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Author Archive for Andy Jacobs

Kensington AbsolutePower 2.1 Fast Charge for Tablets with PowerWhiz review

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Personal mobile devices need power.  They crave it, like a politician craves…well, power.  Alright, maybe not quite like that, but it’s an inescapable fact.  And because of this, we have chargers tucked all over our homes, offices and vehicles to power up or top off when needed, which for many of us is quite often.  With seven i-devices (iPads and iPhones) floating around our house, I am always on the lookout for a better charging solution.  The Kensington AbsolutePower™ 2.1 Fast Charge for Tablets with PowerWhiz is a compact AC adapter that claims to automatically switch between 2.1 Amps and 1.0 Amps depending on the device plugged into it, from a tablet to a smartphone, which covers the range of many of our devices.   I had the opportunity to try one, so let’s have a look. Read More →

Wally holds a few cards while piggy-backing your iPhone

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Two of the items I always have on my person (other than a religious medal and my wedding band) are my iPhone and my wallet. Since I am always looking for a way to slim down my carry, and in particular a way to combine my wallet and phone, the Wally Stick-On from Distil Union recently piqued my interest. It is essentially a slim leather single pocket wallet that adds minimal bulk by attaching to the back of your iPhone (or even some cases) with a layer of adhesive. A pull-tab allows quick access to a few cards and/or some cash. Available in black or brown and for iPhone 4/4S or 5/5S, each for $39.99. For those wanting to avoid sticking something to the back of their iPhone, there is also a Wally Case version for $49.99. Slide over to Distil Union for more info.

 

SCOTTeVEST debuts three new hoodies, including limited edition Knowmatic

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Hoodies are all the rage these days, a standard of casual clothing just about everywhere. SCOTTeVEST has its own spin on this wardrobe staple, recently debuting three new products: The Hoodie-Cotton, The Hoodie-Microfiber, and the limited-edition Knowmatic Hoodie (pictured here), a collaboration with designer jeffstaple. While SCOTTeVEST previously had its Ultimate Hoodie Microfleece, these three new hoodies have been redesigned to include updated pocket sizes and configurations, thumbhole sleeves, and it appears to perhaps be a bit slimmer cut throughout. The limited edition Knowmatic Hoodie includes even more pockets, the unique, jeffstaple-inspired “dazzle camo pattern,” as well as other exclusive features – but only 350 of these will be produced. The Hoodie-Cotton and The Hoodie-Microfiber are each $75, while the limited Knowmatic Hoodie is $105. Visit SCOTTeVEST for more info.

Pack a Derringer Wallet Pen for writing emergencies

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Anyone familiar with Old West movies will recall the Derringer, a small, single-shot pistol typically used only as a last resort. Behold its pen analog, the Derringer Wallet Pen. Made from stainless steel with a brushed finish, this 4-inch long, slim retractable pen is small enough to clip into your wallet for those situations where a more standard-sized pen isn’t available. Its medium point black ink cartridge can be replaced as well. Price is $8.00. Wallet sold separately. Visit Derringer Wallet Pen for more info.

Jimmy Pocket Towel – the name says it all

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I like stuff that is compact enough to stuff in your pocket. And stuff that helps reduce waste is bonus. Example: How often do you dry your hands every day? Maybe save a few paper towels and help keep this Earth of ours a bit greener with the Jimmy Pocket Towel, a reusable, quick-drying hand towel that zips into a stylish, pocket-sized case for use whenever you’re not at home.  The machine-washable towel itself has a triple-layer wicking system and it attaches via hook-and-loop to the zip-closed, water-resistant shell to keep your pocket or purse dry. Use it, zip it, hang it to quick dry.  Or use it as a screen or glasses cleaner, sweat towel, etc.  Available in Dapper Jimmy $38, Dazzle Jimmy $38, Sporty Jimmy $24 and Knock-Off Jimmy $18, each in multiple colors and patterns. Zip over to Jimmy Pocket Towel for more info.

GORUCK Shadow Rucks and Shadow Pockets

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GORUCK makes well-designed and nearly bomb-proof backpacks and other accessories. However, one of the loudest complaints about the products is the price. Fair enough. But I am a big proponent of “you get what you pay for” and GORUCK is a prime example of that. My GORUCK GR1 backpack has been hands-down the most high-quality, durable backpack I have ever purchased and used. Not long ago, GORUCK introduced their “Shadow” line of Rucks and Pockets. These are backpacks and accessory pouches that have been removed of MOLLE webbing, laptop compartments and other features to simplify them down to the essentials, as well as reducing the price. Shadow Ruck pricing: SD15 $60, SD20 $65 and SD25 $70. Shadow Pockets pricing: S $24, M $28, L $32 and XL $36. More affordable but with standard GORUCK quality.  Ruck on over to GORUCK for more info.

RichWorks hand crafted sleeves and pouches

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I am a fan of products that help protect, organize and transport our many small EDC items and mobile devices.  RichWorks’ USA handmade products caught my eye recently. Consisting of simple, clean designs in multiple, customizable color combinations and durable, quality materials like 500D Nylon exterior (and microsuede interior on some), YKK brass zippers and copper drawstring accents. Prices start at: Accessory Bags $25, Phone Sleeves $25, Table Sleeves $35 and Laptop Sleeves $45.  Stop over at RichWorks for more info.

Flight 001 4-in-1 Adapter is simple, compact, colorful

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I do a fair amount of business travel, which typically includes a few overseas trips every year. I’m constantly on the lookout for items that will help me reduce the size and weight of what I drag through airports, on and off planes and into and out of hotels. One of the items I have to carry on trips outside the US of A is an adapter for electrical devices.  The one I have now is clunky (and boring) to say the least. That’s why the Flight 001 4-in-1 Adapter caught my eye.  It looks like a simple, function and even fun solution for the adapter dilemma. The secret is the “JA/C READY adapter system”: four color-coded blocks that can be assembled in various combinations to cover over 150 countries. Price is $25.00. Fly on over to Flight 001 for more info.

mBack de-clutters your iMac’s desk space

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Running low on desk space due due to that external hard drive, cables and other clutter? Check out the mBack from mLogic, a “Zero-Footprint Hard Drive for iMac and Apple Displays.” Designed to attach to the circular cutout in the display stand of an Apple iMac or Apple display via a threaded cap, the mBack connects via a short cable to the USB port and is bus-powered, so no desk-cluttering AC power adapter or cable is required. Combined with Apple’s automated Time Machine software, the mBack provides an out of sight, out of mind solution for keeping your hard drive backed up. And its styling is visually consistent with the iMac’s as well—that is, in case you ever need to look at it again.  Pricing starts at 500GB $79.99, 1TB $149.99 and 2TB $249.99. Visit mLogic for more info.

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miggo – Cameras Best Amigo camera case review

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Ever wanted to bring your DSLR or mirrorless camera somewhere, but thought twice because you were either worried about protecting it, or didn’t want to lug it in a bulky case?  Three chaps named Ohad, Yuval and Guy wanted to solve that problem, so they designed miggo, your “Camera’s Best Amigo,” which is current nearing the end of a crowdfunded Kickstarter campaign.  Made from impact-absorbent Neoprene foam interior padding and a flexible Lycra exterior skin, the miggo’s cleverness is that it wraps around your camera to protect it for transport, then unwraps to become a quick carrying solution.  I was provided some samples of miggo for review, so let’s check it out.

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Carry and protect your camera with Miggo

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Many people leave their DSLR or mirrorless camera at home because they have no effective way to protect their expensive device other than shoving it into a bulky camera bag.  Well, three chaps named Ohad, Yuval and Guy wanted to solve that problem, so they designed Miggo, your “Camera’s Best Amigo.”  And they’ve just launched a new Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund it.  Made from impact-absorbent Neoprene foam interior padding and a flexible Lycra exterior in multiple color schemes, the Miggo’s cleverness is that it wraps around your camera to protect it for transport, then unwraps to become a quick carrying solution.  It is available in two versions, Strap & Wrap, a padded strap that acts like a neck or shoulder strap, and Grip & Wrap, a padded strap that acts like a wrist strap, and each of these is available for DSLRs or mirrorless (CMC) cameras. Miggo attaches to your camera via a threaded screw into the tripod mount (which allows it to adjust for various camera sizes) and includes a small lens cap pocket.  Backing levels start at $30 and increase from there.  The Kickstarter campaign just launched today and ends in 30 days (March 2, 2014).

Mouve M01 watch is a bold, automatic timepiece

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Surveys may show that wristwatches are less popular than ever due to people carrying mobile phones, but I for one am glad they are still around. My favorite watch styles tend to be big, bold and heavy-duty. That’s why the Mouve M01 caught my eye. Currently in a crowdfunded Kickstarter campaign, the Mouve M01 features a 27-jewel automatic mechanical movement (visible through an exhibition back), a PVD-coated stainless steel case with 10ATM/330ft water resistance and a domed sapphire crystal. Its large face numerals are Super-LumiNova-enhanced for low-light viewing and, as a special twist, “0″ at the at the 12 0′clock instead of the typical “12″. A stitched leather band rounds out the look.  Available in three styles, Matte Black and Gun Grey (both starting at $260) as well as Stealth (already all spoken for!). Get your pledges in now, because the Kickstarter campaign only has 11 days left (ends Feb 8, 2014).

ThinkGeek Star Wars Family Car Decals review

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A Star Wars fan, I am. A ThinkGeek fan, I am as well. A great match, this is! Ahem. Well, you’ve all seen the little white stickers that adorn the rear window on so many minivans. Typically stick figures, there will usually be one for Dad, one for Mom, one for each of the kiddos and sometimes even ones for Fido and Whiskers, all in order of descending height. Cute, but let’s face it: booooring. ThinkGeek helped me find something better. No, not just better.  Awesomer.  I now show off my Star Wars fanship (Is that a word?  It is now.) by spicing up my famship (Is that a word?  Same deal.) with these Star Wars Family Car Decals. They are impressive. Most impressive. If I do say so myself. I am quite impartial about such things. Let’s take a fly-by.
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The Clean-Cut Wallet: leather + elastic = slim

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I’m a fan of the slim wallet craze.  I’ve tried a few of them, and it’s been good to minimize the amount of clutter in my wallet and to be able to carry it in my front or back pocket easily.  One drawback of many of these slim wallet designs is that you miss out on the traditional look and feel of a leather wallet in favor of man-made materials.  The Clean-Cut Wallet, a Kickstarter campaign by Troy Christiansen from Provo, UT, combines both by featuring a vegetable-tanned leather exterior and including a subtle, expandable elastic gusset in its slim, simple design.  Troy wanted the wallet to fit in just about any pocket, including the small 5th pocket in jeans, so he made the profile narrow and included a small grab tab for easy removal.  Its elastic gusset allows it to holds from 2 up to 10 cards, as well as folded cash.  Made in USA and available in five colors – brown (pictured), blue, black, burgundy, and camel.   With only 11 days left, you can become a backer on the Clean-Cut Wallet campaign for a slim starting pledge of $12.

 

 

Strong Like Bull Magnets review

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Magnets are useful and fun, affixing grocery lists and kid artwork to refrigerators the world over.  Brian Conti was tired of the work-issue magnets he was using to hang items from his office white board.  They were boring in appearance and weak in magnetic strength.  So he fired up his CAD software and designed, then built, some improved magnets that were so popular with his co-workers that they suspiciously began to disappear.  Thus, Strong Like Bull Magnets were born, and after a successful Kickstarter campaign, an updated version of them are now available to order on an ongoing basis.   Let’s check ‘em out!

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form•function•form Architect’s Wallet and Bow Shackle Bracelet (x) review

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One of our favorite topics here at The Gadgeteer are wallets.  And of course we gadget junkies have an affinity toward items that are multifunctional.  So when I was perusing the goods on a site called Huckberry a while back, and stumbled upon the form•function•form Architect’s Wallet with its minimalist design of rich, handmade leather, miniature Moleskine notebook and Fisher Space Pen holder, I took notice right quick-like.  Given the opportunity to evaluate one, along with the Bow Shackle Bracelet (x), another item from form•function•form, I immediately agreed.  Let’s check them out.

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Everki Atlas checkpoint friendly laptop adaptable business backpack review

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There are a lot of laptop bags and packs out there, but not all of them can effectively organize and carry lots of gear in a streamlined, compact package.  As a long-time messenger bag user, I’ve not had much interest in backpacks until my business travel picked back up this past year, and lugging a backpack through airports and hotels seemed easier on the shoulders and back than a messenger.  I’ve been somewhat selective about which backpacks I’ve tried out, and a few features of the Everki Atlas Checkpoint Friendly Laptop Backpack, like its adaptable laptop sleeve, put it onto my short list.  Let’s check it out. Read More →

GORUCK (finally) releases “bombproof” laptop shoulder bags

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GORUCK is all about rucks – commonly known as backpacks.  Their bread and butter are simple, yet thoughtfully-designed, nearly indestructible, made-in-USA backpacks like the classic GR1, along with other types of bags and accessories.  But one style of bag, one of the most requested since the company’s founding, has been conspicuously missing from GORUCK’s product offering.  Until now.  The GORUCK Shoulder Bag is here.  With its signature simple style and “bombproof” construction, the Shoulder Bag is made from 1000D Cordura nylon and features two interior compartments, one for a laptop, the other with a mesh zip organizer for accessories.  It also includes an external pocket, MOLLE webbing on the ends to attach modular accessories, a shoulder strap, and a Velcro strip to attach patches.  Available in two versions, the 15L for $195 and the 20L for $205, both of which can hold up to a 17″ laptop.  Expensive?  Yes, sir and yes, ma’am.  But I have a GORUCK GR1, and I can attest to the quality and durability of their products.

Divoom Bluetune-Bean Bluetooth speaker review

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We like our tunes!  And as much as we like our personal earbuds, sometimes we don’t just want to keep the music to ourselves, we want to jam out loud or share it with the folks around us.  The Divoom Bluetune-Bean Bluetooth portable speaker and speakerphone does this in a fun, compact shape and size.  It connects to all kinds of devices via its Bluetooth connection and includes a clip to attach it to your pack or belt loop for mobile, hands-free use.  Let’s check it out!

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Architect’s Wallet is rugged, simple, functional

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Want a wallet with rugged style and tough-as-nails construction, yet is function and minimalist?  Then you need to check out the Architect’s Wallet from form•function•form.  Hand crafted from a saddle-stitched piece of thick, rugged 5/6 oz leather, it eliminates the multiple layers of paper-thin leather dividers of typical wallets, in favor of minimalism and usability.  It incorporates a write-anywhere Fisher Space Pen (a favorite of many for portability and durability) and a take-anywhere extra small Moleskine Volant notebook (tiny but tough and handy) that is slightly larger than a credit card.  With space for three cards inside the notebook flap and five to ten in the thumb-slot pouch, and space for some folded cash and receipts in either slot, the minimalist design will easily fit in the front pocket of all but the skinniest jeans (you know who you are).  Available in over a dozen leather color and texture combinations.  What’s the catch for all this made-in-USA awesomeness ?  Price.  Once you’ve emptied your thick wallet on its $98 price tag, a minimalist wallet will be all you need.  Also see the related Charette Wallet, which has pen loop instead of a pen pocket.

Only Bodyweight helps you stay fit without a gym

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For us road warriors, fitting in a workout while away from home can be difficult.  Hotel gyms vary widely in their usefulness, and just plain finding the time for fitness – either while traveling or at home – can be challenging.   Only Bodyweight, a web-based, customizable, exercise program that uses bodyweight-only exercises, might help solve these issues.  It allows you to generate and save a workout on your computer in four clicks, then access it months later from your phone or other device.  Choose from six difficulty levels, three types of workouts, four workout lengths, and 250+ bodyweight exercises that you can do virtually anywhere you have a place to stretch out.  Basic membership is $12.99/month, Full membership is $18.99/month, and a full year membership is $189.90/year.  Take a tour for more details, or try any of the memberships with a 7-day free trial.

Just Mobile Highway Max dual USB car charger review

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Mobile devices are among the most useful, fun and ubiquitous of all our gadgets.  But the one task they can’t perform (yet) is generating their own power.  For that, we need accessories like chargers and cables suited to various locations where power is available.  The Just Mobile Highway Max is a charger with a 12 Volt DC input and dual USB 2.1 Amp outputs to charge two devices at once and includes a coiled USB to micro USB cable.  Let’s take a look. Read More →

Pawtec Signature Mini USB Dual Car Charger review

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Mobile devices are great.  They help save us time, enable us to communicate and entertain us, and so we take them everywhere.  But their batteries sure don’t last long enough, do they?  While we’re on the road we need a way to charge our mobile devices and preferably to charge more than one at a time.  The Signature Mini USB Dual Car Charger from Pawtec runs on a standard 12 volt DC power input like that found in a car or a plane, and it can charge two mobile devices up to a total of 3.1 amps.  This could be two phones or a phone and a tablet.  Let’s check it out.

 

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Case Logic DSLR Day Holster review

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I bring my DSLR camera with me to all sorts of places, as I never know when some crazy scene might break out that I would not want to miss photographing.  (Actually, my life typically isn’t really quite that exciting.  But I digress.)  However, a DSLR isn’t a point-and-shoot camera, and most times the bulkiness of a DSLR in a full-sized case is more than I want to lug around.  Sometimes I just want something with minimal protection that is slim, lightweight, and provides quick access to my camera.  The Case Logic DSLR Day Holster seemed to fit that description, and I recently tried one out.

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Archimedes would be moved by the STRONG LIKE BULL Bottle Opener

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The ancient Greek scientist and mathematician Archimedes is attributed as stating “Give me a lever long enough, and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I will move the world!”  If so, Archimedes would probably have liked drinking beer with Brian Conti, creator of a crowdfunded Kickstarter project to produce a unique bottle opener.  Following his successfully funded STRONG LIKE BULL Magnets project, Brian has carried its brand and design elements forward into the STRONG LIKE BULL Bottle Opener, which is substantial, to say the least.  Machined from durable, lightweight aluminum, it is 1/2 inch thick and 6 inches long and able to apply much more leverage than smaller bottle openers.  Additionally, it is designed to fit a STRONG LIKE BULL Magnet, so you can hang your Bottle Opener from the ‘fridge or any other metal object.  Brian plans to offer the STRONG LIKE BULL Bottle Opener in several anodized colors at the end of the funding period.  $35 will get you a single Opener, while $43 will get you an Opener plus a Magnet.  But place your order soon, as the funding period ends on September 23, 2013.