Kenu Stance Micro-USB Tripod Hardware Review

Kenu Stance Micro-USB Tripod Hardware Review

Mar 27, 2015

When it comes to a cool accessory, give me one that is small, portable, and effective. You know, just like what the Kenu Stance Micro-USB Tripod claims to be.

To give one an idea of how compact this tripod is, it just about fits in the palm of one’s hand. Out of the box, it is fairly nondescript, with brushed sinc-alloy making up most of the legs. It possesses a neon green topper (the MicroMount, made of “grilamid” composite material) that fits into a micro-USB port; similarly colored thermoplastic rubber covers the end of the legs. At first glance, it is clear that the the legs are somewhat irregular, but are engineered to lay plush together when the unit is not being used. Altogether, it comes in at 0.94 x 0.47 x 3.1 inches and only 1.2 ounces.

When the legs are spread, it takes on a slightly different persona; the legs open up at at an angle to each other in way that is atypical but effective. The top part is further revealed to be a basic ball and socket joint that more or less allows the hosted device to be adjusted along the grilamid axis.

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In the end, any accessory is only as good as the value it adds to a device, and in this, the Stance serves a great purpose. As someone who was spoiled by the original HTC EVO 4G and its kickstand, and one who does consume media via smartphone on the go, this gadget makes sense in a variety of ways. Upright, it works great with Google Hangouts and other videochat options. I was also able to record voice via third-party mics, use it for recording video, and otherwise have access to the phone in regular position. I especially liked using the ball and socket functionality to access the phone in landscape, which is great for watching video.

My one issue is that the MicroMount fits very tightly — good, yes, but tight enough to give me pause while inserting it. On the plus side, it works even with smaller tablets (even though it isn’t rated for such), and with Windows phone devices.

All in all, it fits the bill: small and useful. It’s inherent portability is definitely an advantage, and this piece practically begs to be a part of one’s go-bag.

Jabra Sport Wireless+ Headphones Hardware Review

Jabra Sport Wireless+ Headphones Hardware Review

Mar 26, 2015

As we like to say, being connected is a privilege, more and more aspects of our lives are becoming portions of IoT, and our smartphones are becoming the de facto hubs. This is so very obvious in the area of fitness and health, where accessories are quite the rage.

With Jabra’s Sports Wireless+ Bluetooth Headphones, we get to see a formidable option from an industry vet.

The review package Jabra sent was nicely boxed. The set is pretty light in hand, almost surprising so. The physical presentation basically consists of two three-quarter moon ear loops and a rubber-coated cable that connects the two in the behind the neck earphone style. The ear loops come in the main black-with-yellow accents that is synonymous with Jabra, The right piece houses the soft controls: a power button, volume buttons, FM button (hint, hint), microphone pinhole and covered micro-USB port. There’s even LED lights which help signify power and bluetooth status. Each ear loop measures in at 2.5 x 1.7 x 0.5 inches, and the whole set weighs 0.88 ounces. The retail box also contains a pack of ear gels, USB cable and a nifty carrying case.

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After charging and powering on, pairing the 3.0 Bluetooth to an audio source is fairly easy; long-pressing the power button for several seconds puts the headphones in pairing mode, and they can then be discovered and connected to. That easily, I was able to start listening to music and podcasts from the trusty M8. Of special interest to me, obviously, is the fit. For a pair of sports phones, they work well, and the behind the neck styling is not too bothersome. yes, the loops did feel ever-present but not so much so that they were lingering distractions. They work well for running, and I wasn’t able to dislodge it by head-banging. the advertised military-grade specs (dust, durability and dust protection) definitely come into play, and the unit does feel durable.

This accessory boasts some decent extras beyond the core functionality. There is the built-in FM tuner, teased via soft buttons. Honestly, I was shocked at how well it worked. It didn’t catch every FM channel when compared head-to-head with a dedicated radio, but the ones it did catch sounded pretty good. It handles phone calls well, though I did get some feedback from talking in the microphone.

I also like the little things, like the fit adjust clip and the several ear gels that help in getting the most comfortable insertion.

One point that might irk some folks is that there isn’t any Android app; the app works well without it, bu if one wants the added on benefit available with some other Jabra products, they’ll have to forego it for now. Also, the range is fairly limited.

When it’s all said and done, it does well in it’s main job, and reasonably well in a few extra aspects at well. At just under $90 (on Amazon), it isn’t a prohibitive proposition.

Not bad at all.

Sony Xperia Z3v Review

Sony Xperia Z3v Review

Mar 23, 2015

For Android smartphone aficionados, every OEM has something about it. We do associate things to different OEMs — some good, some bad. Personally, I love being able to see unbranded hardware and more or less guess who makes it based on some design cues. Since Android is blessed wit device makers that have backgrounds in varied consumer electronics ventures, it’s interesting to see how their Android smartphones extend the brand.

Sony definitely has a rep in consumer electronics, and its Xperia line is the embodiment of that reputation in te personal computing space. Specifically with the Sony Xperia Z3v, one of its latest devices, Sony shows us how even the sleek can get, well, even sleeker.

The review unit Sony sent to us helps one conceptualize the design. Physically, it is clearly a Z3 variant, and it unashamedly hearkens to the Z2. We style is deliberate, with regal cuts, glass front and back with plastic exo-core coming in at 5.85 x 2.89 x 0.35 inches; it packs a 5.2″ Full HD 1920 x1080 pixel screen that is actually fun to look at. At first glance, one might be forgiven if they wonder where the ports are; te device is seemingly devoid of them except for the 3.55 mm audio port — the rest covered by plastic tabs, such that one needs to pull said tabs up and out to do stuff like charge the device or use the sd card port.

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The wake/on button and volume rocker are placed on the side, which does help with single-handed use. We also get 20.7 MP camera in the back and a 2.2 MP snapper in the front.

Under the hood, Sony does pack a lot of goodness… 3 GB RAM 32 GB memory (tested version), Snapdragon chip, and just about every connectivity option one can think of, including MHL and Miracast support. When it’s all said and done the Z3v is a connectivity powerhouse.

The included software suit isn’t bad, with mainstays like PS Remote Play tucked in for Playstation folks. Sony’s cover skin is thin, but I did find the Amazon integration interesting: the included suite of Amazon apps can’t be completely uninstalled. If this is truly the last time we see the music app labeled as Walkman, it could be said it went out repping the brand quite well.

Of note is the SmartWear compatibility; we had an opportunity to try it out with the Smartwatch 3, and they worked quite well together. Of course, all Google apps are included, with the backing of the Google Play Store.

The whole package is smooth, even at a non-contract price of $599 (on Amazon). The software and hardware come together quite nicely, and it is definitely a testament to Sony being able to make (and improve upon) nice hardware.

Sony SmartWatch 3 Hardware Review

Sony SmartWatch 3 Hardware Review

Mar 16, 2015

Sony is back, yes. With the Smartwatch 3.

The screen itself is rectangular, with a rubber-ish black band that doesn’t separate. The main design allows for the rectangular core to be separated from the band, such that other style of bands can be used on the fly. It sports a 320×320, 16 bit color screen on a 1.6 inch (diagonal) screen. The whole watch is billed at about 2.53 ounces.

When it comes to the hardware itself, its probably easier to note which sensors are not packed into this unit. One gets GPS, gyroscope, ambient light and even a magnetometer. It rocks bluetooth, NFC and wi-fi, along with a mic, as well as being waterproof. Processor? Quad ARM A7, 1.2 GHz, with memory stats of 512 MB RAM and 4 GB eMMC. It looks safe, but does have some power under the hood.

Pairing the unit involves getting the SmartWatch 3 paired to an Android device via Android Wear, which was pretty painless. The watch does expected watch functions, as well as a host of health-related tasks, prominent of which is measuring movement. Also prominent is the Google Now functionality, which is where the built-in mic comes in handy.

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The big differentiator here is the combination of hardware and the aforementioned Android Wear. The implementation of the latter is especially interesting, as it really allows the SmartWatch 3 to be both a dual screen and a fairly independent device. There are some nice applications available for it as well, like a music player

I did like the overall utility of the device, even if I was not the biggest fan of the form factor; while the band switching functionality is pretty nice, I do think Sony could have taken a few more chances with the design. I also was not a fan of the positioning of the charging port. Additionally, Android Wear was truculent at times, and I didn’t get advertised two days of use from a charge.

As a connected health tool, I did like the product overall; if anything, it proves why we’d prefer Sony in he smartdevice sector.

Sony is back… and should stay.

AR Health Series: Misfit Shine Review

AR Health Series: Misfit Shine Review

Mar 3, 2015

The new Misfit Shine is hardly new, but it shouldn’t be a surprise that plenty of people still consider it a piece worth at least trying out.

We were eager to get the review unit Misfit sent us. The unit itself is tiny, barely bigger than a quarter in circumference; the unit contains a battery, and fits into a watch-like band. It’s quite light, almost slender on the wrist, but reasonably nondescript for something crafted from aircraft grade aluminum. It is waterproof, and grayish in color (there are other color choices), which mostly hides the series of LEDs when they are not lighted..

A big part of the solution is the Misfit app; the app is the portal with which the app records and translates accumulated data. The app has gotten better over time, with a clean interface and simple controls. The app has a sync button at the top right of the main screen, ad this allows the physical unit to offload data via Bluetooth. Additionally, the app also interfaces with several established Android fitness utilities, like Runkeeper and MapMyFitness. The unit does not need to be formally synced to the app-holding device, but the two do need to be reasonably close.

Now what it sets out to do is keep track of activity as well as sleep. It estimates such using a precision 3-axis accelerometer, and syncs to the app, which can then interprets said data for easy consumption. Tapping the unit twice reveals a clock function using the LEDs

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The sync procedure can be frustrating at times; the tapping mechanism is great on paper, but finicky in practice, such that I felt like I had to do a quick sync just to ensure that everything was working as it should. Also, having used it on both iOS and Android, the former is more fully featured, and some of the advertised third-party app compatibility was temperamental.

After extended use though, I am a huge fan of the overall premise of functionality. it’s an exceptionally simple device, but manages to convey a sense of sleekness that is not forced or overdone. The ability to use the main piece in several ways makes it even handier, and the ability to customize it further with bands and even necklace holders is an attractive extra. According to Misfit Inc, as it (the company) expands to home automation, one can expect the Shine to do even more.

As a passive health/sleep tracking accessory, it is a surprisingly elegant solution, and current prices (under $80 on Amazon) ensure that even this long after its initial debut, it is still a veritable option for the health conscious.

Livescribe Sky Wi-Fi Smartpen Hardware Review

Livescribe Sky Wi-Fi Smartpen Hardware Review

Feb 25, 2015

When I look at adding accessories to my workflow, I try to keep to a few important precepts: portability, functionality and compatibility. Portability is obvious; the ability to use stuff on the go is quite important. With regards to functionality, before adding an addition or substitution to my creative/work process, I’d rather know that it is worth the time to make a change. Lastly, the ability to use a tool with other tools and across platforms is priceless.

On paper, Livescribe’s Sky Wi-Fi Smartpen seems to touch on these elements quite comfortably.

Livescribe has created quite the niche with in the smartpen offerings; it has several products, with one of the most celebrated (Livescribe 3 Smartpen) on its way to full Android compatibility shortly. The Sky Smartpen is more of a cross-platform workhorse that boasts some admirable tricks up its sleeve.

The review unit Livescribe sent us showed the piece in its retail glory: the 4GB pen, micro-USB cable, two covers and a good deal of documentation. Livescribe also cobbled together starter pack of sorts, as we also got a Livescribe starter notebook and a more ostentatious Livescribe Moleskine Lined Dot Paper Notebook.

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The pen itself is interestingly designed, and, at first glance, I suspected it might be a tad unwieldy. It looks a bit like a traditional fountain pen, tapering from the “top” to the exposed pen tip. On the frame, one finds a speaker grill, microphone and monochrome OLED display, while at the very bottom, there is a 3.55mm audio jack and a micro-USB charging port. The unit also has a built-in camera and wi-fi chip.

The smartpen arrived mostly charged, do I was able to get right into using it. The online setup hints at some if the functionality coming up, as one gets it up and running with wi-fi and also connects to Evernote. Holding it in hand allayed in handling concerns I might have had.

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The key is the paper in the notebooks. Using microdot technology and the camera in the pen, it allows the device accept commands from the paper, but also, it takes written data and translates it to Evernote, such that one sees a digitized form of the handwritten note in Evernote just as it appears in the notepad. It’s an interesting concept, and depends on wifi connectivity and, of course, the aforementioned paper.

In practice, the solution is dreamy. The paper incorporates visual commands that can be read by the smartpen camera when an icon is touched by the tip. One can write notes on the microdot paper, or initiate a voice note by visual voice command. When finished, syncing can be attempted (by icon as well), and it appears in a corresponding Evernote notebook. Even the setup is pretty interesting, and is facilitated by the same paper-camera combination.

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The end result, when it works, is a smooth concept. I used it to take training notes while coaching, and having a digital copy that can be shared and otherwise manipulated is invaluable. Evernote functionality itself opens up a a wealth of secondary options (like Skitch) which increase usability. The microphone allows it to be used as a an audio recorder.

Ah, but the key is when it works. Updating the unit was a bit of a drag, and it took me quite some time to fix a sync issue. The notebook is a phenomenal idea, and while the smartpen can be used as, well, a pen, for full functionality, one needs to use the companion paper. Now, Livescribe does provide templates for people to print, but a postscript printer is needed to provide the visuals the smartpen needs to interface with. Also, the Sky Smartpen (at $170 on Amazon) can be a sizable investment.

There are a bunch of accessories, from pen cases to dedicated headphones to replacement ink cartridges that can potentially add even more usability to this device.

Even though it isn’t new on the market, this piece is an excellent cross-platform tool that creates a viable connected solution in the right hands.

It’s hard to put a price on that.

Skylink Alarm System Hardware Review

Skylink Alarm System Hardware Review

Feb 25, 2015

In another life, I was involved in safety, and I remember how involved securing people and places could be. The physical system themselves could be confusing mazes of people and incompatible hardware. It was madness, and the people who were most in the dark tended to be the consumers themselves.

Thankfully, home automation in general (and, specifically in this case, Skylink Alarm System) gives the power back to the Everyday Person.

The Starter Kit review unit Skylink sent us was interestingly small, but packed quite a lot: a singular Internet Hub, one Keychain Remote, a Motion Sensor, power adapter, ethernet cable and a small cache of screws and such for optional mounting. Not included, but needed to set up are a total of seven (7) AAA and AA batteries. The idea is that the Hub acts as the brains, and the other pieces connect together to create a cloud-supported, user controlled safety and security network.

Setup is intuitive enough; after batteries are installed, the powered Hub gets connected to a modem. Then, with the help of the SkylinkNet Android application (which requires prior account creation), one can complete the setup of the Hub, and the overall system settings. Next, the sensors and included keychain can be paired and programmed with notification settings, chimes, names and more.
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Next, one gets to place the sensors where they need to me. yes, I probably enjoyed this way more than I should have. The included double-sided tape is especially useful here, and I was more or less able to test out the best location for the sensors continually.

I was impressed as to how similar it is to a conventional alarm system. Things like arming, disarming, delayed exit and such are all supported via the app and keychain. The Hub provides audio sound to accompany activity based on the status of the system. As an added benefit, the app can also be used to control Skylink home automation modules.

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I absolutely adore the fact that the setup is infinitely expandable/customizable; one can literally build to suit with extra pieces such as sensors, outdoor alarms, vibration sensors, silent alarms, and more. A system based on power and internet connectivity does have at least two potential flaws, and I like that the Hub incorporates battery backup to somewhat ameliorate that issue, along with the option of phone backup functionality. The app is fairly expansive (up to 100 sensors and controllers), and works well as a software bridge, while simultaneously providing backup control. I do think more documentation and more consistent app navigation is needed.

Put together, it is a much better DIY solution than I envisaged. No contracts here, but the flip here is that at the basic level, it’s all on the user. Still, how can one not be a fan of consumer control, especially with regards to home automation?

Juno Power Kaebo Micro-USB Cable Hardware Review

Juno Power Kaebo Micro-USB Cable Hardware Review

Feb 24, 2015

You got the device, and now you want to keep it alive to keep you happy. First thing you think of? It probably should be about the charging cable. Now, most devices do come with their charge cables, but what if one wants something a bit tougher, and one that can go from device to device, charging and syncing on the way?

That’s where the Juno Power Kaebo Charge and Sync Cable comes in.

The retail package Juno Power sent us highlights a piece that looks atypically interesting for a power cable. It’s mostly gray finishing is book-ended by expected silver tips; these tips are aluminum though for increased functionality. The main body is fairly different in look and feel, as it consists of a braided cloth exterior that works in gray. It comes across as different, but not necessarily flashy.

If this cable claims to be sturdy, it is definitely an attribute one could go to the bank with. The construction does seem to afford it a discernible degree of durability, and this was apparent in my unscientific testing. I did a series of impromptu miscellaneous things to it with my overly eager son… things that were inspired by things he has wrecked charging cables in the past: tug-of-war, jump rope and even imaginary wild mustang lassoing. None of the rough-housing seemed to affect the cable’s integrity.

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The cable looks to work as a charging cable, and also facilitates syncing data. I ran it in comparison to OEM cables we have, and there wasn’t a noticeable difference (with the exception of an HTC-supplied cable which seemed to charge a corresponding device faster). Sync-wise, I used it to pair a host of devices, from smartphones to wireless headsets to a smartpen, and it worked without a hitch via USB 2.0.

I really like the construction. It feels tough without invoking the heft of medieval armor, and because of its build, it reacts well to being stuffed and loosely rolled up. Its length is a huge advantage as well; at about 5 feet, it can access power in and through tight spots, and its inherent flexibility comes into play in several ways.

In the end, a good look can not replace raw functionality and, at least in the beginning, the Kaebo Micro-USB Cable doesn’t make that mistake. For those on the standard mobile device charging port train, it’s a pretty decent stop option ($7.99 on Amazon).

FUEL iON Magnetic Wireless Charging System

FUEL iON Magnetic Wireless Charging System

Feb 23, 2015

So many devices… and so little, uh, battery time?

With all the unique devices out their, the one thing a lot of us would trade it all away for is probably extremely long battery life. Next best is probably an easier, wireless method of charging — and this something the FUEL iON Magnetic Wireless Charging System from Patriot promises to deliver via advertised neodymium technology.

The review package that Patriot sent to us was rated specifically for the Samsung Galaxy S5, and contained a white charging base, a back cover, micro-USB cable and documentation. The dock comes in hard plastic, with a logo on it; the case is grayish and the cable is stark white. In hand, the case feels decently constructed, and the dock unit has a decent heft without being too weighty.

Setting up is fairly intuitive. The powered cable goes into the dock, and the replacement cover goes on the device. At first the glance, one might be forgiven for wondering about the construction of the the dock; usually, one would expect a lip of sorts at the bottom, but with this one, the “back” tapers down into deliberate nothingness. This design paradigm hints at the major functionality of the system: magnetic charging.

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The replacement back has pins that line up the Galaxy S5’s charging ports. Almost hidden towards the top of the dock is a small, circular component; this piece is magnetic, and it allows the device to adhere to the dock via the matching component on the rear of the system back piece. And then — get this — the device gets charged by magnetic contact.

This product claims to be faster than Qi charging; in my decidedly unscientific experiments, I tried charging the same device for about 20% increase in battery, alternating between Qi charging system and the FUEL iON. This unit did best the Qi standard handily.

Aesthetically, the system looks good too. I am a simple guy, and enjoy simple things. I like that I can be fairly loose with placement, and the phone holds in place. It doesn’t occupy too much physical space, so it works well as a semi permanent permanent charging and storage solution. I used the system to consume media in landscape, and even as a casting holder. I especially like that the system is somewhat expandable with other portable accessories.

My biggest whine is that outside five or so Galaxy and iPhone devices, there aren’t any compatible cases for most Android devices. Still, it isn’t overly expensive (at $79.99 on Amazon), as it is comparably to regular inductive units.

All in all, it’s worth checking out, and not just for the unique nature; it is a solid solution.

D-Link Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera Hardware Review

D-Link Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera Hardware Review

Feb 20, 2015

When it comes to a secure home, why no pull out all the stops? Connected cameras are a big part of home safety options, and devices made by D-Link — a company that can actually afford to name drop — are especially interesting. As such, we were eager to check out the D-Link Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera.

The review unit D-Link sent us came in retail packaging; in the box, one gets the camera itself, a mounting bracket, ethernet cable, power cable, mounting paraphernalia and documentation. The camera itself is mostly white with black accents. Standing right-side up, it looks like a short lighthouse with a matching white antenna out the back. Dimensions-wise, it is 5.26 x 4.03 x 3.99 inches, and weighs 0.64 lbs.

The main unit has input slots for power and ethernet on the bottom back, as well as a WPS button and reset pinhole. On the front of the bottom there are two LEDs to signify power and WPS status. The unit also has embedded microphone, and advertises different video resolutions.

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Setting it up involves a computer (Mac or Windows), and downloading the installer and following the instructions. As the contents suggest, the camera can be set up in wired or wireless fashion, and the desktop utility helps to accomplish this. As soon as the wireless setup is complete, the companion mydlink Lite can be downloaded from the Play Store to control the app and manipulate device settings.

The app displays live video via the app; I was somewhat surprised by the clarity, which can be sharpened by manually adjusting the lens. It boasts three different resolution, and there is a distinct difference in them. The pan and tilt functionality is easily handled intuitively by gestures on the display. Camera shots can be acquired via the app as well. I did notice some lag in gesture operations though, but I found the voice quality to be clear.

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The app allows for event-triggered push notifications, and I also like the fact that firmware upgrades can be initiated from within the app. The app also controls other D-Link connected peripherals (like the recently reviewed Smart Plug), so its nice to have a one-stop point for such units.

Altogether, it’s a pretty nice option that is easy to use and appreciate. It works well in different scenarios and lighting conditions, and is a fantastic starting piece in any connected home setup.

Samsung Ultimate Accessory Pack Review

Samsung Ultimate Accessory Pack Review

Feb 16, 2015

Ah the fun of buying new a smartphone! It’s always great having a brand new device to fiddle with, play games on or just enjoy using, especially if it’s a behemoth like the amazing new Note 4. However, a new phone means having to buy a new raft of accessories. Luckily, our friends at Mobilefun have a useful bundle of vital accessories available to get new owners of Samsung’s phablet up and running.

Billed as the Ultimate Note 4 Accessory Pack, this kit contains everything that a new smartphone owner might need.

First is the ever useful Micro Suction Desk Stand. This is a universal stand that will work with any phone model. It is a small, easily portable stand with a micro suction pad that sticks instantly to any phone. Using it is as simple as pushing the phone firmly onto the pad. Mobilefun have managed to do this in such a way that the sticky pad does not feel sticky at all to the touch and does not leave any nasty sticky residue on your device. The connection between the phone and the stand is very strong too; shaking the stand around will not dislodge the phone and you can rest assured that it will not fall or slide off. The stand even includes a plastic plate that can be stuck to the stand. This allows phones without flat backs, such as those in cases to be used with the stand without having to remove the phone from the case. This is a really nice feature.

Next is the Universal In Car Mount. This is a very important item for most any mobile phone owner. It sticks securely to the dash of your car and allows a clear view of your phone for actions like GPS and voice replies to SMS. The holder’s arms support any phone from the gigantic Note 4 to smaller iPhones. The suction cup uses a unique twist-lock mechanism that causes the device to stick fast to glass. It also includes an adhesive pad that allows it to stick to other surfaces like plastic.

I found this a bit problematic however. I tested this by sticking the phone to my fridge. After about half a minute the phone holder itself came away from the suction part and my phone ended up on the floor. The second item I tried, the suction cup failed and the entire holder ended up on the floor. While a great idea and very simple to use, I would not trust this device with very heavy phones.

Next is the Universal Car Charger. This is a familiar charger than plugs into your cigarette lighter and charges your phone. The device also includes an additional USB port to allow charging of two devices at once. This is very good.

There is also a smaller mini desk stand/desk stylus included. This is small enough to fit in a wallet and is very useful.

Also included is a basic Perspex case. It only covers the back of the phone, but it feels solid and does the job. 5 screen protectors are also included.

All up the Samsung Note 4 Ultimate Accessory Pack is a solid pack of useful items. The stand and the car charger work great and the case and screen protectors are a good starter set, although the car holder is a bit unreliable. For $30.99 its a bargain. Recommended!

Thanks to our friends at Mobilezap for providing the items for this review.

Puro Sound Labs Kids Bluetooth Headphones Hardware Review

Puro Sound Labs Kids Bluetooth Headphones Hardware Review

Feb 4, 2015

Here’s the problem: I’ve come to appreciate quality earphones the older I’ve gotten. I won’t describe myself as an audiophile, but I do enjoy the output a quality set of phones can bring. As such, I do have write a few. Wired, wireless, over-ear, in-ear, lounging, sport… you name it, and I probably have a set for the occasion.

I baby them too. They’re cased when not in use, and issued in places that negate the possibility of silly mishaps, like (gasp!) sitting on them. All because I like having options, and dislike procuring stuff twice.

You know what is kryptonite to gadget longevity? Kids.

Take my daughter for instance. Ariana Grande must be heard, ave outside hearing the SAME song played on loop, I have to reluctantly lend her a pair of mine.

Why aren’t there more gadgets available for kids? That’s a question the Puro Sound Labs Kids Headphones looks to answer.

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To be honest, I expected a set of headphones full of frills and overly bright colors; the review package Puro Sound sent set me straight. The retail box contains the charging cable and AC adapter, 2 cases (soft and hard), special 3.55mm cable and the headphones themselves, with the headphones being mostly tan with an emphasis on soft gold and chrome highlights, and it has prominent buttons for toggling on, wireless pairing, volume up and down, as well as audio and microSD charging ports and an LED light on the left cup. The cups are braced by cushioned material, and are able to extend from the band for bigger heads (or hairdos). The band is also covered in soft material for a more comfortable experience; the main parts are crafted from lightweight aluminum.

These headphones, on paper, rack up up some nice features: 16 hours of usage (200 hours standby time), built-in microphone, balanced response, and (most interesting to me), a means of limiting overly loud outputs.

Getting the gear going is a matter of charging, and using the bluetooth pair button to match it to a compatible audio source. I like the crisp sound it produces, and the conduction seems topnotch. The advertised sound control is superb; I didn’t feel like I lost fidelity while keeping my ears safe. But even more importantly, the real testers (my kids) loved them, and, for once, didn’t complain about being forced to keep the volume down.

Not bad.

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There are a couple things I especially like, and which make this a bit more than just a kid’s accessory, is the aforementioned microphone, which allows for usage with phone calls. Then there’s the wired functionality, which allows the unit to be used even if the battery is drained (and the supplied audio cable keeps to the noise limiting paradigm, in case one wondered).

All in all, the Puro Sound Labs Kids Headphones has a soft touch, but is great enough to have mature sensibilities. It’s priced relatively well ($79.99 on Amazon), looks good and does a lot.