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Pros: Tons of colors to choose from. The 3M adhesive backing is VERY sticky and will permanently adhere to any surface. Great price. Can apparently be extended by adding another strip, and can be cut down to a shorter length. You can use an alternate RGB controller if you don't like the capabilities of the one that's included. Can be turned up VERY, VERY right.
Cons: The lowest brightness setting for any of the default solid colors is way too bright in my opinion and those of my family members that have seen the product. You can't simply dim the LED strip down to the point where it's barely visible and produces a nice soft glow (though you can produce a dimmer light by using the DIY functions). The strip rather rigid and can't be twisted or turned in any direction, unlike a rope like, so it's really only good for use in a straight line, or a straight line that wraps around gentle corners (not 90 degree angles).
Other Thoughts: I got these to replace the rope lighting that I have along my double staircase, which eventually goes out in sections. The rope lighting produces a very nice soft yellow/white ambiance in my house and along my stairway, allowing for safer use of the stairs at night without having to turn on the lights, and it's barely noticeable when it's not lit. I figured these strips would allow me to do the same thing but would be more discrete, and more importantly, allow me to set it to any color I desired, and perhaps even use a pattern during the holidays.
Laying down the strip was easy enough until I needed to go around the corner at the top of the stairs, when i discovered that the strips were very rigid and didn't bend sideways or slightly twist well at all. Not a huge deal, but unlike the rope lighting which can be bent in any direction (though not at very sharp angles either), it was impossible to have this strip laid down flat facing up as it went around the corner, and it doesn't look clean or professional at those spots.
Another thing I don't like about it is that the strip is covered with what looks like microchips (even though those are actually the LEDs), copper connectors, and solder points (perhaps not actually solder, but again that's just how it appears). Basically it looks like a white strip of computer circuitry, and isn't at all a pleasant appearance when it's not dark out and the LEDs aren't lit up. I got the indoor sets, but I presume the weatherproof ones have some sort of clear plastic sheath over them, and maybe that might not look as bad, though I also imagine it makes it even more rigid and difficult to go around corners.
My primary complaint is that the LED strip can't be dimmed down very low. The lowest brightness setting for any default color, particularly white, is very bright, and the highest brightness setting was literally blinding. From the upper stairway and hall, it lit up my living room, stairway, vaulted ceiling & hall. That's fine that they can go so bright, but very disappointing that they can't be dimmed down to a soft ambient glow. I found that you can create any color you want by using the DIY setting, and if you turn the RGB values all the way down to their lowest setting for each color, it's WAY dimmer than if you just pick one of the solid colors on the remote and turn the brightness all the way down. If not for that, I probably would've had to remove these entirely since they were simply too bright, or find another RGB controller with better dimming functions.
I haven't messed around with attempting to create any fading/dimming/flashing/alternating sequences yet, but the remote has some of that functionality already pre-set, including a white strobe effect and a couple fades and flashes. Overall, I would definitely recommend these to anyone that wants some custom LED lighting, whether it's semi-permanent, or even just a one-time use for a party. At this price you can use it once and
Pros: Small, portable, light, inexpensive, easy to use, rechargeable, can be daisy chained
Cons: Gets extremely distorted at very modest volume levels. Would never indicate that it was fully charged no matter how long I left it on the charger.
Other Thoughts: Bought one of these after buying and being very happy with a virtually identical speaker made by a competitor, and also sold on Newegg, but I'm not allowed to mention the product's name. The two speakers are precisely the same size, with the same core design, just a slightly different design pattern on the outer skin and of course a different product name. The product specs were also identical, except that the X-Mini supposedly had a slightly broader frequency response (100Hz-20KHz, vs 200Hz-16KHz for the competitor). I wasn't super happy with the high frequency response of the competitor's speaker, although I loved everything else about it, so I bought the X-Mini hoping that the supposedly higher frequency response would solve that problem.
The X-mini speaker was in short, garbage. It sounded ok at VERY low volume levels, but if I turned it up to the point that it was even as loud as my pathetic internal speaker on my phone, it got totally distorted. Believe me when I say that I'm not talking about a high volume level at ALL, not even a moderate volume level. By comparison, the identical competitor's identical speaker could be turned up fully, and I could have my phone's audio output ALSO turned up fully, with zero distortion, a thumping little speaker cone, and enough volume to easily fill any room in any house or office. It was so bad that I can only hope that my speaker was just defective, but I wasn't interested in getting a second one to find out.
I bought this from a store in the Newegg marketplace (Newegg didn't sell them directly), so I had to go through a 3rd party return process, but they emailed me directly a couple times and they were very nice about the RMA and refund. They even told me not to bother returning the speaker, which is good since it's more of a headache than it's worth. I'm immediately going to order another one of the competitor's speakers that I originally purchased (and gave away to my daughter). I know I'll be happy with that one, even if it's not completely perfect.
Pros: Um, sounds comes out of it at very low volumes without distortion.
Cons: The audio COMPLETELY distorts and breaks up if I have the volume turned up more than about halfway on the speaker and more than about halfway on my Galaxy S3. At those volume settings, the speaker is very quiet, not even nearly as loud as my phone's built in speaker will go with zero distortion (which isn't very loud). In short, I'm much better off just using my phone's pathetic built in speaker because the X-mini's distortion is so horrendous that I can't turn it up to a remotely usable level. Read my "Other Thoughts" for a comparison to a virtually identical speaker I bought from Newegg a couple weeks ago, which blows the socks off the X-Mini but with zero distortion at all volume levels.
Also, the unit already had a partial charge when it arrived, but I immediately plugged the unit in around 5:30PM to give it its first FULL charge. As of about 1:30AM, 8 hours later, it STILL wasn't fully charged according to the color of the LED light on the bottom of the unit. It's supposed to charge in just 2.5 hours according to the specs, like almost all of these golf ball sized speakers do, including the identical competitor's speaker I recently bought, which would fully charge in under 3 hours.
Other Thoughts: I bought another, virtually IDENTICAL speaker a couple weeks ago for $10 from Newegg. It was exactly the same size, had the same 3.5mm audio cable wrapped underneath, the same connections, the same LED, and the same specs, except that the competitor's speaker claimed 240Hz-16,000Hz frequency response, as opposed to the slightly better 100Hz-20,000Hz for the X-Mini. Aside from that, the only other slight difference was a different design on the rubber & plastic casing, and a different brand name and model name on it. The X-Mini is smooth, whereas the other speaker had a ripple type of design. Newegg won't let me mention the competitor's name, but it sounds like a Fig with an extra vowel at the end. Look for yourself and you'll find it here on Newegg.
The reason I mention the other speaker, is because they're virtually identical in specs, and should produce nearly identical sound, except that the X-Mini SHOULD produce higher highs and lower lows according to the specs. The competitor's speaker was GREAT, and the sound it put out could easily fill ANY room. I was able to crank the volume on my phone all the way up, AND turn the volume all the way up on the speaker at the same time with ZERO distortion, while using the speaker's built in 3.5mm audio cable connected to my Galaxy S3. I expected the same or better from the X-mini, but you can see what I already wrote in the CONS section about this speaker. I couldn't turn the volume up on the X-Mini past maybe 30% of what the competitor's speaker could put out without experiencing major distortion from the X-Mini. The volume was so low on this speaker at the point at which the distortion starts, that it makes it TOTALLY worthless. You can't even see the speaker cone moving at that volume it's so low, as opposed to the competitor's which was visibly thumping like a little sub woofer with zero distortion.
I don't know if I just got a completely defective unit or what, but it's absolutely going back tomorrow and I'll be getting a refund, which I'll use to buy another one of the competitor's speakers that I previously purchased before this one.
If you're wondering why I didn't just buy another one of the other speakers after I gave the first one away to my daughter, it's because the other speaker's one weak point was that it didn't produce high frequencies really well. It produced very good mids and lows, but not really great highs. The ONLY reason I tried the X-Mini, is because it supposedly had better frequency response specs as I already mentioned. This X-Mini is so bad I wouldn't pay a dollar for it at a dollar store I'm sorry to say. Good luck if you decided to buy one of these, hopefully mine was just defective!