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Author Archive for John Schettino

verykool s470 Black Pearl Android smartphone review

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The verykool s470 is a full featured 4.7″ no contract/unlocked dual SIM Android phone marketed as an affordable “buy it and use it anywhere” device. This is a market segment that’s fairly sparsely populated in the US among the major phone OS platforms – for example the Nokia Lumia 520/521 (sub $100 no contract) in the Windows Phone 8 space, and  several older models of Android phone. The s470 delivers impressive hardware specifications and a fairly current Android 4.2 OS  at a little over a $200 price point. Of course it also cuts some corners to hit that price, but for an unlocked/no contract 3G phone it packs a lot of features into an attractive package. Read More →

SpyTec Mobius 1080P HD Action Camera review

The Mobius 1080P HD Action Camera from SpyTec is a small, 1080p HD, fixed-focus camera that is small and light (and cheap) enough to be used for capturing video in settings where size and weight are a premium, or where you’d like to record video but the recording device could be in harm’s way, or in more mundane applications, such as a dashboard cam or even a webcam. It’s not going to replace a GoPro or other underwater/wet-environment camera since it lacks a waterproof housing, but at less than half the price of the base camera, it goes a long way towards being (as the web site claims) “the Best Bang-for-Buck Mini Camera on the Market”. Read More →

Case Logic SLR Camera Backpack review

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The Case Logic SLR Camera Backpack from Case Logic aims to provide a roomy and safe place for your SLR (digital or otherwise) camera, and (based on the insides) enough lenses to shoot a wedding, football game, and several other events. You’ll likely be able to squeeze in a digital video recorder and a few point-and-shoots in there, too. The review sample that was provided by LoveCases arrived just before I headed off on a vacation, and literally days after I got myself a new Nikon DSL and some new telephoto lenses and assorted gear, so the timing was perfect. I received the black exterior/red interior one for review, but it also comes in “Anthracite” (a medium gray charcoal color) with a lime green interior. If you’re one of the five people left on the planet who doesn’t shoot everything with your cellphone camera, read on to see how the Case Logic bag fared.

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Buffalo DriveStation DDR review

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The DriveStation DDR line of external USB 3.0 drives from Buffalo (in capacities from 2 to 3 TB – the 2TB version is reviewed) make the bold claim on the box that you should “Compare to SSD!” when considering them. That claim is based on the speed up you get from the 1GB of included DDR RAM inside the enclosure which provides a dedicated buffer for the device. That buffer, along with the use of a speedy Seagate Drive using a 6MB/Sec SATA connection to the also speedy USB 3.0 connection the enclosure’s hardware also provides mostly delivers on that claim. In reality it’s not exactly SSD speed for every operation you’ll perform, but it’s noticeably faster compared to other USB 3.0 enclosures – perhaps even 2.3x faster. At least until you’ve filled the 1GB buffer.

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iPazzPort Pearl Entertainment System review

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The iPazzPort Pearl Entertainment System from EFO is yet another entry into the Android stick/set top box/media player field, using rockchip 3066  internals with the exact same specifications as the ProBox2 I reviewed earlier this year. Not surprisingly the performance of the Pearl is right on par with the ProBox2, but it includes some additional hardware and a clever charging dock for its unique remote which differentiates it a bit. The question is, it different enough to justify the higher price? Read More →

Cobra AirWave Bluetooth Music Receiver and JoyRide 2.1 Amp Intelligent Car Charger review

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The Cobra AirWave Bluetooth Music Receiver can transform any non-Bluetooth audio playback device with a 3.5mm aux port or RCA inputs into a Bluetooth enabled audio receiver. Add the JoyRide 2.1 Amp Intelligent Car Charger and you can power either the AirWave or just about any other mobile device in your car. If your mobile device of choice happens to be Android-based, you even get a single button hands-free action capability with the addition of free software from the Play store. I have reviewed several Bluetooth-enabled speakers for The Gadgeteer, so my primary testing environment for the AirWave is my 2010 Nissan Versa with factory stereo. It lacks Bluetooth audio but does have a 3.5mm Aux port. It also has a dedicated iPod/iPhone dock, which is what I usually use for music playback, so I’m interested in seeing if going wireless is better! Read More →

Amped Wireless TAN1 High Power Wi-Fi Adapter for Windows 8 review

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The TAN1 High Power Wi-Fi Adapter for Windows 8 from Amped Wireless is a USB 2.0 2.4GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter that uses high-power transmission amplifiers and high-gain antennas to boost wireless range of Windows 8 devices. I tested it out on my aging Acer Netbook to see how it stacked up against typical low-end, built-in WiFi hardware (as well as a previously reviewed USB dongle-based unit) for range. Read More →

FAVI Bluetooth PC / Tablet Keyboard and Presenter with Laser Pointer Review

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The FAVI Bluetooth PC / Tablet Keyboard and Presenter with Laser Pointer (yes, that is the actual product name) is a handy little Bluetooth keyboard with integrated touchpad and laser pointer. I guess FAVI couldn’t work Touchpad into the name. It includes some dedicated Android keys, some dedicated presentation keys, a laser pointer, and just about anything else you could need to drive most any Bluetooth-enabled device. It’s even got a wee USB Bluetooth dongle tucked inside in case your device lacks Bluetooth. It hopes to cover a lot of devices and use cases, and for the most part, it does an admirable job. Read More →

Magellan Roadmate 9250T-LMB GPS review

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The Magellan Roadmate 9250T-LMB GPS is one of the latest Roadmate dedicated GPS products from Magellan. It’s got a large 7″ touch display, live traffic, spoken road names and landmarks, video inputs for an optional rear view camera (not reviewed), Bluetooth supporting hands-free speakerphone, lifetime map updates, and more. In other words, it’s got more features then you’ll likely need, in order to cover as many bases as possible. I was able to use the 9250T on a multi-day road trip as my sole navigation system, where I used the most important navigation features – more on that after we unbox! Read More →

Sumo Emperor beanbag chair review

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The Sumo Emperor beanbag chair is certainly aptly named. This is a big beanbag chair from SumoLounge. How big? Really big. Like, massive. It’s just a beanbag chair, so this isn’t going to be the longest review ever. Did I mention it was big? Oh, and it comes in Red, or red. Yep, it’s a big red beanbag chair. Read More →

Sherwood S-9 3D Sound Bar System review

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The S-9 SD Sound Bar System from Sherwood is a full featured, multipurpose sound bar that aims to provide rich “surround” sound for small to medium sized rooms. It supports a wide range of input devices (3 HDMI, one optical, and one stereo analog input, 1 HDMI out, Bluetooth, FM radio, and USB for MP3 and WMA audio files), has decent sound levels and quality, 150 watts (6×25 watt amps) of power, support for a powered external sub-woofer, and “OPSODIS Surround Mode” (digital processing which gives the illusion of rear channel with all front mounted speakers) – all for a price ($399 list, discounted online under $350) that’s on par with a midrange 5.1 Home Theater In a Box. Can it deliver similar sound? If not, is it close enough given the convenience and clean install of a sound bar? Let’s see. Read More →

Manhattan Flyte Wireless Headset review

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The Manhattan Flyte Wireless Headset is a versatile Bluetooth/wired headset that aims to cover all the bases for your music and voice needs. All of this capability is provided in a “flip-up” ear-piece design to allow for more compact transportation, to boot. The tradeoff here is going to be the weight/size of the headset. Since it contains a decent battery (which is a plus for wireless use), it’s significantly heavier (1.5x) than a pair of wired-only Beats Solo HDs, for example.  Let’s give them a closer look. Read More →

Breffo Spiderpodium review

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The Spiderpodium from Breffo is, um, well… it’s this spider-shaped thing you can use to hold smartphone-sized objects in a variety of ways. It comes in black, blue, graphite (the review unit color), green, pink, purple, or white.  Let’s give it a look. Read More →

iDuo2Go Charge and Sync Cable for iPad, iPhone, and iPad with USB 3.0 SD card reader review

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The iDuo2Go Charge and Sync Cable for iPod, iPhone, and iPad with USB 3.0 SD Card Reader from Atech Flash Technology is a surprisingly useful if simple bit of mobile gear. It’s a USB 3.0 SD card reader, or an iPhone/iPad 30-pin sync/charge cable. Why bring two things on your next trip when one will do the job? Read More →

Brando Power Jacket for Nokia Lumia 920 – 2200mAh review

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The Power Jacket for Nokia Lumia 920 from Brando is an extended battery/case that can nearly double the battery life for the Lumia 920, if you’re willing to accept the trade-offs that come with it.  So what are the trade-offs?  Let’s look at them. Read More →

IPEVO Perch Side Security Stand for iPad review

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The IPEVO Perch Side Security Stand (shipped in safe but bland cardboard boxes) is a fixed height, adjustable orientation/angle, table/chair-side stand for your iPad (versions 2-4). You can opt for either the snap-in top or a secure top that locks the iPad in place and prevents access to the Home button, which makes this version useful for kiosk/display applications. This isn’t a stand that’s going to fit into most home use scenarios, but rather seems more interesting for a school/office/retail setting. Read More →

AutoAnything Bracketron Universal USB Power Dock Pro Flex review


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The Bracketron Universal USB Power Dock Pro Flex (from AutoAnything) is a 12-volt power adapter/device holder for most any car. The dock itself can hold devices up to 5.25″ high by 3″ wide. The long neck and sturdy base, along with standard USB port with high capacity 1.5A power, will support and charge just about anything, from any 12V power port in your car. I used the Power Dock Pro with my rather large-and-power-hungry Lumia 920 in both my tiny commuter Nissan Versa and the Land Yacht Chevy Traverse to see how well it worked. Read More →

Spy Tec Inventio-HD 720P Video Sunglasses review

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The Inventio-HD 720P Video Sunglasses from Spy Tec Gear Shop discretely record HD video with mono audio for a bit more than an hour on a single charge, in a not too cumbersome and fairly stylish package.  With a system like this, there is nothing but trade-offs – balancing weight, size of the glasses, battery life, storage capacity, and video quality along with overall cost. After using them for a while, I can say the Inventio-HD pretty much delivers. Read More →

Probox2 Mini Android PC review

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The Probox2 (sold by W2COMP) is a recent entry in the Android TV (or Android Stick PC) category. These devices fit somewhere between the size of a fat USB memory stick and a deck of cards and are full Android devices. They usually have DVI video-out, one or more USB ports, WiFi, and sometimes wired Ethernet ports, but they don’t have touch displays. The idea being that you use these devices as media/entertainment hubs for your TV, or as really inexpensive PC devices. Most of these products don’t sport well-known brand; they hail directly from several Asian factories or through distributors.  This yields low prices for a lot of power, but it also means less traditional support and the potential for a lot of do-it-yourself work digging up information or getting updates. The Probox2 boasts class-leading specs for a device in this class. Let’s see how well it delivers on those specs. Read More →

SLAPPA Velocity SPYDER PRO laptop backpack, Green Manalishi padded 15.4″ sleeve, and Damask black padded 10″ sleeve review

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This review covers three bags from SLAPPA – the Velocity SPYDER PRO 15.4″ laptop backpack, the Manalishi 15.4″ laptop sleeve, and the Damask 10″ sleeve. They are a representative sample of the wide range of styles and sizes SLAPPA offers. The 15.4″ sleeve isn’t too distinctive, but the other two show SLAPPA’s focus on unique styling coupled with durability, functionality, and protective features. If Batman was going to wear a backpack, he could send Alfred to SLAPPA to pick one out. Read More →

Misemet r.pod multifunction electronic pod and solar charger review

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The Misemet r.pod multifunction electronic pod and solar charger is not only a mouthful to say, it’s also a multifunction workhorse for off-the-grid power and light. Available in red, yellow, or green colors, it consists of the r.pod itself, which looks for all the world like a gigantic cold capsule, a handful of accessories, and a large solar panel. This collection of goodies hopes to provide you will off-grid USB power, light, mood lighting, and in a pinch, an SOS distress beacon. Read More →

ZOMM Wireless Leash review

The ZOMM Wireless Leash (available in white, pink, or black) is a small key-fob sized Bluetooth hands-free speakerphone and alarm for any Bluetooth-enabled phone or, for that matter, any other BT device that can partner with it. It’s touted as having three features: It sounds an alarm if it loses connection to its paired device, it is a hands-free Bluetooth speakerphone, and it’s a “panic button” personal alarm and alert system. I’ll look at all those functions and see how the Wireless Leash accomplishes them. Read More →

Freedom i-Connex Combi iPad case with Bluetooth keyboard review

The Freedom i-Connex Combi iPad case and stand with Bluetooth keyboard solves three common needs for either a heavy user of the iPad 2 or newer  user. In one package, you get a “smart cover” that also can contort into a stand in either portrait or landscape orientations, a heavy-duty, rubberized case, and a decent but compact rechargeable Bluetooth keyboard that stows in the case when not in use. You could probably assemble a suite of products that would do each of these functions, but in this case the i-Connex Combi is greater than the sum of its parts. Read More →

CamelBak All Clear and Eddy Bottle review

The CamelBak All Clear UV purification system and Eddy everyday/outdoor bottle offer you two choices in portable liquid haulers. Both bottles consist of all BPA-free and ruggedly-constructed materials.They come with lifetime guarantees that don’t cover damage due to use, just defects – but CamelBak does stand behind their products.

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LapDawg O-Stand Review

The LapDawg O-Stand is a strikingly versatile and equally odd-looking stand for a wide range of tablet/reader devices. It arrives in a somewhat imposing box, which hints at the scale of stand you’re about to encounter. Even so, you may not be prepared for the coiled mass that awaits inside. However, if you’ve struggled to prop, hold, position, and use hands-free (or just use without holding!) your tablet – and your tablet is just about anything from a 7″ Kindle Fire up to perhaps a new 11″ wide Windows RT tablet, then the O-Stand will be of interest. Read More →