DEVICES

05. 3.2013

Mirror Mirror On The Wall, Who's The Fairest Of Them All?

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If you owned the brand-new simplehuman Sensor Mirror, you'd know the answer to that question. (It's YOU, btw.)

Think of those pull-out mirrors you sometimes find in hotel bathrooms that magnify your face to scary proportions: it's NOT one of those, but rather a very clever sensor mirror that lights up automatically as your face approaches, and which uses a " tru-lux light system" that simulates natural sunlight.

This prevents the dreaded "hooker" look; you know, when you've applied your make-up by a dim bathroom light. By allowing you to see full color variation, you can tell when your makeup is color-correct and flawless. (The mirror is also distortion-free at 5x magnification so you can see your entire face at once, which is what you want when applying make-up. )

And like most of your favorite gadgets, it's wireless and quickly recharges with the included USB cord and adapter. (No cords on the counter-top!)

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Unlike traditional bulbs or fluorescent lighting, the long-lasting LEDs won't burn out or diminish even after many years of regular use, says simplehuman.

Around the office, we call it the "magic mirror." If you haven't gotten Mom something for Mother's Day, this would be a perfect gift.

$200. at simplehuman.

Posted by Evan    Category: devices
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03.20.2013

SensoGlove : Improve your golf game ?

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Until they develop a robot to play golf FOR me, my game probably won't improve. (Actually, I'm sure the robot has already been developed but I just happen to own it.)
So I'm going to give the SensoGlove a try.

How it works:

The built-in digital computer actively monitors your grip with sensors placed strategically throughout the glove, providing instant feedback at all the points of your swing. SensoGlove’s audio feedback warns you at the moment your grip becomes too tight, allowing you to learn and maintain correct grip pressure at every point of your swing.

Even novice golfers like me know that your grip affects every aspect of the game, from chipping to driving. If SensoGlove can teach me to avoid the "death grip" maybe, just maybe, my score will improve.

Since the lightweight digital computer can be removed and replaced without removing the glove, you can use it only when you need it. Heck, I might just wear it all the time.

$89 for the women's and yes, you can get it for the left hand as well. At SensoGlove.


Posted by Evan    Category: devices
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03.10.2013

iSafe Teenagers? Backpack With Alarm System

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To test the new iSafe Urban Crew Campus backpack, we gave it to a normal teenager (if ever that adjective could be applied to a teenager) to test it for us.

You see, these iSafe bags are equipped with an alarm activation switch that is conveniently built into the right shoulder strap of the backpack, so if they're in danger, they simply have to pull the pin. The compact alarm features two-125 decibel sirens, a high intensity strobe light and weighs just three pounds with batteries.

After explaining to said teenager that she wasn't to treat this as her own personal disco system, or prank friends with it, she reluctantly tried it on.

"It's not as heavy as I thought it would be." Score one point for backback.
"I like all the padded sections - I could carry my laptop. And the mesh pockets on the side are handy" Score two .
"It's comfortable." (That's due to the foam back and s-shaped shoulder straps.) Backpack is winning.

Would she use it?
"Yeah."

Would she be careful not to drop it on the floor, stand on it, or submerge it in water?

She gave me a blank stare, as her friend drop-kicked her own backpack into the corner.

The iSafe never stood a chance, but will Mom feel a little better knowing she won't kill it in the first few months of college and will have an ear-splitting alarm in her reach? Absolutely.

For parents information: The Urban Crew Campus Laptop Backpack comes in five different color schemes, including: black, red, purple, green and pink, and also features a padded computer sleeve and an audio player pocket. The one we road-tested was $89.99 but they also have "fanny packs," laptop messenger bags, and school backpacks.

Posted by Evan    Category: devices
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01.24.2013

Nessie, The Solution To Home Recording

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We first spotted this baby on the floor of the CES convention hall. It's the brand-new microphone from Blue Mic.

Besides it's good looks, the adaptive USB mic delivers studio-enhanced sound for desktop recording of vocals, instruments, voiceovers and more. Nessie adapts in real time, applying professional studio processing, combined with a built-in pop filter and internal shockmount to produce expertly finished sound, without the need for additional mixing or editing.

Nessie’s key features -- and internal processing -- are specifically designed to combat the most common pitfalls of recording. The built-in, studio-grade pop filter and shockmount reduce harsh plosives and disruptive rumbling and vibrations, while the adaptive processing, including EQ, de-esser and level control, automatically smoothes and refines your audio in real time.

Nessie is plug-and-play compatible via USB with both PC and Mac with driverless installation. For mobile recording, connect to iPad using Apple’s camera adapters (30-pin to USB or Lighting to USB), sold separately.

Unlike many of the gizmos we saw at CES, Nessie is available now for $99 at Blue Mic.

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12. 4.2012

FoxLV2 Sound

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Previously, we reviewed the FoxL Bluetooth portable speaker, agreeing with Time magazine, who declared it the "Top 10 Gadget of the Year."

While it's hard to improve on perfection, Sound matters has done that with the foxLv2 by shrinking the size (5.6" wide x 2.2" high x 1.4" deep), increasing the rechargeable battery-time to 12 hours or more, but keeping the price at $199,the same as the original model.

The new "Foxy" (our nickname for it) was created for the growing range of aptX equipped phones and tablets, (think Samsung, HTC, Motorola) and features dual 1-inch Linear Magnetic Drive "Twoofers" usually found in large expensive hi-fi speakers for remarkable clarity and range,and the bass kicks butt. (It uses the battery as a woofer,which results in a smoother, more powerful bass.)

There's the same built-in noise-canceling mic in this smaller version,too.

The perfect holiday gift for the audiofile on your list? May all your gifting be this easy.

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08.28.2012

Because Alarm Clocks Are a Buzz Kill

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"No More Rude Awakenings"

"Wake your potential , not your partner."

Got your attention? Good, that was Lark's plan, the maker of the new sleep device which not only wakes you up with wrist-band vibrations but also monitors your sleep patterns to coach you to better rest.

Even if you take the wristband off in your sleep there's an audio back-up. Bluetooth technology makes it compatible with the iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad.

With the Pro version, you get a dashboard which shows you how to improve your sleep. (For review purposes, we tried the basic model, for $99 at Lark.)

We were anxious to try it since our partner has to wake up early (think 5:00 am) to get to shoots by morning light, making it hard for us to sleep in. Would our husband - a notoriously deep sleeper - wake up with the "sleep P.J's" ( a flexible wristband) ? He did. Did we get to sleep in? We did.

Did it save our marriage? Probably.

Posted by Evan    Category: devices
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08.20.2012

Shower with a Friend

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Remember those tinny shower radios from the "olden days"? At the time, it was the only way to listen to music in the shower, short of bringing your laptop/music deive into a steamy bathroom which is NOT recommended. And inevitalby, you were listening during drive-time so you had to endure tons of commericals.

Well, say hello to the brand-new water- resistant ishower from iDevices which has a 200 ft range. For us, that mean that we can leave the iPad downstairs and blast our music in the upstairs bathroom.

Either hang the speaker over the shower head or use the stand to put it on the counter. When you power it up it Says "HI", then simply bluetooth pair it with your iOS, Android or Windows Phone-compatible device.

It doesn't show tracks, but does have volume, play/pause, forward and back buttons. And yes, it even has a clock to you won't be late for work.

Compared to the shower radios of yesteryear, the sound quality is big and rich. Pump up the bass and get clean. $99 at iShower.

Posted by Evan    Category: devices
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06. 4.2012

Size Does Matter - FoxL

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Watch out Jambone, there's a new speaker in town! We just got the soundmatters' foxL to review and were blown away (to use a tech term.)

It's small enough to fit in your purse --or wear around your neck (comes with a lanyard) -- but the sound defies it's size. Audio purists rejoice.

Sound Matters says it took a rocket scientist to develop and that's not hyperbole. A NASA scientist named Dr. Godehard Guenther took expensive audio components and patented technologies to combine a tweeter (high frequencies) and a woofer (low frequencies) into one speaker, a "twoofer" as they call it, and the result is concert-quality sound. The built-in Lithium-ion battery is also a bass woofer, with up to 5 hours of battery life. (For more tech specs check out their page.)

It comes in two models - with or without Bluetooth - but we found it handy to have one small unit do double duty.

You have to hear it to believe it. $299. at Amazon.

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04.16.2012

What Are You Getting Mother Earth?

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Earth Day is coming up - what are you getting her?

We're doing our part with recylcing, with three big bins, two of which live outside. But what if you live in a teeny apartment and don't have the luxury of all that room? Simplehuman has it covered with their clever recycling solutions, like this trash can with separate bins for dividing your recyclables. Our choice - the simplehuman steel bar step can- is streamlined, and follows the aesthetic of a gourmet kitchen, with a reinforced steel bar and double-hinge pedal mount for easy, quiet use. It comes with 3 buckets (2 small buckets for recycling or remove them to use the large single bucket for trash).

This handsome devil has a 14.5 gallon capacity for $249.99, but check out all the different choices to find your perfect trash can. Mother Earth would be pleased.

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03.12.2012

Another Day; Another Set of Headphones

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Another day; another set of headphones. Yes, it's tough being a gadget reviewer.
While we grab a set of earbuds when we're headed to the gym, for hi-fidelity sound, we almost always go for a pair of Creative headphones, such as the Aurvana, or now, for the new HN-900, noise cancelling headphones with an online mic.

The cleverly concealed microphones in the earcups pick up surrounding noises and then electronically negate sounds, effectively reducing the noise by up to 85%. Neodymium drivers let you enjoy music the way it was meant to be heard, and since the audio cable comes with an in-line microphone, you won't miss any calls on your iPhone. The cable can be detached and the noise-canceling feature turned on - great for times when all you want is peace and quiet,such as a plane ride. And for those of us who keep forgetting to add new batteries, if the headphones run out of power, you can still use them in the passive mode without noise cancellation.

The HN's become instantly portable by folding the earcups flat and storing them in the pouch.
Well-worth 100 bucks.

NOTE: While you can listen to music with your headphones from other devices, media control using the cable's in-line switch works only with iPhones, iPods and iPads.

Posted by Evan    Category: devices
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