Archive for May 2017

Gadgets :: May 24, 2017

By Gregg Ellman
(@Greggellman)

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.

www.marshallheadphones.com $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.

https://en-us.sennheiser.com/ $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.

www.creative.com $69.99 with choices of midnight blue, neon green and fiery orange

Gadgets :: May 17, 2017

By Gregg Ellman
(@Greggellman)

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.

www.Jabra.com $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.

http://myswitchmate.com $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.

www.olloclip.com $99.99 for the iPhone 7/7 Plus Core Lens Set

Gadgets :: May 10, 2017

By Gregg Ellman
(@Greggellman)

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.

http://dreamwaveus.com 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.

www.terk.com $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
www.digitsole.com expected out in September with prices ranging from $149 to $349