By December 30, 2013

Best and Worst Gibberish Gadgets of 2013

I wrote 66 product reviews this year, just one shy of my record. I made a concerted effort to diversify my reviews this year, and I covered music, games, movies, fitness gear and methodologies, household appliances, survival and preparedness items and a few guns along the way.

At the end of they year I like to recap my two favorite and least favorite items.

I have some changes planned for Gibberish in 2014. I have three other content properties I’m running right now, which means I can be a little more specific with what I review here. I’ll also experiment with additional writing staff to put forth more consistent content.

Forever forward — here’s to a great 2014!

The Best Gibberish Gadget of 2013: iSpring 6-stage Reverse Osmosis Filter

This might actually be the best thing I’ve ever purchased. The water quality is absolutely terrible where I live, and I feel that it contributes to a lot of low-level health issues that people who live in Minnesota just accept as the way things are. Having lived several other places, I am 100% sure that there are a lot of environmental problems with Minnesota. I’ve never lived in a place that had a “larger” population, problematic pregnancies, and respiratory / nose / throat problems.

This year I bought a water filter for our drinking water, and it has made a huge improvement in my day-to-day life.

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Without exaggeration, knowing what I know now, I would have gladly paid twice the amount I paid for my iSpring water filter. The water coming out of the filter system is tastier, makes our tea and coffee taste better, and is less harsh on our Bunn coffee maker and electric kettle. Who knows what the old, sediment filled water was doing to my body, but I’m glad my organs can concentrate on other stuff.

I can’t recommend the filter enough.

Runner-up: Zombicide Board Game

I wrote about Zombicide six times in 2013. The co-operative game has been our most played game of 2013 and has generated a ton of epic moments as well as incredible photos. We’ve introduced it to dozens of our friends, many of whom purchased it despite its expensive start up costs (the base game is about $80).

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The Worst Gibberish Gadget of 2013: Jawbone UP Biometric Band

Wow, what a piece of shit. I don’t know anyone who has not returned Jawbone’s well designed but apparently poorly-built biometric band. Sedagive? and I each returned our bands at least once, and she was on her fourth band when she finally gave up and stopped wearing it. I was able to sell my refurbished (never worn by me) unit on eBay at a 35% loss, but Sedagive?’s useless band was a total financial loss.

Personal biometrics is going to be a huge field in 2014 and 2015. I think it’s also going to revolutionize how we keep track of our overall wellness and communicate with our healthcare practitioners. However, the Jawbone UP is a great example of the dangers of being an early adopter. The featureset is too narrow and the quality control too poor for me to recommend this device to anyone.

Runner-up: KPOS Gen 2 Glock 19 Short Barrel Rifle Kit

According to my statistics, the majority of my repeat readers came here because of one of my firearms reviews. Still, I don’t like putting a firearm-related product here because it’s still a niche thing that not everyone may have exposure to. Due to the lengthy and excessive ATF requirements to apply for and register a short barreled rifle, the KPOS enclosure is a niche-of-a-niche.

Conversely, because it takes almost a year to get approval from the US government for this item I felt that the risk of someone buying it without a critical review was too high. The enclosure itself is kind of expensive at about $600, plus the NFA stamp of $200 plus the Glock pistol cost of $500 – $700 and you’ve got the ingredients of a pretty risky experiment.

In addition to problems with the product itself (ejection problems, double feed issues, and at least two potential design flaws) and QA problems (I sent my first one back for two production flaws), the company who imports the KPOS is terrible to deal with. They responded slowly and sporadically and didn’t ship my replacement KPOS for months.

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It’s a damn shame, because it’s magic when the KPOS works. Unfortunately most of the time the KPOS is just a P-O-S.

2013 image used with permission

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