I love the Samsung Galaxy S Tab 10.5 tablet that I bought earlier this year. I even took it with me on our last vacation to use instead of my Macbook Air. It worked pretty well except when I needed to type in a lot of text. For those times, I prefer an actual keyboard. iPad users have it easy because there is a wide variety of keyboard cases on the market. Android tablet users can use a separate Bluetooth keyboard, but dedicated keyboard cases can be difficult to find. If you happen to have a Samsung Galaxy Tab A 9.7 with or without the S-Pen, Logitech has you covered – literally. Their new Type – S Keyboard Case has been designed especially for the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 9.7 (they also offer a version of this case for the S Tab 10.5). It features a snap-in holder for the tablet, well-spaced keys and Android shortcuts. The keyboard case is packed with a rechargeable six-month battery, and the smart power management conserves tablet and keyboard battery life with an automatic on/off feature. From the images on Logitech’s site, it’s hard to tell if this keyboard case can work on a lap, but it definitely looks nice and comes in either black or purple. The keyboard case is priced at $99.99 and is available now through Logitech.
Not to be outdone by Apple, Google announced it was launching a free, ad-supported, streaming music service. The service will be similar to several other free music streaming services; you can create radio stations based on your favorite artist, song, album, or genre.
Additionally, Google is incorporating Songza’s unique radio station selection menu. For those of you unfamiliar with Songza, it gives you several interesting themes to choose from, including, “waking up gently”, “drinking gourmet coffee”, and “working out”. After making a selection, you’re provided with a range of playlists to listen to. It’s a fun way to discover new music.
The new streaming service is already available on the web and will be available on the Android and iOS apps through updates later this week. For more information, visit Google’s blog.
I am not a hardened comic book geek, you know the ones, the Marvel vs DC ones. But I do like cool comic book, movie based gear especially things that can be used in everyday situations. Enter the Avenger: Age of Ultron Captain America shield backpack. I know what you’re thinking, a simpler name “Captain America shield backpack” would have been bette,r but what is a cool item without a tie into a movie. This backpack from ThinkGeek has the following specs as listed on the Think Geek website:
- Avengers: Age of Ultron Captain America Shield Backpack
- Officially-licensed Marvel backpack
- Look like you’re wearing Captain America’s shield
- Hard plastic shield makes you feel the power of a super soldier
- A ThinkGeek creation and exclusive!
- Straps look like Captain America’s uniform gear things
- Straps adjust from approx. 19″ to 32″ long
- Padded back looks like Cap’s torso
- Top handle to easily grab and go
- Main zipper has two pulls
- Laptop/tablet pocket has adjustable strap with hook-and-loop closure
- Internal Pockets:
- Main: approx. 18″ diameter x 2.5″ deep
- Padded Laptop/Tablet: approx. 13.75″ x 10.75″ x 1.5″
- 2 Small Accessory Pockets: 5.25″ x 6″
- Materials: 100% polyester
- Care instructions: Wipe with damp cloth using mild soap. Do not wash or dry clean. Do not use detergent.
- Shield Dimensions: 18″ diameter
and it even comes with this informative warning:
Please Note: If your Avengers: Age of Ultron Captain America Shield Backpack is full of stuff (especially electronics), don’t throw it like Captain America does. It won’t come back to you. It will just make you sad.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron Captain America shield backpack is priced at $59.99 and is available from ThinkGeek.
I was excited to receive this sample to review from ONANOFF. Being a music aficionado and an avid iPad Air 1 user, I was stoked when I read the company’s description and claim that this flat panel speaker/case, would improve the sound of my iPad Air by 400%. As you can imagine, I was a bit skeptical of the 400% claim. The device comes with a manual power button along with volume control buttons, as shown in the above image. After listening to this with all kinds of music, and using the teleconference feature with the included microphone. I must say, this one surprised me. The sound was incredible and impressive, given the size and configuration.
Just Mobile recently announced their entry into the field of charging stands for the Apple Watch. The TimeStand is made from a cylinder of high-grade aluminum. It’s mid-column circular cutout means this stand can be used with all Apple Watches, even those with bands that don’t open flat. The TimeStand is weighted and has a high-friction rubber base, so it’s stable even if you use the Watch as it charges. It’s design incorporates the magnetic charger’s cable, so you don’t have stray wires cluttering your desk or nightstand; you’ll need to provide your own charger. The TimeStand is available to pre-order for $39.95 and is coming in July from Just Mobile.
With The Anchor Under-Desk Headphone Mount, your headphones have a safe play to hang without adding another piece of equipment to your desk top. The Anchor is mounted on the underside of the desk using “the same 3M adhesive GoPro trusts to mount their cameras to surfboards and helmets”, so you know it will hold. The Anchor itself is made of flexible, solid, medical-grade silicone, so it won’t hurt if you bang your knee against it, and you won’t have to worry about it scratching your headphones. Each Anchor holds two sets of headphones, and each is $14.95 from ElevationLab.
Late last year I reviewed the Sleepace RestOn sleep monitor and found it to be easy and comfortable to use because it didn’t require a wearable tracker. Now the folks at Sleepace have a new product called the Nox Smart Sleep System which combines the RestOn non-wearable sleep monitor with their new Nox smart sleep light. When used with the Sleepace application on your mobile device, it will turn your bedroom into a more sleep-friendly environment using light and sound programs. The Nox smart sleep light will help you fall asleep faster and the smart alarm feature will help you to wake up easier the next morning. With the data collected from Nox and RestOn, the Sleepace app will help you understand how your sleeping environment impacts the quality of your sleep and can make smart suggestions to improve your sleeping experience. The Nox Smart Sleep System will be priced at $279.97 and will be available September 2015 from Amazon.com and MySleepace.com. If you already have the RestOn system, you can purchase the Nox separately for $129.99.
When you don’t always need to carry a laptop and don’t even always need to take a tablet, it can be hard to find a single gear bag that works for you every day. I almost never need a laptop with me, but I often want to take along my iPad Air 2, so I’m always on the lookout for the perfect bag. I want something I can use to carry just my EDC stuff most days – without it looking like my things are lost in the bottom of a suitcase – and still have room to carry my iPad when I want it without having to remove something else. I was intrigued with the Mini Leather Bag from Toffee when they offered a review item to The Gadgeteer. I was happy to be selected, and Toffee shipped me a beautiful case from Australia. Let’s give it a look! [click to continue…]
The USB Type-C adapter may be brand new and hard to find right now, but in a very short time it will be the norm. Some people might think that this new cable type was invented by Apple because they are using it in their latest MacBook. But in reality, it is the new USB standard and will offer significant advantages over the current Type-A connector that most of you have now. It’s a lot smaller, reversible, offers faster data speeds and more power. Although change can be hard for some set-in-their-ways geeks, USB Type-C is a change you’ll really want to embrace. Brando is going to help you get ready by offering all sorts of cables and adapters. There are USB Type-C hubs, card readers and a large assortment of adapters that will allow you to convert other cables like micro USB and Lightning to USB Type-C. Prices vary depending on the item, but you can visit Brando for more info.
The shopping malls around here are always busy, and sometimes they are so jammed you’re lucky to find a parking place. After a few trips around the giant lot looking for an empty space, and it all starts to look alike. If you don’t make a concerted effort to find a landmark, you may find yourself wandering around pressing the alarm fob, hoping to hear your car beep. You don’t have to worry about any of this when you plug the Automatic Parked Car Finder into your car’s power outlet. (Don’t worry about blocking that outlet; it has a USB outlet that you can use for charging your other gear.) When you turn the car’s engine off, the Car Finder marks a location on a map inside an app via a Bluetooth connection with your phone. The location has a date/time stamp, to help you remember when it’s time to go feed a parking meter, too. When you’re ready to go back to your car, the location is marked on the map to help guide you.
When is the last time you gave much thought to mice? No, not the critters with beady little eyes, I’m talking about the mice you use with your desktop and laptop computers. Other than wireless, there really hasn’t been that much innovation in the input device that millions of people use every day. Until now. The evoMouse from Celluon turns any flat surface into a touchpad. Let’s give it a try.
Amazon announced today that its voice-activated personal assistant, Amazon Echo, is now available to everyone. Previously, you needed an invitation to buy the device.
The Echo uses Amazon’s cloud-based voice service, Alexa, to instantly provide information, answer questions, play music, read the news, and more. You can also use the Echo to control external devices, such as WeMo switches and lights or Philips Hue lights.
The Amazon Echo is sells for $179. 99 and will be in stock on July 14, 2015.
When a company has a successful product launch and needs funding for follow-up products, more and more of them are turning to funding sites like Kickstarter. Kickstarter has been responsible for many successful product launches; the most famous probably being Neil Young’s PONO music player. In 2013, I reviewed the Torque t103z in-ear-headphones and was impressed with their extremely easy-to-change TorqueValve (filter) system for fine-tuning the sound. Flash forward to 2015 and Torque has two new customizable products ready for production: The t096z earphone and t402v headphone.
Have you noticed that, in addition to the white plastic charger instead of the metal charger, the Apple Watch Sport also is missing the colored dot on the top of the Digital Crown that’s found on both the Watch and the Watch Edition models? It doesn’t change the function of the Digital Crown, but it does add some interest to it. If you wish your Sport model could have a colorful Digital Crown, check out WatchDots. The dots are made of high performance, premium-grade vinyl film with a life expectancy of 5-8 years. The dots are weather-resistant, fade-resistant because of built-in UV protection, and the pressure sensitive adhesive will ensure a bond that gets stronger over time. WatchDots are “proud to be American owned and operated”; manufacturing materials are sourced from American vendors.
WatchDots not only add color to the Digital Crown, they also cover the side button. They are available in pink, green, blue, white, and black to match the Sport watchbands, and they are also offered in red. The company plans to offer other colors and limited-edition versions in the future. You’ll get three sets of WatchDots per order for $9.99. You can choose individual colors (listed above) or a multi-pack with a set each of red, white, and blue. Order now at WatchDots.
Why have a boring black or white computer mouse when you can have a colorful Logitech Play Collection Mouse? The mice are covered with bright animal designs or with geometric designs. They fit comfortably in your hand, and they track precisely and accurately, thanks to Logitech’s 1000 dpi Advanced Optical Tracking. They are compatible with Windows, Mac, Chrome, and Linux kernel 2.6+ computers, but they do require a USB port for their Nano receiver. The Advanced 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity allows you a 33 ft operating range.
The Play Collection mice are available in two models: M325c with five buttons and a tilt-function scroll wheel, and the M317c with three buttons and a scroll wheel. Both models are available in all the colors and designs, and each is $29.99. The Play Collection Wireless Mouse models are available now from Logitech.
If building LEGO robots, race cars and spaceships don’t excite you anymore, you need to take a look at Beautiful LEGO: Wild! by Mike Doyle. This is a 232-page book that features nature related LEGO sculptures from artists around the globe. Full-color pages show animals, flowers, insects, landscapes and more made entirely of LEGO bricks. One of the creations that is featured is a monarch butterfly that has been made from more than 60,000 LEGO pieces. The author is not a newcomer to LEGO art books. His first book was titled Beautiful LEGO, so this one is a great follow up to that first edition. Beautiful LEGO: Wild! will be available this September from No Starch Press but can be pre-ordered now for $24.95.
One of the biggest issues a gadget enthusiast faces on a daily basis is battery life. As our devices capabilities increase, so too does their power consumption. One of the more common solutions to this problem is to purchase a power bank. I myself own a few power banks; however, I never remember to bring them along with me when I need them. The CulCharge power bank hopes to solve that problem by creating a device small enough to fit on a keychain.
The CulCharge power bank manages to pack a 1000 mAh battery into a 2 inch by 1 inch body. Of course, a 1000 mAh battery won’t completely recharge your phone, but it should provide enough juice to get you home. Additionally, the CulCharge also functions as a transfer cable to move files between your mobile devices and your computer.
The CulCharge is an IndiGoGo project that can be purchased starting at $22. It will be available with a microUSB or Lightening connector and is estimated to ship in December of this year if funded.
I consider myself an ordinary person and like most ordinary folks I am always looking for ways to save a buck or two. One of my household’s biggest expenses, especially in the summer, is our power bill. I do consider myself fortunate as my power bills do tend to be on the lower side for my area. That being said, I am always looking for ways to use my electricity smarter to save some money and that’s where Neurio comes in.
Before I got married, I found some pieces of neon light tubes and a power supply at a local “junk” shop, and I assembled them into a really beautiful, abstract art piece for my living room. When I got married, I realized this huge light sculpture above my fireplace didn’t exactly mesh with our new furniture, so I got rid of it. It breaks my heart now when I remember that piece of art, and I wish I could have it back. It would be killer in my Mid-Century Modern kitchen.
If you like neon art, too, you undoubtedly know how expensive pieces can be, especially if you want something more than just a “yes, we’re open” sign you can pick up at the local Sam’s Club. A company called Neon Mfg. has created a series of neon signs – some for hanging on the wall, others for standing on a table – that add some light and fun to your decor. They have 17 designs now ranging in price from $80 – $160, and they are still adding new designs. If none of their current line tickles your fancy, Neon Mfg. does offer a custom-design service.
The folks who created the Baggizmo (and its Kickstarter project) want you to think about how you look when dressed nicely for a meeting with your client, and then replace that polished image with how you look for that meeting after you loaded up your pants and jacket pockets with all your daily-carry gear. Ladislav Juric, an IT manager and Founder Institute graduate and one of the creators of the Baggizmo, is a “gadget freak who never leaves home without all of his gadgets”. He wanted a bag that could hold everything he needed for his day, but he didn’t like any of the bulky bags and backpacks on the market. He wanted an organized bag that could hold what he needed and still fit sleek and flat against his body.
The Baggizmo was designed to hold everything a man needs while still fitting comfortably over a shirt or under a jacket without adding a lot of bulk. The bag has a polygonal shape and a series of organized pockets and compartments to hold everything, even tablets. Your gadgets will be easily accessible while you wear the bag, and it even has a special pocket on the strap to keep your earbud cables untangled and convenient. The bag is made of “hard wearing fabric with good protective properties and a high level of stability.” It is an abrasion resistant, breathable, and water-repellent quality and innovative textile that provides special protection against mechanical or heat damage.
The Baggizmo project ends Thursday, July 9, 2015 at 12:09 PM EDT. They still have a way to go to meet their $35,000 funding goal. A minimum pledge of $100.00 is required for your choice of a left- or right-handed Baggizmo in either light steel blue or onyx black.