Taobao product recommendation – Coffee filter

My coffee sock became worn out and I looked for a replacement on Taobao. You could say the options are plentiful now because the Chinese are drinking coffee. Not kopi, but filtered coffee, and of course Espresso. Well, a coffee sock isn’t actually cheaper on Taobao than what you can get in Malaysia, where it sells for just RM2 (S$0.68), but I did find something interesting – a metallic filter, that could potentially last forever.

Replacement long overdue
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How not to install the Taobao App

I’m not sure about you, but i find the Taobao mobile App obnoxious. When i tried it more than a year ago, it drained my phone battery, reducing my mileage to half a day. It was always doing something in the background (wasting your data allowance and phone storage), and it popped up ads way too often than i can tolerate.

I get redirected to the Google play store when I access the Taobao site through Chrome browser (i’m not sure what happens on the iPhone), prompting you to install the Taobao App. It’s annoying that they try to force you to use the App, but there’s an easy way around this – use the Desktop mode on your browser. This works, except some pages are cropped on the right hand side, like the shipping consolidation page. So, unfortunately, you don’t have a fully functional Taobao this way, but this still beats installing the App. Update: the Taobao mobile site works fine in the CM browser, i.e. I don’t get redirected to install Taobao app.

Incidentally, if you access Taobao via the Shopback App, you are not prompted to install the App, so it is fully working. Might as well, since you should do all your Taobao purchases through Shopback anyway to earn cashback.

The other important function that you miss out when you opt not to install the Taobao App is notification of seller messages. Sometimes, sellers need to reach out to you to inform you of stock shortage, or to clarify with you on your chosen options. To mitigate this problem, install the Wangxin (旺信) App. This is the Taobao instant messaging (Aliwangwang) App. Besides providing the instant messaging functionality, it also gives updates on all your parcels, which is really handy. I muted the App notifications, and it doesn’t run in the background unnecessarily. Perfect.

Parcel update in the Wangxin App. This is showing the status of your consolidated shipment (to SG, or wherever). Such convenience!

Taobao product recommendation – Mosquito trap

Here’s your chance to own a Dyson product for cheap – 128 Yuan (S$25.50). The price has now further dropped to 108 Yuan or S$21.50. Unbelievable right? The Dyson branding is for this mosquito trap is not legitimate for sure. The product description is now simply “第五代” or “Fifth generation”, so they’re obviously trying to stay low. On the product page, they have a photo of a group of supposed German scientists whereby the Dyson logo appears in the backdrop. I doubt they can have Dyson’s endorsement for such a coarsely made product. Nevertheless, i must admit, i actually bought this product partly for the Dyson branding.

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Taobao product recommendation – Universal Silicone food container cover

If you have leftover food in a bowl or plate, you’d normally have to transfer them to a covered container for storing in the fridge. Believe it or not, i find that a huge hassle. It means you have one more bowl or plate to wash, and i’m just lazy to do that. That’s where this universal silicone food container cover comes in handy – it is elastic enough to be wrapped over just about any kind of container you can imagine.

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Taobao product recommendation – USB-C to HDMI cable

I have tried AnyCast and Chromecast for projecting video onto a large screen. AnyCast is basically unreliable. Chromecast works very well for YouTube, but less so when doing screen mirroring. I wanted a reliable way for using the phone as a media player, since all the media you would ever want to cast/display is on your phone. This led me to the Hagibis USB-C to HDMI cable. Wired always wins.

At 85 Yuan (S$17), i would say it is quite cheap. Cheaper than most wireless solutions anyway. One caveat though, not all phones support the Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) required for this to work.

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Taobao product recommendation – Dashboard phone holder

Previously, i have used those phone holder with a suction pad that is attached to the windscreen. They tend to fall off when going across rough terrain (like a train track), which brings about much inconvenience and would be a safety concern.

Other phone holders have their pluses and minuses. The aircond vent type is probably the simplest in design, and maybe quite sturdy too. But, i don’t quite like the idea of blocking the aircond vent, though I don’t mind when I’m driving a rental car.

There is the type that is sticks onto the dashboard (with super strong sticker at the base). Obviously you can’t use them in rental cars, and i would worry about damage to the dashboard when you have to remove it. The type that hangs from the rear view mirror is a good idea, since it would be natural glancing at the rear view mirror. However, i discovered another type that seems even better – it clips onto the dashboard. You would be looking more or less straight ahead, and the contraption is very simple.

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Taobao product recommendation – Cordless handheld vacuum cleaner

I have previously recommended this Korean cordless vacuum cleaner, but now that i have tried a Chinese one powered by Lithium battery, i’d say the Chinese one wins hands down.

I bought the HanFuRen, which is obviously a Dyson knock-off. I managed to get it while it was on sale, at an amazing price of 199 Yuan (S$40). It is currently selling for 299 Yuan – the singles day sale doesn’t always give you the best deal.

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Taobao product recommendation – Kitchen deep-frying oil filter

One of the reasons i don’t like to cook deep-fried food, besides health considerations, is having to deal with of the leftover oil. The Japanese have a solution to this – a filtration oil storage pot.

As pictured above, there is a wire mesh to filter away the sediments in the  oil after frying stuff. The mesh size is probably just nice. If it is any more fine, it becomes clogged up easily the oil won’t be able to pass through. I find it useful for filtering soup as well, which can often have lots of sediments also. At 1.4 litres for the small sized pot, it can hold quite a bit of liquid.

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Taobao product recommendation – Amplifier

Let me say on the onset that i am no audiophile nor expert in sound reproduction, but i am somewhat a perfectionist, and a perfectionist won’t make do with a normal off-the-shelf audio system.

More than a decade ago, i invested in a pair of Monitor Audio speakers plus a Wharfedale subwoofer. I’m happy to report that both are still working flawlessly. Now, back then, Taobao did not yet exist, so there was not much options in buying a cheap amplifier. Today, Taobao has you covered. Cheap amplifier? You bet. An amplifier is called a 功放机 in Chinese by the way.

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Taobao product recommendation – USB-C OTG Cable

Having upgraded my phone, i needed a replacement OTG cable, a USB-C one instead of micro USB (specifically a USB-C to USB-A female). There are plenty of similar products on Taobao as expected.

I prefer one that comes with a cable, rather than a thumb-drive-like one. If you prefer the latter, then it would be this UGreen branded one that has the highest sales volume currently. For the cable type, i chose, at random, a high-sales volume one, the Pisen branded one (as pictured in the feature photo). This Jingston branded one is similar. The cable type is definitely more flexible and preferable to the thumb-drive type, IMHO.

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