Gadgets for Geezers Featured Gadget:
Zaggsparq 2.0 Portable Power for Your Gadgets
Camping out in the airport? Camping out in the wilderness? Waiting out a power outage? There are a lot of situations that you can find yourself in where you do not want your cell phone to run out of battery charge. You ca avoid the electron feeding frenzy at the airport wall sockets, or relax on your camp stool if you have the Zaggsparq 2.0 from Zagg.
Zagg has created a 3.5 X 3.5 X 1 inch 6,000 milliamp Lithium Polymer charger that can charge any number of portable electronic devices that use a standard or optimized USB port. A fully charged unit will provide up to 4 charges for your iPhone or other smartphone, or give you a half a dozen extra hours to play movies on your iPad during that long trans-Atlantic flight.
Gadgets for Geezers had the opportunity to test out one of Zagg's units during a camping trip in the Colorado Rockies. It performed exactly as we expected it to. The trick is to start with a fully charged Zaggsparq unit. This is not a device that you can charge once and leave in the drawer for months waiting for a power outage, once charged the charge will start to degrade after a week or so. We recommend leaving it plugged into that wall, so that it is fully charged when you are ready to leave for the airport, are packing up your camping gear, or are looking out your window during a blizzard wondering when the power company will be hooking up your neighborhood.
The Zaggsparq is self-contained (the wall plug flips out the side) and has nicely rounded corners so it can fit in your pants pocket, although you would want to throw it in your bag or purse if you are carrying one. Another nice feature is the led indicators that let you know the juice left in the Zaggsparq after you have charged a device.
Should you find yourself in a comfortable chair at the airport right next to an outlet (it could happen) you can plug your Zaggsparq in to the wall and attach your phone to it via the USB cord and top off both. Forget your wall-wart for your iPhone? No problem if you have the Zaggsparq.
Want to call home after you have been snowed in at the airport for what seems like forever, or call for help on the third day of your camping trip when a Grizzly Bear has you up a tree? At times like these a Zaggsparq 2.0 might seem priceless. Actually it is $99.00, and a good choice for any road warrior, or smart phone camper.
iProp iPad stand
It's like having a third arm, without the inconvenience of having to get all new shirts. We first saw the iProp at the International CES in Las Vegas. The folks at iProp were kind enough to send GadgetsForGeezers one for review. We have reviewed several iPad holders for various purposes since this years Consumer Electronics Show, but for hands free iPad use the iProp is a standout.
This stand is 36 inches tall, most of that gooseneck. The iProp is sturdy and heavy duty, after all nobody wants to see their iPad tip over. The V shaped metal base is very solid, and weighing in at nearly four pounds, it will keep your precious iPad safely cradled. The base is thin, so you can fit it under the side of your chair, or bed. We tried it with chairs, love seats, recliners, even a rocking chair, and the iProp worked great with them all.
If you are an armchair commando, and like to use your iPad to control your media empire, you will love the iProp. With the iProp, you can position your iPad next to you within easy reach to control your devices. If you don't have any devices to control, the iProp makes viewing media on your iPad very comfortable.
Like to watch movies in bed, but hate having to prop up your iPad on your knees, or feel your arm going numb half way through the movie? You will love this device. Want to read your music from your iPad? iProp makes a great music stand too.
Your iPad locks into the iProp securely (we tipped it upside down - no problem), releases easily, and the locking ball hinge allows you to position your iPad in landscape, portrait, or anywhere in between, at any angle.
If you like to bang out your emails on your iPad, the iProp is a great help, but because it is a single stalk setup, you can experience some movement during keystrokes. We found that stabilizing the iProp with a knee fixed that, and allowed us to bang away with both hands.
You will not find the iProp at you big box stores, but it is available online from the manufacturer. The iProp comes with minimal packaging. If you can use an allen wrench, you can set this up in less than five minutes. Then watch your friends iPad accessory envy kick into high gear.
OtterBox The Latch for iPad
With all the great apps that are out there for tablets, lots of us are wanting to take our tablets almost everywhere. That can lead to the problem of what to do with the tablet when you need to use two hands for something, and there isn't a table around to set your precious iPad on? The folks at OtterBox have a solution for that. They call it The Latch. The Latch is a tablet holder that allows you to secure your tablet several different ways.
Gadgets For Geezers wanted to see how The Latch would work for active outdoor activities that can make use of some pretty great iPad apps, namely birding and geocaching. Both activities require that as you are actively moving around you will need your hands for something other than hanging on to your tablet. The Latch handled both of these activities quite comfortably. Heres how it works.
The latch secures to your tablet using four one inch elastic loops that hug the edges of your tablet. Then you can put it to use in a number of ways. There is a velcro strap that allows the user to secure the tablet to a leg, or to the back of a car seat for example. there is also a comfortable and adjustable hand strap if you want one handed use. This is particularly helpful if you are moving about while entering data.
For both birding and geocaching we wanted to carry our tablet under the right arm so it wouldn't bounce around on our chest as we were walking, so we chose the included neck strap. The strap can be attached to allow landscape or portrait orientation. The neck strap allowed us to keep the tablet out of the way, but immediately accessible.
After attaching our beloved iPad to to The Latch, the first thing you wonder is "is this thing going to drop my beloved onto an icy trail?" For us the answer was, no. We carried our tablet over slippery and sloppy spring trails, and through mature forest with light underbrush for several hours. There were no problems. With the over the shoulder and under the arm carry the iPad was really out of the way until we wanted to either look at the bird guide app or the geocaching app.
One really cool thing about using the neck strap is that you can tilt and prop up the tablet on your stomach to view or type on the tablet. You don't even need a big stomach, although that might help a little.
Whilst tripping merrily through the forest, there is a bit of concern about protecting the tablet itself. The Latch comes with a nylon cover that can be deployed to cover most of the tablet. The cover will protect your tablet from snow, dust, twigs or morning dew, but it is not intended to provide protection from rain or impact. If you want that you will need to enclose your iPad in an OtterBox Defender (most protection) or Commuter (moderate protection). Both of which are compatible with The Latch according to the manufacturer, and while not waterproof, do provide a higher degree of protection. As of this review the iPad2 has not been tested with The Latch, but should work.
Surely there are many different situations that The Latch would come in handy. Gadgets For Geezers felt that our testing offered a fairly rigorous testing environment. The Latch performed precisely as expected. It even has a detachable pouch to hold your straps and cover when you are not using them.
You can purchase The Latch directly from OtterBox for $49.95. It is also available online from Amazon. If you want or need to haul your tablet around with you, and still use your hands for other tasks, you Otter consider one of these.
BudFits & CordFits by Innovelis
Love your portable Apple device? Welcome to the club. It's not a small club. Hate your Apple ear buds? Welcome to the club. It is also not a small club. The inventive minds at Innovelis have a couple of solutions to help you learn to love your Apple ear buds again.
Gadgets For Geezers put the Innovelis BudFits and CordFits through a variety of tasks that often expand the membership of the "I hate my ear buds" club. It is true that almost any activity more active than the "corpse pose" results in your ear buds falling out of one or both ears, or being yanked out by your arm movements. BudFits solve one problem, CordsFits, the other.
BudFits are a flexible plastic holsters for your ear buds. You slide the ear bud into one end of the earpiece and thread the cord into the top grove, hang the buds over your ears, and you are ready to run, bike, lift or do just about anything else without your earbuds falling out of your ears.
BudFits do not interfere with glasses, and your headgear will not interfere with them. The BudFits direct the cord behind your ears, so it is off of the side of your face. If you are using BudFits with your iPhone, the microphone for your phone is farther away from your mouth. At first we thought that would impact the clarity of voice transmission, but our testing indicated no impact on quality of voice transmission.
When you are using BudFits you do not have to have your ear buds jammed halfway into your ear canal, so you can hear more of the ambient sounds surrounding you. That can be a real asset if you are skateboarding, jogging or biking where there is traffic. Nice solution for half of your ear bud frustrations.
CordFits address the other ear bud irritation, flapping cord. CordFits are a cord management system that allow you to adjust the length of cord from your device to your noggin. If you put your iPod or iPhone on your arm while you work out, shorten the cord using the CordFits to reduce excess cord. If you attach your device to your belt, lengthen the cord and you are good to go. It is pretty simple to put the cord into the CordFits, but if you need help the online instructions are clear and easy to follow. View instructions here.
When you are not using the ear buds, you can use the CordFits to wind the cord to reduce cord tangle. That works OK, but is not the best feature of the CordFits. Both BudFits and CordFits come in a variety of colors. BudFits and CordFits both retail for $8.99 on Amazon.com
Bottom line, if you live an active lifestyle, and like to take your iPod or iPhone with you, BudFits and CordFits are a great system for keeping the cord out of your way and the buds in your ears.
ZAGGmate with keyboard
The ZAGGmate with keyboard is a game-changer for the iPad. The aluminum frame provides excellent protection for your screen, but it is the internal keyboard that dramatically increases the functionality of your tablet. Sure the onboard screen touch keypad is ok for typing a quick response to an email. But if you really want to get working with text files using any number of the applications now available for the iPad, the ZAGGmate keyboard is what you have been dreaming of.
The ZAGGmate communicates with your iPad via bluetooth so there are no cords or connectors to get tangled up in. Pairing is effortless, once and done. The battery on the unit is charged through the included USB cable.
A locking kickstand folds out to hold your iPad in either landscape or portrait mode. The angle is comfortable for typing or media browsing. Your iPad still has all the touchscreen functionality, and the tablet is held securely enough that you can perform all the touchscreen actions without any wobble. The ZAGGmate does not have a mouse but that is not needed with the touch screen.
The Zaggmate is a full featured keyboard. the chicklet style buttons have a solid feel and positive response. It has a smaller footprint than a standard laptop, more on the feel of a net book.
The keypad offers a full row of function keys that are really handy. Want to listen to your music? Just touch the play key and your iPod function is engaged and automatically plays from where you had last left off. You do not have to navigate to the iPod function, it just starts.
A search key takes you directly to the search area for the iPad. It just functions seamlessly. A Home button take you to the iPad home screen. With a button press on the slideshow button, your stored photos are displayed in a slideshow - pretty cool. If you have other international keyboards installed on your iPad, the ZAGGmate has a button to automatically toggle between them. This keyboard is well thought out.
If you use a cloud storage system like the free Dropbox, you can share your files with your laptop, tower or any other computer you choose to share with. You will be so hyped about how productive you are with this keyboard, you might forget about the excellent screen protection that the aircraft grade aluminum provided for your screen.
Awards are piling up for this device. ZAGGmate with keyboard was awarded an innovation award at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and Best of Show at the 2011 Macworld. That's pretty impressive. At Gadgets For Geezers we are agreed that the ZAGGmate is without question the best accessory for the iPad we have found. We think that you will agree. The ZAGGmate with keypad retails for $99.99 for either the iPad or iPad 2. A version without the keyboard is $69.99, but you want the keyboard. You can purchase the ZAGGmate with keyboard through ZAGG, at big box stores, or through Amazon.
BlueAnt S4 True Handsfree
The first thing you notice about the BlueAnt S4 are the clean lines and smoothness. It has the feel of elegant design. You would not be shy about putting this unit in your Tesla. This unit comes with two sizes of visor clips. The S4 connects to these clips with pretty strong magnets. That makes it a snap to move the S4 between your cars, or just disconnect it to take it with you. The clips save you the hassle of wrestling with the clip every time you want to remove the device from your visor, pretty brilliant really. And you just may want to take this smartphone sized device with you and attach it to your yacht , golf-cart, hang glider, bike or lawn chair. It really is that good.
Have you got someone riding shotgun with you, or both a personal and a business cell? Connect them both, BlueAnt will answer whichever one rings. Cool Huh?
Setup for the unit was effortless. Connect the S4 to your computer with the included USB cable and allow it to download your address book. Then when a call comes in, your BlueAnt S4 will announce the caller, you can then decide to take or ignore the call - all hands free. If your phone supports voice dialing - say "BlueAnt Speak To Me" - this is what activates your interaction with the BlueAnt, then say "phone commands" then the name that you have voiced stored on your smartphone to connect. The quality of this interaction depends on your phones voice commands.
Making and receiving calls is just part of what BlueAnt can do. The S4 is set up to integrate with Bing-411. Connecting to "favorites" commands your phone to call the toll free number to connect to Bing-411. Then Bing-411 can help you navigate, tell you the traffic conditions or weather. Need more? How about news, sports, movies or stock quotes. But, Hey, shouldn't you be driving? Connecting to Bing-411 is free, but you pay the price by listening to a commercial.
Have you ever been driven to distraction trying to talk to someone who is using a hands free device in their car, only to hear wind and road noise interspersed with a few garbled syllables? Not with the BlueAnt S4. During our testing when we asked listeners on the other end of our calls to rate the sound quality, they consistently rated the sound "excellent" or "outstanding". We never get that response just using the speakerphone function on a smartphone alone.
The BlueAnt S4 comes with minimal impact packaging. In the box is the S4, USB cable with car charger, two visor clips for the magnetic attachment and user guide. The BlueAnt S4 retails for $99.99. You can buy one at Best Buy, Radio Shack, Fry's, AT&T, or Amazon.com. Gadgets For Geezers recommends this easy to use, feature rich hands free device to road warriors of all stripes. You can check out their video below.
ZAGG Invisible Shield and Skins
There are pretty strong feelings among smartphone users about protection shields for their phone screens. On the one hand you have the argument that it is insanity to put anything over the shiny smooth screen of their beloved iPhone. Conversely, other smartphone lovers are convinced you would have to be crazy not to protect the screen on your beloved device. If you fall into the second camp, it is pretty clear (pun intended) that the Zagg Invisible Shield is an excellent choice.
Shield users may have a tendency to be a little less careful of where they stow their phones. In a pocket with your keys? Better have a shield. If you only keep your phone in a dedicated pocket with no other items in it, you probably don't need one.
The concerns that we at Gadgets For Geezers have had with other screen shields that we have tried were basically that the shields were difficult to apply, had bubbles , and clouded the otherwise pristine screen of the smartphone. The folks at Zagg were kind enough to send us skins and protection shields to review.
Lets start with the screen shield. This reviewer came from the no shield camp so there was a healthy bit of skepticism regarding the invisible shield. The Zagg invisible shield had a more complex installation procedure than many other stick on shields. The directions were clear. You needed to clean the screen of your device, spray both sides of the protector, apply it to the screen, use the included squeegee to remove the air pockets, and wait.
The installation was not really difficult, but on application we observed some air pockets that would not be removed by the squeegee. When an air pocket remained after 24 hours we became skeptical. Within a couple of days the air pockets disappeared and the shield almost disappeared. There was a slight textural difference with touch on the screen from the naked glass, but it was not objectionable. Scrolling, swiping and typing on the screen was not affected by the shield. Will it really protect your screen? Yes. Check out the video of the abuse that is posted at the Zagg site for some pretty convincing images (we were not willing to subject our phone to a drill bit attack).
Zagg also provided Gadgets For Geezers skins for both the iPhone and the iPad. When we first received these, our reaction was "why would anybody want one of these?". Well, actually, there are some pretty good reason why you would. We first applied a skin to an iPhone 3G. To begin with we were not enthralled with the idea of expressing yourself through a skin, but we were impressed with the results. Application of the skin was easier than applying the invisible shield on the screen. Once in place the benefits were obvious. The iPhone has a great silky feel, but that feel allows for some slippage when you are handling the phone. This is especially true in low humidity situations when it can just slip through your fingers. The Zagg skin is just tacky enough to retard that slippage. It is not dramatic, but it does make the phone less likely to slip out of your hand (or pocket). The skin is unobtrusive enough not to interfere with other holders, stands or other enclosures you might want to subject your phone to. And after having the skin on for awhile, we did enjoy the graphic design that personalized the phone. Zagg has an amazing number of skin designs to choose from.
From the iPhone skin we next went to the iPad skin. The enhancement of the skin was even more pronounced with the iPad. slippage of the tablet when holding it in one hand or resting it on your lap was dramatically reduced. It made holding the tablet, or resting it on your lap while you read or view media a much more secure experience. Again the skin did not interfere with multiple tablet holders, enclosures and stands.
Arguing about the cost benefits of the screen shield is like arguing religion. Most people will not change their minds from where they started. But if you are a screen protector believer, you are likely to be well satisfied with the Zagg Invisible shield. The Zagg skins will both give you a better tactile experience, and let your express yourself from the plethora of skin designs. You can check them out here. ZAGG If you don't find something you like there, you can create your own skin. Screen coverage starts at $14.99, full phone coverage $24.99. iPad covers for front and back are $39.99. You can find screen protection from Zagg for just about anything that has a screen.
3Feet Device Stand
We see quite a few device stands in the marketplace, and here at Gadgets For Geezers. The American made 3Feet stands out as a good example of sturdy functionality in a device stand.
We first saw the 3Feet at the 2011 CES in Las Vegas. At first blush the 3Feet didn't really stand out in a convention center filled with device holders, covers, cases and stands. It's kind of chunky and stolid looking. Once you start using the 3Feet though, that sturdiness really helps.
The overall dimensions of the 3Feet are roughly the same as a smartphone. It folds down to become a convenient travel companion. This stand has become the default phone stand on my desk. The viewing angle is perfect for displaying the smartphone screen. It is also provides a good viewing angle if you park your smartphone on the nightstand to use as an alarm clock.
So the 3Feet stand is great for propping up your phone, Flip, iPod or other small device, but how would it do for tablets and e-readers? We were pretty skeptical about how the 3Feet would perform with larger devices. But again, that sturdiness, coupled with the strategically placed silicone bands holds larger devices quite securely.
We used the largest e-reader we could find, the Amazon Kindle DX and set it up at a kitchen table. Even though the DX dwarfed the stand, it held the reader securely and did not become unstable with page turn taps. With the latest Kindle reader it worked even better. 3Feet also held the much heavier iPad securely in either landscape or portrait mode. Great if you are using your tablet in a media viewing mode or if you are using it as a second monitor. It stands up pretty well to screen taps, but falls short if you are using the tablet in a typing mode. Unless you have a very light finger pressure on the keyboard, the tablet wobbles when used with the stand in keyboard mode.
3Feet comes in a variety of color and multi-color choices. The stand can be purchased for $14.99, a pretty reasonable price. You can buy it at Amazon. You can check out colors (and more) at 3Feet.
This stand will last longer than any of the devices that you will use it for, and probably the next generation of your devices too. For most applications in your office or home, 3Feet may well become your go-to stand.
TV Ears 2.3
This drama plays out in countless media rooms across the country. An otherwise blissful couple, Mabel and Ernie, are sitting in the media room watching a television show of mutual interest. Ernie can't hear the dialogue because the background noise is too dominant. In a futile effort to follow the plot he grabs the remote and increases the volume. That of course, just increases the background noise more, so Ernie continues to increase the volume. Mabel meanwhile is holding the sofa pillows over her ears as the decibels increase to jet engine levels. Mayhem ensues. TV Ears believes that they have a solution to this oft repeated drama. It is a solution that may well work for you. Today GadgetsForGeezers reviews the TV Ears 2.3 headset.
Our reviewer, a male in his early 60's with moderate hearing loss, found set up to be quite intuitive. TV ears is packaged in cardboard and is easy to unpack and set up. The user manual is easy to read and helpful with the setup. There are numerous pictures and diagrams that cover all the aspects of use. Text is large and easy to read. Reading that the signal is infrared explained why the transmitter needs line of sight to the headset.
The explanation of the different connection options to various audio sources, is complete and comprehensible.
Charging the headset is simple enough, aligning the contacts is subject to the headset sliding around in the cradle. The cradle / headset connection would be handier with a more positive positioning.
Audio is very good. The quiet conversation, typical of dramas, that I typically would miss came through clearly. I can now actually watch one of these programs and actually hear and follow the dialogue.This is probably due in part to the speech frequency enhancement over the background noise in the program. TV Ears has a voice clarifying circuitry that enhances the speech frequencies over the background noise so the dialogue is more clear.
Ten to twenty minutes into listening the headset was weighing and pressingthe ears. The weighing more than the pressing was uncomfortable and I wanted to support the weight of the headset to relieve the discomfort. In my opinion the headset function could be accomplished more comfortably and conveniently with ear buds tethered to a control module that could hang around the neck. Over time one becomes less sensitive to the discomfort.
Summing it up; audio performance is very good, comfort could be improved upon.
TV Ears 2.3 is the entry level unit at $99.95. That includes one headset, charger and connection devices. You can add an extra headset for $69.95. Replacement batteries for the headset are $19.95. TV Ears Original covers a larger room (up to 2000 square feet), has more features and a higher price of $149.95. A Professional version comes with two headsets and is currently selling for $179.95 that offers additional connection plugs for your mp3 players, phones and other electronic devices. You can check out their products here
How much is it worth to not have to "discuss" the TV volume with your spouse? You get to decide.
Livio NPR Internet Radio
Today we are reviewing the Livio NPR internet radio. This radio was launched at the International CES in Las Vegas in January. If you like National Public Radio, or international radio, or just radio stations that are beyond the reach of your antenna, this might be the radio in your future.
Our demo unit arrived with good protection and minimal packaging. Out of the box there was the radio, a power cord a conversion for audio output, and a User Guide. Set up on the unit is not geezer friendly from the User Guide. The radio looks for (and finds) the wireless network in the area. Then, when you have to enter the password you have to intuit how to find it on the radio, or read the manual to page 12 . A simple button instruction on page 3 would be invaluable here.
If you are using an Apple Airport for your wireless router, you will not like the setup. The Apple instructions that Livio refer you to (in the online help area,not the user guide) are not complete. If your network password is "Fluffy" you cannot just enter "Fluffy" as the password. You have to find and then enter a 64 character hex code to connect your radio to your Airport router. This is a pretty frustrating experience. Using the entry scheme you need to use, you will not get all 64 characters right on the first, or probably second attempt. Each time you have to start over. Not a streamlined operation by any means. Setup with a non-Apple router was effortless and "Fluffy" friendly.
When we used this unit on the wireless network (Apple 802.11 n) with a (Time-Warner) cable connection to the internet, the signal was uninterrupted. When connected to a Verizon DSL wireless router, the broadcast was interrupted as the radio often had to buffer the stream. Oddly enough this did not seem to affect all stations equally.
If you do have questions that you need help with, the customer service we experienced was very good. You will likely speak with a person who understands the product rather than a help desk drone who is just reading from a script.
Adding stations to your favorites (which seems to be the same as adding it through your My NPR button), is a straightforward, but cumbersome process with the case sensitive, linear, alpha-numeric selector. Removing stations is not covered in the users guide, offering you an opportunity to speak with someone in the Livio Customer Service department (you select the station, then hold down the menu button).
A miss with the unit that I was sent is the remote control. It only functioned when it was held about 6 inches from the radio and pointed directly at it. In a package with an otherwise high quality radio, the subpar remote seems to cheapen the unit. It would be better to to ship it without a remote, rather than a poor one. If you have to hold the remote six inches from the radio, perhaps you don't need a remote control at all.
The back of the unit has an input for another device which connects with an eight inch stereo jack. External speakers can be added using an eight inch stereo jack, or a supplied converter for RCA type plugs. The single speaker that is part of the unit is OK for listening to music in the kitchen or bath, but will not fully satisfy an audiophile until you connect it to a stereo system. Then the music sounds great (hey, its a digital signal). If you listen primarily to NPR for the news and talk programs, the single speaker delivers excellent sound. One nice thing is that when you connect external speakers to the radio, it does not cut out the internal speaker. Therefore you can run your stereo speakers in the media room, and the single speaker of the radio in the kitchen, and control the volume on both independently - nice.
Internet radio of any type is certainly not as easy to connect as a boom box, but the advantages it does offer make it a worthwhile investment. You not only get your local NPR stations, but stations across the country. In addition you can tune into radio stations from across the globe. If you live in an area or a building where the FM signal is compromised, or if you want to reconnect to the NPR radio station that you loved long ago and far away during your college years, the Livio NPR radio is a good choice. If you want to wake up with NPR, there are five alarms to assist you.
If you are currently paying a subscription fee for satellite radio, you will love the Livio. There are no subscription fees, and a portion of the purchase price goes to support NPR. A double win!
You can purchase the Livio NPR radio through the Livio site, www.livioradio.com for $199.99. You can also purchase it through Amazon for $138.75. Happy listening.
Breffo Spiderpodium Tablet - Sneak Peek
Breffo is moving quickly following its success with the Spider Podium for handheld devices, which won an Innovations award for design and engineering at the 2011 International CES in Las Vegas earlier this month. They will be releasing a tablet sized version in mid-February. Gadgets For Geezers received one of the pre-production models, and we review it for you here.
The first thing that one notices about the tablet version is it is much beefier. That is a good thing. Tablets, readers and other devices that this spider can reach around are much heaver than the handheld devices that the original SpiderPodium is intended to handle. The thicker legs provide more security for your expensive device.
The pliability of the Spiderpodium Tablet lends itself to multiple uses. You can adjust your tablet to a movie viewing angle, typing angle, or any angle in between. As tablets are increasingly being used "on the go" where you need to hold the tablet in one hand and enter data with the other, with the Spiderpodium Tablet you bend a couple of legs backward, and use it for your one handed operations.
At Gadgets For Geezers we continue to be entertained by the different devices and mounting scenarios that we can put the Spiderpodium through. Its deployment is really only limited by the creativity of the user. Yes you can use it at home, in the car, on a plane, on a bike, in the gym , or the office. When the people at Breffo say that you can use this thing anywhere, they are pretty much right. It could be used underwater as well as above. We would not be surprised to see one on the International Space Station, as it would likely perform well in a low gravity environment too. It weighs almost nothing, and flattened takes up little room, so it is a welcome traveling companion.
When the Spiderpodium Tablet is released, it will have a retail price of $34.99. If you judge the price by the components, that might seem a little steep. If you judge the price by its versatility, it may not be.
If the pending release of the Motorola Xoom causes multitudes to abandon their iPads, they will also be casting aside a mountain of iPad accessories. This is one accessory you can keep.
OtterBox Defender Series Smartphone Protection
If you love your smartphone like we do here, you probably get a tad nervous when you take your phone with you camping, snowshoeing, kayaking or otherwise enjoying the great outdoors. This week we are reviewing the Otter Defender Series protection for smart phones. Gadgets For Geezers tested the case for an iPhone 3G, although the custom cases are available for quite a number of smart phones.
This unit comes in an easy open clamshell plastic container that contains the assembled holder and belt clip. The entire unit is four parts. There are no instructions in the box, but if you go to the Otterbox website there is an instructional video on how to disassemble and assemble the case. Its not rocket science, but the video is helpful to get you through the setup. The shell is made of two polycarbonate pieces that snap together. The front half has a clear membrane that protects the screen while allowing full access to all functions. The rear panel has a clear membrane that covers the camera lens and an additional logo window. After you have encased your phone in the shell, there is a silicone cover that covers the shell. The fourth part is the belt clip.
The silicone cover allows for a comfortable, non-slip grip. It has nicely raised buttons that allow for easy adjustment of the volume rocker and power button. There are also silicone flaps that cover the earphone jack, mute switch and charging port. What is particularly nice about this unit is that even when completely encased the phone is fully functional. There is no discernible distortion of voice transmission or reduction in the clarity from the earpiece.
The folks at Otterbox will be the first to tell you that this is not a waterproof case. Because it is exposed at the earpiece and speakers, it is not intended to be submerged. The silicone flaps covering the earphone jack, mute button and charger port are intended to protect it from debris and splashes, not dunking. The intended purpose of this case is to allow your smartphone to survive the harsher conditions of active outdoor use. If you like your phone you probably will not leave it out overnight in a rainstorm.
The included belt clip is solid. The actual clip has a strong band spring and rotating bezel so you can adjust the angle on your belt. The phone clips (screen in) into the polycarbonate shell and holds tight. When we first started to examine the case we wondered why there was a logo screen window on the back case. Turns out that it is a pretty good way to grip the back of the phone to release it from the clip.
The retail price for the iPhone (and many other smartphones) is $49.95. iPhone owners get several color choices, other models and devices have fewer choices. In the classic yellow and black Otterbox colors it is actually pretty stylish. A little more at home with the flannel shirt crowd than the Brooks Brothers set. If your want smartphone protection that you can swim with, keep looking (we will too), but if you want to take your phone into the wilds with pretty good confidence that it will still be in one piece when you get back to civilization, you really Otter have one of these.
Posted January 25, 2011
Updated January 18, 2011
2011 CES produces some great gadgets
The 2011 International CES in Las Vegas displayed a plethora of new technologies, devices, gadgets, and the things to protect, mount and accessorize them. Gadgets for Geezers is continuing to network with the product manufacturers, distributors and vendors to bring you the best products that we can find. It will take us some time to poke, prod, tweak and test these products and prepare the reviews for you.
We hope that you will continue to tune in for straightforward, helpful product reviews. You can now follow us on Twitter - just click on theTwitter link on the right side of this page. Its the easiest way to stay informed when the next review is available.
Updated January 10, 2010
2011 International CES wraps up in Las Vegas!
The 2011 CES is "in the can" as Leo Laporte would say, and it was a great venue for the launch of the Gadgets For Geezers website. This CES was all things tablet and 3D, along with a nearly infinite number of app enhanced gadgets. An estimated 140,000 exhibitors, vendors, buyers, bloggers and industry affiliates attended the 4 day show in Vegas. Gadgets for Geezers made it's official launch at the show on Friday morning. Over the next several updates we will be reviewing some of the winners of the 2011 Innovation Awards winners, as well as other gadgets that did not make the list.
The 2011 CES will be known as the year of the tablet with a host of companies trying to knock Apple iPad off it's tablet throne. My pick would be the upcoming collaborative effort between Motorola and Verizon, that will be running the new Android Honeycomb operating system. It looks to overshadow the already released Samsung Galaxy. Various other manufacturers had offerings ranging from pretty interesting, a dual screen, e ink and backlight tablet, to pre-manufactured e-waste.
The 3D buzz was less than the 2009 CES, but still had some interesting developments. "Glasses-free 3D" seems to be gaining in user quality for laptop screens, but Toshiba's entry into the large screen (64" and 56") Television monitors was not ready for primetime. Where 3D technology is likely to make it's next important foray is in 3D gaming. There were some pretty intense and realistic 3D games on display.
Checking out the gadgets and talking turkey on the floor at the 2010 CES (Photos by Bill Alexander)
Your Gadget Geezer was pounding the convention floor to find items of interest to gadget loving boomers. We were not disappointed! The app revolution has opened up a new world of hardware and application partnerships from satellite emergency communications to heart monitoring.
One might think that after seeing the first dozen vendors offering iPhone and iPad covers you would have see them all, but you would be about a dozen vendors short. With that many entries in the market there should be, and were, some innovative products. We will be reviewing them here in the coming posts. We will be taking a look at the FreeOneHand ipad holder and stand as well as 2011 Innovative Design winner Spider podium from Breffo for smart-phones and many other devices.
Keep checking back often for the latest reviews!
Updated January 7, 2011
Gadgets for Geezers, an online product review site for all manner of devices for the enrichment, accomodation and enjoyment for Boomers and Beyond is ready for you to bookmark. The site, www.GadgetsForGeezers.com, launched at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada on on Friday, January 7, 2011.
Tune in for helpful, easy to understand, straightforward product reviews and comparisons. Gadgets for Geezers will provide information to help you make purchases of products that deliver what they say they will.
Although we have serious 'gadget-lust' at Gadgets For Geezers, we will not layer our reviews with 'geek-speak', we want you to enjoy the reviews and products we review, not chase you off to the dictionary.
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