Archive for February 2017

Gadgets :: February 22, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

While there’s no doubt some of the biggest tech companies dominate the smartwatch category, there’s one company, Martian, that has been a favorite of mine even before the AppleWatch.

For those who want a smartwatch and the elegant retro look of a great wristwatch, the Martian PTL 02 Smartwatch is worth the look.

After pairing the smartwatch with an iOS or Android smartphone, you’ll get full access to the smartphone’s voice command functions through the noise-canceling microphone. There’s also a directional speaker to hear through the watch.

The vintage analog features of the watch work off a replaceable battery that should last up to 2 years. The digital features work off of an internal rechargeable lithium polymer battery that will last up to 5 days before needing a microUSB charge.

Among the endless features the watch will bring to your wrist: receiving and placing calls, email, text messages, music setting, web searches and calendar alerts. You can also set the Martian to use a button on the watch to fire the smartphone camera’s shutter.

Within minutes of unpacking the watch I had it set to do many of these including having my iPhone GPS talk to me through my wrist.

A scrolling display along the bottom (96 x 16 pixel graphic OLED display) shows the info, alert or caller ID, which is easy to read.

The smartwatch also has a wireless leash feature allowing you to tap on the Martian menu to tell you where the phone is or have it alert you when you walk away from the phone.

The watch base is black, with tangerine color highlights. An interchangeable 22 mm wide light brown leather strap with a stainless steel buckle is included. $195.00

I have never been a fan of selfie sticks, nor do I think I ever will be, but I have found a piece of hardware to assist in selfie taking that I am a fan of.

The Jody GripTight POV Kit with universal smartphone compatibility creates a mounting system you can use just about anywhere for something simple like giving your phone a more stable grip for selfies.

You can use the grip in any position with the front or rear facing camera in landscape or portrait views with the 180-degree pivoting ergonomic handgrip. The top of the bracket has a cold shoe for attaching camera accessories including a microphone or video light.

A Bluetooth adapter is also included so you can just angle the camera with one hand while firing the shutter with the other.

The kit weighs 2.1 ounces and opens up for devices 2.2 to 3.6-inches wide. – expandable with a built-in wrench to keep the bracket locked in place or to open it for removing the smartphone. Rubberized teeth on the inside of the bracket keep everything in place and scratch free.

The versatile kit can also be used has a tabletop handsfree mount for viewing. You can remove part of the handle to expose a standard GoPro mount for using with an endless line of available mounting accessories (sold separately). $39.95

The Cuff is a low-profile attachment for point-and-shoot cameras.

It’s designed with a quick release for one end to attach to the built-in connections on almost every cameras strap loops. The other end is a strap that can wrap around your wrist, attached to a backpack or secured inside a bag.

They click into place for a secure connection to keep a camera locked into place; just unlock it to separate the two with Cuff’s patent-pending Anchor Link connection system.

When not in use, Cuff stores as a bracelet for quick accessibility.

The company claims the newly upgraded anchor system can hold well over 200 pounds. I used it with a pocket camera and a standard size DSLR and it worked great.

One Cuff, two anchors and a microfiber pouch are included. $19.95

Gadgets :: February 15, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

The Fugoo GO is a great sounding and versatile Bluetooth speaker with rugged, dust-proof, mud-proof and waterproof construction.

But after using a single 12 watt Fugoo GO, I was convinced it wasn’t enough and I had to have a pair, which was a great idea. The speakers pair together and setting them to stereo mode gives you even better room sound from each 360-degree speaker.

The speakers pair with Bluetooth 4.2 up to 100 feet apart. Once they are playing you’ll hear these aren’t just another pair of Bluetooth speakers. The amazing deep bass is crystal clear and produced from two full-range drivers and two bass radiators.

The GO only weighs a pound, measures 1 7/8-by-8 7/8-by-3 5/16-inches and has an elastic mounting cord wrap on the end making it ideal for biking, boating, a shower or hanging from most anywhere.

While the main body of the speaker has a black cloth grill, controls and the cord are color coordinated with choices of red, black or blue.

Its IP67 rating mean it can withstand 5 foot drops or hanging out in water submerged up to 3 feet for 30 minutes.

You can even hose the speakers off, if your activates get it covered in dirt, dust or mud.

As is the case with Fugoo’s other speakers, the GO is compatible with the company’s line of accessories (sold separately) including bike, tripod and strap mounts.

A built-in, USB charged Lithium-Ion battery will go for about 10 hours with the volume at 50 percent. $99.99

Speaking of tough and rugged, the ToughTested Pro+ safe charge cable with lightning connector is pretty impressive.

It stands out from the competition because of the built-in circuit breaker, enabling it to detect damaging power surges, voltage or current within a tenth of a second. Once a safe current is detected it switches back to a safe charging mode.

This can happen during bad weather or even when your device is plugged into a car adapter while turning the car on.

The 4-foot cable ($29.99) comes with a 5 year warranty and is certified by Apple to meet the company’s performance standards. The exterior has a durable and protective fiber Armor-Weave design and is chemical/heat/abrasion resistant. A microUSB version is available for $24.99.

With a 2.4 amp rating, you’ll get 75 percent charging vs many other cables.

STM’s haven laptop backpack has it all – endless storage compartments, great craftsmanship and a great looking design.

A padded compartment stores up to a 15-inch laptop, tablet or whatever needs to secured with padding. The storage area includes a unique feature that suspends the contents off the floor with what STM calls sling tech protection. Your laptop is surrounded by padding to keep all sides protected.

Inside pockets store everything you need including sunglasses in a fleece lined pocket. A Stretch water bottle pocket, external pockets with cable pass-through for charging, a front side quick storage pouch and adjustable straps are just a few of the other features that stood out to me.

The exterior is made with a lightweight fabric with a water resistant coating. A cushioned panel rests on your back with 3D foam cores with soft mesh, and a central air channel for comfort and great ventilation.

Compartments for storage are never ending everything well-positioned for storing everything I could think of. I also like the weight of the empty backpack, which is just 1.87-pounds. $99.95, in choices of black, forest grey, moroccan blue and steel

Gadgets :: February 8, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

The SmartCraft Sunflower outdoor shade umbrellas aren’t expected to be available until later this year or early 2018, but I still think it’s a really cool, innovative product worth mentioning.

What they refer to as “The worlds first Autonomous robotic shading system” can be used as a standard umbrella, which it does just fine; you’ll get a lot more out of it with what seems like endless smart home features.

The shade has a pair of security cameras, Wifi, Bluetooth, tells you how long you have been in the sun and is app (iOS/Android) and voice controlled. There’s also an embedded microphone and speaker system.

And best of all there no power connection needed since everything you need to keep it running is supplied by solar power. In addition to keep you in the shade non-stop, it has a USB connection for charging mobile devices and other USB powered accessories.

If for some reason the sun isn’t available, it will store enough power to last  more than 72 hours.

On its own, the Sunflower tracks the movement and position of the sun, collecting solar energy and best of all it stays in a position to shade you.

The WiFi is an optional add-on cellular data connection, which allows it to become a WiFi source.

A table attachment and a beach/grass attachment are included. A drink holder, which will cool or heat your beverage can also be added. pricing is expected to be around $2,000

If you’re an Apple fan the iHome (iPLWBT5) docking clock radio and triple charging is for you.

The nightstand-sized device (9.46-by-4.10-by-4.65-inches) is AC powered and will handle the hat trick of devices many Apple users have; iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.

Cable free charging is done with a top sided flexible lightning port, which allows you to charge an iPhone, even with most cases on. An Apple Watch charing dock is on the right side, all you do it lay the watch on it for charging.

On the back is a USB port to connect your cable for charing an iPad or even non-Apple devices. All the charging features have certification from Apple for safe charging.

In addition to the power charging, It has all the basics you want: dual alarms, speakerphone, Bluetooth and a nice sounding Reson8 speaker chamber system facing the front. An aux-in port is also built into the back for connecting a non-Bluetooth device.

An auto dimming display on the front shows you the time, which is auto synced clock with the time from your connected iPhone. There are six FM presets and a battery backup.

Most of the control buttons, including power and the ever popular snooze, are on the top. Time sync, Bluetooth, aux-in and power are on the back. $129.99

There’s nothing positive about drinking and driving and a product called Drivesafe express will only cost a few dollars to help keep people from going behind the wheel when they have had too much alcohol.

For $12.50 you get a pack of 5 single-use breathalyzers. Inside the tube, which you blow into, are crystals that change color depending on if the user has been drinking or not.

Depending on how much alcohol has been consumed, the higher the alcohol concentration, the darker the pigmentation. You get the results in 2 to 4 minutes from the device that can be carried in a pocket, purse or computer bag. They measure 3.95-inches long by 0.45-inches in diameter and weighs 2-ounces.

According to the company, the devices are accurate with a plus/minus 5-percent margin and the results are displayed on a quad-colored BrAC strip.

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