Here at The Gadgeteer we review hundreds of gadgets and devices every year. The majority of which we shelve or give away not long after the review has been posted. There’s a limit to the number of activity trackers and headphones one person can wear. But what about those devices that we continue to use long after we’ve given you our opinion? That’s what these gadget review update posts are for. We let you know which products we liked enough to keep using or products that ended up disappointing us weeks, months or longer down the road. Just scroll to the bottom of each of the listed reviews for the latest update.
Being able to read incoming SMS messages on your Google Android Wear smartwatch comes in handy when your phone is in your bag or pocket. But if you want to send a quick reply through the watch, your only option has been to have your dictated voice message converted into text. Some people don’t like to use this option because they are self-conscious about talking into their watch in public for fear of looking like a dork. I’ll admit that I fall into that group of people. Until now there hasn’t been a way to reply non-verbally through the watch, but now you can quickly send SMS messages with Awear’s Coffee touch-based messaging app for Android Wear with a quick swipe of your finger. Coffee is a free messaging app for Motorola, Samsung, Asus, Sony and LG Smartwatches that lets you navigate 100’s of messages with a few swipes to send messages like “What do you want for dinner?”, “I’m running late”, “I just got home” and more. Some messages can even be customized further by tapping the colored text and selecting from a list of possible responses. You can download Coffee through Google Play.
To paraphrase Yogi Berra, Bowers & Wilkins P5 Series 2 headphones are deja-vu all over again. In my review of the original P5 headphones, I said that they could handle anything I had been able to throw at them. That was four-years ago and now B&W wants even more thrown at their new P5 Series 2 headphones. This should be fun.
The Pawcet is an outdoor drinking fountain for your dog. Attach a standard garden hose, and all Phideaux has to do is step on the Pawcet to get a drink of fresh water. No more worrying that the water bowl will get turned over while you’re at work! The Pawcet is $24.99 at Quirky.
Hang The Butler on the wall in your foyer or mudroom, and he’ll be at the ready to hold your gear when you get home. The top is made to hold you wallet and keys. Slide the walnut strip to the side, and a Samsung Galaxy or iPhone (up to 5.5″ tall x 2.9″ wide x .5″ ) will slide into the right side of The Butler. It’s even routed so you can run a cable to charge your phone while it’s in The Butler. You can hang your glasses, gloves, scarf, or similar items on the walnut piece extending out on the left side of the piece. When you load up your pockets again, just slide the walnut piece back into place, and The Butler will look like a piece of wall art until you need him again. The Butler is $140 at Fancy.
I’ve been using a Logitech V470 Bluetooth Cordless Laser Mouse with my MacBook Pro for a few years now. I like the size and fact that is wireless, but lately it has started behaving strangely. The cursor moves erratically on the screen when I move the mouse, making it difficult to do detailed Photoshop edits to my review images. When I was offered the Rapoo T120P Wireless Touch Mouse to review, I thought it was great timing and accepted the offer. Although I prefer a completely wireless mouse, the Rapoo isn’t Bluetooth and requires a small USB receiver, I decided not to hold that against it. Now after a week of using this mouse I’m ready to deliver my verdict.
Panny is a keychain replacement that prevents your keys from scratching the other items you carry in your pocket. Your keys fit inside compartments in the thin plastic case; you’ll pull the key out of the compartment to use it. You can attach a “string and shackle” to the Panny so you can attach your fobbed car keys that won’t fit in the compartments. The Panny Classic ($14.95) comes with the string and shackle, four slot size adjusters, and a clip attachment for clipping your Panny to your belt. The Panny + 8GB Flashdrive ($24.95) includes a Kingstone 8GB flash drive that fits into a slot on the end of the Panny. The Panny Pro ($49.95) includes the flash drive plus a Sticknfind sticker that acts as a alarm leash so you don’t leave your keys behind and a radar tracker to help you find your keys if you do lose them. Panny is available in black, pink, or blue. Learn more and place your order at panny.co .
This Multi Function Pen carries twelve tools inside its aluminum-alloy casing. It has an awl, short and long cutting blades, wire stripper or nail/staple remover, Phillips head and flat head screwdrivers, saw, stainless steel file, scraper, tweezers, a stainless fork, and even a writing pen. It fits in your pocket and functions as a normal pen, but it’s always at the ready should you need to fix something. The Multi Function Tool is available in silver, black, or blue for $12.95 at Convenient Gadgets & Gifts.
Back in July Andy told us about Bellroy’s new line of Elements wallets. Made of leather, these wallets are designed to be water-resistant for on the go active people. Now Bellroy has added another wallet to this range. It’s the Phone Pocket, which includes the same features as their original Elements wallets such as a zippered closure, water resistance and internal organization. But the Phone Pocket also gives you the ability to carry your phone in the wallet along with sections for 2-8 credit cards, a SIM card, key, and coins. Available in either black or cognac stained leather, the Phone Pocket comes in sizes styled to fit either the iPhone 5 or iPhone 6. Both sizes are priced at $99.95 and are available directly from Bellroy.
With all of the activity trackers on the market right now, new trackers need to do more than just count your steps. They need to have a unique design and features that make them stand out from the crowd. The Spire activity tracker has both a unique design and feature set. With its soft touch stone sensor, wireless charging and ability to detect your state of mind, it is one of the more interesting trackers currently available. But is it enough? Let’s take a closer look.
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Here’s a perfect holiday gift for the Star Wars fan in your life. The Death Star Bluetooth Speaker sits on an acrylic stand and measures 4.5″ in diameter and stands 6″ tall. It’s frequency response is 100Hz to 16,000Hz, and it produces 3W of power (1%THD). It’s compatible with Bluetooth 1.1, 1.2, 2.0, and 2.1+EDR enabled devices and can maintain a signal up to 30 feet away from the source. If you don’t have an appropriate Bluetooth device, you can connect to the speaker with the 3.5mm audio cable. The speaker is monophonic, but you won’t care about the lack of stereo sound once you see the Death Star light up when it’s in use. The speaker has a lithium-ion battery that provides up to 8 hours per charge. The Death Star Bluetooth Speaker is available from ThinkGeek for $69.99.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of wanting a glass of wine but the one you want isn’t at the proper serving temperature, you don’t have to resign yourself to an improperly served beverage. You can chill and aerate a serving of wine as you pour it with the Icecap. Keep the Icecap in the freezer until you need it to activate the cooling coils within. Set it on top of the wine glass and pour the wine into the Icecap. It will reduce the temperature of the beverage by up to 20o F. It’s not just for wine; you can also use it with beer, spirits, and even soft drinks. The Icecap is available for pre-order now for $34.99 at Quirky. Shipping is expected 1/09/15.
To me, nothing is better than freshly grilled meat and veggies at home during the warm (and cold) months. My boyfriend and I struggle to get our barbecue coals hot quickly using various tools, and have to wait well over 45 minutes for the coals to be ready. I recently got the chance to review the BBQ Dragon, which should help speed up this process, so I was excited to see if it worked. Let’s take a look. [click to continue…]
Sure, digital photos are great, but sometimes it’s nice to have an actual paper print of that image. Photo prints are a great way to decorate your workspace, and instant printouts make a great party favor. With the Fujifilm INSTAX Instant Smartphone Printer, you’ll be ready to print out a photo at any moment. The INSTAX is not much bigger than the size of a smart phone (4.8″ X 4″ X 1.6″, 9 oz), so it won’t be a burden to throw in your gear bag. It connects via WiFi to your smart phone or tablet, and the INSTAX Share App works with iOS and Android devices. There are several templates you can select from for your prints: Real Time, Limited Edition, SNS (Facebook and Instagram), Square (Add Text), and Standard. The INSTAX uses two CR2 lithium batteries that power the printer for approximately 100 prints. You’ll need to supply your own INSTAX Mini Instant Film. The Fujifilm INSTAX Instant Smartphone Printer is $199 at Urban Outfitters.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, working or playing, you’ll find the Bushnell Mini SolarWrap a useful product for keeping your phone charged. The SolarWrap is 18.25″ X 4.3″, but it rolls up into a small cylinder only 1.25″ in diameter to fit into your gear bag or pocket. Unfurl it and hang it on your backpack or tent to absorb the sun’s rays to charge the built-in lithium-ion battery (or you can charge it with an AC charger before leaving home), and you can charge up your cellphone at night. The Bushnell Mini SolarWrap is $59.99 at L.L. Bean.
For vloggers and narcissists there’s probably nothing worse than having your GoPro camera run out of juice right in the middle of a selfie video recording session. One solution to this first world problem is the PowerPole battery-integrated GoPro extension pole from Polar Pro Filters. The PowerPole was a recently successfully funded crowdfunded project on Kickstarter that earned 145% of their goal. This professional grade GoPro accessory is a light-weight all-aluminum alloy pole that extends from 17-30 inches to allow new shooting perspectives. The PowerPole’s internal 5200mAh Lithium battery extends the recording time of the GoPro to up to 10 hours.
The LidsLash from Common Sense Inventions Inc. is an easy to use clip that can attach to almost any hat to hold your sunglasses in place when you’re not wearing them. Instead of putting your glasses over your hat only to have them fall on the ground when you bend over, the LidsLash uses rare earth neodymium magnets to “lash” your eyewear to your hat until you need them. The original LidsLash clip is available in black or maroon for $9.95 and is priced at $11.95 for other designs. For more info visit the LidsLash site.
Let’s face it, we live in a compact on the go world. Now days if it doesn’t fit in our pockets, purses or wallets or on our key chains, we tend not to keep it around or forget it all together. This seems especially true when traveling, with all the size and weight restrictions a product needs to be light and compact, but most of all it needs to be useful. Kenu, A San Francisco company, seems to know this and have come up with the Stance Compact Tripod for iPhone’s with a lightning connector. [click to continue…]
Most of the charging bags we’ve featured on The Gadgeteer have been small clutches, just big enough to hold your phone and maybe a credit card or two and not much else. They might work as a “go to lunch” bag, but you’ll probably need to put the charging case in a bigger bag that can hold all your gear. This Large Leather Tote bag from emPOWERED is big enough to hold everything you need for the day, and it has a built-in charger in an interior zippered pocket. It’s made of 100% leather, and it measures 14″ x 11.5″ x 6.5″ and weighs just over 1 pound empty. It charges via USB, and it’s capable of charging iPhone, Android, Kindle, iPad, and other USB-chargeable devices. You’ll need to supply your own Apple charging cable, or an Apple MFi can be purchased with the Tote for an extra $19.99. The Large Leather Tote is $289.00 from emPOWERED.
Monday through Sunday we bring you a nice assortment gadget related news and reviews. If you don’t visit every day, our weekly roundup posts on Saturday night help you catch up by providing a full listing of all the articles that we’ve posted during the past 7 days. Click through to view the list.