Thursday, December 12, 2013

Kotas Reviews Signswise Solar LED Lights

Hello loyal readers, it's Christmas Time at last! We here at Kotas Reviews Everything find that the winter holiday season to be our (okay, favorite time of the year. If there is anything I was looking forward to, it was decorating my yard with Christmas junk year after year until the yard becomes a traditional holiday embarrassment for my kid. 

I also happen to have a little pine tree in the front yard that is damn near PERFECT for hanging outdoor lights on. In an effort to restrain myself, this year I opted NOT to purchase every friggin' inflatable geegaw for the yard (that will come during the After Christmas Sales...oooooh yes), and instead start off with a tasteful string of lights, preferably battery powered since I didn't want to run an extension cord through the rose bushes. In perusing Amazon, I came across this link:

Sure, it only has 2.5 stars worth of reviews, but for $12? How could I lose? Well, let me tell you boys and girls, I could lose $12 pretty darn easily. What a crushingly horrible pile of awful these things are. 

You had ONE JOB lights. ONE. JOB.
I suppose I should have known what I was getting. Things don't get discounted 88% off for no reason, but hell, those little solar powered lights you put out along paths are like, $4 and they work at least for a few hours, if dimly. Since the backdrop for this is "nearly invisible in the darkness green pine needles", even a bit of dim light would be great! Right? WRONG. 

It all started when I realized these things did not have a "plug in to charge" capability. That right there would have solved almost every problem I have with these things, but eh, $12 right? Right. So to test them (because you always, ALWAYS test lights before putting them up), I put them under a lamp for a few hours and gave them a whirl. What do you know, they lit up! It wasn't spectacularly bright, but they did work! Hooray! I put them under the lamp overnight, and the next morning I took them out into the freezing cold to wrap them haphazardly around my tree. 

The good parts: These things are pretty simple to set up. The plastic stake will in fact hold up the box once it's shoved into the ground. The solar cell appears to be able to change solar energy into electricity, at least a little bit. With only one strand, they were pretty easy to untangle from the "shipping knot" they were in. 

The bad parts: The fucking thing stopped working the second it hit the tree. No amount of button pushing, clicking, yelling, cursing, praying or otherwise entreating the powers that be will ever make these things turn on again. I've tried shining a light on them directly. I've tried waiting for a "sunny day". I've clicked and toggled 'til my toggler was sore...and then I thought of something I hadn't before. That these things were a pile of ass that worked JUST LONG ENOUGH for me to be excited about having them, but will refuse to ever light up my tree with light and my heart with satisfaction. 

I do not think I can properly convey my disappointment in these things. If they hadn't worked at all, it would have been no big deal. Just return them, right? But no. They worked once, so clearly I must be doing something wrong...or maybe they are just cheap crap that only works once. It's the fact that they worked and now do not for what appears to be no reason. If the cold screws them up then why are they marketed as OUTDOOR lights? Rain? They list as waterproof. And why would you not include an "throw some batteries" in it option? Or at least a "disconnect the box from the strand" plug. Auuuugggghhhh. So frustrating. 

Overall, I give these things THREE FROWNIES on the FACE Rating System. If they hadn't worked at all it would have been only 1 frownie face. If they were just dim, then probably 0 faces or even 1 smiley, because hey, lame lights are still lights. But this? This tease? Screw you, lights that don't light!