Installing a whole home audio system used to be a chore. Now with wireless systems like the Korus V400 and V600 (reviewed on the Gadgeteer), Sonos, and others, you no longer have to deal with the hassle of hard wiring the speakers into your home. You can even buy speakers one at a time and easily expand when your budget permits. Now Denon has entered this market with their Heos wireless speaker system. The Gadgeteer was offered the Denon Heos 3 to review. It is the smallest of the three Denon WiFi speakers but one that I had the privilege to review.
There are a lot of mobile phones on the market today, but it can be impossible to find accessories designed for your particular device if you don’t have an Apple or Samsung product. Mugen Power has an extended Li-ion battery for your phone, if you happen to have the Caterpillar Cat B15Q phone. The standard battery in the Cat B15Q is 2000mAh, but the 4100mAh Extended Battery for Caterpillar B15Q with Battery Door will give you twice that power. This battery will ship on November 21, 2014. It’s $89.50 and can be ordered now from Mugen Power.
This new RealPad from AARP probably isn’t a lot different from many other 7.9″ Android tablets on the market, but it has one advantage over them. The fact that AARP is endorsing them and has some of their services set up as apps on the tablet may be enough to give tech-fearful people the confidence to think that this is finally the tablet for them. They’ll interact with the touch screen just like on other tablets. There are common apps, like Facebook, email, internet browser, and others that you’ll find analogs of on any tablet, but there are other features that may make this tablet appeal more to some people. The AARP tablet has a button for 24/7 help, helpful videos resident on the tablet or available online, or you can call for help 24/7. There are tech service people who can connect to the tablet, with permission, to fix problems you’re having, too. The RealPad has a 1.2GHz Intel dual-core processor, 1GB of memory, and 16GB of storage, and it runs Android 4.4. It has front and back cameras (2MP and 5MP, respectively), a 7.85″ touchscreen with 1024 x 768 resolution, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth v4.0, built-in speakers, GPS, and a microSD slot for expanding storage. It comes pre-loaded with a variety of apps (many of which you can delete and replace with preferred apps, if desired), and you can add more from the Google Play Store. The RealPad is available for $189 from AARP, Walmart online, or from Walmart stores. Purchasing the RealPad tablet gets you a free one-year membership in AARP or extends your existing membership by a year.
The Colonel Littleton No. 43 Mailbag Briefcase is a gorgeous shoulder bag reminiscent of the mail pouches carried by pony express riders from days before email and the internet. This bag is made in Tennessee of vintage brown polished leather with a very soft dry-milled leather flap that has brass shield on embossed with the bag’s serial number. This bag is large enough to hold a laptop along with your daily gear. Let’s take a closer look at this luxury gear bag.
The Light Casting Gloves will keep your hands warm this winter. They have a “wind- and water-resistant outer shell, polyester insulation that keeps hands warm, and a brushed tricot lining that is soft and smooth against hands.” They also have a synthetic leather palm for improving your grip and elastic at the wrist to keep out cold air. They have fingertips “lined with a conductive material that mimics human skin, affording complete control of touchscreens while the gloves are on.” Finally, each index finger has LEDs secured into the base of the finger that are powered by CR2032 batteries and are switched on by pressing a button on the wrists of the gloves. The included set of batteries will give you about 9 hours of light to see what’s in the bottom of your bag or to help you get your door unlocked. The Light Casting Gloves are available in sizes small through XL for $69.95 a pair from Hammacher Schlemmer.
Devoted fans of Mr. Spock will love this business card holder. The Bronze Spock Business Card Holder is apparently only bronze colored, because it is made of Polystone. It measures 4.25″ x 2.5″ x 6.5″. It shows Spock’s hand in his famous Vulcan salute, and the base displays his “live long and proper” salutation. You can use this as a purely decorative element, or it can function as a business card holder. The Bronze Spock Business Card Holder is an officially-licensed Star Trek desk accessory. It’s available for $34.99 from ThinkGeek. It will make a perfect present for you or your Star Trek loving friend.
Today’s buzz is all about the Nexus 6 becoming available for pre-order, but at a sky high price of $649 for the 32GB version and $699 for 64GB, I’m not ready to take that plunge without trying one first. The DROID Turbo by Motorola, announced yesterday by Verizon Wireless and going on sale tomorrow, seems like it offers a couple advantages over the Nexus 6 (also made by Motorola) all while keeping a reasonable price of $199.99 on contract. The DROID Turbo features a 21MP camera vs. the 13MP on the Nexus 6. It also boasts 2 day battery life and super fast charging that will provide 8 hours of battery life after only a 15 minute charging session using the included turbo charger. The DROID Turbo is also going to be available in 3 styles / colors. There’s a black ballistic nylon version, and red and black metalized glass fiber versions. Other than the fact that the Nexus will have the latest and greatest version of Android 5.0 Lollipop instead of KitKat 4.4.4 on the Turbo, the Turbo only has a 5.2″ display vs. the 5.9″ display on the Nexus 6. The smaller screen has the same number of pixels as the giant Nexus 6, just in a smaller package. This might actually be more attractive to some people who may be afraid that the Nexus will be too large for them. So what do all of you think? If you were going to buy a brand new top of the line Android smartphone today, which one would it be? I’m still really happy with my LG G3, but with all the new phones coming out, I’m starting to get a bit antsy.
When a headphone company is primarily known for making products that sound better than other brands more expensive offerings, what happens when they create a premier model that’s not so inexpensive anymore? How much better can it be, especially when compared to their already excellent, but less costly models? Will this new in-ear headphones sound that much better? These are interesting questions and ones that need to be answered if you’re going to spending your hard earned money on the new RHA MA750i In-Ear Headphone.
All the single ladies and gents who like to use a stylus but who can never find the thing when they want it need the Ring Stylus from Kikkerland Design. This stylus fits a size 8 finger, or you can wear it on a keyring or around your neck on a chain, so you’ll always know where it is. It should work with any capacitive-touch screen. The Ring Stylus is $15.00 at Kikkerland Design.
(nods to Beyonce for the borrowed lyrics!)
If normal switch plate covers are too mundane for you, try these Toggle Switch Plates from UncommonGoods for a little Rube Goldberg steampunk style. They are designed by father and son Lance and L J Nybye. The plates are made with brass hardware and laser-engraved plywood. You can attach them over your existing standard switch plates with the screws you already have. The Toggle Switch Plates are available in two single-switch styles ($40 each) and one double-switch design ($50) from UncommonGoods.
The TYLT VÜ Wireless Charger that Dave reviewed earlier this year is still my favorite Qi charger. I ended up buying one after reading his review and have been happily using it with my LG G3 on my night stand next to my bed every night. I’m happy to report that TYLT has just announced two new Qi wireless chargers: the VU Wireless Charging Car Mount and the VU SOLO. The car mount is a hands-free mount that doubles as a mobile wireless charger for your Qi enabled devices. It features gripping arms and a three coil system for easy placement of the phone which ensures it will work with all Qi enabled phones. The VU SOLO charger is an easy to use flat dock for your desk. It connects to an open USB port on your computer via the attached micro USB charging cable and features a special alignment system called ALIN that will ensure that your device always lines up with the charging coils. Both chargers will be available in four colors later this year. The VU SOLO will be priced at $39.99, while the VU Wireless Charging Car Mount will cost $79.99. Visit TYLT for more info.
I take good care of most of my tools and equipment, but my garden hose is an exception. I think it’s because we share a mutual dislike. The hose kinks when I uncoil it, then tangles and resists when I try to put it back neatly. And the connections between hoses and nozzles always manage to hit me with a well-aimed spray to the face. I get my revenge by doing stupid things that make the situation worse, like leaving the hose outside all last winter. However, after evaluating the Gilmour LeakFree Starter Kit – and staying (mostly) dry in the process – I have undergone a very positive attitude adjustment. [click to continue…]
The Mini Eco-i-Lite from the Container Store plugs into an outlet and can serve as a dim nightlight. If you need a flashlight, just lift the cylinder out of the charging base and turn on the LED flashlight. If you lose power, the flashlight comes on automatically, and it can provide 7 hours of continuous light. The Mini Eco-i-Lite is $12.99 at the Container Store website or retail locations.
If you had your interest piqued by the Amazon Fire TV that was released earlier this year, but you didn’t want to pay $100 for it, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is for you. It’s only $39, but Amazon Prime members get it for only $19 if they order before 6:00 a.m. (PT) October 29, 2014. The Stick has a dual-core processor and 1 GB of memory – 4X the storage and 2X the memory of Chromecast. It has a lot of the same features as its bigger sibling: voice search; ASAP to learn what movies and shows you like so they start instantly without having to wait for buffering; the ability to “fling” your favorite apps to your TV’s bigger screen or mirror your phone or tablet to your TV; and access to Netflix, Amazon, and other services seen above. With the included remote or the free app on your Android device (iOS coming soon), you have all the controls you need to easily search, navigate, and play games. If you don’t already have Amazon Prime, you’ll get a free month of the service so you can try out the Amazon Instant Video and Prime Video offerings. The Fire TV Stick will be released November 19, but it’s been so popular that orders placed now are expected to ship after the release date. Don’t forget to order before 6:00 a.m. (PT) October 29, 2014 to get it for only $19 if you’re an Amazon Prime member.
It must be Fitbit day at The Gadgeteer because earlier this morning Janet showed us a fancy ladies pendant and bracelet holder for the Fitbit Flex activity tracker and now I am going to tell you about three brand new trackers that were announced earlier today. The Charge, Charge HR and Surge are the latest additions to the Fitbit family of fitness trackers. The Charge and Charge HR look almost identical but the HR version features the PurePulse Optical Heart Rate technology which gives a continuous, automatic wrist-based heart rate tracking that helps provide more accurate calorie burn info. Both the Charge and Charge HR also track steps, stairs climbed, sleep and show incoming calls from your paired smartphone. The Charge is available right now in four different colors for $129.95, the Charge HR will be available in 2015 for $149.95.
The new Fitbit tracker that I’m most interested in from today’s announcement is the Surge. The Surge tracks all the same features as the Charge, but it is being touted as a fitness super watch because it has GPS for stats like pace, distance, elevation, split times, route history and workout summaries. This fitness watch also features continuous wrist-based heart rate, all-day fitness tracking and smartwatch functionality. It has a large backlit touch screen that displays fitness info along with caller ID and text message alerts. The Surge can even be used as a mobile music controller for your smartphone and will run up to 7 days per charge. The Fitbit Surge will be priced at $249.95 and will be available in early 2015. Visit Fitbit.com for all the details.
If you enjoy playing games on your smartphone, the iPega Bluetooth Controller with Touchpad adds a traditional gaming controller to your mobile device for added fun and play-ability. The iPega which does not require any special drivers, is compatible with Android and iOS devices and features a built-in 2 inch touch pad. A special telescopic holder which can support up to a 6-inch device attaches your device to the controller. It’s powered by a lithium battery which offers 20 hours of game play per charge. The built in touchpad works with most Android single touch games such as Fruit Ninja, Pleants VS Zombies, Flappy Bird, Angry Birds, Sky Force, Airattack HD, Cut the Rope, etc. The traditional controller buttons work with a large variety of iCade games which emulates consoles like the N64, Gameboy and more. The iPega Bluetooth Controller with Touchpad is available from Brando for $44.
So, you now own the ultimate mobile device and have decked it out with the best accessories. But what about portable speakers? If you are Bang & Olufsen, you design the BEOPLAY A2. The A2 is a 10.1″ x 5.6″ x 1.7″, 2.4 pound, rechargeable, Bluetooth 4.0, extruded aluminum speaker designed to be both rugged and elegant. With a short leather strap and an optional long strap, you can carry the A2 just about anywhere. The A2 has 180 Watts of power with two full range drivers, two tweeters and boast up to 24 hours of playback. Available from the B&O Play webpage in black, grey or green, the $399 A2 may be just what you need to bling up your appearance, I mean your mobile device’s appearance.
Time for another review for another action camera. This time this review is for SJCAM’s Sports HD DV 1080P camera, the SJ4000. At first glance, this camera resembles the look and feel similar to a GoPro camera. Many available action cameras on the market have taken a cue in design and form from GoPro cameras and this camera is no different. So, let’s take a look at how well this camera measured up and performs.
If your coffee is the key to a good morning for you, and if the cost of getting it your way is no object, then the Blue Bottle Coffee Travel Kit from Timbuk2 Bags is the perfect addition to your travel gear. The kit is packed in a Timbuk2 bag with 14-oz waxed canvas exterior with genuine leather trims and a felt-lined interior to keep your brewing gear pristine. Inside the bag is everything you’ll need to brew a perfect cup: Porlex Mini Hand Grinder with stainless steel housing, conical burrs, and adjustable grind setting to grind your beans; Blue Bottle Travel Dripper, which is a compact, non-leeching, durable plastic cone that serves as a drip brewer; two Falcon Enamelware Tumblers in two colors of porcelain-covered steel to collect the coffee as it drips and to serve as your coffee cup when paired with one of the two felt Timbuk2 Zarfs cozies that snap around the tumblers; and a pack of 100 compostable, hemp-based #1 filters. You’ll receive a 2-oz sample of Blue Bottle’s Three Africans drip blend coffee to get you started, but then you can add your own coffee beans to the travel kit. You’ll be able to make a cup of coffee the way you want it wherever you can get hot water. The Blue Bottle Coffee Travel Kit is $179 from Timbuk2 Bags.
Ladies, do you love wearing your Fitbit fitness tracker but wish it looked more stylish and less rubbery and sporty? If you’d like to have a Fitbit that looks like jewelry, then check out these pieces developed by Tory Burch in collaboration with Fitbit. The Fitbit Metal Hinged Bracelet and the Fitbit Fret Pendant Necklace hold the Fitbit tracker in a stylish metal fretwork frame. Both pieces are made of stainless steel coated with a shiny gold color. The bracelet has an interior circumference of 6.7″; the necklace comes with a 40″ matching chain. Both Fitbit accessories are available to pre-order at Tory Burch now. The bracelet is $195, and the pendant is $175. Shipment is expected by 11/30/14. You’ll need to provide your own Fitbit, as these accessories do not include the tracker.