Archive for July 2017

Gadgets :: July 26, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

The pocket-sized (4.0-by-2.0-by-0.6-inches) Alcomate Revo is a tremendous device for accurately reading an individual’s blood alcohol level so hopefully they don’t rely on judgment alone.

Since I really have no experience with using portable breathalyzers, I did some research and found that often pocket breathalyzers must be sent back to manufacturers for calibration to keep them accurate.

That’s not the case with the Revo because it features a pre-calibrated sensor, which is easily replaceable on your own.

To use it, breathe into a replaceable mouth piece until a beeper stops sounding. The device translates that information to your blood alcohol level. Five mouth pieces are included.

It’s recommended to change the sensor every 1,000 tests or at least once yearly. Additional mouth pieces can be purchased in a 10-pack ($4) or a 100-pack ($40). A pouch and hard carrying case are available for purchase.

The Revo is powered by two AAA batteries, has an easy-to-read LCD and constructed with ABS Molding.

According to the Alcomate site, the Revo is the single source supplier for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps and is DOT approved for law enforcement accuracy. $219.95

I’ve tried an endless number of smart home products over the past few years and the number one complaint I hear from people (which I agree with) is when they aren’t easy to use.

Honeywell get’s an A-Plus from me for their new indoor C1 Wi-Fi Security Camera; it’s exactly as advertised: you can watch what’s happening at home — anytime, anywhere. Versatile and easy to install.

Setup takes just a few minutes. Download the free Lyric app (iOS and Android), connect the camera’s included power cord and following the easy startup guide in the app, which includes connecting the camera to youre existing home WiFi.

The user friendly app is used for viewing the camera but it does a whole lot more, including taking instant screen shots during livestream, which can be easily saved to your mobile device.

Two-way audio allows you to press the microphone tab on the app to speak out of the camera along with hearing sounds in the camera’s area. Alerts can be set for sound and motion detection. Video recording has quality settings for HD 720p (default) auto or low.

Even though the C1 is easy to set up, I recommend reading about all the features and settings so it’s customized for what you want. This way you won’t get alerts every time a pet runs through a room, unless you really want them.

The C1 can send an alert you if a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm goes off. Other features include intelligent sound detection to recognize specific sounds, 135-degree wide-angle view and night vision.

The app works with just one C1 or multiple cameras. Images are stored on a cloud or on a removable microSD memory card. $119.99

Imagenomic’s last version of Portraiture (version 3) is a Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture plugin, which makes skin retouching a snap.

I tested the Photoshop version and found it super easy to achieve professional results with just a few clicks.

The program is built with a powerful masking tool that enables you to selectively smooth only the skin tones of an image without affecting the rest of your image. It works like magic.

Portraiture’s masking tool is unique with its built-in Auto-Mask feature to help you quickly discover most of the skin tone range of the image automatically as well as allowing you to manually fine-tune the results.

When I opened Portraiture, the filter starts with several preset option; Smoothing Normal, Smoothing Strong, Enhancing Glamour, etc. After choosing a preset, you can tweak the results using the sliders for changing the amount of smoothing, add or delete from the mask and even change the hue of the skin color being masked.

Once you are happy with the results, click OK and the filter goes to work, In just a few seconds the skin is smoother, wrinkles and blemishes are erased and my photo looks professionally retouched. $199.95

Gadgets :: July 19, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

Often readers ask me if they really need an item I’ve mentioned previously. For the most part, I won’t decide that for people. But in the case of the Orbit Bluetooth key finder, don’t bother emailing me because yes, you need it. My wife will tell you I need it.

Using the Orbit is simple; just attach it (1.3-inches in diameter, 0.35-inches thick) to your keyring and link it with the free Orbit app (Google Play and App Store).

Once you realize your keys aren’t in your pocket or within site, launch the app and make it ring or look at the last location spotted on a map. The Orbit has a 100-foot radius.

A nice feature in the app settings is the separation alarm. This lets you set the Orbit and smartphone to ring when they reach the 100-foot separation radius. With the safe zone setting turned on you can exceed the 100-foot zone, enabling you to walk keyless at home, work, etc.

The app shows you the location on a map or its last location within range, signal strength, distance and the battery level.

You can also work it in reverse. If you have the keyring with the Orbit in hand but can’t find your phone, just press it to make your phone ring.

And one more thing, you can use the Orbit to fire your smartphones camera.

The Orbit ($29.99) is available in 12 colors with a splash-proof anodised aluminum body and has a six-month coin battery (CR 2025), which is easily replaced. There are15 ringtone alarms to choose from,

You don’t have to limit the Orbit to your keys – attach it to whatever you misplace. Order me a dozen!

The Orbit Wallet has multiple compartments for cash, a driver’s license, receipts and credit card slots with RFID blocking technology.

Built into the wallet is the Orbit Bluetooth finder (same as in the key finder) and it works exactly as mentioned above with the Orbit app.

In addition, it has a built-in 2500mAh rechargeable battery for smartphone charging. Both mirco USB and iPhone lighting adapters are built into the battery for an easy connection and cable-free travel.

A USB connection is included for charging the battery, which has a display to remind you a charge is needed.

The smartphone wallet (4.13-by-3.94-by-0.67-inches) is available in black, dark blue and dark brown for $109.99

BodyGuardz has recently launched the Trainr Pro high-performance case for the iPhone 6/6S Plus and 7/7 Plus.

The innovative high-impact case is made with sport-grip materials and features a clear polycarbonate back.

Unlike other systems that require you to remove your phone from a case and slide it into a pocket, this case snaps in (and out) with ease from a lightweight, removable armband. The armband is soft on your arm and is adjustable with Velcro.

The Trainr Pro armband is perfect for biking, running or walking and allows access to the screen itself, not an extra later of plastic, which has always given me problems.

On its own, the case has a low-profile design but has full protection, for which BodyGuardz is an industry leader. Outside of the shock-absorbing (drop rated to 10 feet) case is durable sport-grip elastomer, perfect for a secure hold and a stylish look. $49.95 available in black/gray and gray/mint combinations

Gadgets :: June 12, 2017

by Gregg Ellman

A recent press release couldn’t have said it better about a new security camera from Momentum. “The new Momentum WiFi camera is the under $50, effective and reliable solution to personal home property and loved one monitoring.”

I stress to readers over and over, one of the most important features in smart home devices is how easy it is to set up (along with price and quality). The Momentum is really as easy as advertised: plug-in-and-go.

After downloading the free Momentum app (iOS and Android), create a quick account, pair your device and connect to an existing WiFi network. After the camera is named (I would name it for the location, so if you add others you’ll know which camera is where) you can set it up anywhere inside needing monitoring.

The camera has a 110-degree viewing angle with a 720p HD resolution. You can stream the video to a mobile device through the app and set alerts for motion and sound. Recording can be set to begin once it detects sound or motion, saving it to a cloud account or the built-in microSD memory card slot up to 128GB.

Cloud storage plans include 7-day storage for $4.99/monthly or 30-day storage for $9.99/monthly.

The Momentum WiFi camera has night vision, which worked well and there’s a two-way talk feature between with the mobile app and the camera.

The camera measures 4.68-by-2.20-by-1.41-inches and an AC adapter is included. $49.99


The new iHome iBT91 dual purpose speaker is perfect for summer, but don’t let that fool ya’, it’s great for every day of the year.

Aside from Bluetooth speaker features, many others make it stand out for the outdoor season, including a color changing lantern.

The lantern has multiple color modes to choose from (glow/slow fade, fast, favorite color, pulse to music, preset pulsing mode and emergency blinker) and more effects can be added with the free iHome app.

In addition there’s a built-in 1 amp USB port to directly connect mobile devices needing a charge. The speaker’s internal battery powers the charging port and the speaker, which is good for up to 6 hours of audio with the lantern on or 13 hours of audio. A USB charging cable is included.

Others features include a speakerphone for handsfree calls. The speaker is built with talk/end controls and digital voice echo cancellation. Your music source can be directly  connected with the 3.5 mm aux-in jack.

The iBT91 speaker (4.85-by-9.26-by-4.61-inches, 2.97 pounds) can absorb poolside splashes and a quick rain shower with its built-in 1P65 waterproof rating.

A second lantern speaker can be purchased to wirelessly connect with the first. $99.99

Focal has launched new Spark wireless earbuds.

Focal touts them as the best entry-level model available. I thought the sound was solid, bass filling and for an entry-level they did a great job.

The lightweight Bluetooth earbuds (s/m/l) are built with an aluminum body attached to an anti-tangle flat cable. Multiple ear tips are included to get a comfortable fit along with a storage case and a charging cable.

An in-line three-button remote works perfect for pairing, power, volume control, microphone and music selections.

The wireless version is $99 and is available in black, rose gold and silver. A wired version is also available for $69 in black, blue cobalt and silver.

Gadgets :: July 5, 2017

By Gregg Ellman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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