This replica of Darth Vader’s lightsaber doubles as an external battery pack that can charge all your USB devices. It is an officially licensed Star Wars Series power charger featuring an rechargeable 2800mAh battery with 5V@1.2A output through its full sized USB connector. It’s controlled with an On/Off switch that also toggles four red LEDs on the business end of the lightsaber. Any Star Wars geek would love this power bank, which can be purchased for $49.90 from Brando. May the juice be with you.
Of all the product reviews that I wrote last year, I posted the most reviews about activity trackers. I wear an activity tracking device every day for two reasons. First, I like to see how many steps I’ve walked each day and two, I earn points that I can exchange for money through my day job. Money is always a good incentive to get active right? But what about our furry friends, how do we make sure they are getting enough exercise? With a pet activity tracker of course. The Petbit is a small device that attaches to your dog or cat’s collar, that will track their activity based on a points system (think Nike Fuelband). The Petbit features wireless syncing to a smartphone and is waterproof. The collected data will also display correlations between your pet’s activity and external influences like temperature or daylight. The Petbit will be available in March, but you can pre-order now for €79.99 ($108 US). So it’s not cheap and another downside is that it has to be charged once a week. A free alternative to the Petbit would be taking your dog for a walk once a day and chasing your cat around the house with a laser pointer.
The USB Power Current/Voltage Tester from Brando lets you easily measure USB power and device operating current/voltage. Just plug the small USB adapter between the device and your computer or AC outlet and the built-in display shows current and voltage. It will work with smartphones, tablets or any devices with a USB charging port. It is able to read voltages from 3.5 to 7V and current from 0 to 3A. The USB Power Current/Voltage Tester is priced at $10 and is available from Brando.
Bem Wireless is a consumer electronics new company that was started in 2012 and has several audio / speaker related products on the market. This week at CES in Las Vegas, they introduced a new speaker that is so small that you wear it like a watch. It’s called the speaker band and features Bluetooth connectivity that will allow you to use the speaker band as a speaker phone for your smartphone. You can leave your phone in your pocket or purse and answer calls with the speaker band. Read More →
QooQi from 2040 Design Studio is a successfully funded Kickstarter project that earned three times their funding goal back in September 2013. But what is a QooQi (pronounced: cookie) you ask? It’s a small, easy to use, stick-on cable organizer made out of aluminum with knurled sides and edges. Read More →
The Tao Wellshell is an exercise device that is small enough to hold in your hand. It has a built-in pressure sensor that allow you to do isometrics exercises at your desk, on the airplane, while watching TV, or anytime you like. Isometrics help tone muscles with resistance without lifting weights. You use your own strength to press against the Wellshell and an audible coach tells you when to press harder or hold. This device helps you work your torso, abdominals, front
, arms, shoulders and more. The built-in sensors record your vital statistics (steps, miles, calorie intake, heart rate) and sends them to your Android and iOS devices for analysis and display. So far there’s no info on pricing or availability for this device, but keep an eye on the Tao Wellness site for more details.
I’ve been impressed by Withings fitness gadgets for years now. Ever since I first tried their wireless bathroom scale, I was hooked. Their Pulse activity tracker is my favorite pedometer due to ease of use and extra featurs like a heart rate monitor. Withings continues to offer health and fitness gear that provides more features for your money. Today they have unveiled a new sleep tracking device called Aura. What I love about the Aura is that you don’t have to wear an uncomfortable tracker module on your wrist like most sleep trackers on the market. Instead the Aura uses a pad that goes under your mattress. A second part to the Aura is placed on your night stand. Both devices work together to track body movements, breathing cycles, heart rate, noise pollution, room temperature and light levels. It doesn’t stop there though. The Aura doesn’t just tell you about your sleep patterns. It actually improves them by using light and sound programs that will adapt to your personal body clock and positively impact your sleeping conditions. They relax you while falling asleep, and stimulate you upon waking up.
Withings Aura will be available this Spring at Withings.com for $299.
If you’ve always liked the convenience of a 3-ring binder, but prefer the look and feel of a hardbound book, Sorta notebooks give you the best of both worlds. There are two parts to the Sorta system. The notebinder and the stationary. The notebinder is basically the cover and spine of the book and is available in a variety of colors and styles. The secret is in the spine. It acts like a long binder clip to hold the pages, or as Sorta calls them, stationary. The stationary packs come in many styles. There are lined packs, blank packs, grid packs, packs with musical staffs, packs with ukulele chord diagrams and many more. The idea is that you can build your own custom notebook with 40 – 60 different pages. But the best feature of all is that you can rearrange, remove and add pages as needed. The notebook adapts to you instead of the other way around. The Notebinders are priced from $15.95 – $28.95 and the stationary packs are priced from $3.49 up to $5.49, with most packs having 25 sheets each. You can buy directly from the Sorta online store.
At the end of each year, I like to take a look back at the reviews we’ve posted to see which ones were the most popular with you, our readers. Sometimes it’s a surprise and other times it’s not. Let’s see how it has turned out for this year.
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Welcome to the new site layout for The Gadgeteer! Please don’t trip on all the sawdust, nails and lumber laying around as we work out the kinks. We’re aware of several issues, but it’s after 1am and we’re all calling it a night. Any wrinkles should be ironed out by the end of the day tomorrow… or I guess I should say by the end of today.
12/29/13 12:55pm EST
Most of the menus are NOT working correctly at this time. Should be resolved by end of the day today.
95% of the menus are now working.
Please report any problems as a comment to this post.
I’m very excited to tell you that later tonight, if all goes as planned, the site will get a much needed facelift. We’ve been working on this for a few months, so I hope you will like the results. The site may be offline for an hour or longer starting around 7pm EST tonight. Send us some good thoughts that the update goes without a hitch! Of course, you are encouraged to leave feedback once the new layout is up.
It’s now my turn to share my favorite gadgets of 2013. Looking back on all my reviews from this year, I thought it would be tough to choose just a few favorites, but when it comes right down to it, there are only a handful of products that I’m still using regularly since the reviews were posted. Read More →
Whether you have older parents and grandparents or you yourself are older and would like to give your loved ones piece of mind, Lively is a system that offers independence while also respecting privacy. Lively doesn’t use wireless cameras or microphones. It uses small sensors that can be attached to keys, a pillbox, the refrigerator and more. These sensors can track movement / activity and report back to a hub that uses built-in cellular service for uploading activity data wirelessly. No home internet connection or cellphone plan is required. A special app can then be used to easily view status so that you see if your loved one has been taking their medicine, eating, and staying active.
A second part of the Lively system is called LivelyGram. This is a twice a month mailing to your loved one that has pictures and messages that have been shared through a favorite social media network. LivelyGram is an easy way to make sure that your family members who don’t use the internet can keep up with your events and happenings.
The Lively system is priced at $149 and comes with 2 months free service. After the 2 months have expired, the service is pay-as-you-go at $19.95 per month with no contracts and no-hassle cancellation at any time.
Did Santa bring you a shiny new iPhone, or Android phone for Christmas? Well, here’s your chance to win a handy dandy ChargeAll 3-in-1 Portable Keychain Power Bank for it. This small gadget includes an 8GB flash drive, an 800mah backup battery and a built-in sync and charge cable. Continue reading for full contest details. Read More →
About a year ago, I reviewed the Switch Modular Pocket Knife from Quirky. I loved the concept of a customizable Swiss Army style pocket knife / multi-tool, but found that the product itself needed a lot of work to be even remotely usable. Now there’s an updated version of the Switch that seems to have addressed some of my concerns and complaints. This new set comes with 12 interchangeable tools that include: a blade, wood saw, serrated blade, bottle opener/flathead screwdriver, micro flathead screwdriver, micro Phillips screwdriver, file, Phillips screwdriver, pliers, scissors, LED flashlight, and mirror/tweezer/pick/pen. From the images, it appears that they’ve ditched the plastic tools and that they’ve updated the other tools to be a little more robust. User reviews are sparse so far, but the few on their site are mostly positive. The Switch Modular Pocket Knife is available from Quirky for $89.99
2013 is almost history, but before it ends, we have another installment in the team’s list of favorite gadgets for this year. Do any of their favorites match yours? Read More →
Christmas day is finally here and that means that all of the hubbub, stress and craziness leading up to today is behind us. Now we can sit back, take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the day with family and friends. We’re going to take a break from our regular posting schedule today, but we will be back tomorrow with a normal dose of gadget related news and reviews. Enjoy the day and let us know if Santa brought you any awesome gear!