Archive for November 2020

GADGETS :: November 18, 2020

by Gregg Ellman (@greggellman) As they say, a day late and a dollar short. But with the window-mounted Scosche NEXS1 Smart, full high definition dash camera, powered by Nexar, I’ll be ready for next time.

I’m referring to a minor car accident (no injuries) I was in two weeks ago while this dash cam sat boxed up on my desk, waiting to be tested. Not 24 hours later I had it unpacked and ready for testing;  sure enough it would have helped me greatly and hopefully there’s not the next time.

It wasn’t that long ago that dashcams were a complicated setup, often ending in frustration. With NEXS1, which is part of Scosche’s SafeTech line of products designed to make driving safer, you can have it set up and filming in no time.

A quick-release StickGrip suction cup mounts on the windshield (front or back) and an included dual-port adapter plugs with an 11.5-foot cable for power. Setting up the Wi-Fi to connect the camera and a cell phone is done with the Wi-Fi pairing button.

The image quality from the NEXS1 front-facing dashcam is outstanding. A 140-degree lens captures a wide-angle view in 1080p full HD. Inside, a SONY Starvis image sensor works well at night and in other low-light environments. A high-precision G-Sensor automatically detects the impact and crucial moments for recording. This includes parking mode for recording incidents when the driver isn’t in the car.

When you start driving, the camera turns on and when you stop, it shuts off. Auto-loop recording is done directly to the included SanDisk 32GB micro-SD memory card, which can be expanded up to 256GB. With the included free cloud storage, along with the Nexar app (iOS and Android) recordings are uploaded so they can be deleted from the camera. 

A great feature that caught my attention is the 1-Click reporting. It works with the app for submitting an incident report directly to participating insurance companies, which includes the location with the automatic GPS. Nexar’s Groups feature can immediately alert anyone you choose along with the location if an accident occurs. $159 for the suction cup mount version, $149 for the automotive-grade adhesive dash mount

Another handy automotive accessory from Scosche is the Magic Mount Fresche Magnetic FreeFlow vent mount. The dual-purpose universal phone mount and air freshener attach to a vehicle’s air vent, which makes it a breeze to take it and out. An adjustable arm rotates 360-degrees and is adjustable to move away from the air vent. 

A replaceable air fresher cartridge (one included) releases fragrance for up to 30 days. To get the magnetic mount on your phone or case, a device safe MagicPlate is included. 

There’s also a Fresche Grip FreeFlow with an adjustable holder for smartphones up to 3.5-inches wide. $24.99

If it’s possible to get excited about a portable battery, Satechi’s Quatro wireless charging power bank is it. Consider it a charging and organization power solution, since it can eliminate a bunch of other chargers and a mess of tangled cables.

Four charging sources are built into the pocket-sized (6.4-by-2.9-by-0.7-inches) 10,000 mAh rechargeable battery. Inside is a Qi charging pad with a 5W charging speed, and an Apple certificated Apple Watch charging puck up to 2.5W. The Qi charging area can be used for wireless charging devices including iPhones, and AirPods in addition to non-Apple Qi-enabled devices.

On the side are two additional charging ports, a 12W USB-A port for connecting charging cables (not included) and a fast-charging 18W USB-C output port, which doubles as a charging port for the battery itself.

Even though four devices can be connected at once, understandably Satechi recommends only charging up to three devices simultaneously.

All this adds up to one charger for multiple devices at home or on-the-go. Apple users will also admire the Quatro’s appearance with its slick modern style. At a quick glance, it gives an iPhone appearance with its black finish and chrome sides. LED battery level indicators are built into the end for displaying how much power is remaining in the battery itself. $99.99 

GADGETS :: November 11, 2020

by Gregg Ellman :: It’s refreshing to use a new piece of technology and not stare at a screen. When I read about a new handheld game, which asked what’s small, round, and packed with 1,000 hours of fun for all ages and does not have a screen, it got my attention. Well, the answer is Jogoball, which was easy to figure out since the email was from Jogoball and parent company Yogibo.

Yogibo is a company known for lifestyle furniture and accessories with comfort and relaxation, filled with sensory and health benefits. The new line of fun technology starts with the Jogoball.

Jogoball is subscription-free and recommended for ages 8 to 98. The baseball-sized handheld smiling character gadget has a Bluetooth speaker and a gaming console built-in with 15 games with over 1,000 hours of content so no two games are the same.

Since it doesn’t have a screen, you need the companion app (iOS/Android) to choose a game. The app keeps the firmware updated, player accounts and scores

Game choices include music (use Jogoball like an instrument to make music), active (endurance workouts), mind (trivia), and social games. They are styled in games of True or False, Guess Who?, Escape Academy, Ice Breaker, and Beat Beat. Once a game is chosen an announcer introduces the game and instructions.

To play, just toss it between players, roll or tap it, just make it move to activate any of six built-in axis of motion detection sensors inside of the durable device. A protective blue Hugibo silicone skin covering keeps it safe.

LED lights on the Jogoball blink at different times based on the game being played. Inside is a rechargeable battery, and a micro USB cable is included for charging and loading free updates and new content.

Replacement silicone character sleeve covers are available for purchase ($29) to change the look of the Jogoball. $119

Twelve South’s Curve Riser is a desktop accessory you won’t think you’ll need until you use it and then you wonder how you ever lived without it.

Well, that might be a little exaggeration, but the Curve Riser premium metal stand is an outstanding addition to any work station and helps declutter every desk. It’s marketed for Apple iMacs but will work just fine with any display Mac or PC, TV, or anything needing a little lift.  Once it’s in place and your display is on top, the valuable desktop real estate it was taking up, is now back and with a little extra.

Keeping a display on top also provides a much better viewing height with a 4.25-inch rise, resulting in a more healthy neck, back, and eye-friendly, ergonomic viewing height. But you also get a storage shelf for hard drives, hubs, cables, or anything you can fit.

Small monitor-free computers, such as a Mac Mini can fit in the center shelf with an easy, open-air flowing ventilated area. Connecting cables is simple since the monitor is right there and can be run out of the back end of the open shelf where all the ports need a short connection.

Under the shelf, the base of the Curve Riser curves in to sit on a flat surface and offers more storage space.

The overall dimensions of the sharp-looking Curve Riser with a matte black finish are 4.2-inches high, 12.52-inches wide, and 9.65-inches deep. The shelf height is 1.75-inches. Displays with round or square bases up to 10-inches wide are supported.

Knowing these dimensions in advance is helpful to measure your area before purchasing. Before purchasing this or any other similar accessory, which will changed a viewing angle, consider this homework to see if it’s right for you since we all have a different workspace.

Changing the height of a monitor can be very beneficial but can also work in reverse if the angle isn’t comfortable. If it fits, the Curve Riser is a great choice. $79.99

GADGETS :: November 4, 2020

(by Gregg Ellman) I never heard of Puro Sound Labs when they emailed me offering a tryout of the PuroPro wireless, volume limiting, active noise-cancelling headphones,  so I figured, why not?

Right out of the box, without reading anything, I was impressed. With Bluetooth 5.0, they paired easily with my iPhone and in an hour’s time, they passed my comfort test since they were still on my head. The comfort comes from what Puro calls protein leather ear cushions, which rotate and are attached to a folding headband (great for storage and traveling).

Each ear has a 40 mm dynamic driver, with Puro Balanced Response Curve providing  a genuine studio-grade listening experience. Engineered to deliver audio with clear, crisp vocals and full, dynamic bass all within the 85dB & 95dB volume limits.

After a few hours of listening, I finally read up on the PuroPro and what caught my attention was Pure Sound Labs’ commitment to safe listening with a feature called volume limiting. I wasn’t familiar with the feature, but now I’m a fan. It lets you choose between the default 85dB and 95dB, to limit the maximum volume levels for protecting yourself from permanent hearing loss.

While you might not be familiar with these settings, Puro states it’s recommended by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and World Health Organization to keep volume limits for safe listening at 85dB for up to eight hours or 50 minutes at the higher 95dB setting. There is a difference and I’m sure at times everyone, just like I did, would to try the higher levels. Both settings produced a well balanced, clear, crisp sound along with full dynamic bass.

There are two levels of active noise cancellation to remove background noise and sounds. If you buy headphones with this feature, why not keep it on, which I would recommend. Pure Sound Labs says Level 1 provides a deep noise reduction of 32dB, while Level 2 will produce a general noise reduction of 15dB.

Controlling the power, volume, music selections, answering calls, pairing, and ANC are done with controls on the bottom of the right ear.

Looking back, actually, the first impression I had with the PuroPro headphones was the packaging, They arrive in an attractive lightweight wood box, and included a hard traveling case along with a 3.5 mm audio cable and another for USB charging.

With a full charge, the battery life is listed as playing for 28 hours with the ANC on and 32 hours with it off. On standby, they will stay charged for 300 hours. Five microphones are built-in, one for hands-free calls and four for ANC. $149.99

I’ve had the Anker Sprit X2 total wireless sport earphones sitting on my desk for a few months and I’m glad I finally tried them. Aside for the great audio, they instantly solved a fear I have with my current true wireless earbuds.

The sport style true wireless earbuds are built with extreme durability, which ensures they won’t fall out, at least not easily. With the Sprit X2s flexible ear-hooks, they give you the peace of mind to know they won’t fall off and roll down a street drain or anywhere else they can’t be retrieved.

But there’s a whole lot more to like about the Sprit X2s. If you’re a bass lover, these are for you. Each earbud has a 12 mm oversized driver and Anker BassTurbo. This is done with construction and technology where an acoustic chamber is built behind the driver, resulting in a powerful bass resonance. Anker’s BassUp technology uses a custom algorithm to add more bass.

With SweatGuard technology and an iP68 sweat and dustproof rating, along with the secure fit they are ideal with any active lifestyle. With the ear-hooks and their submarine structure and hydrophobic nano-coating, Anker feels they will last 100 times longer compared to other ordinary true wireless earbuds.

Handsfree calls are crystal clear with noise reduction technology to remove background sound. And with Qualcomm aptX audio technology, the Spirit X2 delivers exceptional, lossless sound quality with the Bluetooth connection.

Along with the earbuds, the box is filled with everything you need to have the right fit for almost any use. This includes Soundcore five sizes of ear-tips and three sets of ear-wings. A charging case and a USB-C charging cable are also included.

A single charge will last for nine hours of play, with another 36 hours from the charging case. $79.99

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