SCOSCHE Unveils Reversible Micro-USB Connector Accessories

SCOSCHE Unveils Reversible Micro-USB Connector Accessories

Sep 9, 2015

If there is one recent enhancement to iOS hardware I really like, it is the introduction of the lightning connector. It just makes sense from a usability standpoint: small and symmetrical, perfect for those nights when one is trying to plug in a device bedside without turning on the lights.

Now, some creative accessory makers are replicating the functionality for devices that use micro-USB ports (like the vast majority of Android devices); SCOSCHE is leading the charge, and has just unveiled accessories with reversible Micro-USB ends.

No more right side up or upside down with these pieces, which were officially unveiled at CTIA 2015.

Excerpts from the press release:

The new EZTIPâ„¢ line of products will allow users to conveniently and easily charge and/or charge and sync all standard micro USB devices, such as smartphones, earbuds/headphones, portable speakers, portable backup batteries, tablets, digital cameras and more, by inserting the connector either side up. The new line of symmetrical connector products will eliminate the hassle of worrying about finding the correct side of the micro USB connector.

The first accessory available in the new line will be the STRIKEDRIVE™ EZTIP™ (part # EZC12), a powerful 12 Watt, 2.4 Amp car charger for smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. The hassle-free car charger with EZTIP™ will allow users to quickly and easily connect and charge their micro USB port devices in any direction, eliminating the fumbling and potential damage to mobile devices that can occur with traditional micro USB connectors. The charger’s convenient low-profile design fits flush in most vehicles, and its 3 foot coiled cable allows for easy and tangle-free cable management.

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The STRIKEDRIVE EZTIP car charger is slated to be available in October, and will cost $19.99; additional EZTIP accessories will be released through the rest of the year.

Recoil Winders Hardware Review

Recoil Winders Hardware Review

Nov 28, 2014

So, if you’ve been keeping tabs on our hardware reviews, you probably know that my latest rallying cry is organization. Yes, through all the fantastic accessories — and especially amid all the cables we use to power said accessories — we could all definitely use a helper or two when it comes to corralling the requisite wire.

Enter Recoil Automatic Cord Winders.

Its premise is quite simple: it looks to reduce clutter/promote organization by creating a method to “wind up” cables. Think of those extensible cables that one tugs on to make retract. Well, the Recoil Winders kind of takes that concept and runs with it. And, oh, it promises to do so without the ignominy of tangles and such.

The review box the manufacturer sent reveals an unassuming set of items; the winders come in three general sizes, and come in several different colors. The three pack set also has a storage rack to put the Winders in. Outside the box, the Winders look somewhat like a groovy roll of tape sans the tape. The inner barrel rotates on a spring axis, and has a clip. Now, the way it works is that the user takes cable he/she already owns and inserts it unto the Winder.

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To use it one with my USB cord, I folded it into per the instructions, and hooked it unto the unit. The piece automatically winds up the cord when the ends are pulled down, creating a tidy roll-up. Pulling upwards releases it, and releasing the tug locks the unit.

I tried it with several different cords… earbuds, charging cables, audio cables and more. Each time, the unit worked as advertised. My biggest concern is based off the “old school” all-in-one units, that almost always broke and/or gave in to kinks, but so far, the Recoil Winders have been flawless.

Big ups to the manufacturer for just about hitting the Golden Accessory Trifecta: price, choice and functionality. They’re intuitive in design, and the ability to use them with one’s existing arsenal is priceless.

TYLT Accessories On Sale For 50% Off For Limited Time

TYLT Accessories On Sale For 50% Off For Limited Time

Nov 26, 2014

TYLT, the renown smartdevice accessory maker with a penchant for visually appealing pieces, is getting in on the holiday spirit.

From Black Friday Through Cyber Monday, all products on www.tylt.com will be on sale for 50% off. This means that some of the sleekly unique gadgets and accessories that TYLT is known for can be had for a fraction of the sticker price during the sale period.

Additionally, TYLT is offering free first class shipping within the continental United States (by using promo code CYBER2014 at checkout).

We have reviewed a few of TYLT’s products, and really liked them. We had the opportunity to check out their portable power banks, Qi charging unit and more. The items generally straddle the thin line between form and functionality quite equitably.

As noted, the sale runs from November 28th through December 1st 2014, so get it while it is pipn’ hot.

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TYLT Announces Two New Accessories

TYLT Announces Two New Accessories

Oct 28, 2014

TYLT is back. With more.

The smartdevice accessory maker that looks to continually merge high style with real world functionality, has just announced two new accessories.

First, we get to see the VU Wireless Charging Car Mount.

Simply place your smartphone on the VU Wireless Charging Car Mount to initiate charging – no need to plug in your phone. The three overlaid charging coils ensure your phone will connect and charge regardless of its size or orientation, and its spring loaded arms securely grip phones with up to 5.7″ displays. Mount the device to your dashboard or windshield with the extra strong Micro-Gel suction cup, and position your phone in horizontal or landscape view with the 180-degree rotating mount.

This unit works with Qi-enabled devices, can be used with the biggest smartphones on the market, and has an adjustable base.

It will be priced at $79.99

Also making its debut is the VU SOLO.

The perfect traveling companion or desktop accessory, the VU SOLO makes wireless charging easier than ever with its patent-pending alignment ledge, a physical marker that shows you exactly where to place your device in order to align it with the single Qi coil and initiate charging. Any micro-USB cable will power this charging pad, which provides a 1 Amp charge and 5 watts of power to your device once connected. The SOLO features an anti-slip silicone surface, 5 foot charging cable, built-in ventilation, and a micro-gel suction base.

The SOLO will carry a $39.99 price tag.

Both pieces will be available by the end of the year.

[Source: TYLT Press Release]

Our 10 Favorite Accessories That Can Fit In the Palm of Your Hand

Our 10 Favorite Accessories That Can Fit In the Palm of Your Hand

Oct 14, 2014

At Android Rundown, we get quite a lot of accessories to try out; it’s one of the more interesting aspects of writing about technology. Seeing what companies come up with to extend the functionality of mobile devices is a fascinating endeavor.

Android-enabled accessories come in all flavors and sizes; some of the best transcend size though. Here are some of our favorites that can easily fit in one’s hand. We also link to our reviews of said item. The list started at five items, and, true to form, we couldn’t condense it to only five accessories.

Fair disclosure: each of the following items were provided to Android Rundown for review purposes.

Kingston DataTraveler microDuo

We love this piece; it packs the collective functionality of a regular jumpdrive and a mobile device OTG puck. It comes in several different sizes, and is just about as portable as a quarter.

Our Review

Antec Smartbean Bluetooth Receiver

Yes, we love our wireless accessories, but wired pieces still pack a punch, and are hard to retire. For folks looking to give wired audio accessories a wireless feel, the Smartbean is the perfect tool.

Our Review

KERO Micro-USB Nomad Cable

In today’s mobile world, micro-USB cables are GOLD. This Kickstarted item is affordable, portable, and cute and rugged at the same time.

Our Review

Automatic Auto Accessory

Outside the box ideas are always fantastic, and the Automatic Auto accessory defines this concept. It plugs into a car’s OBD port and reads and interprets data, syncing said data to one’s Android device via the companion app and bluetooth. Pesky check engine light? Driving performance? Speed Check? Distracted driving prevention? Yep.

Our Review

Rocki Wi-Fi Music System

More kickstarter goodness… this one in the manifestation of a wi-fi based music sharing tool. Slick shaped, portable and well designed o bring one’s Android device to musical/audio life.

Our Review

RAVPower Qi Charger

Sleek, simple and (most importantly) functional, this unit brings one’s Qi-enabled hardware the charge it literally needs.

Our Review

Eye-Fi Mobi 8GB Wi-Fi SD card

The Eye-Fi is not new, but its utility is evergreen. It brings devices with SD card slots wireless functionality via local network. It works with cameras, PDAs, (my personal favorite) mobile scanners, and more. It comes in different sizes, and the optional cloud functionality is pretty cool too. With the companion Android app, data can be manipulated and shared Fortune 500-style.

Our Review

iRig MIC Cast

This little contraption converts the audio jack of Android devices into an equitable audio recording portal. With the companion app, audio can be manipulated. Podcasters, musicians, speech makers and pranksters rejoice!

Our Review

Chromecast

Google hanged the game with this mirroring tool; the insanely competitive price is somehow not the best feature of this little media monster.

Our Review

BlueAnt Pump Headphones

These powerful, wireless headphones are made for exercise, but are sedate enough to be used in other instances. Sweat-proof, hardy in hand and comfortable in ear, now you can stream inspirational words from Mr T while out running or reading up on Android development at the library.

Our Review

Vaavud Mjolnir Wind Meter Hardware Review

Vaavud Mjolnir Wind Meter Hardware Review

Sep 10, 2014

Say what you want, but I believe measuring the elements is a manly pursuit. As such, at the risk of stroking my ego, I just had to check out the Kickstarted Vaavud Mjolnir Wind Meter.

The review piece itself comes in decent packaging; the wind meter itself is surprisingly light, almost scarily so. The exterior is mostly plastic, so if one was looking for something of similar heft to Thor’s Hammer, this might be a shock. The review piece fits in the palm, and made me think of Mickey Mouse’s hat, what with the red top unit with cups that logically rotates about the axis. The bottom base unit is black, and tapers into a 3.5 mm male audio pin. Altogether, the pieces are loose, but not badly constructed, and I did like the labeled carry pouch that came with the packaging. For reference, it also comes in green and white.

To use the meter, the companion app Vaavud Wind Meter needs to be installed from the Play Store and running. With the wind meter intuitively inserted in the audio jack of the device running the companion software, the user needs to tap “start” in the app, and then the hold the device above his/her head to catch the winds in the cups. During this time, the app uses a progress bar to note the progress of the data collection; when it stops, the information can be consumed in graph and numerical form. The sequence can then be repeated if wanted.

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The app itself has different segments; the first (as described) measures the wind. The second is a visual map, and the third is a listing of historical readings. To access the latter, it is necessary to register an account with Vaavud.

I found the whole system to be a fun diversion, but there were a few times it was quite useful: radio-control helicopter flying, kites, even while measuring gusts of wind on the soccer pitch. The system boasts the ability to read 2 – 20 m/s (up to 48 m/s on some Android phones) with a precision of +/- 4%. I was not able to scientifically measure that, but my informal testing did rack up similar readings at the same time.

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My biggest gripe is that it does not work on all android devices (it requires the device to have a magnetic field sensor,and a compatible one at that). The plastic build did give me some pause, too, but to be fair, the lack of electronics in the hardware was actually a good thing in my book. Overall, it works well, is a great science lesson on its own, and can be used both for leisure and otherwise.

The Mjolnir Wind Meter is available for $40 via the Vaavud website.

Seidio Dilex Combo Case Hardware Review

Seidio Dilex Combo Case Hardware Review

May 23, 2014

I like to think that protecting mobile devices is serious business. Further to that, finding the delicate balance between functionality, bulk and appearance can be daunting.

Seidio has been making cases for a while, and its expertise goes across manufacturers, platforms and even device form factors. We had an opportunity to review its Dilex 3-piece Combo Case, and it was a fun endeavor.

The review samples arrived in the telltale red Seidio boxes; the first had the Dilex case pieces, and the second contained the holster. The samples were black (Seidio also offers white, brown, purple, blue and red); it actually comes in two interlocking segments, each lined on the inside with black felt that completes the hard polymer the pieces are made out of. The upper (bigger) portion has the camera cut-outs, while the smaller portion has a light metal kickstand. d2

The aforementioned holster has a fairly minimalist design, with a spring release mechanism at the top, and edged corners and sides. It too is made of hard plastic, with a clip on the back.

In action, the two case pieces fit perfectly on the HTC One M8 they were wade for, with a groove system that lets them lock into place. It creates a gapless system, with little added bulk, and openings for buttons, audio jack, charging port, cameras and mics were well-placed.

Fitting the cased phone into the holster was just as seamless. The system provides a front-facing system, so the phone is subject to another layer of protection, because in the case of a drop, the back (cased) portion of the phone is exposed. The pieces all feel secure when used together, and even rigorous shaking doesn’t dislodge the cased device. As an aside, the holster also works with other thin cases, even though it is no officially rated for them, albeit with a much more relaxed fit.

I wasn’t a big fan of the release mechanism, convenient as it is; it just feels that a lot of use might test its longevity. Besides that, the Dilex works well as a protective option that doesn’t look like Medusa. The added benefit of being able to use the two main component segments more or less on their own adds value to the overall package.

The Dilex Combo can be obtained via Amazon for $47.08.

Crowdfunding Spotlight: LineShark

Crowdfunding Spotlight: LineShark

Apr 2, 2014

With all these cheap knock off games and exploitative “freemium” apps sometimes the most useful and innovative apps can get lost in the noise. Looking across the app stores for both Android and iOS there are incredible apps that can be visually breathtaking as well as something that replicates the job of larger, more cumbersome analog machinery. Specifically looking into the music genera there are plenty of effects apps and recording software that, on one tiny tablet, can replace thousands of dollars and hundreds of pounds of foot pedals and even entire computers. The problem has always been interfacing that Fender to a tablet or smartphone, as there are not too many 1/4″ ports on tablets these days.

This is, as always, where this week’s Crowdfunding Spotlight comes in. Meet the LineShrark; a compact and powerful audio converter that allows virtually any electric instrument to be wired both into and out of any existing smartphone or tablet. The LineShark can be put into two different modes: recording and effects, and also comes with an adjustable gain meter on the top of the device. The first of these two modes splits the signal from the instrument and sends one signal to a smartphone or tablet for recording purposes with the other half going to the amp for performing. The latter delivers the input signal directly to the smart-device where, via an app, the sound has filters or effects applied to it and the output is then routed out of the device, through the LineShark, and into the amp. This is all incredibly exciting for live performers who now can leave those bulky, unintuitive effects pedals at home and instead load up their favorite app and have access to all the effects they need at the tip of their fingers.

The line shark has 21 days remaining, at the time of writing this, and is amazingly still $52,000 short of their $60,000 goal. So please be sure to check out their page and consider supporting this great project.

iLuv Introduces Accessories for Samsung Galaxy Note 3

iLuv Introduces Accessories for Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Sep 10, 2013

Wait, Samsung’s already made a third one? There’s no way someone can keep track of all the Galaxies Samsung’s been releasing recently. They should pack them in universes or something. Anyway, iLuv is releasing a line of great accessories and cases for the new hardware. They come in all shapes and sizes, be it a standard protection case, vallet stand, or another type of clothing for your Galaxy. A complete list of iLuv products, including these ones, can be found on an Official iLuv Website

Exomount Universal Car Mount Hardware Review

Exomount Universal Car Mount Hardware Review

Mar 14, 2013

I love my accessories. Like apps, I love anything that allows me to add functionality to my device. Thankfully, Android is in a place that with regards to the availability hardware accessories.

Unfortunately, finding device-specific pieces can be tough, as the range if specs varies widely. The market for generalized, universal aftermarket pieces is therefore quite robust. When it comes to car mounts, different wiring conventions muddy up the waters. Thus, universal mounts sometimes provide the best values. Exomount 2, from Exogear, definitely packs in utility.

First, it looked good. It came in bright white (black was the other option), with red and black accents. It looked sturdy enough, made out of hard nosed plastics, and seemed to possess a minimum of moving parts. I liked the compact feel of the item. The spring mechanism was responsive, and easily maneuverable with one hand. It used a ball joint to facilitate movement along an axis, and there were screws to adjust flexibility.

It was designed to grip multiple surfaces, and used a suction mechanism with a lock lever to effect this. In my real world tests, it worked proficiently on walls, glass and mirror. When applied diligently, it seemed to be very firm. The clip itself was strong without damaging the phone — I have seen that happen with other mounts. It worked well with three devices I tried, cased and uncased (another big test for me, as I prefer keeping my devices cased). It easily accomodated my EVO LTE (2.71 inches wide), and looked like it could EASILY do more.

The drop tests didn’t faze it. I dropped it from about 6 ft up several times, and it didn’t crack. To be fair, I didn’t pelt the ground with it, but I doubt most people will either.

The exposed spring might be an issue in the future, and I could seer where the white finish could get a bit dingy, but for the present, it was hard to focus on probabilities. It looked and felt quite good.

The universal car mount from Exogear was a fun, functional piece of kit that showed versatility and durability.

CES 2013: iRig Accessories Gain Android Support

CES 2013: iRig Accessories Gain Android Support

Jan 8, 2013

The iRig range of accessories from IK Multimedia have been known as primarily iOS accessories; that’s what the lowercase “i” usually means! But soon Android owners can get in on the fun, as IK has announced at CES the impending release of iRig Recorder for Android. This supports the microphone range of accessories, including the iRig Mic, and iRig PRE, which serves as a pre-amp for professional-grade XLR microphones. This app can not just record input from these accessories, but it can also serve as a way to playback and edit the audio recorded from the accessories. Files can be exported as either WAVs or as OGG files. Files can be transferred via email, FTP, Bluetooth, or shared through the built-in device sharing. The app will come in a $4.99 full version with the editing functionality, and a free version that supports recording, with editing able to be unlocked via IAP. Note that the guitar accessories are not yet compatible with Android.