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Month: January 2019

Stern Options Review

Posted on January 25, 2019  in Reviews

I am glad to offer a Stern Options Review– Everything from their world-class trading platform to their expert customer service system is what makes Stern Options a one-of-a-kind trading site. Trading with Stern is professional yet simple, meaning that any trader (regardless of skill or experience) can thrive here and feel like they’re being supported and cared for at all times.

I’ve used a variety of different trading sites in the past, and Stern Options has now become my go-to site when I want a seamless and hassle-free trading experience. I’ve recommended it to anyone who asks me which site I would suggest using, and I’d recommend it to you too.

If you consider yourself to be a serious trader or if you’re a newcomer wishing to test the waters, you will never look back once you begin trading with Stern. To find out more about why I love this site so much, carry on reading!

First Impressions

When I first came across Stern Options, it immediately portrayed an essence of professionality combined with approachability. I wasn’t intimidated by this site at all, but I still got the sense that they were serious about what they do and provide a world-class service.

Upon exploring all the different pages Stern has to offer, I found their FAQ page to be most helpful. Answering all the burning questions any legitimate trader would have on everything from banking to contact hours, this site really came across as going the extra mile to ensure their clients are happy and secure at all times.

In fact, to find out even more and test the waters of the service myself, I even made a quick call to their customer service team to enquire about their trading platform and whether there was anything else they could tell me. First impression wise, the person I spoke to was expertly professional and couldn’t do enough to help me, whilst being happy to answer any questions I had which was a great aspect to see.

Stern Options Review Pros

As well as their excellent customer service support that immediately came across to me upon discovering the site, I also began to realise that trading with Stern is an option for any trader regardless of experience or previous knowledge.
I checked out their educational resources, and it became clear that they put a huge amount of time and dedication into improving the knowledge of new traders, as well as personally coaching them into becoming experts.

I thought this was a great asset to the site as, when I look back to when I was new to the Binary Options trading world, the thought of branching out to a trading site and making my first ever trade was quite intimidating and scary. If I’d had the resources Stern Options have to offer (completely free if you create an account!), it would have put my mind at ease and really helped me along my trading journey.

I also really like how they require numerous forms of documentation and ID for verification purposes. Whilst this is common on a lot of trading sites, Stern give you step-by-step instructions on how to present your documents to ensure you get it right the first time round. This saves a lot of time and verifies your account much quicker in the long-run. It also gives clients peace of mind that, once verified, their account will be 100% secure and free from compromise – an absolute essential in the world of trading.

Cons

As I’ve been consistently impressed with my entire experience with Stern Options, it’s hard to come up with any negatives for my Stern Options review. However, when I look back to when I first created my account, I do remember that my first withdrawal took a lot longer than average to process. But, after contacting their team, I was told that it’s relatively common for the first withdrawal from a new account to take longer, and all my subsequent withdrawals since then have been swift and problem-free.

Conclusions for my Stern Options Review

Overall, trading with Stern will offer you an experience like no other. Providing exceptional care towards the welfare and satisfaction of their clients, the service and trading options they provide are second-to-none, and I would highly recommend this site to anyone!

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Month: January 2019

GIANT INFLATABLE WATERSLIDE – Unique Gift Ideas For Kids

Posted on January 25, 2019  in Home & Garden

Up next in Stay-At-Home Dad Reviews quest to help you find unique gift ideas for kids is an…

INFLATABLE WATERSLIDE

Previously we’ve talked about camping at the lake and playing ladderball with the family in B.C. and in upcoming reviews we’ll be looking at some more toys we take to our own community lake.

But if you can’t get to a lake on a regular basis then what do you do?

The answer: BUY A GIANT INFLATABLE WATERSLIDE!!!

Every child would want the thrill of the waterslides right in their own backyard to enjoy whenever they wanted to. Set up a giant inflatable waterslide, and you’ll definitely be in line for a new World Greatest Dad coffee mug!

My Aunt has one, and set it up one afternoon in her backyard. My daughter, her cousin, and neighbouring kids were bouncing around and sliding down it all afternoon long non-stop. They were disappointed when they had to stop playing because dinner time rolled around. So much laughter and fun all around by the children.

Not once did anyone say they were bored or that they wanted to do something else. It’s pretty impressive to see that for a group of that many children in differing age ranges.

Here’s the pictures of my daughter enjoying playing all afternoon:

 


 

Bonzai is known as the best company for making giant inflatable waterslides. In fact the Original Banzai Falls Water Slide was a 2006 finalist for the TOTY Award (Toy Of The Year).They’ve also been featured on Good Morning America, Live with Regis and Kelly, The Late Show with David Letterman, Ellen, and The View.

So if you’re looking for unique gift ideas for kids, Bonzai has over 20 water slides available in different shapes and sizes, so you’ll definitely be able to find one the child would like and within your price range.

 


THE DADDY/DAUGHTER OFFICIAL THOUGHTS ON THE GIANT INFLATABLE WATERSLIDE:

 

DAUGHTERS REVIEW: “This was such a fun day. You can jump, and bounce, and dive, and slide, and chill in the pool. I want to play on this all of the time!”

DADS REVIEW: I watched around 10 kids or so play on this all afternoon. They were even excited to watch it inflate with anticipation of getting to start playing. It’s pretty much a bouncy castle PLUS water! Who wouldn’t love that. I wish I ran through and slid down with them a couple of times. Spoil whoever you’re buying a gift for and buy them a giant inflatable waterslide right now…summer is almost over!”

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Month: January 2019

ELECTRIC GUITAR – Awesome Presents for Kids

Posted on January 25, 2019  in Home & Garden

It’s time to get musical as Stay-At-Home Dad Reviews continues our journey to help you find awesome presents for kids with a…

PINK ELECTRIC GUITAR

I took several months of both guitar and piano lessons when I was a kid, and now looking back, quitting them and not seeing it through is one of the bigger regrets I have. Music lessons and also the Taekwondo and Boxing lessons I only went to for a week a piece. In an alternate reality if I had just seen these things through and not quit immediately, right now I’d be a pretty awesome Elton John/Anderson Silva hybrid. But alas, instead I don’t have a musical or fighting bone in my body.

Anyway, I do have a cousin who grew up playing in various bands, first back home in high school and now in Calgary with a band that actually plays gigs here and there. And for my daughters first few Christmas’ he’d buy her real, actual instruments (apink electric guitar and a full sized keyboard). Not just kids toy ones, the real deal.

No one in my family cares about weather our house has room for whatever gift they’re buying, or if that present can’t even be used for another 5 years so we have to find room to store it until then. As long as a gift is awesome, those other parameters don’t exist. And my daughters pink electric guitar definitely qualifies as an awesome presents for kids!

So here’s a picture of my daughter the year she got the guitar for Christmas.

Versus a picture of her now, when she is finally at the age the guitar was intended for.

So yeah, this summer my daughter and I have embarked on Daddy/Daughter guitar lessons on her pink electric guitar. I found a basic beginner program online for now, just to dip our toes in the water and see if it’s something we take seriously enough to continue learning.

So far we can play the beginning five seconds of “Smoke On The Water” (as long as it’s only on one string). Haha. Real Rock ‘n’ Roll legends in the making.

My plan is for us to get decent at playing on this pink electric guitar before moving onto that keyboard I mentioned that is still sitting in my daughters closet (so expect a review of that sometime down the line). Who knows maybe one day with me tickling the ivories and her laying down face melting guitar solos we could take this show on the road! The Stay-At-Home Dad Reviews World Concert Series coming to a city near you in 2032! 

We just need to first take ten thousand more lessons AND find us a lead vocalist, and then print a ton of awesome tour t-shirts for the merchandise stands. After all of that is done, we’ll be able to hop on our own private tour bus that’ll take us on the road to fame and fortune!

THE DADDY/DAUGHTER OFFICIAL THOUGHTS ON HER ELECTRIC GUITAR:

 

DAUGHTERS REVIEW: “It’s been really fun to learn so far. Plus it’s my favourite color so the pink electric guitar looks awesome and cool.”

DADS REVIEW: “First off, her pink electric guitar looks really cool. But more importantly, for sure you should by a child a musical instrument, there’s so many things that can be learned from it: timing, rhythm, coordination, discipline, reading and writing sheet music. It’s always good to diversify a childs skill set. Plus you never know what is going to be the thing they find a passion for or natural ability at. I definitely recommend buying an awesome looking pink electric guitar like we have, or any other guitar or instrument for that matter.”

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Month: January 2019

FAVOURITE BOARD GAMES – Popular Toys for Kids

Posted on January 25, 2019  in Home & Garden

Helping you find the most popular toys for kids, Stay-At Home Dad Reviews brings you a comprehensive list of our…

FAVOURITE BOARD GAMES

I don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t playing board and card games with certain members of my family. I learned how to play Scrabble and Rummy from my Grandmother, and Risk and Crib from my Father. I spent hours and hours playing games with these two, as did my sisters.

My Grandma would let me add an ‘A’ to any word I wanted in Scrabble for the extra points, since I was young and not very good. When playing with my dad, he made up a rule that whoever lost had to be the one to clean up and put away the game. It’s a rule I’ve taken with me and use while playing my daughters favourite board games with her.

I feel very lucky that my grandma instilled a love of her favourite board games into my dad, who in turn passed that same enjoyment down to me. Now the next generation has also grown up loving their favourite board games as well, as it’s pretty much the #1 thing my daughter suggests we do during any free time we have.

To represent our love of board games, we’ve decided to feature a Top 10 List – I promise you can’t go wrong buying and playing any of these games. My Daughter and I have spent countless hours having fun and laughing together playing the ones on her Favourite Board Game List.

So without further ado…

TOP 10 – DAUGHTERS CURRENT FAVOURITE BOARD GAMES

1.JENGA – (Ages 6+) Jenga is a game of mostly patience and steadiness. Players take turns removing a block of wood from a lower level and placing it on top of the tower. As the blocks continue to be removed from the bottom, the tower becomes more and more unstable. The fun is the nervousness that starts growing with each turn awaiting the tower to come crashing down.

2.PIE FACE – (Ages 5+) Pie Face is an extremely fun but messy game. Players load whip cream onto a plastic hand, place their face on the chin rest, and crank the handle a set number of times based on your spin. At random intervals the hand surprises you by delivering a pie face! The tension that builds with each click and turn of the handle is incredible from not knowing if the next one, is the one, that will get you a face full of whip cream. You will laugh and laugh every single time someone gets a Pie Face!

3.CLUE – (Ages 8+) A classic who-done-it? style Detective Game. With six suspects, it’s the players job to move around the board asking questions to figure out who committed the crime, with what weapon, and the location it took place. Was it Professor Plum, with the Lead Pipe, in the Ballroom? A great game for learning to use logic and reasoning to come up with a plans and theories. We own and play The Simpsons Edition.

4.PAYDAY – (Ages 8+) A classic game that actually outsold Monopoly in its first year of production. The board is set up like a calendar and players must navigate through the month until reaching Payday and having to pay their bills from the month. We usually play for 3 months with the winner being whoever was able to save the most money. Kids will learn easy math and budgeting lessons while having fun. My daughter loves it, it actually is a lot more fun than it sounds – each day is a surprise, maybe you’ll win Saturday’s lottery!

5.SEQUENCE – (Ages 7+) Sequence is part board game, part card game. It’s played in teams of two and quite challenging, but very fun, exciting and easy to learn. A player plays a card from their hand by putting a chip on the game board working towards building a line of five in a row – the trick comes in your teammate sits across the table from you so you don’t know what cards they are holding. My daughter loves it because we play when her grandparents come to town (Girls vs Boys).

6.CRANIUM – (Ages 16+) That’s not a typo – Cranium is a party game listed at 16+, but it involves charades, drawing, and trivia elements. All things my daughter loves, so we let her just join up as an extra on a team and let her take turns at these things when appropriate. Very easy to keep younger kid friendly. Her favourite is when a card comes up that makes her have to draw with her eyes closed while her teammates have to guess what it is. Ends up very funny and cute.

7.UNO – (Ages 7+) This was the first slightly complicated card game my daughter learned to play. She still has a hard time having to hold all seven cards in her hand so we just set a shield up she can hide her cards behind. She gets great joy in playing any wildcards against me or getting to yell Uno. We own and play two different versions of the game – the Shopkins version, and a waterproof version for playing in her grandparents hot tub.

8.HEADBANZ – (Ages 7+) A silly game in which you place a card holder band around your head and then have to ask yes or no questions until being able to guess the item that is on the card on your head. The fun comes because everyone else playing can see your card but you can’t so some of the questions end up way off base and funny to the others playing. Makes my daughter laugh often. We have the original version and the Shopkins version (this one is harder for me to play, as I’m unfamiliar with a lot of the individual Shopkins characters…but would be great fun for two children with more knowledge in that area).

9.KERPLUNK – (Ages 5+) A classic game that’s been around since 1967 and I’ve been playing since I was a child as well. Sticks are placed in a tube and then marbles are placed on top. Each player takes turns removing a stick and hope that no marbles fall to the floor. The player that has made the least amount of marbles fall after all of them have hit wins the game. A loud, fun, game for children no doubt.

10.GUESS WHO – (Ages 5+) A another classic game where you ask yes or no questions in order to guess your opponents mystery character. A great game for younger children that makes them have to problem solve and use their detective skills. We own and play the Disney Jr. Edition that features Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Doc McStuffins.

How about a bonus five more?

The Top 5 games she used to play, and really enjoyed through the years previous. Ones that were her favourite board games at a younger age.

What’s that, you answered yes and do want five more! Perfect, well here they are, just for you!

 

TOP 5 – FAVOURITE BOARD GAMES FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN

1.CANDYLAND – (Ages 3+) Playing Candyland is pretty much every childs first board game memory isn’t it? With fun gingerbread men as game pieces and colorful drawings of locations such as Lollipop Palace and Licorice Lagoon. Every child of a certain age should own this wonderful game.

2.SPUZZLE –  (Ages 4+) Players take turns flipping cards and building little 4 piece puzzles. We own and play the Disney Princess version that features Ariel, Snow White, Aurora, Cinderella, and Rapunzel. Our favourite part of the game is when a ‘SPUZZLE’ card gets drawn from the pile, everyone playing must scream out, “SPUZZLE!!!”

3.MINNIE BLOSSOM AND BOWS BOUQUET GAME – (Ages 3+) You spin the wheel to collect items to make a beautiful bouquet for a garden party. Whoever has collected the most items in their vase at the end of the game is the winner. But watch out for those Bees! It’s a really straightforward and fun game to set-up and play with the little ones. And honestly, we still play it sometimes to this day.

4.SURPRISE SLIDES – (Ages 3+) A fun little game where you use the spinner to go to colorful spaces around the board. Some spaces have such instructions as slide, flip, or shuffle which will change up the layout of the game board making it interesting for those playing. We own and play the Sofia the First Edition.

5.OPERATION – (Ages 4+) A battery operated classic game that was first produced in 1965. Great at teaching children hand eye coordination and working on their fine motor skills, as they try to avoid that famous buzzer. We own and play a Doc McStuffins version where Doc herself is the patient and we have to try to fix her boo-boo’s.

 


 

It’s supposed to be a list for kids games, but I can’t help but share a few of my favourite games as well.

 

**Warning that some of these are not up to her age range yet, and a few are very, very adult themed. We do not play those ones together obviously. This is MY LIST of games I enjoy to play as an adult with other adults.

 

 Here we go:

TOP 5 – DADS CURRENT FAVOURITE BOARD GAMES

1.RISK – (Ages 10+) Risk is all about world domination! A strategy game for 2-6 players, Risk games have been known to easily take hours to complete. My dad taught me this game as a child and I still continue to play today with my friends. My favorite board game ever.

2.SCRABBLE – (Ages 8+) Scrabble is a classic word game that holds a sentimental place in my heart. Much of my childhood was spent playing Scrabble with my Grandmother on our family trips to see her. When she passed away, the only thing of hers I wanted as a keepsake was her Scrabble board, which still sits on the shelf with all of our other board games. Did you know? It’s currently sold in 121 Countries and is available in 29 different languages.

3.PICTIONARY – (Ages 8+) Hilarity ensues when you find out who in your family can’t draw very well. I don’t think my dad or sisters will ever forget the time I had to try and draw Dirty Dancing and after failing to make my two stick people look like they were dancing I thought more about the movie, and attempted to draw a baby in a corner…you know cause Patrick Swayze is awesome and the most famous line from the movie is “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!”. Needless to say we did not get the points, and my family was dumbfounded that I started drawing Patrick Swayze quotes.

4.CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY – (Ages 17+) DEFINITELY NOT FOR CHILDREN OF ANY AGE. But in a room of only adults, Cards Against Humanity is easily the funniest and most inappropriate game I’ve ever played with a group of friends. After all it is marketed as “A party game for horrible people”.

5.TRIVIAL PURSUIT – (Ages 12+) I’m definitely better at getting the orange pie piece (sports & leisure) in this trivia game based around general knowledge and pop culture questions. Many different variations and question packs are available. Everything from The Beatles to World of Warcraft. As a kid my dad got me a junior edition to use against him while he played with the normal more advanced one – he’d still win, he’s a smart man my father.

I also tend to lean more towards basic card games, so just pick up a deck of cards and play some of my favourite ones: Crib (rules), Rummy (rules), and Hearts (rules). Or some of her favourites: Go Fish (rules) and Crazy Eights (rules).

Unlike some of the games in my board games list above, once your child hits an age where they can understand the rules and strategy involved in these basic card games, all of them are fantastic and fun.

Well there you go, all told we listed off 20 of our different favourite board games and five basic card games that we both love to play. These games would be a great way to start your board game closet off correctly and have a ton of fun at Family Game Night.


THE DADDY/DAUGHTER OFFICIAL THOUGHTS ON BOARD GAMES:

DAUGHTERS REVIEW: “They’re fun to play with family. It’s exciting when you win. Even when me and Daddy can’t think of something else to do we play our favourite board games because we know it’ll be fun – even when I lose and have to put the game away.”

DADS REVIEW: “I can’t think of a time in my life before playing all of my favourite board games. I also think they’re actually a great learning tool for children – it teaches them to follow instructions/rules, fair game play, and sportsmanship, both in how to handle winning and losing the right way. Plus the great bonding time you share with those you’re playing with. Strongest recommendation to grab one out of your closet, or purchase your favourite board games and start playing right away!”

 

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Month: January 2019

JUNIOR GOLF CLUBS – Best Presents for Kids

Posted on January 25, 2019  in Home & Garden

Here at Stay-At-Home Dad Reviews we feel getting active, exercising, and sports activities are crucial to a young girls well being. That’s what makes a present from this review one of the best presents for kids.

JUNIOR GOLF CLUBS

My daughter likes to play quite a few sports actually, but the new one she picked up this summer was golfing. 

My parents had bought her a great set of US KIDS Junior Golf Clubs when she was a toddler, as my Dad is an avid golfer and wanted to be the one to buy my daughter her 1st set. The clubs were beautiful and the bag was very cute, all pink and black. Because they are one of the best presents for kids of either gender, they also bought sets of boy Junior Golf Clubs for my nephews when they got that age as well. 

But we had never taken her out to use them until this year when I took her to a driving range for the first time on Fathers Day Morning. 

When we got there, filled our buckets, and were ready to start swinging, it became painfully obvious that she had outgrown the size of Junior Golf Clubs she was trying to use by a couple of years. Luckily the golf pro that was there brought a properly sized Driver over and asked if she’d like to use it. Once she got a suitable sized club in her hand she took to it like a natural. Balls were flying off the tee box. Such a great Fathers Day.

Following that my daughter had some birthday money left and she decided without hesitation that the birthday money was going to a new, proper set of Junior Golf Clubs. So we went and spent an afternoon shopping for her new set. She ended up picking the RAM G FORCE Junior Golf Clubs. I’m surprised she went with the blue colored set, when there were pink options available. Haha.

Following that, the first time she went out on an actual course it was with me and both of her grandparents (my mom and dad). And she was excited because she could now show off her brand new set of clubs she had just bought.

It’s began to create some real nice family memories this past summer. She’s been out playing a handful of other times this summer with her grandparents as well. And another time when we were camping with family in BC, me and my cousin took her out as well.

This time before hand, I said to my daughter that if she wanted to come with us that she had to be out of bed and ready to go super early because the plan was to leave, go golfing, and comeback before any of the other kids had gotten up so we could make breakfast. She said that absolutely she was coming 100%, we even did our daddy-daughter secret handshake where she promised to get up that early. So me, my daughter, and cousin started the day off right – getting up at sunrise to hit the links! My daughter loved it once again.  

Scary thing is that she’s improving rapidly every single time. And she LOVES to play. Think I might have the next Annika Sorenstam on my hands. (Fingers Crossed)

Junior Golf Clubs typically come with three to five clubs – her set has a Driver, a Hybrid, a 7-Iron, a Wedge, and a Putter. A Golf Bag usually comes included with Junior Golf Clubs as well. Keep in mind though, that just because you’ve bought a bag with some clubs in it, you’re not quite done shopping yet. You still need: tees (my daughter likes the pink ones), you need balls (again my daughter likes the pink ones), a golf glove, (my daughters is just white), and golf shoes (those we have not yet purchased for her but will soon).


THE DADDY/DAUGHTER OFFICIAL THOUGHTS ON JUNIOR GOLF CLUBS:

DAUGHTERS REVIEW: “I got to pick my own brand new set of Junior Golf Clubs. I was so happy to buy them with my own money. I love how excited I get when I putt the ball in the hole, and one time I even hit it all the way to the green on my first shot with my Driver!”

DADS REVIEW: I love golfing and wished I was able to do more of it. Maybe my daughter enjoying it will give me the motivation to do it more often again, on a more regular basis. So, yeah, definitely buy your children a set of Junior Golf Clubs. A family day at the course sounds like a perfect Saturday to me.”

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Month: January 2019

MONSTER HIGH PLAYSET – Top Presents for Girls

Posted on January 25, 2019  in Home & Garden

Monster High is one of the most popular brands among young girls, so it’s an easy recommendation for Stay-At-Home Dad Reviews to say this is high up the list of top presents for girls.

My daughter had asked Santa for this Monster High Playset for Christmas, so we just had to cross our fingers that she made the nice list for the year and Jolly Old St. Nicholas would come through and deliver it to her Christmas morning. She’s a great kid, so I had a suspicion that she would make the list with ease and everything should work out fine.

But man, was she excited when she awoke Christmas morning to find she got the Monster High Playset she had been hoping for.

After opening presents Christmas morning, we actually leave one set of grandparents’ house to make the 2.5 hour drive back to Calgary to enjoy Christmas Dinner and presents with the other set of grandparents on Christmas night. It’s a tiring and hectic day, so we don’t have a chance that day to build or play with very many of the toys we’ve received.

My dad is an early riser though and loves to put together the kids presents, so I wasn’t surprised by the time I rolled out of bed Boxing Day morning that the Monster High Playset was already built and my daughter was happily playing with it in our living room. What did surprise me was the size of it though (Dimensions: 17 x 26 x 16 in.). That is one BIG Monster High Playset sitting in my living room! Still there to this day as a matter of fact, I was expecting it to be half the size.

As you can see in this picture it pretty much takes up the front of our fireplace and nearly touches the TV that hangs above it. I find that kind of awesome for some reason.

Monster High is a wildly popular fashion doll franchise created by Mattel. If you can think of it, they probably make a Monster High version of it: Movies, Dolls, Accessories, MegaBloks, Clothing, Video Games, School Supplies, Books, and on and on. And my daughter owns a ton of other Monster High stuff to go along with this Monster High Playset.

With its popularity, you can’t go wrong by purchasing anything Monster High for a girl around the 7-year-old age range. It’s a safe bet that they will enjoy the gift.

THE DADDY/DAUGHTER OFFICIAL THOUGHTS ON MONSTER HIGH FREAKY FUSION CATACOMBS PLAYSET :

DAUGHTERS REVIEW: “I wanted it for Christmas because it looked really really cool in the box at the store. I love it, it has lots and lots of room for lots and lots of dolls to live and play in. There’s an awesome dragon on it that twists and turns and it’s such a great hiding spot when my dolls play hide and seek.”

DADS REVIEW: “If you’re looking for a Monster High Playset this size, I’d definitely recommend it. She’s still been playing with it every day since she got it nearly a year ago. Her and her dolls aren’t gentle with it either, so it’s proven to be very durable. And it definitely has a different and unique look to it compared to other run of the mill doll houses. Plus with how popular Monster High is for this age demographic, this Monster High Playset is definitely a top presents for girls idea.”

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Month: January 2019

PLAYING LADDER BALL – Fun Outdoor Games for Families

Posted on January 25, 2019  in Home & Garden

In trying to review things that will keep a young girl active and be fun for the whole family, Stay-At-Home Dad Reviews has no problems calling this one of the most fun outdoor games for families.

Playing ladder ball has been a family favourite of ours for probably 15 years now. As you’ll see through many upcoming reviews/posts on this site our extended family is big into the outdoors. We camp every summer, all summer out at Kookanusa Lake in B.C. Grandma, Parents, Sisters, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins – everybody…every weekend.

And we all like to pass the time by playing games – card games, board games, activity games you name it. Check out our Favourite Board Games review for some Top 10 lists of our favourites.

Playing ladder ball is by far the most popular among everyone when out at the lake. To the point where my uncle and dad just built a permanent one between my uncles and my grandmas trailers.

This summer my daughter is at the age where she finally got the playing ladder ball addiction the rest of us have, and needed one for our place back home in Calgary as well. Of course I was all over that and purchased one ASAP. The best gifts are the ones she thinks are a present for her but really I’m just buying it for me. Haha!

With all of this extra practice, she’s going to be tough to beat at playing ladder ball when we go back out to the lake with the rest of the family now!

Playing ladder ball is similar in nature to playing bean bag toss or even playing bocce. It some times gets called Ladder Toss or even Golf Toss because of the use of heavier golf balls on string as opposed to the lighter bolas.

Best suited for 2-4 players at a time and great for building tournaments around with multiple two person teams.

A full layout of the rules can be found here.

They vary in price anywhere from $40 – $175. There’s even awesome NFL Licensed ones! You can buy sturdy metal ones, ones made from PVC pipe or plastic ones. Even fold-able ones so the weight would vary accordingly. The average dimensions are approximately 22 x 22 x 38 inches.

THE DADDY/DAUGHTER OFFICIAL THOUGHTS ON PLAYING LADDERBALL:

DAUGHTERS REVIEW: “I think its a really good fun game. Nice to play with people like your friends and family. Playing ladder ball takes lots of practice but if you keep playing you can get really good.”

DADS REVIEW: “So many family memories have been built on the back of playing ladder ball with my dad, uncles, and even grandma. Absolutely buy one for your family.”

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Month: January 2019

Snow Blower Reviews – Best Snow Blowers 2019

Posted on January 25, 2019  in Home & Garden

Snow is a nature phenomenon common in many places all around the world. As beautiful and relaxing as it may be to look at, snow can also be a nuisance from time to time as it can cover driveways, paths that you walk on and just about any other outdoor spaces that you would like to keep out of the reach of snow. While there is no way to actually stop snow from falling, there is a solution available which can be used for clearing snow from a certain spaces quick and easy, without the need of putting in long hours and using a shovel which can be consider uncomfortable.

Due to the fact that snow blowers are both cost effective and time saving, more and more people choose to make the investment needed in order to purchase one. Here, our job is to get our professional staff to review the most famous snow blowers in order to be able to make the best recommendations when it comes down to actually purchasing one. Getting professional help is a crucial factor that is needed in order to make the right choice, as there are a wide variety of aspects to keep in mind.

It is important to remember that there are hundreds of models of these devices available on the market and choosing the right one may be considered a difficult task in the case that you’re not very familiar with them or haven’t used one before. There are also certain types of snow blowers, including electric, single-stage gas and two-stage gas snow blowers, each designed for a common field of work, but for different needs.

Here, you’ll be able to find a wide array of reviews aimed at providing you with the information needed in order to help and guide you through the process of finding out how much power you’ll want your snow blower to have along with picking the right model which is most suited to your current preferences.

The reviews that we have featured on our website include some of the best snow blowers on the market and each is designed in such a way to provide users with all of the information needed in order to compare certain snow blowers and decide upon other aspects which are related to purchasing one. By reading the reviews that are posted on our website, not only will a person’s knowledge on this topic improve noticeably, but chances are sure that they will also be capable of making the best choice and purchasing a snow blower that can be used for a long period of time and without any issues.

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Month: January 2019

Snow Joe iON18SB Ion Cordless Single Stage Brushless Snow Blower with Rechargeable Ecosharp 40-volt Lithium-Ion Battery Review

Posted on January 25, 2019  in Home & Garden

Summary: The Snow Joe is a very useful small snow thrower. Thanks to the features and facts related to its performance that have been outlined above, it makes up for one of the best rated snow blowers. With a good price and great overall quality, anyone who is willing to spend less time clearing out snow by hand can purchase this device and see how cleaning snow can become a much easier job.

The Snow Joe is a cordless snow blower that replaces the cord with an Eco Sharp Technology with 40volts, 4.0 Ah rechargeable iron battery that provides up to 50 minutes of quiet run-time. The fact that it is cordless is a big plus and according to the snow blower reviews, this is both very useful and does not influence the performance. It works very well on 6 inches of snow and can work on thicker layers of it as well, but it does require a few more passes. Other useful features that people love include the fact that it doesn’t require gas, so the Snow Joe won’t smell of fumes and it doesn’t have any carbon emissions.

Ease of use

As easy as using a lawn mower. The Snow Joe is one of the best snow blowers out there, according to the reviews. It’s very easy to put together, and the fact that it doesn’t need a cord to charge itself is very useful. The battery lasts for about 45 – 50 minutes, the estimated time that it takes for a person to blow all the snow from the driveway. The Snow Joe is quiet and easy to figure out how it works and the electric switch that moves the chute is a bonus.

In regards to the actual ease of use, it only requires the push of a button in order to start running and a pair of hands to guide it around in order to allow the machine to do its job by clearing out the snow in certain areas.

Performance

Small, but gets the job done. The Snow Joe is a small snow thrower, but looks can be deceiving. Although small and cordless, the Snow Joe can deal with snow of up to 4-5 inches, but it does the job on thicker layers of snow of up to 10 inches with several more passes. However, the downside is that it does not scrape the ice. According to the reviewers, the battery is charged quite easily and it can last up to 45 minutes, although if the customer uses the special features on it, the lasting time will be shorter.

For use during the nighttime, the Snow Joe has 3 watt LED lights that provide visibility, thus ensuring that users can also clear their driveways or pavement from snow in during the night.

Durability

Long life span. The Snow Joe can be considered a very useful, small snow blower, which can also last for a long time. Although it comes without a cord and instead uses a battery to power itself up, the Snow Joe is a durable machine. Some reports referring to the fact that this model doesn’t work well in slush have been made, but this shouldn’t be considered something bad, as a few passes will make sure that everything will be alright and the machine cannot be damaged by slush or harder snow.

Advantages:

  1. The Snow Joe is cordless, so tripping over cords cannot occur.
  2. It’s lightweight, so it’s easy to move around and use it.
  3. The battery lasts for 45-50 minutes.

Conclusion

The Snow Joe is a very useful small snow thrower. Thanks to the features and facts related to its performance that have been outlined above, it makes up for one of the best rated snow blowers. With a good price and great overall quality, anyone who is willing to spend less time clearing out snow by hand can purchase this device and see how cleaning snow can become a much easier job.

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Month: January 2019

Snow Joe SJ621 18-Inch 13.5-Amp Electric Snow Thrower With Headlight Review

Posted on January 25, 2019  in Home & Garden

Summary: This Snow Joe is a lightweight, small electrical snow blower that works perfectly in snow of up to 6 inches. The features it offers together with the great user response it has received ever since this particular model of the Snow Joe blower was introduced on the market makes it one of the best rated snow blowers out there.

This particular model of Snow Joe is designed to handle lots of snow that fell in large driveways. It can move up to 650 pounds of snow per minute, which make it ideal for large driveways and heavy snowfalls. This top rated snow blower cuts 18 inches wide and 10 inches deep into the snow and the blades efficiently clean all the snow down to the pavement. This model of the Snow Joe is an electrical snow blower, which means that besides the fact that it doesn’t require any gas, it doesn’t leave fumes which are known to be a strong pollutant as well As the name suggests, this electrical snow thrower has a headlight which is perfect for the winter nights or winter mornings, before the sun begins to shine.

Ease of use

This Snow Joe model requires little work to be put into it, as it moves on its own and does not require the customer to push it. It starts with a push button on the handle which instantly starts the snow thrower. The 13.5 amp electrical motor does not require any maintenance, yet is very powerful, as it can move up to 650 pounds of snow per minute. The adjustable chute is another very useful feature, as it allows the customer to control the exact direction where the snow will fall. According to the snow blower reviews, this Snow Joe is very small in size, but does a great job with wet snow. It cannot, however, handle 10 inches of snow, only about 6 inches. The headlight is very useful during the night but, as some reviewers pointed out, but it does tend to get covered in snow, so after a while of using it, the customer has to clean it.

Performance

In 6 inches of snow fall, this Snow Joe model, although small, works perfectly. However on thicker layers of snow of up to 10 inches, it tends to choke. The 13.5 amp electrical motor works perfectly in any type of weather and, according to some reviewers, it throws the snow up to 20 feet away. The adjustable chute is a bonus, since this way, the customer is able to manually direct the flow of the snow. Some electric snow blower reviews say that customers loved the light weight of this top rated snow blower, while others complained that since it is weights so little, it requires several passes to clean up ice. Other useful features include a safety button to prevent accidental starting of the snow blower and compact wheels for a better and more efficient maneuvering of the machine.

Durability

Some reviewers said that this particular Snow Joe model can last up to a few years. The Snow Joe offers those that buy this model the standard 2 year warranty.

Advantages:

–          It weighs 31.5 pounds, which makes it a bit heavier than the usual vacuum, which means it’s very easy to maneuver and move around

–          It is an electrical snow blower, so it does not require any oil changes, gas, and it does not breathe out any fumes;

–          Perfect for 6 inches of snow, starts to choke on thicker snow;

Conclusion

This Snow Joe is a lightweight, small electrical snow blower that works perfectly in snow of up to 6 inches. The features it offers together with the great user response it has received ever since this particular model of the Snow Joe blower was introduced on the market makes it one of the best rated snow blowers out there.

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Month: January 2019

Poulan Pro PR624ES 24-Inch 208cc LCT Gas Powered Two-Stage Snow Thrower With Electric Start 961920037 Review

Posted on January 25, 2019  in Home & Garden

Summary: The Poulan Pro Show is a top rated snow blower that is designed specifically for throwing away heavy layers of snow. The two stage snow removal process is very useful, as it throws away all the snow. All in all, the benefits that have been stated above make it a top rated snow blower.

The Poulan Pro Snow Thrower is one of the top rated snow throwers thanks to the quality it delivers. The shape and the design are also very interesting as the machine was built in order to be very easy to move around. It is perfect for driveways and sidewalks in residential areas. The easily acceptable control panel allows the user to control the auger, the chute, the throttle and the snow deflector. The Disco-O-Matic drive system makes sure that the snow thrower does not slip on ice and it can be maneuvered easily and effortlessly through slippery conditions. The engine is a very powerful one that removes the heaviest layers of snow, which make it one of the top snow blowers. There are many other useful features this snow thrower offer, including an electrical start, heavy duty tires that make sure it doesn’t slip and a two stage snow removal process that makes sure even the deep snow disappears.

Ease of use

The Poulan Pro Snow Thrower is one of the best snow throwers out there. According to the snow blower reviews, the power of the 208-cc OHV engine makes it very easy to remove any layer of snow, no matter how thick. This particular snow thrower is easy to use and it can be easily maneuvered. According to many snow blower reviews, since it’s quite large and heavy, it comes in a specific box to prevent scratches. The Poulan Pro Show comes with a built in control panel that is very easy to use and that manages various functions that the machine has. This panel is located behind the handle grip, which gives it easy access. It allows the user to control the speed of the machine, the chute’s direction and angle, the auger operation and it also allows the customer to simply touch a certain button in order to turn the machine on or off.

Performance

This Poulan Pro Show is designed for heavy snow layers, as it is equipped for such weather conditions. The heavy duty tires are able to operate on the hardest terrains. Through the two stage snow removal, the snow is removed easier than through the usual one stage removal most snow blowers use. This technology uses an additional auger with an impeller to improve the efficiency of the blower. The adjustable skid plate allows this top rated snow blower to be used on any surfaces like concrete, ice and dirt. The Poulan Pro Show has both a manual and an electrical start; it includes 24 inch wide coverage for light to moderate the snowfall and a 12 by 12 inch in diameter of an auger. The handle bars are attaches using four wing bolts, rather than two, as the usual snow blowers have.

Durability

This Poulan Pro Show comes with a 2 year limited warranty. This snow blower’s reviews state that it works very well on any type of weather conditions and therefore, can last for a long time.

Advantages:

–          It is perfect for higher layers of snow;

–          It works very well on any surface, concrete or dirt;

–          The two stage snow removal process makes sure that all the snow is thrown away, even the deep one;

–          The heavy duty tires make sure that the machine does not slip on ice;

Conclusion

The Poulan Pro Show is a top rated snow blower that is designed specifically for throwing away heavy layers of snow. The two stage snow removal process is very useful, as it throws away all the snow. All in all, the benefits that have been stated above make it a top rated snow blower.

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Month: January 2019

Toro 38381 18-Inch 15 Amp Electric 1800 Power Curve Snow Blower Review

Posted on January 25, 2019  in Home & Garden

Summary: The Toro snow blower is one of the best snow blowers thanks to the many features it has that allows an easy removal of snow in a very short time. All of this turns it into a device which is also comfortable to use, thus making snow clearing actually seem less hard to do and even fun. With a good price tag and high quality pieces, this model is sure to fill all your needs.

The Toro 38371 is a compact, lightweight top rated snow blower designed to move snow in an easy and quiet way. This particular model is small, compact and lightweight, as it weighs almost as much as a vacuum and therefore it’s easy to use and maneuver. The 1500 electric Power Curve snow blower has an innovative design which includes a curved rotor, and inverted funnel housing. It contains a control panel with Qwik-Key starting and intuitive controls. The motor of this particular model relies on a 12 amp electrical engine that is able to control the 25 pound machine quite well. A very useful feature is the fact that this model is an electrical snow thrower, which means that it doesn’t require any type of maintenance and it does not release any fumes. The chute can be maneuvered easily and adjusted any way the customer wants to.

Ease of use

The Toro snow blower is a very easy to use electrical snow blower. Like most electrical snow throwers, it is small and very light in weight, as it weighs only 25 pounds. This makes it very easy to be maneuvered. Also because it’s an electrical snow blower, it’s very easy to start, as it only requires the push of a button and it does not need any type of maintenance such a adding oil or dealing with gas. Although small and light, this snow blower has been named one of America’s top rated snow blower, thanks to the many features it offers, the ease through which it is controlled and moved around and because of the attractive design. This snow blower cuts through snow of up to 15 inches wide and 12 inches deep in a single pass and thanks to the powerful engine and chute, the snow is then thrown 25 feet away.

Performance

The Toro snow thrower does a great job at cleaning paths of 15 inches wide and cuts through snow 12 inches deep. The snow is then thrown away at 25 feet. The chute is adjustable, which means that the customer can simply move it in the direction where he wants the snow to be deposited. The 12 amp electrical motor can be started with the simple pressing of a button and it can throw away up to 500 pounds of snow per minute. This model is designed with a curved rotor and a funnel housing which is inverted. Although this electrical snow blower comes with a cord, in order to prevent disconnection, it also comes with a cord lock that ensures safety. This top rated snow blower moves more snow in a lower quantity time than any other snow blower, and it pretty much eliminates any chances for it to get clogged.

Durability

The Toro 38371 is a great snow blower that according to the snow blower reviews can last quite a long time. It also comes with a 2 year warranty.

Advantages:

–          It’s an electrical snow blower, so it doesn’t require any gas or maintenance and it also does not breathe out any fumes;

–          It’s fast, small and easy to maneuver;

Conclusion

The Toro snow blower is one of the best snow blowers thanks to the many features it has that allows an easy removal of snow in a very short time. All of this turns it into a device which is also comfortable to use, thus making snow clearing actually seem less hard to do and even fun. With a good price tag and high quality pieces, this model is sure to fill all your needs.

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Month: January 2019

GreenWorks 26032 12 Amp 20″ Corded Snow Thrower Review

Posted on January 25, 2019  in Home & Garden

Summary: The GreenWorks snow thrower is a very powerful snow blower, actually one of the top rated snow blowers on the market today. It brings several very useful features that make snow blowing not seem like a challenge for people anymore.

The Greenwork Corded Snow Thrower is one of the most popular snow blowers on sale at the moment. It’s one of the top rated snow blowers on Amazon and with good reason. This snow blower cleans a path of 20 inches using a 12 amp electric motor, cleaning up to 850 pounds of snow per minute and throwing it at 20 feet away. The snow blower weighs only 35 pounds, which means it’s quite light when compared to its counterparts that run on gas. Although light in weight, it can handle snow of up to 8 inches and it can clear paths of up to 20 inches. All in all, it’s a small, very popular and very useful snow thrower.

Ease of use

The Greenworks snow blower is very easy to use and although it has a cord, it also has a cord lock which holds the extension cord securely in place and thus, preventing the disconnection. The chute of the blower is easy to adjust in direction and it throws the snow up to 10 feet. This is useful, since it allows the customer to not shoot snow towards an area that he/she has already cleaned. The steel blades are steel covered with rubber and it does a great job cleaning the snow and not hurting the pavement.

Performance

The Greenworks electric snow thrower has many useful features that make cleaning the snow off the driveway a very easy process. The steel blades are covered with rubber and they can handle up to 8 inches of snow, while throwing it at almost 20 feet away. It’s very light in weight, as it only weighs 35 pounds and since it doesn’t leave any gas fumes, as its gas counterparts do, making it best snow blowers out there. However, the downside is that it doesn’t scrape off the ice as well, but for snow in general, it’s one of the best snow blowers that can be found on the market. In order to ease the snow cleaning process, the blower also has an adjustable rubber handle bar that allows the users to set the perfect height for them in order to ensure effectiveness, comfort and security. Although it comes with a cord the GreenWorks 26032 12 Amp 20″ Corded Snow Thrower[/easyazon_link] has a cord lock that prevents disconnection, which is another useful feature.

Durability

The many features it offers have been welcomed by many reviewers out there and in order to sustain the fact that it’s a durable machine; GreenWorks offers a four year warranty.

Advantages:

–          It’s light in weight and it can be easily maneuvered

–          It’s very powerful as it can throw snow at 20 feet away;

–          It has an adjustable chute, so the owner can adjust it to avoid throwing the snow to a place where he already cleaned;

–          It comes with a cord and a cord lock which prevents disconnection;

–          It comes with a four year warranty;

Conclusion

The GreenWorks snow thrower is a very powerful snow blower, actually one of the top rated snow blowers on the market today. It brings several very useful features that make snow blowing not seem like a challenge for people anymore. While some may not feel well when they think that this model doesn’t deal with ice well, it turns out that it handles snow perfectly, so if your driveway or pavement in front of your house is covered with snow only, then you have nothing to worry about as this device which is also one of the best rated snow blowers is sure to do the work needed.

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Month: January 2019

FROM APPLE IWATCH TO SAMSUNG GEAR S: THE SMARTWATCH BATTLE GETS UNDERWAY

Posted on January 25, 2019  in Smart Watch

Finally, it looks like the battle of the wearables will begin soon. It’s only been weeks since the LG and Samsung launched G Watch and Gear Live running Android Wear, and now both companies are all set to battle it out with the highly anticipated Moto 360 with newer round/curvy watches. After a string of rumours and lots of flip-flop, Apple is also expected to announce the iWatch on September 9. The list doesn’t end here; Microsoft is also prepping its smartwatch that will work with all leading OS platforms, while Asus and HTC have been hinting at foraying into the wearables segment too. All in all, we can expect an extravaganza of smartwatches over the next few months, and this holiday season could possibly be all about gifting smartwatches. It may be too soon to decide the fate the smartwatches, but we cant deny the fact that the true smartwatch era is set to begin too. here’s a quick round-up of the smartwatches expected to be enter the markets soon.
Apple iWatch

It is only fair to begin the list with the iWatch, and word about its development has triggered the race for the smartwatch market. The rumours about the iWatch began early last year, but after a no-show for almost over a year, Apple is now set to launch its fitness-focussed band alongside the iPhone 6 next month. As far as Apple iWatch rumours go, it has been reported that the watch could be available in two sizes of 1.3-inch and 1.5-inch flexible AMOLED displays. In terms of battery life, rumour mills had noted that Apple is testing newer and innovative ways for charging methods for the watch, which includes technology to enable inductive, solar, and motion charging of the wearable, thus minimising the constant battery consumption. Considering the recent track record of Motorola, we expect relatively lower price for the Moto 360.
Besides the battery and the display, we also know a few tidbits about some other features of the device. According to Kuo, one can expect a sapphire lens cover, biometric recognition and an NFC chip. Moreover, there has been buzz about Apple working on some new sensors that can check a person’s hydration levels, blood pressure, and sweat,  components that can assist professional athletes during their training exercises. This further fuels speculations about the wearable device combined with Apple’s HealthKit could be capable of tracking steps, calories burned, heart rate and more. Here’s a quick Apple iWatch rumour-roundup.
iWatch concept seen before

As the year flagged off, we have been hearing about Apple going on a medical expert hiring spree. In January, there were reports about two medical wearable specialists, including one of Indian origin, being brought on board by Apple. Apple is also believed to have teamed up with some notable athletes to test the alleged iWatch’s fitness capabilities. Over the month of June, Apple had reportedly invited athletes from the MLB, NHL, and NBA to its Cupertino campus to brief them on the upcoming smartwatch.
Moto 360

The Moto 360 is one of the most highly anticipated wearables set to be unveiled early next month. The company is expected to lunch the new smartwatch alongside its successors to the Moto G and Moto X. According to a previous report by DroidLife, the Moto 360 is priced at $249 that translates to Rs 15,100. Its circular face measures 1.5-inch LCD display and features 320×290 pixels of resolution. It also comes with a heart rate monitor and a pedometer. The Moto 360 is powered by a Texas Instruments processor coupled with 512MB of RAM, claims the company. If this leaked page is to be believed than the Moto 360 is priced almost equivalent to the other two smartwatches – LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live. This also seems contrary to the ‘aggressive pricing’ that Punit Soni, VP, Product management, Motorola Mobility had been claiming.

 

 Samsung Gear S

Samsung has pulled the wraps off its next iteration in the wearable Gear range  in the form of the Gear S. This IP67 certified wearable is dust and water resistant, and  runs Samsung’s own Tizen instead of Android Wear. It sports a 2-inch curved Super AMOLED display. One will find support for 3G as well as Wi-Fi connectivity. This Bluetooth-enabled wearable also comes with improved multi-sensors and built-in GPS. The wearable also offers turn-by-turn pedestrian navigation offered by the mapping service HERE, advanced reading technology from Spritz and comes with social media integration. It will also support the Gear apps along with Samsung features like S Voice, Find My Device and Power Saving Mode. The Gear S will be available in global markets in phases starting October.
LG G Watch R

While LG launched its G Watch last month, it was secretly working on a circular variant of the wearable to take on the Moto 360. With wasting any time, the company has quickly announced its all new G Watch R that will debut at the IFA this year. The company claims it to be the first watch-style wearable device to feature a circular Plastic OLED (P-OLED) display and utilise 100 percent of its watch face. A 1.3-inch full circle P-OLED display means it would directly compete with the Moto 360. The G Watch R is powered by a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor coupled with 512MB RAM and fuelled by a 410mAh battery. One can expect 4GB onboard storage. Unlike the newly announced Samsung Gear S, it runs Android Wear, Google’s OS especially crafted for wearables.

Just like most the wearables , the G watch R has been built to sustain liquid spills. However, the company claims that with an Ingress Protection Rating of IP67, it is designed to run for up to 30 minutes in one meter of water. It is also dust resistant. The classic circular device is encased in a strong, durable stainless steel frame and carries a suite of watch faces that can be accessed with a simple touch of the display. It also gets interchangeable 22mm calf skin leather strap.
Microsoft smartwatch

Microsoft was terribly late in updating its smartphone OS, after Apple’s and Android’s initial success and it possibly plans to not make the same mistake when it comes to wearables. News has it that the software giant plans to launch its first smartwatch in October. The company is said to be in talks with suppliers about design and plans to rope in an always-on heart rate sensor too. The company doesn’t want to limit the support for WP devices and the device is also rumoured to support Android as well as iOS.  So, a cross-platform functionality and always-on heart rate monitor coupled with some other improved fitness features, would possibly work for Microsoft. With Kinect in tow, it could also introduce some gesture-enabled features for the smartwatch.
 Asus smartwatch
Asus is also gearing to launch its newest smartwatch at the IFA this year. Though not much is known about the Asus wearable yet, it is believed to be priced between $99 and $149 (approximately Rs 5,900 to 9,000). It is likely to come fitted with a curved AMOLED display and the device will be named Zenwatch. For the rest of the details, we’ll have to wait until the official launch.
HTC smartwatch

Though we don’t know anything about the HTC smartwatch, the company has made it quite clear that it is working on one. HTC’s official video named “HTC Design – Behind The Scenes” that lasted not more than 1.05 minutes showed a square-shaped watch. The video showed some employees at a desk, probably testing the watch. The video also showed a 3D render of the watch on one of the computer displays. This means, the company clearly wants everyone to know that it working on a watch, which could be launched anytime soon.

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Month: January 2019

10 MUST-HAVE FEATURES IN A SMART WATCH

Posted on January 25, 2019  in Smart Watch

The smartwatch industry seems to evolved very quickly in such a short time.  The rumors about an Apple iWatch smartwatch and the uber successful Pebble crowd funding on Kickstarter seemed to make many companies accelerate their planning to release their own smartwatch devices as soon as possible.  Some analysts called the smartwatch a pre-mature and niche product, but that doesn’t stop many companies to release some very innovative products.
There are some companies that really did an amazing job I have to say. Neptune Pine is a remarkable Android-derived smartwatch with phone capabilities, GEAK watch boasts tons of sensors, WiFi, NFC, GPS and Bluetooth 4.0 and Filip smartwatch acts as a smart location and phone for kids. In just a short time we’ve seen some amazing products and that’s just the beginning — so you just can wonder what we expected to see next.
In this article I want to talk about 10 must-have features that I think many people would love to have on their next smartwatch.  If you find some features that you don’t see in the following list and you really want to have those on your smartwatch, please leave a comment below and tell us what those are.
Customizable Watchfaces — a Watchface is the visual design of the clock. Because smartwatches are digital watches, every smartwatch should have an option to allow people to customize the digital clock watch face to their liking. Pebble is among those smartwatch companies who did a remarkable work — allowing Pebble watch owners to customize the watchfaces in various ways via code. This lead for various online services like mypebblefaces.com to offer a service to install and share watchfaces. watchface-generator.de allows you to create your own watchface and download it to your pebble smartwatch. This feature should be available on all smartwatches, as the clock will probably the home screen of many smartwatches — at least a part of it.
Touch sensitive display and Virtual keyboard — Not all the smartwatches on the market have a touchscreen. This is in my opinion a must have feature.  The days are gone where we needed to use buttons to operate our smartphone, the same should apply to smartwatches as well. Buttons are clumsy and navigating menus using buttons is cumbersome. A touchscreen with multi-touch gestures is the way to go. It simplified the UI navigation and operations that are available for the user, making it easier and faster to operate the watch. Some of you might worry that due to the small screen size, there won’t be an option to use a full QWERTY virtual keyboard. I have good news for you, the Neptune Pine (Android-based smartwatch) has a full size QWERTY virtual keyboard.  It does have less buttons than the smartphone, but all the letters are there — and each key is the same size as on the iPhone!
Replaceable watch straps— this is in my opinion another must have feature on smart watches. There will probably no be many ways to customize the smartwatch.  The watch strap will probably be among the only physical parts of the smartwatch that can be customized. Furthermore,  the smartwatch is also a wearable fashion accessory, and people will want to match the color of their watch to their clothes. I would prefer my watch to be the same color as my shoes and belt. I would appreciate an option to change my smartwatch strap to one with a different color. We might even see a smartwatch with replaceable frame that comes in different colors. I also would like the ability to change my smartwatch strap from a rubber to a metal one too. A replaceable strap is a must in my opinion and I assume that consumers will opt to buy the one that offers the most customizability options
Voice-to-text and Voice Commands — Being able to control the watch and input text using your voice is a very handy feature. Unlike the smartphone which offers a very convenient virtual keyboard,  most smartwatches will have a limited display size. Even with the Pebble offering a full virtual QWERTY keyboard, it would be great to have an option to input text via voice.
You probably ask yourself who’s gonna use it? — For me it would be very useful when I am running and doing my daily sport activities, to have the option to reply to Facebook messages and SMS messages by just saying what I want to type and send the message.  Also it would be very handy to have the option to control the functionality of the smart watch via voice commands. The smartwatch has a limited screen size and relatively small resolution. I don’t want to start browsing through tens of home screen pages just to find a specific app. Being able to just use voice commands to launch an app can be very useful and save time.
Waterproof Watch — Have to be honest with you. I thought that most smartwatches will be waterproof. I expected it to be the same as a conventional wristwatch. Unfortunately this is not the case. Most smartwatches that I’ve reviewed on my blog are not submersible and are water-resistant / splash-resistant rather than having IPX7/IPX8 ingress protection rating (aka waterproof). I don’t want to remember to take off my watch when I enter the pool, wash my hands or ruin my expensive smartwatch by mistakenly going to the shower while wearing it. I want a waterproof smartwatch that fits my active lifestyle. I’m sure that most people will want that too.
Making and Receiving Phone Calls — When we look at the smartwatches currently available on the market, we can divide them into two main group: those with voice call capabilities (aka watchphones) and those without. For example, the Neptune Pine is a phone for all intents and purposes. It accepts a micro-SIM card and you can use that smartwatch to make and receive phone calls. Sony SmartWatch SW2 and Pebble are not watchphones, you can use those smartwatches to make and receive phone calls.
I know that some people will probably won’t need it, and some smartwatches will have the option to place and receive phone calls via the smartphone using Bluetooth / Wi-Fi — However, I think that many people will be glad to have a smart watch device which is independent from their smartphone. Furthermore, some might consider either leaving their smartphone at home or completely replace their smartphone with a smartwatch device. Having this option in hand could be great, letting the user to choose how and when he wants to use the smartwatch as a smartphone device.
Android-based OS and Installable Apps — I think that smartwatches that uses an operating system that derived from the Android platform will be the most successful ones, and let me tell you why.  Smartwatches like i’m watch, Sony SmartWatch and Pebble runs on a proprietary operating system that is not based on the Android open source platform. This means that developers will need to adopt to a new platform and even learn a new language to develop apps for a specific smartwatch operating system.
When using an Android-derived OS you gain several advantages. First of all, although you might expect to have a new dedicated SDK and APIs, but those will extend upon the original Android SDK. Second, you can continue to develop apps using the Java language and work with the same tools that you use to develop apps for Android smartphones and tablets.  Third, I assume that most Android-based smartwatches will be compatible with all Android apps that are already available on Google Play. That means that you will have a direct access to about 800,000 apps and games that are already available on Google Play. Their might be some incompatibility issue, but this is the way to go. In time, many developers will create apps that are designed exclusively for Android-based smartwatches.  The smartwatch that will attract more developers to develop for its smartwatch platform will be the winner. The obvious choice of course is choosing Android as the base operating system.
Long Battery Life and Replaceable Battery  — having a long battery life is crucial. No one wants to have a smartwatch on his wrist that doesn’t work. One of the problems that manufactures have with smartwatches is that they can’t use a large battery due to the watch small size factor.  From what I’ve seen,  CPU manufactures are pushing the technology forward to create processors that are much more energy-efficient. For example, the GEAK Watch employs Ingenic JZ4775 1GHz ultra-low power processor. This helps the GEAK watch to offer 12 days of standby time using a 330mAh lithium polymer battery.
Smartwatches have a small display and relatively low resolution, so by default they are more power efficient. Furthermore, most smartwatches will probably display a power-saving watchface on a black background to cut the power consumption, rather than having an Android-like lock screen.  We can also expect most waterproof smartwatches not to come with a replaceable battery. Unlike some smartphones that have unibody design where the battery is not replaceable, with smartwatches it’s important to make the watch waterproof, but with an option to replace the battery in the lab when the battery dies. I have a watch that is waterproof up to 50 meters and when my battery died, I sent it to the official watch lab to replace the battery. This should be the same with smartwatches.
Health-tracking Sensors — health tracking sensor are the new trend.  Just by looking at the success of Scanadu Scout on indiegogo (raised $1,664,574) , a device that reads your vital signed and send them to your smartphone, we can understand the demand for such feature for many people.  The GEAK Watch is probably the most impressive smartwatches when it comes to health-related sensors. The GEAK Watch comes with body temperature sensor, heartbeat sensor, blood pressure sensor, pulse and pedometer to count your steps when running or walking
The presence of health-oriented sensors can give birth to many new type of heath related apps that will help us track our health.  the GEAK Watch can even track your sleeping patterns and recommend you how to sleep better. The possibilities are endless, and these are probably apps that most people should use on a regular basis.  When you have a clear picture of your health, it will urge you to keep your body healthy, stop smoking and start walking and make sure that you keep your body in top shape.  I’m sure that future smartwatches will have those type of sensors as well and developers can start developing great new apps that take advantage of them.
Built-in Camera — Just think how cool it was if you could have a camera with you all the time on your wrist. A camera that can take pictures and record videos, even without the need to take the watch of your hand. The Neptune Pine smart watch features a VGA front facing camera and a 5MP rear-facing camera with LED flash. And it can also record high-definition videos as well.  You can use the front-facing camera for video chats too.  If Neptune Pine has it, I’m pretty sure Samsung, Apple, Google, Microsoft and many other companies that are still yet to enter the smartwatch market will come up with a smartwatch that have a built-in camera.
Why is it so important you ask? — the main reason it’s so important is that most of the most successful apps are using the camera. People love taking and sharing photos and this is probably the most engaging and fun thing to do on a mobile device. This is why smartwatch manufactures should put a built-in camera in their smartwatches, this is just a must have feature.
These are just a few features that I think should be on most smartwatch devices, especially from the large companies whom, most probably, won’t release niche products like the Filip watch.

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