Content Nav Menu 

Author Archive for Dave Rees

LEGO MINDSTORMS Build 4 Good Robo Challenge event report

mindstorm_ev3-1

This past week, the Gadgeteer Kid and I had the opportunity to attend the “Build 4 Good” LEGO MINDSTORMS Robo Challenge at The EMP Museum here in Seattle. The premiss of the competition was to use MINDSTORMS to solve real problems or otherwise improve someone’s daily life. I have been playing with LEGO as far back as I can remember and the Kid & I love building with them regularly to this day. It is impressive how once simple blocks have evolved into being able to create actual machines/robots capable of helping real people with real problems. Read More →

NKMOS Ultima S car mount review

nkmos_ultima-s

One of the perks of being a Gadgeteer is occasionally receiving (aka getting our grubby tech-loving hands on) a prototype of a product before the rest of the world. In this case, NKMOS has sent me one of their new all aluminum universal car mounts to give a try even before their Kickstarter campaign has closed. The Ultima Model S is similar in many ways to the original Ultima but with an all new a “front sticky-pad system” that, according to NKMOS, can securely hold devices the size/weight of an iPad. I love the original Ultima I reviewed awhile back and I continue to use it daily on my commute. My hope is that the new Ultima S only improves on an exceptionally designed product. Read More →

Adidas miCoach SMART RUN watch review

adidas_micoachsmartrun-1

Winter is nearly over and it is time to get mentally prepared/excited for getting outside and exercising. For me that means tennis and running. As I age, the latter being less appealing than it use to be. Each year I do my best to augment my excitement for pounding pavement with fun and interesting tech, engineered to help me run more efficiently and train more effectively. That said, wearable health fitness tech is all the rage these days and recently Adidas has gotten into the game with their Android based miCoach SMART RUN watch. They sent me one to give it a go and see how it fairs against my rainy/sweaty get back into running shape training regime. Read More →

iDevices iGrillmini review

idevices_igrillmini-1The Gadgeteer Kid and I are huge carnivores, as are many of our friends and family members. We barbecue year-round, especially during the summer months. As many of you aficionados of the grill know, cooking everyone’s meal to perfection can be a challenge. Well, the folks at iDevices have recently introduced the iGrillmini, a smaller, more tech-rich follow-on to their original iGrill meat/temperature monitor engineered to help you do just that. Read More →

NKMOS Ultima car mount review

nkmos_ultima-1

There are countless cheap plastic mounts designed to hold your smart device while driving in an orientation that enables your device to function handsfree while keeping both hands on the wheel. Many of these mounts work just fine and fulfill their intended purpose. But when I can avoid plastic, I do and typically look for a well designed, tech-stylish metal equivalent to get the job done. In this case, the folks at NKMOS sent me the Ultima, their CNC machined car mount which has been touted as the best in its class currently available to give it a try. Read More →

Gadgeteer: Show us your desk series – Dave

desk_front

I have been a writer here at the Gadgeteer for over a decade. Hard to believe it has been that many years. It all started with a tech question in an email to Julie that led to her eventually asking me to join the team. I believe there were only four of us back in the day. Seems like forever ago… But I digress, I will begin with my desk itself; it is a heavy solid wood, turn of the century behemoth. My wife and I bought it decades ago in pretty rough shape and refinished it together as an ‘us’ project. As you can see, I prefer to keep it as minimalist as possible. I hate clutter and am always fighting the battle of keeping it tidy. Read More →

SCOTTeVEST SeV Revolution Plus jacket review

scottevest_SeV_Rev_Plus-1

I have always wanted to try a SCOTTeVEST article of clothing for myself. Julie has reviewed many of their creations over the years.  Jackets, vests, pants, etc…all designed to inconspicuously carry your gear with you, giving each article its own space to ride along in.  I finally get my chance, SCOTTeVEST sent me their SeV Revolution Plus jacket to give it a try. It will be interesting to see how well it does against a wet, damp, windy winter and spring here in the Pacific Northwest. Read More →

Brando STAR WARS Darth Vader Lightsaber Portable Battery Charger review

DVSabePowerBank1_640

As huge Sci-Fi geeks and Star Wars fans, the Gadgeteer Kid and I have literally dozens of lightsabers kicking around our house. So, when Brando recently introduced a novelty smartphone accessory in the shape of Darth Vader’s lightsaber, I offered to take a look to see if the PowerBank was worthy enough to represent the Dark Lord.
Read More →

RAVPower Qi-Enabled Wireless Charging Pad review

ravpower_qicharger-box

I hate cable-clutter, and oh how I do love wireless charging. It is a shame Apple has not led the way in this technology, and it is one of the many reasons I have recently switched from the iPhone 5 to the Galaxy Note 3 w/Qi-enabled back cover. I have tried the Nokia 901 Fatboy pillow, Brando, and TYLT stands but have yet to try a flat plastic plate/pad style Qi charger. When Julie asked if I would like to try the Qi-enable wireless charging pad by RAVPower…my response was “but of course!!!” Read More →

Did the Cadillac of smartphone car mounts just get even better?

nkmos_ultima-s

Several years ago NKMOS introduced the Ultima, their top-of-the-line, CNC machined aluminum smartphone car mount. Well the designers/engineers at NKMOS have just raised the bar and are beginning a new Kickstarter project, the Ultima S. The Ultima S is even sleeker, more minimalistic and easier to use than its predecessor. While still made from high grade aluminum, they have simplified how their mount holds your smartphone. Instead of a padded metal clamp, the Ultima S has a “front sticky pad system” that (according to NKMOS) can securely hold devices the size/weight of an iPad. The first 500 pledges can snag the Ultima S for a mere $45.

You don’t need to be a magician to use Scosche’s magicMOUNT

scosche_magicmount-1

Scosche has recently announced their new magicMount magnetic mounting system. The magicMount system has a cradle-free design that uses high-powered magnets to hold/secure your device where you want/need it. The magicMount was a finalist for the “Best of Show” at CES this year. It is available in surface ($15), car dash/desk ($20), window ($25), and powered ($30) design configurations.

PDair Premium Tempered Glass Film Screen Protector for the Apple iPad mini review

pdair_glassscreenprotector-box

Although many today believe the Corning Gorilla glass on their smartphone is strong enough to protect itself, I love glass screen protectors.  Just the other day, a friend told me the tempered glass protector I gave (aka forced on) him as a Christmas gift had protected his screen from a long gash that some unknown object (I am betting his keys) had put on the front face of his Nexus 5. Thankfully, the screen protector did its job. The folks at PDair have jumped into the frey, creating glass screen protectors for many of today’s smart devices. In this case, they sent me their Premium Tempered Glass Film Screen Protector for the Apple iPad mini to give it a try. Read More →

Is the NKMOS Ultima the Cadillac of smartphone car mounts?

nkmos_Ultima

The Ultima is the highest quality smartphone car mount I have ever heard of or seen. NKMOS originally introduced the Ultima as a KickStarter project back in 2012, where it surpassed its initial goal many times over. What sets the Ultima apart from the rest is its all-aluminum body, extra strong suction cup, stylish design, and $100 price tag. The top-of-the-line car accessory is available in black or silver and is able to hold smart devices up to 3.31 inches (84mm) wide.

TYLT VÜ Wireless Charger review

tylt_vu-box

I have had the opportunity to try many of the variety of Qi charging stands currently available – from the no-name flat plastic slab to the Brando stand to the Nokia 901 Fatboy pillow. While all get the job done and are nice enough, they are not very polished. The engineers at TYLT have taken the VÜ wireless charging stand to the next level of quality, workmanship, and design. Read More →

COGITO ORIGINAL – the “connected watch”

cogitowatch

It seems the consensus that 2014 is the year of wearable tech. And while my vote is still out on the subject, this smartwatch did catch my eye. I noticed, not because of its high-tech look or bleeding-edge specs, but because of its classic understated design.  The COGITO ORIGINAL from ConnecteDevice Limited appears to be a relatively simple, nice looking analog timepiece. But in this case, looks can be deceiving; its black face is actually a digital display. It does not tell you the weather forecast or the Seahawks score, but it does notify you of incoming calls, texts, emails, and calendar appointments/alarms.  It’s $179.95.

The Aermate Wine and Spirits Aerator review

aermate-table

I swear my wife and her friends are in search of the perfect bottle of wine (think of it as looking for the end of the internet), and they will be on this never-ending crusade to their dying days ;). Over the years, the conversation of aeration has come up many, many times. Our various circles have tried the classic methods of oxygenating: letting the bottle stand with the cork out, using a decanter, swirling the wine/liquor in the glass, etc. The Aermate Aerator is a device designed to aerate your bottle of wine or glass of spirits much more quickly and effectively. Read More →

Brando Wireless Charger w/Display Stand review

brando_wireless_charger_w_stand-2

I believe wireless is the future of charging our power hungry smart-devices. For those of us who already embrace this near hassle-free way of juicing up our devices, our choices of charger design is a bit limited. A majority of the chargers currently available are flat slabs of plastic that you lay your Qi-enabled device on. While it charges your device, it typically fails to securely hold your device, and their horizontal orientation make using your device during charging difficult at times. Brando has designed a charging stand that improves upon both of these issues.  Their Wireless Charger w/Display Stand lightly grips your smartphone at a very useable 45 degrees. Read More →

ElementCase Ronin G10 Stealth iPhone 5/5s Case review

elementcase_ronin_stealth-box

Element Case creates some very nicely engineered smartphone cases. I reviewed their Sector 5 iPhone case about a year ago and still consider it one of the most innovative, tech-geek stylish bumper cases I have ever seen. Their new Ronin G10 Stealth bumper case for the iPhone 5/5s looks just as cool, but in a meaner, bad-boy/Dark Knight kind of way. Luckily the folks at Element Case sent me one of these special edition cases to review. Read More →

iDevice announces the iGrill2

igrill2

The engineers at iDevice have completely redesigned their award-winning iGrill. The iGrill2 was “redesigned from the ground up to create the ultimate grilling thermometer powered by Bluetooth Smart technology.” The new iGrill2 has a four-probe capacity, enabling you to monitor multiple meals at once and hopefully allowing you to cook each to perfection. The new version features an illuminated display, touch controls, and can communicate with your iOS smart-device up to 150 feet away. The iGrill2 is available for pre-order for $100 and should hit he streets by summer.

Nokia Wireless Charging Pillow (DT-901) by Fatboy review

nokia_fatboy-gn3charging2

I recently purchased a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 to see how the other side lived. I was a bit bored and tired of my iPhone 5, and after reading Julie’s review of the Note 3, I decided I wanted more screen real estate and to give Android a try. One of the features the iOS world does not have is wireless charging, a capability I believe and hope all high-end smartphones will have in the not so distant future. The Nokia Wireless Charging Pillow by Fatboy is not the classic wireless Qi charger currently on the market today. Instead of a hard plastic slab, the Nokia DT-901 is a beanbag with an embedded charging plate sewn into it. Read More →

Who would have thought… the Netflix of LEGOs

lego

Pley is a LEGO version of Netflix. At Pley you create a queue of desired LEGO sets that you want to build. They then send you one at a time, so you can enjoy building each set without the cost of purchasing them. Once you are done, you ship the set back, and they send you the next in your wishlist. According to Pley “every set is cleaned with an eco- and kid-friendly sterilization solution”, you are not charged for a missing piece or two, and each shipment includes a “Spare Piece Bag” of the 10 most-used pieces in the set. Pley has three monthly service tiers $15 for medium, $25 for large, and $39 for huge LEGO sets, all include unlimited LEGO rentals per month and free shipping each way.

Logitech Harmony Ultimate review

logitech_harmonyultimate-1

Last year Julie reviewed the Logitech Harmony Touch universal remote control that she continues to use to this day. I have used numerous Harmony remotes over the years, and from what I read in Julie’s write up, the Touch appeared to be the best yet; its size, form and screen interface are more polished and functional than ever before. Well, that has changed with Logitech’s release of the Harmony Ultimate, which combines the Touch remote and Ultimate Hub into a single integrated media control solution. Read More →

PDair leather iPad mini with Retina display case review

pdair_slippercase

PDair makes accessories for nearly every mainstream device on the market today. When you go to their website, the long list of manufacturers they cater to is impressive. In this instance, PDair sent me one of their Leather Case for Apple iPad Mini with Retina display – Business Type to take a look at. Read More →

Kanex simpleDock review

kanex_simpledock-box

I love things that help me organize and/or simplify my crazy, hectic life. I am typically overbooked and multitasking 90% of my day. So, a clutter-free world helps me be more efficient, which theoretically enables me to get more accomplished on any given day. So, when Julie offered up the simpleDock from the folks at Kanex, I volunteered to see if it would help me with my cable/device management. This 3-port, USB 3.0 USB hub with Ethernet and device charging should help me keep my desk a bit more organized and my many cables under better control. Read More →

Anyone remember X-Wing vs TIE Fighter?

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 3.50.34 PM

Anyone??? I am so not the gamer… But I use to love playing X-Wing vs TIE Fighter for hours on end, back in the day, when the only HD you had was real life, hard drives were in single digit megabytes and connectivity was two modems barely holding onto each other over phone lines. For years, I have been hoping for a modern day follow up to what I consider one of THE SciFi dogfighting games of all time. Well, it seems that Lucas Arts and Disney are doing just that; they are releasing Star Wars: Attack Squadrons in the coming year. The game is a multiplayer dogfight/battle set in the Star Wars universe and features 3 PVP modes (free for all, team dogfight, and base defense) plus ship customization. You can sign up to be part of their beta program on the website’s main page – I have. ;) Here is the trailer…  Read More →