Archive for October 2018

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