Gadgets :: October 18, 2017

By Gregg Ellman
(@greggellman)

Listening to a Tom Petty music marathon is great by itself, making it better in my world was hearing the legendary music on the Soul X-TRA over-the-ear wireless (Bluetooth) headphones.

The headphones’ versatility made it better, including obviously the smooth sound, comfort and the sport design.

The sound is promoted as “Advanced HD drivers and circuitry design for a balanced bass and clear mids and highs,” which I found perfectly clear and low on bass. There isn’t a right or wrong since sound is a personal preference. I like a lot of bass, especially when listening to classic rock and roll so I just added it on my own with an app and the Soul X-TRAs sounded perfect.

I really like the removable ear-pads, which can easily be washed, dried and put back on. I put them to test with a few bike rides and lawn work. After washing the ear pads they looked as good as new.

If you use the headphones during darker times of the day, the dual mode LED lights on the outside of each ear will come in handy as an added safety feature. They can be kept in flashing or still modes.

The life of the rechargeable 320mAH Li-ion Polymer battery is another plus with 24-hours of playtime off a single charge, if you use the LED lights you’ll get about 8 hours. If you need a charge for immediate use, a 15 minute fast charge will give you about 150 minutes of use.

They are constructed with plastic, which gives them a lighter feel and you can fold the X-TRA wireless headphones flat for easy storage in the included carrying case.

https://www.soulelectronics.com $149.99 with an all black finish with a choice of blue or black ear-pads and inside headband accents

Moshi’s new Helios Lite designer laptop backpack is a perfect example of how you can carry your world with fashion and style.

The bag is designed with a slip profile and didn’t even bulk out when I had it stocked up. There’s a bunch of compartments and pockets to help keep everything organized with easy access.

I couldn’t transfer everything from my cinderblock backpack into the Helios Lite and honestly that’s a good thing. But I did get my 13-inch MacBook Air in a padded compartment, iPad, charging cables, papers, travel documents and a whole lot of other accessories (just not everything).

The Helios Lite ($119.95 ) 11.22-by-3.94-15.16-inches before you fill it and even after it’s stocked it really kept an attractive slim design. A magnetic strap keeps it closed and an exterior water-repellent finish is handy.

The bag, part of Moshi’s 2017 A/W bag collection, was designed with colors and fabric details chosen to add texture and character to each bag. Once you see the Helios Lite, you’ll see they were successful in this goal.

Along with the Helio’s Lite, the A/W line includes the Urbana briefcase and the Costa travel satchel in two new colors – Sandstone Beige and Slate Black earth – along with sky blue, and titanium gray.

https://www.moshi.com

August Home, one of the premier makers and designers of smart home automation products and a personal favorite has announced three new products, which feature DoorSense.

The company touts this as the first intelligent, integrated sensor to tell users if their door is open or properly closed. The new feature in the new August Smart Lock Pro ($279), August Smart Lock ($149), and August Doorbell Cam Pro ($199).

All of these smart home products are designed to allow you to monitor and control your doors and locks from anywhere with a smartphone or tablet.

I haven’t tried these products, but in the past I found August products to be nothing short of perfect and I’m confident these will be thee same.

https://august.com

Gadgets :: October 11, 2017

By Gregg Ellman
(@Greggellman)

The amazing versatility of some of today’s newer gadgets is evident after using ONvocal’s OV wearable headphone assistant earbuds.

When you look at a picture of the headset you might think they are just another neckband headset and they are a great headset when you hear about some of its features.

I was asked by an ONvocal representative how I liked the review unit they sent me and I summed it up with “smooth, easy and impressive.”

The OV is an Alexa, Google and Siri voice assistant enabled Bluetooth headset. I’m not an Alexa user but I did easily get the headset talking to Siri for a morning weather report and a few other simple tasks.

With the help of the OV app (iOS and Android) the voice commands are at your control and response is instantaneous. If you’re living in a cave and haven’t joined the technology world of voice assistants, the OV is a great way to start.

The Onvocal site used Born to Run as a voice command music example and sure enough I had it playing on my speaker system in seconds from my playlist. You can also instantly access subscription music services.

The main chore of the headset is sound and the OV does not disappoint. While I’m far from an expert, what you want out of earbuds is crystal clear sound and the OV sound is just as they promote it “tuned to deliver rich, powerful bass, smooth vocals and crystal clear detail.”

For handsfree calls, the directional microphone is built into a small arm boom, which extends from the right earbuds. Answering calls, along with controlling Siri and Google are done with a button on the outside of right earbud.

Ambient sound control is accessed on the neckband and allows you to hear your caller and not background noise. Volume, play, pause and power are also controlled on the neckband.

The Onvocal support page has great step-by-step instructions for setting up the OV, which makes the process smooth, easy and impressive.

The earbuds are attached to a flexible wire, which is attached to a neckband. Everything can be adjusted in specific flex zones for the right fit, but out of the box I was happy how it felt.

https://onvocal.com/ $299

I don’t have children but if I did, you can bet I’d be using the Circle with Disney’s Circle custom Internet monitoring system.

After a simple setup with your home Wi-Fi, the cube-shaped wireless device works with the Circle with Disney app (iOS and Android) to give you full control of your children’s browsing history without the need of putting any app or software on any other device.

Parents see how much time children spend online with smartphones, tablets, laptops and other hardware used for Internet access.

The app has a lot of great customization features, ] including disconnecting devices from Wi-Fi at specific times and reconnecting them at a specific time. Time limits can also be set for apps and programs.

Other customizations can be made for specific individuals with breakdowns in age groups and interests and even turning the Wi-Fi connection off manually. This makes me think how often my mom would have used this feature (if there was Internet at the time) when I didn’t come downstairs for dinner on time.

After using the app for a few weeks, parents can compare the usage over time and maybe even make a connection why grades are going up or down.

One thing I wondered after reading about the Circle with Disney was its own security and I was pleased to see it’s built with end-to-end encryption and ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) spoofing to keep data secure.

The 3.25-inch cube has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which charges via USB. You also may connect it to the Internet with an Ethernet cable.

The settings you set up within the app can also be applied to guests’ (think child sleepovers) devices, which I think is incredibly handy.

A subscription based ($9.95/month) Circle Go feature can be added to extend the parental controls to 4G LTE and another Wi-Fi connection joined away from home.

www.meetcircle.com $99

Gadgets :: October 4, 2017

By Gregg Ellman
(@Greggellman)

The Keyport Pivot is a really cool, modern and customizable tool that is so easy to assemble and use for a variety of everyday tasks . And it fits in your pocket.

The Pivot’s main compartment is solidly constructed of 6061 aircraft aluminum with stainless steel components. Locking screws easily open and then tighten with a screwdriver or coin to keep it securely in place but allow your to add up to nine standard keys, which fold in and out easily. More keys can be added with an expansion kit.

What makes this an innovative and useful device is the add-on modules and inserts. The inserts are added inside the Pivot, while the modules are attached to the outside.

With these options you can add a USB 3.0 drive in sizes of 32GB or 64GB (there is also an 8GB option in USB 2.0). Other choices include pliers, screwdriver, scissors, a pen and the Griffin multi-tool insert, which includes a bottle opener.

You can even add existing tools such as the Griffin Pocket Mini and Klecker Knives’ new line of Stowaway Tools.

The modules, also easily added or removed include a 12 lumen flashlight (powered by a pair of CR1220 watch batteries), a Bluetooth tracking module to pair with the TrackR app to help if the Pivot is missing. If you’re within the bluetooth range the app will ring the module to alert you to its whereabout.

A 2.2-inch pocketknife module can easily be removable for TSA travel,

Another nice security features is the KeyportID. So if you get a Pivot, make sure it’s registered at mykeyport.com since a free 2-year subscription is included. A lanyard and carabiners can be attached.

A d-ring on the end can be used to attach a car remote or carabiners.

Since I had everything attached and of course didn’t want to lose anything, I did watch a very helpful guide video on the Keyport site.

The pivot is $19.99 and available in red, white or silver. You get an extension pack, three spacers and an extra spring washer.

Check the keyport store for a great choice of bundles of modules and inserts or just go a-la-cart. A quick sampling shows a 64GB USB 3.0 flash drive insert is $54.99, a black pen insert is $8.99. The pocket knife module is $19.99 and the mini-flashlight module is $9.99.

The size and weight can vary depending on what you use it for but it starts out 2.975-by-0.580-by-0,596.

www.mykeyport.com

For millennials or anyone desiring to record every step, motion and life moment, the FrontRow wearable camera is a great way to record and even share everything in real time.

The fashionable circular pendant Android-based camera (2.3-by-2.7-by-0.4-inches) can be worn around your neck or attached to whatever you want with a clip. Video records at 1080p (1920 x 1080) up to a frame rate of 30fps.

There are actually two camera. One is an 8 megapixel main camera, which can film up to 2.7K and has optical image stabilization.

The other is a reversible 5 megapixel camera, which is perfect for selfies with a 2-inch circular touchscreen display and can film up to 2K.

Both work for still images, videos and even live streaming to social media since Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are built-in.

Audio is captured in stereo and there’s a built-in 1W mono speaker for playback; there’s 2GB of internal ram and 32GB of internal storage.

A first-person time lapse feature called Story Mode is really cool. This allows the FrontRow to take a photo every few seconds and then combine into a time-lapse video.

The USB 3.0/2.0 Type-C port is used for charging the battery, which will give you about 2 hours of recording and 50 hours of standby.

www.frontrow.com, $399, available in Black or Rose Gold

Gadgets :: September 27, 2017

By Gregg Ellman
(@Greggellman)

I bet you never took the time to figure out what are the five key factors to air quality and healthier breathing. You can bet I never did the same until I recently tested the Awair, Air Quality Monitor, which tracks the five key factors of air quality.

They are: chemicals such as volatile organic compounds, carbon dioxide, dust, humidity and temperature. A lot of the chemicals are in standard products we use for cleaning, bathroom and beauty products.

A real interesting fact Awair supplied me; indoor air can be 5X more polluted than outdoor air. This can effect allergies, asthma, concentration, sleep and more.

For the most part, the Awair looks like an attractive desktop bluetooth speaker with a walnut finish and air quality measuring sensors inside. It won’t produce any music; instead it measures the air quality and has a front display to show you the findings. There are different modes; use the one based on the area of the house you’re testing to find out about allergies, sleeping and even baby rooms.

The Awair must be connected to your personal Wi-Fi in order to work with the Awair app (iOS and Android). The app displays colored dots and information on what problems exist and where. You can view the current statistics along with the changes as it happens after you use the personalized recommendations.

One example is measuring how much dust is in a room and I wasn’t surprised to find several rooms in my house were dusty, especially those which we don’t use as often. And as you know, dust is an allergy sufferer’s worst enemy. The app offers recommendations on how to reduce the amount of dust.

A great Awair feature is the IFTTT, which allows it to talk with other smart home devices. I have a humidifier that Awair can trigger since it’s plugged into a smart plug, thus the changes to my room can be done seamlessly. That’s just one example, but with smart home and voice assistants the help is always there and always improving.

https://getawair.com $199.99

The bigger and better Apple makes the iOS devices, the more storage space you need. Getting the device with the most storage space isn’t always the most cost efficient but Kingston Digital has a great cost efficient option, with more flexibility to combat the limited memory (and no removable memory) on the Apple device.

The recently released DataTraveler Bolt Duo has an Apple Lightning port on one end and a standard USB connector on the other. This enables connecting directly to Apple iPhones and iPads with the Lighting end and to a computer for transferring data on or off with the USB port.

Depending on which of the available sizes you choose, (32, 64 or 128GB) you can store up to 32,000 digital photos without taking up any memory on your iPhone or iPad
The devices has an intuitive Bolt app, which is simple to use for transferring from your device or a computer. When you want to view the contents on your portable player, the app is perfect for photos and videos. Images and videos can also be taken and directly stored on the Bolt.

Images you store on an iPhone can also use the Bolt as a backup, which is something (backing up) a majority of people do not do – until they find out the hard way that they should of.

The pocket-sized Bolt Duo has a protective rubber case and a keyring makes it conveniently portable. One Bolt Duo isn’t limited to a single iPhone or iPad. Use and share as you want, but you’ll end up buying more.

It’s not to early to put this on your holiday shopping list or even get one before the rush puts em’ on back order. I’ll guarantee you this will be a popular item.

https://www.kingstongo.com/bolt 32GB $59.99, 64GB $89.99, 128GB $119.99

SnowLizard’s SLXtreme rugged and waterproof case for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are as durable and efficient as an these days.

They are built with a solar panel to power its battery case, which in turn powers your phone for185% extended power.

The solar panel is built into the case and a harnesses absorbs the sun’s power or indoor (incandescent) lighting for charging the battery to give the case and phone the shot of energy they need to keep running.

The cases battery is a 4000mAh, which you should expect powers s smartphone battery by 185% for extended power. If AC power is available go ahead and use it with the a standard power cord, which came with your device.

Along with solar power, if it’s available you can charge the phone with a Lighting to USB AC power cord. Four LED lights will indicate the charging of the case, which should take a few hours. You won’t have access to the headphone port (if your phone has one) while it’s in the care but Bluetooth will work fine.

As for durability; waterproof (IP68) rating and drop-proof (MIL-STD-810G) up to 6.6-ft.

I’d expect cases for the new iPhones to be announced soon but no definite date yet.

Available in Mossy Oak Break-Up Country Camo, Night Black, Safety Yellow and Signal Orange

https://www.snowlizardproducts.com $149.99

Gadgets :: September 20, 2017

By Gregg Ellman
(@Greggellman)

It’s a camera bag but it’s not just a camera bag since it also holds a laptop, tablet and a whole lot more.

I’m referring to the newly released Think Tank Photo’s Spectral 15 shoulder bag, on in the new Spectral series that includes two other sizes.

Before I even started to load the bag for a flight (they are all easily carry-on friendly) I loved the magnetic Fidlock clasp.

As described, it enables one-handed opening and automatic closing with ease. The opening is cleverly designed with a small tab you pull on to release the clasp.

I was determined to load the shoulder bag with more than I could carry, simply to see what I could get in it. I got everything I needed inside and there was even room to spare.

My contents included an iPad, 13.3-inch MacBook Air with a few accessories (power adapter, card readers, adapters, etc.), two DSLR camera bodies, four lenses, flash and some camera accessories.

The inside pockets, removable closed-cell foam dividers with Velcro ends can be customized to fit what you want. There’s also a phone pocket that will hold today’s larger phones and attachments for a tripod or monopod.

Think Tank Photo uses only high quality hardware, including metal hardware, YKK RC Fuse zippers, 420D velocity nylon and a padded non-slip shoulder strap.

The exterior is water resistant and has a luggage handle pass-through to slide the bag over the handles of a rolling suitcase along with a water bottle pocket. A removable rain cover is included.

The Spectral 15 ($135.75) I tested has internal dimensions of 15.3-by-9.8-by-5.1-inches; there’s also the Spectral 10 ($119.75) with a 13-by-9.1-by-4.9-inches and Spectral 8 ($99.75) 10.2-by-7.5-by-4.9-inches.

The 8 and 10 models have many of the same features described minus the laptop compartment.

www.thinktankphoto.com

CanvasPop has a new custom photo pillow line, which I can tell you first hand makes a pillow the talk of your family room.

The 18-by-18-inch pillows are soft and snuggly, guaranteeing your comfort. What makes the pillow unique is the image you select to have printed on the front and back of the pillow.

The quality is outstanding and to ensure that, CanvasPop runs your image through quality control testing to make sure you’ll be happy with the results.

Designing your pillow is simple. Just choose your photo (which is honestly the hardest part) and upload it to the CanvasPop site. You’ll be able to zoom and rotate your image to get it exactly how you want positioned with a live preview.

You can customize your image on a color palette with any custom color. I used white to get the full impact of my sunset image.

You’ll have your choice to put the same image on the front and back or you can just have it on one side with the other a black or white finish.

It’s really simple and with a cost friendly $39.

www.canvaspop.com

Charging cables are a must-have in today’s life but it’s easy to have a love/hate relationship with them. You love ‘em when you need a charge but hate them when they are tangled together.

TwelveSouth has a cleaver solution for the tangle problem with the new CableSnaps.

The genuine leather straps snap closed to keep charging cables (or any cable, earbuds for that matter) neatly coiled and tangle free. They come in packs of three, two small and one large cable manager.

www.twelvesouth.com $19.99 available black, cognac or marsala

Gadgets :: September 13, 2017

by Gregg Ellman
(@greggellman)

Once you prepare your house for vacuuming, there’s nothing to do to clean your floors and carpet clean except pressing a button.

From there, the Deebot R95 robotic vacuum cleaner takes over and does the work.

I own one of the other robotic vacuums, and while it does a good job, it often gets hung up in areas such as high carpet, tangled with cords or stuck between my kitchen table chairs.

The Deebot came with very specific instructions on how to operate with a specific first run. This includes setting up a WiFi connection to its app, which works with the vacuum to set up a floor plan map using Smart Navi technology for an unobstructed course around your house.

Since the mapping had to be set up, the instructions accurately suggested I was around following the vacuum for the initial voyage to make sure it didn’t get stuck anywhere. You can start with the full course of your entire home or just a few rooms and add more as you go.

In the past I thought it was cool to have a robot vacuum, but now (as Deebot said I would) I find myself opening the app to watch the map and see where the vacuum is. Why? Because I can.

The app even lets you start and stop the vacuum from anywhere. If you have the Alexa voice assistant close by, you can ask her to start the cleaning.

The Deebot (13.9-by-13.9-by-4 inches, 10.6 pounds) has left and right handed rotor brushes to help get most everything in its way. A dust bin collects what you don’t want so you’ll have to empty it like you would any other vacuum.

A base is its home and charging station. If your vacuum road course isn’t completed before the battery runs out, it’s smart enough to return to get a charge and then complete its chore. The run time is about 90 minutes before a charge is needed.

When I engaged a conversation with friends who were against have a robotic vacuum I asked how well their existing vacuum gets under beds for dog hair. The answer was zero, but with the Deebot, it’s 100 percent.

www.ecovacs.com $549.99

Blue Microphone’s new Satellite wireless noise-cancelling headphones are promoted as the first with a built-in amp along with two separate pairs of drivers.

What does that mean to you or any non-techie, who want a great sounding headphone? This makes it one stop shopping, no need to look any further than the Satellite’s if you’re headphone shopping.

I knew they were as great as advertised after a few seconds of listening. And, they have a great modern look. So I went digging around to find out what makes the sound come to life.

According to Blue, the Satellite over-the-head headphones uses two separate drivers in each ear-cup. One is dedicated to high-fidelity audio, and the other for noise cancelling.

The sound system is listed on the Blue website as a “Patent pending 4-driver system featuring 2 custom 44mm ultra-responsive Blue dynamic drivers for audio and 2 dedicated 30mm drivers for active noise cancelling.”

The dual drivers allow the audio’s sound to stay at high quality levels, while the noise cancelling technology removes unwanted noise.

Blue has built the headphones with an analog audiophile amplifier to give you an incredible hi-fi sound.

The Satellites have a built-in rechargeable batteries, which are rated to last for 24 hours of straight wireless sound or 8 hours of hi-fi sound using the active noise cancelling.

A USB charging cable connects directly to the ear cup. There’s a buttons for power, pairing, the amplifiers and noise-calling on or off.

Often headphones I try feel great on my head for the first few minutes but often turn into an uncomfortable feel. The Satellites were placed on my head before I boarded a recent flight and weren’t removed until I got to baggage claim, about 3 hours later.

To me an airplane is the best location for testing noise-cancelling and these pasted the test with the highest grades possible.

With the holidays not far off, I’d put this as a solid contender for any gift list.

www.bluedesigns.com $399.99

With all the hurricanes hitting land these days, combined with the portable electronic world we live in, it’s a good idea to have an extra set (or 2) of USB charging cables and portable batteries packed, charged and ready to grab in a moment’s notice.

All portable batteries are not the same. Some have more charging ports than others and the amperage on the ports can be different, even if they look identical. Many of today’s tablets (iPad for example) need a 2.1A USB port for regular charging. They will charge on the other 1A USB port, but at a considerably slower rate.

The battery is measured by mAh (milliampere hours). For the most part, the higher the mAh number, the more charges you’ll get, bigger is better.

Keep in mind, even though the packaging on the battery say’s you’ll get a certain number of charges per battery cycle, that’s not totally correct. You have to take into account how powerful your device is since not all portable gadgets require the same amount of charging power.

My advice is to get at least 10,000 mAh along with 2 USB ports, 1 of which is 2.1A and a few extra cables. Even a pair of cheap $5 earbuds can be a great investment for an emergency kit or include the earbuds, which came with your device and most people never use.

Gadgets :: September 6, 2017

By Gregg Ellman
(@Greggellman)

Every now and then my wife reluctantly helps me by reviewing a product when I think it’s better geared to her lifestyle. The latest gadget I had her put to test is an illuminated, fully adjustable vanity mirror, which includes a wireless audio system.

The iHome iCVBT2 vanity mirror, described by the company as perfect for any beauty or grooming routine, was an instant hit on her side of the bathroom for her morning makeup session.

First, the 7-by-9-inch flat panel mirror worked great with LED lighting around the mirror, which can be used in high or low settings depending on the amount of light needed. She relayed to me that the mirror is distortion-free, bright and clear; just as a vanity mirror should be.

But it’s the extra features that bring the mirror to the technology world. With Bluetooth built in, along with a speaker you can connect your mobile device for music, weather, calls or any audio.

IHome_iCVBT2W_angle

The mirror’s base has a 1 Amp USB charging port to ensure your device is charged up for the day,

A row of buttons on the base control volume, answering calls, volume and even give you access to your voice assistants Siri or Google Now. The built-in microphone is perfect for handsfree calls, ensuring your routine is completed on schedule.

An AC adapter is included along with a cleaning cloth.

www.ihomeaudio.com $79.99.

The WASPcam 9907 4K durable sports camera is built to be ready for battle in dirt, water or just about any weather environment with a durable body around the camera, which shoots up to 4K video (mp4) and 20 megapixel still (jpeg) images.

I don’t often need a reason to get out of the pool and testing this camera kept me in there for a few extra hours. After a quick reading of the manual to learn the camera’s settings, it was as easy as any sports camera.

Features packed into the camera include six white balance settings, WiFi connects to the WASPcam app and time lapse controls.

The camera has a 12 Megapixel CMOS sensor and among the resolutions for video are 4K at 24 fps and 1080p at 60 fps. It has a waterproof exterior, which can be taken down to 98-feet. Files are recorded on microUSB memory card.

A 170-degree wide angle lens with a 4x digital zoom gives you a great view. And everything can be reviewed on a 1.5-inch LCD screen.

The camera is powered by a 1050 mAh Lithium-ion rechargeable battery. There’s also a port for microUSB to TV out for an easy connection to view on your big screen.

Several mounts and brackets are included with the camera.

www.waspcam.com $329.99

The reusable Absorbits wet phone rescue pouch gives you a bit of hope to save a water damaged smartphone or other small electronic device.

Using it is simple; just dunk your device in water (accidentally of course) and then towel dry as much as possible. If you can, remove the battery and place it and the rest of the electronic gadget in the pouch. It’s recommend to keep everything in the pouch anywhere from six to 24 hours.

According to a company spokesperson, “Our technology combines the moisture wicking ability of our fabric with the ability for the impregnated desiccates silica to encapsulate the moisture and provide a moisture scavenged environment.”

Keep in mind the pouch will remove the water, but will not repair any damage from the liquid. As long as your device fits in the 7.5-by-4.5 inches pouch, it’s worth a try.

The pouches can also be used for storing and protecting a phone when water isn’t an issue.

I haven’t tried the pouch since I don’t currently have a water damaged device, but look at this way, after your device drops in the pool or toilet, what do you have to lose?

www.absorbits.com $9.99, available in blue, silver, purple and black

Gadgets :: August 30, 2017

By Gregg Ellman
(@Greggellman)

As if listening to TV audio with first-rate headphones isn’t good enough, the new Sennheiser Flex 5000 digital wireless audio system takes the sound to new, amazing levels of quality.

Honestly, I was a little confused after reading about the system, but after listening to a sporting event (New York Yankees of course), an HBO concert and standard TV, I am sold.

Sennheiser loaned me a pair of their HD 569 headphones, which they stated is a recommended match with the Flex 5000 for a perfect audio experience. They were dead on with this match.

There are two pieces of hardware with the Flex 5000; a transmitter/docking station that connects to a TV in seconds with the included cables and a wireless (98 feet/30 meters) rechargeable clip-on receiver. Sennheiser also included the MX 475 wired earphones.

Once docked to the TV just lug your wired headphones into the receiver. From there you can choose one of three custom sound profiles designed for TV, movies or music.

I found the profiles added or reduced the amount of bass and to me it didn’t matter what the sound is designed for; just toggle between more or less bass and listen to what sounds good.

Volume can be adjusted between the left and right channels if desired and there’s a feature called Speech Intelligibility. With the press of a button on the side of the receiver users will better understand speech by reducing background noise in the TV audio.

Along with the improved sound, the controller turns your audio into wireless audio. Just clip it on your belt, shirt or chair with any wired headphones plugged in. The controller works for about 12 hours before it has to be docked int the docking station for a charge. You can also adjust the volume up or down with the controller.

The HD 569 wired headphones, also new from Sennheiser, have an ergonomic design with an adjustable headband and padded around-ear speakers. With this design you can wear them for any length of time without comfort being an issue. They are built with Sennheiser’s proprietary transducer technology, which directs the clear crisp audio directly into your ears.

https://en-us.sennheiser.com Flex 5000 $199.95, HD 569 headphones $179.95

Silca’s new Tattico portable mini-pump is ideal for bicyclists and those pesky flat or low tires.

But what makes the pump great – besides its portability – is Bluetooth technology. This lets you get a reliable and accurate pressure reading from the pump to a smartphone, preventing over or under inflating.

A built-in Bluetooth sensor allows it to make a direct wireless connection without the need of the internet.

A long-lasting and replaceable CR2030 battery powers the sensor. To wake up the sensor just begin to air the tire; once the pump is stored and the app is off the Bluetooth transmitter will hibernate.

You’ll need the free iGauge app, available for iOS and Android users, to display the tire pressure. Readings are available up to 120psi with an accuracy of plus/minus 2 percent.

The pump has an Alloy barrel, measures 9.5-inches in length and features a hidden hose and valving, resulting in 10 percent more air per stroke, according to Silica.

A direct-mount backed with retaining strap is included.

https://silca.echoscomm.com $120, shipping is expected to begin on August 31

The Smarter Coffee (Gen 2) is available for purchase in the US, obviously with a US compatible AC plug.

When the coffee maker is connected to the Internet, you can start your coffee beans grinding and then brew a perfect cup of java with an app on your smartphone, from most anywhere in the world.

And if that’s not easy enough, the Smart Coffee system can also connect to other smart home devices with IFTTT or just talk to your Amazon Alexa voice assistant.

The updated Smarter Coffee also has made improvements to control coffee strength and the temperature, offering the option to pre-heat the water before brewing for an even fresher enriched brew.

https://smarter.am/coffee/ $232.28

Gadgets :: August 23, 2017

 

By Gregg Ellman
(@Greggellman)

The Nightingale smart home sleep system is designed to give you a better night of sleep by creating an optimal sleep environment. These are designed to mask common noises, which can be sleep disrupting by creating sound blankets to mask the awakening sounds.

In a nutshell, it looks exactly like a standard AC wall outlet and plugs right into the wall. It’s only about 1-inch deep and allows you to use the power ports as a pass-through outlet for lamps, chargers, whatever.

To set it up, download the free Nightingale sound app (iOS and Android) and follow the onscreen instructions, which includes setting up a quick account. You get the choice of using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, both worked well but you’ll get a little more range with Wi-Fi.

The app sets the system up for your room, including a time schedule and a few specific conditions for creating the right sound blanket. Among the setup preferences are choices to neutralize snoring or the right sounds for a youth’s bedroom. Sounds include crickets, loons, whale songs, rainstorm or my choice of lakeshore.

The perimeter of the Nightingale has a multi-color LED light, which gives off a very subtle amount of light to illuminate the room.

The setup was simple and I slept great with the sounds. Past that, I think it’s up to the user and the specific conditions, whether it works or not.

www.meetnightingale.com $249

Earbuds can’t get any cooler than the updated Jabra Elite sport.

The true wireless (Bluetooth) and wire free earbuds have amazing sound, which is first and foremost why I purchase them.

Jabra, who is known for active lifestyle technology in sound devices, has a heart rate monitor and analyzer, which work with the free Jabra app.

The app is also great for planning fitness workouts along with recording and monitoring your results and in-ear coaching.

The battery life is rated at 4.5-hours and the on-the-go charging case will give you another 9 hours. A feature called hear through, filters in the sounds surrounding you so you are more aware while running or just walking city streets.

Built inside the earbuds is a four microphone system to use for handsfree calls on IOS and Android devices.

The Elite Sports fit with comfort and a secure fit right out of the box, but if the fit isn’t right for you there are multiple sets of silicon gels, foam tips and secure fit wings included.

www.Jabra.com $249

Electric Jukebox is expecting their new Roxi “to revolutionize family music entertainment in the home,” according to a recent press release.

There are a lot of cool features in the new device, which is immediately available.

Electric Jukebox launched the Roxi hoping it would help families who use it to have more quality family time together instead of being isolated with their own personal devices and headphones.

After a simple 2 minute setup with 2 cables (HMDI and AC power adapter), families will be dancing and singing Karaoke-style.

The Wi-Fi Roxi hub connects directly to your TV (or speakers) and the USB charged gesture based controller (6.75-by-1.25-by-1.25-inches) has a built-in microphone for voice search and is ideal for a sing along.

Included with the Roxi is a free 1-year unlimited music streaming service premium pass. The service is subscription free and can be added at your choice for $66.94 per year, after the initial free year.

The unlimited service includes thousands of radio stations for all over the planet, hundreds of playlists in addition to letting you sing karaoke-style with and an endless music library. You’ll also get access to music games and one of my childhood favorite games shows, Name that Tune.

The control also has Sound Machine, which includes yoga and meditation melodies, therapeutic sounds such as rain and white noise, to help a baby sleep. Parents can also block explicit lyrics and content.

www.electricjukebox.com $199

Gadgets :: August 16, 2017

 

By Gregg Ellman
(@Greggellman)

True story: I got tired of seeing my wife use her tablet with wired headphones, especially while using them on a treadmill.

So I handed her a box of iFrogz Impulse Duo wireless earbuds and said “use these.” In about 30 seconds she had the box opened, changed the ear tips to a better fitting smaller size, paired them with her tablet (Bluetooth) and was off to the gym.

Upon returning I asked what she thought and she said they were great and made her workout so much easier. In addition to the great sound, wireless and comfort, she really liked the magnetic clasp, which she attached to the back of her shirt during the workout.

Really, the only part I have in reviewing these was showing her how the clip doubles as cable management system when not using the earbuds.

I didn’t bother to mention that the lightweight earbuds are sweat-resistant (IPX-2 rated), have duel 6 mm drivers in each ear and up to 10 hours of use before a charge is needed. There’s also a built-in mic for handsfree calls with just the tap of a button on the clasp.

You get multiple ear tips in different sizes, along with the earbud tips for life limited warranty. So if your ear tips get worn or damaged, Zagg will replace them for free.

www.Zagg.com $44.99, currently on sale for $31.49

All at the same time, the Pyle (PLTT21BT) classic turntable is vintage, modern, hip and different.

The different aspect, which caught my eye and guarantees to be a talking point among house guests, is that the belt-drive turntable plays vinyl records vertically. Yes, that’s correct, records are played up and down, not flat. And if you weren’t looking at the turntable while it’s playing you would never know the difference. You’ll look, though, because it’s very cool.

Sound comes through a pair of front-facing built-in stereo speakers that produces decent sound. If you want improved sound or just want to spread it out, it’s simple to do. Just plug your speakers into the RCA output connector jacks.

Pyle calls the turntable accurately an Elegant Vintage Replica Crafted Sound System, and you can see that with its eye-catching wood finish and rotary knobs and button controls.

It’s easy to it into a modern sound system – just pair your portable music player with the turntable via Bluetooth to stream your digital music library from a smartphone, table or computer. There’s also a USB memory stick reader for direct streaming of music.

The turntable (14.2-by-8.3-by-14.6-inches), plays 33-1/3, 45, and 78 RPM’s, is AC powered and has a front facing tonearm, with a replaceable needle.

www.pyleaudio.com $112.95

The Phoozy thermal capsule is designed to keep smartphones safe in the hottest or coldest conditions.

Made from some of the same materials that help protect astronaut spacesuits in space, the protective capsule is a pretty sure bet to help your device stay safe on earth in hot, wet and freezing conditions.

It’s also built with float protection, a chromium shell to reflect more than 90 percent of the sun’s solar radiation and an impact core layer for military-grade drop protection.

Your LCD is not accessible when using the pouch and a soft touch protective inside liner keeps your smartphone safe and scratch-free when inside.

According to the Phoozy site, it’s designed to work with the iPhone Series, Galaxy Series, Google Pixel Series and most other major smartphones with a naked, caseless mobile device for maximum thermal protection.

https://phoozy.com $29.99