Gadgets :: July 26, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

The pocket-sized (4.0-by-2.0-by-0.6-inches) Alcomate Revo is a tremendous device for accurately reading an individual’s blood alcohol level so hopefully they don’t rely on judgment alone.

Since I really have no experience with using portable breathalyzers, I did some research and found that often pocket breathalyzers must be sent back to manufacturers for calibration to keep them accurate.

That’s not the case with the Revo because it features a pre-calibrated sensor, which is easily replaceable on your own.

To use it, breathe into a replaceable mouth piece until a beeper stops sounding. The device translates that information to your blood alcohol level. Five mouth pieces are included.

It’s recommended to change the sensor every 1,000 tests or at least once yearly. Additional mouth pieces can be purchased in a 10-pack ($4) or a 100-pack ($40). A pouch and hard carrying case are available for purchase.

The Revo is powered by two AAA batteries, has an easy-to-read LCD and constructed with ABS Molding.

According to the Alcomate site, the Revo is the single source supplier for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps and is DOT approved for law enforcement accuracy. $219.95

I’ve tried an endless number of smart home products over the past few years and the number one complaint I hear from people (which I agree with) is when they aren’t easy to use.

Honeywell get’s an A-Plus from me for their new indoor C1 Wi-Fi Security Camera; it’s exactly as advertised: you can watch what’s happening at home — anytime, anywhere. Versatile and easy to install.

Setup takes just a few minutes. Download the free Lyric app (iOS and Android), connect the camera’s included power cord and following the easy startup guide in the app, which includes connecting the camera to youre existing home WiFi.

The user friendly app is used for viewing the camera but it does a whole lot more, including taking instant screen shots during livestream, which can be easily saved to your mobile device.

Two-way audio allows you to press the microphone tab on the app to speak out of the camera along with hearing sounds in the camera’s area. Alerts can be set for sound and motion detection. Video recording has quality settings for HD 720p (default) auto or low.

Even though the C1 is easy to set up, I recommend reading about all the features and settings so it’s customized for what you want. This way you won’t get alerts every time a pet runs through a room, unless you really want them.

The C1 can send an alert you if a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm goes off. Other features include intelligent sound detection to recognize specific sounds, 135-degree wide-angle view and night vision.

The app works with just one C1 or multiple cameras. Images are stored on a cloud or on a removable microSD memory card. $119.99

Imagenomic’s last version of Portraiture (version 3) is a Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture plugin, which makes skin retouching a snap.

I tested the Photoshop version and found it super easy to achieve professional results with just a few clicks.

The program is built with a powerful masking tool that enables you to selectively smooth only the skin tones of an image without affecting the rest of your image. It works like magic.

Portraiture’s masking tool is unique with its built-in Auto-Mask feature to help you quickly discover most of the skin tone range of the image automatically as well as allowing you to manually fine-tune the results.

When I opened Portraiture, the filter starts with several preset option; Smoothing Normal, Smoothing Strong, Enhancing Glamour, etc. After choosing a preset, you can tweak the results using the sliders for changing the amount of smoothing, add or delete from the mask and even change the hue of the skin color being masked.

Once you are happy with the results, click OK and the filter goes to work, In just a few seconds the skin is smoother, wrinkles and blemishes are erased and my photo looks professionally retouched. $199.95

Gadgets :: July 19, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

Often readers ask me if they really need an item I’ve mentioned previously. For the most part, I won’t decide that for people. But in the case of the Orbit Bluetooth key finder, don’t bother emailing me because yes, you need it. My wife will tell you I need it.

Using the Orbit is simple; just attach it (1.3-inches in diameter, 0.35-inches thick) to your keyring and link it with the free Orbit app (Google Play and App Store).

Once you realize your keys aren’t in your pocket or within site, launch the app and make it ring or look at the last location spotted on a map. The Orbit has a 100-foot radius.

A nice feature in the app settings is the separation alarm. This lets you set the Orbit and smartphone to ring when they reach the 100-foot separation radius. With the safe zone setting turned on you can exceed the 100-foot zone, enabling you to walk keyless at home, work, etc.

The app shows you the location on a map or its last location within range, signal strength, distance and the battery level.

You can also work it in reverse. If you have the keyring with the Orbit in hand but can’t find your phone, just press it to make your phone ring.

And one more thing, you can use the Orbit to fire your smartphones camera.

The Orbit ($29.99) is available in 12 colors with a splash-proof anodised aluminum body and has a six-month coin battery (CR 2025), which is easily replaced. There are15 ringtone alarms to choose from,

You don’t have to limit the Orbit to your keys – attach it to whatever you misplace. Order me a dozen!

The Orbit Wallet has multiple compartments for cash, a driver’s license, receipts and credit card slots with RFID blocking technology.

Built into the wallet is the Orbit Bluetooth finder (same as in the key finder) and it works exactly as mentioned above with the Orbit app.

In addition, it has a built-in 2500mAh rechargeable battery for smartphone charging. Both mirco USB and iPhone lighting adapters are built into the battery for an easy connection and cable-free travel.

A USB connection is included for charging the battery, which has a display to remind you a charge is needed.

The smartphone wallet (4.13-by-3.94-by-0.67-inches) is available in black, dark blue and dark brown for $109.99

BodyGuardz has recently launched the Trainr Pro high-performance case for the iPhone 6/6S Plus and 7/7 Plus.

The innovative high-impact case is made with sport-grip materials and features a clear polycarbonate back.

Unlike other systems that require you to remove your phone from a case and slide it into a pocket, this case snaps in (and out) with ease from a lightweight, removable armband. The armband is soft on your arm and is adjustable with Velcro.

The Trainr Pro armband is perfect for biking, running or walking and allows access to the screen itself, not an extra later of plastic, which has always given me problems.

On its own, the case has a low-profile design but has full protection, for which BodyGuardz is an industry leader. Outside of the shock-absorbing (drop rated to 10 feet) case is durable sport-grip elastomer, perfect for a secure hold and a stylish look. $49.95 available in black/gray and gray/mint combinations

Gadgets :: June 12, 2017

by Gregg Ellman

A recent press release couldn’t have said it better about a new security camera from Momentum. “The new Momentum WiFi camera is the under $50, effective and reliable solution to personal home property and loved one monitoring.”

I stress to readers over and over, one of the most important features in smart home devices is how easy it is to set up (along with price and quality). The Momentum is really as easy as advertised: plug-in-and-go.

After downloading the free Momentum app (iOS and Android), create a quick account, pair your device and connect to an existing WiFi network. After the camera is named (I would name it for the location, so if you add others you’ll know which camera is where) you can set it up anywhere inside needing monitoring.

The camera has a 110-degree viewing angle with a 720p HD resolution. You can stream the video to a mobile device through the app and set alerts for motion and sound. Recording can be set to begin once it detects sound or motion, saving it to a cloud account or the built-in microSD memory card slot up to 128GB.

Cloud storage plans include 7-day storage for $4.99/monthly or 30-day storage for $9.99/monthly.

The Momentum WiFi camera has night vision, which worked well and there’s a two-way talk feature between with the mobile app and the camera.

The camera measures 4.68-by-2.20-by-1.41-inches and an AC adapter is included. $49.99


The new iHome iBT91 dual purpose speaker is perfect for summer, but don’t let that fool ya’, it’s great for every day of the year.

Aside from Bluetooth speaker features, many others make it stand out for the outdoor season, including a color changing lantern.

The lantern has multiple color modes to choose from (glow/slow fade, fast, favorite color, pulse to music, preset pulsing mode and emergency blinker) and more effects can be added with the free iHome app.

In addition there’s a built-in 1 amp USB port to directly connect mobile devices needing a charge. The speaker’s internal battery powers the charging port and the speaker, which is good for up to 6 hours of audio with the lantern on or 13 hours of audio. A USB charging cable is included.

Others features include a speakerphone for handsfree calls. The speaker is built with talk/end controls and digital voice echo cancellation. Your music source can be directly  connected with the 3.5 mm aux-in jack.

The iBT91 speaker (4.85-by-9.26-by-4.61-inches, 2.97 pounds) can absorb poolside splashes and a quick rain shower with its built-in 1P65 waterproof rating.

A second lantern speaker can be purchased to wirelessly connect with the first. $99.99

Focal has launched new Spark wireless earbuds.

Focal touts them as the best entry-level model available. I thought the sound was solid, bass filling and for an entry-level they did a great job.

The lightweight Bluetooth earbuds (s/m/l) are built with an aluminum body attached to an anti-tangle flat cable. Multiple ear tips are included to get a comfortable fit along with a storage case and a charging cable.

An in-line three-button remote works perfect for pairing, power, volume control, microphone and music selections.

The wireless version is $99 and is available in black, rose gold and silver. A wired version is also available for $69 in black, blue cobalt and silver.

Gadgets :: July 5, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

I get asked all the time by tech companies, how do they get their product in my column? It’s a pretty simple formula: it has to be new, cool, different and useful.

survival_straps_1Which brings me to the new Apple watch Survival Straps’ Watch Strap. Obviously, bands are a dime a dozen for the smartwatch, but for some reason this one caught my attention instantly.

The versatile band connected perfectly to my 42 mm Apple watch. All you do is connect it to the watch like any other band by pressing the links on the bottom to release the existing band.

According to the Survival Straps, the handmade, durable band is made with authentic military spec 550# paracord with an attractive and unique stainless-steel anchor shackle closure system They have over 45 paracord colors to mix, match and design your band to match your taste, resulting in thousands of color combinations.

The Survival Strap I’ve been testing and wearing for a few days was pretty stiff at first but after it formed to my wrist it fits to perfection. The closure takes a little getting used to and after a few opens and closes, I really like it along with it being by far the most secure closure I’ve seen.survival_straps_2

Straps are custom made for your wrist size and are available for watches, bracelets, emblems and a variety of smartwatches. The Apple watch band I tried out sells for $49.99, Samsung Gear S3 and Fitbit Paracord straps are also $49.99. Prices vary for others.

Survival Straps is a mom and pop company based in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL and produces 100 percent USA made products. They also support the nations first responders, wounded veterans and active military with over $1 million of donations.

thermacell__backpacker_1Thermacell’s new Backpacker mosquito repeller is a lightweight, portable (3.8-by-1.9-by-2.6-inches ) solution for keeping your immediate area free of the annoying bugs.
The 4 ounce gas powered canister device is odorless and flameless and is good for up to 90 hours of bug protection before a refill is needed. The contents of the gas is a pressurized self-sealing butane and propane fuel mix, which slowly heats up the mat, and releases the repellent chemical in the air.
Each mat contains Allethrin, a synthetic version of a naturally occurring repellent found in chrysanthemum flowers.thermacell_backpacker_2
A water-resistant nylon carry pouch is included with the Backpacker along with 3 mosquito mats. The Backpacker sells for $35.91. 8-ounce gas fuel $17.99 and 6 Repellent Mats for up to 24 hours of use is $19.99.

Thermacell has also launched the new MR450 handheld repeller ($34.99).
The odorless and silent bug killer is designed with a rubber armored finish and an ergonomic design. The rubber grip layer also helps keep the unit quiet.
A butane cartridge with no open flame will last for about 12 hours before a replacement is needed. It also has a long lasting and replaceable CR2032 battery inside.
mr450_1The MR450 has a built-in protective indicator light so you know its up to temperature and ready to keep your area mosquito free.mr450_2
The MR450 includes a singe butane cartridge, 3 mosquito mats, a CR2032 battery and a belt clip. A replacement kit of 4 butane cartridges and 12 repellant mats for 48 hours of repellency is $20.99.

griffin_reserve-power_bankGriffin’s new reserve power bank lineup includes a very portable 9,000 mAh of power ($29.99), which can easily fit in your pocket.
Most smartphones will get over three full charges from the rechargeable battery.
The full reserve power bank lineup also includes a 2,600 ($19.99), 5,200 ($24.99) and the powerful 18,200 mAh ($44.99) battery. The 18,200 mAh will charge a smartphone up to nine times and a tablet up to two and a half times.
According to Griffin, each battery is “designed with safety-certified Lithium-Ion batteries and are secured inside of a drop-tested polycarbonate shell.” The batteries also have an LED power indicator so you know if a charge is needed.

Gadgets :: June 27, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

snap!pro_feature_lensThe bitplay SNAP! 7 iPhone case system is a solid and affordable way to use the iPhone’s digital photography features to create a true photography experience.

I’ve always maintained a smartphone does great as a camera but still can’t replace the features and quality of a DSLR system. The bitplay system starts with a nice case, which would be great even without the lens system. But if you get the case, you have to get the lenses to make this system rock.

20161112_scenario_features_thumb_restThe case ($49.99) features a great add-on grip for a better ergonomic camera fell. It allows you to hold with one hand in a way so your fingers won’t block the lens. The cases gives you an actual shutter button that works through the volume button, giving the feel of a natural position like you have in point-and-shoot cameras.

It’s built with a dual-layer construction combining soft TPU shock-absorbing inside the case and a hard polycarbonate outer shell.

There’s also a thread to attach a tripod and a wrist strap, which can be upgraded or you can attach your own. You can still use it as a phone with the case and grip attached.

all_in_1_lensesThe lens are interchangeable and screw into the case for a secure hold and are built with pro-level optics for enhanced clarity. The lens system includes a full frame fisheye/macro ($34.99), circular fisheye/macro ($34.99), standard wide angle/macro ($24.99), 3X telephoto ($39.99) and a variety of accessories. There’s also an HD wide angle EF 18 mm lens with cinema optics for $99.99.

lens_fisheyeIf you’re not familiar with the different fisheye lenses, the circular fisheye is exactly that. It gives you a round image, with black filling the edges of the image. The full frame fisheye produces a standard rectangle image, with a curved fisheye effect.

I tested the system at a simple family outing, which I thought would a common setting for people to use the system. I spent the day using the full frame fisheye, telephoto and the 18 mm.

hd_18mm_lensAfter using the lenses for a while and then switching back to just the phone’s bare lenses, I felt like I was missing something. So I went back to using the lenses, mostly the fisheye, since it’s about 3X wider than the existing lens. The 18 mm was impressive with its higher quality optics, enabling you to see very little distortion on the edges.

The 18 mm has a much higher construction quality than the other bitplay lenses. They describe the durable lenses construction: “the lens hood, body and cap are made from reinforced metal with a high-strength dust-proof seal, and our rigorous production process ensures that each lens is optical perfection.”

The system definitely gives you more of a photography feel and enhances the images with the wide and telephoto optics.

The standard fisheye/macro and the wide angle/macro are two-piece lenses. You snap the top optic off to remove the fisheye and the lens becomes a macro.

All of these lenses are constructed with high quality aluminum and include a storage pouch.

The Snap!7 case is available for $49.99, available in white or black for the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 6, 6S, 6 Plus and 6S

Gadgets :: June 21, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

fabriq_stars_frontLast year Amazon allowed third parties access to the Alexa code, enabling production of more voice assistant gadgets.

The latest Alexa voice-assistant gadget to make my morning coffee is the Fabriq portable Wifi Bluetooth speaker. Before the speaker was turned on I was impressed with the size, 3.15-by-3.15-by-3.15-inches, 10.6 ounces and style, portable enough to toss in a backpack and even fit in some cargo pants pockets.

If you’re not familiar with Alexa, she is a personal assistant who can do a growing number of smart home control commands. Just press a button on the Fabriq and the assistant performs your command. It’s really that easy.fabriq_aloha_back

It also works as a standalone device without an Amazon Dot or Echo.

Voice assistant features pop up daily, so if ordering a pizza, adjusting the thermostat or turning on your surround system with a voice command aren’t enough, wait until tomorrow.

Oh, I do have to add that this is a nice sounding speaker (5w) with the great clarity and sound you want. And if you are shopping for a simple, small portable speaker, this would make a great choice.

A few other features of the Fabriq include a 5-hour build-in rechargeable battery, cool exterior fabric finishes, and the ability to connect multiple speakers for a multi-room system with each having Alexa controls. $49.99

starbrick-march-133What got my attention when reading about the new Starbrick Be4 earbuds was that they are made with Beryllium, which the company states is the fourth lightest metal element and four times stronger than steel.

There was also something I hadn’t heard of: they are the newest type of Beryllium earphones and as far as my memory can stretch, I don’t recall hearing about a Beryllium product, known as Be4 on periodic table.

Beryllium in the earbuds lowers the distortion at the highest volume without sacrificing the lows, mids, and highs.

So after these tidbits got logged into my brain, I just had to give them a try. Of course, facts like these can impress me all they want but it’s the sound that counts and that impressed as much as the technology.starbrick-march-55

I used the earbuds in three totally different environments; while biking, watching a movie on my iPad at 36,000 feet and poolside. I came away from all three equally impressed with the sound quality. Obviously I had background noise on the plane, so I just cranked up the volume to compensate. The clarity was consist and sound equally smooth at any level. This was the same while on the streets or poolside.

Starbrick stated, “The earphones’ dynamic driver with Beryllium diaphragm have a wide frequency response and provide a unique soundstage atmosphere.” I’m sure I can attribute my listening success at the variety of locations, volumes and music types to this.

Other features include an in-line mic control for handsfree calls, volume and music selections, a 3.5 mm gold stereo mini jack and choices of black, rose gold and silver. Each Be4 headset is individually handcrafted and subjected to stringent testing to ensure the optimum product every time. $179, available in August

When you have a simple product like the TwelveSouth BookArc, which is designed with an Applye-esque space gray finish to match their high fashion products and it works like a champ — you have a big winner.

The hardware is a vertical stand that turns a MacBook laptop into a desktop computer, assuming you have a monitor, mouse and keyboard.

Once the laptop is in the stand’s silicone slot, everything easily plugs in and you have a fully function desktop system. Plus, it takes up a lot less space vs a desktop computer. The bottom has a cable-catch design, so everything stays clean and organized.12s_bookarc2_macbook_spacegrey_cables_hires

Assuming you have this setup at work, when the day is done, just unplug everything, take the laptop home and you’re off with everything you might need.

According to Twelve South, “BookArc will work with most MacBook models – from the ultra light 12-inch to the new MacBook Pro Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C).” 449.99

Gadgets :: June 14, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

Typically when I unbox a gadget to test, I use it until it does what it’s supposed to or doesn’t do it – either way it doesn’t take that long. But after unboxing the Rova flying selfie, I couldn’t wait for the batteries to recharge and use it again.

The Rova might look like a drone and act like a drone but it’s not really a drone. It’s called a flying selfie, includes a camera and is shaped like a quadcopter. It has a 98-foot communication range, via the Rova WiFi network. Maximum height is 33 feet from launch.

A red button on the Rova gets it flying. Before I used it, I watched a video on the Rova site, where they have it taking off and landing in the palm of your hand. That was the first landing I tried and sure enough, there it was in my hand.

I rarely read manuals or instructions on gadgets (like everyone else) but I did this time and I recommend that to anyone using a flying object since there are safety issues.

It’s not as small and portable as a selfie stick but it’s certainly a lot more fun and provides a far great variety of images.

The camera has a wide angle lens and has image stabilization. Four propellers are enclosed in a polycarbonate frame, which you can use with or without bumpers.

The Rova app (App store and Google Play) controls the device, with settings for 12 megapixel JPEG photos or HD video in 360-degrees (MP4, 1080p@60fps, 1080p@30fps or 720p@120fps). Still images can be taken automatically or with a specific timed interval and there’s a flash built into the camera.

Out of the box it measures 8-by-8-by-1.4-inches and weighs 10 ounces. Included are a hard carrying case, a 16GB microSD card, two lithium ion batteries, charging cradle, USB cable and four disposable bumpers. Each battery is good for about 8 minutes of flight time and recharges in 90 minutes. $299

While the term USB is common in most everyones vocabulary, USB-C might draw some curiosity.

The oval-shaped 24-pin connector cable allows devices to be connected for transferring data and power and is slowly becoming an industry standard for Apple and PC systems. What I really like is there’s no up or down for the connection, like micro USB cables. Instead it’s similar in to the Apple Lightning connection, just plug it in.

This brings me to a new set of USB-C cable accessories from Ventev, which include durable AC wall outlets, car charger and durable, flat, tangle-free cables.

The wallport pd1300 charger ($44.99) has a single C connector, with folding AC prongs for an easy connection and storage. It supports power delivery up to 45 watts.

You get six feet of cable with the chargesync UBC-C cable ($29.99), with the C connections on both ends making it reversible to plug either end into your device or power source. The cables can be used with the dashport pd 1300 charger ($34.99), which plugs into any standard auto 6V (cigarette lighter) port.

And don’t let the new technology or the higher cable prices scare you; once you try them, you’ll see the speed, versatility and the durability Ventev is known for.

Invisible Shield, an industry leader when it comes to protecting the display on many of today’s portable electronic gadgets, has announced a new model for the slick looking Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones with its edge-to-edge HDR display.

The Invisible Shield Sapphire Defense Curve and Glass Curve install in seconds and fit perfectly with or without a case.

According to the company, the Sapphire Defense Curve ($59.99) is infused with sapphire crystals that provide a smooth, glassy feel so you get unbeatable scratch protection. It’s out of the box with EZ apply tabs and provides high-definition clarity along with seven-times shatter protection of an unprotected screen.

The Glass Curve ($49.99) goes edge-to-edge on the existing unprotected curved screen thanks to its meticulously designed composition. Once it’s installed the clarity makes you wonder if it’s there.

Both protectors come with a limited lifetime warranty, so if it gets worn or damaged during the lifetime of your device, you get a new one.

According to a recent press release, “In 2016, adult smartphone users in the U.S. spent about $16 billion repairing or replacing a damaged phone with the average cost being $162.” Knowing that, this is a great investment.

Gadgets :: May 24, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

With the summer just about upon us, headphone season is in full force. If you’re about to make a new purchase, don’t get fooled with fancy marketing, colorful boxes or hype. Instead, consider these features when shopping around (the order of importance depends on you): wireless vs wired, earbuds vs over the ear, cost and sound quality (which would be number 1 for me).

User reviews are also critical, but don’t get too caught up in them unless they lean totally toward one direction.

I always liked over-the-ear Marshall headphones for many reasons. All at the same time, they look modern and retro, have great sound, and are affordable.

Their most recent offering is the Monitor Bluetooth headphones, with padded cushioned speakers sitting comfortably on your ears. The sound is more hi-fi, neutral and with a wider frequency, which adds up to smooth, crisp sound with the right amount of bass for any type of music at any level.

The embossed Marshall logo is designed into the black vinyl exterior along with attractive brass accents to give the sound system an attractive look.

The headphones are loaded with many more features including a collapsible construction for easy storage in the included carrying pouch. You also get a detachable coil-cord for a wired connection if you don’t want to go wireless. The headphones have an extra 3.5 mm port, which can be used to daisy chained to share your music with similar headphones.

A cable with in-line controls and a microphone for handsfree calls is included. The built-in battery is good for about 30 hours of use before a charge is needed. $249

Sennheiser’s HD 569 is a high-end performing headphone, referred by Sennheiser as “The best in class. Remastered.” And after listening to them for a few hours, I wonder how a headphone can sound any better.

Senheiser products sound great, no matter what product you use from the company. I tried the new HD 569 noise-isolating over-ear headset, which lets you manage handsfree calls with an in-line remote, and listen to your tunes in dynamic sound.

Large ear cups are included with soft replaceable ear pods.

My advice for anyone when trying Sennheiser products: just listen to them for a few minutes right out of the box without changing a thing. The odds are, you’ll never change anything.

While sound can be adjusted by the type of music you listen to or with apps, I found no reason to change. This is something I’ve come to understnadin about the consistency of Sennheiser sound.

A few different plugs are included for connecting the headphone to your music source and using a plug to answer calls or control music. $179.95

Creative Technology’s newly announced Creative Outlier Sports Sweat-proof Wireless In-Ear Headphones should be a big hit during the hot seasons.

The IPX4-rating and sweat-proof designed ear-tips are made of soft, flexible silicone to ensure the earbuds perform at all times during your workout, with or without sweat.

To ensure the right fit, there’s a bunch of accessories to help you before you start. So take some time to try the different ear hooks and tips for your ear sized to make sure it fits tight and secure before your workout.

While the earbuds are packed with features, they are still mainly a source of sound, and they do a great job. Powerful bass and clear audio sound perfect for the active enthusiasts.

A built-in and invisible microphone is there for handsfree calls.

Creative Technology has built the earbuds to support high-definition aptX Bluetooth codec, ensuring the highest quality wireless playback when Creative Outlier Sports is used with your Bluetooth media source.

You’ll get about 11 hours of use before a USB charge is needed. $69.99 with choices of midnight blue, neon green and fiery orange

Gadgets :: May 17, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

Jabra calls its Elite Sport wireless earbuds the most technically advanced true wireless sport earbuds, with features far beyond just great sound making these an amazing product.

True wireless means really wireless; there’s not even a cable connecting each earbud. They sit in your ear independently and are paired with Bluetooth 4.1.

Sound quality is obviously first and foremost in importance and they have outstanding passive noise cancelation sound, which I’ve come to expect from Jabra products.

Multiple sets of silicon gels, foam tips and secure fit wings are included to ensure the right fit, which is especially critical when exercising.

Each earbud is sweat- and water-resistant (IP67 rated) and microphones with advanced noise cancellation technology are built-in for handsfree calls. Register the earbuds to activate a 3-year warranty against sweat damage

You can use the earbuds as a pair of just one. A feature I really like is audio pass through. With the press of a button it’s activated to hear the ambient sound around you, while also hearing your music selection.

The features beyond the sound really make these stand out, which in a way is like having a fitness monitor in your ears. The wireless earbuds work as an in-ear heart rate monitor, along with the Jabra Sport Life to keep on top of various health features.

The iOS and Android app provides in-ear fitness coaching and integrated training management on times, speed, distance, calories burned, workout goals and results.

You’ll get up to three hours of music/talk time before a charge is needed and the included pocket sized case doubles as a charger for providing power for an additional 6 hours.

Controlling music, calls, pairing, Siri/Google Now and app controls are done right on the earbud. $249.99

tog-whtThe Switchmate light control system has to be the easiest smart home accessory I’ve found for controlling standard household like switches.

The installation is promoted to take one-second, which is accurate since all you do is snap it over an existing light switch and it magnetically stays in place. Just as the instructions say: no tools, no wiring, and no WiFi needed.

The connection from your smartphone to the Switchmate is done with Bluetooth, so you’ll have to be within range for a connection. According to the Switchmate site, they are working to expand the range, so it can be used anywhere with an Internet connection.

Download the app for your smartphone from the App Store or Google Play to set up when you turn the lights on or off and set up schedules with preset times. The app walks you through the full installation and setup.

You can allow the Switchmate to know when you arrive home, enabling it to have the lights come on, which can be really helpful enabling a home’s outside lights to be on at night. Or you can choose to have lights come on at sunset and off at sunrise.

I used the Switchmate with a standard toggle light switch and it’s also compatible with rocker switches. $39.99, available in white or ivory

Olloclip is the undisputed leader for iPhone photography lens accessories.

The Core lens set has gotten an upgrade, giving the multiple lens set improved optics. Interchangeable lenses in the connect lens system include a super-wide angle (120-degree view), fisheye (near 180-degrees) and macro (15x) lens.core-horizontal-exploded-black-01

Each lens has a premium multi-element coated glass options, which help create high-quality images.

If you’re not familiar with the Olloclip system, it’s incredibly easy, with lenses that slip on and off your iPhone’s front and rear-facing cameras. $99.99 for the iPhone 7/7 Plus Core Lens Set

Gadgets :: May 10, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

dreamwave_1.00_00_38_09.still007All the Dreamwave Genie needs is a command from one of 21 languages to perform a variety of features including many morning chores.

The new, innovative, multi-function device is simple to use. It’s lightweight and portable (3.94 inches in diameter by 1.81-inches deep) with a topside powerful 5W Bluetooth speaker, pumping out 360-degree sound.

It pairs with your device using the power button on the bottom and volume is controlled on a side button or on your media source. Speaking of the side button, it’s also used to answer handsfree calls and activate the virtual voice assistant.

The voice assistant responds to a press of the button or voice commands in 21 languages with operating systems using Siri or Google.

Languages recognized are: Arabic, Chinese, Taiwanese, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Norwegian (Bokmål), Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, and Turkish.

Using an iPhone 7 and English commands, I could get the weather forecast, respond to a few text messages and launch my playlist before my coffee started to brew.

The Genie is splash-proof and dust resistant with an IPX5 rating and with an 1,800 mAh lithium battery, you should get about 10 hours of use. available for pre-order with an expected July deliver for $45, 35 percent off the expected retail price of $69.99

Terk OMNITWRThe Terk OMNI TWR amplified multi-directional HDTV antenna helps cord-cutters get instant access to local broadcast network TV channels in high-definition for free.

Dual stage amplifier technology lets you receive HD channels with the best sound and picture possible for what’s available in your area. You can see what is available on the Terk website by entering your area code.

Set up is simple after you find the best location for the antenna in your house. It’s recommended to put the antenna on a flat surface within reach of your TV and facing the direction of the broadcaster’s tower.

Then with the TV off, plug the included coaxial cable from the Terk to the TV and then connect the power cord to a power outlet. Turn the TV on and put it in scan mode to find your channels.

A three-way (dual, preamp, bypass) switch lets you adjust the amplifier for different TV signals and is explained in the manual. It’s recommended for most users to keep the switch in the dual position for best performance.

A blue LED light ring on the bottom of the 4.62 wide by 10.83-inch tall antenna lights up for no reason other then appearance. $59.99 available May 15

smartshoe_digitsole_wearable-technology_dezeen_936_3So if you were like me, you had no idea what a smart shoe is, but a company called Digitsole introduced the first-ever complete collection of connected footwear showcasing 10 new models.
This includes a full functional auto-lacing smart shoe, which also sends critical data via Bluetooth 4.0 to a smartphone app (iOS and Android). From the outside, the shoes are as fashionable as any, but it’s what’s inside that makes them a gem. athletic_shoe_app
Just a tap the app to heat the insoles to 113-degrees Fahrenheit, track steps, distance, count calories burned, a well as automatically tighten the fit. Some models will analyze walking and posture while others will control the height of the telescopic heel.
Models range from womens high-heels, mens dress, athletic and kids models. Each shoe has a rechargeable battery, good for about 500 charges. Heating will run the battery out in 6-8 hours, while most other features will last for a week expected out in September with prices ranging from $149 to $349