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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Lenovo Smart Clock review -the alarm clock with Google Assistant

Lenovo Smart Clock ($79.99) is an alarm clock with a 4-inch touchscreen and Google Assitant. Although it has a display, it’s not a smart display such as Lenovo Smart Display, Google Nest Hub, or Amazon Echo Show. It can’t play videos or show maps. It has many features for an alarm clock, but not many features as a smart display.

image of lenovo smart clock

Design

Lenovo Smart Clock has a 4-inch touchscreen. There is no camera. The back case is covered by a light grey fabric. It looks like a small version of the Amazon Echo Show.

There are volume +/- buttons on the top, a charging port, a microphone on/off switch, and USB-A port on the back. You can charge your mobile device through the USB-A port. However, the output of the port is only 2.5W (5V/0.5A). So, don’t expect to charge your smartphone rapidly.

Overall, it’s a simple yet modern design. It’s small to fit anywhere like nightstand and side table.

Features

As an alarm clock, Lenovo Smart Clock has many features. You can choose a clock face from various designs, and each design can be customized with different colors. When an alarm goes off, hitting on the top is the same function as a snooze button. The buttons to snooze and dismiss will appear on the display so you can tap the snooze button instead of hitting on the top. Sunrise alarm feature makes the display lighten up gradually toward the alarm time. It will help you ease to wake up in the morning.

Google Assistant is built-in Lenovo Smart Clock. You can use it as a Google Home smart speaker. You can ask questions, play music, control smart home devices, set timers and alarms, and more.

You can play music from YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, and Pandora. The speaker is not very good quality, but it would be adequate to play news, podcasts, or relaxing sounds and sleeping music. When you play music, the display has playback buttons. It can also show album arts but no lyrics.

You can check coming up today’s event that you have entered on Google Calendar on other devices. You can ask the weather or just tap the weather icon with a temperature on the home screen to let it show the detail on the display. The weather is the only thing you can see the details on it. When you ask direction, Google Assistant answers with an estimated time of arrival but no maps or step by step directions. No lyrics with music. When you ask questions, Google Assistant AI answers but it doesn’t show the words AI or you are saying.

There is no camera to make video calls. You can’t even see your picture on it. The only video you can watch is a live feed from Nest cameras added to the Google Home app of the same account.

Sound

Lenovo Smart Clock has a single 3W 33mm speaker. For comparison, Google Home Mini has 40mm, Amazon Echo Show 5 has 4W 42mm. There is no audio jack to use your external speaker. And, you can’t use the smart clock as a Bluetooth speaker, either. You can cast to Chromecast-enabled devices from the smart clock, but I don’t think it’s useful at all. If you want to use Chromecast-enabled devices, you can just start casting to them from the Google Home app on your smartphone. If you play music a lot, it’s not the right device.

Pros

  • Customizable clock faces
  • Tapping on the top to snooze
  • Sunrise alarm
  • Google Assistant built-in
  • Good speaker for an alarm clock

Cons

  • No video features except for Nest camera’s live feed
  • No camera
  • Bad speaker for playing music
  • Expensive for an alarm clock

Conclusion

Simply put, Lenovo Smart Clock is an alarm clock with Google Assistant smart speaker. It has a nice and sophisticated look for an alarm clock. It does have nice features for an alarm clock. However, the 4-inch touchscreen display is a waste because of a lack of video features. If the price is less, I want this and put it on a nightstand. The price of $79.99 is too expensive for overall features. Click here to see the latest price.

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Amazon Echo Show 5 review – Alexa-enabled smart display

Amazon Echo Show 5 is an Alexa-enabled smart display. “5” of the name is after the size of a display. It has a 5.5-inch touchscreen. A physical shutter to cover the lens of the camera is simple yet effective. It fits in many places like a shelf, desk, side table, nightstand, and more. It’s like a digital alarm clock with fancy features. The price of $89.99 is very attractive.

image of amazon echo show 5

Price

First things first, the most attractive thing about a new addition of Amazon Echo device is the price. It is $89.99 which is less than half the price of the second generation of Echo Show ($229) or even less than Echo Spot ($129).

Design

The design of Echo Show 5 is the same as the 2nd Echo Show. It’s just smaller. It has a 5.5-inch touchscreen on the front that is around an average size of smartphones’ display. The back case is covered by the fabric. It’s available for two different colors: Charcoal and Sandstone.

image of amazon echo show 5 camera shutter

On the top, there are volume up, volume down, and microphone on/off buttons. A front face camera is on the top right corner. The camera can be closed by a physical shutter on the top. It’s simple but it’s effective to your mind by giving you more security of your privacy.

On the back, there is a charging port, 3.5mm audio output, and micro USB. The purpose of the micro USB port is unknown. Some say it’s for a wired network connection, but not confirmed.

Features

The features of Echo Show 5 is almost the same as the 2nd Echo Show. You can watch videos, play music with lyrics, video call, control smart home devices, view security camera, drop-in, etc. In addition to these features, it has the features as an alarm clock. You can choose from several fun clock face designs. When an alarm goes off, hitting on the top will be the same function as a snooze button. Ambient sunrise lighting feature makes it gradually light up prior to the set time that will help you wake up smoothly. however, somehow you can use this feature between 4 am to 9 am. it’s very strange.

image of amazon echo show 5 video feature

As compared with the 2nd Echo Show, what is missing is the built-in smart home hub which connects ZigBee lights and switches without a manufacturer’s hub. Of course, if you have a manufacturer’s hub or WiFi lighting or switch which originally don’t require a hub, you can control them with your voice via Echo Show 5.

Sound

Echo Show 5 has a single 1.65-inch 4W speaker, while the 2nd Echo Show has two 2-inch 10W speakers. The speaker is good enough for playing podcasts, radios, or chatting. But, it’s not room-filling. When you play the music, you may want to connect your external speakers via 3.5mm audio output.

Other smart displays to consider

Lenovo Smart Clock ($79.99) is 4-inch touchscreen smart display. It uses the Google Assistant. But it lacks a camera and internet browser. Google Nest Hub ($129.99) is another smart display with Gooogle Assistant. It has a 7.7-inch touchscreen. It has much better speakers with a lot of features. But it also lacks a camera, and it’s more expensive.

If you already invest in Amazon Alexa’s ecosystem, you probably want to choose one in Amazon’s Alexa devices. What about Echo Spot? Echo Spot has the same concept as Echo Show 5. It’s small and more like an alarm clock with smart home features. As long as you use Echo Spot as an alarm clock or video calls, it’s OK. But, for other things like watching videos, or viewing cooking recipes, Echo Spot’s display is too small. Besides, it’s more expensive than Echo Show 5.

Conclusion

If you are an Amazon Prime member or already familiar with Alexa, you may want to choose the 2nd Echo Show or Echo Show 5. Echo Show 5 is more like an alarm clock. It has alarm clock features like snoozing and sunrise lighting. Of course, you can do many other things like the 2nd Echo can do. It’s small to fit anywhere. If you don’t need a large display or room-filling speakers, Echo Show 5 would be a nice addition to anywhere in your home. Click here to see the latest price at Amazon.com.

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