I'm going to try a formal / outlined review. First, I'll hit the major points and give a "what's it feel like / observational review. A "this is what it feels like in your hands" / "this is what it looks like" review.
First and foremost it was all in English. All communications was conducted via e-mail through the contact info on the SPL-Labs website. All replies were as prompt as can be given the time difference, I'm in Texas, SPL-Labs is in Russia. All my questions were answered professionally and completely. I was given additional information about the products offered. Most importantly all the information given was straight forward. Here's a little about me to put things in perspective. When dealing with something that has my interest my patients is limitless. I'm pretty thorough, I read the fine print and take my time reading instruction manuals. I have no problems with language barriers. I deal with rough English all the time. With that said, they get an A for communications.
This one is a little tricky for me. When I finally decided what I was going to get, SPL-Labs shut down for a brief holiday. I can't really hold this against them. They did let me know ahead of time what the deadline would be for placing an order. They held they're end of the bargain so I had to wait. When SPL-Labs re-opened I was contacted promptly and notified when my item would ship. I was given a follow up notification of actual shipment and given a tracking number. I opted for the EMS Postal service. This is like some sort of International Priority/Express mail. The tracking number service is excellent and done through the US Postal website. I saw when it got to the Russian post office, when I left Russia, when it entered customs, when it left customs, when it arrived at my local post office, and when the first delivery attempt was made. Good stuff.
From the pictures, the item came in a plain jane box. The items were secured in place with foam. All the important metering equipment was double wrapped in bubble wrap. There were no loose items in the package. Nothing rattled when I shook the box. Very nice.
All the cables included with the device were of good quality. They all had adequate molded in strain releife.
The audio cable that connected the sensor to the meter was a name brand, DAXX is what I made the brand out to be. It was a fancier cable with the tip being gold plated and the housing was chrome. The overall length measured 45" I found this to be a bit amusing as all the cable had printing in English.
The included USB cable is you standard issue cable. I looked and felt durable, but time will only tell. the overall length is 10ft.
Also included in this kit was a 12v power cable that plugs into a standard cigarette lighter socket. It had a serviceable fuse and integrated LED that would light up when plugged in. A nice feature to have if you don't know if your cigarette lighter socket is working or not.
The included disk is a CD. It contains the SPL-Viewer software and some music/test tone tracks. The CD is professionally silk screened. It looks nice and professional. No CD-R with a sticker on it here. Here is a break down of the music tracks.
Tracks 1-8 are of various hip hop songs
Tracks 9-19 are of sweeps recorded at 0 Db
Track 20-80 are of test tones. The track number = test tone frequency. All are at 0 Db.
Track 81 is pink noise, 5 minutes worth.
The sensor is straight forward. It's just like the Term-Lab sensor, with a different plug. It's in a non-serviceable plastic enclosure. The suction cups are okay, but they don't have a release tab. Think fingerprints on windshield when you try to get it off.
The mini jack connector is of good quality, and it's hold is pretty good. With the sensor on the windshield if you tug on the mini jack cable you're probably going to unplug the cable before you get the suction cups to release.
THE LCD METER
It's a good size. It reminds me of holding on of the old school brick cell phones from the 80's, just not as heavy. It has an integrated kickstand with good detents. The kickstand will stay closed until you open it with a generous tug. It also have an eyelet for hanging. Pretty cool. The buttons are large and equally spaced. The power button clicks and hold at a different height to distinguish on from off. There is also a red LED next to it indicating power on if you choose not to verify button height. All the other buttons are standard push buttons, no detents, no clicking, like the letter buttons on a keyboard. The layout of the plugs of the cables is good. Mini jack and power up top, USB on the side, makes sense. There are also some bright white LEDs to indicate when the meter is sending or recieving info via USB. Did I mention they are bright. Here is what I felt was most important. The meter is solid, when I shook it there were no rattles. Also, no funny smells. Laugh, but this is very important.
I'll continue with a functionality run down. Stay tuned.