Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #199

A reader recently asked why I so rarely write negative product reviews. I replied that with just 52 columns a year, I hate to waste a single one on a product I wouldn’t recommend. I’d much rather write about products I think are awesome than waste time and space grousing about lousy products.

Usually. But, every so often I come across a product that might be good for you, but has at least one fatal flaw for me. Here are three that have crossed my desk in recent weeks:

Beddi? Bye

Beddi ($99) is an intelligent alarm clock that promised: up to 4 separate alarms; a white noise generator; a gradual wake-up white light and app-controlled mood-lighting; 3 customizable smart buttons; and two USB charging ports.

Beddi is a handsome app-controlled alarm clock.

Beddi is a handsome app-controlled alarm clock.

It’s a handsome device as bedside clock-radio devices go, and while it mostly delivered on its promise, it had one fatal flaw: It pairs with your iPhone using Bluetooth.

So I wake up, slap the button that turns off the alarm, grab my iPhone, and head for my office. A few minutes later I hear the distinctive weather alert sound of my Dark Sky app. That’s good. But it’s coming from the Beddi in the bedroom and my wife is still asleep.

Oops. That’s bad. Since I can’t be trusted to switch the Bluetooth setting every morning, I’ve gone back to using my old alarm clock. While Beddi might be perfect for single folks, I prefer not to incur the wrath of Mrs. Dr. Mac again.

Rowkin Mini: Why Smaller Isn’t Always Better

Next up: Rowkin Mini ($99, but currently $59), billed as, “the world’s smallest Bluetooth stereo earbuds.” They’re well-made and include an induction-charging battery case with a USB port for charging other devices. The most fatal of their flaws, at least for me, is their inability to remain in my ears. One of ‘em popped out while walking and nearly disappeared down a drain; another time one fell out and I almost stepped on it.

Rowkin Mini claims to be the smallest wireless earbud yet.

Rowkin Mini claims to be the smallest wireless earbud yet.

I tried all three included sizes of ear tips, but none fit just right. And there were other flaws including occasional sound dropouts in one ear or the other and a mediocre (at best) microphone.

They may be just right if your ears are just the right shape, but they weren’t just right for me.

You Are Like a Hurricane (X3 Canless Air System 260+ MPH)

Finally, I tested the X3 Hurricane Canless Air System 260+ MPH ($229, but currently $149), a rechargeable compressed air system that blows air at (you guessed it) 260+ miles per hour. It runs for up to 15 minutes on a single charge and is the equivalent of more than 5,000 traditional cans of air (according to its maker).

The X3 Hurricane replaces thousands of cans of air... at a price.

The X3 Hurricane replaces thousands of cans of air… at a price.

You already saw the fatal flaw for me: It costs way more than every can of compressed air I’ve ever bought, plus every can of compressed air I’ll ever buy. That it’s also much louder—by orders of magnitude—than the quiet hiss of an old-school can o’ air, is the icing on the cake.

And that’s all he wrote…

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