Bluetooth keyboard cases for iPads may be a convenient way to always have a keyboard with your tablet, but they do have problems. They are all undersized keyboards, usually with non-standard arrangements of the non-alphabetic keys, and they aren’t always easy to type on, especially for touch typists. The cases are often heavy and clunky when you’re using only the tablet, because the keyboard is always there. It would be much easier to carry around a full-sized keyboard in your gear bag for use with a tablet only when you need it, but they often tend to be expensive, and some, like the Apple Bluetooth keyboard, are pretty heavy for EDC equipment. The Inateck BK1002E Bluetooth Keyboard for Apple Products looks very similar to the full-sized Apple Bluetooth keyboard and has a similar footprint, but it’s much lighter and far less expensive. It would make a good companion for a tablet or even for your desktop computer – if it works well. Let’s check it out. [click to continue…]
All fans of both Star Trek and sushi are going to need the Star Trek USS Enterprise Sushi Set. When you’re ready to eat some sushi, remove the “warp trails” from the nacelles and you’ll find they are actually BPA-free plastic chopsticks. Lift the lid from from the ship’s saucer and use it as a saucer for your soy sauce. The ship is made of stainless steel, and it even rotates around for perfect sauce placement. The wooden display stand serves as your sushi plate. Clean it up after use, and you can use it as a decorative element until you need it again. It’s 14.9″ x 3.5″ x 4.5″ overall; the chopsticks are 9.25″ long X 0.4″ at the thickest diameter, and the sauce dish is 3.3″ in diameter and 0.4″ deep at the deepest point.
Dyson vacuum cleaners are extremely popular for their superior suction power and bagless design. Last year I reviewed the Dyson D65 Animal vacuum and was impressed by almost everything about it. Dyson’s latest model is the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal + Allergy vacuum which looks almost identical to the D65 but has a very important upgrade. It no longer uses a filter that you have to remember to clean or replace. Let’s see if the new Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal + Allergy vacuum is worthy enough to clean your floors. [click to continue…]
After I recovered from the cool factor, I’ve always wondered why people would want to use a projection keyboard with their tablet or smartphone. Sure, the projected keyboard is likely bigger than the on-screen keyboard, but it still suffers from the same problems that the virtual keyboard does – flat, no tactile feedback to let you know if you fingers are in the right place, and no tactile feedback to let you know if you actually depressed a key. I can see the benefit of a projection mouse, however, and the folks at Serafim have introduced the ODiN Aurora projection mouse, because they saw the benefit before some of the rest of us. ODiN is a current Kickstarter campaign, but they have already exceeded their funding goal with more than 50 days left in the funding period.
ODiN’s shape was inspired by the Norse god of war. The laser projection mouse “detects reflections signals with infrared sensors instead of traditional cameras, so it can have a higher resolution”. The mouse is suitable for designers and video gamers as well as office workers. It plugs into a USB port of your computer and replaces a traditional computer mouse; it’s also small enough to easily replace your travel mouse. You don’t have to grip a physical mouse all day, just point and touch within the projected area. These more natural hand movements reduce your risk for carpal tunnel problems.
There are still plenty of $49 early-bird pledges for a single ODiN mouse in your choice of metal green, bright silver, or charcoal black. When those are gone, the minimum pledge increases to $56. There are other pledge levels for multiple units. Funding for the ODiN Aurora projection mouse continues until Friday, May 8, 2015 at 6:04 AM EDT. Shipment is expect to begin in June 2015.
Pad & Quill has announced a Luxury Travel Kit for Apple Watch with a wood charging stand and leather roll-up case. You insert the Watch’s magnetic charger into the Luxury Pocket Stand when you need a charge. When you’re ready to travel, the stand folds up and fits into a pocket in the leather Roll Up Kit with the charger. The Roll Up Kit also has room for an additional Watch strap. The American full grain leather case measures 3.5″ x 5″ x 1″, and it’s available in Chocolate. The Luxury Pocket Stand is available in American Cherry or African Mahogany hardwoods. The kit is $119.99 in the cherry or $129.99 in mahogany. Pad & Quill will ship the Luxury Travel Kit in mid-May; you may pre-order now.
If you’ve been thinking about swapping out all the light bulbs in your home with bulbs that can be controlled with your smartphone, I have an alternative product that you might want to consider. Switchmate, an Indiegogo crowdfunding project, is a switch that fits over your existing light switch plates by using magnets to snap onto the screws of a standard switch plate. The Switchmate pairs with your iOS or Android device via Bluetooth. From an app you can control any individual Switchmate switch in your home or all of them. The app also gives you the ability to set timers so you can make your house appear as if someone is home when you’re away on vacation. Switchmates are priced at $45 each or $109 for a pack of three. Visit Switchmate’s site for more info or Indiegogo to pledge. They’ve already surpassed their funding goal and shipping is estimated for December 2015.
Although I don’t consider myself a dashcam expert, after reviewing three of these devices, I think I have a good idea which features make a dashcam stand out from the crowd. The LyfeLens dashcam looks to be the ultimate dashcam in terms of features. At least it looks great on paper. The LyfeLens features dual-facing HD cameras so you can see what is going on outside as well as inside. It also has motion, sound, impact and collision detection sensors, built-in GPS that provides real-time speed and location info, 4G LTE WiFi hotspot and cloud storage. The camera can be used as is, but needs a subscription service for the 4G LTE connection which is needed to support push notifications, cloud storage, live video feeds, and speed and location monitoring. The LyfeLens dashcam will be available this fall but can be pre-ordered now for $199. For more info visit LyfeLens.com
Although I carry gear, I don’t carry a typical gear bag. I don’t go to an office, so I don’t need a bag big enough to hold a laptop and other job necessities. I just need a bag big enough to carry what I’ll need while I’m out. I have some bags big enough to carry a laptop for those few times I’ll need it, I have a bag or two big enough to carry my iPad plus my other daily gear, and I have handbags for just my minimal daily gear. I like those daily bags to be useful and to look pretty as well.
I’ve been intrigued by the beautiful leather bags that Oberon Design creates, and I actually bought one of their bigger handbags a couple of years ago. But it is bigger than I want to carry on a daily basis, so I was thrilled to see they had started offering a couple of smaller handbags. When Julie inquired, Oberon Design agreed to send one for review. I received the Lilah Leather Women’s Handbag in the larger size. I’ve carried it exclusively for several days now. Let’s give it a look. [click to continue…]
Most single-cup coffeemakers require you to use pre-made pods with coffee inside. If you fill your own reusable pods, you can use your own freshly ground beans, but you have no idea how long ago the stuff in those pre-made pods was ground. To insure you have the freshest, tastiest cup of coffee without having to fill up a reusable pod, try the Single Cup Grind and Brew Coffeemaker. You won’t use a pod at all. Just drop in the amount of beans for your coffee, add up to 16 ounces of water, and press a button. The machine will grind the beans into a reusable filter then brew the coffee. You’ll be drinking freshly ground, freshly brewed coffee in about 2.5 minutes. If you prefer to buy pre-ground coffee or prefer to use your own grinder, the coffeemaker’s grinder can be turned off, but you still won’t have to make your own pod. Coffee will brew directly into your cup, or you can remove the drip tray to fit a commuter mug under the brewer. The stainless steel unit has an automatic cutoff, and its components can be washed in the dishwasher. The Single Cup Grind and Brew Coffeemaker is $99.99 at Hammacher Schlemmer.
After being an Android phone user for a few years, I decided to come back to the iPhone. I went with the iPhone 6 Plus for its awesome camera, big size, and continuity between OS X 10.10 and iOS 8, along with many other reasons. I needed a new spiffy case to protect it, but something that didn’t add too much bulk. Along came Casetify for a review, so I decided to give it a try. Let’s take a look! [click to continue…]
Raise your hand if you use more than one monitor with your computer setup. It can be a great productivity booster to have added screen real estate for side by side web browser windows, documents, etc. But adding monitors means you’ll also need desk space to set them. Philips has designed an interesting solution to that problem with their new Two-in-One Monitor which effectively places two 19 inch IPS displays side by side on one space saving stand. Both screens feature a maximum resolution of 1280 x 1024 and a very thin bezel to give the impression of a single seamless 32 inch display. But both screens tilt forward and backward up to 22.5 degrees to accommodate preferred viewing angles. Connectivity options including one DisplayPort and VGA input on the first display, and one VGA input and one MHL-enabled HDMI input on the second display, along with a two USB inputs on each display for a total of four added USB ports. The Philips Two-in-One Monitor is currently priced at $417.99 through Newegg. Visit Philips for more info or Newegg to order.
Using a stylus with your Android, iPad and Microsoft Surface Pro tablets is perfect for note taking and drawing. But the one feature lacking in 99% of tablets is that there’s no place to store the stylus when you’re not using it. So it ends up at the bottom of your bag or is easily lost. Cleanstylus from Cleanint is a solution for 99% of tablets currently on the market, including Android, iPads and the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablets. The Cleanstylus holder uses a reusable adhesive technology so it can be applied and removed with minimum effort and no residue or damage to the device’s surface. Just fasten the holder to left or right hand corner of the tablet and snap your stylus in place. The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Cleanstylus holder is priced at $19.95 and is available in seven colors. It doesn’t come with a stylus though. The Cleanstylus holder for the iPad and other tablets is available in black or white and is priced from $14.95 without a stylus, up to $24.95 which includes a stylus. Visit Cleanint.com for more info.
Stores might not have the Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge in stock yet, but you can prepare early with a new case to protect your shiny new Android smartphone. MobileFun has a a large selection of cases from Spigen, Versus and Samsung for both versions of the phones that include non-bulky inexpensive flexible covers that snap on the back, to leather folio style cases that can replace your wallet while protecting the phone from everyday wear and tear. The large selection of cases provides a lot of choices for any budget. Check out MobileFun’s Samsung Galaxy S6 cases and S6 Edge cases.
It’s time to catch up on the articles we posted that you might have missed this week. Click through to view a list of all the gadget news, reviews and articles that we posted in the last seven days. [click to continue…]
If you have been bummed about the fact that the Apple Watch won’t have all the cool features and sensors that were originally promised, here are two watches that I guarantee will turn heads when you use them. These watches have built in lighters. Yes, I know it sounds a bit scary to have a flame throwing watch on your wrist, but you shouldn’t let a little fear stop you, right? The watches are available in two versions. One with an actual butane gas lighter and another one with a USB rechargeable heated coil. But watches even tell time. Bonus! The Butane version is $14 and the USB rechargeable version is $18. Visit Brando for more info.
Since Julie posted her EDC update a few weeks ago I figured I would share my current EDC. Since I don’t think I can pull off the “murse”, I have downsized my EDC to just the items that I can comfortably carry in my pockets.
On the left side I have my Toyota Prius key fob with a HDZConcepts Titanium Pocket Multi-Tool. As far as multi-tools go, I like the size and weight of this one. While it may not have the most functions, it fits my keychain nicely.
In the center I have my Dragonthorn Leatherworks PC. I designed this holder to carry a Retro 51 Tornado pen (a hold over from my Palm Pilot days) and a Victorinox classic pen knife along with my credit and ID card on the back side. This set up has really forced me to think about what I want/need to carry.
On the far right is my iPhone 5 with a Dog&Bone Backbone Qi charging case. Not only does this case allow for wireless charging, it has an optional backup battery and the ability to charge my phone with a standard USB to Micro USB charger. For me this case is perfect for traveling.
So there you have it, my updated EDC.
Not too long ago I was caught in a situation where I had to wait somewhere for several hours without access to a charger. As I watched my iPhone drain down to nearly empty, I vowed to keep my eye open for one of those battery packs. Today, I’ve got one to try out: The EasyAcc Classic Gen2 6400 mAh External Battery Pack. [click to continue…]
Who besides me remembers the Stowaway folding keyboard from ThinkOutside? Although it’s been over 15 years ago since I reviewed it, I continue to think about how cool it was and still is after all these years. If there was a Bluetooth version of this Stowaway keyboard available today, I’d buy one. But there isn’t, so I am always on the look out for something similar. A new folding keyboard from Microsoft might be the next best thing. The Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard features a water resistant full-sized key layout and the ability to pair simultaneously with two mobile devices like an iPad, iPhone, Android device, Windows tablet or compatible Windows phone. Unfolding it turns it on and a single keypress switches between paired devices. The lightweight thin Bluetooth Universal Foldable Keyboard will be available this July for $99.95 through Microsoft and other retailers.
The Screwpop Utility Knife is a box cutter style knife that can easily attach to your keychain. It features a simple design constructed from solid stainless steel with a yellow brass eyelet. An easy to find two or four notch blade fits into the channel and is locked in place with a fold down clasp. This tool can even be used as a bottle opener. The Screwpop Utility Knife is priced at $6.95 and is available now from screwpoptool.com
Today may be Friday the 13th, but that doesn’t mean it’s unlucky. It’s actually your lucky day because this week Andy Jacobs adds updates to thirteen of his past reviews to let us know how the products are still working for him. Click through to see a list of his updated reviews and then scroll to the bottom of each of the listed reviews to read his latest update. [click to continue…]