Archive for February 2020

Gadgets :: February 26, 2020

by Gregg Ellman

Charging is just a way of life and we all love it when we have a fully charged device. If  you use Nimble charging devices, you get a great performing product for portable power and great looks.

Nimble is an eco-friendly personal tech brand, making products from natural renewable sources, like plant-based plastics along with a sharp looking soft non-slip grip exterior made from recycled water bottles and organic hemp

I tried the wireless chargers, which are made in several versions. The Nimble wireless stand is simple; a portable battery with a kickstand to charge it vertically or keep the kickstand folded for flat charging. I loved the standing charger while traveling since I used my phone in clock mode on my hotels nightstand. 

The portable (5-by-3.03-by-0.65-inches) battery delivers 10W of power for Samsung and Androids and up to 7.5W of power to the Apple iPhone 8 or newer. There’s also an extra USB-A port to plug in another device needing a boost of power. A charging cable for the battery and a USB AC plug is included.

A nice Nimble feature: when you purchase a product from them, they send you a pre-paid return envelope so you can send them any electronics and they will recycle responsibly. 

The company makes a variety of other charging devices, smartphone cases and cables, all with the environment in mind. This includes 100 percent recycled scrap paper in their shipping boxes. $59.99

The Eufy Security, Wi-Fi Video Doorbell has a simple installation to your existing doorbell’s wiring and is packed with great home security features.

At 4.8-by-1.7-by-0.9-inches, the Eufy security camera doorbell ($159.99) is similar in size to other video doorbells but includes 4GB eMMC built-in storage. This allows up to 30 days of video with a standard of 30 videos a day of 30 seconds each, to be stored and accessed from the companion app. 

There’s no monthly fees or cloud subscription, and your data is stored with encryption. According to Eufy, the military-grade AES-256 chip ensures data is encrypted on transmission and storage.

The video doorbell comes with a pair of mounting plates and connects to your existing Wi-Fi with a 2.4GHz wireless router. It functions as a standard doorbell with a push ring and sends the ringing alert to the included wireless electronic chime in addition to sending a smartphone notifications letting you instantly know and see who is at the door. Each doorbell can be connect to up to four chimes.

When someone is at the door, you’ll see them through the Eufy Security app on your smartphone and respond live with two-way audio or send a pre-recorded response you previously set up back to your subject at the door. Up to three instant responses can be stored and sent upon your command.

Videos stored actually give you an additional three seconds of footage before the initial alert set off the recording. Often this can give insight into who’s approaching or other aspects of the situation. 

The 160-degree angle of view camera has HDR imaging, which allows it to adjust for low light or backlit situation. The image is captured in a 4:3 aspect ratio for a much bigger imaged compared to others offering a 16:9 ratio and a resolution of 2560 x 1920.

During the setup customization is in your control of the activity zone, which tells the camera where to detect motion.  The camera has technology to detect human faces and body shapes so you don’t get an alert when neighborhood pets go running by.

The Eufy Security, Wi-Fi Video Doorbell also connects to Alexa and Google Voice Assistant so you can check live views with a voice command.

As mentioned, installation is easy but you are dealing with live wires for power from your existing doorbell. So use caution; I turned off the power breaker during installation and recommend you do the same.

A battery powered model with many of the same features is also available ($199.99). 

Gadgets :: February 19, 2020

by Gregg Ellman

I have stress and wear earbuds often so I’m thinking Xen by Neuvana with stress reducing earbuds seems like a perfect combination. They are specifically designed to gently stimulate a branch of the vagus nerve after properly paired with the Neuvana App on your smartphone, 

They are a new wellness product designed to help improve sleep, reduce stress, boost your mood, and enhance your focus. One of the many great features is that the system can be used any time of the day. Just stay away from chores like as driving and any other machinery operating responsibilities within a half hour after use.

According to Xen, they were Invented by a top cardiac surgeon and backed by science. Xen uses a revolutionary platform that sends a gentle, calming electrical signal via patented earbuds, targeting a branch of the vagus nerve in the ear. This product syncs vagus nerve stimulation with your music and can easily be integrated into your daily routine, promoting balance and relaxation while commuting, working at your desk, watching TV, or just hanging out with friends.

So the plan and point here is what are they and what do they do

Once you are connected and working with your playlists, Xen has several wellness benefits, according to Neuvana. They are better sleep, which I’ll always get in the front of the line for. Using Xen before bedtime may improve the quality of your sleep.

For less stress, Xen may make stress more manageable and help your body recover from stressful events. With more tranquility, Xen may make you feel less anxious and help your body cope with the effects of stress.

And reduced cravings is just another request (there are more) you’ll get with using the Xen Box Set Tune in to Wellness. Xen may help you replace your cravings with positive thoughts, making it easier to avoid the negative things you crave.

The Xen’s come complete with a Xen, headphones with a USB-C connection, multiple sized ear-tips, stands, guides and charging hardware (USB-C). They are compatible with many iPhones iPod touches and Android devices with minimum of OS 5.

The setup is pretty straight forward, charging, connection, downloading and installing a companion app, pairing and using. The app walks you through the steps seamlessly, but you need to follow along as you’ll have a lot of options and service choices.

Neuvana recommends starting with 15-minute sessions twice a day and then increase the amount over time as your comfort level increases along with the time of the sessions.

As you become more accustomed to the product, you may gradually increase the time per session. To be on the safe side, Xen should not be used more than 30 minutes at a time.

The big question in my mind past setup and using is how I feel after a session. According to Xen, the electrical signal is described as tingling or tickling in the ear. The intensity can be adjusted up or down during your session, to your comfort level. Some Xen users describe a calm feeling within minutes of starting a session, and the calmness can last a half hour or more after the session ends. Many users find that daily use over a period of several weeks promotes a stronger sense of wellbeing.

But it is clearly pointed out by Xen, “If you have a medical condition and/or take prescription medications, you should talk to your doctor before purchasing or using Xen, and it’s designed and intended to use by individuals 18 years or older.”

Since this is a health product, I’ll try and stay away from a direct endorsement, I don’t have the medical education, but I’m always searching for an area to help me in categories like many mentioned above.

I have positive vibes from the Xen by Neuvana and look forward to a long term relationship of testing, followed by success. $399.99

Gadgets :: February 12, 2020

by Gregg Ellman

I remember years ago when I worked in cooperate America and conference rooms were the home away from home (let me politely say I don’t miss those days). With each meeting we struggled to get the conference call connected, the volume loud enough for us to hear those on the other end or keeping the built-in microphone close enough to pick up our voices. Whatever we did, it was a constant struggle.

With the Anker PowerConf Ultra Clear Bluetooth Speakerphone, those problems and frustrations are a thing of the past.

It’s perfect for businesses or school but I tested it for a family call and the clarity people hear us in with the 6 built-in microphone system was outstanding from anywhere in the room I spoke, regardless of the distance.. 

With the microphones, the voice pick up lets you walk and talk, sit close or further away. The Omni-Directional Voice Pickup has 360-degree voice coverage up to a 5 meter range for up to 8 people. Technology inside automatically balances voices for consistency in the volume, no matter the distance you are talking from the speakerphone.

After the call I questioned those on the other end about the clarity they heard me and unanimously it got rave reviews. During the call I even threw in some background music and crumpling paper noise to see if it upset the reception, which it didn’t. What makes the clarity is that Anker’s custom DSP algorithm offers real-time echo cancellation, de-reverberation, and background noise suppression to ensure your voice is picked up without distracting noises.

Setting it up is effortless, connecting via Bluetooth (v 5.0) to your smartphone or a computer (Windows 7, 8, 10, and macOS) via the USB-C connection. There’s no need for software or drivers and Anker says the PowerConf is compatible with all popular online conferencing services. This includes Skype, Google Hangout, Facetime, Zoom, WebEx, GotoMeeting, and Chromebox.

Controls of the 4.9-by-4.8-by-1.2-inch conference speaker are in the center of the sop sided speaker, including a multi-function button, volume, LED status and phone controls. On the sides are power, Bluetooth, USB and and audio output port. The speaker itself has a black finish on the grill cover.

With the PowerConf’s USB-C port, you can connect your smartphone for optimized speed charging from the internal 6,700mAh battery. The battery is rated to produce a week’s worth of calls, or 24 hours of call time on a single charge. 

A USB-C cable and a travel case are included. $129.99 

The versatile and cleaver Ohsnap phone grip attaches to the back of your smartphone case or the device itself to give you a perfect grip of your phone at any angle, rotating 360 degrees. 

When you want a finger grip, just snap out the long centered finger loop by pressing in the center and both ends pop up with the center portion keeping intact with the frame. When the ends are popped out, the center strip forms into a circular shape and hooks together making it perfect for holding it with a single finger.

When not needed, the silicone-coated grip snaps back in to a 2.7 mm thin profile along with pocket friendly smooth edges. That versatility is what sold me, on top of being about to try out the griping feature while it was still in its packaging.

If your smartphone wireless charges, all you do is slide out the center frame, when charging is completed, slide it back in.

When the Ohsnap is snapped out, it also works as a kickstand for handsfree viewing. The center is built with neodymium magnets, allowing it to stick to magnetic mounts, workout equipment or anything magnetic. 

According to the Ohsnap site, Ohsnap works with most cases, if your case is flat and is made of a hard material. The adhesive backing can be removed and a new one reinstalled. $29.99 available in 9 color choices. Additional sticky mounts (2-pack $5) and car mounts ($15) are also available

Gadgets :: February 5, 2020

by Gregg Ellman

Welock’s AI.X1 Smart Hidden Cabinet Lock, is a simple do-it-yourself kit to give a drawer added security.

The kit consists of a lock, which installs in an easy three-minute process inside the drawer with 3M tape, and without drills, holes or anything to damage the lock or cabinet. 

Bluetooth is built into the Smart Hidden Cabinet Lock to make a connection with your smartphone so the cabinet can be locked or unlocked in seconds with the We.Lock app (Android and iOS). 

I only used it for a short time so I didn’t run out the 3 AA batteries  but there’s a low battery reminder when they need to be replaced. If the batteries do go totally dead, the drawer will automatically open trouble-free.

Timers can also be set for convenience and access can be shared with others to unlock. The lock is made of anti-UV material (corrosion and wear resistant), which is aging resistant to ensure newness for long term. $26

The TMA-2 Modular Headphone System from AIAIAI is an interesting concept but first and foremost  produces great sound.

I’m not into head banging sound at high volume; instead I prefer a medium sound  level as long as it’s crystal clear and comfortable (which is as important as the sound). And right off the bat my sample of TMA-2 HD Bluetooth  headphones gave me exactly that so they were a winner in my book.

My sharp looking and lightweight TMS-2 HD wireless sample ($350 Bluetooth, $295 wireless) have a modular design of S05 40mm drivers, E08 earpads and a H05 Bluetooth headband. I indulged the model numbers, that will make sense as you read on.

While my TMA-2 HD headphone were perfect for me, the AIAIAI  allows you to choose the pieces you want in your customized headphones based on your listening and how they are going to be used and of course, your budget.

The TMA-2 modular headphones are available in more than 1,000 combinations and wireless versions will give you about 16 hours of battery life. Each part of the headphones is modular enabling you to swap out the speakers, headband and ear cups to get your preferred sound, fit and feel.

When ordering the headphones on the AIAIAI site, you’ll see choices and recommendations for users on the move, DJs, In the studio and at the office.

Speaker choices with 40 mm drivers ($65 to $130), include neutral, punchy, warm, vibrant and detailed, with each having a sound description. The top of the line S05 speakers are 40mm drivers engineered with a speaker diaphragm made from stiff Bio-Cellulose for more defined high-frequency details, more pronounced mid-range, better dynamics, and more natural tonality, according to AIAIAI

Six choices of headbands ($30 to $125) range from Slim with PU foam padding light weight Polycarbonate headband with soft durable PU foam head padding up to high-end H06 Bluetooth headband with built-in microphone. High quality audio transmission and 20h playback time for wireless sound.

Ear cups have four choices ($25 – $55) ranging from on-ear cushion covered in microfiber for direct and open sound representation, good for all-round purposes. The E08 Alcantara, over ear ultra soft memory foam cushion is covered with Alcantara for better comfort and isolation.

If you go wireless, obviously you don’t need a cord. But if you go corded, you have choices ($25 – $50)  in colors, coiled, length or straight, microphones and controllers.

While making your selections of each feature, an animated version of your choices is put together right in front of your eyes, with a description of your choices and details on what the sound will be listed in treble, mids and bass.

Or you can’t go wrong with the TMA-2 HD Wireless right out of the box. 

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