Gadgets :: July 5, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

I get asked all the time by tech companies, how do they get their product in my column? It’s a pretty simple formula: it has to be new, cool, different and useful.

survival_straps_1Which brings me to the new Apple watch Survival Straps’ Watch Strap. Obviously, bands are a dime a dozen for the smartwatch, but for some reason this one caught my attention instantly.

The versatile band connected perfectly to my 42 mm Apple watch. All you do is connect it to the watch like any other band by pressing the links on the bottom to release the existing band.

According to the Survival Straps, the handmade, durable band is made with authentic military spec 550# paracord with an attractive and unique stainless-steel anchor shackle closure system They have over 45 paracord colors to mix, match and design your band to match your taste, resulting in thousands of color combinations.

The Survival Strap I’ve been testing and wearing for a few days was pretty stiff at first but after it formed to my wrist it fits to perfection. The closure takes a little getting used to and after a few opens and closes, I really like it along with it being by far the most secure closure I’ve seen.survival_straps_2

Straps are custom made for your wrist size and are available for watches, bracelets, emblems and a variety of smartwatches. The Apple watch band I tried out sells for $49.99, Samsung Gear S3 and Fitbit Paracord straps are also $49.99. Prices vary for others.

Survival Straps is a mom and pop company based in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL and produces 100 percent USA made products. They also support the nations first responders, wounded veterans and active military with over $1 million of donations.

thermacell__backpacker_1Thermacell’s new Backpacker mosquito repeller is a lightweight, portable (3.8-by-1.9-by-2.6-inches ) solution for keeping your immediate area free of the annoying bugs.
The 4 ounce gas powered canister device is odorless and flameless and is good for up to 90 hours of bug protection before a refill is needed. The contents of the gas is a pressurized self-sealing butane and propane fuel mix, which slowly heats up the mat, and releases the repellent chemical in the air.
Each mat contains Allethrin, a synthetic version of a naturally occurring repellent found in chrysanthemum flowers.thermacell_backpacker_2
A water-resistant nylon carry pouch is included with the Backpacker along with 3 mosquito mats. The Backpacker sells for $35.91. 8-ounce gas fuel $17.99 and 6 Repellent Mats for up to 24 hours of use is $19.99.

Thermacell has also launched the new MR450 handheld repeller ($34.99).
The odorless and silent bug killer is designed with a rubber armored finish and an ergonomic design. The rubber grip layer also helps keep the unit quiet.
A butane cartridge with no open flame will last for about 12 hours before a replacement is needed. It also has a long lasting and replaceable CR2032 battery inside.
mr450_1The MR450 has a built-in protective indicator light so you know its up to temperature and ready to keep your area mosquito free.mr450_2
The MR450 includes a singe butane cartridge, 3 mosquito mats, a CR2032 battery and a belt clip. A replacement kit of 4 butane cartridges and 12 repellant mats for 48 hours of repellency is $20.99.

griffin_reserve-power_bankGriffin’s new reserve power bank lineup includes a very portable 9,000 mAh of power ($29.99), which can easily fit in your pocket.
Most smartphones will get over three full charges from the rechargeable battery.
The full reserve power bank lineup also includes a 2,600 ($19.99), 5,200 ($24.99) and the powerful 18,200 mAh ($44.99) battery. The 18,200 mAh will charge a smartphone up to nine times and a tablet up to two and a half times.
According to Griffin, each battery is “designed with safety-certified Lithium-Ion batteries and are secured inside of a drop-tested polycarbonate shell.” The batteries also have an LED power indicator so you know if a charge is needed.

Gadgets :: June 27, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

snap!pro_feature_lensThe bitplay SNAP! 7 iPhone case system is a solid and affordable way to use the iPhone’s digital photography features to create a true photography experience.

I’ve always maintained a smartphone does great as a camera but still can’t replace the features and quality of a DSLR system. The bitplay system starts with a nice case, which would be great even without the lens system. But if you get the case, you have to get the lenses to make this system rock.

20161112_scenario_features_thumb_restThe case ($49.99) features a great add-on grip for a better ergonomic camera fell. It allows you to hold with one hand in a way so your fingers won’t block the lens. The cases gives you an actual shutter button that works through the volume button, giving the feel of a natural position like you have in point-and-shoot cameras.

It’s built with a dual-layer construction combining soft TPU shock-absorbing inside the case and a hard polycarbonate outer shell.

There’s also a thread to attach a tripod and a wrist strap, which can be upgraded or you can attach your own. You can still use it as a phone with the case and grip attached.

all_in_1_lensesThe lens are interchangeable and screw into the case for a secure hold and are built with pro-level optics for enhanced clarity. The lens system includes a full frame fisheye/macro ($34.99), circular fisheye/macro ($34.99), standard wide angle/macro ($24.99), 3X telephoto ($39.99) and a variety of accessories. There’s also an HD wide angle EF 18 mm lens with cinema optics for $99.99.

lens_fisheyeIf you’re not familiar with the different fisheye lenses, the circular fisheye is exactly that. It gives you a round image, with black filling the edges of the image. The full frame fisheye produces a standard rectangle image, with a curved fisheye effect.

I tested the system at a simple family outing, which I thought would a common setting for people to use the system. I spent the day using the full frame fisheye, telephoto and the 18 mm.

hd_18mm_lensAfter using the lenses for a while and then switching back to just the phone’s bare lenses, I felt like I was missing something. So I went back to using the lenses, mostly the fisheye, since it’s about 3X wider than the existing lens. The 18 mm was impressive with its higher quality optics, enabling you to see very little distortion on the edges.

The 18 mm has a much higher construction quality than the other bitplay lenses. They describe the durable lenses construction: “the lens hood, body and cap are made from reinforced metal with a high-strength dust-proof seal, and our rigorous production process ensures that each lens is optical perfection.”

The system definitely gives you more of a photography feel and enhances the images with the wide and telephoto optics.

The standard fisheye/macro and the wide angle/macro are two-piece lenses. You snap the top optic off to remove the fisheye and the lens becomes a macro.

All of these lenses are constructed with high quality aluminum and include a storage pouch.

The Snap!7 case is available for $49.99, available in white or black for the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 6, 6S, 6 Plus and 6S

Gadgets :: June 21, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

fabriq_stars_frontLast year Amazon allowed third parties access to the Alexa code, enabling production of more voice assistant gadgets.

The latest Alexa voice-assistant gadget to make my morning coffee is the Fabriq portable Wifi Bluetooth speaker. Before the speaker was turned on I was impressed with the size, 3.15-by-3.15-by-3.15-inches, 10.6 ounces and style, portable enough to toss in a backpack and even fit in some cargo pants pockets.

If you’re not familiar with Alexa, she is a personal assistant who can do a growing number of smart home control commands. Just press a button on the Fabriq and the assistant performs your command. It’s really that easy.fabriq_aloha_back

It also works as a standalone device without an Amazon Dot or Echo.

Voice assistant features pop up daily, so if ordering a pizza, adjusting the thermostat or turning on your surround system with a voice command aren’t enough, wait until tomorrow.

Oh, I do have to add that this is a nice sounding speaker (5w) with the great clarity and sound you want. And if you are shopping for a simple, small portable speaker, this would make a great choice.

A few other features of the Fabriq include a 5-hour build-in rechargeable battery, cool exterior fabric finishes, and the ability to connect multiple speakers for a multi-room system with each having Alexa controls. $49.99

starbrick-march-133What got my attention when reading about the new Starbrick Be4 earbuds was that they are made with Beryllium, which the company states is the fourth lightest metal element and four times stronger than steel.

There was also something I hadn’t heard of: they are the newest type of Beryllium earphones and as far as my memory can stretch, I don’t recall hearing about a Beryllium product, known as Be4 on periodic table.

Beryllium in the earbuds lowers the distortion at the highest volume without sacrificing the lows, mids, and highs.

So after these tidbits got logged into my brain, I just had to give them a try. Of course, facts like these can impress me all they want but it’s the sound that counts and that impressed as much as the technology.starbrick-march-55

I used the earbuds in three totally different environments; while biking, watching a movie on my iPad at 36,000 feet and poolside. I came away from all three equally impressed with the sound quality. Obviously I had background noise on the plane, so I just cranked up the volume to compensate. The clarity was consist and sound equally smooth at any level. This was the same while on the streets or poolside.

Starbrick stated, “The earphones’ dynamic driver with Beryllium diaphragm have a wide frequency response and provide a unique soundstage atmosphere.” I’m sure I can attribute my listening success at the variety of locations, volumes and music types to this.

Other features include an in-line mic control for handsfree calls, volume and music selections, a 3.5 mm gold stereo mini jack and choices of black, rose gold and silver. Each Be4 headset is individually handcrafted and subjected to stringent testing to ensure the optimum product every time. $179, available in August

When you have a simple product like the TwelveSouth BookArc, which is designed with an Applye-esque space gray finish to match their high fashion products and it works like a champ — you have a big winner.

The hardware is a vertical stand that turns a MacBook laptop into a desktop computer, assuming you have a monitor, mouse and keyboard.

Once the laptop is in the stand’s silicone slot, everything easily plugs in and you have a fully function desktop system. Plus, it takes up a lot less space vs a desktop computer. The bottom has a cable-catch design, so everything stays clean and organized.12s_bookarc2_macbook_spacegrey_cables_hires

Assuming you have this setup at work, when the day is done, just unplug everything, take the laptop home and you’re off with everything you might need.

According to Twelve South, “BookArc will work with most MacBook models – from the ultra light 12-inch to the new MacBook Pro Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C).” 449.99

Gadgets :: June 14, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

Typically when I unbox a gadget to test, I use it until it does what it’s supposed to or doesn’t do it – either way it doesn’t take that long. But after unboxing the Rova flying selfie, I couldn’t wait for the batteries to recharge and use it again.

The Rova might look like a drone and act like a drone but it’s not really a drone. It’s called a flying selfie, includes a camera and is shaped like a quadcopter. It has a 98-foot communication range, via the Rova WiFi network. Maximum height is 33 feet from launch.

A red button on the Rova gets it flying. Before I used it, I watched a video on the Rova site, where they have it taking off and landing in the palm of your hand. That was the first landing I tried and sure enough, there it was in my hand.

I rarely read manuals or instructions on gadgets (like everyone else) but I did this time and I recommend that to anyone using a flying object since there are safety issues.

It’s not as small and portable as a selfie stick but it’s certainly a lot more fun and provides a far great variety of images.

The camera has a wide angle lens and has image stabilization. Four propellers are enclosed in a polycarbonate frame, which you can use with or without bumpers.

The Rova app (App store and Google Play) controls the device, with settings for 12 megapixel JPEG photos or HD video in 360-degrees (MP4, 1080p@60fps, 1080p@30fps or 720p@120fps). Still images can be taken automatically or with a specific timed interval and there’s a flash built into the camera.

Out of the box it measures 8-by-8-by-1.4-inches and weighs 10 ounces. Included are a hard carrying case, a 16GB microSD card, two lithium ion batteries, charging cradle, USB cable and four disposable bumpers. Each battery is good for about 8 minutes of flight time and recharges in 90 minutes. $299

While the term USB is common in most everyones vocabulary, USB-C might draw some curiosity.

The oval-shaped 24-pin connector cable allows devices to be connected for transferring data and power and is slowly becoming an industry standard for Apple and PC systems. What I really like is there’s no up or down for the connection, like micro USB cables. Instead it’s similar in to the Apple Lightning connection, just plug it in.

This brings me to a new set of USB-C cable accessories from Ventev, which include durable AC wall outlets, car charger and durable, flat, tangle-free cables.

The wallport pd1300 charger ($44.99) has a single C connector, with folding AC prongs for an easy connection and storage. It supports power delivery up to 45 watts.

You get six feet of cable with the chargesync UBC-C cable ($29.99), with the C connections on both ends making it reversible to plug either end into your device or power source. The cables can be used with the dashport pd 1300 charger ($34.99), which plugs into any standard auto 6V (cigarette lighter) port.

And don’t let the new technology or the higher cable prices scare you; once you try them, you’ll see the speed, versatility and the durability Ventev is known for.

Invisible Shield, an industry leader when it comes to protecting the display on many of today’s portable electronic gadgets, has announced a new model for the slick looking Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones with its edge-to-edge HDR display.

The Invisible Shield Sapphire Defense Curve and Glass Curve install in seconds and fit perfectly with or without a case.

According to the company, the Sapphire Defense Curve ($59.99) is infused with sapphire crystals that provide a smooth, glassy feel so you get unbeatable scratch protection. It’s out of the box with EZ apply tabs and provides high-definition clarity along with seven-times shatter protection of an unprotected screen.

The Glass Curve ($49.99) goes edge-to-edge on the existing unprotected curved screen thanks to its meticulously designed composition. Once it’s installed the clarity makes you wonder if it’s there.

Both protectors come with a limited lifetime warranty, so if it gets worn or damaged during the lifetime of your device, you get a new one.

According to a recent press release, “In 2016, adult smartphone users in the U.S. spent about $16 billion repairing or replacing a damaged phone with the average cost being $162.” Knowing that, this is a great investment.

Gadgets :: May 24, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

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

Gadgets :: May 17, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

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

Gadgets :: May 10, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

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. 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. $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 expected out in September with prices ranging from $149 to $349

Gadgets :: April 19, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

black_sport_gt_sideFoldable electric transportation was a new category for me and I was more than impressed with the 30 pound URB-E Sport GT motorized bike I got to play with at CES earlier this year.

You can take it up to 14 MPH on a single charge of the 36V 30-cell lithium-ion battery, which gives you about 16 miles on a single charge. When folded up, it measures 39.5-by-15.5-inches. Expanded it is only 36-by-26.5-inches and the seat is 29-inches off the ground.

The bike features a race car inspired pushrod suspension system and increased torque via our improved performance speed controller. A built-in front vertical kickstand parks it nicely with highlights that include leather carrying straps in the overall design.

You also get Eddy, a powerful removable battery, which can charge five devices simultaneously via four USB port or a single USB Type C, that charges an iPhone 7 up to forty times. pre-orders are being taken for $1,099 with a late March delivery

crosley_vinyl_rocket_prototype-aWith the new-millennium vinyl resurgence in the past few years Crosley has gone retro with the release of the Rocket Vinyl full size Jukebox. This is the only jukebox currently being manufactured anywhere in the world within the past 25 years according to Crosley.

It will hold 70 of 7-inch records for a total of 140 selections with the A/B sides and has all the beauty of the jukeboxes of yesterday with song sections made with big red buttons or simply go modern with the remote control. If you don’t want to make a selection, just hit shuffle.

The sound comes a D4 digital amplifier using two independent stereo channel outputs (60W RMS per channel for audio junkies). Titles of the tunes are on the140-selection rotating title display viewed through a front glass display.

If records aren’t your thing but you want the cool look of the jukebox, just pair your Bluetooth smartphone with the Rocket Vinyl or use the auxiliary input to broadcast your personal playlist.

It’s an attractive machine, which is guaranteed to be the talk of the room you keep it in. You’ll have to make for the 30.7-by-55.5-by-27.5-inch sound machine on the first floor since it weights 264.5 pounds. $11,995.95, the first shipment of 16 jukeboxes will be available for order in April

solpad_3SolPad takes personal power to a new level, allowing you to not only charge any portable electronic gadget, smartphone or tablet but it even lets you make a frozen margarita beachside.

The worlds first fully integrated solar energy solution is designed to use anywhere; home, an apartment, dorm room or outdoor recreational activities. The back of the panel has 2 standard AC power ports along with 3 USB ports, which can all be used at once.

When the panel is in direct sunlight and charging up, you’ll get unlimited charging from the USB ports. The SolControl app lets you choose when a device (light, TV, appliance, etc.) runs off of the stored solar power.solpad_malibu_1

Even more fun is when the SolPad talks to you with alerts for how much power you’re using and reminders to turn connected devices off. Another way to get an update on power consumption from the panel is built-in tap technology, tapping anywhere on the SolPad.

The 25 pound 22-by-28-inch 600 W battery has a carrying handle portability. expected to be $1,395 when pre-orders are taken in May – first units ship in September

Gadgets :: April 12, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

Walking the Tessco One trade show last week in Nashville, my eye caught some innovative and creative products for everyday use.

Gear4 smartphone cases are made with D3O military-licensed technology, proving to me that all protective case are not equal.

A company representative shared with me that the D3O protection is so trusted that NYC police vests are getting designed with the technology along other with global brands in sports, motorcycle, defense and industrial workwear.

The slim-profile cases have a scratch-resistant finish. The D3O impact protection is a durable black lining on the perimeter of the case. According to the Gear4 site, D3O has freely flowing molecules that lock together to absorb energy on impact before returning to their natural state. I found it interesting to read that the greater the impact force, the greater the locking and the greater the protection.

He added: the protection is about providing the consumer more (protection) with less (bulk).

I wouldn’t intentionally test the drop protection, but I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had their smartphone accidentally hit the ground. Gear4 testing had D3O cases outperforming six top competitors and are also 53 percent lighter.

The cases are made for most all of today’s smartphones and iPad/iPad Pro tablets. $39.99 to $59.99

Apps are great for exercise and fitness but keeping your smartphone attached to you is cumbersome for following the app’s data. Adidas has a solution with the upcoming launch a line of performance sport iPhone cases.

On the back of the lightweight case is an anti-slip grip hand band that to keep the phone in your hand while on the run. When you’re done working out use the phone’s case to watch your workout results handsfree with the case’s magnetic stand.

The case is built with a polycarbonate back shield and TPU bumpers for extra protection.

A release date and pricing is expected later this year.

Urbanista was my find for the day. The company was formed in Sweden in 2010 with the motto of producing headphones for urban people.

They want to make it easy for people who commute, easy to hear sound and be affordable.

The Rome is a hybrid tech earbud headset with magnetic tipped earbuds attached to a flexible rubber and plastic neck band. The magnets keep the earbuds attached securely around your neck when not in use but ready for your tunes or next call.

The technology allows you to hear noise behind you for safety and hear through the headset while you’re mobile. The unixes headset lasts about 16 hours before a USB charge is needed. due out in late April for $79.99 in black, white, blue and rose gold

Flavr iPhone cases are truly unique; each case is one of a kind.

The translucent cases offers impact protection and are referred to by the company as the ultimate fusion of runway-inspired fashion and device protection.

One series has a printed flower design on the back with each case having a different order, design or placement of the hand laid flowers.

New patterns of floral designs will be out by the summer with pricing of $21.19 to $26.50.

Gadgets :: April 5, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

Jabra’s Sport Pulse special edition Bluetooth 4.0 headphones are do-it-all when it comes to earbud features.

They are touted as the world’s first sports headphones with automatic fitness technology. The health-related features include a built-in heart rate monitor and automatic VO2 max tracking, a scientific way to measure your absolute fitness. This includes tracking the maximum rate of oxygen your body consumes during exercise.

With sport earbuds, it’s critical that they stay in place during your workout and the Sport Pulse is perfectly secure. You get several sizes of ear tips to ensure a tight fit.

The sound is great and includes passive noise cancellation, which helps eliminate surrounding noise.

While it’s not really considered exercise, I used the lightweight earbuds during an intense afternoon of outside lawn mowing and gardening. During the whole afternoon they stayed in place, unlike many other sport earbuds I’ve used for the same chores. They also helped keep out some of my lawnmower noise while supplying my ears with great sound.

The Jabra fitness app works with the sport earbuds to track your performance and even coaches you with in-ear feedback on the workout. Distance, speed, your pace and time are all recorded within the app.

The batteries lasted the whole afternoon before a USB charge was needed. Bluetooth 4.0 lets you connect up to eight devices to the earbuds, with two connected simultaneously. They include in-line controls with a built-in microphone. $159.99

The Altec Lansing Mini Life Jacket 3 Bluetooth wireless speaker didn’t accompany me during my lawn mowing like the headphones above, but they do float in your pool while pumping out great sound

With an IP67 rating, the rugged speaker floats in water and is sand, dust, dirt and shockproof. You can pair two Mini Life speakers for stereo sound and charge another USB device with the built-in charging port, while the speaker plays music.

The powerful sounds comes from a pair of neodymium drivers and a passive radiator behind a black speaker grill. The sound has a nice amount of bass and sounded great at any level, in and out of the water.

You can use the speaker ( 2.5-by-6.5-by-2.125-inches) for handsfree calls and 16 hours of sound before a USB charge is needed. A universal accessory mount is included for mounting the speaker on a bicycle, lounge chair, etc., and there’s a aux port for a 3.5 mm wired device connections.

All the ports have a removable waterproof covering so it’s worth mentioning the obvious; when changing or using any of the ports you have to be water free. $99.99
Smartphone cases bore me unless there’s a cool feature worth mentioning, which is the case with the Wally Ether Wallet from Distil Union.

The iPhone 7/7 Plus case is built with a slim hard shell crystal-clear polycarbonate frame and a hidden card carrying compartment built on the leather backside. It stores a few credit cards or even cash.

To access the contents, there is a Wally Pull-Tab you tug to get everything to slide out. When you push your credit cards in the thin compartment, the tab retracts.

A microfiber cloth lines the inside frame to protect your phone from scratches and there are cutouts to for the phone’s camera, speakers and charging lightning port. $34.99 in color choices of ink, hickory, slat and rust