Friday, February 21, 2020

LEGO® Fire Helicopter Response 60248 - Review #JillOfAllTrades

I do not know why, but small boys are REALLY obsessed with fire-fighters, fire-station and so on. In-fact kiddo's school even recently took them to see the local fire-station. So, it's only natural that when a new Lego City set with a FLYING HELICOPTER (LEGO® Fire Helicopter Response) arrived, kiddo was thrilled. Forget kiddo, I was thrilled!

Building the parts was quick - 93 piece set with 3 mini-figures, a small construction part, fire fighter vehicle and helicopter. I really LOVE how Lego introduces women in roles that are dominated/stereotyped by males. We have fire chief Freya McCloud from the fire-fighting squad - go girl!

As always the details of each part continues to impress me and blow my mind - the worker with his flame-machine and helmet, intact the helmets for all three action figures are different!


Now coming to the main highlight of this product - the flying helicopter. The helicopter looks really cool with space for a mini-figure pilot to sit. To make it light-weight the tail is made of cardboard paper - which I feel can tear/wear-out over time. It comes with a rip-cord (think bey-blade) and a lego buildable device to fit the chopper in and pull. Rather genius I must say. Now if you are going to imagine that the helicopter will fly high and you can navigate or control it, no that's not how it is. But for a 5 year old (This set is for 5-8 year olds) the whole idea of pulling the rip cord to make the helicopter fly out and land a few feet away - that is what it does and as long as the kiddo is happy, I am happy!


We were a little unsure of how to fly the helicopter, and I am so happy that Lego has all the detailed instructions in text as well as video format on their website. After a take at their video, I understood clearly what is to be done.


Also, this set is compatible with any other Lego City set - so you can build and expand! Kiddo had received a fire-fighter truck earlier, you can read it's review too. Overall, I am loving how Lego keeps innovating and coming up with new toys! Maybe we will see a flying car (Think: Harry Potter) soon!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Amazon Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker Edition - Product Review

I had earlier purchased an Echo Dot for my parents, and after being super-impressed by Alexa (as compared to Siri), when there was a deal on the new portable version, I placed an order. During the deal the Echo Input Portable edition was available for Rs.3399 instead of Rs.5999 which was almost 50% off.

Delivery was smooth, came in a couple of days, though the packaging was questionable. But everything was intact inside. Setting up the speaker is basically installing an app on your smartphone, connecting speaker to WiFi via your phone and that's about it. You can keep adding more routines and modifying settings on the go - with usage.

Here is what I liked -

1. Smart Assistant Alexa

Alexa is really smart, keeps learning on the go and understands your behaviour and routine and keeps making suggestions. Being an iPhone user, I feel Siri has a lot to  improve on. Plus Alexa can also speak in Hindi, that's a plus!

2. Portable

This speaker need not always be connected to a power socket, and can be kept anywhere or carried anywhere. Though I have not used this privilege, since I prefer keeping it in one place. But it's good to have the option - incase I want to carry it to the kitchen or balcony and so on.

3. Price 

When you buy during a deal, it is totally value for money and nothing to fret about. Not sure if it's value for money at Rs.5999 though, tbh.

Here is what could be better -

1. Battery Backup

It takes a couple of hours for the battery to get fully charged, but it drains in about 10 hours, whether you use it or not. Probably because it is always connected and always ready to listen. I found this a bit frustrating, when I put alarms for the morning and it never rang because the battery had drained. Basically for smooth functioning you keep it off charge all day but keep it on charge all night - which means you need a dedicated socket for it. It should have not drained if it was not in use as in not playing anything.

2. Dust catching and heat up

I am not sure if it's on all devices or only mine, but the top part of the speaker heats up while in use. Not extremely hot, but certainly warm. Also the device has a lot of dust settling on it on the top as well as bottom ( bottom is rubber like for good grip, so picks up more dust).

3. Volume

If you are in a noisy environment, or have windows open with outside sound or are in a large room, you will find the top volume also not high enough. Volume is okay in a smaller room with windows closed - so basically it's more of a smart assistant device and less of a speaker - don't judge it on it's bass quality etc.