Archive for September 2017

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