By GolfSpy Dave
Dave's Take: Cigar Product Review Compendium
Follow the links below to the various cigar accessories that I have reviewed. Feel free to ask any questions about the products in this thread, or in the original product threads.
Xikar VX-2 V-Cut Cutter
Xikar Tactical Triple Torch Lighter
Xikar XFlame Electronic Cigar Lighter
Palio Triple Torch Lighter and Cutter
Xikar HP4 Quad Jet Lighter
Xikar Turrin Single Torch Lighter
Xikar XO Double Guillotine Cutter
Xikar Travel Humidor
Xikar 19th Hole Gift Set
The Cigar Minder Clip
Bettinardi Milled Cigar Tray
Mantello Catador Torch Lighter
Alaska Bear Antique Copper Cigar Cutter
Stay tuned for more great cigar products, and if you find something worthy of taking a look at, shoot me a PM. -Dave
By GolfSpy Dave
Dave's Take: Jaybird Tarah Bluetooth Headphones
The Jaybird Tarah headphones may have entry-level pricing, but they deliver great sound, especially when paired with the Jaybird app.
Jaybird is the Word
The Jaybird Tarah is the third pair of Jaybird Bluetooth headphones that I have taken through the review process, having previously reviewed the Jaybird X3 and Jaybird Run models. In both of the previous reviews, I was definitely impressed with the Jaybird products, especially since I had never even heard of the brand prior to the first review.
Well it’s been about a year since I published the Jaybird RUN review, and I am happy to say that those headphones, and the X3 headphones, continue to perform flawlessly. The Run headphones are a staple of my golf bag, and my son uses the X3s at the gym on a daily basis. Nothing better than your kid pilfering your cool stuff, huh?
Unfortunately for the Tarah headphones that I am writing about today, the previous experiences have elevated my expectations for this new model. It’s sort of like being the third kid to go to a high school when both of your elder siblings were valedictorians.
Although I understand that the Tarah's role is as Jaybird’s entry-level model, it still has some big shoes to fill.
Jaybird Tarah: IN THE BOX
TARAH Wireless Buds Silicone Ear Gels: S/M/L Cord Management Clips Cord Shirt Clip USB 2.0 Charging Cable + Charge Clip Color: Nimbus-Gray/Jade Price: $99.99 Comfort and Fit
Since they are of similar construction, most of my comparisons ended up being between the Tarah and the X3 headphones. The Run headphones are kind of their own thing, and not really an appropriate direct comparison.
Anyway, like the X3 model, the Tarah headphones fit into your ears using a combination of silicone fins and ear inserts. The difference here is that while the X3s had separate fins and ear buds, the Tarah headphones come with the buds and fins fused into single units.
Obviously this is going to cut into the versatility of fitting a bit. No longer can you pair small buds with large fins, or something like that. You really now only have three fit options. Hopefully one will work. For me, medium ear gels worked just fine.
One thing that I really like about the new single-piece system is that the buds and fins are always in proper alignment with each other. Occasionally, the fins can twist out of place on the X3, and the Run, headphones. On the Tarah, this can’t happen since they are single piece units.
Like the other Jaybird headphones, the Tarah headphones had no trouble staying in place through practice sessions on the range, or during workouts at the gym. Once I had the proper ear sock size, I just adjusted the cord a bit to secure them. After that, it was all about the music.
Ease of Use
Pairing is immediate. Not only for the first time that I paired them with my phone, but also when I paired them to my iPad later for movie watching. Just press and hold the power button and they are discoverable. So easy.
The controls are very intuitive. Press +/- for volume control; hold them to skip songs. Nothing crazy here, which I like. They work like they should.
Like the other Jaybird headphones, the Tarah headphones have a microphone and can be used to make calls. That’s not really a primary use for me, but they did perform just fine during some test calls.
One of the things that I like about the Tarah and other in-ear headphones is that they block out a great deal of ambient noise when you insert them in your ear. They are not noise canceling, but they definitely block the noise.
The nice thing about this is that when outside noise is reduced, you can now hear your music at lower volume, saving your battery and maybe your ears as well. The Tarah headphones can still get plenty loud, but it’s not necessary.
The sound out of the box was good, but had a bit of that small speaker feeling. Bass was pretty absent, and overall I was not that impressed. However, after pairing the headphones with the free MySound app, and tweaking the EQ sound profile to add more bass, my mind changed completely.
Once you adjust the setting on the app, the sound from the Tarah really blossoms. It was a huge difference. If you buy a pair of these, or any Jaybird headphones, the MySound app is a must use. You’ll be very pleased with the sound changing option and likely find an EQ mix that suits your style.
The Jaybird Tarah only features a six-hour battery as opposed to the eight-hour battery found in the X3. This is likely going to cover any single-setting headphone need that I have, though it will probably require more frequent recharging than other models.
The cool thing is that the battery charges quickly. You can get an hour of play with only 10 minutes of charge.
Like the Jaybird X3, charging the Tarah requires a special USB cord. If you are not prone to losing stuff, this is not likely a big deal. If you are one that spends hours searching for missing cables, then maybe you should order an extra cable.
Jaybird Tarah Headphones Review: Summary
The Jaybird Tarah headphones are solid entry-level Bluetooth headphones. For $99, you get a lightweight, easy to use, and great sounding headphones. If you need more fit versatility, then you can go to the X4 model. If you want a longer battery life, you can go to the newly released Tarah Pro with a 14 hour battery!
I think that the Jaybird Run headphones will still be my go to headphones for the driving range, because of the charging case, but for most other applications, I’m going Tarah.
Find out more at the Jaybird website, and at Amazon.
Detailed Specifications: Jaybird Tarah
Type: In-ear style Noise-isolation: Passive Impedance: 16 Ohm Speaker sensitivity: 99 +/- 3dB at 1KHz Output max. 10mW RMS (with level limit) Total harmonic distortion <5% (1KHz, 1mW) Audio format: 16-bit stereo Codec: Bluetooth SBC implementation Response bandwidth: 20Hz - 20kHz Driver size: 6 mm BLUETOOTH
Bluetooth version: 5.0 Frequency band: 2.4 GHz Profiles: Handsfree , Headset , A2DP , AVCRP , SPP Wireless range: Class 2 standard range 10m/33ft INTEGRATED MICROPHONE
Type: MEMS, omni directional Sensitivity: -38dB +/- 1dB (Test conditions: 1KHz, 0db = 1V/Pa) COMPATIBLE PRODUCTS Any Bluetooth device with HFP, HSP and A2DP WEIGHT & DIMENSIONS
Headset: 528mm x 13.25mm x 23.6mm Controller: 45.7mm x 11.7mm x 5.6mm Charger: 112mm x 33.6mm x 7.2mm Weight of headphones (without ear gel): 13.85g Weight of charger: 6.5g BATTERY
Play time: 6 Hrs* Charging time: 2+ Hrs Quick charge: 10 min = 1+ hour playtime Charging: Via USB charging cable with Pogo pin connector Input power: DC 5V 1A Type: Lithium Ion Battery voltage: 3.8V Energy voltage in watt hrs per battery: 0.2wh *May vary dependent on usage, device & aging
TL;DR: Signed up through Twitter to test New Level Golf's 902 irons. Here's how it went.
The Rest: Bored and browsing Twitter, I stumbled across this tweet soliciting people to test New Level Golf's 902 irons. They looked pretty damn slick, and the reviews (MyGolfSpy, GolfWRX, PluggedIn Golf) were pretty intriguing. I wanted in. But after discussing the details with Eric, the founder/CEO/everything, I couldn't pull the trigger…it wasn't in the budget, so I had to pass.
But…Eric DMed me a couple days later to say he had a tester back out. Opportunity rarely knocks twice, so I threw caution (in the form of dollars) to the wind and went for it. (Actually, I told myself I would sell off my beloved Scotty headcover collection and some of the random clubs I have scattered about to offset the cost).
So, as part of the deal, I will be posting info about my experience with these on here and putting some info out on Instagram and Twitter as well. I am going to try to be a thorough and objective as I can be, and I will try to answer any and all questions you may have about the clubs, the process, etc. Ask away!
For reference throughout the process, here is my current iron set up:
Titleist 712 AP2 (3-9) Project X 6.0 1/2" long 1* upright Golf Pride MCC +4 grips, two wraps of tape And here is what I ordered from New Level:
902 Forged (4-P) Project X 6.0 1/2" long 1* upright Lamkin Z5 grips, two wraps of tape
My new sticks are slated to arrive at the end of this week and I am totally ecstatic about it. I am taking them to the range Saturday to do a little head-to-head and first-impression testing, and I am playing with my usual group on Sunday morning for some live testing. I will update this post as I go through the process. Let me know if there is anything specific you want to know about or see tested. I'm happy to oblige if possible.
In the meantime, Check out New Level's Instagram and Twitter.
Ordering Process Review
TL;DR: Stellar customer service, quick, responsive, easy to manage, with only minor tweaks suggested.
The Rest: The level of customer service I received from the start was incredible. With New Level being a new, boutique-esqe OEM (think Miura or PXG, but affordable), customer service has to be a priority, as it doesn't enjoy the brand recognition of the Titleists and TaylorMades of the world.
That said, Eric (and I didn't realize I was trading DMs with the CEO/founder until much later in the process) was incredibly responsive through Twitter. It was to the point where I thought he may be working on my set of clubs and no one else's until they were done.
For instance, the grips I originally wanted were back ordered, so he sent me a DM alerting me to this and asking what I liked about those. After a short exchange, he suggested an alternative, the Lamkin Z5s, so I would be happy and my clubs would still come in fairly short order.
There are numerous customization options - 20 something shafts and a handful of grip options, and they can all be customized to your liking. Though I did not get fit for my set (I know what I like in a shaft/lie/length setup), I can only imagine the level of specificity one could get through a local fitter.
Eric was also willing to simply entertain my rambling and whims as I continued to pepper him with questions about the brand, the other products available, and what could be done to the various clubs. We were even sharing opinions on whether Eli Manning should retire at the end of the season or the end of the game he was playing at the time.
As we were going back and forth, and as I read more about his history and the story behind New Level, I decided to support the brand a little bit more by ordering a hat and a towel (I was going to order the branded bag as well, but alas, that wasn't in the budget after buying the new sticks…maybe someday). After ordering, he thanked me for the support and brand loyalty, and kept me very informed about the status of the shipment of these items - they shipped the day after I ordered them, and I got them within two days. And the hat had a poker chip/ball maker taped to the inside of it, which also doubles as his business card I came to find out, which was a nice little touch.
Trying to be as objective as possible in this review, I will say the only gripe I have had in this process is the speed at which my hat and towel came. Now, don't get me wrong, I was very happy to get these so quickly. But, getting these so quickly set a precedent that would not be matched by my new clubs.
If you geek out about this stuff as much as I do, you are waiting by the mailbox as soon as you click "PLACE ORDER." So, I was slightly disappointed to learn the shipping method for the clubs was different from that of the merch. I would have to wait a week to get my new sticks delivered.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I believe this issue was my fault. I think there may be an overnight shipping option when ordering. I must have either been a) trying to save money on this deal, or b) too geeked up to notice that option. In any case, let this serve as a notice to those of you who want to get your shipments yesterday. 😉
For reference, NL offers free ground shipping on all orders and you can get expedited (overnight I think) shipping for an additional charge.
As for the actual ordering process on the website, I was happy, but I feel there could be some edits made to the process to make it a bit easier. I will say I was traveling as I went through this process, so I was doing all of this on my phone, but it was still easy enough and clear enough to know what was going on and what I was ordering.
Once you choose a head, you then start by selecting a shaft option. You are then taken to a form to fill out the specifications for which club you want (i.e. 4i, 5i, etc), length options, lie options, all the fun stuff. But you repeat this process for each individual club. My suggestion would be to find some way to combine all seven clubs (or however many you are ordering) into one form.
As I am typing this, I am starting to think of those people who may want mixed sets of heads, or higher launching shafts in the long irons, but lower launch in the short…or something of that nature. I still feel like one page with all the options would still make this a bit more streamlined than the current process.
Again, I must reiterate, this was not so cumbersome a process I got frustrated or angry or anything. My phone is still in one piece. I just think it could be simplified or streamlined in some way.
The bottom line, no matter my gripes and/or suggestions, is that NL's customer service and ordering process is nothing short of STELLAR.
TL;DR: These look incredible, but what have I gotten myself into?
Twitter post with first looks
The rest: I have never purchased a brand new set of clubs. I have always bought used in the past, so I was incredibly excited to unbox these clubs. Upon first glance, these things look fantastic. My very first impression: there isn't a photo on the internet that does these clubs justice at all.
First, I was expecting a much thicker topline than they actually have. I haven't measured or anything, but these seem to have a somewhat progressive topline; that is, they are slimmer in the long irons than in the short irons. Either way, they are not imposing or off-putting in any way.
When compared to my Titleist 712 AP2s, the short irons are very similar in size, shape, topline, etc. The longer irons is where the real difference can be noticed. My long irons have always been a difficulty for me, as I assume it is for many amateurs out there. When I first looked at the 4 and 5 irons compared to my AP2s, I worried I may have bitten off more than I could chew.
The offset in these clubs was noticeably less than the AP2s and the blade length was considerably smaller. These gave off a much more players-iron look than the AP2s did. I did like that I couldn't see any of the blade jutting out from behind the topline at address - something the 3 and 4 irons in the AP2s had going against them. Overall, these seem good, but I'm hoping they aren't going to be too beefy for my game. My first impression of the aesthetics: what have I gotten myself into?
As for the feel of the club, one of the biggest surprises for me came from the grip. The Lamkin Z5 is incredible. I think I may prefer it to the Tour Velvet I have become accustomed to (though I did dabble with the MCC +4 for a while). The grip, with my requested 2 wraps of tape, is a bit thicker than a Tour velvet 360 with two wraps it seems. Not sure if that is accurate, but that's how it felt. The grip itself is perfect for me, soft, but tacky and I hope it is as responsive as I'd like.
A few practice swings in my living room revealed these felt very nice. A bit lighter than my AP2s, but I don't think that will be an issue at all. Besides, "too light" can be fixed with some lead tape.
I also want to mention the quality of the build. In little details, like the ferrule turning/connection to the blade, you can see Eric is very into what he does and only wants the best to go out the door. I always thought that bigger OEMs have to settle with whatever comes off the line, but these seemed to have a level of attention paid to them as they were being built that can be missing from some of the other clubs I have seen. Grips were all perfectly straight, the ferrule was matched/turned to a perfect fit (not even sure if this is something Eric did or not, but it was nice), and the shafts were all perfectly stepped to 1/2" differences (again, I ordered these 1/2" long). Very nice to see this level of quality.
I am loving the look and feel of these irons, and I can't wait to get these out to the range and on the course. Stay tuned for more…
First Range Session
TL;DR: Soft, yet solid; crisp and responsive.
The rest: I'll start this by saying I don't have a green grass facility readily available to me, so the mats at "TPC Hains Point" would have to suffice (that is as sarcastic a name as we can give the best of 3 DC public courses). It was a dreary day, about 55 degrees, and the balls are a chewed up mix of Srixon range balls, a smattering of whatever Top Flites people stopped searching for, and nameless rocks. They are pretty battered by this time in the season, but I tried to use only the better, more round balls of the lot. 😉
No real surprises here. These lived up to the reviews I had read (and linked to earlier in the thread). From PW up to the 4 iron, I found these to be incredibly responsive and forgiving, with a soft, yet solid feel.
902 8 iron (left); AP2 8 iron (right) - much less/fewer differences when you get down into these shorter irons
902 4 iron (left); AP2 4 iron (right) - the differences in offset and blade length are not as visible with my amateur photography skills, but I assure you it is there. This is also why I say there aren't any photos to do these irons justice.
Responsive - they definitely let you know when you don't hit the center of the club face, but not how you'd expect. Slight mishits still flew well and only compromised a touch of distance. They definitely felt a little different, but most of the indicators that you missed the center of the face came from the sound. It went from a crisp "thwack" to a more muted "thwud." Not tingy or hollow sounding or anything, just not as clean a sound. I found this especially refreshing in the longer irons, as they took me a few extra swings to start hitting well, and these didn't seem to make your hands tingle when mishitting them like some players clubs are apt to do.
Feel - Soft yet solid. These feel great when you make clean contact. That is not to say they feel bad when you don't (see above), but I liked the feel of these better than my AP2s. I wasn't expecting this, as the AP2s have the rubber insert to dampen vibration and give a softer feel. The 1020 steel makes for a soft clubface with a great balance of solid construction. I was very pleased with the feel of these clubs, even with the rock hard two piece pellets of the public range. I am looking forward to feeling what my Pro V1s will feel like on these faces.
Distance - I didn't want to focus too much on the distance I was getting on this day, as the temperature was low, and the balls were below average in stature. That said, I brought my AP2 8 and 4 irons with me to do a little comparison. Seemingly, I would say I am getting an extra 5 yards from the 902s, give or take (depending on the variables described above). Sometimes I would see as much as a 10 or 15 yard difference, while other times, they would perform about the same. I would assume this will be a product of the lofts bing stronger in the 902s, but either way, they are no more difficult to hit, so I'll take it.
One thing I did notice that I found particularly interesting is that I was hitting my long irons a bit higher than I did with the AP2s. I like this a lot. Even with the stronger lofts, I feel it would be easier to get these to stop on greens when using the longer irons, and I am not losing any yardage. This is a huge plus in my book.
Overall - I really like these irons. They are workable, responsive, solid, and comfortable to look at. These take very little adjustment, if any, to get used to after having my AP2s for a number of seasons now.I would be reaching to find something negative to say about them. I don't think these are geared for anyone above a 10 or 12 handicap, but I don't think those players would be ill-served by these irons; only better served by a bigger, more forgiving iron. For my game, I am very pleased with these.
I am looking forward to getting some "green grass" feedback from these clubs. Turf interaction is a massive part of iron testing, so stay tuned as that is coming soon…
TL;DR: Horrible playing conditions, too much variation to accurately assess.
The Rest: I was really looking forward to getting these out to the course for some green grass testing. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans. We had a 9:30 tee time at University of Maryland Golf Course and, while we played, I don't feel the 20 mph sustained winds and 35 mph gusts combined with soggy conditions from the night before were the best conditions to give a good, objective assessment. Further, I didn't have many opportunities to test the irons, as the course was set up for a lot of fairway-metal-second shots or gap wedge approaches. I did hit them a few times during the round, but do need to take these elsewhere for some more testing.
That said, here are my initial thoughts following this round:
They carry the same solid and soft feel from the range to the course. The course has Bermuda rough and fairways, and I have found other irons to slide through this grass a bit too easily, causing me to balloon shots. I didn't experience that with these irons. These are a bit more assertive with the turf - not diggy or anything, they just seem to let the grass know who's in control.
From the rough, it was harder to tell if it was the stringy Bermuda or the sharper leading edge that won, but I still felt the club head was in control - though I wasn't planning/aiming for that to be the case. Adjustments can be made to account for this, and it is a much more preferred result.
From the limited use, and the conditions being what they were, I am happy with what I did experience with these sticks. Looking forward to more.
I will leave this section at that for the time being. It was not a great round, and the conditions were rough. I will update this review once I can get some calmer, more objective conditions in which to play. I am playing in a tournament this weekend at the same course, and it is supposed to be rainy, so this may have to wait a weekend or two.
New AVX is really something else. Long off the tee, very soft and what you'd expect from a premium Titleist ball around the greens. Really interested to see where this ball will fall in line with the 1/1X. Possibly their new flagship??
Anyone had a chance to try it?
For now, its only available in Arizona, California and Florida as a test market.
Here's a look inside the ball at the 3-piece layer construction:
By Alf. S
57 year old very keen golfer that's played competitive golf for 17 years. During the summer playing at least 4 rounds a week with A CONGU handicap of 7.8. I have worked in the Electronics industry for 35 years designing and developing Integrated Circuits for Smart Phones, GPS devices, Digital TV, etc. I'm a bit of a technophile with my 1st experience of GPS rangefinders going back to the Skycaddie 2.5 in 2008. I now own Skycaddie Touch, Garmin Approach G3, Bushnell Neo Ion so I have a pretty good idea of the capability on the market.
Having just bought a new set of Srixon Z565 irons and hitting them longer than my old AP1s, I specifically bought the Shot Scope v2 to help me gain confidence with distance on each club and this review is based on 27 rounds over the last 6 weeks
Ordering on-line was easy and efficient, but there always seems to be deals on where you get 10, 15% discount by entering a discount code. I ended up paying Â£205 with a 10% discount. Box arrived 2 days later. Packaging was robust.
Physical appearance of watch:
Comparing it to the Bushnell Neo it is larger and a bit more cumbersome, which I would assume is to accommodate the RFID electronics. The micor-USB connector is on the back which can be a little awkward to insert the cable. Aesthetically it does look a bit bulky.
1st task is to connect to my PC and get the courses downloaded. The cable that came with the watch didn't seem to be a good fit in to the micro-USB port and kept disconnecting from the PC. I ended up using the one from my Skycaddie. The app downloaded and flagged that a software updated was required prior to course download which took about 15 minutes. The app interface was clear and intuitive.
Next was setting up the RFID tags in the clubs, this was straight forward except for my putter which has Superstroke Countercore grip so I couldn't screw in the tag directly.
Instructions read off for my 1st round.
1st niggle is that when not in GPS or tracking mode i.e. Standby you get no time readout just a big V2 in the middle of the screen.
On Course Use:
I play a lot of golf in the evenings, get to the course at about 6pm and play until the light or the weather deteriorates. So I carry and use spikeless shoes so I can park and get on the 1st tee in under 5 minutes. In order for the watch to have found the satellites and initialised this means I have to enable as soon as I get out the car for it to be ready on the 1st tee.
I'm long sited and effectively require separate prescriptions for distance and reading. For golf I only wear distance glasses but found the display clear and easy to read. Time font was a bit small but manageable with my old eyesight and no worse that other rangefinders.
GPS measurements, I had my trustee Skycaddie with me and the differences on most holes were insignificant to green centre but to front and back and hazards they could vary. One extreme is the hazard not being there or to the front being a couple of yards out. This also came up in putting stats when I was doing my post analysis. i.e it would think I was off the green for a putt when I was a yard on.
The recording pin position and number of putts is something you get use to and there isn't any other way to record this so click and on you go.
Next niggle, lost ball, the user manual does not cover the menu function or hazards so i muddle through. On checking back on the website the online version doesn't cover them either you need to go into some of the Q&A areas of the website.
Round finished time to Sync. I have an iPhone 6, Bluetooth connectivity was really easy, enable the watch, bring up the app, connect, sync. Comparing this to the Skycaddie which I've always found to be unreliable.
The App gives basic high level info but for the detailed analysis you need to log into the website, I use both PC and iPad for this.
Logging in you get a detailed view of the round/rounds you have played with a satellite view of every shot recorded. The RFID tag detection can be a little unreliable so occasionally it will not id a club or shot for me this is 2 or 3 strokes a round. The user manual does state that taking a few practise swings may help this but I usually take one practice then hit. While the round is fresh in memory it is best to go and edit this. I usually go into the round at the 1st hole and just check the data by cycling through the round, then save. It asks you for what tee you played off before you save. I found editing a round on PC easy but on the iPad painful due to the precision (zoom) of the maps and the size of my finger.
As mentioned above I bought this so I can analyse how far and well I hit individual clubs, the data analysis does not have the flexibility to do this which is abit of a pain. The performance/tee shots is as close as it gets which gives me a good breakdown mainly of my driver with distance and dispersion and fairways hit but it doesn't do it as a general club performance menu. In the Tee Shots menu you can select individual shots and go to the round that generated it. This allows you identify outliers and correct
I would also like to be able to control which shots are disregarded in the P.Avg and Avg settings. I hit my PW 130 yds my stats at the moment say my longest and average are 133yds and my P.Avg is 67.
The short games analysis I like and find useful but can be distorted by lack of accuracy in the course map.
It would also be useful if there was a way to add prevailing wind and ground conditions on post round data. At the moment down wind on bone dry fairways I'm hitting drives 320 yds come the winter it will be 180 yds on the same hole.
I had a few teething problems with the watch in my 1st few rounds where 2 rounds were not recorded at all. This seems to have resolved itself. After all the reviews online, I had high expectations for the product and was really frustrated by the loss of data and it not doing what I wanted it to do.
Support has been good without excelling.
(6 out 10)
A product that has potential but needs to polish the offering. Hardware can be unreliable and needs ruggedised. Software analysis can be the big differentiator but needs to be more feature rich.
It is only usable on the golf course i.e. can't use it as a watch like other GPS watches
Will I keep using it, yes and probably move on the Bushnell Neo Ion.
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