Friday, 8 July 2016

[Review] Kendama Europe , Play Pro K

Next Kendama up for review is Kendama Europes "Play Pro K".
The Kendamas made by Kendama Europe are produced in a detailed way.
Just looking at the industry certifications, regarding workers wages, sustainability and enviroment, there is no match amongst the European Kendama brands to these ones.
You can catch more details here.
Package is familiar by now, if you caught the previous review of the Play Pocket K.
As you can see it is premium.

Inside the box we have :
- Kendama
- Manual   
- Replacement string

This one is beatuifully crafted .
European Beech wood used as building material and the paint on the Tama is durable!
Now what i mean with durable, is non-chipping durable.
As you can see in the image "after some use", there is no paint chipping yet from the Tama.
Taking that into consideration and also the armada of certifications these Kendamas qualify for we have nothing short of a pro build here.
And the certificates are plenty i assure you , these Kendamas are safe to use from 7 years and up.
Read more about them here.

So whats the verdict then ?

- How long played with :
3 Weeks .

- First impressions, out of the box:
Classy! A quality product when it comes to balance, grip and details. Also nice to get a replacement string and a brief manual with some basic trix illustrated.
Packagin is also stylish inside the box.

- Recommended for, suggestions, comments:
Easily a daily driver. It's joyous to use and also the wear-in is very satisfying on the tama and the cups.
No large chips of paint or wood falling off even though I'm surely not an expert in Kendama.

 4,5 / 5 

Make sure to check this one out, and keep your finger on this dial for the next review coming up, also a Kendama Europe product!

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

[Review] Kendama Play Pocket K

Play Pocket K by Kendama Europe 

This little fellow is simply adorable.
(Never thought i'd start a review with a sentence like that btw).
We are dealing with Kendama Europes Play Pocket K Kendama this time.

Some conceptions and ideas around Pocket models are :
- Is it a keyring , one you cant really do tricks with ?
- Can you really build a quality kendama that small  ?
- Is it worth the price ?

Now, looking at the first impression in packaging you have to admit it looks promising .
It is a Pocket Kendama for real, it even comes with an extra string.
With the same design as it's big brothers and sisters (We will look into them in later reviews), and a build quality that feels confident , the Play Pocket Kendama brings smiles to peoples faces.
A comparison of a regular sized Kendama and the Pocket Play K

While carrying it around at work, at sports events and showing it to friends, colleagues, kendama shop owners everyone has been mesmerized at once.
The pieces are just like on a regular sized kendama.
You have a string, the tama (ball), the Ken and even a replacement string to use if needed.
It can be taken apart if you are left handed and need to change sides on the string or to replace it.
Just like a regular sized Kendama. 
And yes, there is a bead on the string by the way.

So how does it play then ?
Being a novice in the Kendama-sphere i did try some basic trics with Pocket Play .
I can do a decent "Around the world", and the "Moshi kame" amongst other beginner tricks.
The size makes you really be considerate of how you grip the Kendama.
I have yet to land "Around the world" with this little gem, but i have been close .
So for the final verdict:

- How long played with :
 Two weeks, off and on.
- First impressions, out of the box:
Pro-packaged, charming design and challenging looks. Makes you want to try it right away.
- Recommended for, suggestions, comments:
Excellent gift for anyone playing Kendama. A "Take it to the next level-type kendama" if you will. Extremely portable due to it's size of course. Good companion on any trip, be it work or leisure.

Now stay tuned, because we have a lot more of this stuff coming , more Kendama Europe items will be reviewed. Things will get bigger ...

A big thanks to the crew at Kendama Europe for having Androidistica reviewing their Pocket Play K Kendama.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

[Review] Royal Kendama

Some time ago we were blessed with a Kendama from UK based "Royal Kendama"
The review Kendama is the "Apple Green" one .
Packaged in style , the team behind this Kendama has put a lot of effort in developing the best they can , to please both the "aerial kids and the spike fanatics".

The ken itself is made out of Beech wood, and as you can see in the pictures it is beatifully crafted.
No rough edges found anywhere , and a good quality string to hang on to the tama.
The apple green colour is really green, and stands quite a lot before it starts to build the playability in a used kendama.

Now , this one has been with me for almost a month now, and i think more time should be spent with it breaking it in.
This Royal Kendama is BKA approved, which means if you ever plan to get an official grade in Kendama skills, then this one is approved for use in BKA events .(British Kendama Association).

About a month of learning how to "kendama"
How Long Playing Kendama:
- A month.
First Impressions, Out of The Box:
- Class act. Solid package and good craftsmanship on the Kendama .
Recommended for, Suggestions, Comments:
- A good daily-driver . Easily picks a spot as a go-to Kendama and travel companion.
The paint does get dents after a while, but so does any Kendama you play with and that is a natural progress in breaking a Kendama in.
Star Rating (out of 5):
- 5/5 .

A whopping "Thank you!" to Royal Kendama for having Androidistica testing their product.
Check out their excellent website via the link above for some more details of their products.
Make sure you also visit the BKA Forums, a nice place with helpful Kendama-Gurus where you can find loads of tips on learning the basics and advancing in your Kendama skills.

Monday, 16 May 2016

[Review - follow up] Kromkendama Viking Zebra Horizontal revisited.

How Long Playing Kendama:
- A month.
First Impressions, Out of The Box:
- This is a big boy. The tama is heavy, very beatiful with the two-coloured wood.
  A beatiful box with dark design , inside of box clad in a golden surface.
Recommended for, Suggestions, Comments:
- Perfect for trying out new stuff with and even for presenting Kendama to a person who never has tried it before. (My colleagues were reallly into this one)
The natural, non-sticky surface is good for really getting into those hard to learn tricks.
Star Rating (out of 5):
- 5/5 .

Overall the Kromkendama Viking Zebra Horizontal  easily takes a place as a "daily driver".
Mostly because of the larger size,enabling you to attempt those tricks that still are a "learning in progress",  but also the nice feeling you get handling the natural hardwood Ken and Tama.
It goes well as a comforter as well, when failing everything on a regular sized Kendama, there is always something i am able to land with the Viking.
Yes, the Tama is heavy but it still is not heavier than the Tama, causing any imbalance doing tricks.

Wear and tear on the Tama shows, but most of the scuffing you can see in the photos are due to the fact that i am at a beginner stage with all this new, fun and challenging Kendama:ism.
The Ken has taken some heavy hitting too, but no large chunks of wood have flewn off or any large dents have been born so the Viking Zebra Horizontal holds together nicely .

This one should be in any home where Kendama is played.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

[Review] Jynxbox M8 Turbo

Jynxbox has been featured earlier on Androidistica and now they have a new device on the block .

The Jynxbox M8 is packing some serious punch when it comes to hardware.
We are talking Quad-core, Cortex A7@ 1,2GHz.
A Mali400MP2 GPU and 1GB of DDR Ram.
Built in 8GB of EMMC Nand storage should get you started and get you onwards to begin with.

Interfaces ?
There is  1 HDMI port with 1920 x 1080P, RCA out for audio , 2 USB 2.0 and 1 USB 2.0 OTG.
1 Ethernet port (10/100MBIT) and a built in Wifi supporting a/b/g/n .
A Wifi Antenna has also been added to the gear , which should help connecting with Wifi naturally.
The Jynxbox is rocking Android 5.1, with Google Play store and the famous Kodi preinstalled.
Included in the package is also a manual ,HDMI cable, a remote controller and batteries included.

So that's the hard and soft stuff we have at hands .
How does it play out then ?

Initial setup works as coded.
Plug in the power and HDMI cable, push the physical power button and off we go!
Choose your screen resolution, adjust the screen position and key in your google account details.
The last step can be skipped of course and you still land on the Homescreen.
Preinstalled apps are Netflix, Kodi, Youtube , Facebook, APK Installer and Google Play Store.
There is also a photoviewer and file browser included.
The Jynxbox M8 responds really quickly to any remote controller input and a neat feature which is also included is the OTA update manager .

So what software do we have ?
As mentioned earlier, there is Android 5.1 , preinstalled with a handful of apps.
As you can see in the screenshot it is the usual ones for many of us.
Netflix, Youtube, Gmail ,Chrome webbrowser, skype, calendar, a file manager and Kodi.
We also have a default video player, image viewer, speech recorder, Google Playstore, an APK Installer and Devtools.

For the review , a couple of apps was installed.
Bushido bear, Creepy and a Bandwith counter.
Now for gaming, you might want to use a keyboard and a mouse.
Gaming with the remote control does give you the option to switch between "mouse - mode" and "Regular - remote" mode.
For easier games, where quick action is not essential the remote might do well, but for the likes of Bushido bear and Creepy, the remote did not work well.
As far as bandwidth with the built in WLAN adapter , which is enhanced by a antenna, the speeds were satisifying.
On a 24/12 MBit connection with the ISP were having, the Jynxbox M8 went all the way up to 13Mbits down and 2,5 MBits upstream.
This is pretty good on a wireless connection, the speeds surely picks up even faster on the built in Ethernet adapter.

The Jynxbox M8 has decent hardware , there is no doubt about that.
Using it as a Media streamer device, or even as a desktop replacement it does the job well.
The remote is responsive and lightweight in hand, and the software loaded onto the Jynxbox works as coded.
Some apps seem to go into portrait mode, even though landscape mode is what the Jynxbox presents, this is undigged into by me why but it could be that apps sometimes get installed in "phone mode" due to the fact that Google Play Store does not recognize the hardware on the Jynxbox ?
(Just guessing here as i said.)

Gaming was not extensively tested here, but with the proper third party keyboard/mouse or gamepad combinations , the Jynxbox surely can run most of the games out there today.
(Check the hardware specs in the beginning of this article)
Software updates are handled by the Jynxbox Team themselves, you can find the firmare updater in "Settings" under the "About " section.

Looking to upgrade your Flatscreen TV to a "Smart-TV" ?
The Jynxbox M8 is your device!
Need an extra device to run a webbrowser, check some series or movies and write documents ?
The Jynxbox M8 could also be your device !

Friday, 22 April 2016

[Review] Krom Viking & MimoeXKrom Kendamas

Little did i know that there was a country southeast of Sweden that produced Kendamas, and have been doing so for quite a while,since 2010 actually.
The Danes strike again!
Kromkendama were kind enough to supply Androidistica with two of their beauties of Kendamas for review purposes.
Remember, these things are a lot of fun and need no software updates, google accounts or charging.
Those three facts dont match too many common day activities anymore, which is why i feel they are presenting a welcome break to our binary existences.

MimoeXKrom and Viking

First one tested is the "Mimoe X Krom". Available in three different colours.
A love child born out of the collaboration between Team Krom and Tokyo Based Freelance illustrator Mimoe Dono.
The review- Kendama is "Mimoe Geometrix Blue".
A standard size Kendama , the "Ken" made out of Beech and the "Dama" with a slip-safe rubber top and a slightly larger hole for "endless spikes" as Team Krom describes it.
Neatly packaged, with an extra string and a rare "MimoeXKrom Sticker", this Kendama is a beauty to lay ones eyes on.
Pretty as a picture one could say.
The Ken itself, as with the cups are very well-crafted.
This Kendama breaths quality at first glance.
No rough edges, bumps or uneven surfaces anywhere on the actual Ken.
Well-balanced , with a good quality string (blue) this feels as a long-runner in terms of durability.
The non-slip surface on the Dama (the ball) seems durable as well,even after testing by me and our 5 year old no visible paint chipping or cuts are visible.
The MimieXKrom feels like a quality Kendama which should hold for a lot of jamming.
Visually stunning and well-balanced .


Krom Viking

The second one is the "Krom Viking".
Made out of hardwood, and slightly larger than your average Kendama the Viking really sticks out.
Bear in mind, this is not an X-large Kendama, more a larger one that standard.
There is a great video on Youtube describing the need for a larger sized Kendama, it all makes sense really and make sure you watch the clip.
The Viking is really smooth all over, the hardwood Dama and Ken glows dignity and "Vikingness" all the way.
The Viking is a lot of fun to play around with.
Those harder tricks, "Around the world", "lighthouse" and just "spiking" gives a higher success ratio with the Viking for me as a novice in the Kendama-field.
The overall feel of the Viking is geniune, heavier than the average Kendama but in that also bringing stability.
I can imagine the Viking to "age with beauty", due to the hardwood material in the Kendama.
Even a few marks on the "Tama", gives it just a little bit more patination.
If you buy a Viking, and have kids who are into Kendama make sure to buy the kids ones as well because they will not let you have it by yourself!
Klick away!

A whopping high-five to the Kromkendama for having Androidistica review their beauties, keep an eye out for an interview with the Krom-team !

Thursday, 11 February 2016

[Review] Illumibowl , the dark side left behind.

Ever since we humanoids started walking, talking and figuring things out ,we evolved.
Sometimes going forward and at times, seemingly the opposite direction.
The industrial revolution brought us automation, electricity and more comfortable ways to solve the "nature calls" tasks in our lives.
Now , in this day and age there is a lot happening with the details we still want to tweak a bit.
The things that at first seem to be of little importance , but in practice proves the impact being overwhelming.
Let us have a look at one of these overwhelming "life-improvers".
Behold the "Illumibowl".
Again we are witnessing a successfull Kickstarter financed product that could be in every home.

The Illumibowl Team are aiming for :
"utter extinction of the boogie man, monsters hiding under the bed, and all things that go bump in the night."
You can't go wrong with that kind of mission statement can you?

So what this nifty little product does, it lights up your toilet bowl once entering the bathroom (as long as you set it up correctly).
It's essentially a LED , some suctioncups and a motionsensor powered by batteries.
You can either have a single chosen colured light or alternatively let the Illumibowl cycle through all available colours.

So how does it work in practice ?
Very well i'd say.
Once set up in the familys second bathroom an impressed family experienced the light in the dark.
The kids were amazed of the coluring of the lights, and the possibility to alternate colours.
Wife appreciated it due to the adult-factor, no need to blind yourself during nightly visits to the restroom.
The motionsensor is fast, and without delay lights up the bowl once entering the bathroom.
Four suctioncups are attached on the backside of the motionsensor so it surely stays where put on the side of the bowl.
The LED itself has one suctioncup, which is sufficent for keeping it in place.
People who bought the Illumibowl are satisfied with their purchases and many have bought numerous devices as gifts, or adding one to each bathroom in their homes.
The verdict stands clear:
The Illumibowl is a must-have , without flaws and at a price that needs no argument.

Androidistica sends Illuminated thank-yous for having us review this device to the Team at Illumibowl.
Exit night, enter light.