It’s officially spring, so let’s celebrate with a Gadgeteer gadget giveaway! We are giving away 15 prizes for music lovers, fitness buffs, travelers and more. We have a lot of good stuff to giveaway, so don’t waste any time, please click through to see the full list of prizes and instructions on how to enter. [click to continue…]
I loved my 27″ iMac for its sheer beauty and gorgeous display. But what I didn’t love was all the ports hidden on the back side of the computer. Although the location of the ports allowed the iMac to have a very clean look and design, accessing the ports was a big pain in the rear. One solution to this problem is the iMacompanion from Wiplabs. The iMacompanion is a single USB 3.0 port made of sandblasted and anodized aluminum that has been designed to attach to the base of the iMac. An ultra-slim flat cable fits under the iMac’s base to keep your desktop cable and clutter free. The port is fully compatible with all iMacs models from 2004 to now. The iMacompanion is priced at $39.99 and is available from Wiplabs.com.
Recently, Julie and I reviewed the iBolt Command Remote, a Bluetooth button that you can control various aspects of your smartphone. It was okay, but had some shortcomings especially for the iOS version. Today, I’ve got the Satechi Bluetooth Button Series (Home Button) to review.
For some reason, ThinkGeek calls this the Smartphone Kit of Perpetual Cleaning. It’s not just for cleaning smartphones, though. You can clean any of your devices with delicate glass parts, such as your camera lenses, as well as binoculars, telescopes, microscopes, and even your glasses and sunglasses. The kit includes 12 disposable lens cleaners, Dust Blaster, pen-style lens cleaner, and a Stuff-It Microfiber Cloth. The Silicone Dust Blaster features a valve to prevent sucking debris into the ball. The Pen-Style Lens Cleaner and the Disposable Lens Cleaners includes dry, nanoparticle cleaning formula, a soft tip and a retractable brush. The Stuff-It Microfiber Cloth is a super-soft microfiber lens cloth that retracts into a convenient pouch with a clip. The Smartphone Kit of Perpetual Cleaning is $39.99 at ThinkGeek.
Washing clothes can make the fabric pill and the colors fade. Dry cleaning your clothes is costly and inconvenient. Of course, you need cleaned clothes, so what do you do? You could use the SWASH Express Clothing Care System instead. Hang one or two items in the SWASH, insert a SWASH Pod, and your clothes will be deodorized and light wrinkles removed in 10 minutes; the SWASH process even restores the fit of your clothing that can be distorted through wearing. The SWASH machine plugs into a standard outlet, so you won’t need to hire an electrician. You won’t need a plumber, either, because the SWASH needs no water hookups.
SWASH is safe for most fabrics, including denim, wool, polyester, lycra, cotton, cashmere, sequins, beading, and lace. It measures 16-1/2″ long x 30″ wide (with door closed; 54-1/2″ wide with door open) x 51″ tall. You can put it anywhere in your home, including your closet. SWASH is available in linen or shadow for $499.00. SWASH Pods are $6.99 for a pack of 12.
Have you jumped on the Qi wireless charging band wagon yet? If you haven’t, what the heck are you waiting for? Once you go wireless, you’ll never want to plug in another micro USB cable into your phone again. Trust me. If you’re lucky enough to have a smartphone that is Qi capable, the ORICO OCP-5US is a charger that does more than just charge your device. It also features five USB ports. That means you can use it to charge up to six devices at once. It has two 5V/2.4A ports and three 5V/1A ports so you can use it to charge phones, tablets and more. The ORICO has been designed to have over-heating, over-current and over-charging protection, so it is safe to use with your all of your gadgets. The ORICO 5-Port USB Charger with Wireless Charging is priced at $68.00 and isa available now from Brando.com.
As manufacturers continue to add more features and faster processors into our gadgets, the one feature that continues to lag behind in improvement is battery life. That may change soon now that Dyson and Michigan-based battery leader, Sakti3 have partnered together. Sakti3 grew out of the engineering department of the University of Michigan and was founded by CEO Ann Marie Sastry. Sakti3 has found a way to take the liquid based lithium-ion batteries that we all use today and create solid-state batteries. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, consider how we now use flash memory instead of floppy disks. Remember those plastic disks we used to store our files? They could hold 1.44 megabytes of data. Today a tiny 32GB micro SD card the size of your thumbnail can hold the same amount of data that a stack of 22,222 floppy disks can hold. Now imagine what solid-state technology will do for batteries. Sakti3’s new platform has the potential to provide much larger leaps in energy density that will have uses for electric vehicles, the storage of renewable power, the miniaturization of technology and more. Dyson’s $15m investment insures that the technology will first come to market with Dyson products. Click through to read the full press release.
There’s a certain balancing act we Gadgeteers play with our cables. You know you do it – you have a short one for when you’re using a laptop or a battery charger on a table or desk, a longer one for when you’re in a “normal” room where you can sit near the outlet, and, if you’re a true Road Warrior, you have an over-sized length for those hidden outlets behind the dusty headboards in those divey places that you wish you never had to stay. Face it – you’re a Nomad. No, not the Bedouin shepherds of the desert, but the digital variety, who wander from coffee shop to airport, with nothing more than your mobile device and a charging brick. Well, friend, there’s a company dedicated to making stuff just for you, and it’s even calling to you in its name: hello nomad.com. [click to continue…]
If you use your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus without a case, you are certainly aware that the back camera doesn’t fit flush with the back of the phone. When you try to interact with the phone as it lays on a hard, flat surface, the phone will jiggle and rock as you touch it. If you don’t want to resort to putting a case on the iPhone, the CalypsoPad could solve your problem. Just like all their products, CalypsoCrystal handcrafts the CalypsoPad of premium Italian leather. It has a depression formed to perfectly hold an uncased iPhone, and there’s a little extra divot for the protruding camera lens to lay in.
The top of the CalpysoPad has a strap to hold your Lightning charging cable in place. You can use the CalypsoPad flat, or you can fold the bottom together to lift the Pad into a tilted stand. (Magnets hold the bottom together into the stand.) It’s available to fit either the iPhone 6 or the iPhone 6 Plus in Zurich Night (black), Paris Glory (brick orange), Sydney Morning (green), or Atlanta Mist (pink beige) for $69.00. You can pre-order the CalypsoPad now from CalypsoCrystal for delivery in 1-2 weeks (the black case will ship in 3-4 weeks).
It’s time to catch up on all the gadget related news and reviews that we posted this week on The Gadgeteer. Click through to view a list of all the news, reviews and articles that we posted this week. [click to continue…]
One of the gadgets that I use almost on a daily basis is the 20,000 mAh Roving Power power pack. I use it to charge basically everything that I have to charge… my cellphone, my Bluetooth headset, my tablets, and my laptop. It is one of the few portable power packs out there that can actually be used to charge a laptop battery, which require much higher power specs than the vast majority of power packs out there. But the Roving is really big. It can’t fit in a pants pocket or most jacket pockets. So when I saw the Avantek 20,000 mAh High Capacity External Battery Pack and its pocketable size and shape, I jumped at the chance to review it. [click to continue…]
Water is such a beautiful, life giving precious resource and a fascinating chemical enigma – definitely something to be conserved. One of the ways to save water is by using low-flow shower heads, however “Low flow shower heads are weak and frustrating. No wonder nobody wants them!” (just ask Kramer for you Seinfeld fans out there!) The Epiphany Digital Flow Optimizer caught my attention because it claims to save up to 40% of shower water. It contains motion sensors that determine whether you are directly under the flow of water or have stepped out to lather your hair or shave; it then decreases the flow while you are out. It takes only 5 minutes to install (between the shower arm and the shower head) and that’s it. You’re on your way to saving water and money. Now you can do your happy dance and sing your happy song in the shower! You may pre-order the chrome or white units for $189 or the bright nickel, brushed nickel, bronze or oil rubbed bronze units for $219 from Intelligent Green Products and it will be delivered by March 2015.
It’s not even available for pre-order yet, but the parade of Apple Watch accessories continues. Adappt has just launched an Indigogo campaign seeking funding for watchband adapters to allow you to use any band with the Apple Watch. The Adappt has the Apple Watch band connector on one side; the other side is the typical arms with pin used by standard watches. The Adappt will be available in sizes to fit the 38mm and the 42mm versions of the Watch, and it will be available in plastic, anodized aluminum, stainless steel, or gold-plated metal to match the two colors of the Watch at each level. They’ll even offer a very limited edition 18K gold Adappt for the Watch Edition in your choice of yellow or rose gold; there will be only five of these Adappt Edition adapters created, numbered 1 through 5.
Funding for Adappt continues through April 24, 2015 at 11:59pm PT. The plastic Adappt is available for a pledge of $9; the anodized aluminum is $29; stainless is $39; and the early-bird pledge for the gold-plated Adappt is still available at $250. They also offer a variety of watchbands for a separate pledge, if you don’t already have the one you want to use. The Adappt Edition is $3450. Shipping is expected in June 2015.
Amazon Appstore is offering 34 FREE apps until March 22. Some of the highlights include:
- Cut the Rope – was $0.99
- Elements of Photography Pro – was $3.50
- EasyTether – was $9.99
- Business Calendar – was $4.99
- NeoCal Advanced Calculator – was $9.99
- Reading Trainer – was $2.99
- HanDBase Database Manager – was $9.99
- G-Stomper Studio – was $9.95
- Cross DJ Pro – was $9.99
- FolderSync – was $2.87
Please visit the Appstore to view the entire list. Happy birthday Appstore!
While unboxing the Blue Mo-Fi headphones, I was reminded of the door hinges on my wife’s 1997 Lexus SC300 sports coupe. See, the Lexus hinges are not your everyday hinge—they’re over-engineered so the large doors open and slide a bit forward which helps in tight parking spaces. Lexus reportedly spent over a million bucks developing this hinge. Okay, so what does this have to do with headphones? Stay with me, the comparison is not as strange as you might think. One look at the Mo-Fi headphones and the first thought that comes to mind is … over-engineered, but oh so cool.
There are a variety of ways you can open and lock your home’s door without using a key. I tried a WiFi-connected deadbolt that didn’t work, no matter what type of interpretive dance I used to approach it. I’ve been intrigued by other Kickstarter products that still haven’t made it to market long after the funding period ended. I’m still looking for my keyless solution. A company called Candy House has brought their version of the smart lock to Kickstarter. They’ve already far exceeded their funding goal with more than a month left in the funding period. The Sesame smart lock installs over your existing deadbolt in seconds, and it promises to replace your keys with your smartphone.
With Sesame, you can unlock your door with an app, or you can define a special knock that you use on your door or on your smartphone to unlock the deadbolt without even opening the app. (Don’t worry that bad guys will see you opening your door after knocking “Shave and a Haircut”, because Sesame has to also sense your connected smartphone nearby when it hears the knock.) You can control who has access to your home with Sesame, and the smartphone app will keep a log and notify you of who goes in or out (or tries to access) your home. You can use Sesame with the Bluetooth on your phone (local access only), or you can add an optional WiFi access point that will allow you to control your Sesame lock from anywhere you are with your internet-connected phone. The smart lock has military-grade encryption and is AES 256-bit and TLS 1.2 encrypted.
A pledge of $99 gets you a Bluetooth-only Sesame in white, silver, black, or pink; $149 gets you one Sesame plus a WiFi access point (or $249 for a wooden smart lock plus WiFi access point). The funding period for the Sesame smart lock ends .
Nyrius has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new method of automating control of lamps and small appliances in your home. The Nyrius Smart Outlet connects to an app on your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, so you don’t even have to have an internet connection to use them. So long as you are within 33 feet of the device plugged into the Smart Outlet, you can use your smartphone to turn the device on or off. You can also configure the Smart Outlet to recognize when you and your smartphone controller enter or leave a room and turn the device on or off, respectively. You can even set up schedules that will turn your connected device on or off at specified times, even if your smartphone isn’t within Bluetooth range.
You can connect up to 3 Smart Outlets to an Apple device or up to 7 Smart Outlets to an Android device. You can monitor all connected devices through the app, and you’ll save energy by programming your Smart Outlet-connected devices to work only when you are in the room or only during scheduled hours.
The funding period ends Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 9:06 AM EDT. A minimum pledge of $40 Canadian nets you one Smart Outlet. Delivery is expected in May 2015, if the funding goal is met. The Nyrius Smart Outlet ships only to Canada and the US.
It’s my turn again this week to update some of my past reviews for products that I continue to use and enjoy weeks, months and even years after the review was originally posted. Click through to see the list of updated reviews and then scroll to the bottom of each of the listed reviews to read the latest update. [click to continue…]
Are you tired of the standard look of Bluetooth speakers? Or perhaps you’ve had difficulty finding one to match your decor. Clio is a simply elegant Bluetooth 24 watt speaker that practically disappears into any environment and uses Edge Motion technology.
Edge Motion™-driven speakers use piezo-electric actuators to stimulate the sides of an optically clear acrylic glass stereo transducer to produce an extremely efficient, piston-like motion. The result is a thin, lightweight and invisible transducer that produces rich, full sound across the audio range.
This technology allows the audio to be heard from the front as well as the back of the speaker. It supports Bluetooth 4.0 devices (pair up to eight of them ) and also has a 3.5 mm input for non-Bluetooth devices. It measures 9.25″ x 12.63″ x 3.75″ and since it is not a wireless speaker, it comes with an AC adapter and power cable (a 3.5 mm audio cable and microfiber cleaning cloth are also included). You may purchase Clio in silver, dark bronze, or charcoal colors for your home from clearviewaudio.com for $349.
I remember when POV action cameras first started making their appearance and if you wanted to do any underwater shots, or needed to shoot scenes where your camera could get wet, you had to purchase a waterproof housing since one didn’t come with the camera. Today companies like GoPro, SJCAM, BlackVue, etc., have a waterproof housing as part of their included accessories. With these special cases you can shoot underwater, shoot yourself wakeboarding, or splashing through mud in your truck right out of the box. However, a waterproof housing is just another add-on in your arsenal of camera accessories. Zeblaze took the waterproof housing concept and made their camera a self-contained waterproof unit eliminating the need for a separate housing. [click to continue…]