Covercraft custom evolution cover for BMW X1

Wisetechie reviews the Covercraft Custom Evolution Car Cover

My car is my prized possession. I splurge on my car as is apparent from my Dash camera reviews. Here is the AUSDOM dash camera review and here is the Road Hawk DC2 review. Coming soon is the BMW Advanced Eye 2.0 review.

However that is when my car is moving. When my car is parked, one of my biggest worries is that I do not have a garage and everyday my car is braving the elements(sun, rain, pollen, dust etc.). It used to be slightly better in regular times since during the day my car would be parked at the office garage, however in COVID times my car has been taking a beating every day of the week. My car is a black BMW X1 and everything shows on black, everything!

So a few months ago I decided to finally bite the bullet and get a car cover to protect it while its parked. I zero-ed in on the Covercraft Evolution custom car cover. It was pricey, but nothing but the best for my car? Wink! I went in for the custom cover since I have seen people struggle with one size fit all covers in the past. I wanted something that is easy to put on by one person which would be me most of the time. I finally received it 4 weeks after ordering and have been using it for a month now. I think I am ready to review it so here it goes:

Value for Money

This cover is not cheap, it cost me around $300. For the price, the Covercraft evolution custom car cover is pretty thin. For the ding protection rating on Covercraft’s website, I would have expected a thicker material. Overall if I look at the price and what I got, I do feel a bit shortchanged.

Most other cover companies will also give you a Tote Bag or a Carry Bag, Covercraft charges extra for that as well. So in terms of value for money, I truly believe its not. However maybe its a luxury product like the BMW?

2/5

Protection

Covercraft custom evolution cover for BMW X1

The cover seems to protect on average against most elements pretty well, dust and pollen were my main enemies followed by the Sun and the Seattle rain. Although Seattle has more rain, rainwater by itself doesn’t damage the paint or the finish. Its often acidic rain or bird droppings which do the damage and that was my main concern.

Sun Protection – 5/5 

Even on really hot days, my car is cool inside when I lift the cover.

Dust Protection – 3/5

Some dust seems to filter through the cover onto the car.

Rain Protection

2/5 

Rain definitely seeps through, see the photo below. The rain and dust mix to create a dirty look for the car. Its pretty apparent on a black car and you can see how the water flowed through the cover and mixed with dust.

bmw custom evolution covercraft rain protection - rain stains through cover

Overall Protection Rating

3.5/5

Ease of installation/removal of the custom evolution car cover

At the end of the day, the cover is only good if you can put it up in time. The ease of installation is definitely one of the most important factor. If you feel lazy and dont put the cover up, its not going to protect your precious car.

I did find the custom cover here blowing away my expectations. I usually put it on in 2 minutes and take it off in a minute. They could improve it further by marking the front with a black border of something.

One big problem is that without a bag, after removing it, if you are keeping it in your car trunk, good luck. It is going to take up most of the space in your trunk. So its easy to remove but really hard to store.

4/5

The Verdict

I can hear you all, so Wisetechie what’s the verdict? Should we spend the extra money on a Covercraft custom evolution cover? My answer is a very gray no and here is why:

  • Despite the cost, the quality of the cover leaves a lot to desire. The ratings/reviews on their site seem to be biased and the protection ratings don’t mean anything.
  • For this much cost, it does not even come with a Tote bag or a carrier. Its very hard to keep the cover in your car trunk, it will literally take 50% of the trunk space as you cannot compress it. I will have to buy one or repurpose an old bag here.
  • It takes 4 weeks to ship with no interim updates from the company.

If I could do it all over again, I would go for a cheaper brand which comes with a Tote bag and locks and other accessories. I do not think Covercraft is worth the premium unless they fix some things. The brand (According to me) is built on hype propagated by reviews on their site..

Costco Snack Review : Sports Research Golden Milk With Turmeric and Ginger

No matter where you live you cannot escape the hype and benefits of Golden Milk. Since I am Indian I have had it since I was a kid but America has just discovered Golden Milk and I am here to give you the run down on the Golden Milk at Costco. I know you have been tempted to buy it, but is it any good? This is the second review in our Costco Snack review series after the Sonoma Vegetable Crisps.

This Golden Milk is made by Sports Research and is available at Costco for $28.99 ($29.99 online – Membership Required) and Amazon has it for around $34.99. So ask your Costco member friends to grab you a box if you want to try it.

Ingredients and Nutrition (4/5)

Sports Research does not disappoint with the ingredients they have chosen for this product. At 60 calories, its not really a low calorie food but a bunch of those come from MCTs which may actually help you lose weight.

Sports Research Golden Milk Calories

The organic ginger and organic Turmeric are the main ingredients you should be looking for in the Golden milk and there is enough of those. Lets have a look at the other ingredients:

Organic Natural Vanilla Flavors, Organic Lou Han Guo (Monk Fruit) Extract, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Cardamom, Organic Nutmeg, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Acacia, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Quillaia Extract

Other ingredients mostly help in sweetening and overall flavor and its good to see the manufacturer sticking to mostly organic spices. I would have preferred a better quality oil.

One thing to be cognizant of is that if you make this with milk, you are possibly creating a 180 calorie drink with around 120 coming in from the milk. Absolutely not a diet or low calorie drink. Have it if it fits with your macros.

Taste (5/5)

The proof of the golden milk is in drinking. I made the Golden Milk with Planet Oat’s Vanilla oat milk. That is 90 calories per serving so my drink is net 150 calories.

The taste is one of the best in terms of Golden Milk I have had in the US. The Golden Milk has a nice nutty flavor and the monkfruit adds the perfect amount of sweetness to the drink. 10/10 will recommend. Infact I might be addicted to this. Unlike the Bio Schwartz golden milk, it doesn’t have a stevia after taste and mixes well in any medium.

Verdict

Incase it wasnt clear from the Taste section, my verdict on this is a clear buy. The only con is that is very expensive. I would have been happier if 30 servings cost around $20 but it is what it is. I use it as a nice pick me up after a hard workout to help with inflammation. Have you had it as well, what did you think?

 

Overall Rating

4.5/5

Sonoma Vegetable Crisps from Costco

Costco Snack Review : Sonoma Vegetable Crisps

Nutrition Information for Sonoma Vegetable Crisps

So I am starting a new series on this blog. A big part of who I am today is my fitness journey. I was 200lb around 3 years ago, I weigh 160lb now with a ton more muscle. My blood work is close to perfect and I am the healthiest I have ever been in my life.

A big part of being healthy is your diet. These days when I buy a product the first thing I look at is the ingredients list. Trust me the ingredients list is often more important than the calories tab.

In this new series I will talk about lifestyle changes that I undertook or am taking to ensure a healthy and fruitful life full of vitality.

Ingredients and Nutrition (4/5)

Recently I got the vegetable crisps by Sonoma from Costco. I was struggling with these as most mentions of Sonoma at Costco have to do with their Parmesan crisps.

Sonoma Vegetable Crisps from Costco

The vegetable crisps contain Okra, Carrots, Tomatoes, Purple Sweet Potato, Potatoes and Cauliflower. Its seasoned with rice bran oil and salt.

Overall not too many bad ingredients except for the Rice Bran oil, the only reason I wont be eating too much is because they didnt go for an oil like Avacado oil or Coconut oil. Other than that, even though the 150 calorie serving is calorie dense. I feel full with just a handful due to the fiber content.

Taste (4/5)

The taste of the vegetable crisps is pretty clean. Almost neutral with a tinge of sweetness due to the starch in the potatoes. I loved the taste. The vegetables add a nice profile both in terms of shape and flavor to the snack. Below you can see a comparison of the actual veggies v/s the packaging.

If the fiber(3g in a serving) wasn’t strong in this once, I would end up munching a lot more.

Verdict

Overall I would give this snack a thumbs up. I loved eating the vegetable crisps. They are a good low guilt snack with a serving of veggies.

For some reason they only seem to be available to Costco, even Amazon doesn’t have these.

 

Overall Rating:

4/5

Man in despair

iPhone Storage Full Issue: System using all your space, how to fix the issue

The Problem

I recently started to get an error on my iPhone 11 Pro with respect to storage. The error was strange, out of nowhere, my iPhone had started to complain about the storage being full.

I hadn’t installed anything recently. In addition, I also pay for ICloud storage so my photos are always backed up to the cloud and not taking any space on the phone.

I initially deleted a few large attachments but it did nothing to fix the situation. When I went into the storage viewer, I got a strange storage allocation graph. According to the graph, most of the storage was occupied by the “system” component. Around 30 GB of my 64 GB memory was being used by System leaving just a few MBs of free space.

I researched the problem a little bit and discovered the steps to resolve it. If you are hitting storage related issues on your iPhone, the following workflow is worth a shot.

Resolution Steps

I quickly realized that it had to have been a bug. I did not want to goto the genius bar because lets admit it, no one is really a genius there and they will ask you to reset the phone anyway. Here are the steps I followed that fixed the phone:

  1. Connect your phone to a computer with the latest version of iTunes.
  2. Click on the phone icon within ITunes and select the backup option.
  3. Backed up your iPhone including passwords using encryption. At this step you will be asked to choose a password, dont forget this.Apple Itunes Backup with encryption
  4. After this I went into my iPhone and did a full reset in Settings -> General. I am using an e-Sim and did not remove cellular settings when it asked me. If you dont have an E-Sim, you dont need to worry about this step.
Apple iPhone reset5. After the reset, I restored the backup I had made in step 3 by connecting the iPhone back to the computer. After the restoration was complete, the mystery storage bug was gone!

Apple iPhone storage full system issue

Verdict

Its an obvious Apple bug however if you go to the genius bar at an Apple store they will ask you to do the same. I am happy the full reset resolved the problem for me. Let me know if you faced the same issue and fixed it. Do note that I don’t take any responsibility for any data loss you may encounter but this is a generally well known flow.

Wisetechie reviews the $20 Kangaroo Security Doorbell

First things first, like all content on this site, this is not a paid review. I am not going to go gaga over the product because Kangaroo is paying me money or promoting me on their site. A number of so called news sites seem to be motivated by promises of free products. I paid for this one with my own pocket so rest assured this is a 100% genuine review. Even if someone gets a review unit, you can see if they routinely review free stuff or do they put their skin in the game.

Kangaroo Security

Incase you are unaware, Kangaroo security is the new kid on the block looking to disrupt the DIY home security space(think Simplisafe/Ring). Their devices are cheap, connect onto their Kangaroo network of devices and are backed by pretty spiffy chat support in my experience. They were also doing some crowdfunding campaigns and giving free units to their investors.

I live in a low crime area but even the Wisetechie couldn’t resist one of the deals and got onto the Kangaroo bandwagon. Their security system is already installed in my house, so when they came out with the $20 doorbell, it was a no brainer. I was already thinking of ordering the Ring doorbell for 5 times that price so I figured I didn’t have a lot to lose.

Appearance and Build Quality

The Kangaroo doorbell is mostly plastic and uses 2 AA batteries. Its impressive how this unit is able to run on just 2 AA batteries so there is definitely some decent engineering going on there. I had pre-ordered my unit so i got mine pretty early, however the 1st unit I got was a brick. Womp womp!

Support was really helpful as always and put in an order for another unit for me after trying to fix the brick device. Its been my Kangaroo journey, things just brick randomly but support ships a replacement almost as fast as things go wrong.

Due to the bricking incident, I would say the build quality is probably average. However who really cares about build quality right? This is a camera doorbell so lets see how it functions as a camera doorbell. 

Doorbell Pairing and Performance

Once I got the replacement (around a week later), pairing that unit and adding it to my Kangaroo family of products was a breeze with the app. It took around 30 seconds and the app takes you through the technicalities or pairing the device. It gives you best practices on placement and helps you test out the device. 

Now coming to the most important aspect of the device, the performance of the doorbell. There is a pretty noticeable delay between the bell being pressed and the siren unit chiming. Almost 5-6 seconds. This is very unlike any doorbell I have ever used. Kangaroo is gonna give me a Chime unit as well so we will see if that improves things but its pretty annoying to not hear the doorbell for so long.

The app is also super buggy, many times the bell would ring but the app would hang and not show the photo montage of the person at the door. In the below example, I waited for a good minute but the app didnt recover even after quitting and re-opening. Obviously not gonna wait for a minute before opening the door.

Video and Photo Capture

I think the proof of the pudding is in eating it so I will share a few photos here. I found the quality of the photos in the Kangaroo doorbell almost useless for any real purpose. The faces are impossible to recognize in day or night. Most often the doorbell just misses a delivery person or a visitor. It takes a few photos and stitches them together but i guess the delay is not calibrated to the camera. Since I live in an apartment that faces the street, all my images are terribly back-lit. In the below images it failed to capture my postman and an amazon delivery person either due to backlitness or the sensor firing off with a delay.








On a lighter note(get it, lighter note :D), the only thing the app is good at capturing is the garbage truck.

Verdict

At $20 its not terrible, however I would be reasonably surprised if this ever catches a porch pirate. Its probably a better deterrent than a good tool to capture photos visitors. I have a $65 camera at my front door which does a 100x better job at capturing visitors but i like having this doorbell as a cheap deterrent. The fact that it just works with my current home security is a plus.
garbage truck
Delivery Person missed
Kangaroo Capture
Previous Next 2/5

ACTIV5 Handson Review : Isometric Exercise Device aimed at active individuals

At the age of 26 I turned around my life, I got into fitness, lost around 50lbs of fat and starting working out almost everyday. Since then I keep an eye out for fitness gadgets and anything that can make my fitness journey even better and more rewarding.

A few weeks ago I got bombarded by ads for this thing called an Activ5. Its an interesting device with very few reviews on the Internet. Its an isometric training device that aims to complement your traditional training routine. Isometric training means without movement of the muscle.

When I bought it, the device listed a retail price of $149.99 but showed a discounted price of $109.90. The website lists the following features of the device:

Get everything you need to start building real strength in a few minutes a day:

– 1 Activ5 fitness device

– 1 rugged phone stand

– Free download code for the Activ5 app

– With more than 100 exercises and games

Whether you’re looking to build strength, or recover from an injury, this is the ideal way to get started. It’s easy to use while you watch TV, or take it with you wherever you like.is

 

First Impressions

The device is small and nifty and comes with an orange mobile stand. The stand is just a gimmick to be honest and doesn’t do anything to add value to the product in my opinion.

Activ5 Exercise Device and Review

The device has pressure sensors which you push in order to get a workout. The device is complemented by an app which tells you what exercises to do and gamifies the exercises.

It has a LED sensor and just one button which acts as an on off switch and pairing button. Nothing fancy in the interface on the device.

 

The Application

I think this is where the device loses the plot and I dont see this as a good app. the gamification just does not work for me. The interface is clunky, exercise descriptions are hard to understand and miniscule and the results are haphazard and not consistent for me.

 

Take the above Triceps exercise for example, The application first shows you what to do and then tests your “max strength”. That is followed by a game that forces you to apply different degrees of strength.

I really didnt get any heart rate bump with the exercise. Personally for me, I get a heart rate pump from planks, wall sits and other isometric exercises. This one just doesn’t do anything for me. The exercises are also hard to understand, the app makes no attempt to explain form and the exercise to you.

Verdict

This could possibly be a great physiotherapy device, to me it looks like the company has given up on fixing the app which looks like its prehistoric and hard to use. As an active person I just was not excited to use the app and didnt want to open it again. I am going to use the generous 30 day return policy and return the device.


Did you try the device and the app? What were your impressions?