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Author Archive for Mark Adkins

XO Skins Screen Protectors Review

There sometimes seems to be a war or an evolutionary struggle between device screens and screen protector makers. Back in the early days of Palm PDA’s, the screens were rather soft and you used a plastic stylus to write on them. They scratched easily so most of us used and recommended screen protectors. Store bought, home-made, self-adhesive, wet film, rigid, soft… there were so many variations!

Now, screens are better but maybe even more exposed to harsh elements – and screen protectors have evolved as well. I was given the chance to try the XO Skin Screen Protector.

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Ogio Renegade RSS Backpack Review

I am a bag-aholic. Somewhere deep in my reptile brain I seem to be convinced that if I find just the right bag, I can get perfectly organized and my life will make sense.

OK, so far that has never happened, but the Ogio Renegade RSS backpack has come closer to my ideal than any bag I have tried before.  In fact, to call this a ‘backpack’ is to do it a disservice. This thing is a mobile warrior battle bag!

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Honeywell Febreze Freshness™ Cool & Refresh Fan Review

The HY-204 Febreze Freshness™ Cool & Refresh Fan from Honeywell promises to cool, eliminate odors, and freshen for whole-room comfort. Big promises for a small tower fan, so can it deliver? Read More →

SpiderArm iPad Stand System Review

One of the weirdest ‘Catch 22’s’ of portable electronics is where do you put it when you are not holding it? Whether it is because your hands are full, your desk space is limited, or you have troubles holding things, we often crave some way to hold our devices just right exactly there. The SpiderArm iPad Stand System is an interesting option that offers a lot of flexibility for a good price.

I was especially interested in it as it looked like a useful option for clients I work with who have physical challenges, but who would really benefit from having an iPad mounted on their wheelchair or desk. Read More →

Bay Alarm Medical Personal Alarm Response System Review

A lot of people worry about getting help if something happens to them away from a phone. Maybe they are aging or becoming confused or forgetful. Perhaps they have limited mobility or a disability. Maybe they are concerned family members worried about their loved ones.

One popular option is an emergency dialing system, like the Bay Alarm Medical Personal Alarm Response System, which allows you to push a button, then be connected to an emergency dispatcher who can determine what sort of help is needed and contact the right people.  Bay Alarm sent one of their systems to The Gadgeteer for review. Read More →

Desk Pets Tankbot Review

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Behringer Europort EPA40 Handheld PA System Review

One of the most valuable public speaking tips I have ever gotten was that sheer volume is a powerful ally. It allows you to roll right over room or ambient noise, it allows the listeners to more easily focus on the message, it allows you to better modulate your tone for effect, and it gives you something to do with your hands if you can’t or don’t want to use a headset or lapel mike.

Since I teach classes part time, and since the classes are often in less-than-perfect settings, I have long wished for a good portable PA/music system, so I jumped at the chance to try out the Europort EPA40 handheld PA system from Behringer. Read More →

Attop YD-711 Avatar Licensed RC Helicopter Review

Sigh. I love remote control stuff, especially helicopters, but I may well be the worst RC ‘copter pilot ever. I got the cool looking YD-711 2.4GHz 4-channel Avatar licensed RC helicopter from Attop, and broke one of the blades within about 10 minutes of actual flight time. More on that later. Read More →

CamelBak Groove Insulated 0.6L Filtration Bottle Review

I’m a big believer in using refillable water bottles to stay hydrated, lose weight, be environmentally conscious, and so on, so we usually have half a dozen 32oz. wide-mouth bottles in the fridge. I’ve been thinking about upgrading my system though.  Our local water is a little hard (but still pretty tasty), but about once a month I need to take a 5.5 hour long trip (each way) along boring Interstate and deal with whatever water I get along the way or at the destination. I decided to look for a travel bottle that would fit the cup holder, be at least a little insulated, have a big enough mouth to allow for flavorings or ice, incorporate a filter, and allow drinking without blocking my view of the road. I figured such a bottle would also be useful for hiking and so on.

The CamelBak Groove Insulated Filtration bottle looks like it would satisfy all of these needs, and recently I was offered the chance to review one!  Let’s give it a look. Read More →

SwissRoomBox – A mini-RV inside your car!

Earth Day (April 22) not only reminds us to think about our impact on the Earth, it also signals the beginning of the travel season, so it is only natural to think about how to vacation in a more eco-friendly manner. How about a way to use your car, SUV, or mini-van instead of a big old RV? The SwissRoomBox is a series of modules that fit in your car and act as a kitchen, dining room, bathroom, and bedroom in one package.

The bright red unit sells for about $4,000, but includes everything you need, including the dishes! It straps into your car and can be installed or removed in minutes and just needs an electrical connection to be complete. The power adapter runs a pump, heater, and power outlet.

SwissRoomBox configurations

$4,000 USD may be a bit steep, but when you compare it to the costs of buying and operating an RV, it makes more sense. I’ve seen and thought about lower-tech versions of this idea, but this is by far the coolest version I have seen!

BufferBit Review

A drill-mounted polishing/buffing device may not be as cool or as ‘gadget-y’ as a lot of the stuff we review here, but there is something to be said for a well-made device that does its designated job very nicely.  The BufferBit kit is one of those not-so-fun but necessary items that keep you looking professional. Read More →

Eton Axis ARCPT300W Emergency Radio Review

A reliable emergency radio radio is a great idea for anyone. Something that will work even if you forgot to replace the batteries and that can get the weather bands can literally be a lifesaver in an emergency. The Eton Corporation, in conjunction with the American Red Cross, offers several radios that fit this need. I was sent the Eton Axis to put to the test. Read More →

ThingSling Review

I’ll admit that when I saw the ThingSling for the first time, I was not impressed – a small strap for the back of your phone? More basically – something else somebody wants to stick on my phone? I already have a case that demands I adhere some micro-Velcro to it, and a car mount that needs a metal disk stuck on there, now a strap? Come on.

However, I am really pleased to tell you that the ThingSling is actually a cool item! Read More →

ChargeAll Wall Charger Review

“One Charger. For All Your Devices.” The ChargeAll Wall Charger combines a wall wart-type plug with about six feet of cord and ten built-in tips along with ‘fast charge technology’ that allows this one device to charge literally hundreds of different devices – phones, MP3 players, hand-held game systems, etc. – without additional tips or cords to lose or forget.

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CRKT’s Guppie and Eat’N Tool Double Pack Review

Sometimes you find the oddest things in the comments sections. In a review about an interchangeable blade multi-tool, someone mentioned the CRKT’s ID Flex tool. When I looked that tool up, I was reminded about a tool I have long been interested in – the CRKT Guppie, a multi-tool designed around an adjustable wrench instead of pliers. More interestingly, I saw a comment about a combo pack only sold at Walmart with the Guppie and the ‘Eat’N Tool‘. A quick sidetrip to Walmart’s page showed that they were both in stock, and only $19.95. Amazing considering that the Guppie usually sells for $39.95 itself!

This seemed like a great opportunity to give this tool a try!

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Freedom Input’s Freedom Pro Bluetooth Keyboard Review

Back in the day when Palms and PDAs ruled the portable electronics market, you could get several designs of folding or mini keyboards to connect to your PDA to turn it from a ‘consumptive’ device (that mostly displays content) to a ‘creative’ one (one that allows you to easily create new content). Sure, you could use the other input options, but they had their limitations.

Now we have these cool, powerful Android smartphones and tablets, and have been mostly frustrated in finding good keyboards for them because they use a Bluetooth format called SPP instead of the HID format that Apple and other devices use. I finally found a keyboard I like that uses the SPP format for my Android stuff!  Let’s give a close look at the Freedom Pro Keyboard from Freedom InputRead More →

Leatherman Skeletool Review

The Leatherman Skeletool has been on my ‘wish list’ for some time now (especially the carbon-fiber handled CX version), so when I saw them at a local Target over Christmas on clearance for 1/2 price, I finally snagged one!

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Toshiba Thrive AT105-T1032 10.1″ Android Tablet Review

We had a good Christmas season at our house this year, electronics wise! A combination of events from price drops and clearances to unexpected cash meant that my wife and I both ended up with a tablet. She got a white 16GB iPad2, and I got a 32GB Toshiba Thrive AT105 10″ tablet. (I am not a big Apple fan but my wife is a professor of education and iPads are already deeply integrated into education, so it was a logical choice for her.)

Maybe you’ve read other reviews for this tablet- after all, it has been out for some time. If so, the over-all impression you probably got was that it was a good performer, and well-priced, but a bit clunky both in size and in power. What are my impressions?

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SolLight Solicharger-SP Solar Charger/Speaker Case Review

How excited was I to try this product, a protective case that charges a wide variety of personal electronics – iPods, phones, GPS units, handheld game devices, and such – and has an amplified speaker built in? And can recharge itself with a built-in solar panel? And priced under $60! Woot woot! Sign me up!

I soon had a Solicharger-SP from SolLight in my hands to try out.

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Epson LabelWorks LW-300 Label Printer Review

A good label maker is one of those things that you do not realize how useful it can be until you have one. Pretty much every container, drawer, and file in my shop at work is labeled and it has made my life so much easier in so many ways (like trying to tell someone over the phone where a specific gizmo is.)

I had been using a pretty generic label maker, and was excited to try the more creative Epson LabelWorks LW-300 and play with all of its features!

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Quick Look: Motorola Photon 4G

Motorola Photon 4GIt was finally time to upgrade my wife’s smartphone, and we had a few challenges to deal with. The biggest ones are that she is a ‘slow adopter’, the apartment she uses when at work in a different state has poor reception, and we use the Sprint network.

After some research, I had narrowed it down to a few mid-to-upper tier phones, and stumbled across the Photon 4G from Motorola – a model I had heard very little about. The Photon is one of the top offerings available from Sprint, and is absolutely loaded with specifications. Read More →

Kingston Data Traveler 109 with urDrive Software Review

The tiny Data Traveler 109 USB drive from Kingston comes preloaded with urDrive software “that gives you a new and exciting way to look at your data“, according to the maker. I am always interested in new and exciting ways to look at my data, so let’s take a look! Read More →

SoundID SIX Bluetooth Headset Review

A good headset makes an already incredibly useful device – the cellphone – even more useful by adding hands-free features. The new SoundID SIX Bluetooth headset has several interesting features that promise even more usefulness.

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Muse Mini Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review

I for one vastly prefer listening to speakers than headphones and I am always on the search for both the perfect personal portable speaker for general use, and amplified travel speakers to use in class. It would be great to get both in one package!

The Muse Mini Portable Bluetooth Speaker is certainly small at just under 2″ tall and a bit less than 1 3/4″ across! I could not wait to try it out! Read More →

GiqueGEAR Smart Station Holster/Stand Review

The GiqueGEAR Smart Station is designed to act as a protective holster, a wallet replacement, and a workstation or stand for your smartphone. It claims to be “the ultimate home for your Android smartphone.”  As a local company, GiqueGear (pronounced ‘geek gear’, I think) already has a special place in my heart, but the claim of ‘ultimate home’ for my Samsung Epic? That will take a pretty special case.

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