Archive for January 2018

Gadgets :: January 31, 2018

By Gregg Ellman

When you hear about the Coravin wine bottle opener, you might think it’s just another gimmicky gadget. In my mind, it’s something you must see to believe. A few weeks ago, I saw it, I believed it and I even had a drink out of it to prove it.

Here’s some sayings the company uses to describe the product; “any wine any amount, savor the glass preserve the bottle, just insert tip and pour” and my favorite “The wine you want in the amount you want without every pulling the cork.”

But “Open a bottle,” which is scribbled out, is the line you need to know because the bottle doesn’t open. Call it magic, or just call it technology as I would prefer. Either way, this is an incredibly innovative device, which works to perfection.

How does it work? At last month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Coravin displayed the upcoming model 11, which should set you back around $999. It shoots a thin needle into the bottle’s cork and any wrapping the cork is sealed in. No need to remove anything.

A thin needle was inserted into the bottle and then a company representative kindly poured me a glass of wine (I was not driving this night). She handed me the bottle to inspect and it was a real bottle, no hidden curtains, no rabbit in a box, just a wine opener and a bottle. Which I then turned over to see if anything would spill and it was dry, not a drop. Upon a very close inspection of where the needle entered, you can barely see any evidence.

This system allows your wine to remain fresh since the cork is not removed. My demonstrator explained after the Coravin is removed, the cork simply shrinks back together.

The Coravin holds your bottle and with load cell technology, the capsule-loading chamber creates the perfect amount of force for an airtight seal, ensuring no gas escapes after probing the bottle. According to Coravin, the capsules contain more than 99.99 percent pure argon gas to protect the remaining wine from oxidation.

If the high-end price model scares you off, there’s many more to choose from. The Coravin Model Two Wine System gives wine lovers the freedom to pour any wine, in any amount, without removing the cork for a sip or full glass.

Model Two its referred to as an elegant design and durable craftsmanship with textured rubber grips and ergonomic lines. It includes two Coravin capsules to pour up to 30 glasses of wine.

Model 11 will be out in September and will have an app to make it the world’s first connected and fully automatic wine preservation opener. The app will make suggestions for wine and will show how much gas is left the capsules.

For $39.97 the Bluetooth (4.2) sound you get from a pair of Kempler and Strauss X2 wireless speakers is great for many reasons.

Quick thoughts suggest these are ideal for travel, but why not use them on your desk at home or just about anywhere. They small, cool, great sound and even live on a magnetic charging base, which is great when you see them snap in place.

Each charge is good for about 4 hours with the internal 450mAh rechargeable batteries in each speaker.

The speakers come in a pair so they can be separated for a wireless stereo sound.

Think of them as donut holes and you’ll understand the size of 1.9-by-1.2-inches each with a 2.4 ounce weight all packed into an aluminum body. And if you don’t eat donut holes, you haven’t lived.

Travel straps to attach to each speaker are included along with a charging cable and a USB AC adapter plug. $39.97 in black or silver

Gadgets :: January 24, 2018

By Gregg Ellman

With winter in full swing, Honeywell has a few solutions to keep you warm in a small personal space, as well as heading up a single room.

The Honeywell two position heater (model HHF175W, $29.99), with fan-forced wire heating technology is 1500 watt AC powered, which is sitting under my desk heating me up as this is written.

A unique feature for this space heater allows it to be used in two different positions, standing vertically or laying sideways horizontal. Either way, you’ll get full functionality of all three settings; high heat (1500 watts), low heat (750 watts) or just run the fan with no heat.

There’s a dial thermostat for temperature settings and overheat protections include two overheat sensors and a back-up cut off fuse.

It measures only 5.4-by-9.8-by-11.3-inches, so using it either on a floor ol as a desktop are ideal.

The Honeywell slim ceramic tower heater (HCE317B, $54.99) is built just as the name describes it, like a tower with 8.74-by-6.69-by-21.65-inch dimensions.

It stands upright with a slim space-saving design and has the same heat settings as the two position heater, along with a few additional features. You can have the fan oscillate to send the heat to a wide area, making it ideal for larger rooms.

A programable thermostat comes in handy along with a timer you can set for 1, 2, 4 or 8 hour durations. It’s also equipped with safety features against overheating along with 360-degree tip-over protection.

Both heaters have a cool touch housing exterior, which means the outside will not get hot to cause any kind of burn.

The USA Gear Q series backpack is designed to carry enough camera equipment for an advanced amateur or even a professional heading out for a day of work.

Unlike many other camera backpacks I’ve tried, the QBK is not big and bulky yet it still carries a decent amount of gear.

You can set up exactly what and where you want to carry everything since the inside compartments are completely adjustable with Velcro dividers, along with inside and outside zipper accessory compartments.

The inside pack and the dividers are a soft tricot scratch-resistant lining, allowing you to keep everything tight and padded for secure storage of the smallest accessories up to larger telephoto lenses.

The shoulder straps are padded and fully adjustable. Each side of the bag has a stretchable netted pocket,

What I really liked about this backpack is how much it stored in a low profile. The backpack isn’t big and bulky, even when I filled it to the limit. It measures 15-by-13-by-5-inches and even has a compartment for a laptop up to 17-inches.

A rain cover is included, which folds up to store inside during dry conditions. $49.99 at Amazon, use coupon code QBKBAG30 to get an 30% off.

Portable and powerful is all you need to know about the Edifier MP200 (Bluetooth 4.1) speaker.

The two-inch cubed speaker easily fits in the palm of your hand, and is dust and splash proof (IP54 rating) along with a built-in microphone for handsfree calls. A nice features is the microSD memory card slot, which lets you load music into the speaker for a true handsfree, wireless device.

Answering calls and controlling the music or volume is done with three buttons on top of the speaker. A string can be attached to the speaker to hang it from a wall, doorknob or even carry around your neck or wrist. $28.99, available in seven colors

Gadgets :: January 18, 2018

By Gregg Ellman

With 2.754 million square feet of show floor space just about everything imaginable was on display at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It’s an impossible task to see it all but here’s a sampling of new, useful products of the thousand or so I saw on display,

Hanwha Techwin America showed off the Wisenet-SmartCam D1, the world’s first video doorbell with face recognition alerts and human detection. Alerts are sent to an accompanying mobile app when unidentified visitors arrive. It has abnormal sound detection if sirens, screaming or even glass breaking is detected. Two-way talk, live streaming, 150-degree field of view and cloud recording are some of the other features. $249

The Misfit Path hybrid smartwatch is an attractive timepiece that blends the functionality of a smartwatch with a classic analog design. It counts your steps, sleep duration, email and text alerts along with being swim-proof and water resistant up to 50 meters. A smart button works with your smartphone as a remote to control music and take photos. There’s no charging, just replace the internal battery every six months. $149.99 available in the spring

Garmin’s Speak Plus with Amazon Alexa gives in-vehicle voice control and hands-free access for turn-by-turn navigation, remotely manages your smart home devices. controls music, delivers news and more. All with a simple command of “Alexa, ask Garmin.” A built-in dash cam records your daily drive and has driver assistance features such as forward collision and lane departure warnings. A special limited time pre-order price of $199.99, after April 20, 2018 $229.99

Leading global barefoot shoe company Vivobarefoot and Sensoria, a wearable smart technology company, debuted the Vivobarefoot smart shoe, powered by Sensoria. The shoes come with embedded technology in the form of the thinnest pressure sensors in the world, according to Sensoria. Detachable, rechargeable and reusable Sensoria Core hardware collects the data, which is sent to your smartphone. . available Q2 2018

Beyerdynamic gave me a very impressive test drive with the company’s new Aventho Wireless headphones. They have perfect sound and comfortable padded ear cups. What caught my attention was Mimi Sound Personalization, is technology designed for the hearing impaired. The feature was created with cooperation from Mimi Hearing Technologies along with Beyerdynamic app. The app (iOS and Android) determines an individual’s hearing profile and stores it directly on the Aventho wireless for a personalized hearing experience. $449

The Willow Wearable and portable breast pump was designed to improve the lives of new moms through its Beta program to let moms pump on-the-go. The company states it’s the first truly mobile all-in-one breast-shaped pump, which cuts the cords, has no dangling bottles and easily fits inside a bra. This ensures a mobile and hands-free pumping solution as moms can keep tabs on the pumping progress with the Willow app (iOS only). It’s recommended to use the pump with a full-coverage nursing bra that’s stretchy and has a flap. $479.99

Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen, so they must have innovative features to stand out _exactly why I liked the Scosche BoomBottle MM. It’s build with a cylindrical design, rugged and waterproof (IP67 rating) and a few other cool features. While the sound is awesome with its pair of six-watt speakers and 40mm passive radiators, it also has Scosche’s MagicMOUNT technology, allowing a mobile device to be secured on top of the speaker. The bottom also has a magnetic mount allowing it to be secured in place. A built-in bottle opener also comes in handy. $pricing and available this spring

Gadgets :: January 4, 2018

By Gregg Ellman

When you see the unopened Crosley Nomad portable turntable, you could easily think like I did that it’s a throwback briefcase, like my dad used to carry to work. But once it’s opened you’ll see there’s a good reason to take your old records off the shelf, give them a dust off and get them spinning on this self-contained vinyl player.

Even if you’re new to the vinyl resurgence world, using a turntable is simple. After you unpack it, there’s really not a lot of setup; it takes just a few minutes. Assuming you have some 33 1/3, 45 or 78 RPM records, you’re set for some great listing with the three-speed turntable. An adapter is included for 45’s.

A diamond stylus needle is included with the belt driven turntable, which has built-in dynamic full range stereo speakers (one on each side) for great sound on the AC powered system. Or you can connect it to external speakers and systems with the RCA audio out port. For private listening, just plug your headphones into the headphone port.

A USB connection lets it connect to Mac and Window computer systems for turning your vinyl into digital audio files with the included software.

The portability (13-by-17-by-4-inches, 10.5 pounds) makes it simple to move from room to room or even take on a trip. Either way, the Nomad is a great choice if you’re looking to either re-live or join the vinyl listening world. $199.95, replacement NPS Audio Technica needles are $14.95

IFrogz has expanded its versatile wireless audio lineup with five new affordable products, all with Bluetooth 4.1 technology.

They include three in-ear earbuds and a pair of over-the-ear headphones.

The earbuds include the Resound ($29.99), with a discreet, low profile design that essentially winds up for easy storage in a pocket. Inside each earbud is a 5.5mm driver and you’ll get about 10 hours of battery life before a USB charge is needed.

They are built with an IPX-2 water-resistant rating, which is great for sweaty workouts. A built-in mic is perfect for handsfree calls and Qualcom cVc noise cancellation technology is perfect for keeping outside noise from your conversations and amplifies your voice for the one listening.

A magnetic clip is on the controls for keeping it in place. Other controls include volume, play/pause and answering calls.

The other earbuds are the Flex Force ($29.99) and Free Rein ($19.99) earbuds.

The Flex Force has a comfortable neck back with the earbuds attached to a lightweight wire on each side. Each speaker has an 8mm driver; you’ll get about 8 hours of battery life before charging.

Each earbud has a magnetic tip to keep them in place when they aren’t being used.

The Free Rein earbuds are built with wing tips for a secure fit. They have 10mm drivers and 5 hours of battery life. A flat cable connects the earbuds to the control knob and keeps it tangle and knot free.

Both the Flex Force and the Res Rein also has controls for calls, audio and music selections.

If you want over-the-ear with an ergonomic fit, the Resound ($34.99) and Toxix ($24.99) headphones both have adjustable flexible headbands, comfortable foam layered ear cups and iPX2 sweat resistance construction.

The Resounds are designed for music aficionados who want their music to be heard with highs, lows and mid-tones, all through powerful and great sounding 40mm drivers, The battery life is about 20 hours and a Aux-in port will let you attach a 3.5mm cable for direct listening.

The Toxix headphones feature 30mm drivers, a built-in microphone and 10 hours of battery life.

Each of the new headphones have different color options, so check the iFrogz site for the choices.