Chinese gadgets have never been so cheap and accessible. But are they the bargains they seem to be? Let's find out!

150mm Stainless Steel Digital Caliper

Posted: December 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Tools | No Comments »

Useful tool if your job or hobby involves frequently measuring things. If you do not know what a caliper is, then this is not for you.

Does it work? Yes, it does. The caliper is quite heavy, being made from steel. Measurements can be made in inches or milimeters, and it is easy to make diferential measurements (measure object A, zero, measure B. The difference is on the display). Seems to be very precise (+/- 0,03mm, according to the manufacturer), picking up variations of tenths of a milimeter. Jaws extend from zero to 150 mm.

The device is powered by a LR44 battery, my unit came with one installed and a spare in the box. Speaking of boxes, the caliper comes in a nice plastic case lined with foam. A good value after all.

Any caveats? There is a 4-pin serial port that can be used to send data to a PC, but the manual says a “special converter” is needed and there is no pinout. Shouldn’t be difficult to find the specs on the web, though.

Take it: If you frequently need to measure small objects with good precision

Dump it: If you do not need to be that precise, you can find mechanical calipers for less

Where and How Much? At DealExtreme, US$ 13,80

Fling Joystick for iPad

Posted: December 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Accessories, Cell Phone | No Comments »

The iPad has tons of great games, but when it comes to providing feedback, the “virtual gamepads” used by many of them really suck. The Fling Joystick for iPad aims to solve that: it is a plastic spiral with a “stick” at the center and two suction cups that attach to the iPad screen. When you move the stick the spiral provides resistance, and thus feedback on your movement. It is a simple idea that works.

Does it work? Yes, it does. Using it is really easy, just attach the Fling over the “virtual joystick” on your favorite game and off you go.Works like a charm for games like Final Fight. The product came on a largish box with a small bag (for transport) and an instruction card.

Any caveats? May not work on all games. On “Shadow Guardian”, for example, the stick does not move far enough to allow your character to run. Also, it takes a little while to get used to the resistance to your movements. It is still too early to know if the spiral can withstand an intense gaming session, but it seems strong enough.

Take it: If you love gaming on the iPad, but hate the lack of feedback on virtual joysticks.

Dump it: if you play mainly casual games (Angry Birds, Cut the Rope) or touch/acelerometer controlled games (Infinity Blade/Real Racing 2) that do not need a joystick at all

Where and How Much? US$ 16,60 at DealExtreme

Pisen 1800mAh Battery with Charger Set for PSP

Posted: July 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Accessories, Game Consoles | No Comments »

I recently got a PSP-1000 as a gift, in perfect working condition and with a good original battery. But, considering that this model has been out of production for some time and the PS Vita will be released soon, I decided to stock up on some crucial accessories, out of fear that they will be hard to find in the future.

I was originally looking for only a spare battery, but this charger/battery combo got my attention with good price and reviews.

Does it work? Yeah, works very well. Both the charger and the battery are well made, and don’t try to mislead the consumer into thinking they were made by Sony (a manufacturer which stands by its products is always a good thing). The charger is “universal” (120/240 volts, 50/60 Hz) and plugs directly into a wall outlet. The battery came charged about half-way.

After a couple hours charging I plugged the battery into my PSP and it reported 100% charge, 5 hours and 32 minutes of usage remaing. After 1 hour and 15 minutes of gameplay it reported 89% charge, 4 hours and 40 minutes left. Keep in mind that those are estimates, but the autonomy seems to be the same as the original battery.

The charger can also be used to charge the original Sony battery

Any caveats? The package arrived a little “mangled”. Part of it was bent to fit inside the padded envelope (see picture). Luckly, the product was not affected in any way. As you can see in the pictures, the package is different than the one depicted on DealExtreme, but the product is the same.

Take it: if you have a PSP-1000 and need a spare battery. On second thought, take it even if you do not need the battery right now. They will be harder to find later.

Dump it: if you have any other model of PSP than the 1000 series. It will not fit into a 2000/3000 model

Where and how much? US$ 15.68 at DealExtreme, a very nice deal! Free shipping worldwide.

Cute Android Robot Cell Phone Strap Set (4-Pack)

Posted: September 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Accessories, Cell Phone | No Comments »

As the name says, these are cute Android miniatures which can be strapped to your cellphone or bag to show your love for Google’s smartphone OS. Each pack includes 4 colors as seen on the picture: red, blue, green and black.

Does it work? There’s not much to “work” here. Each figure is around 3.5 cm in height and finishing looks good, with little excess plastic around the edges. The eyelet for the strap and the metal ring attaching it to the figure seems sturdy enough. They are made of some kind of rubber instead of hard plastic, and there is a little “rubbery” smell.

Any caveats? There’s chinese text (which I cannot read) and 2 URLs printed in white on the back (see picture). First URL is an Android user’s forum, second one is a web store selling Android smartphones. Both are in chinese.

Take it: If you are an Android fan

Dump it: If you are an iOS user. Sadly, there are no “Cute Apple Cell Phone Strap” sets available. :P

Where and how much? At Dealextreme, where else? US$ 8.10 for the whole set. They also sell just the green ones for US$ 2.70 each. Free shipping worldwide.

Dingoo Digital A320

Posted: June 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Game Consoles, Media Players | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

This is the dream of “retrogamers” worldwide: a single (and cheap) game console that can emulate tons of other consoles and arcade machines from the past, with good speed and accuracy. It is also a portable media player (plays MP3 and DiVX videos), FM Radio and is extremely “hackable”. Oh, and did I mention it is cheap?

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Nintendo DS Replacement Shell

Posted: March 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Accessories, Game Consoles | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

This kit has (almost) all you need to replace the “shell” (outer casing) of the first model Nintendo DS, aka “DS Phat”. Bought it because my DS (original model, silver) was scratched and the silver paint Nintendo used was starting to fade on the corners. There are also models for the Nintendo DS Lite. It is a good choice if your DS has a broken hinge, cracked casing or if you simply wish to change the looks of your console.

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Dual-SIM adapter for GSM Cellphones

Posted: March 16th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Accessories, Cell Phone | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Two GSM SIM Cards inserted into the adapter

This is for people who need to have two cell phone lines (personal and work, for example), and do not wish to carry multiple phones or get a native Dual-SIM model. It is a small and flexible circuit board which sits between the phone and the SIM Cards, and allows the device to “hop” between both lines at specified intervals or at will.

There are different shapes, to account for different cell phone models, but most work on the same way.

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