FIXD OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter Review

image of fixd obd2 bluetooth adapter and app

FIXD ($59.99) is OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter that pairs with your phone or tablet and works with a companion mobile app. The app is free and available at Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Add-on is also available with an annual subscription of $59.99. In addition to the features of an OBD2 scan tool, FIXD offers vehicle’s maintenance schedules and reminders and allows you to keep track of consumable items like tires, wipers, and battery. The price of $59.99 is just a middle between professional-grade adapters (e.g. BlueDriver $99) and budget adapters (e.g. BAFX Products $22). Here is FIXD OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter review.

User-Friendly App with push notification

The FIXD adapter works with exclusively the FIXD mobile app. It has a good design. It’s easy to navigate and comfortable to look at. In the Timeline tab, the app shows typical maintenance checklists and recommended replacing items based on mileage. Each list has a clickable link to Amazon so you can shop the necessary parts and items. In the Wear Items tab, you can keep track of consumable items. There are four items, battery, tire, wiper, and oil. You have to manually enter the date and mileage of last replaced. The app sends you a push notification to remind you to check the items based on time and miles since you replaced them last time.

Is mileage automatically updated?

The app just adds a daily average mileage every day. The average is calculated based on the one you first enter and another one you enter the next time you use the app. To make it more accurate, you need to manually enter the mileage in the Timeline.

Diagnostics features

You can read and clear trouble codes just like many other OBD2 adapters. However, the codes you can get with FIXD are limited to engine trouble codes (e.g. generic codes P0### and manufacturer-specific codes P1####). You can’t access to ABS, Airbag, TPMS modules (aka Enhanced Diagnostics) with FIXD. The listings of online retailers such as Amazon, Bestbuy, and Target or even its website described that it can perform Enhanced Diagnostics. But, there are no successful reports regardless of vehicles years, makes, and models.

FIXD also has a feature of freeze frame data, which is a snapshot of various engine data at the time the trouble code is stored in the engine computer. You can see live data and customize them in a gauge or graph style.

Other features

FIXD has some other features like “Trip Mode”, “Fighter Pilot Mode”, and “Navigation”. All these features can flip the display so you can use as a head-mounted display.

image of fixd trip mode head mounted display
image of fixd fighter pilot mode

Lack of I/M monitors (aka I/M readiness or smog checks)

I/M monitor is the feature to let you know if your vehicle is ready for a state inspection. It’s a very basic feature that even many inexpensive OBD2 scan tools have. FIXD, somehow, lacks this feature. However, the feature is included as one of the premium features, which require an annual subscription of $59.99.

FIXD Premium

The premium features also include “FIXD mechanic hotline”, “confirmed fix reports from Identifix”, and more details of the trouble codes. You have an option to subscribe monthly for $7.99. Both options include a one-week free trial.

image of fixd premium add on features

Manage multiple vehicles in one app

You can use one FIXD adapter to get the trouble codes from multiple vehicles. However, one FIXD adapter is designed to leave it plugged to one vehicle to make the most of the features of the adapter and app. With one adapter plugged per vehicle, you can keep track of the vehicle’s maintenance schedules and information about consumable items. And, when check engine light turns on, the app sends you a push notification. If you have multiple vehicles and plug FIXD adapters to each vehicle, you can manage them all in one FIXD app.

Who is FIXD for?

“FIXD OBD2 Professional Bluetooth Scan Tool & Code Reader for iPhone and Android” This is the title of FIXD adapter at Amazon.com. The adapter is obviously not professional-grade and not for professional mechanics. And, I can’t recommend this adapter for DIYers or those who have some knowledge about an automobile, either.

Why? First of all, speaking of the features of maintenance schedules and reminders, it doesn’t tell you the exact condition of wear items. You also need to enter mileage manually to get things accurate. All it does is to send a notification. Vehicles have indicator lights on an instrument panel do the same job in the first place. The features of maintenance schedules and reminders are useless for those who have basic knowledge about an automobile.

What about the diagnostics features? FIXD adapter can scan vehicle computer and retrieve the diagnostics trouble codes, but it’s limited to the engine computer. Unlike truly professional-grade adapters such as BlueDriver and OBDLink MX+, FIXD can’t scan ABS, airbag, TPSM, etc. Besides, it lacks the feature of I/M monitors. If you just want to access the engine computer, many inexpensive OBD adapters can do the same job.

For those who own multiple vehicles, isn’t it convenient to manage them all in one mobile app? Yes. But, it will cost you more because you need multiple adapters for each vehicle. Say you own three cars and buy three adapters. 3-pack FIXD costs $139.99. Again, if you have basic knowledge about the automobile and pay attention to indicator lights on each vehicle, you don’t need FIXD to tell you maintenance schedules and stuff. For a check engine light, instead of buying three FIXD adapters, just get one BlueDriver for $99.95 for engine diagnostics of all your vehicles. Plus, BlueDriver generates repair reports from Indentifix and performs Enhanced Diagnostics without charging additional costs or subscriptions.

If you have little knowledge about an automobile, FIXD may be beneficial. With the FIXD app, you can get familiar with various maintenances and those schedules. When a check engine light is on, you may get less panic because you can scan the engine computer right away. And it will give you a rough idea what’s going on with the engine.

Pros

  • User-friendly app
  • Maintenance schedules and reminders
  • Keep track of the condition of wear items
  • Manage multiple vehicles with one app (if multiple adapters plugged to each vehicle)

Cons

  • Need to enter mileage manually to get accurate maintenance schedules and reminders
  • Just logs and reminders, not actually tell you the exact condition of wear items
  • Lack of the feature of I/M monitors (available as an add-on feature that needs a subscription)
  • No Enhanced Diagnostics
  • Not compatible with third-party apps
  • Not compatible with Windows devices
  • The total costs add up by subscription (optional)

Conclusion

image of fixd-obd2-bluetooth-adapter

FIXD OBD2 Bluetooth adapter has the features of maintenance schedules and reminders and keeping track of wear items in addition to engine diagnostics features. The adapter is designed to leave it plugged to one vehicle to make the most of the FIXD features. If you have multiple vehicles, plug one adapter per vehicle, and you can manage them all in one FIXD app. You can scan the engine computer and get the trouble codes. No Enhanced Diagnostics regardless of years, makes and models. It lacks the feature of I/M monitors. This feature is included as a Premium feature along with “FIXD mechanic hotline”, “confirmed fix reports from Identifix”, and more details of the trouble codes. A subscription $7.99/mo or $59.99/yr is required for the Premium features. The price of FIXD adapter $59.99 is a bit too expensive for overall features. But, it may be good to get familiar with maintenance lists and schedules for those who have little knowledge about an automobile.

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Best OBD2 Bluetooth Adapters in 2019

OBD2 stands for On-Board Diagnostics the second generation. It’s a standardized diagnostics system which is equipped on all vehicles manufactured in the U.S. in 1996 or later. The vehicles have a connector called DLC (Data Link Connector) from which you can get various engine data and trouble codes by using an OBD scan tool. Recent years, wireless OBD adapters become popular among DIYers, home mechanics, or even professionals. The adapters pair with your mobile devices via (mostly) Bluetooth and work with the mobile apps. Here are the popular OBD2 Bluetooth adapters in 2019.

image of data link connector
By M.Minderhoud – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

BlueDriver by Lemur Vehicle Monitors ($99.95)

image of bluedriver bluetooth obd2 adapter

BlueDriver pairs with your phone or tablet via Bluetooth. It works exclusively with the BlueDriver mobile app available on Android or iOS devices. BlueDriver focuses on vehicles diagnosis. When the adapter retrieves a trouble code, it generates a repair report based on the code, car’s make, model, and year. It shows you the details of the problem and possible causes and fixes. So, no more guess works, straight to identify the cause and fixes the problem. It will save you time and money. Of course, there are basic features like live data, freeze frame data, I/M monitors, etc. And, BlueDriver supports Enhanced Diagnostics such as ABS, Airbag, Transmission, etc on selected makes. The company has been working on adding more and more makes to be supported since its debut. At the time of writing, the supported makes for enhanced diagnostics are GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda (available worldwide), as well as BMW, VW, and 2003+ Honda (available in North America). Click here to read a full review.

Pros

  • Repair Reports
  • Enhanced Diagnostics

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not compatible with third-party apps
  • Not compatible with Windows devices

BAFX Products Bluetooth by BAFX Products ($22.89)

image of bafx products bluetooth obd2 adapter for android

BAFX Products OBD2 Bluetooth adapter has been existing in the Amazon best sellers ranking for a longer time than any other adapters. It’s a basic and inexpensive OBD adapter. Unlike other OBD adapters for the same price range, BAFX adapter is reliable, and the company offers a 2-year warranty. Although there are no fancy features, it’s compatible with many third-party apps like Torque, DashCommand, ScanMaster, Piston, and more. It connects your phone, tablet, or laptop via Bluetooth. It’s compatible with Android and Windows devices. it’s not compatible with iOS devices. For iOS devices, choose WiFi version of BAFX adapter.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Compatible with many third-party apps

Cons

  • Not Compatible with iOS devices
  • No Enhanced Diagnostics
  • Relatively large size

FIXD by FIXD ($59.99)

fixd obd2 bluetooth adapter

FIXD adapter uses Bluetooth to connect your phone or tablet. It works exclusively with the FIXD mobile app available for Android and iOS devices. The app focuses on a vehicle’s maintenances, schedules, and reminders. Of course, it has some basic features such as reading and clearing the trouble codes, live data and some fun features like “Trip Mode” and “Fighter Pilot Mode”. But it lacks a very basic feature of I/M monitors. I/M monitor is included as Premium (=add-on) features along with Identifix reports and FIXD mechanic hotline. You can add Premium features with an annual subscription $59.99 with a week free trial. It’s very expensive because BlueDriver offers the same features for free. BlueDriver charges no additional costs. All features are included with a purchase of BlueDriver adapter. Click here to read a full review.

Pros

  • Maintenances, schedules, and reminders

Cons

  • Lack of I/M monitors (It’s included as a premium feature, which needs an annual subscription.)
  • Not compatible with third-party apps
  • Not compatible with Windows devices
  • No Enhanced Diagnostics
  • The subscription fee is too expensive.

OBDLink MX+ by ScanTool.net LLC ($79.95)

image of obdlink mx+ mx plus

OBDLink MX+ is a Bluetooth OBD adapter, compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows devices. With the OBDLink mobile app, you can perform Enhanced Diagnostics on selected makes. At the time of writing, supported makes for Enhanced Diagnostics are Ford, GM, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota. It’s also compatible with many third-party apps. Not only are diagnostics apps, but with the third-party app called obdCANex, you can control windows, door locks, and even remotely start your engine on supported GM models. OBDLink MX+ includes software for Windows called OBDwiz. Click here to read a full review.

Pros

  • Enhanced Diagnostics
  • Compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows devices
  • Compatible with many third-party apps
  • OBDwiz (software for Windows) included

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No repair report from Indenfix or hotline

Conclusion

BlueDriver is the best OBD adapter for a professional. It’s focused on vehicles diagnostics. Enhanced Diagnostics is available for selected makes. And repair reports help you identify the cause of the problem and save you time. If you don’t like the OBD adapter working with the only exclusive app, choose OBDLink MX+. OBDLink MX+ is compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows devices. And, you can use it with many third-party apps. It’s the most versatile OBD adapter of all. If you don’t need fancy features, choose BAFX Products. Please note that the Bluetooth version of BAFX adapter works with Android and Windows. If you use an iOS device, you need the WiFi version of the BAFX adapter. FIXD is not worth the price, and subscription is too expensive. If you spend $59.99 for the adapter and another $59.99 for a yearly subscription, why don’t you buy $99.95 BlueDriver? It charges no additional costs, and all features plus Enhanced Diagnostics are included with a purchase of the adapter.

Automatic CCA LTE OBD2 Adapter review

New OBD adapter has been released from Automatic. Unlike Automatic Pro, which uses the 3G network, the new adapter uses the LTE network. The 3G network will be sunset in the next couple of years. When that happens, the Pro will no longer work unless you always have a smartphone connected to the Pro and the company continues to support the Automatic app. (An email from Automatic says, “due to the expense of maintaining apps on legacy technology, the adapter powering your current Automatic service will no longer be supported after August 31, 2019”) Just like the Pro, Lite, and previous versions of Automatic adapters, the new adapter (AUT-450C, aka Automatic CCA or Automatic LTE) also focuses on vehicle trackings rather than diagnostics.

image of automatic cca lte obd2 adapter

Premium Subscription – First 6 months free, then $5 per month after

  • Crash Alert
  • Real-time Location
  • Roadside Assistance
  • Service Alerts
  • Vehicle Diagnostics
  • App Integrations
  • Driver Dashboard
  • Business Expensing
  • Cashless Toll Processing

Select Service – free for 3 years

  • Crash Alert
  • Vehicle Diagnostics
  • Driver Dashboard
  • Cashless Toll Processing
image of automatic cca lte features

What’s different from Automatic Pro?

Automatic Pro is compatible with the diagnostic app called OBD Fusion. The app features Live Data, clearing and reading trouble codes, freeze frame data, creating a secondary dashboard, etc. The new adapter is not compatible with the app. It’s a big drawback. The new adapter has some minor features that are not practical. The new adapter is less versatile than the Pro. Instead, the price is cheaper. The Pro costs $149.99, and the new one costs $99.99.

The Automatic CCA mobile app

The new adapter works with the new app called Automatic CCA. The free app is available to download at Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

About the Amazon listing of Automatic CCA (LTE)

Automatic Pro was discontinued and removed from the Amazon listing. Before the release of the new adapter, the listing has been for the Pro only for a few years. Then, the new adapter showed up on the same listing as a different variation. For a short while, the listing had two color variations. One was “Gold” indicating the Pro, and the other was “Blue” indicating the new one. Soon after that, the Gold (=Pro) was removed from the listing. So, the new adapter has taken over the listing that was once for the Pro, as well as reviews and rankings.

I can’t tell the exact timeline of a series of revisions on the listing. But, the listing with two color variations existed for a very short time. It’s not a good practice as a seller(s). It’s confusing for customers. Currently, there are several hundred reviews on the listing, but most of them describe the Pro, which no longer exists in the listing. Although those two adapters have almost the same features, the sellers should have created a new listing for the new adapter from scratch.

image of automatic cca lte amazon reviews

You can distinguish the reviews by color. Each review show which color of adapter he or she bought. If you want to read reviews for the new adapter, just read “Blue” ones. You can also filter by “Show only reviews for Color: Blue” to show reviews for the new adapter only. Unfortunately, it seems the new adapter is not reliable.

My experience with Automatic LTE so far

I bought the new adapter and plugged it into my car. It took about a week to track and record the first trip. I drive an average of two hours a day. According to the app, it may take up to 24 hours to connect. So, one week was an acceptable amount of time. However, the adapter never tracks new trips after finishing the first trip. I ask for support through the Automatic website. I only got an automated reply, but haven’t received the answer yet. (as of 8/24/2019)

Updated on 08/26/2019 – I got the response from Automatic. It basically says, Leave the adapter plugged, and I will take 24 hours to establish the connection. So, I decided to wait and see for another 24 hours.

Updated on 09/01/2019 – I have driven for about 14 hours since 08/26/2019. I open and check the app every day, and today, I noticed that the adapter was erased from the app. I was able to see the ID number of the adapter in the app last week, but it’s gone. Instead, I see “No Compatible adapters” as if I didn’t do anything with the app. I tried to add the adapter to the app but never succeeded. I sent an email to the customer support again.

Updated on 09/02/2019 – I received the response from Automatic quickly. It shows a step-by-step guide for installation, which is the same as I did many times except for “15 minutes for the adapter to update and be ready to send and receive information. No need to do anything now and be sure to NOT start or drive your vehicle.” However, the current problem is not a connection to the LTE network, but I can’t even add the adapter to the app. It’s probably defective. So, I returned it and asked for a replacement.

Updated on 09/12/2019 – While I was waiting for the replacement, I connected back Automatic Pro adapter. I don’t know why, but the adapter was removed from the app. So, I reinstalled and started working right away. The Pro adapter is very reliable.

Then I received the replacement and tried to add the new adapter to the CCA app. Strangely, the app showed the adapter, which I returned because I was never able to add to the app. I don’t know how to remove the adapter from the app, but I added the new adapter to the app, anyway. It was successful, but a few weeks past, it hasn’t connected to the LTE network.

For removing the adapter from the app, contact the customer support, and they will do it remotely. The new adapter never works, but I will keep it for reviewing purpose. Customer support responds quickly all the time. At least, that’s a good thing.

Conclusion

The new Automatic adapter uses the LTE network. Just like the Pro, you don’t need to have a smartphone all the time to track and record your trips. The new adapter uses the new mobile app called Automatic CCA. The new adapter lacks compatibility with the OBD Fusion app, which is a useful mobile app for diagnostics, live data, creating a secondary dashboard, etc. Instead, the price of the new adapter is $99.99, less expensive than the Pro ($149.99). You will see many positive reviews on the Amazon listing, but most of them are mentioning the Pro adapter. There are many negative reviews for the new adapter. It seems that many customers experience a network-connecting issue with it, and so do I.

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Is it safe to use Oculus Quest while charging?

When your Oculus Quest runs out of the battery, you may be tempted to connect a charging cable and continue to play. But, is it safe to use Oculus Quest while charging?

image of oculus-quest-gaming-vr-headset

According to Oculus website, it’s not recommended, but it doesn’t say you can’t, either. Here is what it says in a support page of the website.

image of play oculus quest while charging
“You should also avoid charging your Oculus Quest while it’s in use.”

While most mobile tech gadgets include at most 3 feet of charging cable, Oculus Quest includes a very long charging cable. Its length is 10 feet. It seems it’s designed for not only charging but also being able to play at the same time.

On a thread of Reddit, account name, “midri” points out that Oculus Go is a different story because of the difference of the cooling system. While Oculus Quest has a built-in cooling fan, Oculus Go has only a heatsink, which is the front panel of the headset and passively dissipate heat into the air. Oculus Go may get overheated if you use it while charging. In fact, the Oculus website clearly states not to use Oculus Go while charging.

image of oculus go note about charing
“Note: Do not use or wear your headset while connected to the power adapter or charging.”

Besides, a charging cable of Oculus Go is only 3.3 feet long. It’s obvious it’s not intended to charge and use the headset at the same time.

So, is it safe to use Oculus Quest while charging then? Not really because you move when playing with Oculus Quest. Even if you don’t walk or run around inside the virtual boundary, surely you dodge, duck, lean, and look around when you play VR games. Or you may step on the cable. All these things give stress on the cable and the charging port of the headset, and accumulated stress will cause problems in the future. In the worst-case scenario, you trip over something and pull the cable violently, and the impact is strong enough to break the charging port in just one-time accident.

If you connect a charging cable while playing, use a magnetic adapter to protect a charging port. It consists of two pieces. One is plugged into a charging port, and the other is attached to an end of a charging cable. Built-in magnets connect two pieces together and allow to charge or transfer data. Not only does magnets make them easy to stick and stay connected together, but also easy to separate without giving stress on the cable and the port.

image of magnetic usb c adapter

There are many magnetic adapters on the market. You have to choose one with the right type of port and equivalent or better charging capability. The output power of the Oculus Quest wall charger is 5V / 3A. This narrows down to several products, and I recommend the adapter in a picture above. The adapter supports max current efficiency of 20V / 5A, and the right-angle design makes a good fit to the headset. Switch the ends of the cable if you use this magnetic adapter. Attach a magnetic adapter to the straight end of the charging cable, and the right-angle end of the cable goes to the wall charger.

Connecting a portable battery pack to the headset won’t sacrifice the main feature of Oculus Quest, which is untethered and wireless VR experience. You can put a battery pack in your pocket or tie it on the head strap to make it perfectly wireless. Although a cable and a battery pack stay with you and the headset, there is always a chance of dropping or falling out of your pocket. Magnetic adapters protect the port from damaging in such accidents.

image of magnetic charging cable adapter

You can choose a type of magnet adapter in a picture above, which comes with a short cable with a magnetic end. Or you can buy the magnetic adapter and a short regular USB cable. Around 1-foot cable is long enough for a battery pack tied on the head strap, and around 3-foot cable is long enough for most people when a battery pack is put in a pocket.

Conclusion

Ideally, you take a rest after you use up the battery of the headset. But I understand some serious gamers can’t take it. If you play while charging, take the precaution of avoiding the worst-case scenario by using magnetic adapters.

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Philips Hue Outdoor Lighting – bring smart light to your garden, porch, backyard, etc

Philips has recently expanded its line of product designed for use in outdoor. Many new products have been released in a short period of time. So, it may be overwhelming to update your knowledge of Philips Hue products. Here is a post to sort out and explain the benefits and features of Philips Hue outdoor lighting.

image of philips hue econic outdoor lantern fixture

Fixture & Lantern

There are two types of light fixtures or lanterns from Philips Hue, one with a replaceable light bulb(s) and the other with non-replaceable LED. Econic fixtures or lanterns, Discovery Floodlight, and Welcome Floodlight come with a non-replaceable LED. Econic and Discovery are multicolor so you can change 16 millions of colors. Welcome is only white. They are very bright. Econic and Discovery & Welcome produce 1150 lumens and 2300 lumens respectively.

Inara, Lucca, and Ludere are the fixtures come with a light bulb(s). Inara and Lucca include one Philips Hue A19 White light bulb. You may change it to White Ambiance or multicolor if you prefer. Ludere includes two Philips Hue White PAR38 floodlight bulbs. An A19 White light bulb produces 840 lumens, and each White PAR38 floodlight bulb produces 1300 lumens.

Pathway & Spotlight

Calla pathway light and Lily spotlight are both multicolor light. Both of them require to connect to a wall outlet. But, one power supply connects up to 5 Callas, Lilys, or mix of them. So, you can buy only one light with a base kit including a power supply and up to four add-ons to save money. Even they are connected in line from the same power supply, you can group them separately or control them individually. Both Calla and Lily produce 600 lumens.

Lightstrip

Outdoor version of Philips Hue Lightstrip is available in two different lengths, 2m (=80 inches) or 5m (=197 inches). Unlike the indoor version, you can’t extend the length by connecting extension or cut it to fit a place, either. It’s thicker and heavier because it’s designed for outdoor use. If you mount it on ceiling or wall, you need to use included brackets and screws. A 2m Lightstrip produces 900 lumens, and a 5m Lightstrip does 1810 lumens.

image of philips hue outdoor lightstrip

Lightbulb

White PAR38 Floodlight bulb is currently the only light bulb designed for outdoor use. It’s the exact same light bulb as one included in Ludere fixture. If your existing outdoor lights are PAR38, you can just replace them with Philips Hue floodlights. That’s the easiest and the most inexpensive way to bring Smart Lighting to your porch. It’s only White, there is no White Ambient or multicolor. It produces 1300 lumens.

image of philips hue outdoor white par38 floodlight

Accessories

Philips Hue Outdoor Sensor is currently the only accessory designed for outdoor use. The sensor is powered by two AA batteries, and they are already packed in the sensor. According to the manufacturer, they will last about 2 years. It includes a mounting bracket and screws so you can place it not only on a flat surface but also a corner of a wall, pole, etc. It features 160-degree horizontal and 80-degree verticle view angle with 39 ft x 8 ft detection radius. It also has a built-in dusk-to-dawn sensor to turn on the lights only when it’s actually dark outside to save energy.

image of philips hue outdoor motion sensor

About the range of Philips Hue Bridge

Philips Hue devices connect each other with Zigbee network. Zigbee is a wireless technology, which creates a mesh network. Philips Hue Bridge only needs to communicate with the nearest light. Philips recommends placing one light within 30 feet of the bridge, and you can extend the distance up to 60 ft from the nearest one to the next one.

image of philips hue white a19 4pack

If your outdoor lights don’t respond, try adding a bulb between the Bridge and the light, and that will expand the range of the network. For example, you set up an Econic fixture on your porch but would respond. Try adding a cheap A19 White bulb in an entrance or hallway near the entrance. That may be going to establish the mesh network through the Econic fixture and work well. I guess adding a new bulb is easier than moving the hub with a WiFi extender.

Conclusion

Philips Hue lights are more expensive than regular LED lights. However, decades ago, we used to spend much more on incandescent light bulbs, which have a much shorter life and less energy-efficient. Taking this into account as well as all benefits and features, Philip Hue lights are definitely worth investing.

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How to sell used electronics on eBay

Electronics manufacturers are fueling your endless desire for new tech gadgets by releasing new products or updated version of the existing product year after year. And you are probably wondering how to squeeze money out for the next new gadget. But, the first thing you should do may be to look in a drawer. Your old and used electronics may have more value than you think. You can turn them into cash and use it for the next purchase. Selling on eBay for yourself is rewarding. Although it may take some time for your item to be sold, you can get a lot more money than the retail store’s trade-in program. Here are tips on how to sell used electronics on eBay.

image of sell used electronics

How do you know the reasonable price of used electronics?

First off, try to find a UPC or Model number from an item’s box and enter either of them in a search box on eBay. If you don’t find either of them, use the names of brand and product instead. You can narrow down the results based on capacity, RAM, size, color, etc by checking boxes on the left. You can also sort out by price. Choose “Price + Shipping: lowest first” to find out what prices are competitive and possible to be sold quickly.

image of ebay listing sort out by price

Some sellers offer free shipping, and some don’t. Shipping costs they charge vary by sellers and locations of buyers, and you can’t see them on the search result page. (You will need to click and open each listing to see the shipping cost of each seller.) So, if you have many search results, just see the prices with free shipping by checking the box “Free Shipping” on the left.

The prices you got so far are currently low. However, it’s possible that they are all too expensive for buyers. Say, all items with lower prices may have been already sold and what you are seeing in the search result is the leftover. If so, it may be difficult to sell at those prices. To find out a reasonable price, you need to see the listings that had been sold.

Unlike Amazon, eBay discloses the information of sold items. You can see the prices and when the items were sold. Check the box saying “Sold Items”, and you will see the sold listings with prices. Some prices are strike-through with a note “Best Offer Accepted”, which means the buyer has negotiated and the seller has accepted the lower price. You can’t tell the exact price but it is lower than the price with strike-through.

image of ebay find out price from sold listings

How do you know how much it costs for shipping?

Whether you offer free shipping or not, you have to know how much it costs for shipping and take it into account to decide the price. If you sell electronics, I strongly suggest using a cupboard box instead of a padded envelope. USPS offers Priority mailing boxes for free. Priority mail arrives with 3 business days and includes tracking service and $50 insurance. You may choose either flat rate box or box by weight depending on the item’s size and weight.

image of ebay shipping calculator

If you don’t have a scale, check this scale. I have been using the exact same one for over 5 years and never break. Since the display is separate, it’s good to weigh large boxes.

image of shipping weight scale for ebay fba selling

eBay has a built-in shipping calculator. You will see and use it when you create a listing. Take shipping cost into account to make the price of your item. Please note that you have to have a tracking number even if your item is light and use First Class mail. Tracking is automatically added if you pay and print out shipping label through eBay. If you go to the post office and pay for shipping, make sure you add tracking service.

eBay selling fee and PayPal fee

Shipping cost is not the only fee when you sell something on eBay, but you need to pay a selling fee to eBay and PayPal. eBay fee is 10% and PayPal is 2.9% plus $0.30. There are several websites to calculate fees, shipping, and net profit altogether, I use this one, it’s free.

Tips for a listing #1: Upload many photos

Many years ago, eBay allowed the only one photo in the listing for free and charged extra fee for additional photos. Now, you can upload up to 12 photos for free. Take full advantage of it and upload 12 photos, Don’t just use a stock photo only. A stock photo is good for the sellers who sell many quantities of the same item. If you sell only one item, why don’t you show the full details of it by uploading many photos? If you sell a smartphone, take pictures of the front, back, sides, corners, and close looks. We live in a digital age. What’s so difficult to take and upload 12 photos. Many sellers are lazy and upload only a few pictures or even not a single one except for a stock photo. You can stand out these sellers by just uploading many photos.

Tips for a listing #2: Detailed description

You don’t have to describe the features and functions of the item. Potential buyers most likely already know of them. And things like capacity, RAM, size, color, etc are important but you can put them in somewhere else like titles and items specifics. What you have to describe is the details of the condition of your item. Write it down as detailed as possible. However small you think a scratch, dent or something alike is and even if you don’t mind about that, just write it down. There is no point in hiding details or fibbing about your item. Including detailed description in the listing will avoid item return and waste money for shipping back and forth.

Perform a factory reset

You will need to erase your data from your electronics. For example, if it’s a smartphone, it may contain personal data, login password, browsing history, bank account info, credit card info, pictures, and more. There is so much information inside. You don’t want them to stay in the hand of someone you don’t know.

Don’t forget to deregister a device from your account

Deregistering a device from an account is as important as doing a factory reset on a device. Many people know about a factory reset but don’t know about deregister. Without deregistering a device, both you and the new owner may experience something weird in your account or the new owner’s account. Go to a website related to your item, and you will find instruction or link somewhere in your account page. Click here to access the links of Apple, Amazon, and Android.

What’s the best time to sell used electronics?

When to sell used items? The sooner, the better. The value of electronics decreases as time goes by. Especially, when the new version has come out, the value of the older versions drop significantly. The best time is when you realize that you no longer use it. Go to eBay to start selling.

Upgrade Amazon devices with Trade-in and Limited-Time Promotions thru 09/2019

image of send old amazon kindle for trade in and promotion

The advent of technology is impressive. As time goes by, electronic development and improvement are faster and faster. Manufacturers release an updated version of their products every year. A brand new electronics you buy today will be out of date in a couple of years. Let’s say you want to upgrade your electronics. What will you do with the old one? Many retailers like Bestbuy, Staples, Target, and Walmart offer a trade-in program that you can exchange your item with store credit. Amazon has a trade-in program, too. And, they have a promotion along with the trade-in program through September 27th, 2019.

Here are Amazon’s limited-time promotions

  • Trade-in an old Kindle for Amazon gift card and 25% promotional discount towards a current-generation of Kindle E-reader purchase.
  • Trade-in an eligible tablet for Amazon gift card and 25% promotional discount towards a current-generation of Fire tablet purchase.
  • Trade-in an eligible streaming media player for $0.99 Amazon gift card and 20% promotional discount towards Fire TV Stick 4K or Fire TV Cube purchase.
  • Trade-in an eligible Echo device or Bluetooth speaker for Amazon gift card and 25% promotional discount towards a current generation of Echo device purchase.

Kindle E-reader Limited-Time Promotion

image of amazon kindle trade in and save

Let’s see the detail of each promotion. First, the promotion of Kindle E-reader would give you the biggest promotional discount of all. The newest Kindle Oasis (10th gen w/free cellular connectivity) costs $349.99. A discount will be $87.50.

In order to get a discount, you have to trade any kindle device in. The amount of Amazon gift card you get with the trade-in varies by models and conditions. The lowest amount is $5, and even non-working devices are eligible. Even if you don’t own an old Kindle E-reader now, it may be worth buying a cheap used one for this trade-in and promotion. Even a broken one is OK as long as it’s not fake.

If you look for a used one, eBay will be the best place. Please note that any version of Kindle E-reader is eligible but not Fire tablets. Earlier versions of Fire tablets are called “Kindle Fire.” They are not E-readers but Tablets and not eligible for the Kindle promotion.

image of used amazon kindle for upgrade and save

Fire Tablet Limited-Time Promotion

image of amazon fire tablet upgrade and save with trade in

The promotion of Fire Tablet also gives you a 25% discount towards a current generation of Fire tablet purchase. The most expensive item you can apply the promotional discount is Fire HD 10″ 32GB ($149.99). You have to send your old tablet for the trade-in and promotion. A trade-in value varies by models and conditions. Even non-working tablets are eligible. It’s worth noting that eligible tablets for the promotion are not limited to Amazon Fire tablets. Many other brands like Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, Google, Lenovo, Asus, and more are also eligible. If you are interested in a new Fire tablet, you may want to check if there is an unused tablet in a drawer.

Fire TV Stick 4K / Cube Limited-Time Promotion

image of amazon fire tv upgrade and save with trade in

The promotion of Fire TV Stick 4K or Fire TV Cube gives you a 20% discount towards a purchase of either item. You have to trade a streaming media play in to get the promotional discount. Eligible items are not only Amazon Fire TV devices but also Roku, Apple TV, and Google Chromecast. Interestingly, you will get a flat trade-in value of $0.99 regardless of model and condition.

Echo device Limited-Time Promotion

image of amazon echo device upgrade and save with trade in

The promotion of new Echo devices gives you a 25% discount towards the purchase of a current generation of Echo device. Eligible items for trade-in and promotion are not only Echo devices but also Bluetooth speakers from other brands. If you plan to purchase a new Echo device and you have unused Bluetooth speaker, you should check if it’s eligible for the promotion. Even if you don’t have an old item to send for trade-in, it may be worth buying a used item from somewhere to get a promotional discount. You can easily find a used Echo Dot 2nd gen for a cheap price on eBay.

image of buy used for amazon trade in and save upgrade

Lastly, some things to note

  • Each promotion is limited to one per customer and account
  • You have 14 days to send out your item for a trade-in
  • The promotions are available through September 27th, 2019
  • The promotional discount will expire on November 30th, 2019

Visit the Amazon Trade-In page to see full details of the Trade-in program and promotion. If you already have a product in mind, go to the amazon listing page of that product, and click “Upgrade and save with Trade-in” on an upper right-hand corner to start.

image of amazon upgrade and save with trade-in

Amazon Trade-in Program to exchange your old electronics with Amazon gift card

Amazon Trade-In Program is that you can exchange your old electronics with an Amazon gift card. Various items are eligible. Most of them are electronics but there are many videos games, books, and more. You can check if your item is eligible for the trade-in by clicking this link, scrolling down, and click “+, Find more item.” A window with a search box will pop up. Enter the name of your item to see if it’s eligible.

image of amazon trade in program
image of see if your item is eligible for amazon trade in program

Although it’s described that your item will be exchanged with Amazon gift card, Amazon doesn’t send a physical gift card or digital claim code. Instead, they will add the amount to a gift card balance in your Amazon account. So, you can’t sell or give it to someone else.

An item you send for the trade-in has to match the exact version of the product in the search result. After you make sure it’s the right item, you need to describe the condition of your item. It’s not bothersome or complicated at all. Just choose yes or no on some questions such as “Does the device power on?” or “Are there any damage on the screen?” A number of questions vary by items.

When you answer the questions, a trade-in value display on the window. You also need to choose to accept or return, in case Amazon determine your item is in a lower condition than you described. For example, in the picture below, you think your tablet is worth $30 in trade-in value. If you click accept here, Amazon may give you only $5, which is the lowest possible payment for this item.

image offind how much is your item worth in amazon trade in program

After your confirmation, Amazon issue a free shipping label. You need to pack it up yourself. If you want to do it later, you can access the shipping label to print out anytime in Your Trade-in page. You have 7 or 14 days (depending on items) to send the item from the day of submission.

Once amazon received the item, it will take 2 business days to issue a gift card if the item is accepted and meet the condition criteria you described. Some items are eligible for Instant Payment. You can receive the payment at the time of submission. Of course, you will have to send the item with a timeline Amazon specifies. Otherwise, Amazon will cancel the trade-in and withdraw the payment from your account.

There is a possibility that Amazon rejects the item. The reason for rejection will be seen in Your Trade-In page on your account. The item will be returned to you for free of charge.

As mentioned above, there is also a possibility that the item is eligible for the trade-in but downgrade due to the lower condition than you described. In this case, you automatically received a lower payment or have the item returned for free, whichever you chose when you submitted the trade-in.

Don’t forget to deregister items like smartphones, tablet, and smart speakers. A new owner has to register the item to his or her own account. If it’s already registered to someone else’s account, both you and the new owner may experience some issues. Here are the links for apple, android, amazon for deregistering.

Reportedly, some people experienced an issue related to the item’s condition. For example, a smartphone was sent to amazon for trade-in. The item was fully functional. But, when Amazon received and inspected it, they said it had severe damages and didn’t even meet the lowest condition criteria. He or she assumed it damaged during shipping and asked them to return it. The item was back. He or she checked the item and found out it had no damage at all. It was the same condition as one when it was sent out.

The same kind of issue may happen to your item. It may be wise to choose “Return it for free” when you send the item with the high trade-in value. If you choose “Accept the price”, you may end up receiving the lowest possible price.

If you upgrade the Amazon device, you should check if there is an extra offer. You may find the limited time offer to upgrade your Amazon device with a discount. For example, you have a deal of 25% off when you buy a current version of Amazon Kindle when you trade-in your older device. If your target is an expensive item like this one, a discount will be great. Click here to see more details.

image of upgrage your amazon device and save with trade in program

Amazon Trade-in program is reliable and fast. There is no cost for shipping, returning or any kind of fee. Be aware that the payment will be directly added to your gift card in your Amazon account. So, you can’t transfer or give it to someone else. Don’t forget to deregister from your account if you sell electronics. When you upgrade your Amazon device, you may want to check an additional offer with trade-in to get a great discount.

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Amazon Smart Display comparison – Echo Spot vs. Echo Show 5

Echo Spot ($129.99) and Echo Show 5 ($89.99) are both Amazon Alexa-enabled smart display. They are often compared with each other because of their compact designs. They are small enough to fit on a nightstand, and they double as an alarm clock when you are not using the touchscreen. Two devices offer almost the same features. But Echo Show 5 has more features, and it’s better as a smart display because it has a larger screen. Besides, it’s less expensive. Here are more details about Amazon smart display comparison, Echo Spot vs. Echo Show 5.

Display

Echo Spot has a 2.5-inch circular touchscreen with 480 x 480 resolution, and Echo Show 5 has a 5.5-inch rectangular touchscreen with 960 x 480 resolution. The display of Echo Show 5 is the average size of smartphones. On the other hand, Echo Spot display is circular. Because of the shape, each side of images or videos has to be clipped or has to be shrunk to show the full corners.

image of small screen of echo spot

Camera

Echo Spot has a VGA (640 x 480), and Echo Show 5 has 1MP front-facing camera. As compared with recent smartphones, neither of them are great. But, because of the purpose, which is mainly used for video calls and drop-in, it doesn’t need superb quality. But, the Echo Show 5’s camera is nearly 3 times better than Echo Spot’s camera.

Both devices can disable a camera and microphone in the settings. However, Echo Spot users complain about a camera is alway facing to your bedroom, and it’s not comfortable despite the setting. Amazon responded to this complaint by adding a physical camera shutter on a new device (=Echo Show 5.) It’s plain and simple but it gives you a feel of more security and privacy.

image of amazon echo show 5 camera shutter

Speaker

Both devices have only one speaker. Echo Spot is 2W, and Echo Show 5 is 4W. The Echo Show 5’s speaker is twice as powerful as the Echo Spot’s speaker. Echo Show 5 has an advantage in the performance of music and video streaming.

Alarm Clock

A new device, Echo Show 5 has been added some features for an alarm clock which are not available with an old device, Echo Spot. When an alarm goes off, you can snooze by hitting on the top of the device. The shock sensor is built-in to detect you hit. Unlike traditional alarm clocks, there is no physical snooze button. I guess it will become the standard for “smart” alarm clock. The sunrise alarm is another feature. It makes a display lighten up gradually toward the alarm time. It will help you wake up smoothly.

Does Echo Spot have an advantage?

Before the conclusion, let’s think what’s better on Echo Spot than Echo Show 5. Echo Spot looks cute. Analog face clocks suit well in a circular display. If you don’t use much of music and video streaming, some people would prefer its overall design. However, the price doesn’t justify the disadvantages of Echo Spot. Echo Spot was released nearly two years earlier than Echo Show 5. But, its price hasn’t dropped yet. I can’t see why you should spend more to get the older and less powerful device.

image of amazon echo spot clock face

Conclusion

Obviously, Echo Show 5 is better than Echo Spot. It has a larger screen but it’s still compact to fit on a nightstand. It has a more powerful speaker and a better camera with a physical shutter to cover the lens for your privacy. Above all, it is $40 less expensive than Echo Spot. If you try to choose one between two devices, you should go with Echo Show 5. If you already own Echo Spot, it may be worth to upgrade to Echo Show 5 as well. Click to see the latest price of Echo Show 5 and Echo Spot.

image of amazon echo show 5 smart display
ProductEcho Show (2nd)Echo SpotEcho Show 5
Dimension9.7” x 6.9” x 4.2”4.1" x 3.6" x 3.8"5.8" x 3.4" x 2.9"
Weight62.2 oz14.8 oz14,5 oz
Screen Size10.1" (Rectangular)2.5" (Circular)
5.5" (Rectangular)
Resolution1280 x 800480 x 480960 x 480
Speaker Size2" (Dual)1.4" (Single)1.65" (Single)
Speaker Power10W2W4W
Camera5 MPVGA (640 x 480)1 MP
Physical Camera ShutterNNY
3.5mm Audio OutputNYY
Built-in Zigbee Smart Home HubYNN
Price$229.99*$129.99*$89.99*

*Click to see the latest price at Amazon.com

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Official YouTube app is back on Amazon Fire TV devices

The official YouTube app has returned on Fire TV streaming media players and Fire TV Edition smart TVs. Due to the battle between Amazon and Google, YouTube was not directly available on Fire TV devices. During the time of absence of the official YouTube app, there is a workaround to watch YouTube videos through the Silk or Firefox browser. The workaround was satisfactory. However, it’s better to use the official app than a web browser because you can use voice commands.

image of youtube is back on fire tv

Just watching YouTube videos doesn’t make much difference whether it’s on the official app or on the browser. But, on the official app, you can use various voice commands and searches.

Once you download and install the YouTube app, you can open the app by pressing down the voice button on the remote and saying, “Open YouTube.” After launching YouTube, you can look for videos by voice search. For examples, you can say “Play cats video” or “Find recipes for shrimp salad” without saying a word “YouTube.” You can also control videos such as pause, resume, skip, rewind, fast-forward with your voice.

Conversely, Amazon Prime Video is now available on Chromecast-enabled TVs. But, at the time of writing, I can’t find the “Cast” button on the Prime Video mobile app. I guess they will update the app and be able to available later.

In the meantime, there is also a workaround for Chromecast-enabled TV to play Prime Videos. It doesn’t work with a smartphone. You need a Chrome desktop browser. Open Chome and click 3-dot on the top right-hand corner. find “Cast” from the dropdown and click. A small popup window appears and shows available Chromecast devices. Choose one and click. Now, whatever you see on the desktop browser is shown on TV, too. Start the Prime Video on the browser, and you will see it playing on TV. Unlike Cast-compatible apps like YouTube, Hulu, or Netflix, this workaround method is a mirroring. You have to keep the browser open and let it play. If you close, it will shut down on TV, too.

The battle between Amazon and Google

The battles started several years ago. In 2015, Amazon removed Apple TV and Google Chromecast from its online store due to incompatibility with Prime Video streaming service on these devices. In 2017, Amazon Echo Show was released, but soon after that, Google pulled YouTube from Echo Show because “implementation of YouTube on the Echo Show violates our terms of service, creating a broken user experience.” Then, Google-owned Nest Products disappeared from Amazon online store. Later, YouTube had returned on Echo Show for a short while, but Google pulled it again, not only from Echo Show but also from Fire TV devices. Since then, there had been no YouTube app on Echo Show or Fire TV devices. To watch YouTube videos, you had to open a web browser and go to YouTube.com.

image of youtube is back on fire tv

The image above was taken when I tried to open the workaround app, which is actually a bookmark on the Silk browser. Fire TV says it will be removed in the coming weeks. I hope the official YouTube app will stay forever. And I hope YouTube to return on Echo Show as well.

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