondClean.

Adjusting different brushing modes
The toothbrush needs to be switched between its available modes while the brush is off. Small lights will illuminate the mode you’ve chosen. There is a Clean mode which is basic toothbrushing, White mode adds additional ‘massage’ and an additional 40 seconds to polish your visible front teeth. There’s also a Deep Clean mode which is said to provide “invigorating deep massage to deliver an exceptional clean”.

A pressure sensor built into the brush will let you know if you’re brushing too hard. It uses both a change in vibration and a slight change in sound to let you know if you’re brushing too hard. This feature can be disabled if you wish, but again, why would you?

App features
philips sonicare app toothbrush smartUsing the app is easy, but there’s not really an realtime feedback to speak of.  While the app will guide you through which areas of your mouth to scrub, it’s not actually tracking you or watching to see what you’re doing (like the Oral B Genius 8000). Here, it’s more like you’re getting coaching, or following along to a workout video; but there’s no one in the room with you to make sure you’re not eating cheetos.

(For a brush that IS watching you, read my review of the Oral B Genius 8000)

Pressure sensing for aggressive brushers
The brush has several smart features such as pressure sensing. If you brush too hard the toothbrush will let you know using a change in vibration and slight change in sound. The app will also display a warning message on screen. I found the brush very touchy when it came to motion and pressure at first, but once I followed the coaching and stopped grinding the brush into my teeth things improved.

Beeping Brush Pacer
The brush pacer setting allows you to turn on an indicator which will emit a small sound during the brushing cycle so that you’ll know when to move on to a different section of your mouth.

The brush pacer requires you to divide your mouth into six sections; three on top and three on the bottom. You’ll hear a beep after you’ve spent enough time on each section.

To turn this feature on or off, leave your brush in the charging base then press and hold the mode button until you hear one beep to indicate the brush pacer has been deactivated, or two to indicate it is ready to go.

Easy start for beginners
Brushing with a much stronger electronic toothbrush can be a little difficult for some to handle, there is the easy start feature. Easy start gently increases the power over the first 14 brushings to help you get used to using the toothbrush. You turn this feature on or off by putting the handle in the charger, one beep indicates it is deactivated.

Replacing the brush headsphilips sonicare app toothbrush smart platinum diamond
Philips recommends you replace the brush heads every three months. The app can be set to tell you when it’s time to do that, and you’ll earn points when you check in the brush’s status.

It’s worth pointing out the cost. Two replacement brush heads sell for about $35-$40 Canadian. That is of course in addition to what you might have paid for the brush handle itself.

Overall review – Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected

The brush was was to set up and looks sleek and modern.  It’s easy to operate on its own and in connected mode.

I feel like it would be easy to cheat with this brush; after all, it’s really just using the app as a guide or a coach, and there’s no accountability for cheating (but as my second grade teacher used to tell us we’d only be cheating ourselves here, right??), however the brush will track the length of your sessions and frequency.

The Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected costs $189 CAD. Get more info on it here.

Philips Sonicare DiamondClean electric toothbrush

philips sonicare app toothbrush smart platinum diamondThe Philips Sonicare DiamondClean is a gorgeous electric/rechargeable toothbrush, but unlike its Platinum cousin, it’s not smart and won’t connect to the app. It does have a timer function built in that will buzz you when it’s time to move from quadrant to quadrant of your mouth to ensure an even clean. It’s also got high tech induction charging.

The first thing I noticed is how appealing the overall package is. The brush actually won numerous product design awards back in 2012, so Philips has stuck with the sleek and modern design ever since.

The included travel case looks really cool and modern. The silver canvas casing hides a lime green interior which cradles the smooth white brush handle inside. The whole thing looks sleek and elegant.philips sonicare app toothbrush smart platinum diamond

The kit also comes with an induction charging glass. It’s a drinking glass that also doubles as a charger for the brush when you set it inside the cup. I couldn’t wait to try this out as this was blowing my mind. I’ve seen induction chargers before, but they’re usually ugly, plastic, and functional. This charger looked neat and pretty.

The charging stand has two pieces. There’s a sleek and shiny metal base which houses the actual charging unit, and then the glass that accompanies it. The glass sits on top of the base for stability and security plus power, and is removable for use as a drinking glass or rinsing cup when you’re not using it for power. You can of course keep the glass separate or not use it at all, as the diamond kit also contains a clear plastic stand for the toothbrush that will replace the glass on the charging base (see photo above).

The brush comes with that silver canvas travel case I mentioned and it also works as a charger plus it holds two brushes.

Overall review –  Philips Sonicare DiamondClean

This brush is really pretty, but if you’re looking for smarts, it’s not for you.  The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean, as I’ve taken to calling it, is designed primarily as a better looking, less utilitarian electric toothbrush.  When paired with its sleek recharging case it’s a great options for travelers too, since you can actually use the case as a power bank if you’re so inclined. This brush is perfect, however, for the person who doesn’t want to fuss with using their phone each time they brush their teeth, but still wants some level of smart functionality.

The Sonicare DiamondClean comes in black or white and will set you back about $199-229 CAD.

philips sonicare app toothbrush smart platinum diamond

Tooth technology: Oral B Genius 8000 connected toothbrush review

oral b genius 8000 review erinI research a lot of technology trends.  One thing that’s been popping up again and again is the technology of teeth.  Specifically toothbrush technology.  In fact, high-tech toothbrushes are so common and advanced now, I’ve got a blog and YouTube series in the works about all the options. It kicks off today with the Oral B Genus 8000 smart toothbrush. You can also read about two brushes in the Philips series, the Platinum and the Diamond here.

The Genius is a rechargeable electric toothbrush that uses vibration and an oscillating head to deep-clean your teeth. It also pairs with an app so that you can track and record your toothbrushing habits in real time and get feedback on how you’re doing.

Oral B Genius 8000 – What’s in the box

oral b genius 8000 whats in boxI was sent a sample brush to try out and review over several weeks.  As I unboxed the Oral B 8000, I saw there are a heck of a lot of pieces in the box.

There’s a travel kit, and an at home charging station. Plus storage cases for the brushes. It may seem a bit overwhelming at first but once it makes sense you realize you’re getting a lot for your money.

The kit also comes with a special bracket to hold your cell phone to a mirror right in front of the area where you brush. More about why you need that later…

The toothbrush has a waterproof handle and is designed to get wet so there should be no safety concerns. It’s charged by placing it on a small base. The charging level is indicated on the handle display, and a full charge takes about 12 hours and should give you 12 days of regular brushing (which Oral-B says is about twice a day for two minutes).

Getting Oral B Genius 8000 set uporal b genius 8000 app whats in box

Getting the brush set up and connecting it to your smart phone is easy enough. You download the Oral-B app and it guides you through the entire set up and pairing process. I was connected in no time with just a few clicks.

Using your toothbrush with an app

It’s a bit weird to adapt to using your smartphone while you brush, but to get the most from this brush, you’ll need to connect the Oral B app.  With it you get a timer function and a mapping function.

Timer function
Using the timer function the brush and app will tell you if you’re brushing long enough.  While you’re using it, local weather, news stories, and photos of the day will come up on your cell phone screen to entertain you while you brush.When you’re done your dentist recommended two minute brushing time, the timer will signal you with a long stuttering sound and a flashing ring of light. If you have the professional timer set up, you’ll get a short stuttering sound and flashing of the smart ring light at 30 second intervals to tell you to move to the next quadrant of your mouth.

I also have to say I find it a struggle to brush for the required two minutes. Obviously I’ve been brushing my teeth for years for far less time than I should be, because when I make it the full allotted time, it feels like I’be been scrubbing my teeth forever!

oral b genius 8000 app whats in boxPosition Detection Function
Using the position detection feature is very eye-opening. You think you’re getting all the areas of your mouth but the app proves that you’re not, and then shows you where you need to focus more or less time.

To use it you need to mount your smartphone to the mirror in front of your brushing area, then position your face in a small circle so the app can ‘see’ your mouth and monitor your position. The app will then show you a graph that measures how well you’re brushing each quadrant of your mouth.

Gameifying your brushing experience
The Oral B Genius is gameified; which should be fun for some folks. Once you’re finished doing the position detection technique, you’ll get a score. The app will encourage you to beat your score again next time. gameifying ordinary experiences is a neat and smart way to get you to think more about them and make them more purposeful.

Travelling with Genius 8000

The included travel case will charge both your toothbrush and your smart phone if you need it. Rather surprisingly, to give the case a full charge can take up to 12 hours, so make sure you get it juiced up well in advance.

The inside lid of the travel case has a built in smartphone holder which allows you to prop up your phone so the app can still see you brush.

Using the Oral B Genius 8000

Pressure control ring
One feature I found particularly helpful is the pressure control light up Ring. The light around the top of the toothbrush will turn red if you start brushing too hard. If you’re also using the app at the same time, it will also give you an on-screen message telling you the same. As someone Who consistently brushes too hard, I found this very helpful.

That light up ring also has several other features. When it’s white, the default color, it just tells you that it’s working and act as a visual timer. You can also choose your individual colour for the slight inside the app. A blue light indicates the brush is in Bluetooth pairing mode.

Vibration
The Oral B Genius 8000 uses strong vibrations and an oscillating brush head to clean your teeth. As Oral B explains is, “this highly advanced brush features a dentist-inspired round head that surrounds and cups each tooth with dynamic oscillating, rotating and pulsating movements to remove up to 100% more plaque than a regular manual toothbrush.”

Overall review – Can Oral B Genius 8000 deliver?

oral b genius 8000 app whats in boxAt first I found the brush very … aggressive.  The vibrations are quite strong. I also started out with the small round brush head, the CrossAction, which was significantly smaller than I’ve used before. between the new head, the vibrations, the size of the handle and adapting to using the app, I wasn’t sure if I liked the brush overall.  But after a few days I adapted, and started to notice me teeth actually felt… cleaner.  You know how when it’s almost time to visit the dentist, your teeth start to feel… less clean overall?  I was near that part of the dental cycle, but after two weeks with the brush I felt like I had just been to the dentist. I was impressed.

I didn’t need to recharge the brush during that whole time either, so I ended up putting the charging base away to de-clutter my bathroom. when it does need juice, I’ll just whip it out and leave it to re-charge for a few hours.

After testing, I really liked this brush; I feel like it cleans well, lasts a long time on a charge and will give me a clean even my dentist would approve of.

The brush handle starter kits sell for about $269CAD and replacement brushes are about $36 for a 3-pack, so buying and maintaining use of one of these is not without its costs. is it worth it… I’m going to keep using the brush for longer to see. if you’re curious, hit me up with a comment after a couple months and I’ll let you know.

There’s more info on the brush here.

Check out more in my series on smart dental technology – read about two brushes in the Philips series, the Platinum and the Diamond here.

Henge Gravitas stand for iPad & iPhone – dual purpose docking

henge grvitas dock best apple I love docks for my phone.  They keep the device within easy reach, allow you to see the screen, and get it all charged up at the same time. The worst problem with a docking station is that you need two hands to remove it so you don’t end up dropping something on the floor. Recently I had a chance to test out a brand-new dock that’s a bit different. Henge Docks Gravitas dock is ultra heavy weight for single-hand operation, and it can not only hold and charge my iPhone but my iPad too.

One dock for iPhone and iPad – the Gravitas

The Henge Docks Gravitas is about the size of a fist, and it really packs a punch.  It weighs 2.5 lbs so it’s not going to tip over of slide off anything. That’s because it’s made of a sturdy zinc alloy that’s is 265% denser than aluminum. That allows it to be very small, but hold a lot of weight, and even use it one-handed.I was skeptical that this would work, but after testing I found it’s quite easy to use one-handed, thanks to its solid weighty base.

The sleek brushed metal finish also makes it chic and minimalist for my home.

henge grvitas dock best appleThe Gravitas dock is built for Apple devices only (sorry Android friends!) and can accommodate a variety of iPhone sizes with a set of included liners.  For me, I loved the fact I could swap my iPhone 6+ and my iPad (both still in their respective cases) in and out of the device without fuss. This dock is super versatile.

 

 

24 hours at the edge of the world with Samsung Galaxy S8

How do you know if a smartphone can be right for you? Many people get their first hands-on experience with a new phone while standing in a retail store or browsing online. It’s not a very elegant way to decide whether or not you’re going to make a commitment to something that will be in your hands and part of your most intimate moments likely for the next 2 to 3 years. Ideally, instead, you’d get to hold it and get a real feel for it, try out the camera, interact with the device and its apps, and use it as if it were your own before you decide. I had a rare chance to do exactly that with the Samsung Galaxy S8 before its public launch. But this was no ordinary review opportunity. Continue reading “24 hours at the edge of the world with Samsung Galaxy S8”

Fugoo Style Bluetooth speaker review: wireless audio never sounded so good

There’s hardly a home or office that doesn’t have at least one wireless Bluetooth speaker these days. (Or is that just me? Do non-tech bloggers have 4 portable wireless speakers?) Portable wireless audio has become the standard for listening to music in the home. There are larger more sophisticated versions like Sonos or Bose, but there are also many choices when it comes to smaller more portable speakers. Fugoo Style is one of those speakers. But how well does it perform and is it worth the price?

Features of Fugoo Style wireless speaker

Fugoo makes a variety of Bluetooth speakers in varying sizes, different levels of portability and several styles. The Style speaker is one of the chicest, but its good looks conceal a tough and durable interior. Fugoo says the speaker has a “fiber-reinforced resin shell and waterproof cloth covering that gives this speaker the protection it needs to last long past cocktail hour.”

The speaker is about the size of a small clutch purse or a portable coffee mug, and though it’s lightweight, it doesn’t feel cheap; it feels like it has some durability and heft behind it. it has a built in speakerphone and connects with Siri or Google Now.

It also has a changeable jacket, which is removed by pushing a release tab on the base. Without its skin, it looks very industrial, and still cool. Keeping the jacket on provides some measure of water or spill protection, so it’s probably best kept on.

Setting up Fugoo Style is easy

Setting up the Fugoo speaker couldn’t have been simpler; the first time you’ll turn it on, head to your device’s Bluetooth menu, and click on the speaker, which should have appeared in the Bluetooth devices list.  If not, you can touch the Bluetooth button next to the speaker’s power button and it should pop right up accompanied by a helpful and suave sounding male digital assistant’s voice.  I was connected and playing music in about 10 seconds. I love devices where set up is simple and flawless, so Fugoo gets high marks for this.

Fugoo Style Sound quality & volumeFugoo style poetable wireless bluetooth speaker

It can be hard to find good quality sound in a small Bluetooth speaker.  Fortunately the Fugoo Style sounded great from the get-go. The device, thought it looks like a single speaker, actually hides 4 speakers inside its housing; two in each face and two others in the ends.

Fugoo says, “the FUGOO Portable Bluetooth Speaker has six symmetrically-placed drivers. The two tweeters deliver clean highs, two mid/sub drivers give midrange punch, and two passive radiators help bring out a full, deep bass. Together, these six drivers deliver a clean sound pressure level, filling large rooms and outdoor areas with rich, immersive sound.”

I definitely found the speaker powerful and room filling, and I tested it with several styles and genres of music.

My test Playlist with the Fugoo Style

► The Roots (Don’t Say Nuthin’)
► Pharell (Beautiful)
► Dave Matthews Band (American Baby)
► City and Colour (Comin’ Home)
► Robbie Williams (I will talk and Hollywood will listen)
► Tragically Hip (Poets)
► Kiev (Be Gone Dull Cage)

The bass was solid, and the high end didn’t sound tinny or buzzy. I was able to crank it to 2/3 volume without any noticeable distortion. At about 3/4 volume I did notice a raspiness creeping in to the vocals, but overall the sound was pretty good. The sound quality overall has quite a bit of depth and the music sounded true.Fugoo style poetable wireless bluetooth speaker

The bass on Don’t say Nuthin and Poets was true and thumping, the vocals on Beautiful and Be Gone Dull Cage sounded soft and smooth, while the picking and the snare on American Baby were resonant and real. The acoustic guitar on Comin’ Home was hauntingly real. Subtle flute and clarinet, and the big symphonic drums on my Robbie Williams selection was delicately replicated, while Robbie’s voice cut through with vibrancy. I was quite impressed with the amazing sound quality I got out of this little speaker.

Fugoo adds, “the upward tilt of the speakers puts everyone in the sweet spot. So simply place your speaker in the center of a room and fill any space with sharp highs, bassy lows, and all-around premium audio.” I can’t disagree.

Does Fugoo Style have good battery life?

Many portable wireless Bluetooth speakers have a battery life in the 10-20 hour range. Fugoo Style boasts an astounding 40 hours of battery life. That’s well above many other similar speakers, so this gadget is a great choice if you’re heading to a campground or on a road trip for a weekend. I tested the speaker for about two weeks and never charged it once.

Bluetooth connectivity is outstanding on Fugoo Style

Fugoo style poetable wireless bluetooth speakerThe speaker uses Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless connectivity which Fugoo says will give you solid connectivity up to 33 feet. In my tests I carried my iPhone 6 Plus all over the 1000 square foot main floor and didn’t experience any breakup of the Bluetooth signal. Heading downstairs (where I have seen digital signal breakup on other speakers) the Fugoo Style didn’t miss a beat. Again, I was impressed.

Overall review of Fugoo Style portable wi-fi speaker

This is an absolutely fantastic Bluetooth speaker. I have to say I wasn’t expecting very much from something this small and with such an eye to style, so I was happily blown away by the outstanding audio quality and durability. The dead-easy set up also gets top marks from me.

The 40 hour battery life is also a huge plus for me. I’ve been using it in my bathroom when I’m getting ready for work in the morning. I used to just use the small crappy speaker on my iPhone, but the easy connectivity, great sound, and compact size means it can sit in the bathroom for weeks on end and provide me with high-quality audio before it ever needs to be recharged.

I think the waterproof cover is also a great thing to have since you just never know what can happen at a party or gathering; a little insurance is nice.

In short, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this speaker to anyone who’s looking for a portable Bluetooth audio solution.

 The Fugoo Style costs $139USD or about $185CAD. Get more info here.

 

 

BEDDI Glow smart alarm clock review; it wakes with light, can call you an Uber

Beddi glow smart alarm lightCan BEDDI Glow smart alarm clock help me wake up better?

There are few sounds that irk me as much as the screech of my alarm clock. It goes off each day at 2:50am so I can snooze it a few times before I finally crawl bleary-eyed and groggy from my warm covers at 3:30 to head to work. Believe it or not, snoozing like that actually helps me feel like I got ‘extra sleep’. (Does anyone else do that?)

I’ve always hated the sound of ringing alarms. I use the radio sometimes, but I find it disconcerting to hear people talking in my room before I’m fully conscious and know what the hell is going on. It’s all the more unsettling when I realize the radio is tuned to Coast to Coast AM and they’re talking about a phenomenon of people waking up with the demonic Hat Man shadow-person standing over their beds. Shudder.

Better, more gentle wake up?Beddi glow smart alarm light

There has to be a better, more gentle way to wake up, and I think I may have found it.
I was recently sent a BEDDI Glow smart alarm clock for testing and review. BEDDI Glow allows you to wake with a simulated sunrise light, your own music, or FM radio. It’s also got a host of other neat features that makes it pretty handy.

BEDDI Glow alarm Features

The BEDDI Glow smart alarm clock gives you options for your wake up. I’ve been using the simulated sunrise feature and the ‘relax’ sound effect. More on how it works and how I like it in a sec.

The clock is about the size of a ‘traditional’ alarm clock, and it’s got a time/display panel and a speaker on top of the face, and a light panel on the bottom. The brightness can be adjusted so it won’t disturb you. A series of buttons on the top can be configured to perform the tasks you choose; from turning the light panel on, to playing audio traffic or weather info, to playing various white noise effects. Each button cam perform multiple functions since it can support a single tap, double tap or a long hold. It works with iOS8 and above, and most phones with Android 4.3 or above.

A neat feature I like; if you unplug the clock, or the power goes out, the time will reset itself automatically once you reconnect.  No annoying flashing time, and no ‘tap tap tap tap tap’ to try to reset it.

Mood Light

I love coloured lighting. Particularly as the day winds down, it’s nice to have a soft warm glow to greet you as you head for bed. BEDDI Glow’s Mood Light feature lets you enjoy a soft rainbow glow that shifts colours across the spectrum.

Using the app and settings for the mood light, you can choose a fade effect, or a rainbow transition. To stick it on one colour, go into the mood light settings, select the ‘normal’ and it will give you a colour spectrum to choose from.  It’s not easy to get to, but it’s there making the mood light cool, fun and functional.

White Noise for sleepBeddi glow smart alarm light

I find white noise most helpful on airplanes or in waiting lounges where upset children are on the rampage. I’ve not really used white noise to get to sleep. Since it’s available on the BEDDI Glow, I thought I’d give it a try. There are 10 white noise settings from rainforest, waterfall, and ocean, to motor, fan and shower. For the most part they sound realistic and were enjoyable. I found myself gravitating to the ‘shower’ setting as it sounded most like rain falling outside a window. You can choose how long to leave the noise running and it will shut off automatically.

I though the ability to use the white noise settings for wake up sounds was something that was missing from the app. I’d much rather wake up to the soft sounds of a storm than a beep… but perhaps most folks would sleep right through them?

Get traffic & weather info as you wake up

Beddi glow smart alarm lightThis is a pretty cool feature. Using the app you set your location to get accurate weather data and current conditions will display in the app dashboard. It’s very simplistic showing only the temperature and a single weather icon. I think having the ability to click into the weather settings and get 3 or 5 day forecast info, or even a forecast for the rest of the day would be helpful. I’m surprised that’s not already built into the app.

The traffic feature takes your current location as its input for the weather info (or a different location you choose) and then lets you add a ‘destination’ address and the time you’d like to arrive for work. In the app it will display the drive time for that time and destination. You can also configure the alarm so that when the alarm goes off, it will tell you the weather and traffic info. Pressing one of the smart buttons can also deliver the same info, delivered by a friendly robotic voice.

Waking with Sunrise light & gentle sound effects

The sunrise setting is perhaps my favourite thing about the clock. The light can be set to come on gradually over time (from 5-30 minutes) or to come on a minute before the alarm.I set mine at 15 minutes and found it was enough to help me wake.

It would be fun to be able to wake up to the colours of the mood light, but I guess that’s not really the point…

I use the ‘relax’ sound effect to wake me combined with the sunrise light. The alarm goes off, softly at first, then it gradually increases until I hit snooze, then the cycle starts over. By the time the sound starts, the light is already on, so it helps me adjust to waking up. It also makes it harder to just go back to sleep since the room has brightened.

BEDDI Glow also has the ability to set multiple alarms on different days so you can have one wake up time for weekdays and another for weekends or early meetings. Smart!

Adjustable snooze bar

The snooze bar settings can be adjusted to give you anywhere from 1 to 10 more minutes of sleep, or it can adjust itself in decreasing time intervals all on its own.

Save outlets! USB Charging is built in

BEDDI Glow has 2 built-in USB ports in the back of the device, so you can charge phones and tablets without taking up valuable outlet space. It’s smart and convenient. There’s also an aux jack for those that might need it.

Configurable app dashboard

One of the things I liked about this device is that I can configure the dashboard for the alarm clock to include information, tasks, and shortcuts for things I need. In my app I have alarm settings, weather and traffic information as well as the white noise control. There are also a series of buttons along the bottom of the dashboard that allow you to instantly play audio from the phone to the Bluetooth speaker, to turn the white or mood lights on or off, or set a timer.

For the most part the app is very intuitive and easy to use, though a few of the settings are buried deep within menus and sub menus. It takes a bit of exploring around the app to get to know where those settings are.

Connect Spotify and UberBeddi Glow Uber smart sleep light clock alarm

Since the clock is connected to your smartphone, you can use it as a Bluetooth speaker to play music or podcasts, or have music set to be your wake-up. BEDDI Glow connects with Spotify (premium accounts only) and Apple Music too to give you your own personal music experience if that’s what you prefer.

I found the fact that the BEDDI Glow smart alarm clock can call you an Uber to be a bit weird. It’s not a service that I’d use (if I did need a ride after waking up I’d probably just use the app on my phone so I could track the driver) but I’d be interested to hear what others think about that.

Once you’ve logged into your Uber account with BEDDI, you can configure one of your smart buttons to call you an Uber with a single press of a button. I think that’s a bit dangerous, since in my sleepy haze I’d be liable to accidentally call myself a ride and not even realize it. The clock will then alert you when your ride arrives.  Talk about high tech and easy!

Overall review of BEDDI Glow – It’s AWESOME

After several weeks of testing I can confidently say that I love this alarm clock.

I love how many options there are for you to choose precisely how you wake up. The sunrise setting is one of my favorites and I find it helps ease me into my day. Since I’m a huge fan of colored lighting, the fact that it has mood light built in is also a huge plus.

I think the integration with local weather and traffic information is also genius; it’s the kind of information I like to have, but rarely have time to go looking for as I’m rushing around trying to get ready. Having it spoon-fed to me first thing a handy time saver.

I’ve also been enjoying the white noise option and find it quite relaxing.

In short, the BEDDI Glow Smart alarm clock works precisely as it should and the features are easy to configure and operate. I highly recommend this device if you’re in the market for a newer, smarter alarm clock and a better wake up experience overall.

BEDDI Glow sells for about $80USD /$107CAD. Get more info on it here.