Gadgets :: January 22, 2020

by Gregg Ellman

The Capstone Connected brings efficiency to a whole new level with the launch of the magical Capstone Connected Smart Mirror, designed to bridge the gap between technology and everyday life

While brushing your teeth, you can simultaneously have the mirror give you your local news, get your coffee brewing, check the traffic before your day begins and then turn the lights off as you head out.

The smart mirror looks like a mirror, with a modern design making it perfect for a bathroom, bedroom, entryway or hallway. It hangs like a traditional mirror or use it on the included stand on any flat surface.

But what makes the mirror so smart is that it performs and functions just like a tablet with both touchscreen and voice interfaces for internet access. Android operating system is built in to download apps and use Google Voice Assistant for hands-free tasks and browse social media.

And if you have multiple people using  the mirror, each user can modify and customize the Smart Mirror to fit their personal experience with browsers, apps and short cuts accessed with a simple, “Hey Google, Good Morning.” 

According to Capstone, the mirrors’ functionality is driven by the Capstone Connected Control Hub, which is integrated into the mirror through its proprietary docking feature to access anything you would access through your smartphone or tablet. The Hub can be used to set up music playlists, messaging apps, social media profiles and much more when connected to your home Wi-Fi.

The smart mirror was on display earlier this month at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas and is available in a 19-by-22-inch  inch size for $599. More sized options will be available at later dates.

And if you choose, you can have the Moshi SnapTo magnetic wireless charger hang right next to the smart mirror. First and foremost the SnapTo is a Qi-certified wireless charger but also one of most versatile charging systems you can own.

It’s designed to exclusively work with Moshi SnapTo smartphone cases, which connect to the charger for the boost of power. The case includes a 3M wall mount kit to hang wherever you charging is done, while also being able to give you full access to the smartphones screen.

Once the wall mount kit is in place, just drop in the SnapTo cased phone for viewing and charging. The charger can also be used on a flat surface as a horizontal viewing stand to watching videos and playing games.

I had it mounted on the side of my nightstand, which instantly showed me my alarm clock is even more obsolete than I knew already, since my alarm app and clock display on my smartphone was now facing me, while charging up overnight for the next day.

Moshi also has the SnapTo car mount with wireless charging, so having the SnapTo case gives compatibility to both (sold separately).

The Qi wireless charge is fast charging up to 10w. Moshi SnapTo smartphone cases are available individually or in bundled packages. $49.95

The Catalyst premium slim case for AirPods Pro will give your wireless earbuds a little colorful style but also a layer of protection. 

They protective case covers your AirPods case like a glove, are built with military grade impact protection to withstand drops and rolling around in bags or backpacks.  The case is also fully compatible with wireless charging.

A pass-through port on the bottom allows you to connect your charging cable to keep them charged up and the style comes from the choice of seven bright colors. $19.99, available for Pre-Order with an early February delivery expected

Gadgets :: January 15, 2020

by Gregg Ellman

Practical or impractical, here are some items from last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that caught my attention.

Finding what you want to watch on TV can be a challenge with the number of programming, streaming services and channels to choose from but the Dabby from DabKick is set to simplify it for you. No more trying to figure out which TV box, app or station your favorite show is on, Dabby does it for you. The freestanding device at quick glance looks like a table with a built-in kickstand. Just tell Dabby what you want to watch and it will find it from your services. The futuristic home entertainment device eliminates the need for existing remotes and upon command it’s patented Content AI engine, which uses a combination of user-friendly touch and voice capabilities, instantly searches, finds and plays your TV selection or social media content. $399

Motion Pillow’s 2nd generation pillow to assist snorers will be available this April after a successful Indiegogo campaign. I’m a snorer (so I’m told) and I got to rest my head on the pillow but falling asleep on the CES trade show floor was impossible. Setting it up is plug-and-play with a charging box connected to the pillow. It will detect the unique rhythmic snoring sounds of the snorers once the head and pillow make a bedtime connection. The pillow detects the head’s position and will gently inflate internal airbags to reposition the sleeper’s head, slightly moving the neck to improve airflow though the nose and temporarily silencing the snoring. An accompanying app analyzes your snoring data so when you awake, you’ll know what others had to hear. $420

Smardii is developing a smart diaper to be the future of elder care along with newborns with a reusable, rechargeable, and waterproof device that can be monitored and will send alerts through SmardiiStation, a single web-based application. There are two parts to the Smardii: disposable sensors embedded into a brief layer, and a reusable, rechargeable, waterproof disk called the Puck. It detects urine, stool, temperature, body positioning, and runs a real-time urinalysis, sending the information collected wirelessly. It collects and analyses critical health metrics for medical staff to look at and hopefully lead to a better quality of life and prevent other problems.

I’m a big fan of the comeback vinyl records has made, which is still evident on the CES show floor with many companies displays turntables. But one company, Tangible Formats, has taken it a step further by offering a service to cut custom vinyl records for anyone needing quantities with no minimum order. There’s a bunch of options to choose from; one choice is a custom 12-inch vinyl record for $60 (7 and 10-inch also available). It includes up to 22 minutes of audio per side, full color labels and cover fold over, an inner white paper sleeve and an outer clear poly sleeve. I watched Tangible Formats making records in minutes and the final product looked perfect, just like advertised, with the durability, look, and sound of pressed vinyl. 

Stopskate calls EBS 480 electronic brake system for inline skates the brake you’ve always dreamed of. It’s a system built by the new company with a mission to effectively, reliably and safely brake in-line skates. They want to put a stop to falls, abrasions, fractures and other unpleasant injuries caused from inline skate falls. The brake system consists of a remote control and two brake calipers, one for the right skate and the other on the left skate. A remote control simultaneously controls both brake calipers to brake the wheels of both skates simultaneously and smoothly. Both calipers run off of rechargeable Li-Ion batteries for two to four hours of use. $249

GADGETS :: January 8, 2020

by Gregg Ellman

More often then not, must-see gadgets at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas aren’t something you’ll use in your daily life. So I typically set my sights trolling the reported 2.9-million square feet of floor space looking for gadgets that will make anyone’s digital life more efficient. With that in mind, here’s a few that caught my attention to whet your appetite since you can’t buy them just yet.

The Matrixs Juno, a countertop appliance powered beverage chiller showed off some cold power in impressive fashion.  It uses proprietary thermoelectric cooling technology to rapidly and precisely chill any beverage in lighting-fast times. A demonstration showed 12 oz. can of beer was brought to ice-cold in less than two minutes. Once it’s plugged in, it’s simple to use. Insert a canned or bottled drink and push a button, which has preset favorite temperature settings. If you want it colder, keep it in longer. Juno gets your room-temperature beverage chilled so fast using precision temperature control by integrating a cutting-edge thermoelectric cooling engine with a proprietary mixing mechanism in a liquid bath with a 2300 ml capacity. When activated, the TEC engine uses the Peltier effect to quickly cool the beverage, creating a super-fast chilling system without the need for dangerous chemicals or environmentally harmful refrigerants. due out in the 3rd quarter this year with an MSRP of $299 but available for preorder now at $199

Once thing I can say first hand is products from Scosche work. So when I saw the new phone mounts for vehicles, home and office, there’s gotta be one for you that works. In all, Scosche has nine new Extendo Telescoping mounts. As pointed out to me, everyone sits differently, is different sized and needs a phone at a different angle, which makes the Extendo perfect wherever it needs to be seen. They have models with an arm to adjust from just over 5-feet to just over 8.5-feet and has a 220-degree of angle adjustment. When mounted, your smartphone will have a 360-degree axis enabling most any angle in landscape and portrait mode. The Extendo attaches to a window, dashboard, countertop, backsplash or most any flat surface. The Extendo wireless charging mounts are Qi-certified for wireless charging so if you have a wireless charging enabled smartphone, you’ll have the safest and fastest wireless charge it can handle. available in the Spring ranging from $24.99 to $69.99

I’ve written previously about PhoneSoap’s Pro device, which sanitizes and destroys 99.99% of bacteria on your smartphone in just five minutes. PhoneSoap has announced its latest venture into the health tech space – AirSoap air purifier system. With it, you get a unique approach to air purification, utilizing adapted ionic wind technology, termed Electric Wind. According to PhoneSoap this generates a high-energy plasma field that kills bacteria and polarizes airborne particles. Bacteria is collected in a filter-less graphene system, resulting in cleaner and healthier air than traditional filter-based air purifiers. AirSoap uses dishwasher safe, reusable, graphene collecting plates to efficiently reduce and eliminate invisible particulates like pet dander, pollen and dust mites, thereby reducing allergy symptoms and improving sleep quality. And if you really wanted to know a deep fact on the cleaning, AirSoaps advanced air purification system traps and kills even the smallest viruses, down to 14.6 nanometers, which is much more effective than even the best disposable HEPA filters, which can only filter down to 300 by half, due to its efficient airflow design. $299, available in Q2 2020

Gadgets :: January 1, 2020

by Gregg Ellman

The Misfit Vapor X smartwatch is powered by Wear OS by Google and works with both Android and Apple.

I love that it looks like a watch and is comfortable but also allows me to play music, track my heart rate and steps, check my calendar and if paired with an Android, view   messages.

With Bluetooth and Wi-Fi built in, the first thing you do is download the Wear OS by Google companion app. From there, the setup was simple right out of the box, easily connecting to my home Wi-Fi and Apple iCal. A simple swipe on the screen allowed me to get my calendar notifications, weather updates, access my heart rate with the heart rate sensor and the all important steps for the day.

Other internal sensors include accelerometer, altimeter, ambient light, gyroscope, internal microphone (talk to Google Assistant), NFC and  Untethered GPS, all powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor. Inside is 4GB of storage and 512MB memory (ram).

With the ambient light sensor, I could view the smartwatch night or day. I put it to test going from bright outside conditions to darker rooms at my home gym and the screen was always perfectly viewable.

Pushing the buttons on the side took me to the apps like Google Pay, Google Fit, and the Play Store to get more apps for the smartwatch. Third party app integration includes Spotify and Pandora.

The watch is compatible with Android 6.0+ (excluding Go edition) and iOS 10+. The internal battery (310mAh) lasted about a day with the factory setting and was quickly recharged by setting it on the magnetic charger. 

Like any other rechargeable gadget, the more you use it, the more you have to charge it. But there are multiple battery modes so you can extend the battery life before a charge is needed with the included USB charging cable.

The aluminum Vapor X is swimproof up to 30 meters, has interchangeable 20 mm wide straps for different looks and customizable watch faces. The 42 mm circular watch case is 12 mm thick and comes in a choice of black, champagne, rose gold, stainless steel and gunmetal.

All in all, there’s a lot you can do with this watch making it a fun project. Like many others, I’m on the fitness trail as the new year starts and the Misfit Vapor X is going along with me for the ride. Misfit Vapor X $279.99, additional straps range from $19.99-$39.99

Charging for multiple devices can be a problem after all the gadgets generated during the holiday season but Scosche’s has made it simple with the brand new BaseLynx charging system.

It allows for a choice of charging iPhones, AirPods, Apple Watch, iPad, cameras, portable gaming systems, headphones together or individually, all from a single AC power cord.

Scosche describes the BaseLynx as a little island of order in what can sometimes be a messy world. I think it’s really a cleaver, attractive and innovative charging system, allowing you to configure it as needed, with each module connecting to the system in seconds.

The devices you have will dictate what modules you need. Each module charges a specific device, some with Qi Wireless ($49.95), Apple Watch ($69.95) or a vertical stand ($49.94) to hold there devices where you connect your USB charging cable directly to the module. The vertical module has charging for one 18W USB-C Power Delivery port and two 12W USB-A ports.

The Apple Watch stand charges your watch flat or flip the charging element up to display your watch in Nightstand Mode while it charges.

At the end of each module you can add a BaseLynx EndCap ($39.95), to add a one 18W USB-C Power Delivery port, and one 12W USB-A port to each end of the attractive charging station.

The modules are available exclusively at Apple and can be used individually or add  more as needed. There really is no setup, just snap them together to work off the one included power cord. 

A Pro Kit has a big price savings with the wireless charging pad, Apple Watch, vertical charging station, a pair of USB (A and C) to lightning cables and dual-port end caps is $199. 

Gadgets :: December 25, 2019

by Gregg Ellman

I get to see a lot of cool gadgets during the year; some I like, some I don’t. But with winter upon us I’m really seeing the usefulness of my favorite gadget from this year, the Resideo’s Honeywell Home T9 thermostat with room sensors.

Thermostats are generally installed in a convenient centralized hallway and work great there. But what doesn’t work great is getting a consistent temperature in other parts of the house where that thermostat is in control but no where close to you.

The key for me and the greatness about this thermostat is the sensors. With the T9 system, sensors (up to 20) are placed in rooms that need more temperature control.

In the settings you have your choice of having the set temperature entirely controlled by a sensor, have it averaged out or even have a sensor turned on with motion. It’s your choice to prioritize what you want and what’s most important. There’s no limit to how often the settings and controls can be changed.

First for the installation: I did it myself. As I’ve said many times, I’m not a licensed AC repairman, plumber, electrician or anything close. Nor do I do that type of work often. But I can read instructions, take a picture of the existing thermostats wiring (critical) and then follow colors, numbers and instructions to hook up a new one. 

And importantly, as instructed, I had the circuit for the power to this area of my house shut off before the installation began.

Once everything is installed and working, the T9 connects to your home Wi-Fi and can be controlled on the thermostat and with the accompanying app.

The bottom line is now simple  it is to have your room temperature where you’ve set the thermostat, not the air temperature in the hallway where the thermostat is mounted. Honeywell Home T9 Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat with 1 Smart Room Sensor $199, Single T9 Smart Sensor $39.99 each or a two pack for $74.99 

You’re far from alone if any of your holiday gifts need a power source or a charge to keep it going on the run. But you have to understand power and how it’s not always safe power. 

For example, having your computer plugged into an outlet without power surge protection is not a good idea – you’re living on the edge. One lightning strike or a power surge for a variety of reasons can destroy your computer and its contents.

With the Austere VII Series power supply you get power with industry-leading safety features and crazy enough a device that looks great and is backed by a lifetime guarantee.

The Austere VII Series  is available in models with 6 or 8 grounded outlets and the layout of the inputs are convenient so you don’t have to juggle bulky box plugs to get everything to fit, like in a standard power strip. 

On the side are 5 USB ports; 2 USB-A, and 2 USB-C ports and a single USB-C with a 45 W power delivery for laptops. 

There’s a lot of technical aspects with power but I doubt many people care for anything besides getting the power and having everything work. 

The Austere VII series prides itself on industry-leading surge protection safety, dedicated 4K joules surge, and over current protection with 15A circuit breaker.

It’s packed with advanced technology to ensure your devices are powered or charged safely and this includes Isolated PureFiltration. According to the Austere site, the EMI/RFI filtration will insulate the power signal from external disturbances to deliver video and audio clarity to your HDTV and sound system. 

Everything is inside a brushed housing, which can be wall-mounted and connected to a rugged five-foot WovenArmor power cord. The AC connector at the end, plugs flush into your wall outlet and there are LED indicators on top to indicate everything is powered, ground and protected. 6–outlet models $179.99, 8-outlet model $199.99

GADGETS :: December 18, 2019

by Gregg Ellman


I loved a reference Twelve South made in a press release about some existing USB-C hubs and how they create a rat’s nest of cables spilling out the side of your MacBook. I laughed at that because that’s my situation.

So I finally took the new StayGo USB-C Hub from Twelve South to task to clean up my cable mess and as expected, it was perfect.

The metal hub (.59-by-5-by-2.44-inches) has connections for (3) USB-A 3.0 ports, mircroSD and SD memory cards, 4K HDMI and gigabit Ethernet.

Once you have everything connected, the hub connects to your computer with one removable cable, which is the key. Other hubs, many of which I’ve tried, have a permanent cable requiring you to keep the hub connected to your laptop or within inches.

The stay feature of the StayGo hub lets you attach the included 3-foot USB-C connecting cable so you can keep the hub and all the connecting cables away from your laptop to avoid the immediate mass of cables.

For the Go feature, the hub includes a short travel sized 6-inch USB-C cable for connecting the hub when you do want it close by. The cable is always with you since it stores inside of the hub.

Both cables are high quality and durable. The longer cable has a 90-degree connector, which is great for keeping it in tighter areas.

Everything connected, powered and worked perfect. And clutter-free just like I was promised. $99.99

In addition to the great sound Edifier TWS5 true wireless earbuds produce, the 32 hours of battery life was impressive but far from the only great feature.

While true wireless earbuds are becoming a commonly used sound source and as with most others models you get a charging/storage case, extra ear tips and a cable to charge the case.

For you, the main decision when buying earbuds should be he sound, and I can say the Edifier TWS5 at high and low levels brought everything crystal clear right into my years. I had the SirusXM Holly 24-hour holiday music station on while using these for a few days, which brings music from several generations and all types of sound. The Edifier TWS5 didn’t disappointed on any genre.

The built-in battery will give you about 8 hours of playback before a charge is needed, which you can get another 24-hours from the included magnetic charging case. It has an LED indicator on the case to show you the battery level.

The Bluetooth 5.0 earbuds are 1PX5 water rated, so you’ll be OK to use them in a slight rain or sweaty workouts. Ergonomically designed, so once you get the right foam ear tip that fits (several sizes included) comfortably, you’ll almost never know they are playing in your ears.

They are loaded with other features like automatic connection and listening with one or both earbuds. Each earphone has multi-function controls for music choices, volume and answering call.

They also have cVc Mic Technology for builtin mic clarity and the elimination of background noise. One of my callers during my testing even mentioned how clear I was on the call, without them knowing I was using a new product. $79.99

A new Kodak branded Smartphone Photography Kit gives you a nice choice of accessories to help make your smartphone photography more efficient and fun with better results. The multi-purpose kit comes travel-ready in a hard case and includes a 2-in-1 lens with an ultra wide and macro, a tripod, remote shutter and portrait light.

The lens clips right over the existing lens on your smartphone and it’s easy to take on or off and switch between the two. The wide angle lens is 18 mm wide with a 100-degree angle of view, which really helps when you’re taking a group photo or you want to include more of an area in a selfie. With the macro, getting closer to what you’re photographing makes your images a lot more interesting.

The portrait light gives you a small amount of light to brighten up faces when there’s just not enough available light. It works with the rear and front facing camera and is nice to have with you for changing light conditions.

The compact 8-inch tripod can be used for both horizontal and vertical images and includes a detachable Bluetooth remote shutter. Your smartphone is held in a spring loaded bracket on the tripod. Setting up the remote shutter is like pairing any other Bluetooth device and the top of the tripod has a 90-degree tilting ball head to let you get any angle needed for an image.

A lens pouch and a USB charging cable for the light are also included.

The Kodak accessories are produced by Eye Caramba Ltd., an authorized brand licensee of Eastman Kodak Company. $69.99

Gadgets :: December 11, 2019

by Gregg Ellman


With close to two weeks to go, there’s still plenty time, but you’re starting to get close to the end of the holiday shopping season.

Need an idea? Here are a few suggestions. If you get them all, you can peel a potato listen to music via Bluetooth or use your own Bluetooth headset with an airline sound system, all while your home is being monitored with a top of the line security camera.Let me explain……

The AirFly Pro takes your own Bluetooth headphones and allows them to seamlessly work with an airline entertainment system with up to two sets of headphones. I used it recently on an American Airlines flight and within seconds of sitting down I had it up and running. The pocket-sized adapter charges with USB-C for about 16 hours of use. Setting it up takes seconds, put both the AirFly Pro and your headphones in pairing mode and they’ll find each other. That’s it, you’re done; just plug the connected 3.5 mm audio cable coming out of the AirFly Pro in the headphone port. If that’s not enough, the AirFly Pro can go the other directions to allow you to send yourplaylists for listening in an older car or make an older non-bluetooth speaker. Even in arental car or a friend’s, you don’t have to pair your phone to just listen to tunes, just plug and play.

The AirFly Pro is the first Bluetooth Adapter, sold exclusively to Apple Stores but will work with non-Apple devices. My testing was done with House of Marley, V-Moda and Sennheiser sound NBC devices. The uses of the AirFly Pro is far from limited to airplanes, many TV’s, treadmills and other devices only have audio out ports to the connection will be just like an Airplane. $54.99

Once you try any Ring home security product, you’ll see how easy it is to install, which you’ll do yourself. Since it’s so easy, and Ring keeps adding innovative products, it’s great to be with the Ring system. It’s so easy to keep adding indoor, outdoor and doorbell security, you’ll be hooked in minutes.

The most recent I tried is the small and inexpensive Ring Indoor Cam, a plug-in security camera with a 140-degree view, night vision and two-way talk with noise cancelation. With plug-in power, the compact camera takes minutes to install and supplies a great image of 1080p HD vide, two-way talk and alert settings.

I already had the Ring app on my iPhone XS (also available in Google Play) so after unpacking and plugging it in, I went to the app to add a device. After less than 2minutes I had the camera connected and running.

Within the app, like all Ring devices, you can set up what the camera captures in audio with two-way talk, video, motion setting and motion-activated notifications. And it’s all as easy as can be.

Even after the setup, the camera and app are user-friendly to make changes as you learn the system, your likes and needs. The camera works with the included AC power adapter and can be kept on any flat surface. It also has a swivel mount and mounting screws for hanging.

Ring protection plans are available starting at $3 per month. The Ring Protect plans are described as a comprehensive subscription service that lets you review, share and save every video and photo captured by your Ring device and opt-in to 24/7 professional monitoring. $59.99

Cave Tools new Vegetable Peeler’s just launched and you might not view them as sexy as the hottest electronic gadgets, but trust me. They are a gadget, which makes you kitchen life easier. The Vegetable Y Peeler with swivel blades has an ergonomic design so it sits comfortable in both hands with a non-slip grip on the inside of the handle. I’m not a kitchen specialist but I’m peeling away to help during the holidays and my results are looking perfect. The peeler is designed to cut off just a thin layer of skin to preserve important nutrients, which are hidden just under the skin on fruits and vegetables, according to Cave Tools.

They also have the new stainless steel Vegetable Peeler with a straight shape, built-in potato eye remover and a non-slip grip for perfect peeling. I found the Y Peeler perfect for bigger potatoes, and along with the vegetable peeler it was perfect for cucumbers and carrots. But then again, this is all new to me, so either will be great for whatever needs to be peeled. The Y Peeler also worked well to slice a block of cheese, which used to be an adventure for me.

Both are simple to clean by hand or dishwasher safe. You also get a free copy of Grill Master’s Essential Barbecue recipe book and access to s recipes exchange community with over 3,400 members showing off exciting new ideas. Cave tools offers a lifetime satisfaction guarantee for a full money back refund. $9.99 for each

If your “want list” is home-, headphone-, security- and potato peeler-free, the Edifier R1850DB Bluetooth 4.1 speakers are what you need. Don’t bother taking a few days to listen to speakers in store sound booths, just take my advice.

I, like many, still have a receiver in my house and I need speakers. Edifier says it perfect on their website, “Bringing back old school design with the latest technology.” Built with a four-inch bass unit and 19 mm silk dome tweeters inside produces deep bass and crisp high for an awesome audio listening experience.

Each speaker (6-by-10-by-8.8-inches) is built with a classic jet black finish, nice fiberboard construction and has a bottom side 10-degree angle for a better listening, a built-in amplifier with a subwoofer line out. The front grills look great but come on and off for whichever cosmetic look you prefer.

There’s plenty of ports for other connections (RCA, 3.5 mm Aux, etc.) on the back, along with a power button. A wireless remote works perfect in your hand for music and volume choices. $199.99 available in black or a wood grain finish

Gadgets :: November 13, 2019

by Gregg Ellman

Bedside clock radios are critical for time displays and alarms to get you going in the morning. These days they are needed for so much more and the new AC powered iHome iBTW281 dual alarm clock speaker system does it all.  It even cleaned up my nightstand mess of cables.

Along with an endless amount number of up-to-date features incorporating today’s technology, the critical features of time and dual alarms are there.  The time, date and alarm settings are on a front facing display, with adjustable brightness levels to automatically brightness and your desired times. For snoozers, the snooze duration can be adjusted.

A quick start guide runs you through the basic setup, which includes a switch inside the backup battery compartment to automatically adjust for daylight savings time. A coin battery is also included to keep the time in the event of a loss of power.

The fun features are pairing your device with Bluetooth, enabling the sound system to play whatever tunes you choose through the built-in speaker and even have your smartphones playlist used as your desired wake up alarm source.

Once paired up you’ll also have a speakerphone with echo noise cancellation. The voice control allows access to Siri and Google Assistant.

I have a newer smartphone with Qi wireless charging and charging couldn’t be easier. Just lay any compatible wireless charging phone right on top where wireless fast charging is built-in and charging starts, even with a case on.

If you don’t have a wireless charing smartphone (you need to get one, it makes life so easy) there’s a USB charging port on the back to connect your device needing a boost of power.

All this adds up to what I referred earlier to cleaning up a nightstand mess of cables. Before using this iHome device, I had an older standard clock radio with an AC power cord, a Qi charging pad with an AC power cord and a AC plug/cord for USB charging cords, all plugged into a power strip . Now with the iHome iBTW281 alarm clock I have just one AC power cord and I connect a USB cable to the back side port to charge my iPad.

Both sides have color changing ambient lights with a choice of presets, including a night mode or just have them turned off. If you’re playing music, one of the choices will have the lights play and pulse to the beat of your music. They are purely cosmetic but definitely give a room a nice look with the vibrant color lights. $79.95

V-Moda has launched M-200, the award winning company’s first-ever reference studio headphone, which they refer to it as he world’s finest high-fidelity audio device.

The over-the-head studio headphones are designed to produce a clean, refined and spacious sound with transparent clarity, resulting in perfect sound for producers, musicians and sound professionals alike.

They feature a combination of meticulous Japanese engineering and classic V-MODA shapes and materials. Inside the headphones are 50 mm drivers with neodymium magnets and CCAW voice coils, which reproduce a wide range of frequencies up to 40 kHz.

As with every pair of V-Moda headphones I’ve tried over the years, comfort and design are as good as it gets. These have larger, flatter ear-cup housings compared to the Crossfade series and the closed-back M-200 features extra internal amplifying room for spacious sound with superior noise isolation.

The design includes a durable, adjustable and flexible headband, with even weight distribution to wear in silent comfort. The exterior is made with premium, sweat-resistant PU leather and detachable magnetic memory foam cushions.

The M-200 is available for pre-order for $350, with delivery expected in late November

Gadgets :: November 6, 2019

by Gregg Ellman

Obviously observing the posted speed limit is the legal way to drive, but if you’re just curious to know what radar is in range, The Cobra Road Scout Elite is a perfect choice.

Along with capturing radar, the unit doubles as a dash cam capturing footage with a 1080p resolution on the built-in camera. 

According to Cobra, the camera is optimized for day or night recording, includes G-sensor impact detection and is WiFi enabled to view, edit, and share videos from your smartphone with the Cobra Drive HD app. Videos are also saved on a SD memory card; a 16GB SD card is included.

The dash cam has a 154-degree field of view and has a continuous video loop recording, so a moment won’t be missed. The camera is powered by a Sony Exmor image sensor and an Ambarella A12 processor.

As for the radar, it’s built with a high performing driver alert system, including intelligent radar and laser sensors, long range capability to detect threats ahead of your location.

The Road Scout Elite can lock out false alerts, has a GPS database of location-based alerts, including red light cameras and speed cameras. With the Cobra iRadar App, users can receive real-time driver alerts and share your own with the Cobra driving community.

The unit has easy to use controls and a custom display is customizable and full-color LCD screen, including a speed limit display. An EZ Mag Mount, charging cables and a carry case is included. $449.95

Scosche, a leader manufacturer of innovative and more importantly, useful accessories has launched the MagicMount Crystal,  a new MagicMount magnetic mount system line-up.

The smartphone mounting system can be used in a vehicle, home, office or even on the dashboard of a boat (guess what I tried) to put your phone in full view and keep it handsfree with full accessibility.

The critical part of the system is the StickGrip suction-cup base, which is a removable suction cup that holds firmly to just about every flat surface I found; dashboards, garage door, home windows, windshields and countertops. I couldn’t get a good mount with concrete, which was expected, but I tried.

The limited edition mount featuring Crystals from Swarovski for a great cosmetic appearance, are built with what Scosche says are powerful 100 percent device-safe Neodymium magnets. They are what hold your device securely and while I had it mounted in my vehicle, I did my best to swerve around and have the mount disengage, which it didn’t.

It has a 360-degree swivel head, so you or anyone can view and talk on the phone from any angle, side to side, portrait or landscape modes.

Now that we have the mount attached, it’s time for the phone, which is mounted simply by using the Scosche MagicPlate, described as a non-magnetic, adhesive-backed, metal plate. They are applied directly to the back of your smartphone case, right on the back of the smartphone or in-between the phone and the case. This last part can vary depending on the case thickness, but I had it working fine with several cases. $34.99,

TwelveSouths popular BookBook, the original wallet case, is now compatible and available with the new iPhone 11 family.

The all-in-one premium leather iPhone case, wallet and viewing stand case has an ultra-minimal cover will showcase the beauty of the new iPhone, while keeping the front and back of your new phone protected.

Features of the book-looking case and wallet combination have a magnetic leather shell for easy separation of wallet and phone, a magnetic closure for better phone and wallet protection, and a protective window for your brand-new Apple Card, drivers license, cash, receipts, ID or other credit cards.

The new iPhone 11 lens system will work with the BookBook camera cutout on the backside of the case. $69.99, available in brown or black

Gadgets :: October 20, 2019

by Gregg Ellman

It wasn’t that long ago that you needed a big clunky projector with a complex setup to project a movie outdoors. But no longer with the Nebula’s (a sub brand of Anker) Capsule Max, about the size of an oversized soda can and simple to set up. The small, portable projector can be a mainstay at your own home or dropped into your backpack to take to a friend’s house for movie night.

The high quality 200 ANSI lumen portable will project up to a rectangular 100-Inch picture with what is described on the product website as projected vividly detailed HD image  with a 1280 x 720p resolution in a 16:9 aspect ratio.

After reading the instructions for the setup (I rarely do but felt is was a good idea on this one) everything is pretty straight forward. But there are a bunch of settings and choices during the setup and play modes, which you are clearly explained in the manual. Using a big sheet of white background paper as my screen, I was impressed with the quality and how quickly right out of the box I had the Capsule Max working.

The projector has 1 second autofocus and keystoning technology, which in nutshell gives you a sharp picture from any angle instantly. The keystone correction is listed as auto vertical and manual plus/minus 40-degrees and worked great. However, it’s always a good idea to be as level as possible when setting up a projector. 

It’s recommended you keep the distance between Nebula Capsule Max and the projection surface between 23 inches and 121 inches to get a projection image between 20 and 100 inches.

Android 8.1 is the operating system, which enables you to have access to streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix or YouTube. The instructions point out that copyrighted content from Hulu, Netflix, and similar services can’t be mirrored or screencast. Instead just download and use the apps directly.

In addition, you can connect devices with digital content through USB or HDMI. I played a few TV shows from a USB flash drive and also stumbled across how easy it was to view photo albums. With WiFi (802.11b/g/n/ac) and Bluetooth 4.2 built-in, Airplay and other wireless connections and screen mirroring can be used.

The free Nebula companion app (iOS and Android) gives you easy access to streaming services and lets you can control your selections or use the included wireless remote which has control for volume, selections, lets you navigate on screen menus and lets you easily access mouse key mode. 

The bottom has a tripod thread, which I did use since my tripod has a built-in level.

The rounded projector has the lens on the front and controls for powering it on or off, Bluetooth connections and input ports on the backside. Both the power and Bluetooth have LED indication lights. Volume, navigation and other controls are on the top.

Inside the Capsule Max is a great sounding 8 watt speaker, which can also be used as a standalone speaker in Bluetooth speaker mode.  If you prefer your own external speakers or headphones they can be connected with a 3.5 mm audio cable into the AUX port or via Bluetooth. The remote has quick and easy controls to enter Bluetooth speaker mode

You’ll have about four hours of playtime from 9,700mAh 3.7V internal battery (a little less when using it on WiFi) and a power supply is included. The lamp should give you plenty of viewing with 30,000 hours of life. $399.49

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