Heading into Christmas, a consumer report…and a few gift ideas

I feel that testing products gives me a chance to see some new and unusual products, as well as check in on how some old favorite brands are doing.
Here’s a few tidbits I wanted to share.

Dashboard cams are starting to ‘race to the bottom’ in prices. Motion sensing and recording cameras are starting to flood the market from China. While dashboard cams are still often priced in the $150 range, I am starting to see some decent cams enter the market lower and lower. Tonight I saw one just listed for $48 that I’ll be testing soon. Many are coming with storage disks, adding to their value. I project that by the end of this quarter, there will be some amazing deals on them. The same holds true for IP cams and surveillance cameras in general, though ‘big’ corporate brands with more user-friendly software will continued to be priced high. If you are technically proficient, look for no-brand clones to become very affordable.

With online shopping, be very careful of sizing issues with Asian sellers. While many are starting to get “Small” and “Medium” sizes correct, larger sizes still elude their ability to properly denote. Be very careful with purchases on discount sites for plus size clothing unless you are already familiar with the site. Many ‘dress’ sites are popping up on social media featuring very inexpensive dresses that are often stylish and cute, but many of these are from the same lots that I’ve tested and found to be way off in size and cut for the American market.

Some really good deals do exist coming from Asian vendors- I have been overall impressed with the quality and value of knit goods for instance, and there’s some very nice messenger bags, backpacks, and tablet portfolios on the market.

Some eco-friendly products that I’ve liked have included wool dryer balls and fragrance diffusers. The dryer balls help speed clothes drying time, soften clothes naturally, and can be used to scent laundry by applying essential oils to them. I’ve had a set for months now and they work great. The diffusers help scent a home naturally.

The citrus essential oils, such as orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit, are usually a good bet for quality. are generally inexpensive, and most people enjoy these scents.

I am NOT having much luck with heated electric linens, such as electric throws, blankets and underpads. I’ll write more on this later but for now my advice for now would be to steer clear of these items for gift giving. Too many are failing, even from brands most Americans have come to know and trust.

For the PREPPERS and multi-purpose gadget lovers – There is one product whose brand I will mention by name, though other sellers also offer similiar lights and it might pay to shop around. They did send me a free copy to test, but this is NOT an affiliate link. It is NEVER my policy to make income from third-party vendor product tests.


This light is really very unusual. It functions as a light, AND a charger for USB powered items, like smartphones and tablets. The solar panel is a good size and works well, and it took me 3 full days to run this light down after one sunny day’s sunlight charge. It also works like a regular light bulb, if you prefer to use it like that. I’ve found it practical, unusual, and “delightful.”

There are some very unusual (to me at least) LED lights coming out of the Asian markets. I was contacted about one that is a regular screw in LED lightbulb, but it’s ALSO a Bluetooth speaker. I look forward to testing that one!

That’s all for now. If I can ever be of assistance with ideas, clarification, or recommendations, feel free to contact me. As long as I have a bit of time, I’ll try to help.

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