Archive for Gadgets

Gadgets :: November 14, 2018

by Gregg Ellman
(@greggellman)

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 

www.nixplay.com $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.

https://www.rabbitcharger.com $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.

https://mobileaccessories.ventev.com $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. 

www.weplenish.com $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.

www.ultimateears.com $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.

www.RCA.com $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.

www.KodakPhotoPlus.com $169.99

 

 

Gadgets :: November 7, 2018

by Gregg Ellman
(@greggellman)

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.

www.scosche.com $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. 

https://en.creative.com $45.54

 

Gadgets :: October 31, 2018

by Gregg Ellman
(@greggellman)

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.

www.momentumcam.com $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.

www.SoulElectronics.com $149.99 available in passion red or power grey

Gadgets :: October 10, 2018

by Gregg Ellman
(@greggellman)

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.

https://misfit.com $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.

www.kingstongo.com $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.

https://nanoleaf.me $49.99

Gadgets :: October 3, 2018

By Gregg Ellman
(@greggellman)

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.

www.Logitech.com $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.

www.yevolabs.com $129 in choices of black or white

Gadgets :: September 19, 2018

by Gregg Ellman
(@greggellman)

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.

www.soundofsleep.com $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.

https://skylum.com

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.

www.travelpirates.com 

Gadgets :: September 12, 2018

by Gregg Ellman
(@greggellman)

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.

http://popdesignproducts.com, www.kickstarter.com 

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.

www.roccat.org

Gadgets :: September 5, 2018

by Gregg Ellman
(@greggellman)

Whether you’re cutting the cord of cable or satellite TV subscriptions to save money or you just need local channels during a weather emergency, I have a simple and easy solution with the Winegard FlatWave Amped indoor amplified HDTV antenna.

I’m being honest when I say it took less than five minutes from the time I opened the antenna box to having my local channels on my screen.

The antenna is just 12-by-13-by-.6-inches and is attached to your TV antenna port with the included 18.5-foot coax cable, which has a USB power supply built in.

The quick setup included attaching the antenna to a window with adhesive tape, connecting the coax cable to my TV and plugging the USB cable into a port on my TV. You can also connect to an AC power supply with the included 110-volt adapter.

Once everything is attached, put your TV remote in scan mode for a search of the local channels. The scan only takes a minute or so but do some experimenting with the placement of the antenna. I tried three different places and then scanned, with each one having somewhat different results. Just do the placement and scan until you have the channels you want or are critical to you in an emergency.

Once your signal is set, you’ll receive local channels’ content 4k Ultra HD and Dolby Digital Surround Sound within an amplified 50-mile range. 

The flat antenna (imagine a small stack of letter-sized paper) has an ultra-low noise digital amplifier embedded directly in the antenna element, resulting in an unprecedented 100 percent signal boost that increases range and eliminates pixilation and dropout, according to Winegard.

After testing the antenna on a TV, on which I still had seldom-used cable TV installed, i began thinking if I need to make a switch.

www.Winegard.com $59.99

Trulia is a new site for homebuyers, which not only shows the homes for sale, but also extensive information about the area you might be looking to move to. The site’s goal site is to help consumers discover a place where they will love to live.

Included are  original photography, drone footage, information on local safety, commutes, and parent reviews of nearby schools. Trulia already has enhanced photography and drone footage from more than 300 neighborhoods in San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Austin and Chicago with more than 1,100 more neighborhoods expected to be introduced this year

Trulia content gives potential residents a feel for daily life including what they call “Inside the Neighborhood” stories of what life is like there. The site includes features with input from local residents of your search, with feedback on dog-friendly areas and parking.

With all the information, Trulia gives you an informative feel for what it might be like to live in the neighborhood of the homes you’re looking at.  They put all the information consumers would search for on multiple sites in one place.

www.trulia.com

BlackBerry, yes that same BlackBerry, is alive and well with this week’s launch by TCL communications of the new, hot and slick looking BlackBerry Key2LE smartphone.

I haven’t tried one, but as a former BlackBerry user for many years, the press release has me intrigued.

The touchscreen smartphone is available in three color variants – Slate, Champagne and Atomic with a redesigned chassis for a more modern look and feel with a full-HD display. 

Android operating system is inside, including support for Google Assistant and other Google applications. Speed Key is a new feature, giving you a customized shortcut experience. This gives you 52 customizable shortcuts, allowing each to be programed to instantly bring up the contacts and apps you use most. 

Other features include lightweight polycarbonate frame and a newly designed soft textured back that provides better in-hand grip to prevent drops. There’s a dual rear camera (13MP/5MP) and a front camera (8MP) with an LCD flash and many modes such as portrait, selfie and face beauty.

Next month, models with 32GB of storage will be on sale in the US for $399 or with 64GB for $449. Each model has expandable storage MicroSD support. The rechargeable battery is expected to last up to 22 hours.

https://blackberrymobile.com  

Gadgets :: August 29, 2018

by Gregg Ellman
(@greggellman)

We finally had rain. I say this for two reasons; first and most importantly, I live in Texas and we need the rain. The second is I got a chance to  try the UnbelievaBrella reverse umbrella.

For the most part it looks like an umbrella and works like an umbrella, but the fun in innovative starts when the rain stops.  The UnbelievaBrella is built with reverse technology, allowing you to walk in the house right after the storm and not have the umbrella drip all over the house. 

The technology reverses the umbrella when you close it. Instead of what happens when you  close a standard umbrella – push the inside up and all the  water drips down on you – with the UnbelieveaBrella you pull the inside down, causing the umbrella to act as a funnel holding all the water.

When it’s in a place you can dry it, flip it over to have the water drip out of the funnel side.

It;s well made with a easy to hold rubber coated C-shaped handle with steel and fiberglass construction. 

When opened, you get 48-inches of coverage and when the sun is out, it folds into 36.5-inches for easy car or closet storage. The outer canopy is black when opened and the inner comes in choices of six colors: black, charcoal, lime green, ocean, pink and red.

https://shedrain.com $20

The Soundcast VG1 Bluetooth speaker is ready to blast your sound pool side or in a dorm room of any size.

The portable has been out a little while, sorry, it got buried in my closet, but definitely worth the wait.

You’ll get really strong and clear sound from the speaker (6.8-by-2.3-by-2.9-inches, 1 pound), which is weather resistant (not water proof), dust, drop and shockproof. Inside is what the company calls a unique down-firing weighted bass radiator, along with premium 2-inch aluminum drivers with powerful neodymium magnets.

What it means to you is the speaker sounds great, is party ready and can withstand the elements of various degrees of the weather.

If you want to plug your music in, there’s a 3.5 mm aux port. A speakerphone will keep your call handsfree for everyone to hear and Siri is accessible. 

A pair of VG1 is better than two, so if you want a great stereo sound, get a second and they sync with dedicated right and left playback with Bluetooth True Wireless Stereo.

Inside is a long lasting rechargeable battery for up to 15 hours of playback, the included lanyard attaches directly to the speaker and on-board controls are there for volume, play and pause.

www.gosoundcast.com $134.86

Aside from your powered portable gadgets, the most important gadget to get is portable power.

With the smaller-than-pocket sized (2.75-by-.75-by-1.37-inches) Ventev powercell 2600, the  small price tag just north of $20.

You’ll get a full charge for most smartphones from the 2600mAh portable battery’s single USB port.

A microUSB cable is included for charging the battery and an LED indicator light shows the battery level.

https://mobileaccessories.ventev.com $23.92

Gadgets :: August 23, 2018

by Gregg Ellman
(@greggellman)

It seems like just yesterday students were trading books for flip flops for the summer. With the season just about gone, back to school is upon us so here is a few tech suggestions for most any student.

Satechi’s  aluminum Bluetooth slim wireless keyboard works interchangeably between smartphones, tablets, desktop computers and laptops.  With assigning Bluetooth 3.0 pairing keys, you can connect up to four devices. And don’t worry, it’s more than simple to setup, just press and hold a Bluetooth pairing key to assign each Bluetooth device. On top of how easy and versatile the keyboard is, it has a modern look with what the company calls diamond-cut chamfered edges along with a Mac looking brushed aluminum finish. 

www.satechi.net $74.99, available in silver or space gray

According to the Phonesoap website, your cell phone has 18x more bacteria than a public restroom. Cleaning the screen is nice but doesn’t do a whole lot, especially long-term. Phonesoap is the answer for sanitizing your smartphone, while simultaneously charging its battery. There’s no scrubbing necessary, just place your smartphone in the Phonesoap case and the UV-C light sanitizer neutralizes the bacteria covering your phone in just 10 minutes. This type of cleaning gets the screen, sides and the back of your phone along with microorganisms hiding in the crevices and corners, which are near impossible to clean with a cloth.

www.phonesoap.com  $59.95 

Moshi’s modern looking Hexa backpack is lightweight (23 ounces) and has an endless amount of storage. They designed it with single-panel construction, a weather-resistant exterior and an easy-to-clean lining. A spacious, 20-liter interior, including a padded laptop area for models up to 15-inches. A front zip pocket has a handy anti-theft snap enclosure. It also has an RFID Shield Pocket, which protects devices storing personal data or credit cards from digital snoops. A padded Airmesh backside and shoulder straps allow for breathability and comfort. Available in color choices of midnight black, forest green and khaki brown.

www.moshi.com $119.95

The Kingston DataTraveler Bolt Duo is one of those gadgets you don’t think you need, but once you have it you’ll wonder how you lived without it. The Bolt, essentially a flash drive but with an Apple Lighting connection, will give you extended/external storage for videos, music or photos. The setup is simple; download the free Bolt app and from there you can back even up your device or just access its data. Measuring only  2.5 x 0.78 x 0.43-inches, the Bolt won’t take up much physical space but the included key ring accessory comes in handy so you know where it is. The DataTraveler Bolt Duo also features an app security to set up a password or touch ID.

www.kingstongo.com 128GB $82.99, 64GB $56.99, 32GB $45.54

The Ventev wireless chargestand outputs 15W of power and is built with 

Qi and Fast Wireless Charging technology for wireless enabled smartphones. There are eight possible positions, including portrait and landscape, that you can place your smartphone on the desktop stand for charging. The Ventev site has a chart listing the optimal positions to get the fastest charge, depending on where you position the charging puck on the adjustable and well made aluminum stand. The charging puck can also be removed for using on a flat surface. A 6-foot UL-certified power supply is included to get power to the charger.

https://mobileaccessories.ventev.com $48.52

Mission Workshop’s new Spec Laptop Sleeve is available in two sizes. The small model accommodates most laptops up to 13-inches and the large holds most laptops up to 15-inches. Both are fully padded and designed to be used on its own or with any of Mission Workshops Rucksacks or Cargo Packs. There’s a flap on top, which can be left open for easy in-and-out use or close it for keeping the contents secure.  The Spec is available in choices of burly and light HT500 fabric (black and gray) or 500D Cordura (black camo).

https://missionworkshop.com large $65, small $60