Archive for July 2019

Gadgets :: July 24, 2019

by Gregg Ellman

Moshi’s SnapTo magnetic car mount for Qi wireless charging is a great, easy system for charging and handsfree smartphone use.

The easy part is the setup. Unbox it and figure out your installation location. Accessories are included for vent and dash/window mounting.

The vent mount can be a little tricky, but after you get the right angle it’s simple. I love the vent mount system for traveling since it fit every rental car I’ve tried.

Mounting on a flat surface depends on your vehicle, whether it’s a flat area or the windshield. Once your location is set, peel back the 3M adhesive and lock it in place.

With either mount, make sure you test the location before mounting it for use so the phone faces where you want with all the necessary views and access.

The key to the SnapTo system is the Moshi case, built with slots for the SnapTo magnetic system tabs. They come in many color, styles and fashions.  I tried it with the Moshi iGlaze case (iPhone XS) and it worked perfectly. The slots inside the case keep the tabs flush with the inside of the case so nothing scratches your smartphone.

A four-foot USB power cord is included to connect the charging mount to your car for power.

The real test after the 30-second installation was whether my phone was charging and how it worked while driving. During a weekend of errands, except when I manually pulled the phone off, everything stayed connected and charging.

Moshi also has a SnapTo wall mount ($18.95). So if you’re already using the system in your car the wall mount works with the same case to mount your phone on any flat surface in landscape or portrait modes. This includes desks, walls, nightstands, whatever. 

While using the wall mount, it doesn’t supply power but you can have a charging cable connected directly to the smartphones charging port for power. SnapTo Magnetic Car Mount with wireless charging $59.95 

New and more powerful portable electronic gadgets often translate to the need for more portable power with different connections.

The new myCharge PowerLumens ($59.99) from the Adventure series of batteries designed as rugged durable power for charging in the most extreme conditions. It’s available in 10,000mAh or 20,000mAh sizes, which are good for about 5 times or 10 times extra battery power respectively. Both models come recharged, ready to work

A pair of USB-A power ports are built into the side for a total fo 2.4A output.

While the battery power is the key element, there are a few other feature to make it a great, versatile device for everyday use, camping or even in some emergency situation.

One side panel has a built-in LED light with features including 500 lumens light levels, SOS setting and four brightness levels. Working off the internal battery, the light can shine for up to 41 hours continuously. A LED battery indicator to display remaining battery power is on the side.

An anti-corrosive metal kickstand folds out from the side, making it simple to stabilize and angle the light for perfect viewing. I also liked the handle for attaching it to my backpacks carabiner clip for easy access and I can see it being handy during early evening hikes. 

The power is the key and the charging is done with safe-cell to ensure safe charging and smart-sense ensures the battery is compatible with your device.

Another great battery from myCharge is the HubMax Universal ($99.99), and is true to its name. The battery has both Apple Lighting and USB-C cables built into the battery. 

If your device doesn’t fit one of those, no problem. Use your charging cable in the built-in standard USB port.  All three ports can be used simultaneously to pull power from the 10050mAh battery, good for up to six times extra battery power.

To recharge the HubMax fold out the built-in wall prongs and plug directly to any standard AC outlet. The outside of the 2.8-by-0.9-by-4.6-inch $99.99 battery is built with an aluminum body and both safe-cell and smart-sense technology are included. Pressing the power button on the side will display the battery level. 

Gadgets :: July 17, 2019

by Gregg Ellman

Just a few years ago some smartphones eliminated the 3.5 mm headphone port, forcing users to get an adapter or go the Bluetooth route. Then the true wireless earbud category was born, eliminating the wire connection for Bluetooth headsets. But many of the new wireless earbuds were costly. 

Now iFrogz (a Zagg brand) has launched the Airtime truly wireless earbuds, their first entry in the category and it seems to be a winner in all aspects.

In just a few minutes it was easy to see they are a winner with great sound and numerous eatures, and an affordable price.

 Built-in Bluetooth 5.0 paired the Airtime’s to my iPhone XS seamlessly on the first try and every time after when I opened the storage case in auto-pair mode. The case doubles as a charging case. 

The case gives you about 15 hours of listening before a power source is needed. There’s also a quick charge feature giving the earbuds 1.5 hours of playtime with just a 10-minute charge.

The sound comes from 8 mm drivers in each earbud, which really impressed me with  clear sound and a nice amount of bass at all volumes. They are built with three equalizer settings (signature, podcast, and bass); obviously I was stuck on the bass.

The earbuds have an ergonomic design and with three sizes of ear-tips included, it’s easy to get a snug and comfortable fit. Multifunction controls are easy to get used to,  just press on the earbud to change tracks, answer calls and access to Siri and Google Assistant voice assistants.

Each earbud also has a microphones for handsfree calls. Other features include a sweat-proof  IPX4 rating and ergonomic sport wings, which both help make these ideal for workouts or lawn mowing in 100-degree Texas summer heat as I did during my testing. $59.99, available in black, blue, peach and white

Another Zagg brand, InvisibleShield, is a leading touchscreen screen protection solution now available with the all-new Ultra VisionGuard and Ultra Clear for the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G in addition to Glass+ VisionGuard and Glass+ for the LG V50 ThinQ 5G. 

The Ultra VisionGuard ($39.99) and Glass+ VisionGuard ($44.99) protect your device and your eyes from harmful high energy visible blue light.  InvisibleShield Ultra Clear ($44.99) is clear and with advanced clarity,  a glass-like surface for and edge-to-edge protection for Galaxy S10 5G devices.

The InvisibleShield Glass+ ($39.99) has a smooth tempered glass surface and will protect from drops, scratches and smudges and can deliver up to 3X more impact protection than an unprotected screen. 

InvisibleShield backs its screen protectors with an industry-leading limited lifetime warranty and will replace the InvisibleShield if it ever gets worn or damaged for the life of the device.

Moshi’s Captus Rolltop backpack caught my attention when the description included among other things, a bottom section for shoes up to size 13.

The attractive backpack has numerous compartments for anything else you’ll want to carry including laptops up to 15-inches in a padded compartment. You’ll be packing and packing and packing if your goal is just to fill it (as I did) but remember, once it’s full with more than you need, you’ll have to carry it on your back.

Specifically Moshi lists the Captus with 45- liters of space, which is a lot if you think about liquid. But it’s not waterproof so I didn’t test it that way.

Zippered compartments keep everything you need locked in and a back pocket has a valuable RFID shield, making it ideal to secure your smartphone or credit cards to be stored safe.

The shoe compartment on the bottom isn’t for just shoes. Anything you want can stuff in there including a change of clothes, cables or whatever will fit. 

The backpack has everything you’ll need to make it fit right and tight with adjustable straps, padding and it looks great with models available in sandstone beige and denim blue. $199.95

Gadgets :: July 10, 2019

by Gregg Ellman

Not everyone has Bluetooth built into their devices but with Scosche’s new FlyTunes, you’ll instantly have it added to old and new audio devices. It’s so easy that after using it just once, you’ll wonder how you lived without it.

The pocket-sized audio transmitter (1-by-1.875-by-0.5-inches) plugs into a 3.5 mm AUX audio output and, via its internal Bluetooth transmitter, pairs with up to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously sending the audio wirelessly.

Now two people traveling together can watch and listen to the same movie on an airline’s inflight entertainment or with your own movie player without extra cables or connections. This device does it all and the setup is easy.

Traveling is just one way to use it; most TV’s have an audio output, which is rarely used and night time TV watchers can keep the outside noise silent to others with the FlyTunes. Home stereos, gamers and fitness machines are just a few other ways to make use of the Bluetooth audio connection.

If it has a 3.5 mm audio output, it should work. I couldn’t find anything it wouldn’t work on including my first generation iPod Shuffle. A multi-function button is on the center of one side and is pressed to pair a Bluetooth headset (not included), turn it on or off or play/pause your audio.

An internal battery will last for 8 hours of use, a USB-C charging cable is included along with a soft storage pouch and a 4-inch 3.5 mm extension cable.

Airplanes have been slow to adapt to audio systems, and since some old connections are still in use, the FlyTunes can adapt with its two folding prongs. They connect to dual outputs or just a single one.

If your headset is Bluetooth, it will work with the FlyTunes. I tried it with a dozen and had complete success. $39.99 available in black or white

The Para‘Kito is perfect for this time of year to keep pesky mosquito’s away from in style.

The bug repellent system has a mosquito protection wristband, which stores the mosquito repellent in a small pellets. Each is good for up to 15 days and slides in an out of a mesh pocket on the outside of velcro wristband bracelets, which can be worn on your wrist, ankle or wherever. 

My wife and I tested the bug repellent wear during a recent night out on a lake. While I can’t guarantee we would have gotten mosquito bites if we didn’t have the wristbands on, we came away from the night bug bite free.

What makes this even better is that the pellets are made with all-natural essential oils, not chemicals and annoying strong scents. They do emit a  fragrance, which is typical for most bug repellents, but was not offensive or annoying in any way.

The pellets’ active ingredients are citronella (34%) rosemary (22%) geranium (21%), mint (10%), clove (2.5%), peppermint (1.5%) and cinnamon (1%). Para‘Kito states the product is a Minimum Risk Pesticide.

The flexible wristbands are Velcro adjustable and are available in all kinds of fun, colorful and stylish choices for adults and children.

If a bracelet isn’t your thing, there are other choices to hold the pellets including repellent clips, which is the version I used (my wife went with the wristband) attached to a belt loop. 

Each wristband or clip ($19.50 each) is waterproof and includes two replacement pellets. Repellent refills are available in packs of 2 ($13), 6 ($34.95) and 12 ($78).

The all-natural mosquito repellent oil is also available in a roll-on ($19.50) with a 5-hour efficiency of each use. 

Gadgets :: July 3, 2019

by Gregg Ellman

Before I put the sound to my ears I was reminded by a Mixcder company representative that Mixcder is known for high-quality, cost-friendly  ANC headphones. 

After using the Mixcder E9 ANC wireless headphones for a week it’s hard to get that statement out of my mind so I guess that’s pretty critical because my impression shows it’s true.

I’m not saying they are the best headphones you can get but with excellent sound and all the features you would want makes the $69.99 price tag well worth the purchase.

They are built with an ergonomic design, lightweight (8.9 ounces), an adjustable black headband and comfortable soft and rotating foam ear pads. The latter is as important as the sound. Their portable construction allows them to fold nicely when they need to be tucked away for storage. An airplane adapter and a lightweight hard carrying case are included.

According to Mixcder, the sound is delivered from “40 mm drivers for a powerful, wide band frequency from 20Hz-20,000Hz with an impactful bass, rich and detailed midrange and clear treble for a crisp sound up to 94 decibels.” To me, the music is well-balanced with deep bass, mid tones and treble.

The active noise cancelling feature works well and you have it on or off. While it’s on, some of your outside surroundings will be blocked and when it’s off you’ll hear a little more. Either way, you’ll hear you music with great clarity. The ANC just determines how much outside noise you want.

If you’re poolside, you might want to block out the world but walking city streets might be a place to have some of your surroundings heard.

Bluetooth 4.0 makes the wireless connection and the internal 500mAh rechargeable battery will last for about 30 hours playtime with ANC off, 24 hours with it on. Recharging only takes 2.5 hours.. They can also be used with the auxiliary port.

Being a hands person, one feature I found so helpful is the larger buttons for on headset control of handsfree calls with the built-in microphones, music choices and volume. $79.99 or $69.99 when available at Amazon

ScanMyPhotos has a great summer project for everyone who has boxes of photos. Yes, actual prints, not digital copies, at least just yet.

The company can take 4,000 photos of these images and scan them for just $40 in a one cent photo scanning option. With that deal there really isn’t an excuse to not get your prints digitally scanned and protected.

The one cent scans have a 150 DPI, making them perfect for social media and website usage. There’s an upcharge for larger scanned resolutions with choices of 300 DPI for seven cents each and 600 DPI for 15 cents each.

There’s no limit to how many photos you can get scanned. The one cent option has a 10,000 photo maximum and $40 minimum per order (S&H not included).  Even if it’s just a handful of photos needing to be scanned, there’s a flexible pay-per-scan option.

Things to note, your photos must be at least 3-by-3inches and no larger than 8-by-10-inches and removed from albums, staples and anything else attached to them. Negatives, slides and other media are not accepted for scanning. Everything including instructions on how to package your photos for shipping are clearly explained on the ordering website.

Your original photos are delivered with the scans in options including thumb drives and DVD’s.

Other options with addition charges include same-day scanning and instant uploading, which results in the day the order is received it’s scanned, uploaded and in your possession.

I’m a past user of the service and years after getting my family achieves scanned, they are still looked at regularly, where the shoes boxes of closeted photos were basically never looked at when in print format. 

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