Archive for January 2016

Gadgets :: 2016 January 18

By Gregg Ellman (#greggellman)

I always think the portable Bluetooth speaker market is so good and so crowded that there isn’t room for another. Well, the Mass Fidelity Core system proves me wrong.

Right out of the box the setup took seconds to get a head-turning sound from the internal 120 watts of digital power.

After pairing and cranking the speaker up, I agree with the Mass Fidelity’s statement, “The Core produces a huge multi-dimensional sound image that’s like listening to a pair of separated high-end speakers.” This allows the sound to be consistent from any angle of the speaker, which you don’t see very often.

They have packed inside of the handheld or desktop speaker (6 x 6 x 4-inches) five custom-designed speaker drivers with a downward-firing woofer.

They have combined the hardware with Acoustic Holography technology, which is new technology to me. That translate to big sound from the small speaker.

Bass is my favorite, but not a head banging amount. The Core delivers the right amount to enhance the sound, not distract you from it.

If you want a complete multi-room system, you can connect up to eight Cores without needing Wifi or any other network. It creates its own network whether you use the speakers together or independently.

The internal battery will give you about 12 hours before a charge is needed. There’s also a USB port for charging your device, aux input for a wired connection and an optical input for a cable/satellite box, Roku or Apple TV. $599

Among other things, I guess my house can now be considered a home brewery after using the Fizzics draft beer system.

It’s not really a home brew system but the concept is to take any beer and create a beer tap system.

I set it up and put a low-end beer in the Fizzics, I had a friend over who is much more of a beer drinker than myself.

The system works with any carbonated beer (can or bottle), which you place inside a canister of the system and insert a plastic tube. Your beer is now ready to dispense through the tap system.

There’s no need for any COS or nitro cartridges. All you need is the Fizzics, a beer and a glass.

I told him about the system and I wanted an honest answer on what he thought after I pulled the lever forward and poured him a beer into a chilled mug. After the glass was past halfway full, you pull the lever backwards to create a great foam head, which is critical to any tap beer lover.

After a few sips and some pondering I asked what he thought and his honest answer was “I don’t think this is a top shelf beer but it’s definitely not a low end either.” He was quite surprised when I showed him what he was drinking.

I personally loved the concept of an inexpensive system to pour draft beer. I’m not a big beer drinker but I would surely enjoy it more, when I drink on occasion.

It works off of 4 AA batteries (not included), which should last for over 100 pours of a 12 ounce beer. $169.99

The Reachcase (r79x) is designed to extend the signal for an iPhone 6/6s and iPhone 6/6s plus.

It’s well-built and rugged case protects your phone and is certified with drop-test protection, which exceeds military drop standards.

What makes it more than another case is that it automatically extends your smartphone’s internal antenna.

Specifically, the case has an internal multi-patented, micro-thin antenna, which automatically couples with your phone to expand and extend your antenna, resulting in clearer conversations and fewer dropped calls.

Just put the case on your phone and the back-sided antenna slides out.

It’s not certified by Apple but the company states an independent third party lab has validated that the case does improve the phone’s internal antenna. $59.99

Gadgets :: 2016 January 16

By Gregg Ellman (#greggellman)

At last week’s Consumer Electronics Show, they really upped the security guidelines with shoulder bag and backpack restrictions. With these changes, it was a perfect time to put Quest Vest from ScotteVest to use.

When I say it’s loaded with pockets (42) thats an understatement. There are pockets inside pockets so you won’t run out of storage for any of your digital accessories.

I liked that it looks just like a vest with a pair of outside pockets, with no indication of the accessories you might be storing.

This way you can load it up and it doesn’t broadcast any of the pricy electronics you have inside, unless it is being X-rayed during a security check.

The first day I actually packed too much including my iPhone, iPad with keyboard case, charging cables, a pair of portable USB batteries, keys, notebook, paperwork, snacks, a water bottle, earbuds and a lot more.

A funny problem was I couldn’t remember where I put my stuff so I had to give myself a pat down to find things. But after that it was great and I didn’t have to remember whether I had picked up my shoulder bag when leaving a location because I didn’t have one.

I did switch things around, trying to find the perfect balance, which I did. All the zippers feel like they are well constructed and should last a long time.

The 65-percent cotton and 35-percent nylon fabric exterior is Teflon treated for water and stain resistance, which came in handy since I was caught in the rain a few times. $145

The new Bluesmart suitcase is a good first effort in the smart luggage category.

It’s built with a digital lock, location tracking, trip data tracking and a built-in battery for charing your USB device with ports inside and outside the suitcase.

Before you start packing, the suitcase weighs nine pounds and a built-in scale in the handle tells you what it weighs, inside the app, after you’re packed.

You can’t check the bag in due to TSA airline restrictions because of the built-in battery. It would be nice if the battery could be removed so you have the option to check in the bag, but right now it doesn’t.

Bluesmart (22.4 x 14.4 x 9.8-inches, slightly larger than TSA guidelines of 22 x 14 x 9 inches) is built with a solid construction of a hard polycarbonate shell, a retractable handle, and four smooth rolling wheels.

On my flight it had no problem fitting in the overhead storage on an American Airlines 737. They never asked me if my bag would it in the bag sizer and I didn’t offer to test it. Make sure you check your airline’s carry-on guidelines to ensure it conforms.

It fits whatever you can pack in; clothes, computers, camera gear, etc. Once your packed, you can lock or unlock it with the free Bluesmart app after you make a wireless (Bluetooth) connection, which takes just seconds.

The internal battery (10,000mAh) is charged with the included microUSB cable and can charge an iPhone up to six times. With the internal port you can charge your stuff while flying so its ready when you land.

The outside port makes it easy to charge while waiting for a flight or if it fits in under the seat for close access.

Even though the bag is carry-on only, it has tracking, which I guess can be used if someone grabs your bag and runs. You’ll only have about a 100-feet range to see where it is if you look inside the app. After that the internal SIM card can get you the GPS coordinates sent to your phone.

This was the first suitcase I ever had to read the included instructions (the company website frustrated me to no end with registrations) to work the features. $399

It’s not electronic but I took along the Travelrest memory foam travel pillow on my trip. For now on, I won’t leave home without it.

It’s made from NASA-developed thermo-sensitive memory foam, molds to your head and neck and has non-slip backing to hold the pillow in place.

There’s also a non-slip back and it can be compressed to 1/4 of its size when you’re on-the-go. $39.95

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