Archive for December 2018

Gadgets : December 26, 2018

by Gregg Ellman

When you look at the Mixcder E7 active noise cancelling headphones, they appear really fancy and expensive.

When you look at the features inside the Bluetooth headphones along with hearing the sound, you will still think they are fancy and expensive.

Obviously I’m impressed with the ergonomically designed over-the-ear Hi-Fi stereo headphones, which have swiveling and comfortable padded ear cups supporting 40mm driver units along with an adjustable headband. 

Regardless of what they look like or what others think you have on your head, the sound is what’s critical. They deliver at all levels along with a powerful deep bass sound. 

With the Active Noise Canceling, the Mixcder E7 uses ANC Technology that continuously analyzes and reacts to outside noise, blocking external sound by creating inverse waves for totally immersive music, according to the products website.

Inside is a rechargeable battery that should give you about 20 hours of use before a USB charge is needed. There’s also a built-in microphone for hands-free phone calls. A direct wired connection can be made with the 3.5 mm audio port.

Maybe I saved the best for last, the price: only $59.99. A compact carrying case is included.

I’ve often been accused in reader emails of being a fan of iHome audio products and specifically those made with Amazon Alexa compatibility.  Well, I am.

I was also asked about other voice assistant systems from iHome, and sure enough they have the iHome Voice iGV1 with Google Assistant. The voice assistant instantly recognizes commands to play music, audio books, present the news of the day, weather and more.

With the far field voice activation technology build into the iGV1, you can give those commands from the other side of the room.

The voice activated Bluetooth bedside speaker system has everything in a nice compact body. 

For most, a clock is most critical and the front-facing display will always be right on with the time sync via Network Time Protocol for quick clock setting. The dimmable display shows multiple alarm settings and weather.

Below the front facing display are the speakers, protected by mesh cloth covering.

With your existing WiFi linked to the speaker system, connections can be made to music streaming services and other smart home devices. This enables you to command the voice assistant to turn lights on or off and even get your morning coffee brewing.

Music can be sent to the iGV1 via Bluetooth and there’s a single 1amp USB port for charging.

Controls for music selection, volume, Bluetooth connections and triggering the voice assistant are all easily accessed on top. $139.99

The Creative Outlier One Plus wireless earbuds have excellent sound quality, and a comfortable fit.

What caught my attention is the 4GB built-in MP3 player, which was great for testing on a recent flight. 

Having hundreds of songs loaded up (it will hold a lot more) enabled my music to play without needing to connect to my iPhone, iPad or laptop. I know this feature will be loved for workouts, bike rides and even lawn mowing.

The sound blaster connect app works perfect for controlling the loaded music and customizing playlists.

The 6 mm neodymium drivers earbuds are built with IPX4 certification, making them durable and sweat-proof. Interchangeable ear buds and secure tips keep them in place. 

You’ll get about 10 hours of use in MP3 mode and 7 hours of standard playback before a USB charge is needed. $39.99

Gadgets :: December 19, 2018

by Gregg Ellman

The more I want to stay away from my smartphone, the more companies supply me with cool gadgets controlled by them.

The latest I tested was Momentum’s Aria LED Floodlight with Wi-Fi Camera.

Like every smart home gadget, you must connect it to your existing WiFi and get an account with the device’s companion app. Once your setup is complete and your light is hanging (bracket and hardware included), you’ll have comforting 24/7 surveillance in full 1080p HD video. 

The camera can attach to your existing hard wire where a light is installed and powered (110 V), or you can set up wiring to power the light in a new location.

The camera has a 270-degree motion and detection zone along with a wide-angle 140-degree field of view. Weather won’t be an issue since the camera is water resistant.

When you’re viewing someone you perceive to be a concern the camera has two-way audio, enabling you to correspond with whoever is in view. If needed, a 110-decibel siren can be activated along with the pair of floodlights with a total of 5,000 lumens, which will easily light up the area where motion is detected. During the night hours the camera automatically shifts to night vision mode

The app allows for notifications as alerts happen and custom rules can be set up for specific needs, schedule rules and also allows you to take still photos of what the camera is viewing.

According to Momentum, video from the camera can be captured and stored on secure servers with Momentum’s cloud service, which offers a free 30 day trial. You may also  store the video on your mircroSD memory card (up to 128GB) in the cameras card slot. $179.99

HyperFocal: 0

If getting organized is on your New Year’s resolutions list, the Adero is what you need.

Adero is the first Intelligent Organization System, essentially turning your backpack, purse or any bag into a smart bag, with the goal of never leaving without what you need.

The Adero system is comprised of  Bluetooth-enabled tags that communicate with one another–and you–through an easy-to-use app.

A Smart Tag is your personal assistant and is placed on your bag just like a luggage tags. Then Taglets are stuck on your essentials, which can include headphones, diaper bag, chargers, passports or any else needed on the go.

When you’re ready to leave, just press the Smart Tag and if it lights up green you’re ready to go. But if you get a red light, something is missing so check your contents before departing. Just log into the Adero app to see what’s not packed.

Within the app, schedules can be created with reminders to make sure everything is in your bag. When it’s not all together the app will also tell you that.

With the Smart Tag, you’ll know instantly if something is missing without digging through you bag to see if everything is there. The Smart Tags have internal rechargeable batteries, which are good for about a month before recharging on the included USB charger. The Taglets can’t be recharged but will last for up to two years

The Adero app is available for Android devices; an iOS version is expected soon. Starter Kit is $119.99 for 3 Smart Tags and 3 Taglets

Gadgets :: December 5, 2018

By Gregg Ellman

There’s always som@greggellman)e cool things to add to holiday shopping lists. But as we get down to the shopping deadline, this can include basics for grab and go shoppers (like me). Essentials that any family, friend or neighbor can use or even a really cool music system.

Crosley’s new retro cassette player/recorder is simply awesome for its looks and functionality, but it includes some nice modern features. I still have boxes of perfectly playable cassette tapes. They bring back some great playlists, which I don’t refer to as retro, I rather say they are original! Pressing actual buttons for start, stop, pause, play, forward and back might be new to some and refreshing to others.

Either way, the portable tape deck is for any generation to play cassette tapes or choose a AM or FM radio station with the side knob and extendable antenna. The CT100 tape deck also has a USB port and SD card slot for playing digital music. There’s also a headphone jack and built-in microphone. $59.95

Spot for your Dot. That’s written on the box for the iHome iAV2 speaker system built for the Amazon Echo Dot voice assistant hardware so I can’t take credit for it. What I can say is that this is a useful bedside or office desktop ystem.

Along with dimmable time display, 360-degree sound and a USB port for smartphone charging, the attractive feature is the top sided dock for your Echo Dot (2nd generation). Just drop it there and you can give Alexa commands to play music, playlists, hear the weather when you awake, turn on lights or set an alarm. The features for the cloud-based voice assistant are alway growing and having a partner like the AC iHome iAV2 makes it even better. While in the dock, the Echo keeps itself charged. $69.99

Darin M-2 true wireless earphones are small, stylish and have amazing sound. They travel great in a pocket or purse inside a 3.75-by-.75-inch cylinder charging/storage aluminum capsule. Earin’s new patented automatic left/right recognition technology make it so there’s no need to figure out which goes in the left or right ear. Just pop em’ in and play. With Bluetooth 4.2 they pair flawlessly and wear in comfort. Touch control is built in to manage calls (built-in mic) music and even voice assistants. Battery life is 4 hours and the capsule charging adds another 14. $249 black and white versions available

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 ($199) installs in minutes with your existing doorbell hardwiring or choose the quick release USB rechargeable version. Once installed and connected to WiFi, you’ll see who is at the front door through the Ring app (iOS and Android) and with live view, speak to visitors, essentially answering the door with your smartphone from anywhere in the world. The 1080HD 160-degree wide-angle video can be stored in the cloud, depending on the plan you choose or download on social media to alert neighbors. The security is unmatched for day to day use. And sitting on your door step for hours until you get home. Now you have eyes on them at all times with the cloud-based security system. Ring has easy-toinstall solar chargers, security cameras, lights and kits to enhance your home and your holiday shopping lists. $199

The ZAGG Flex is a portable and more importantly a universal Bluetooth keyboard and detachable stand for smartphones, tablets and even smart TV’s. It’s built with multi-device pairing so it’s easy with the press of a button to toggle between devices or users.

You have – choice of seven colors for backlit keys on the laptop-style keyboard. When not in use, the included protective cover is great to keep it safely stored. $55.99

Scoshe’s magnetic MagicMount Pro is great for most any Qi wireless charging phone. Just install one of the two included magic plates to the back of your phone and secure the automotive grade adhesive magic mount to your dashboard. The magnets are 100-percent mobile device safe. Now your smartphone is instantly ready to mount and remove for handsfree use. The mount has 360-degree movement so it is easy to get the perfect angle. $14.21

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