Connect with us

Reviews

My Honest Review Of The Opkix One After 3 Months Of Use

Published

on

The Opkix is unlike anything else on the market right now. If wearable tech and action-cameras had a child together, the result would be the Opkix. We previously reviewed it on Owner’s Magazine. See the review here.

However, our team was so impressed with the Opkix that we decided to test it for 3 months and write a much more in-depth look at what it can really do. In our extended review of the Opkix we discovered a lot of things that weren’t obvious at first. We found even more things to like about it and also unearthed quite a few issues.

Here’s what we found after 3 months of using the Opkix on a daily basis.

How Did I Use It?

The Opkix comes with accessories to clip it onto your glasses or hat. Luckily I wear prescription glasses 24/7, so it was fairly easy to adapt it to my daily routine. For the most part, I just carry the Opkix in my bag with me and have one of the cameras clipped onto my glasses at all times.

One of the best use for the Opkix that I found was having it as a video camera that was literally always on and always within reach. Whenever an opportunity for a video comes, I would simply press the bottom on the camera, and it would start recording.

The Opkix Is A Game Changer…

If I wanted to record something smartphone where I’d have to take it out of my pocket, unlock it, open the camera app, choose “Video”, focus…and then finally hit record. I’m usually discouraged from trying unless the moment absolutely NEEDS to be captured.

Everything changed with the Opkix. One of the most amazing yet subtle features of the Opkix is that there’s no on/off buttons on the cameras. You just tap the “record” button and it begins recording. The fact that it’s always on and always available makes it so easy and seamless to record quick clips. It was so easy to record that I find myself recording even the silliest moments in my day that I would’ve never thought of capturing.

At the end of the week, I’d have a whole collection of these short funny clips of my week that I never had before. This little device completely changed the way I capture moments in my life. It’s not just the important moments that deserve to be captured anymore. Now it’s everything in between.

Immersive 1st Person View

This is the first time you’re able to create immersive 1st person view content. Holding your phone up to your face is awkward. Having a Go-pro mounted in front of your chest or helmet makes you joke in normal settings. The only product on the market right now that lets you actually record AND be a part of the conversation and experience is this Opkix. For the first time, you can record people singing “Happy birthday” AND clap at the same time.

The cameras can also be used in any orientation. No matter what orientation you record in, your videos will never be upside-down.

My one concern with the Opkix is that the halo light around the camera can’t be turned off when you’re recording. This is often obvious and glaring to others that you’re recording them and can also take you out of the moment. The lights are especially noticeable under lowlight. Hopefully, this gets fixed in future updates.

Battery Life & Portability

The actual record time is about 10 – 15 minutes for each camera. After they’re depleted, I can just put them back into the egg and recharge. Recharging the cameras from 0 – 100% is fast and I’m usually able to get back into the action quickly. Considering the cameras are always on, battery life is pretty good. Leaving the house with a fully charge egg it’s able to last me an entire day and returning home usually with 20 – 25% juice left.

Having the cameras always on my glass also wasn’t much of a hindrance because it’s so lightweight you forget it’s there. Although I do get a lot of questions about it since it does stand out.

Video Quality

This was a hit and miss for me. Video quality was capped at 1080 resolution, which isn’t a problem. The problem is the quality of the videos. The lenses are great during day-time and when there’s an abundance of light. However, the camera fails to accurately capture colors when you’re indoors or in low-light situations. The halo light around the lens doesn’t do much.

There’s also a lot of over-saturation in some of my clips. I certainly can edit these clips to be perfect, but that defeats the purpose of the Opkix. It’s meant to be a user-friendly device for the average everyday person to capture moments. I shouldn’t need to boot up any video editing software to correct the clips.

If this was a $99 device, I wouldn’t complain. But given its $299 price tag, most would expect better quality videos.

Connectivity Issues

After a day’s worth of recording, I usually plug both cameras back into the egg and then try to extract the clips. You can’t plug the egg into your computer via USB to extract the clips. The only way to get the clips off the cameras is through the App via Bluetooth. The App is very well designed and you can see a lot of work went into refining it. It’s intuitive, easy to use, and has a lot of great features. Overall, a polished product.

The connectivity on the other hand – a complete failure. Pairing the egg with your device the first time was easy. But connecting the egg with your device afterward is a nightmare. It would connect sometimes but not always. When you hit “Connect” on the App, it takes a lot longer than it should connect. The wait is usually between 10 – 15 seconds before it tells you connection failed and to try again. I tested this with an Asus Zenfone 6 (Android), Samsung S20 Ultra, and iPhone 11, all with the same connection problems.

Eventually, I learned that the device connects best when the egg is above 30% battery. I don’t know if this is a bug or done for a specific purpose. However, a warning or some instructions on the App to connect would be appreciated.

Recording videos with the Opkix is an enjoyable good experience. Exporting them is another story.

The App

The App is about 50% of the product if not more. The egg can’t function without the app. It’s available for both Android and iOS. Usually, tech hardware that has an app companion tends to overlook the user experience and functionality of the app. Not this time. The team over at Opkix invested heavily in the design and development of the App, and it shows. The main connection screen shows you a neat image of the egg.

The app works flawlessly and does everything you’d expect it to. However, there is one major downside. Exporting videos from the cameras to your device takes far too long. For a 10 minute clip, you’d probably wait about 5-10 minutes to be fully exported.

Image stabilization

https://vimeo.com/453502862

The image stabilization process is actually done via software through the App. And for the most part, it’s pretty good. After you’ve exported the video clips from the camera, there’s an option for you to Stabilize the video. Again, this was another source of pain for me. I wish video stabilization was done automatically. Given the nature of 99% of the video clips, I can’t imagine anyone NOT choosing to stabilize their videos.

Time-consuming Video Processing

I do believe the folks at Opkix thought extensively about their user’s experience. However, they missed a major one. The time it takes to export and process the videos. My smartphones, although clunkier to use, can automatically stabilize everything I record in real-time.

I understand there may be a hardware limitation given the size of the cameras on the Opkix, but having the video stabilization be an extra step AFTER I export the videos is a mistake. The export time is already extensive. Now I have to wait just as long all of the videos to stabilize.

Not to mention, there’s no option to “stabilize all”. I have to sit there and manually click “Stabilize” on every single video. All the fun, seamlessness, and intuitiveness of the Opkix is completely derailed because of this.

Final Verdict

The Opkix is trying to do something new and for that alone, it should be celebrated. For my 3 months of using the Opkix to replace my smartphone as a primary video camera, I enjoyed every moment of recording. The portability, ease of use, and plethora of attachment accessories made it incredibly simple to integrate the Opkix into my day.

My biggest surprise after 3 months was the sheer volume of video clips I now have. Scrolling through my collection, I’m amazed at all the tiny little moments in my life that had been captured.

The Opkix is an innovative tech that found a specific niche in the wearable market. There’s simply nothing like it. Despite the connectivity and time-consuming video processing issues, I still think it’s a great product with massive potential. At $299 it might look expensive, but trust me you’ll be recording with this thing a lot. For countless hours of footage you’ll be able to capture on-demand with the Opkix, $299 is a steal.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Eric

    February 19, 2021 at 5:35 pm

    Conclusion flies in the face of your own criticisms. It it’s a pain to export clips, and a pain to stabilize them, and there are color correction issues in the camera (which were abundantly obvious, especially in things like bricks which turned quite vibrantly magenta), you shouldn’t be saying that at $299 it’s a steal. Sounds to me like a fun toy that’s also a pain in the butt, producing uneven results.

    I’ll wait for Gen 2.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reviews

The 3 Best Chicago Hot Dogs You Can Eat In 3 Hours

Published

on

Anyone who tells you that you need to try Chicago deep-dish pizza is wrong and needs to be avoided at all costs. Chicago is a hot dog town. You don’t realize how much you’ve missed out on life until you’ve tasted the glory that is Chicago hot dogs. 

A Chicago hot dog is very particular. And for good reason. First, they use real casing, giving it a signature snap when you bite into it. Second, it’s loaded with onions, tomato slices, neon-green relish, a pickle slice, sport peppers, and mustard on a poppy seed bun. Third, NO KETCHUP.

Seriously, you won’t make any friends in Chicago if you ask for ketchup on your dog. 

There is no shortage of quality dogs in Chicago. Wherever you go, chances are you’ll be happy. I went to these three spots and rated them accordingly. Prior to Chicago hot dogs, my dog experience was pretty limited to whatever looked “freshest” at 7/11. 

Here are the three best Chicago hot dogs I ate in three hours. 

Dog Haus

Our first stop was at Dog Haus on Lincoln Ave. It wasn’t very busy but it was very clean and the staff was super nice. Excited for my very first Chicago hot dog, I wolfed it down in a matter of moments. 

The bun was fluffy and perfectly crispy on the edges with a generous helping of all the toppings that make up the iconic dog. The dog itself was the single most delicious hot dog I have ever tasted in my life. All in all, I was pretty satisfied. 10/10.

The Wiener’s Circle

I have dreamed of visiting The Wieners Circle ever since they were featured on Conan. For those who don’t know, The Wieners Circle is known not just for its dogs but for how the staff berates and insults their customers as aggressively and brutally as you can imagine.

Being a vulgar person with a deep affection for greasy food, I knew this was the spot for me. 

The staff is only vulgar and insulting after 9 pm (can’t be cussing at the kids, ya dig?). So, while we didn’t get the full experience that makes this spot famous, you could smell it in their air. All it would take was one snarky comment and you could imagine the wonderful abuse you’d endure. But this is a business trip, so best behave. 

I got the cheddar char dog – a classic Chicago-style with cheese charred on the grill. And good golly miss molly was it the single most delicious hot dog I have ever tasted in my entire life –  but better

The dog was not huge, but the poppy seed bun perfectly cradled it and the toppings beautifully and gently. The char – my goodness ya’ll – THE CHAR! You could taste all the grease of years past with that perfectly smoky, blackened taste that makes every hot dog the best hot dog. 

It was everything I dreamed it would be. 12 – no – 15!/10.

Flub A Dub Chub’s

Next was Flub A Dub Chub’s (LOVE the name). It feels like an event when you descend down the grimy stairs into what is, without question, the winner in terms of atmosphere. 

The fairly small space’s walls were covered with customer-made hot-dog-themed drawings that varied from a hot dog beating up a ketchup bottle (I wasn’t kidding about the ketchup thing – don’t do it) to a Thor holding Mjölnir in triumph while yelling something about hot dogs (missed opportunity to hold a dog-themed Mjölnir, imho). 

The staff was cool and non-judgmental (for those of you brave enough to add ketchup), and the dog was the single most delicious hot dog I have ever tasted in my entire life – only I’m full now.

Three Chicago hot dogs in three hours add up, alright? 

The Verdict

For me, it was The Wieners Circle. The others never stood a chance. Call it bias, call it favoritism, call it what you want. But you’re not the one writing right now, are you? 

The Wieners Circle is without question the most superior of all Chicago hot dogs. It doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not except for a great place to get a delicious dog and some humbling verbal abuse. 

Dog Haus was a great first Chicago hot dog experience, but ultimately chains are inherently a little lame. Flub A Dub Chub’s was super fun, but I was getting full by that time, so it’s not totally fair. 

If you’re going to have any hot dog in Chicago, make sure it’s The Wieners Circle – and make sure you leave a tip.

Continue Reading

Business

My 7-Day, $7 GraphicsZoo Review

Published

on

The luxury of an on-demand graphic designer is a recent one. Gone are the Mad Men days of walking into a glamorous, sexy office building to hire a firm to do design work for you. Now, if you need a design completed, all you have to do is log on. GraphicsZoo is one such on-demand graphic designer. Here is a GraphicsZoo review you do not want to miss.

Side note – how fun is it to say “GraphicsZoo review” out loud? Say it with me “GraphicsZoo review.” Fun, no?

Anyway…

For a flat, monthly rate you can have all the designs your mind could dream of. So, I decided to see what was up with them. I signed up for their 7 Day $7 Trial. Not a bad deal, right? Here’s how my experience went. 

Logging On, Part One

When I first signed up for GraphicsZoo, I didn’t actually sign up. Not yet anyway. I had filled in and submitted the necessary log-in information. Next was the payment information. I paused on that for whatever reason, got distracted and closed the window. I would take care of it the next day when I had a moment. 

GraphicsZoo, however, took the initiative. I received this email the following day:

I hadn’t given them any money yet. Seems a little odd for a company to get the ball rolling when a customer has knowingly not handed over any kind of payment information. They sure seemed eager to get started, so, why not? Let’s get to work. 

Except, when I clicked on “Post a New Project,” I was sent to this page: 

You may be asking yourself, “what the hell is Laravel?” Because I sure did. Laravel is a free, open-source PHP web framework. It’s a website programming tool. That’s the best way I can explain something I don’t fully understand in layman’s terms. 

Why was I sent to this page by an official GraphicsZoo email? 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Logging On, Part Two – The Sandwich Shop of My Dreams

Now ready to hand over proper payment information, I signed up a second time. Again, GraphicsZoo sent me an email about starting a project before I had submitted the payment information. But this time, they didn’t even give me time to walk away. 

I get it, you’re Eager McBeavers. Let’s wait until I hand over payment information, yes? 

Once I got settled in, I submitted my design request. Since high school, I’ve had a very silly dream about opening up a sandwich shop. So, to make a younger me excited, I decided to create a logo for this dream sandwich shop. 

My nickname in high school was Blondie, so I decided to stick with the theme and name my dream shop “Blondie’s Sammiches.”

Now, I had plenty of ideas as to how I wanted a logo or a label to look for this dream shop. But I wanted to see what GraphicsZoo designers could do with minimal direction. I gave them the initial freedom to decide for me. Let’s see what kind of raw talent they got. 

I asked for a classic New York deli-style design, and the rest was up to them. At least to start. 

Once submitted, I happened to notice the expected delivery date. September 6. That date would seem arbitrary, but I signed up on September 1. Kinda funny that the first expected delivery date is just under the 7-day mark, no? 

I see what you’re doing, GraphicsZoo. 

Design First Draft

To GraphicsZoo’s credit, they delivered the first draft ahead of schedule. For minimal direction, they delivered a half-decent design. 

I asked for a classic New York deli-style design. I think, despite the super-dated early 90’s color scheme, they did pretty okay. 

Now, I wanted to see how they would take direction. I preferred the first design with the text wrapped around the sandwich logo. I only wanted to change the color. I asked for a variety of text options (black, white, and colored) and that the sandwich be filled with “sandwich colors,” for lack of a better description. 

We all know what “sandwich colors” are, right? 

Turns out, GraphicsZoo designers did. 

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

We were approaching the 7-day mark, so I was hoping to get a revision on the design before that mark. 

I would periodically check-in, but I would have a difficult time navigating the site. Upon checking in, I would see this page: 

If I were a less patient person, I would have been irritated. If I was paying regular, non-$7 prices, I would be furious. My inner Karen would be roaring. 

After some digging and clicking, I would eventually find my project. But, frankly, I shouldn’t have to do that no matter how little I’m paying. If I’m about to open my dream sandwich shop, I want to be able to find my potential logo with absolutely no issues. 

Seeing empty folders on an initial log-in is, well, not good. 

Design Second Draft

Thankfully, one day before the end of the 7-day trial, I received a second draft. To my delight, they had followed my directions well. 

Sure looks like “sandwich colors” to me. 

If I had more time to work on this, and if I were actually opening up my sandwich shop, I would have more revisions to make. But, considering the quality of design in the brief time allotted, I think this is a solid design. 

What is “solid” in terms of an academic grade? A “B?” A “B-?” Either way, my mother would tell me to do better. 

Cancelling The Trial Before The Real Charges

I was now in a time crunch. Considering I don’t want to pay over $300 for a service I won’t be returning to anytime soon, I wanted out and fast. I mean, look at these prices. 

Not exactly in my budget. So, it was time to cancel. I requested a cancellation and then… well, I waited. 

But, I don’t want to wait to see if my cancellation goes through or not. When you go to cancel your Netflix subscription, they cancel it. There’s no suspense. And when there’s that amount of money at stake, suspense is not the emotion I’d like to be feeling in the moment. 

I reached out to GraphicsZoo’s support team. I had asked for a confirmation of cancellation. But they had something else in mind, at first. 

And so, our dance began. 

There was a decent amount of back and forth. “How about this subscription plan?” No, just cancel, please. “Well, how about this one?” No. Just cancel, please. “Consider this plan!” I said NO. No means no! 

Eventually, my persistence and complete and total unwillingness to pay a single cent more won out. Grace, my support … person, finally conceded. 

She was doing her job. Can’t sneeze at that. I can sneeze at the practice of hounding someone not interested in paying a single cent more. If I were running a business, however, I’d insist on that policy. 

I may have been mildly annoyed about that process, but ultimately no harm was done. The cancellation went through. 

Conclusion

All in all, I would call my 7-day $7 trial experience with GraphicsZoo mediocre. I found the initial signing-up experience to be bizarre and unintentional. There’s no way GraphicsZoo meant to send me to a web programming tool when asking me to start a project. 

That’s the kind of whoopsie-daisy that really needs to be rectified, and immediately. 

I was slightly irritated by the persistence of a support coordinator to get me to keep paying them, but that’s the nature of business. There’s nothing wrong with that. 

I was mildly impressed with the designer’s ability to deliver a decent design in a short amount of time with minimal direction. What they delivered was fine, but given the circumstances, I think it was solid. 

Despite the decent work by the designers, I probably wouldn’t recommend GraphicsZoo. The experience with the initial signing up, the difficulty navigating their site, and the over persistence by the support department left me with a bad taste. There are plenty of other services out there better organized with the same quality of design. 

If I could put my experience with GraphicsZoo in a single word, it would be “Meh.”

Be sure to read our other GraphicsZoo review to help make up your mind!

Continue Reading

Lifestyle

Bearaby Tree Napper Review: Is It Worth $299?

Published

on

Weighted blankets have gained popularity in recent years for their therapeutic benefits. What used to be therapy for those with anxiety and autism has now become widely available. Weighted blankets come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. However, most are the same. They’re simply blankets – weighted with a heavy material, typically beads.

Bearaby introduces an entirely new concept, the Bearaby Tree Napper, a weighted knitted from eucalyptus trees. Like Bearaby’s other weighted blankets, the Tree Napper gets its weight completely from the construction materials instead of relying on beads. It’s a unique concept that’s both innovative and socially responsible. However, is it worth the asking price?

What’s a weighted blanket?

First, let’s start by explaining what exactly a weighted blanket is. It’s a blanket that uses either beads or dense materials to give it a weight between 15 – 30 lbs. The weight is often evenly distributed across the blanket, so the pressure is applied equally. Research has shown that deep pressure stimulation has shown to reduce anxiety and stress. Ever wonder why a massage feels so good afterward?

Weighted blankets offer similar therapeutic effects by wrapping you underneath a 15 – 30lbs blanket. Several studies have shown that frequent use of weighted blankets can also help with chronic pain, osteoarthritis, insomnia, and even ADHD.

What makes Bearaby unique?

Most weighted blankets get their weight from tiny beads evenly quilted into the lining. This method certainly does work to give the blanket its weight, but you’ll often feel like you’re under a sandbag. The Bearaby Nappa is unlike any other weighted blanket. It gets its weight naturally from the dense cotton strands knitted together. This design choice gives the blanket a cohesive structure that’s both flexible and durable. It can stretch and take a bit of abuse. However, it’ll never lose its shape.

One significant advantage of Bearaby’s unique design is that it doesn’t sacrifice comfort for weight. Traditional weighted blankets rely on noisy beaded pockets, and that can often be uncomfortable. The Bearaby’s soft tencel knits are comfortable, soft, and have a natural silk-like texture that makes them cool to the touch.

Are Bearaby Weighted Blankets Washable?

Yes, thanks to 100% of the weight coming from the fibers, all Bearaby blankets, including the Tree Napper, are machine washable. Traditional weighted blankets are much more complicated to wash due to the beads being interlocked in pockets. Machine washing and drying could cause damage to the covering or, worse, to the washing machine should the pockets rupture. 

What is Bearaby made of?

It never fails to draw attention. The Bearaby’s unique look is both captivating and functional. Tencel is claimed to be softer than silk and more relaxed than linen. I can confirm its effectiveness by sleeping with the Bearaby for the past month in 80-90 degree weather. The knits allow me to sleep much cooler than a regular comforter.

Because 100% of the weight comes from the cotton itself, the distribution is more even across my body, giving me the feeling of being hugged rather than held down.

The look & feel

It never fails to draw attention. The Bearaby’s unique look is both captivating and functional. Tencel is claimed to be softer than silk and cooler than linen. Sleeping with the Bearaby for the past month in 80-90 degree weather, I can confirm its effectiveness. The knits allow me to sleep much cooler than a regular comforter.

Because 100% of the weight comes from the cotton itself, the distribution is more even across my body, giving me the feeling of being hugged rather than being held down.

A socially responsible company

Bearaby promises all of its products are sourced responsibly in a closed-loop process that uses 90% less water than traditional fabrics. Their products, including the Tree Napper, are biodegradable and have received sustainability certifications to back up their claim.

It’s easy for brands to claim their sustainability badge by promising to donate money for every purchase. Bearaby does something that few are willing to do – changing their manufacturing practice. It’s not a flashy promise, but it’s an expensive choice with the most significant impact on our environment. This practice alone more than justifies Bearaby’s price tag.

Bearaby’s price

We recommend any Bearaby weighted blankets because it’s a fantastic health product that can add years to your life. Any benefits traditional weighted blankets offer, the Bearaby simply offers more.

The Bearaby Tree Napper starts at $269 for the 15lbs version and goes up to $299 for the 25lbs version. It’s easily one of the most expensive weighted blankets on the market. However, considering the materials, sustainable practice, and fair wages they offer their staff, it’s well worth the price. You’re buying more than just a blanket. You’re supporting a company that takes care of their people and environment.

Continue Reading

Trending