Gadgets :: December 5, 2018

By Gregg Ellman

There’s always som@greggellman)e cool things to add to holiday shopping lists. But as we get down to the shopping deadline, this can include basics for grab and go shoppers (like me). Essentials that any family, friend or neighbor can use or even a really cool music system.

Crosley’s new retro cassette player/recorder is simply awesome for its looks and functionality, but it includes some nice modern features. I still have boxes of perfectly playable cassette tapes. They bring back some great playlists, which I don’t refer to as retro, I rather say they are original! Pressing actual buttons for start, stop, pause, play, forward and back might be new to some and refreshing to others.

Either way, the portable tape deck is for any generation to play cassette tapes or choose a AM or FM radio station with the side knob and extendable antenna. The CT100 tape deck also has a USB port and SD card slot for playing digital music. There’s also a headphone jack and built-in microphone. $59.95

Spot for your Dot. That’s written on the box for the iHome iAV2 speaker system built for the Amazon Echo Dot voice assistant hardware so I can’t take credit for it. What I can say is that this is a useful bedside or office desktop ystem.

Along with dimmable time display, 360-degree sound and a USB port for smartphone charging, the attractive feature is the top sided dock for your Echo Dot (2nd generation). Just drop it there and you can give Alexa commands to play music, playlists, hear the weather when you awake, turn on lights or set an alarm. The features for the cloud-based voice assistant are alway growing and having a partner like the AC iHome iAV2 makes it even better. While in the dock, the Echo keeps itself charged. $69.99

Darin M-2 true wireless earphones are small, stylish and have amazing sound. They travel great in a pocket or purse inside a 3.75-by-.75-inch cylinder charging/storage aluminum capsule. Earin’s new patented automatic left/right recognition technology make it so there’s no need to figure out which goes in the left or right ear. Just pop em’ in and play. With Bluetooth 4.2 they pair flawlessly and wear in comfort. Touch control is built in to manage calls (built-in mic) music and even voice assistants. Battery life is 4 hours and the capsule charging adds another 14. $249 black and white versions available

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 ($199) installs in minutes with your existing doorbell hardwiring or choose the quick release USB rechargeable version. Once installed and connected to WiFi, you’ll see who is at the front door through the Ring app (iOS and Android) and with live view, speak to visitors, essentially answering the door with your smartphone from anywhere in the world. The 1080HD 160-degree wide-angle video can be stored in the cloud, depending on the plan you choose or download on social media to alert neighbors. The security is unmatched for day to day use. And sitting on your door step for hours until you get home. Now you have eyes on them at all times with the cloud-based security system. Ring has easy-toinstall solar chargers, security cameras, lights and kits to enhance your home and your holiday shopping lists. $199

The ZAGG Flex is a portable and more importantly a universal Bluetooth keyboard and detachable stand for smartphones, tablets and even smart TV’s. It’s built with multi-device pairing so it’s easy with the press of a button to toggle between devices or users.

You have – choice of seven colors for backlit keys on the laptop-style keyboard. When not in use, the included protective cover is great to keep it safely stored. $55.99

Scoshe’s magnetic MagicMount Pro is great for most any Qi wireless charging phone. Just install one of the two included magic plates to the back of your phone and secure the automotive grade adhesive magic mount to your dashboard. The magnets are 100-percent mobile device safe. Now your smartphone is instantly ready to mount and remove for handsfree use. The mount has 360-degree movement so it is easy to get the perfect angle. $14.21

Gadgets :: November 28, 2018

by Gregg Ellman


Earbuds. You want them but the choices are endless. If you go to Amazon and search. earbuds, there are more than 20,000 results. So if you have the time to read about each. one, go for it. Otherwise here are a few options.

V-Moda just launched the BassFit, their first fitness-focused Bluetooth in-ear headphone, which they properly refer to as “The Ultimate Sport Headphone Companion” in a recent press release.

Just about everyone shops for earbuds with sound being the main feature. In the BassFit, your ears will hear sound tuned with perfection in the bass and pristine clarity.

V-Moda went all out to ensure great sound along with features to keep the earbuds in place during any workout or just listening along at 32,000 feet in the air.

The BassFit also features V-Moda’s patent pending TriFit design to give users comfort and the perfect fit. They can be worn as tradition earbuds, with the choice of eight different sized sets of eartips to get the right fit. In addition you can add on ear fins (3 sets), ear hooks or a combination of both.

Battery life will last over 11 hours of playing until a charge is needed. A 15-minute fast charge will give you about 2.5-hours of playback. With two-layer nanocoating technology, V-Moda calls it competition-crushing sweat and weather resistance from in-house testing. An inline three-button controls music, volume, handsfree calls and accessing voice assistants.

Each earbud has a magnetic closure for securing the earbuds together around yourneck when they aren’t playing your tunes. Or just store them in the included soft pouch. $130, available in black or white

Creative’s Aurvana Trio wired earbuds with Hybrid Triple-Driver System deliver detailed highs, natural vocals and accurate bass, which pump pristine, accurate sound in your ears.

With all this technology, what’s import is how it sounds and it was impressive at any volume level on every song from my eclectic play list.

You get four sets of different sized silicone ear tips and when you get the right fit you will take advantage of the earbuds AuraSeal Design. This gives you up to 98-percent ofnoise isolation out of the stylish looking and well built arbuds with a gun metal finish.

A great feature in the Trio’s, which myself and many other users of wired earbuds would feature is the thin detachable braided MMCX connector 3.9-foot cable, making it easy to replace it in the event of damage or you want to use a specialized aftermarket cable.

If you never used a detachable cable on earbuds, you’ll love this one. It connects easily, stays intact and swivels as needed. The braided design also keeps you pretty much tangle free. On the cable is a 1-button control for music, power, volume and calls. A hard travel case and airplane travel adapter is included. $99.99

I’ll give a shoutout to a Funcl, a new company comprised of experienced sound professionals who have introduced two models of true wireless sound solutions on Indiegogo.

They gave me a sneak peak at both, which I came away from very impressed with the sound, features and affordable prices.

Funcl AI ($54.99) is powered by Bluetooth 5.0 touch control and has Hi-Fi sound quality. The 6.5-hour battery life and at quick glance it has the looks similar to AirPods.

Charging and storage is done in the included hard battery case, which will give up to three extra charges.

The smaller profile Funcl W1 has the looks of a traditional earbud, just without the wire. It’s starting out priced at $19.99 and features Bluetooth 5.0 and touch control. They have a 4.5-hour battery life and up to 18 hours with the charging/storage case.

Both are available in choices of black or white and are IPX5 waterproof rated . To find more and to get in at the start of Funcl, go to and search for Funcl.

Gadgets :: November 21, 2018

by Gregg Ellman

Alexa do this, Alexa do that.  

The popularity of the voice assistant has even caused the decline of people naming their children Alexa. According to a blog post from a sociologist at the University of Maryland, College Park, the name Alexa has seen a 21.3 percent drop in 2016 and another 19.5 percent in 2017. 

Even with the popularity, it remains unknown to many. I get asked often about what’s the deal with Alexa. With the system set to be one of the most popular holiday gifts this year, it’s worth knowing what’s up with Alexa.

Let’s take it from the beginning. Alexa is Amazon’s virtual voice assistant, released in November 2014. You have to pay for the hardware, but her service is free and if you have an Amazon Prime account ($119 yearly), you’ll be able to unlock a lot more of her benefits including a free music service.

The system is controlled by speaking commands to Amazon’s Echo Bluetooth speaker. I’m using an Echo Plus and if I was grading it on the sound alone, it’s outstanding. 

Setting it up is simple, especially since you get written instructions along with Alexa speaking instructions. Obviously since it’s driven by Amazon, you do have to have an account to log into the Amazon Alexa app (iOS App Store, Google Play Store or Amazon Appstore) on your smartphone. After logging in the app, it’s pretty straightforward; set up the app, connect your home WiFi to the Alexa and start talking to your new friend.

The voice assistant system can do a lot of things; control your smart home devices to unlock doors, change a thermostat and turn an appliance on or off. You can also make phone calls, send messages, get the news of the day, weather reports and even go shopping to name just a sampling of the features. Your choices are endless.

After opening my Echo plus and going through the setup I asked Alexa to play WFAN sports radio (my favorite New York station) and within a few seconds it was playing. My next command was to play SirusXM radio. Alexa told me I had to link my account, which I did and had my music playing right away.

Next on my list was the indoor Amazon cloud cam security camera ($119.99), which records in 1080p HD. The setup included the cloud cam app, connecting to your WiFi and a few other quick steps. Before I knew it, there I was facing the camera and watching myself on my smartphone. The camera has a 120-degree view, a built-in mic and speaker for two-way communication and inferred night vision.

You get free storage for the most recent 24 hours of clips or you can upgrade up to 30 days of storage and have up to 10 cameras connected.

The choices of devices that are Alexa-comparable is growing every day, including Bluetooth speakers and lightbulbs.  Setting up a light with a timer takes just a little longer then screwing in the bulb. 

With a Philips Hue lightbulb screwed into a basic lamp, per the instructions I turned the lamp on and off real quick. This allows it to go in pairing mode and have the Alexa app discover it. From there, just tell Alexa when you want it on or off or just set a schedule as I did by telling Alexa to turn the lamp on at 5p.m. and off at 7a.m. daily.

I already have Alexa compatible (second and third generation models) Nest thermostats installed in my house, so I added them with the app. So now when my wife is cold, all she has to say is “Alexa raise the temperature by 5 degrees.” 


iHome’s WiFi outdoor smart-plug is perfect for this time of year for controlling holiday lights. The plug is weather resistant and with an Alexa command it will turn the lights on and off or just can set a daily schedule. Obviously it’s not limited to holiday lights, it will control whatever plugged into it.

One feature I find amazing is voice-controlled shopping, which is only available to Amazon  Prime members. So if you’re out of detergent, coffee or other Prime products, just tell Alexa what you need. Since she is already connected to your account,  your credit card will be charged and whatever you asked for is on the way.

I finished up by asking Alexa if I can now have a margarita since my holiday/vacation week has begun. She replied that she doesn’t have an opinion on that, so I made the decision on my own.

Gadgets :: November 14, 2018

by Gregg Ellman

The Nixplay Iris frame with WiFi connectivity easily displays cell phone images. Along with the Nixplay app and 10GB of free cloud storage, you can send images from anywhere to be displayed in the 8-inch frame.  Once everything is set up, images display instantly. The frame has a high resolution (1024 x 768) and automatically adjusts brightness based on ambient light levels in the surrounding room. Easy settings allow for choices of shuffling, playlists and image transitions. Both JPEG and PNG files formats are supported and an AC power adapter is included $199.99 in silver, copper or bronze

The Rabbit Charger Duohas is a charging system for all your power-hungry accessories. It attaches to a standard AC duplex outlet (not compatible with GFCI or décor outlets) in seconds and includes a 28-inch retractable cable. The bottom of the charger has a standard AC pass-though plug, which you can use for another charger, lamp or whatever. Where the top plug would be is now a touch-activated ambient light. The top sided cable has swappable charging tips for USB-C, Apple and Androids. With a total of 3.0 amps output, you can charge a tablet and a phone simultaneously. $49.95

Ventev’s Cablekeeper Stay is so handy you’ll end up getting yourself a pack. Everyone has cables so why not keep ‘em neatly organized with this ultra compact cable management solution? Each four pack (one large multi-cable keeper and three single cable keepers) has non-marking adhesive to stay in place and allows your cables to snap in and out instantly. While you’re at it, the Ventev Cablekeeper Tie (2 pack) is a magnetic closure that secures computer or headphone cables, keeping them tangle free. $14.99

What coffee lover doesn’t want an endless supply of java? You get that with the WePlenish Java Smart Container. It’s equipped with Amazon dash replenishment, so when your supply gets low a WiFi connected smart sensor detects the coffee order needed and along with the WePlenish App automatically re-orders your coffee. The container (10-by-5-by-9.75-inches) holds and reorders most all the popular coffee pods, including K-Cup and Nespresso. $39.99

Imagine giving someone 150 Bluetooth speakers and being able to pair and play together. Thats just one of the features of the Megaboom 3 from Ultimate Ears, which has everything you would want from a Bluetooth speaker. This includes incredible 360-degree sound with an amazing amount of bass at all volumes, waterproof and it even floats. A magic button on top of the speaker offers one touch access to playlists from Apple Music and Deezer Premium. The battery will last for about 20 hours of play before a USB charge is needed or you can purchase the Ultimate Ears Power Up charge dock ($39.99) for wire-free charging. And if thats not enough, it looks great with a high-performance fabric exterior available in seven color choices. $199.99

The RCA Beverage Center holds 24 wine bottles or 110 cans or a combination of both stored in perfect view with a double tempered glass front door. Chrome racks inside are removable for easy cleaning and customized configurations. Interior blue LED lighting gives it a modern look and the electronic temperature control and can be accessed from the outside. $119.00

The Kodak Scanza digital film scanner is an easy-to-use way to re-live memories that haven’t been seen in years. The scanner comes with all the adapters and inserts to convert 126, 110, super 8 and 8 mm, 35 mm film negatives and slides to jpeg files. A fold-out 3.5-inch LCD color displays the image you’re working on, which is scanned into optimized 14-megapixel or interpolated 22-megapixel digital files. Scanned images go directly onto an SD card so you can do your one-touch one-step scan scanning without being connected to your computer. $169.99



Gadgets :: November 7, 2018

By Michael Phillips

Scosche’s Boombottle MM, waterproof wireless speaker with built-in MagicMount is amazing when you look at the features packed inside. And it’s even  better when you hear the sound.

With many Bluetooth speakers, when you push the button the volume keeps getting louder but most often something inside you ears tells you when the speaker hits its optimum volume level based on the sound quality and distortion.

With the Boombottle, you almost want to it keep getting louder past the maximum volume levels, it sounds that good.

The speaker is 7.2-inches high with a rounded cup holder-friendly body 2.9-inches deep and weighs 1.25 pounds. Inside is Bluetooth 4.2, a pair of 12 W (6 W x 2) 45 mm speakers and a 4000 mAh battery to keep the music playing for up to 12 hours. A 4 level LED battery indicator shows you how much power is left before a USB charge is needed.

With an IP67 waterproof rating, the speaker can withstanding being submerged in up to three feet of water and the body has a dust-proof construction. A built-in microphone is for handsfree calling.

Those features alone would be enough for a great speaker, but there’s a unique feature on the outside; the BoomBottle Opener. The built-in opener is right there on the back of the speaker, so as long as the speaker is packed for vacation, you’ll have an opener with you for your favorite beverage.

Scosche’s MagicMount technology lets the speaker magnetically attach to most metal surfaces. This lets the sound play from any direction and when you pair two of the BoomBottle speakers and mount them further apart, the true stereo sound is even more impressive.

The mounting system also lets your smartphone magnetically secure itself to the top of the speaker with the included magic plate and 3M adhesive film.

A carabiner loop is built into the top and of course a carabiner is included.

While the looks have no bearing of the sound, the black speaker grill makes it an attractive speaker. All the controls are easily accessed on a rear vertical rubber panel. A 3.5 mm aux input port is there for connecting your music source directly, but is not waterproof at that point. $129.99 available in choice of black or black camouflage

Even with some of the most functional and best computers made, the sound produced from the built-in speakers is just OK, if they even have speakers. Internal speakers are not directional; the speakers are stationary and the sound can’t be sent one way or another.

What caught my attention from the Stage Air from Creative is the functionality with a friendly cost. The soundbar, instantly solves any computer’s sound problem.

It’s designed for under-monitor use with a compact 16-by-3-by-2.75-inch size and all the controls are on the right side.

My wife uses her iMac and doesn’t like clutter and accessories all over her desk. Since she  often plays music while working, I quietly set up the speaker and placed it exactly where it’s promoted to be, under the monitor.

As I sat there watching her turn on some music, she instantly turned around and said “that’s pretty cool” when the sound played from the Stage Air.

With Bluetooth pairing, the speaker isn’t limited to computer use, its ideal for using with a TV or any sound source. And if there’s no Bluetooth inside your TV, you can’t make a direct 3.5 mm connection.

There’s a standard USB port on the back, which lets the Stage Air work as a standalone music player. If you have music loaded on a USB storage device, just plug it in and the playing starts. 

You get about 6 hours of playback from the 2,200mAh internal battery before a charge is needed or just plug the USB cable into your computer or an AC power source for endless power and sound.

The modern looking speaker has metal front facing grills covering a pair of 5 W speakers. $45.54

Gadgets :: October 31, 2018

by Gregg Ellman

Momentum’s Cori HD smart home security camera is an affordable do-it-yourself system that you can have up and running in just a few minutes.

Each camera can be connected to a cloud service to save your recordings (monthly fee required for each camera) or you can avoid the charges by using your own SD memory card (up to 128GB), which inserts directly into each camera.

I used the quick start guide for setup, which was really easy. After creating an account in the accompanying Momentum mobile app, the app walks you through a few steps including pairing and naming the camera. 

Once everything is connected, the app’s user-friendly dashboard lets you view the cameras, record and create rules for your system. The rules include what you want recorded and when, along with notifications.

Each camera has a 110-degree viewing angle, records with a 720p HD resolution and sends alerts for sound and motion detection. The audio is two-way though the app to the camera, which has a speaker and microphone.

The Cori has a built-in infrared LED, enabling it to capture clear color video recording during day and black and white at night.

I used the microSD slots for storage but if you want online storage, you have choices of monthly plans for accessing a week or a months worth of recordings. The plans are also priced per camera. You do get a 30-day free trial with 24/7 live stream to start.

Each camera has a base for sitting on a flat surface and lets the camera turn and tilt to get the angle you want. A wall mounting kit is included along with a microUSB cable and power adapter for each camera. $59.99 for a pair of cameras

The first and probably the most important feature of the Soul Run Free Pro Bio voice coaching wireless running earphones is it’s impressive sound.

While the sound is a critical aspect, the features don’t end there. Believe it or not they include a fitness coach, giving you workout tips in your ears. 

Soul touts the headphones as the world’s first A.I. Earphones with GAIT Analysis technology to monitor your running form and provide real-time voice coaching.

The voice-activated coach is in your ears to help you improve efficiency on-the-go and to prevent injuries.

Powered by Beflex Biomech Engine technology, it uses biomechanical data from critical aspects of your run. Built-in sensors track the statistics to guide the coach. Data are  recorded and displayed on the Soul Fit app. This includes speed, distance, steps width and length, head tilt angle, balance and many other measurements.

The attractive sport design includes an LED light and a reflective cable to add a nice safety feature for night runners. Multiple sets of ear tips are included to ensure a snug fit with the ergonomic earphones. 

You’ll get about 11 hours of playtime before a 2-hour USB charge is needed. They are IPX5 water-resistant for protection from sweat and an in-line controller lets you adjust the volume and music tracks and a built-in mic is there for handsfree calls.

Bluetooth 4.1 makes a solid connection to your smartphone, which you’ll obviously have to carry.

Back to the sound. It was crystal clear at all levels with my eclectic playlist. Over the years I’ve tested many Soul headphones and they rock and roll in your ears, except when the coach is talking. $149.99 available in passion red or power grey

Gadgets :: October 10, 2018

by Gregg Ellman

The Misfit Path is high on my list of favorite activity trackers. 

So many trackers out there are just plain ugly. The Path, though, is timeless with a classic look. It’s a hybrid smartwatch that’s really fashionable, with the look of a traditional watch. 

I tested the stainless steel watch with the black sport strap and it replaced my regular watch because of all the cool things it allows me to do, along with having the time.

The Misfit Path hybrid smartwatch has a sleek, minimalist design that automatically tracks steps, distance, calories, and light and restful sleep. It lightly vibrates when I get a call or text, and can be set it to vibrate for smartphone app alerts. There are also smart alarms and movement reminders for when I sit too long. 

There are two buttons on the side; one shows me my progress and the other controls music, taking pictures, and a find your phone feature.

Two great features I love are the integration with fitness apps like My Fitness Pal. The Misfit app connects my Path (or other Misfit device like Shine or Ray) to the app to share my activity for the day, allowing me to add negative calories from my daily activities and working out automatically. The other changes time zones automatically so  the Path sets the analog time for my location.

It is swim-proof and water resistant to 50 meters and has a non-charging, replaceable CR2025 battery, which lasts up to 6 months. The straps are easily interchangeable, making it fashionable for any look I want. $149.99, Available in four colorways

Kingston’s Nucleum USB Type-C Hub is one-stop shopping for connecting just about every device and accessory you’ll need to your laptop.

The Hub is only 5.0-by-1.8-by-0.6-inches with a single cable attaching to a USB-C connection, which plugs into the computer. Your computer gives it all the power it needs.

From there you can connect up to seven devices simultaneously, including power, smartphone charging and other accessories like a mouse or keyboard. An additional monitor can also be connected.

It also has an HDMI port to output to a 4K UHD or Full HD 1080p monitor or projector. There’s a build-in memory card reader for SD microSD cards or you can connect an external card reader to one of the USB A slots.

One of the USB-C ports has a power icon, which tells you it can be used for pass-through charging.

No matter what I tried to connect, everything worked perfect on my Apple MacBook Pro. $50.93

The Nanoleaf remote is a dodecahedron snapped remote to control HomeKit smart home accessories and Nanoleaf Light Panels in colorful style.

The 12-sided, light-up Bluetooth-enabled device looks like a speaker, but it’s not. Instead, each face of the remote can be programed for a different smart home scene or command, which is controlled by sensors inside the Nanoleaf. 

You can easily create a common scene with specific lights, temperature and entertainment devices turned on. Your devices are connected to your HomeKit’s hub, which then connects to the Nanoleaf for controlling. 

After you plug in 2 AA batteries for power and snap the remote together, you can start programing it with the HomeKit or Nanoleaf app or even use the pre-programmed scenes.

I personally find smart home devices entertaining and useful. The Nanoleaf 12 Sides of Paradise just adds another feature to all of them.

According to the Nanoleaf site, with iOS, the Nanoleaf remote is a HomeKit experience and requires iOS8 and above, along with a Home Hub (Apple TV, iPad, or HomePod). On Android, the Nanoleaf Remote requires Android 5. $49.99

Gadgets :: October 3, 2018

By Gregg Ellman

Injuries such as forearm strain or wrist pressure caused by a mouse are more common than one would think.  The new Logitech MX Vertical wireless mouse is built with an ergonomic design to reduce these injuries.

Something I found interesting while reading about the mouse, before I had my review unit, is that the mouse is scientifically tested and ergonomist approved. The design is a natural handshake position, which I kept in my mind as I sed  MX Vertical the first time.

Along with the handshake design, it has a 57-degree vertical angle, reducing muscular activity up to 10 percent compared to an everyday mouse.

So if any of that makes you think it’s too complicated for a mouse, remember a mouse is something many of use for hours each day. I found the comfort of the MX Vertical like night and day compared to a standard mouse.

If you have never used anything but a standard mouse, the look and feeling of an ergonomic mouse might take some getting used to but after an hour or so, trust me, you’ll never go back.

Included software is easy to program and customize  all the features you expect and need. This includes left and right buttons for clicking and a smooth clicking scroll wheel. 

The software lets you customize the buttons and add other features depending on your tasks. Wirelessly, the mouse can be used with the included USB dongle or Bluetooth. Both worked fine; I stayed with the dongle, mainly so I wouldn’t lose it. 

On the bottom is a button to switch the channel, which is great if you use multiple computers. You can even copy and paste between computers. 

The left side has a thumb rest and your other fingers are positioned on the right with each having easy access to the controls.

How it works to reduce or eliminate pain, injuries or just add comfort, depends on each user. I’m lucky since I don’t have wrist pain and I know I just jinxed myself by saying that.

With the internal battery you should get about four months of use; if it runs out in the middle of work, a one-minute charge will get you running for three hours.

It’s impossible to say if it’s the best mouse I ever tried but with all the features it has to be near or at the top. Logitech is known for well-built products, which continues with the MX Vertical. $99.99

True wireless earbuds aren’t as unusual as they were a year ago but they are still new to some. The latest to get some play time in my ears are the Yevo Air.

Recently I got a few reader emails, were asking about the true wireless category with good sound and a reasonable price. I was happy to reply that the Yevo Air is a great choice. 

The most important feature is the sound and it  didn’t disappoint, with great clarity even at high levels and a nice amount of bass.

Calls, voice assistants and music are easily managed with on-ear controls.

But before even turning them on, I made sure I had the right sized silicon tip attached to the earbuds (three sizes included) to ensure a comfortable and critically important secure fit. 

Each earbud has a 6mm driver and the iBluetooth 4.2 connection worked perfect. You’ll get about 3.5 hours of battery life, but that can be more or less depending on the volume. 

When a charge of the lithium polymer battery is needed, just place the earbuds in the included pocket sized storage case, which gives you up to 10.5-hours of extra listening.

The sweat and splash resistant earbuds are built with a contemporary look which only adds to the value of a solid listening product. $129 in choices of black or white

Gadgets :: September 19, 2018

by Gregg Ellman

Adaptive Sound Technologies’ LectroFan EVO is designed to be a dream come true for poor sleepers.

I’ve always had to fall asleep with a TV, radio or some sound playing in the bedroom.  Using a nighttime sound gadget like the LectroFan EVO has solved the problem. I’m not trying to play a sleep doctor, but I know what works for me and using a sound machine does the trick.

The desktop speaker has 22 unique digital sounds to neutralize unwanted noises; fan sounds, 10 white noises and two ocean surf sounds.

The hexagon-shaped speaker (4.4-by-2.2-by-4.4-inches) has a timer (30, 60, 90 or 120 minutes) and volume controls to adjust in 1dB increments from 10x quieter-10x louder than fan machines, according to the company’s website.

On the other side of my bed, I’m told my snoring is still heard but it’s drowned out and way less intrusive. I was also interested to read before testing the unit that it helps reduce startling noises, which diminishes pet anxiety. I have an older dog, and while she won’t discuss with me if the sleeping is better, she didn’t wake up during a recent rain storm, which very often she did in the past.

If you don’t want the sounds broadcast out loud, there’s an audio jack to connect other sound sources (not included) such as headphones or a pillow speaker.

The LectroFan is also good for office use, helping you focus on work tasks and keeping conversations easier to concentrate on with the elimination of background noises.

An AC adapter, USB source and travel case are included. $59.95

Skylum software has introduced Photolemur 3.0 software to help consumers easily enhance images.

The software uses Artificial Intelligence with a simple drag and drop application to make adjustments almost instantly. This includes auto face enhancement, skin retouching, teeth whitening, skin and hair smoothing, sharpening, lens correction and exposure adjustments. There are 14 different AI technologies incorporated into the software, which makes the images instantly ready for social media.

The software analyzes the image and enhances each photo accordingly.

You can adjust up to 200 images simultaneously, which could help consumers who took more than 1.2 trillion photos in the U.S. alone last year, according to InfoTrends.

Photolemur 3.0 is available for Windows and Mac system for $99 with no annual subscription fees.

TravelPirates is a new app designed for those who are traveling the world and want to see it on a budget.

To make it unique, TravelPirates uses a combination of smart travel search technology and the human touch, resulting in low prices for destinations many consider unreachable on a fixed budget. This includes luxurious tropical getaways, trendy experiences, quick domestic city trips and even affordable private islands.

The free app is available for Android and iOS users and in a sleek user friendly interface, provides a feed of the latest and greatest travel deals. Everything is in real time,  created by the company’s team of internationally renowned deal hunters. This way you won’t be looking at anything expired while trying to plan a vacation for a month ahead.

Users can customize the deals based on their preferences, with filters to sort your destinations, departure locations and travel period. You can also get push notifications when a match becomes available.

In the booking section, you’ll see hotel and flight comparisons and a vacation booking engine, which allows users to secure deeply-discounted rates when booking a hotel bundled with a flight. 

Gadgets :: September 12, 2018

by Gregg Ellman

Surviving the cold at football games and other events will be a lot more comfortable and luxurious with the new Hot Seat from Pro Design.

The Kickstart campaign just started for what Pro Design calls the world’s first heated stadium chair. With USB-powered ThermaGridz technology, your bottom will stay cozy warm with the heat, which will penetrate deep into you.

According to Pro Design, ThermaGridz, uses low-voltage USB-powered heating, in  a grid pattern of single core wire wrapped around glass fiber and coated in silicone, which produces Far Infrared Ray heat.

With your portable USB battery (not included), you’ll stay warm for 1.2 hours with a 2500mAh battery or up to  7.25 hours with a 15,000mAh battery.

There are three temperature controls (high 115F, medium 110F and low 100F) and 600D fabric covers the chair to avoid any hot spots,

SoftTushion foam is built into the seat’s armrests and adjustable back for long-term weather with comfort even without the heat.  The welded steel-frame chair is 16 inches wide, but you can drop down the armrests for a larger 20.5-inch wide seat. An adjustable back is 16-inches and you get 16-inches of depth in the seat.

Other features include hidden pockets, which unfold from the armrests for items including smartphones or keys. There’s a larger 15-by-4-inch pocket on the back.

One of the hidden zipper pocket on the front of the left armrest also acts as a cup holder and the bottom of the chair is anti-slip and waterproof. After the game, it folds flat and has adjustable backpack straps.

Pricing starts on the campaign with early bird specials of $79.99, which go fast., 

Roccat’s new Vulcan keyboard is ideal for gaming, daily use or just looking flat out cool. 

Often I’ve had discussions with friends or coworkers who think a keyboard is a keyboard until I let them try a different one. The same is the case with the Vulcan: try it and you’ll see.

While the looks are amazing, the performance is key and it works as well as it looks. I’m open to admit I’m not a gamer, never have been and never will be. With the amount of computer work I do, I’m able to give any keyboard a workout and the Vulcan shined.

For gaming, I let a friend give it a few hours of use and his reported to me that the comfort and response time of the Vulcan is outstanding and the customization was crazy good. He also mentioned that he’s not giving me the Vulcan back. 

The Vulcan has dedicated media keys, which I know gamers will love, along with Roccat’s in-house-developed Titan Switches. These were specifically designed for gamers craving a key stroke that was swift and precise while still being tactile, with an instant response and comfort.

When you first see the futuristic looking keyboard, you notice how cool it looks. It’s built with a Roccat’s Aimo RGB lighting system with long-life LEDs producing beautiful lighting of every one of the keyboard’s dust resistant low profile switches (keys), which are also spill proof. 

The transparent keys along with an aluminum backing produce the effect, which you can customize on a per-key basis in 16.8 million colors.

Three versions are available, the Vulcan 80 ($129.99) with black anodized aluminum, single blue illumination and two media keys. The Vulcan 100 ($149.99) has gray anodized aluminum, RGB AIMO illumination and professional grade media controls and the Vulcan 120 ($159.99) with grey anodized aluminum plating, RGB AIMO lighting, professional grade controls and a magnetic detachable wrist rest.