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GADGETS :: April 22, 2020

by Gregg Ellman

Did you ever leave your home and wonder if you left with the garage open (like I do often). Even if you have a security camera, which can show if its open or closed, shutting it is another story unless you have one of the newer Wi-Fi garage door openers.

An easy solution to control a non-Wi-Fi enabled garage door is to add the Nexx NXG-200 smart garage controller, which connects to existing Wi-Fi.

Before you order, check the Next website for compatibility with your existing opener.  You must know the manufacturer and model. If that information isn’t available, they show you how to quickly test to determine if the opener is compatible with Nexx Garage, using a small wire, pliers or paper clip (my option).

If it’s not compatible, don’t worry; there is an adapter available ($24.99) to make it work. I didn’t need it for my test but Nexx describes the adapter as an accessory that allows Nexx Smart Garage to work with incompatible garage openers.

Once you have the controller, installation only takes a few minutes. First, download the Next Home app (iOS and Android) and creating a free account. 

Follow the step-by-step instructions, which shows images of the parts to connect. The main power supply of the controller gets plugged into the AC power the garage controller is in and then connected with the included wire, to the same terminals on the garage controller, which you tested for the compatibility. 

The power supply is kept in place with tape, Velcro or cable ties. Plugging in the wire to those two terminals, which takes a second, is the only wiring required and there’s no hub or monthly subscriptions.

After it’s powered up and the proper lights are glowing, use the Next Home app to configure the setup to your Wi-Fi. One problem a lot of people have with smart home devices is the Wi-Fi. The router has to be within range, closer is always better and having it the central part of your home is typically the best option.

The last installation step  the sensor pairing. After it’s paired, the sensor is attached to your garage door with included Velcro to the top middle of the inside of the garage door. A photo showing you the location is in the setup guide.

And just as the instructions say, you are now good to go for opening or closing your garage door from anywhere by just tapping the garage door icon in the center of the app. The app allows sharing of the access or just open the garage remotely upon request for family, friends or workers.

The app also has the option to set up a schedule to open or close the door, along with a timer. Push notifications can be set and sent to a smartphone for alerts when the garage door is opened or closed and if you shared the access you’ll know who is using it. A history log also keeps track of the device history.

The Nexx NXG-200 works with voice assistants Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Siri and SmartThings. 

Just Drive Geofencing technology will tell the garage door to open when you’re in the driveway. Functionality for Geofencing is dependent on the user’s phone system, WiFi network, and individual settings.

For garage door controlling, this is one of the best I’ve tried for many reasons including explaining and showing compatibility before you begin, instructions, installation process and the app, which is simple to navigate and has a user friendly dashboard. $79.99

GADGETS :: April 15, 2020

by Gregg Ellman

I’ve always been one to go lighter, smaller and as portable as possible. The Rocketbook Core portable reusable notebook is a nice addition to my mission.

My school years were during the pen and pencil period, so I can only imagine how handy it would have been during that era. These stay-at-home days where my house chores and shopping lists end up with Post-it notes everywhere, the Rocketbook Core simplifies everything and even lets me save and uploaded the content in PDF or JPEG to cloud services such as Google Drive, iCloud, email and Dropbox to name a few.

But it got me thinking, if I thought it would have been a great benefit during my school years along with today, what would someone currently in school think, so I enlisted an able bodied college student to give it a try during the current home schooling days.

Within a few days she gave it an A+ and especially enjoyed the cloud upload with the reusable notebook. She also pointed out for some classes a  laptop or tablet aren’t needed, making the Rocketbook Core lighter and easier to tote around campus whenever they get back to that.

Appearance wise, at first glance it looks like a traditional spiral notebook, except instead of paper, it uses patented reusable technology consisting of synthetic paper, which you write on. Once you’re done the page wipes clean with a damp cloth for the next use.

Before erasing, uploading the content is a pretty simple step. With the Rocketbook app on your smartphone or tablet, the pages can be scanned for the cloud storage.

Writing is done using any pen from the Pilot Frixion line of markers or highlighters, which all give you a normal writing experience.

The cost friendly Rocketbook Core is available in letter size 8.5-by-11inches with 32 pages for $34 and the executive is 6-by-8.8-inches with 36 pages $32. Both are also availed with a dot grid pattern or lined.

You have eight choices of cover colors, a microfiber cleaning cloth and one Pilot FriXion pen is included with each.

Sure, some smart home systems are more complex than others but overall, most are really easy to set to operate devices in your home. Sure, turning a light on or off is easy. But setting it up on a schedule to do just that, enabling it to be off when you want, not running up the electric meter is just one example.

The latest smart home product I tried is the Vera Ezlo Atom smart home controller hub, part of the Vera controller family.

For the most part, the Atom looks like a flash thumb drive (1.1-by-0.4-by-2 inches) with a standard USB-A connector built on swivel hinge. Inside the Atom is a 160 MHz 32-bit LX6 processor, with NOR 16 MB of flash memory and SRAM 520 KB of RAM. It’s built with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi for connecting to your home network.

For operation, it needs to be plugged into any USB power source and along with the Vera mobile app, it controls smart home devices including light bulbs, thermostats, window sensors, motion detectors, locks and more.

Setting a smart home device intimidates a lot of users, but after using this Atom, I can say this is as easy as can be. If you can download the app and follow simple setup instructions, the Atom is plug and play for the most part. For my test purposes, I had it working to control light bulbs in seconds and then had it connected with a few other Z-Wave security devices I already had planted in my home.

The app has a user-friendly dashboard, which lets you set up new rules for schedules, shortcuts and instant control. 

I have to say, this worked really well and I’d recommend it for first-time smart home users or, if you have existing devices and want to get control of them in one place. It also works with smart home assistants, Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple shortcuts. $29.95


GADGETS :: April 8, 2019

by Gregg Ellman

With an attractive vintage look, Electrohome Birmingham’s retro Bluetooth speaker seeks  to bring back the era of mop tops and mullets from the golden age of rock n’ roll. I prefer to say it reminds me of a hi-fi stereo system my dad had long ago, although I did have a mullet in the past.

While the look takes you back in time, the sound and features are up to date and forward marching. It produces room-filling sound to any play list or can stream any music service with a Bluetooth connection from your smartphone, tablet or computer.

The exterior (9.5-by-13.4-by-7.1-inches) is hand-crafted from engineered MDF wood with a carrying handle built into the top. Producing the sound inside are dual full range 4-inch woofers with an Integrated amplifier (frequency response 60Hz – 20KHz).

To add to the vintage look, controls for adjusting the music, power and volume are all knobs along the top of the front side of the speaker. There’s also a 3.5 mm aux input for a direct connection and USB charging port to connect your cable for device charing.

Working as a Bluetooth speaker is the primary function of the Birmingham but there’s an appealing feature for guitar players when using so they can jam along. Since I have zero musical talents, I couldn’t try it; if you’re a guitar player you can plug into the built-in 1/4-inch input and customize the live sound with the volume and gain control. $149

Rather than having to remember a combination or have a key to open it, the Tapplock Lite uses your fingerprint.

The smart fingerprint portable padlock opens in under 0.8 seconds after being programed with your fingerprint. You can store up to 100 fingerprints for each lock, which are managed in the Tapplock app.

In addition to the fingerprints, you can use the Tapplock app to open the lock with Bluetooth or with a combination used via morse-code.

With the app you can remotely manage the Bluetooth access on any other stored fingerprints. Specific dates and times can be set along with revoking access.

The Tapplock Lite is built with a metal chassis and an IP67 rating, making it perfect for the outdoors since it can withstand being fully submerged in water or even sweaty/wet fingerprints. 

Inside is a rechargeable battery, good for 8 months or 1,200 unlocks. The app shows the battery level and when it needs a charge. A blinking light goes off on the lock when the level is below 10-percent. A nice features allows it to unlock with just an 8-second charge with a portable battery, in the event the locks battery goes totally dead. $39.00 each, 2-pack for $72 and a 3-pack is $105.00

Twelve South’s limited edition AirBag for AirPods and AirPods Pro will store, carry and protect the expense earbuds in a style like no other I’ve seen.

The mini satchel bag can be worn over your shoulder, around your neck or just take the leather strap off to carry it with the leather top handle or just carry it in a purse, pocket or backpack. 

Your AirPods will stay in the AirBag securely when closing the front sided  metal snap button while also allows wireless charging for the AirPods Pro. There’s also an opening for a Lightning cable for charing.

The limited edition AirBag is made with full-grain leather and protects all sides of the AirPod case. $49.99

GADGETS :: April 1, 2020

by Gregg Ellman

For obvious reasons, there’s a lot of spring cleaning going on and I’m no different, with my latest area being my office closet. Here’s a few items I unearthed and felt like they are worth telling you about.

There’s probably never been a better time to use Austere’s Clean and Protect professional quality display cleaner. After unpacking it, I went on a cleaning spree on monitors, TV’s, iPads and smartphones, all now temporarily shinny clean and most important germ-free.

The anti-bacterial, ammonia-free solution is unscented and comes with one of the best, if not the best, dual-textured cleaning cloth I’ve ever used. After it gets used a lot, just put the anti-bacterial micro-fiber cloth in with your next clothing wash.

The cleaning solution (6.8-ounces) comes in a specially designed applicator, which sprays the fine mist evenly to prevent screen streaks and fingerprints. $19.99

The Nimble wireless stand for Qi-Enabled devices worked perfect to charge my iPhone XS but there’s a lot more to Nimble than their great products. 

When you receive a Nimble product, it’s delivered in an Eco-friendly package along with a bag to recycle old electronics back to Nimble for free. They have zero plastic in the  packaging and it all works along with a line on the Nimble site where they state they are “Bridging the gap between your everyday modern needs and those of the planet.”

Back to the wireless charger; it’s covered in an attractive fabric, designed with a sustainable blend made from recycled water bottles and organic hemp. There is a small plastic strip on the front, which is necessary keep your phone in place.

A USB-C input keep it powered with the included cable and wall adapter. $41.96

As with many others, I’m willing to try anything to assist in a better night’s sleep. The iHome Air fan and sound machine looks like a small desktop fan along with producing natural white noise to work as a sleep aid.

The fan has dual speeds and works in an open position to expose the sounds or keep it closed, allowing it to be angled 90-degree to the direction needed.

Twelve built-in shooting sounds of white noise, nature recordings and sleeping sounds are accessed from bottom side buttons. Both the fan and sound can be programed with sleep timers to operate up to 8 hours.

I’ve used other white noise devices with great success. Now with the combined fan for better air circulation, I know sleeping will only get better with the AC powered iHome Air. $58.04

It’s pretty amazing how many features are packed into the Anker Soundcore Wakey Bluetooth bedside speaker and to no surprise they work perfectly.

First and foremost, the Wakey is a beside clock with a front facing display, programable alarms, FM radio station presets and white noise settings. You can set up to 15 individual alarms, with choices from the 10 different built-in sounds.

To me the selling point of the Wakey is the built-in high speed wireless charger for Qi-enabled charging devices. To charge your device just place it on the top side pad. Charging delivers a fast 10 W charge for Samsung phones and 7.5 W charge for iPhones.

To listen to your playlists, connect your device via Bluetooth or directly with an aux cable. Either way delivers great sound from the full-range stereo drivers. $89.99

The Dancing Queen Crossbody Wallet case for iPhone (11, 11Pro, 11Pro Max) is another that has it all. 

As described by the parent company Smartish, when you’re out on the town, on the dance floor or anywhere else and you have no pockets or purse for your smartphone, the Dancing Queen solves the problem.

The leather-like case with high-grip textured sides features a magnetic snap-shut wallet to hold five credit cards plus case, an adjustable and removable wristlet and crossbody straps. The straps have a loop for holding lip gloss.

D-rings on the bottom of the case are for attaching the straps on or off. When the straps are off, the loops do not get in the way. $29.99

The Momentum Meri smart Wi-Fi thermostat is a great way to keep control of your home air systems.  Once installed, your smartphone can be used with the companion app to set schedules or make temperature adjustments on the fly. 

On-screen color touch controls assist with the setup and let you set schedules and adjustments.

According to Momentum, recent firmware updates gave the smart home thermostat improvements to the room temperature sensor. It also added on-boarding flow, so once the device boots up it will walk the user through the Wi-Fi setup, system type selection and pairing to the app. $129.99

Gadgets :: March 25, 2020

by Gregg Ellman

One thing for sure: during most of our non-voluntary vacations for the foreseeable future our screen times will increase, requiring a lot more charging. It’s hard to conclude what the perfect portable battery is, but if I had to choose, I’d say it’s the myCharge HubTurbo.

The myCharge Hub Turbo batteries have unique portable power features in choices of 6,700 ($89.99) and 10,050mAh ($109.99), which are both built with Power Delivery and Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 turbo technologies, allowing devices to be charged up to 75-percent faster.

Additionally, there’s an integrated Apple Lightning and integrated USB-C cables built into the side of the battery along with a built-in USB port for plugging in your own charging cable. Pull out the integrated cables when needed and tuck them back in to prevent damage when they are not needed.

And it doesn’t end there. When the battery itself needs charging just fold out the built-in wall prongs to plug into any standard electrical outlet. After the charge, the battery will maintain its power for up to one year. Pass through charging allows the battery to be charged while it’s connected to your device needing the power. 

To keep your device charging safely, the myCharge batteries will also ensure complete device compatibility with its smart-sense technology.

Another option from myCharge is the 8,000 mAh rugged outdoor Powerfold portable battery ($59.99) with detachable solar panels, ideal if you’re putting together a disaster kit.

When it’s closed up, the pocket-sized battery is 6.18-by-3.-by-0.98-inches but you want it folded out when the three weather-resistant solar panels with a rubberized finish are needed. About four hours will give it a full charge, which can slightly vary. 

The battery can be separated from the solar panels and has a pair of built-in USB ports and a built-in flashlight with SOS and strobe mode for emergency situations. 

Logitech’s Powered for iPhone wireless charging stand delivers up to 7.5 W charging for iPhones and 5 W for other Qi certified smartphones. With the iPhone name, that certainly covers those newer models, but it works perfect with other smartphones that share similar dimensions.

A big question that always gets asked regards wireless charging with cases on the phone. Logitech states the charging stand works with non-metal cases up to 3 mm thick that don’t contain magnetic parts. Apple silicon and leather cases are compatible.

To me, what makes this standup charger stand out from others is the U-shaped cradle, which keeps your phone in place at all times at a 65-degree angle, perfect for FaceTime, messaging or surfing. It can be used in charging and viewing in portrait mode in the cradle or landscape mode resting on the top of the cradle.

Using the 4.13-by-3.94-by-2.95-inch desktop charger is as simple as dropping the smartphone in the cradle. There’s also a rubberized surface to prevent phones from falling during alert vibrations. 

Everything charges safely with the internal heat sensors, which intelligently manage temperature and prevent overheating. If temperatures start to rise too high, a cool-down process kicks in automatically, eliminating the need for noisy fans, according to Logitech. $69.99

GADGETS :: March 18, 2020

by Gregg Ellman

For weeks, working from a home office is going to become the norm. So what better time to talk about some essential gadgets for your new home office to help maximize productivity.

Technology makes it easy to instantly join audio conferencing but when your audio quality isn’t great, efficiency and collaboration will go down the tube.

With the Samson Satellite USB/iOS broadcast quality microphone you get a lot of features, but the main two are the quality and its plug-and-play operation. It plugs directly into a Mac, PC, iPhone or iPad for conference calls, podcasting, gaming, VoIP, voiceover work and recording music.

The Satellite microphone (8.6-by-4.3-by-1.7-inches) sits on a desktop and is portable with folding back legs. Inside are two premium 16 mm condenser capsules for capturing audio and an internal shock-mount isolates the capsules from the body of the microphone to minimize outside noise such as sounds caused by vibrations and table rumble.

Features include 24-bit/96kHz resolution and a flat frequency response of 20Hz–20kHz, zero-latency and a heavy-gauge steel mesh grille and an aluminum body. A monitor switch lets direct monitoring to be turned off, while you can still hear the audio back from your computer. $99.99

Satechi’s full extended compact backlit Bluetooth keyboard not only connects to your computer but will also connect two addition Bluetooth devices (computers, tablets, smartphones, etc.) simultaneously.

The keyboard features a full numeric keypad, MacOS shortcuts and the illuminated backlit keys have 10 levels of brightness to easily adjust to changing light environments. 

With Bluetooth 5.0, the keyboard connects to your device seamlessly and allows you to connect two more. This way you can have your computer, iPad and iPhone all connected at the same time. Obviously you won’t want to type on all three devices at the same time, the keyboard lets you toggle between devices.

It charges via USB-C for about 600 hours of use, which can vary depending on the backlit level used and measures 14.5-by-4.7-by-0.4-inches with  a space gray finish with black keys. $79.99

Twelve South’s Curve aluminum one-piece laptop stand elevates your laptop to a healthier, more comfortable ergonomic height for viewing the screen.

The stand is a perfect place to park your laptop while using it with a Bluetooth keyboard, Wacom tablet, connecting it to an external monitor or just place it right next to your desktop monitor for an instant dual-screen setup. Non-slip silicone grips are on the bottom and arms so everything stays in place.

When using the Curve (5.8-by-10.3-by-8-7-inches, 1.43-pounds, $49.99), it elevates your laptop an ergonomic standard 6.5-inches off your desk, allowing you to sit up straight and look directly at the screen. Now you’re positioned with less tension in your neck and shoulders.

The elevated position also allows laptops to breath better with maximum airflow instead of sitting flat on a desk and getting hot, which causes the computer processor to work harder.

Twelve South also has the HiRise Wireless 3-way wireless charger to keep your cell phone in a comfortable desktop view.

The charger ($59.99) has a gunmetal chrome finish built with a back for Qi-enable mobile phone charging, keeping your smartphone upright and having the screen facing you for viewing. Smartphones with the wireless charging feature will charge with the fast charging up to 10-watts, even through most phone cases

It’s also built with a wireless charging pad for AirPods; just pop out the Qi-certified power disc and put the case on top for charging. 

When the 3.43-by-2.24-by-.47-inch disc is removed it works perfectly as a USB-C portable wireless charger for when your mobile. A USB-C to USB-A removable power cable is included.

Gadgets :: March 11, 2020

by Gregg Ellman

Anker’s brand new over-the-ear headphones, the Soundcore Life Q20, are packed with features at a reasonable price.

With over-the-head 9.3-ounces headphones, they can have the best sound in the world, but if they aren’t comfortable, people will not wear them. The Q20’s instantly passed my comfort test with memory foam ear cups and the headband, which has rotating joints to automatically adjust up to 90-degrees for a customized fit based on the shape of your head.

The headphones are packed with features including hybrid active noise cancellation and a user-friendly battery life of 60 hours of audio with the ANC off and 40 hours with it on. With the ANC on, the headphones can detect and essentially cancel a wide range of background noises with low and mid-frequencies including street noise, airplane engines, etc.

Anker technology in the headphones features Life Q20’s certified Hi-Res Audio, delivering the music crystal clear with a natural sound from custom 40 mm dynamic drivers in each ear cup.

Giving it a boost of bass is easy with the BassUp Technology, defined as “a customized algorithm to perform real-time analysis on your music and intensify the low frequencies for hard-hitting beats” To activate, just double press the play button on the side of the ear.

The power button is on the ear cup and doubles for activating Bluetooth 5 to easily pair the headphones with your device and they also have built-in microphones for handsfree calls. Charging takes about three hours (microUSB) but you can use them wired with the included 3.5 mm AUX cable. A travel pouch is included. $59.99

Ultimate Ears has launched the brand’s biggest, loudest and bassiest speaker yet with the Hyperboom.

With the booming bass, the party-happy speaker has a wide dynamic range that brings your music to life, rendering every note in rich detail, and a USB rechargeable 24-hour battery. Inside the speaker is adaptive EQ so it reads the environment and automatically adjusts the sound to fill any space.

The Hyperboom (14.33-by-7.5-by-7.5-inches) supports two Bluetooth, one 3.5 mm auxiliary and one optical audio connection to play music from your phones, laptop or gaming console, and switch between them with the press of a button.

It’s built with a splash-proof PX4 rating and a built-in USB charge-out port will charge your smartphone. On-speaker controls allow you to play, pause and skip tracks and access playlists from Apple Music, Spotify for Android, Amazon Music and Deezer Premium. $399.99

Kingston Digital Inc., has refreshed its Canvas series flash cards to Canvas Plus. The new SD and microSD lineup include Kingston’s first UHS-II cards.

To keep up with the transfer speeds, updates MobileLite Plus UHS-II readers will support the Canvas line of memory cards. The Canvas Plus SD and microSD memory cards are designed with increased performance for DSLRs, 4K/8K video production.

Canvas Plus offers three choices, Select Plus, Go! Plus, and React Plus for the latest high speed and large files, but they are also backwards compatible with UHS-I and conventional SD bus standards.

Kingston’s Canvas Select Plus SD and microSD cards store up to 512GB with class 10 speeds up to 100MB/s read.

The Canvas Go! Plus SD and microSD cards are Class 10 speeds up to 170MB/s read, 90MB/s write in capacities up to 512GB.

With the top of the line Canvas React Plus SD and microSD memory cards up to 256GB, you’ll have a Class 10 card with speeds up to 300MB/s read, 260MB/s write with the SD card and 285MB/s read, 165MB/s write with the mircoSD.

The pocket-size plug-and-play MobileLite Plus readers have UHS-II speeds for faster file transfers and processing time. MobileLite Plus readers will be available on their own or part of a bundle.

Prices vary by card and capacity, the Canvas React Plus 256GB SD is $266.50, while the Canvas Select Plus 32GB card is $7.99. The MobileLite Plus USB reader is $10.01

Gadgets :: March 4, 2020

by Gregg Ellman

It’s not as competitive as the shelves at your local big box electronic stores, but getting storage space in my travel backpack is competitive and definitely difficult to achieve. 

Sol Republic just released their first ANC true wireless earbuds with the Amps Air Plus, which are officially welcome to get some coveted backpack space.

The Bluetooth 5.0 earbuds are as impressive as any right out of the box with every feature you would want; sound, looks, comfort, portable, storage, battery life and easy setup.

True wireless is an interesting category since there’s so many features and each person I talk to says a different aspect is what’s most important when making a purchase.

Obviously the sound is critical and the Amps Air Plus shines. I’m not a sound professional but I know when I don’t like something. These I do like, playing perfect paired with my iPhone and  my Jimmy Buffet playlists. And even when I switched to more current playlists on Apple Music,  every selection had clear sound with a good amount of bass without banging my head.

With active noise control you can choose to have it on or off. When the ANC is on, outside ambient noise and sounds are greatly reduced, making them ideal for airplanes.

While it works well, there is an effect on the battery life with ANC. According to Sol Republic, out of the box Amps Air Plus have a 6-hour battery life with ANC on or 8 hours with it off.

When you combine the wireless earbuds with the included travel, charging battery case you can get the battery life up to 18 hours with ANC on and 24 without. The case also has USB-C connection quick charging, 15 minutes of charging will give you up to 2 hours of use. LED lights on the case are handy to see how much battery power is left.

The tap controls on the outside of the earbuds take a few tries to get used to but once familiar  it was simple to answer calls handsfree and control music choices. They have the pause play feature when you take them in and out of the ear, without having to actually hit play or pause. Just try it, you’ll find this feature amazing and useful.

An IPX4 rating makes them sweat and water-resistant, meaning splash-proof and heavy rain. But no taking for a swim or shower. Four sizes of ear tips are included to ensure a perfect fit and comfort. The earbud/case combinations are available in black, champagne and silver. $199.99 

As smart phones get bigger and bigger, so do their prices. To keep those phones sparkling shiny, clean and most important safe, Defense Brand has launched the Defense Shield series for the Samsung Galaxy S20, S20 Plus and S20Edge. 

They are built to withstand most any impact or drop, designed and tested to meet and exceed military standards (exceeds MIL-STD-810G standards). This should give you a safe drop from up to 10-feet on concrete.

The Defense Shield is available for al three new models ($29.99) and with a clear polycarbonate backing, you’ll still be able to show off the smartphone’s branding and logos of the Galaxy’s sleek design and color.

After you choose your case color with the one-piece anodized aluminum frame choices in black, iridescent or red, the case is user friendly with a simple on/off.

A soft rubber bumper along with a machined aluminum exterior frame combine with a 1 mm raised front lip gives the screen extra protection from scratch damage. The cases are also wireless charging compatible. 

Gadgets :: February 26, 2020

by Gregg Ellman

Charging is just a way of life and we all love it when we have a fully charged device. If  you use Nimble charging devices, you get a great performing product for portable power and great looks.

Nimble is an eco-friendly personal tech brand, making products from natural renewable sources, like plant-based plastics along with a sharp looking soft non-slip grip exterior made from recycled water bottles and organic hemp

I tried the wireless chargers, which are made in several versions. The Nimble wireless stand is simple; a portable battery with a kickstand to charge it vertically or keep the kickstand folded for flat charging. I loved the standing charger while traveling since I used my phone in clock mode on my hotels nightstand. 

The portable (5-by-3.03-by-0.65-inches) battery delivers 10W of power for Samsung and Androids and up to 7.5W of power to the Apple iPhone 8 or newer. There’s also an extra USB-A port to plug in another device needing a boost of power. A charging cable for the battery and a USB AC plug is included.

A nice Nimble feature: when you purchase a product from them, they send you a pre-paid return envelope so you can send them any electronics and they will recycle responsibly. 

The company makes a variety of other charging devices, smartphone cases and cables, all with the environment in mind. This includes 100 percent recycled scrap paper in their shipping boxes. $59.99

The Eufy Security, Wi-Fi Video Doorbell has a simple installation to your existing doorbell’s wiring and is packed with great home security features.

At 4.8-by-1.7-by-0.9-inches, the Eufy security camera doorbell ($159.99) is similar in size to other video doorbells but includes 4GB eMMC built-in storage. This allows up to 30 days of video with a standard of 30 videos a day of 30 seconds each, to be stored and accessed from the companion app. 

There’s no monthly fees or cloud subscription, and your data is stored with encryption. According to Eufy, the military-grade AES-256 chip ensures data is encrypted on transmission and storage.

The video doorbell comes with a pair of mounting plates and connects to your existing Wi-Fi with a 2.4GHz wireless router. It functions as a standard doorbell with a push ring and sends the ringing alert to the included wireless electronic chime in addition to sending a smartphone notifications letting you instantly know and see who is at the door. Each doorbell can be connect to up to four chimes.

When someone is at the door, you’ll see them through the Eufy Security app on your smartphone and respond live with two-way audio or send a pre-recorded response you previously set up back to your subject at the door. Up to three instant responses can be stored and sent upon your command.

Videos stored actually give you an additional three seconds of footage before the initial alert set off the recording. Often this can give insight into who’s approaching or other aspects of the situation. 

The 160-degree angle of view camera has HDR imaging, which allows it to adjust for low light or backlit situation. The image is captured in a 4:3 aspect ratio for a much bigger imaged compared to others offering a 16:9 ratio and a resolution of 2560 x 1920.

During the setup customization is in your control of the activity zone, which tells the camera where to detect motion.  The camera has technology to detect human faces and body shapes so you don’t get an alert when neighborhood pets go running by.

The Eufy Security, Wi-Fi Video Doorbell also connects to Alexa and Google Voice Assistant so you can check live views with a voice command.

As mentioned, installation is easy but you are dealing with live wires for power from your existing doorbell. So use caution; I turned off the power breaker during installation and recommend you do the same.

A battery powered model with many of the same features is also available ($199.99). 

Gadgets :: February 19, 2020

by Gregg Ellman

I have stress and wear earbuds often so I’m thinking Xen by Neuvana with stress reducing earbuds seems like a perfect combination. They are specifically designed to gently stimulate a branch of the vagus nerve after properly paired with the Neuvana App on your smartphone, 

They are a new wellness product designed to help improve sleep, reduce stress, boost your mood, and enhance your focus. One of the many great features is that the system can be used any time of the day. Just stay away from chores like as driving and any other machinery operating responsibilities within a half hour after use.

According to Xen, they were Invented by a top cardiac surgeon and backed by science. Xen uses a revolutionary platform that sends a gentle, calming electrical signal via patented earbuds, targeting a branch of the vagus nerve in the ear. This product syncs vagus nerve stimulation with your music and can easily be integrated into your daily routine, promoting balance and relaxation while commuting, working at your desk, watching TV, or just hanging out with friends.

So the plan and point here is what are they and what do they do

Once you are connected and working with your playlists, Xen has several wellness benefits, according to Neuvana. They are better sleep, which I’ll always get in the front of the line for. Using Xen before bedtime may improve the quality of your sleep.

For less stress, Xen may make stress more manageable and help your body recover from stressful events. With more tranquility, Xen may make you feel less anxious and help your body cope with the effects of stress.

And reduced cravings is just another request (there are more) you’ll get with using the Xen Box Set Tune in to Wellness. Xen may help you replace your cravings with positive thoughts, making it easier to avoid the negative things you crave.

The Xen’s come complete with a Xen, headphones with a USB-C connection, multiple sized ear-tips, stands, guides and charging hardware (USB-C). They are compatible with many iPhones iPod touches and Android devices with minimum of OS 5.

The setup is pretty straight forward, charging, connection, downloading and installing a companion app, pairing and using. The app walks you through the steps seamlessly, but you need to follow along as you’ll have a lot of options and service choices.

Neuvana recommends starting with 15-minute sessions twice a day and then increase the amount over time as your comfort level increases along with the time of the sessions.

As you become more accustomed to the product, you may gradually increase the time per session. To be on the safe side, Xen should not be used more than 30 minutes at a time.

The big question in my mind past setup and using is how I feel after a session. According to Xen, the electrical signal is described as tingling or tickling in the ear. The intensity can be adjusted up or down during your session, to your comfort level. Some Xen users describe a calm feeling within minutes of starting a session, and the calmness can last a half hour or more after the session ends. Many users find that daily use over a period of several weeks promotes a stronger sense of wellbeing.

But it is clearly pointed out by Xen, “If you have a medical condition and/or take prescription medications, you should talk to your doctor before purchasing or using Xen, and it’s designed and intended to use by individuals 18 years or older.”

Since this is a health product, I’ll try and stay away from a direct endorsement, I don’t have the medical education, but I’m always searching for an area to help me in categories like many mentioned above.

I have positive vibes from the Xen by Neuvana and look forward to a long term relationship of testing, followed by success. $399.99

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