Gadgets:: Get the perfect panoramic with Motrr Galileo

By GREGG ELLMAN— Twitter.com/greggellman

Motrr Galileo
The Motrr Galileo is an iPhone dock designed for taking perfect 360-degree panoramic images.

It’s available for Apple iOS devices in a Bluetooth ($149.95) model and 30-pin dock connection ($99.95).

The Bluetooth is listed to work with the iPhone 5/5S/5C, iPhone 4/4S and iPod Touch (5th generation). The 30- pin Galileo is for the iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch (4th generation).

Both work with many photography apps, all listed on the Motrr site ( http://motrr.com/apps.html ). It’s updated as new apps become available but there are already many to choose from including Sphere, TimeLapse, DMD Panorama and many more.

The Motrr app is free but there is a charge for some of the others; for example the Panorama app is $1.99 in the Apple App Store.

The 30-pin dock doubles as a charging station since it has a built-in rechargeable lithium polymer battery. A standard tripod mount is on the bottom of both versions.

Right out of the box you would think the Galileo is an Apple product with its solid construction and white finish (also available in black).

It takes a little getting used to but after some experiments it worked really well. You’ll probably have to take your case off, as I did, for it to fit in the dock. It works in both landscape and portrait positions.

If it was late December instead of late February, the Galileo would be my gadget of the year. But since it isn’t, I’ll just say it has an early lead.

Details: www.motrr.com

MUSIC GOES ‘PURE’ WITH SPEAKERS AND APP

Pure SpeakersWhen picking a portable speaker system to use with a portable media player the choices are endless and growing everyday with some great options.

Jongo from Pure is really a complete system. There many options for the system’s speakers: paired as a stereo system, a single speaker in different rooms or whatever your choice may be, inside or out; multiple users; multiple colors; and in multiple streaming choices.

For one streaming option, to connect to your personal Wi-Fi network, as I did, you’ll probably have to read the directions for the setup. But connecting into Wi-Fi to stream audio gives you greater range compared to Bluetooth, which gives you only about 30 feet.

As for the specific pieces used to build a system, I tried out the Jongo T2 and the Jongo S3.

The Jongo S3 ($229) is a desktop/bookshelf sized portable, rechargeable wireless speaker (5.16 by 5.47 by 5.31 inches) and comes in black, white or a mixture called Piano (white body with a black grill) but can be accessorized to coordinate with most any room’s taste.

A grille pack ($29.99) of easy-to-fit replacements is available in choices of white, lime green, burnt orange or mango.

The speaker produces 360-degree sound from five internal speakers (four tweeters for 360-degree sound and an upward-firing subwoofer for powerful bass) and can be paired with additional S3′s to form stereo sound. More is better but even just a single S3 fills the room with sound.

As for the Jongo T2 ($179), it won’t fill the room like the S3 but it makes a great choice for background sound where you don’t want the volume cranked up.

A pair of 10W 3-inch, mid-range drivers are inside and optional grill covers are available in mango, burnt orange and lime green.

Both speakers can be used with Apple or Android devices using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, along with the Free Pure Connect app.

The company’s Pure Connect app lets users turn their smartphone into a remote control for your music and your choice of Jongo speaker output. This includes your personal playlists or access to a never-ending list of radio stations and music.

The app is free, but there are different levels of service within the app that may incur monthly fees. For example the Green level is free, up to the Violet level for $9.99 per month.

Earlier this year, Pure announced third-party app support via Bluetooth, allowing the Jongo system to support all music apps including Pandora, Spotify and many more. This service is expected out in the spring.

Details: www.pure.com

HEAVY DUTY PORTABLE BATTERY FOR RUGGED TRAVELS

Soldier Power BankYou may want to go anywhere, and take your digital device everywhere. But if you roam too far, you will be without power and watch your device fade to black.

The Soldier portable battery is a welcome remedy, especially for the adventurous traveler. This handy 7800mAh battery backup is built for the roughest environments with a waterproof, rugged shook-proof body.

It’s built with a standard USB and a microUSB port for charging portable electronics on the go and a flashlight with SOS functionality. LED indicators display the remaining battery life.

A friend recently spent two weeks hiking in Central America, so what better way to test it than to take the backpack-friendly battery (4.52 by 3.46 by 1.14 inches) along with him.

The Soldier lived up to its name, handling all the rough-and-tumble of two weeks on and off the trail. An accidental dip in a stream verified the company’s statement that it’s waterproof up to 3 feet deep for up to 30 minutes.

No electronic device can be a perfect solution for all situations and this had its own limitations. At an even one pound, it may be a little more weight than some adventurers want to carry. And to recharge the three internal Li- ion 3.7V 2500 mAh batteries, you’ll need to include your own USB to outlet plug to connect with the supplied cord for an 8 hour charge.

Details: $59.95 at Amazon.com; www.digitaltreasures.com

Contact Gregg Ellman at greggellman@mac.com. Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman.

Gadgets:: When it comes to USB why have 2 when you can have 4?

By GREGG ELLMAN— Twitter.com/greggellman

4 Port USB ChargerIf two is good, four has to be better for most families when it comes to accessible USB charging ports.

Leviton’s four-port device fits exactly to replace an existing AC wall plug/box, substituting the pair of standard plugs with the four USB ports.

Its design allows you to plug in your own charging cables for 4.2 amps of power, which is controlled by a microprocessor to accommodate up to four high-powered devices simultaneously.

This can include smartphones, tablets, gaming units and digital cameras regardless of the manufacturer. The only requirement that is they charge via USB.

The four USB ports are aligned in the outlet vertically to lessen stress on the charging cables, according to the company’s website.

Also mentioned on the site is that all Leviton charging devices are UL listed and meet all National Electrical Code requirements for Tamper-Resistant outlets.

When it comes to electrical work, please take all precautions and make sure you know what you’re doing or make use of a certified electrician.

www.leviton.com $39.99 available in gray, ivory, light almond and black

SYNC by 50 Ear WirelessI’ve reviewed SMS Audio Sync by 50 headphones before so it was no surprise when I tried on the latest over-the-ear wireless set. It has the amazing sound as the previous.

What makes the headphones named and endorsed by rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson a lot more convenient is the wireless feature (Bluetooth).

Past the great crystal-clear sound, wireless feature and impressive packaging, the most important feature to me and many others with on-ear headphones is the comfort. These are as good as any, if not better.

While the headphones are designed by the famous rapper, the sound is not just geared towards that genre, which I proved to myself with my 70’s channel on SirusXM.

Other features include 40mm drivers built into the soft leather memory foam cushioned ear pads and folding hinges to store in the hard shell carry case. There’s also full on-board controls along with a mic for handsfree calls.

To my fault, the headphones got buried in one of my endless piles, so they aren’t really new but if you haven’t heard of them, then they are as new to you, as me.

You have your choice of silver or an eye-catching black (my review sample). You’ll get about 10 hours of battery life and then a 4 hour charge to power them back up. A microUSB cable is included for charging.

www.smsby50.com $229.95

CamRangerThe Camranger, in my mind the best third-party digital SLR camera accessory, just got better with a recent free firmware update.

If you’re not familiar with the Camranger ($299.99), it’s a device that connects to select Canon or Nikon DLSR cameras via USB to create a Wifi network from the camera to a smartphone, tablet or computer (Mac and PC) without needing an Internet connection.

This includes capturing and storing the images on your device away from the camera as well as changing settings including shutter speeds, ISO and f-stops.

Among the new features in the update, photographers now can share images with multiple devices and network bridging.

The photographer can share images or live view from camera with others on their personal smart phone, tablet, or computer using the free CamRanger Share app, regardless of there location.

Photographers now have the option to bridge into a network to extend the WiFi range or post images to the Internet immediately.

http://camranger.com/firmware-upgrade

FLIR ONEIf you ever thought about turning your iPhone 5/5s into a thermal imaging device, you are in luck with the newly announced FLIR ONE, the first and only device of it’s kind.

The FLIR ONE puts thermal imaging technology in your hands to extend the limits of human vision, allowing you to see in complete darkness just as the military would with night vision.

The uses are endless. Two examples:  homeowners can use it for security or to optimize energy efficiency in doors and windows.

The FLIR ONE comes as a protective iPhone case that fits like a glove and has a lens on the back to detect and broadcast a live thermal image on the phone’s LCD. It’s not available yet but expected later this year for $349.

www.FLIR.com

Gadgets:: Give your wrist a break with cushy mouse pad

By GREGG ELLMAN— Twitter.com/greggellman

GoSmart RestPadThe GoSmart RestPad is furry computer accessory designed to sit on your desk.

Aside from the great feel, it helps prevent wrist pain associated with the endless amount of daily hours we spend looking at computer screens and mousing, which results in repetitive wrist injury or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Like any other mousepad there is a place for your mouse to slide around but what makes it unique is a 100-percent natural sheepskin rest pad for your wrist.

The soft pillow-like feel gives you a comfortable resting place along with pressure relief for your wrist.

GoSmart testing found it “validated to relieve over twice as much pressure as other wrist rests, as tested with advanced tactile array sensors that measured the contact pressures underneath the wrist.“

The white sheepskin is available with brown, camel or pink mousepad colors and is attached with Velcro making it easy to remove for cleaning.

www.JustGoSmart.com $19.95

TYLT CapioThe TYLT Capio universal car mount is the missing piece to truly make your phone handsfree.

Just as the name states, it’s universal to work with most any smartphone, keeping it upfront and steady on a dashboard or any flat surface in your car.

The Capio is built with patented technology to keep your phone in place. There are no clamps or brackets, which often scratch your phone to use with the Capio.

It affixes to any flat surface including glass, metal or wood and even holds up vertically on a glove compartment. A ball joint neck allows it to be fully adjustable and positioned in most any angle.

When the Capio is completely removed from whatever surface it was on, there’s no sign of it being left behind, sticky tape or scratches.

It’s a great accessory for keeping a phone upright when using map or GPS apps or even to use in the backseat for movie watching.

It measures 4.3 x 2.4 x 3.8-inches and weights just 2.5-ounces.

www.TYLT.com $27

Kenu AirframeThe Kenu Airframe is also used for keeping your smartphone handsfree while driving but instead of keep it on a flat surface, it attaches to an air vent.

A soft molded grip, is used to attach to the vent and it’s design won’t leave any scratches when in use or taken on and off.

There’s not a lot to it, just use the expandable jaw to hold just about any smartphone with a screen up to 4.8-inches.. It also rotates for horizontal and vertical viewing.

The Airframe weighs less then an ounce so taking it along for travel is ideal.

www.Kenu.com $24.95

PULSE Felt AudioFelt’ Audio’s Pulse mobile Bluetooth speaker first caught my attention with it’s small size; 3.2 inches long, 2.2 inches wide and .6-inches thick and a weight of just a few ounces.

Considering it’s pocket size, the sound is great, making it ideal for listening to satellite radio (as I did with it). It’s internal microphone works as a portable handsfree speakerphone.

It has a built-in clip on the back for attaching to a sun visor or to just have it stand on a flat surface.

You’ll get about 8 hours of use before a USB charge is needed, which takes just over a half-hour.

www.feltaudio.com $59.99 available in black or white

Gadgets:: A Watch for More then Telling Time

By GREGG ELLMAN— Twitter.com/greggellman

passport-side-wsbAt the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year, there seemed to be an explosion of technology enabled watches.

I’m guess it will be like a game of musical chairs with only a few lasting after the music stops, much like the explosion of tables at the show a few years ago.

One, which I’m sure will last is the Martian Passport series watch, which they promote as “The World’s First Voice Command Smartwatch.”

This is one gadget where I did have to read the instructions, which is rare for me but these were well explained and easy to follow; press this button, then that button, etc.

They do have interesting item in the instruction book about how the average person checks their phone 150 times a day. I think that number is grossly under exaggerated, but I’m sure many of those 150 are for checking the time for those with a watch-less wrist.

Once your setup and make a Bluetooth connection with your smartphone, you get notifications of callers, email, social media, texts, calendar alerts and event activated Siri on my iPhone.

You can respond with the watch and talk into it like you’re a secret agent or just use it as an alert to either take out your smartphone or just ignore it for now.

As long as there is contact information in your phone for who is calling, you’ll get that name on the display of the watch. In the event you don’t have the name entered you’ll just get the phone number.

All the other information you are being alerted for gets displayed on the display running across the bottom of the front of the watch (96 x 16 pixel graphic OLED display).

The Martian watch can also be set to trigger your phone’s camera so you can get in the photo.

Once your watched is paired with a phone it will also vibrate when you they get out of range of each other (Bluetooth range is about 30 feet), letting you know you left the phone behind.

An internal battery needs to be charged for 2 hours every few days via USB, depending on the amount of use.

I have to admit, It does take a little getting used to having your wrist vibrating for a phone call or message alert. While eating lunch with friends last week, my wrist starting vibrating and I said just that, which caused some odd looks from my comrades.

In addition to the smartphone capabilities, this is one good looking watch for keeping up with that old fashion thing of just checking the time.

www.MartianWatches.com $299 in color combinations of black, white and silver

mobi-card_w-RealCamerasI’ve been familiar with the Eye-Fi SD media cards for years and always had great success with them going from a camera to a computer, but a direct connection to my iPad has always been cumbersome and involved third party apps, which never seems to work flawlessly.

All that came to an end past week when I tried the Eye-Fi Mobi WiFi Camera to Phone 8GB, SDHC Class 10 memory card along with the Eye-Fi app (free for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire).

The setup is simple and it worked perfect from the start, just download the app and enter the provided activation code.

Inside the memory card is WiFi, letting you make a direct connection from the memory card to your device, enabling this system to work without the need of an Internet connection.

Assuming you put the memory card in an Eye-Fi compatible camera you’re all set to start taking photos.

Images are captured on the memory card along with automatically downloading into my iOS (iPhone 5s) image library, where they can be instantly sent to social media when you switch over to an Internet connection.

Since the images are also stored on the card you will be able to download them for archiving on your computer.

This system enables you to use a real camera for optimum image quality vs using a cell phone, which provides instant access for social media but will not be the best quality for long term use for large prints, etc.

I tested it with large JPGs on a high-end digital SLR and a point-n-shoot camera with both working great for photos and video.

There’s not a lot to it, which makes for the perfect accessory.

The Eye-Fi Pro X2 16GB ($99.99) memory card has faster speeds designed for capturing HD video.

www.Eye.fi  $49.99 8GB, $79.99 16GB $9.99 32GB

Paick Noble with pop-upPaick’s new portable battery called the Noble, is only a half-inch thick and but has a big time 6000mAh Li-ion battery of power inside.

The company has designed the pocket-sized battery with fashion in mind with it’s aluminum alloy high performance case.

A dust-proof pop-up slot opens us to display two USB and 1 microUSB ports for charging.

The iPhone 5 series can get up to three charges before the battery itself needs a charge, other smartphones can get two charges and an iPad once.

www.paick.com $64.99, but a promotion has it at $49.99 through March 20, 2014

Gadgets:: iPhone 5/5s accessories fill specific needs

By GREGG ELLMAN— Twitter.com/greggellman

iZZi Orbit ProThe IZZI Orbit Pro iPhone 5/5s case has been out for a little while but I got my first glance at it recently. It shows how serious iPhonegraphers can take their photos with the hand-held device.

While smartphones don’t really produce the image quality of a standalone camera, even of the point-n-shoot category, your phone is always handy with its camera functions and instant access.

Structurally, the case is an incredibly strong outer shell of aircraft-grade aluminum. Built into the case is a stabilizing grip on the bottom with three tripod mounts to attach your tripod on both sides and the bottom. Your phone goes into a rubber shell, which then goes into the stronger outer shell.

What makes this device unique for photography is the four lens Pro-Grade system mounted directly on the camera with the company’s peripheral motion lock technology.

The rotating lens includes a telephoto, fisheye and macro. A wide-angle lens gives you a fourth option by screwing a small attachment onto the macro, if that view is needed.

Specifically, you get a 180-degree fisheye view, a 67X wide-wide angle lens, a 2X optical telephoto lens and the macro for closeups.

The case is bulky and you probably can’t store it in your pocket so I wouldn’t use it as my everyday case. But if you’re on a vacation or a day of sightseeing, a switch to the Orbit Pro would be easy,

The little brother IZZI Slim is on the way and available for pre-order for $99.99. The slim has the lens attachments but without the metal case construction and the tripod attachments.

Instead it has a polycarbonate case (black or white choices) with the rotating lens attachments.

www.IZZIgadgets.com $229.99 available in black, red and silver. A lanyard and lens cleaning cloth are included.

TYPO keyboardThe TYPO keyboard case for the iPhone 5/5s is claimed to be the first physical keyboard for an iPhone, according to the company.

At a first glance, they keyboard is a spitting image of a standard Blackberry keyboard, which is a great device for hardcore Blackberry users to get into the iPhone world.

It’s a common problem to get used to the touch-screen keyboard and even do it with speed – assuming you’re not a teenager. The TYPO is the perfect solution and works real well.

The keyboard looks like the iconic Blackberry (I admit, I was a user for a long time) and had keys, which your fingers can easily adjust to – much easier then the virtual keyboard.

It brought back memories of how I used to type and it took a little while to adjust back, but after a few typos I was there.

The backlit keyboard is built into a hard shell case, which has two pieces that slide together. When it’s attached it extends your phone about a half-inch longer. But all-in-all that’s a good thing since it give you a 40 percent larger screen since you don’t have the virtual screen on your LCD.

www.typokeyboards.com $99 They are currently on backorder and are taking orders, which are expected to be available in mid-March.

EVUTECI might as well make this an all iPhone 5/5s accessory column since I have a few other cool things in hand.

The Evutec Karbon SP series is a sharp looking and shockproof case built with a slim 2mm layered body in a black and gray weave, scratch-resistant pattern.

It’s built with DuPont Kevlar fibers, which is promoted to be 5X strong than steel at the same weight. If anyone wants to challenge that statement, go for it.

http://www.evutec.com $39.95 available in multiple patterns and colors.

ZAGG Arsenal 2ZAGGs new Arsenal case for the iPhone 5/5s sounds like a rugged case just from the name and it is just that.

It’s made to be durable for impact, small drops and splash resistant with its military grade construction outer shell. A soft cushioned interior holds your phone in place.

An invisibleSHIELD EXTREME screen protector is included to keep your valuable LCD shock resistant, break protected, and touchscreen sensitive.

www.Zagg.com $49.99

NUEVUEThe NUEVUE pouch case is a pretty cool design and it even kills germs. You keep your phone pretty much naked and it slides in and out of the pouch.

But the cool thing is the interior of the pouch is Antimicrobial protected and lined with a microfiber-like cloth to clean your phone from fingerprints, dust and dirt as it slides in and out.

The exterior case is made with cotton twill, canvas and leather.

http://nuevue.com $45 for the iPhone 5/5s model

Gadgets:: CES has come and gone


By GREGG ELLMAN
— Twitter.com/greggellman

ProtectCELL

Over the years while covering the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas I’ve had massages, shaves and just about every other industry gimmick you can think of – all right on the show floor.

This year I sat in a Lamborghini to list to an incredible sound system designed by Monster and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to destroy a brand new smartphone.

The company ProtectCELL sells annual insurance for your phone, covering just about everything. This includes getting lost, stolen, dropped in a toilet (very common insurance claim) and even if you get your phone gets caught in a blender.

A week before the show they sent me a brand new smartphone and invited me to come by the booth and destroy it.

After talking with some company representatives, who explained how the insurance policy works, they invited me to toss my new phone in a blender and whip it up.

Without hesitating I accepted and if you want to see a series of the photos just email me.

The blender destroyed the phone, creating millions of pieces from my brand new hardware.

If that was your phone, you would then call ProtectCELL, explain what happened and they would send you a new one immediately, no questions asked.

The company started in 2006 with 91 participants and now has more than 700,000 with a 25 percent renewal rate.

Your phone can be a personal one or company-issued with plans ranging from $199 for two years of coverage for an iPhone 5s to $59 for simpler phones.

ProtectCELL will even back up your contacts and other data to help restore them in the event a new phone in needed.

www.ProtectCELL.com

The Cellfy SticOver the past year or so we have all become familiar with the smartphone photography term of “selfie.”

A company called Cellfy has designed a hardware kit to help users take quality self-photos and videos using smartphones or tablets.

For the smartphone model, the patent-pending Cellfy Stic is a universal mount with suction cups on both sides to work in portrait or landscape modes.

First download a timer for your device _ they suggest. TimerCam for iOS or CameraZoomFX for Android.

Then attach your phone to the front side and attach the backside to any clean, smooth surface such as mirrors, windows, clean car panels or glass.

Set the timer, choose your pose and photos will now be better composed with the hands-free hardware.

They also have a tablet model ($24.99), which doubles as a accessory to mount on the back of a headrest for back seat viewing. It also has a built-in kick-stand for use on a flat surface in addition to the front and rear suction cups.

www.Cellfy.co Cellfy Stic $9.99, available in orange, pink, gray and white

House of Marley LEGENDI’m a sound junky, which is very different from a sound expert. I love trying on headphones for comfort as well as great sound in both over-the-ear headphones and earbuds.

Every year at CES sound is a big and never-ending trend. I tried on countless headphones and found a lot of them to be great but the one that caught my attention was the flagship Marley Legend active noise canceling in-ear earbuds ($199).

Each of the earbuds comes with five sizes of tips to get the right fit, Each also comes on a tangle-free cord.

In-ear Legends are built with FSC certified sapele and maple wood and recyclable aluminum, which adds up to a great looking product to compliment the great sound.

In addition to the display of headphones named after the legend Bob Marley, the company had one of the coolest booths with a a contemporary earthy feel and look.

A live DJ kept the tunes flowing without music from some 20-something-year-old former Disney character turned spoiled brat, like so many others.

Just an observation on my part.

The comfortable furniture in the Marley booth also didn’t hurt since I had walked more than  50,000 steps (thanks iBitz) at the show.

Many of Marley’s over-the-ear headphones are designed with exclusive Marley fabric, which is made with organic cotton, reclaimed hemp and recycled plastic bottles, along with other earth-friendly materials.

Other products on display included incredible desktop Bluetooth speakers, some currently out and other sneak-peaks at future 2014 Marley products.

www.thehouseofmarley.com

AwoX StriimLightAnother product to grab my attention was the AwoX Striimlight B-10 lightbulb and Bluetooth speaker.

The multi-functional eco-friendly LED light bulb has a integrated Bluetooth speaker to stream wireless music right from the light fixture.

An included IR remote controls the light on and off along with the speaker volume. The setup consists of screwing in the lightbulb and then pairing the speaker with any Bluetooth enabled device.

As for the long lasting LED Lighting, it’s is 40W incandescent equivalent.

www.awox.com $99

Gadgets:: Building on your holiday tech gifts

By GREGG ELLMAN— Twitter.com/greggellman

So you got an iPhone, iPod, iPad, Kindle, Surface or some other handheld device with a fancy touchscreen. Now you think you’re Joe Cool or a  Hip Hop person now. The gifting doesn’t end there, not so many hip, innovative accessories for your gadget.

Some offer protection – others are just fun. By necessity, I had a limit of seven choices, but the list could be endless if given the chance. Here are mine.

WrenThe Wren V5 Wireless Speaker System flat out rocks the house. Once you wirelessly connect to your music source, the sound fills any room – even a big room at that. I used the Airplay feature built into iOS devices. Android users have a model (Play-Fi ) built for them and a Bluetooth version is also available. The wireless version will stream up to 150 feet, depending on your music source and the Wi-Fi router. That’s great range compared to the 30 feet that you get with Bluetooth. Wren made sure the sound was first class but put the same effort into the design. The rectangular speaker curves on the ends, with your choice of bamboo or real rosemary wood finish. It measures about 16 x 6 x 4-inches and with the finish, makes a nice addition to any family room. There’s an  auxiliary port on the back along along with a USB connector for direction connection of other devices.

www.wrensound.com  $399 for the Apple Airplay or the Android Play-Fi or Bluetooth models

MS 530 Headphones 2The Phiaton Chord MS 530 headphones cut the cord with Bluetooth technology connecting the fancy headphone to your music source. Once paired,  the padded ear cups with 40mm titanium driver technology brings you amazing sound. An internal battery (needed for both the sound and noise canceling features) gives you up to 30 hours of use before needing a USB charge. There’s also a dual-microphone built-in so they can be used for handsfree phone calls. You can try them on your next flight but the attendants might catch on to the Bluetooth, which you still can’t use inflight.

http://phiaton.com $349 available at BestBuy.com, Brookstone and Amazon

Milano BlackMapiCases Milano portfolio leather mini iPad case is made with 100 percent premium leather and has a zipper closure on three sides and a soft lined fabric inside to keep your device well-protected and looking great. Inside the cover you’ll find dividers for paperwork, passports, business cards  or whatever you want to store. You can get the leather case in black, brown, red and tan.

www.mapicases.com $200

The Olloclip 3-IN-1 clip-on photo lens works on the new iPhone 5s/5c as well as the 5/4/4s, converting your iPhone lens to a fisheye, wide-angle and macro lens all in one.  It clips on and off your phone in seconds The wide-angle lens nearly doubles the widths of your phone’s view; the fisheye gives you close to a 180-degree view and the macro is a 10X magnification.

iPhone 5c Olloclip 1

The lens weighs just 0.6 ounces, measures 1.5 x .98 x .98 – inches and a cloth pouch is included for storage – and it’s handy for  cleaning fingerprints off the lens. The brand new olloclip for the 5c, which was announced at Consumer Electronics show earlier this month, comes in phone matching colors of blue, green, pink, yellow and white.

www.olloclip.com iPhone 5/5s $69.99, 5c $59.99 and the 4/4s $69.99, available at Apple Store, Best Buy, AT&T and Target

Fat fingers are always a problem while typing on a touchscreen’s virtual keyboard for anything more then a quick message  but the brand new Rapoo E6300 keyboard solves that problem. It’s an ultra slim (.22-inches) Bluetooth 3.0 keyboard made with eye-catching brushed stainless steel and plastic keys.

Rapoo E6300

It measures 8 inches by just over 3 inches. An internal rechargeable lithium battery lasts for about a month on a 2-hour USB charge with the included microUSB cable. You can use it on an iPad, Android devices or any device that is Bluetooth equipped. As for the keyboard, it’s full-sized with 80 standard keys and 15 iPad hotkeys including homepage, play/pause and copy/paste.

www.Rapoo.com $49.99 available at WalMart

If a USB cable can be called amazing, Innergie’s MagiCable Duo is the one. It’s a unique 2-in-1 cable with a charging connections for both the Apple Lightning iPhones, iPads and iPods and Android mobile devices, all in one.

MagiCable Duo 1

One end has a standard USB connection to plug into your power source. The other has the Lightning tip on the outside, which slides out (and stays attached) to expose the microUSB tip. If your confused, just buy it. Once you see it, you’ll know how cool this is.

www.myinnergie.com $29.99 available at Office Depot and Office Max

I

f your within 99.99 percent of the population you never back up any music, photos or videos until there is a crash crisis. The WD My Cloud storage system – it has nothing to do with the weather – is one of the easiest to set up and store your data. It looks like a hard drive (2, 3 and 4 TB capacities) and acts like a hard drive.

WD My CloudBut  you can access the content from anywhere in the world. After you’re done with the simple setup using the WD web-based interface on a Mac or PC, the software automatically detects the drive so you connect to it via the web. My Cloud has a Gigabit Ethernet connection, along with a Dual-Core processor, which results in blazing fast speeds to transfer files. Accessing files stored on the My Cloud is simple on mobile devices using the company’s WD My Cloud mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

www.WD.com bigger is better, go for the 4TB -$249.99, available at Office Depot and Fry’s Electronics

Gadgets:: Some great gadgets before CES

By GREGG ELLMAN— Twitter.com/greggellman
It’s a new year and lots of the tech world will be focused on next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but there’s still a bunch of 2013 gadgets worth mentioning.

Energizer lightEnergizer’s new hard case inspection light is 88 percent brighter than previous models and is built with a rugged body.

It’s equipped with a shatterproof lens, water and impact resistant up to about a 20 foot drop and works on just two AAA batteries (included).

The light beam distance is an amazing 181.5 feet (55 meters) and can shine for up to 8 hours. Of course, that’s with Energizer Max alkaline batteries.

In a somewhat related note: Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries (AA and AAA) will now hold power for up to 20 years when not in use.

Sounds great. I’ll get back to you on my findings in 19 years.

www.Energizer.com $24.99

BassJump 2The Twelve South company is known for making cool gadgets to pair with Apple products.

I make the Apple reference simply because Twelve South puts in a great effort to make their devices look so similar to Apple products that you would think they are produced by the tech giant and by-the-way, they work great.

This times it’s the remastered software for the BassJump 2 portable subwoofer for MacBook.

After turning up the sound on your computer’s built-in speakers, you’ll never say to yourself that they really rock the house. But when you combine the speakers with the subwoofer you might be able to state that claim.

The device expands what the internal speakers produce to add both low and mid frequencies to form a complete sound system.

The software is refined to work with the new OSX Maverick (10.9) operating system and includes automatic headphone detection and a refreshed Retina-ready interface.

Cosmetically, the Bass Jump is designed with silver gun metal finish to replicate the finish on most Apple computers.

www.TwelveSouth.com $69.99

Monkey KitOcta’s Tablet Tail Monkey kit has a flexible arm to hold an iPad or any other tablet or e-reader in place.

The arm is a flexible stand to position at most any angle and won’t drop your device because it attaches with a vacuum-pump system with great suction power.

There’s a suction cup, which you pump the air out of to create the seal. To release it just pull on the tabs on the side, disconnecting the device.

Position the flexible arm to whatever position is needed or as the company says, “wrapped, curled or tucked” in any angle shape or situation for handsfree use.

www.Octa.com $69.99

powerdash r900Ventev, a leader in portable charging accessories, has launched multi-function powerdash r900 charger.

It functions as a portable battery with its internal rapid charging 900mAh battery and charges your device with our own cable plugged into the built-in USB port.

The r900 is designed to plug into your vehicle’s DC (cigarette lighter) port for charging while also powering your device if needed.

Tablets and other power hungry devices up to 2.1A can charge while in the vehicle’s port and up to 1.0A on the portable battery.

www.Ventev.com $24.95

RAVPower QiRAVPower’s new Qi Wireless Charging pad will give you a wireless charge as long as your tablet or phone is Qi compatible

For those who have no idea what Qi charging is, it is a standard developed for specific devices to charge wirelessly. To get the charge you just place your Qi device on top of the Qi charger and the charging starts.

This new charger has an internal 4800mAh battery and works devices such as the Google Nexus 4, HTC Droid DNA and many others.

An AC adapter and USB charging cable is included.

If your device isn’t equipped with Qi technology, there are many Qi-compatible covers  available for different phones and tablets.

A quick Internet search found a Qi charging case for an iPhone 5 for $16.99.

www.ravpower.com $39.99

And the envelope please……..The 2013 Gadget of the years is……….

By GREGG ELLMAN— Twitter.com/greggellman
3My 2013 gadget of the year can easily be classified as simply what I like best _ since the judging committee consists of me.

It would be all too easy to name the latest iPhone or iPad the winner, but let me also say as I did in my recent review of the Microsoft Surface that I think it is a great tablet and came in a close second in the voting.

Without a drum roll I’ve chosen the SanDisk Wireless Flash Drive as my 2013 McClatchy Newspapers gadget of the year.

The main reason I have selected it is it’s a really useful device when you combine it with all the other gadgets we use in our life, from sm

artphones to tablets to computers.

It’s available in capacities of 16GB ($49.99) and 32GB ($59.99) and works just like any other USB flash drive.

But it’s far from ending there.

flash

Hidden on the end of the storage device is a little slot that opens to reveal a microsSD memory card. The slot enables your storage media to be limited to however many extra memory cards you choose to have.

The Sandisk wireless flash drive works with the  iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Kindle Fire and Android devices, as well as PC and Mac computers. Since many of these devices do not have a USB port (the Surface does), you’ll need to get the free SanDisk Connect app from your device’s store.

Once it’s downloaded it takes only a few seconds to make a wireless connection to the drive. You now have access to whatever you stored on it: movies, music, photos or documents.

It’s that easy. (Other steps you must take include turning it on with the front-facing button and loading your content, etc.)

This gives you extra storage on the go without having to make a wireless internet connection or hooking up a USB drive with a cable.

The Sandisk wireless drive charges via USB and is good for about 4 hours of streaming.

www.SanDisk.com

ibitz 1

The iBitz Unity from GeoPalz is a wireless device to monitor your family’s health.

It’s a small device you clip onto your waist, or wherever you want, to track your step count, the distance you have gone and even how many calories you burned.

Just download the free iBitz Unity app and connect it to your compatible iOS device running iOS 6 or higher. The app will read the your results for up to 30 days.

www.iBitz.com $34.99

Doxie 1

Winter is a good time to have the new Doxie Flip flatbed scanner.

It’s battery powered and makes scanning easier than ever from anywhere. For the most part, once you put in the four AA batteries (included) and turn it on, you’re ready to go.

Scans up to 4 x 6-inches and 600 dpi are stored directly onto a SD memory card (included), which fits into the card slot on the side.

A scanner like this is ideal for easily digitizing the boxes of photos many of us have tucked away in a closet. It’s also ideal for notes, coins or whatever you wanted entered into the digital world.

It takes about 7 seconds per scan in full color at 300dpi. The scanner measures 10.3 x 6.5 x 1.3-inches and weights a little more then a pound.

www.getDoxie.com $149

iB85 2

iHome’s new iB85 wireless (Bluetooth) headphones are a solid over-the-head speaker set with comfortable padded ear cups.

They are made with an adjustable and folding headband along with the padded ear cups in a black, red and silver design.

You’ll get about 12 hours of listening before they need a USB charge with the included charging cable.

Each speaker has a 30mm driver with noise-isolating cushions.

Just pair up your device and start listening. They come along with a travel pouch.

www.iHomeAudio.com $149.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An App that keeps on giving

By GREGG ELLMAN— Twitter.com/greggellman

MXL AC 404You’ll never be asking someone on the other end “can you hear me now” after trying the MXL AC 404 professional series microphone.

It’s a plug-and-play USB device (no drivers needed) with incredible clarity and ideal for Skype, podcasts or any other sound recording.

The microphone gives you 180-degree coverage, which is great for just putting it in the middle of table for a conference call where multiple people are talking from the same device. It measures just 4.3 x 2.95 x 2-inches.

The mic uses boundary microphone technology and built-in custom circuitry to produce smooth, quiet, professional-sounding conferences according to their website.

I used it on a Mac and also plugged in a USB extension cable, which caused no problem.

When I asked my friend on the other end of my Skype chat how I sounded without the MXL mic and then with it, his answer was “no comparison,” obviously with the external mic.

It’s also compatible with the PC world and comes with a nice storage case.

www.mxlmics.com $66.98

Jabra Solemate MiniI’m not sure how Jabra does it but they continue to rock the house.

This time with the Solemate Mini pocket sized Bluetooth speaker. Measuring 4.9 x 2 x 2.3-inches with a 10 ounce weight, so you can see why Jabra promotes it as a perfect travel companion.

Once cranked up there is a good chance the people in the next room might not be friendly neighbors, but you get the idea of how great this works.

There’s nothing to the set up, just pair (Bluetooth or NFC) it by tapping a button and raise the volume. You can also use a direct wired connection.

The battery is good for about 8 hours before a charge is needed.

A rubber coating surrounds the outside of the speaker for protection, enabling it to withstand dust, splashing liquid (it’s not waterproof) and light bumps.

www.Jabra.com $99 available in black, blue, red and yellow

DigiPalsDigiPals are designed as a fun animal-themed pouch to store smartphones, MP3 players or anything that will fit in the zippered compartment.

They are made with a soft microfiber cloth making them great for cleaning fingerprints on your LCD screens.

DigiPals are available in designs of a monkey, owl, penguin and a turtle. It  has a side-zippered pocket to store an ID or anything that will fit

www.digipalsusa.com $14.99

My personal favorite iPad app, PressReader, is offering a free 24 hour trial through Dec. 31, 2013.

The free app is home to thousands of digital formats for newspapers and magazines right. In addition to the iPad, it’s available for other tablets, along with Mac and PC systems.

To navigate the publication of your choice, just swipe your fingertip on the touchscreen.

After the free trial, you can purchases daily or get a subscription for a daily download. When a subscription is ordered, your download starts as soon you launch the app.

www.PressReader.com prices start at 99 cents