GADGETS :: December 18, 2019

by Gregg Ellman

(@greggellman)

I loved a reference Twelve South made in a press release about some existing USB-C hubs and how they create a rat’s nest of cables spilling out the side of your MacBook. I laughed at that because that’s my situation.

So I finally took the new StayGo USB-C Hub from Twelve South to task to clean up my cable mess and as expected, it was perfect.

The metal hub (.59-by-5-by-2.44-inches) has connections for (3) USB-A 3.0 ports, mircroSD and SD memory cards, 4K HDMI and gigabit Ethernet.

Once you have everything connected, the hub connects to your computer with one removable cable, which is the key. Other hubs, many of which I’ve tried, have a permanent cable requiring you to keep the hub connected to your laptop or within inches.

The stay feature of the StayGo hub lets you attach the included 3-foot USB-C connecting cable so you can keep the hub and all the connecting cables away from your laptop to avoid the immediate mass of cables.

For the Go feature, the hub includes a short travel sized 6-inch USB-C cable for connecting the hub when you do want it close by. The cable is always with you since it stores inside of the hub.

Both cables are high quality and durable. The longer cable has a 90-degree connector, which is great for keeping it in tighter areas.

Everything connected, powered and worked perfect. And clutter-free just like I was promised.

www.twelvesouth.com $99.99

In addition to the great sound Edifier TWS5 true wireless earbuds produce, the 32 hours of battery life was impressive but far from the only great feature.

While true wireless earbuds are becoming a commonly used sound source and as with most others models you get a charging/storage case, extra ear tips and a cable to charge the case.

For you, the main decision when buying earbuds should be he sound, and I can say the Edifier TWS5 at high and low levels brought everything crystal clear right into my years. I had the SirusXM Holly 24-hour holiday music station on while using these for a few days, which brings music from several generations and all types of sound. The Edifier TWS5 didn’t disappointed on any genre.

The built-in battery will give you about 8 hours of playback before a charge is needed, which you can get another 24-hours from the included magnetic charging case. It has an LED indicator on the case to show you the battery level.

The Bluetooth 5.0 earbuds are 1PX5 water rated, so you’ll be OK to use them in a slight rain or sweaty workouts. Ergonomically designed, so once you get the right foam ear tip that fits (several sizes included) comfortably, you’ll almost never know they are playing in your ears.

They are loaded with other features like automatic connection and listening with one or both earbuds. Each earphone has multi-function controls for music choices, volume and answering call.

They also have cVc Mic Technology for builtin mic clarity and the elimination of background noise. One of my callers during my testing even mentioned how clear I was on the call, without them knowing I was using a new product.

www.edifier.com $79.99

A new Kodak branded Smartphone Photography Kit gives you a nice choice of accessories to help make your smartphone photography more efficient and fun with better results. The multi-purpose kit comes travel-ready in a hard case and includes a 2-in-1 lens with an ultra wide and macro, a tripod, remote shutter and portrait light.

The lens clips right over the existing lens on your smartphone and it’s easy to take on or off and switch between the two. The wide angle lens is 18 mm wide with a 100-degree angle of view, which really helps when you’re taking a group photo or you want to include more of an area in a selfie. With the macro, getting closer to what you’re photographing makes your images a lot more interesting.

The portrait light gives you a small amount of light to brighten up faces when there’s just not enough available light. It works with the rear and front facing camera and is nice to have with you for changing light conditions.

The compact 8-inch tripod can be used for both horizontal and vertical images and includes a detachable Bluetooth remote shutter. Your smartphone is held in a spring loaded bracket on the tripod. Setting up the remote shutter is like pairing any other Bluetooth device and the top of the tripod has a 90-degree tilting ball head to let you get any angle needed for an image.

A lens pouch and a USB charging cable for the light are also included.

The Kodak accessories are produced by Eye Caramba Ltd., an authorized brand licensee of Eastman Kodak Company.

www.kodak.com $69.99

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