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The Catalyst Ultimate Case for the iPhone 7

Catalyst iPhone_7_-_black_front_and_rear_grandeOkay, this is another time that I get to review a Catalyst product. This time, it is for the iPhone 7, and it has been known as the “ultimate case for the ultimate device”.

So why is it ultimate? Well, it is waterproof and drop proof. In fact, every Catalyst for the iPhone 7 is tested to IP68 waterproof to 33 fee (10 meters). Then it is designed to meet drops and shocks of up to 6 feet (2 meters), which is MIL-STD 810G.

I’ve seen a lot of cases like these, such as those from Otterbox and Lifeproof. The difference is that the Catalyst case is transparent on both sides. So the front is ready for the touchscreen, but the back shows off the Apple logo.

What we are looking at is a case for the iPhone 7 made for life itself. Not only will the Catalyst protect you from dust, dirt, and snow, but it has a lanyard.

I’m going to highly recommend this Catalyst for the iPhone 7. You can find it on the Catalyst website for $79.99 in Stealth Black or Alpine White (starting in March 2017).

Posted by on January 21st, 2017 No Comments

The Gravitas from HengeDocks

gravitasJust in case you don’t know, the word “gravitas” is defined as “dignity, seriousness, or solemnity of manner”. For some reason, I remember hearing this word around some presidential election, but not the last one. It’s funny how certain buzzwords show up around certain occasions.

In the case of Hengedocks, the Gravitas is a great dock for an iPhone or iPad. It is pretty heavy, so it can sit on your desk like a paperweight or something. I’m told that it is made of some zinc alloy that is more dense than aluminum, so it feels quite heavy.

If you haven’t realized it yet, there is a lightning port so you can dock the iPhone or iPad there. There are all kinds of inserts so you can put in all kinds of iPhones, and I don’t have enough iPhones from other generations to try this out.

So, since this is a dock, can you use it for recharging? Uh, yes, that is what a dock is! The coolest part is you can use the included double USB cord so you can sync your iPad or iPhone to your computer. By the way, you can connect to an external speaker, and it is pretty great if you want some extra sound.

In short, I believe that the Gravitas is something that really needs to be owned by everyone with an iPhone or iPad. You should be able to purchase it on the HengeDocks site for $69.

Posted by on January 21st, 2017 No Comments

Our Review of the PhoneSuit Journey Travel Charger Ultra

Phonesuit JourneyI suppose this is the time where I say that it has been a while since I have reviewed a Phonesuit product, and I’m realizing that I say a lot of the same things in my reviews. Needless to say, this is an upgrade of my first review of the Journey All-in-One Charger with the Journey Travel Charger Ultra for the iPhone, Samsung, and More! (Sorry, but that and more really makes it sound exciting.)

So what is it? Well, it is a mobile battery, which we have seen before, so nothing new there. However, see how it spreads its arms like that? It’s quite amazing, and one of those arms is a Lightning for Apple products, and the other is Micro-USB for pretty much everything else.

Yeah, I have been noticing that some mobile batteries have these two charging cables, but if you are like me, and you have something like an HTC 10, with a USB C port, you are out of luck, at least with the two cables attached. By the way, there is a blurb on the Phonesuit website that says it can do a HTC, with the micro-USB. Yeah, it is wrong.

As it so happens, you got yourself an extra USB port. You heard that right, you can charge three devices at once with this. Three seems to be the magic number for this guy because it can provide up to 3 times (300 percent) additional power for a smartphone. So pretty much anything that is chargeable via USB (which is about everything) is chargeable, but maybe not three times.

The battery is good for 5000 Mah, so that is pretty good. There is also an advanced smart power management thing going on, so it knows how to prioritize charging. Yeah, I’m going to have to take their word for it.

So is it durable? It sure feels that way. It is designed for travel, which means it will take the bumps along the way. I’m not going to hurl it against the wall, because hey, I’m not that angry.

Anyway, you can get the Journey Travel Charger Ultra on the Phonesuit site for about $59.99.

Posted by on January 18th, 2017 No Comments

Our Review of the Bio-Key EcoID and SideTouch

bio-key ecoIDOkay, I am going to be very honest with you and say that this is my first foray into Biometrics. I consider myself an expert in tech, but I will have to say that I really struggled with this one. I was able to review two of their products with the EcoID and the SideTouch.

The EcoID came to me without packaging, so I have no idea if it even came with instructions if it were to come to me in whatever packaging that it comes in. I connected it to my computer via the included USB cable, and my Windows 7 computer did recognize it.

From there, I wasn’t certain what I was expecting after I installed the EcoID. I was hoping some software would show up and let me know what was up. You know, so I could lock certain folders, but it’s actually difficult to figure out how to work.

Something tells me this is user error, because I had to do a little research to discover how to get it to work, and I’m still having troubles. In all honesty, I think my inexperience with Biometrics hopefully echoes what others have experienced.

bio-key SidetouchI mean, what if I somehow lock myself out with this thing? That didn’t happen, but only because I couldn’t really figure out how to use it.

I am told that EcoID and Windows Hello will allow customers to use their fingerprint to sign-in to websites and applications using FIDO 2.0/W3C Web Authentication.

So let’s talk about the SideTouch. It’s got a different aesthetic than the EcoID, as it is made for plug-and-play action and it is made for Windows Hello, presumably getting the Microsoft seal of approval.

If you are wanting to purchase these fine Bio-key products, I hope that you will know how to use it. The EcoID can be purchased on Microsoft and Amazon for $39.99. The SideTouch can be purchased at the same price from Microsoft and Amazon as well.

Posted by on January 17th, 2017 No Comments

Casio WSD-F20 Smart Outdoor Watch

wsd_f20_maki_orI figure that this announcement is a week late since it was made at CES, but what can I say, I wasn’t there. Still, Casio made a big unveiling of their WSD-F20, the follow-up to the WSD-F10 Smart Outdoor Watch that came out in March of last year.

The WSD-F20 has a low-power GPS and color map functionality that can be used offline, and can be used as a standalone wrist device. It is made to support outdoor and water activities without a cellular service. This is possible with Mapbox, allowing maps to be downloaded in advance and then have the GPS data track the user’s location.

So it is good for outdoor activities like trekking, cycling, fishing, winter sports, and watersports. By the way, the WSD-F20 has a “Moment Setter” which can be set for conditions to automatically receive important alerts, such as the best fishing times, rest break intervals, and sunrise/sunset times. Also included are three different apps like ViewRanger GPS hiking app, MyRadar weather app, and the YAMAP GPS app for hiking.

Just to let you know, the Casio WSD-F20 watch is water resistant up to 40 meters. It also has some additional protection with button guards, protective bezel, side buttons and more.

I don’t have a price point for it, but it should be released on April 21st.

Posted by on January 9th, 2017 No Comments

JCPAL LINX Ultra Slim USB-C to 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub

jcpal-3I don’t know why I have never heard of JCPAL products before, but I can tell you that they certainly make some useful stuff. Today, I am going to be looking at the LINX Ultra Slim USB-C to 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub.

I believe that the purpose of the 4-port Hub is to connect to a range of USB A devices to your MacBook’s USB-C port. This way, you can access a hard drive, printer, or anything else that uses USB, which is just about everything.

MacBooks aren’t the only thing that the 4-port Hub is good for. I had a chance to try it out on my HTC 10, and I was able to use the 4-port USB A Hub to read files on thumb drives. I could also use it to recharge USB devices, as I just used the battery in my HTC to charge my Bluetooth headset.

In addition to that, the 4-port Hub has the latest 3.1 standard for high speed data transfer, and if you like it, check it out on the JCPAL site. It can be purchased in gold and silver for $49.99 CAD.

Posted by on January 6th, 2017 No Comments

Merkury Innovations unveils Geeni Line of Smart Home Products at CES 2017

Here’s another post about CES 2017, and this one is from Merkury Innovations, who is making some Geeni Line of Smart Home Products. These smart home products include a range of smart bulbs, cameras, and some other things as well.

Let’s start with the smart bulbs, which means these lights can be controlled from anywhere. Part of the series is the Lux Series, that include the 800 and 1050: 800lm (60W-equivalent) and 1050lm (75W equivalent) which costs $24.99-$29.99. There is also the Lux DROP 750lm (65W equivalent) for ceiling fixtures for $29.99, and the Lux FLOOD: 950lm (75W equivalent) for floodlight fixutres for $29.99.

There is also the Prisma series with customizable white or color settings smart bulbs, and you can chose from many types of colors. The models available are 450 (45W equivalent) and 1050 lm (75 equivalent) at prices of $24.99 and $34.99 respectively.

gn-ww103-199_cThen there is the smart power category, which gives some smart plugs for turning any plugged-in electronics on and off from just about anywhere with the Geeni app. There is a Sport series which costs $19.99, and the Energi series with a smart plug and energy meter for about $24.99. Oh, there is also the Surge series, a smart surge protector with 4 outlets and 4 USBs, which costs $49.99.

In addition to this, there is the Vision Smart Camera. It has a 1080p full HD camera with night vision, as well as some motion notification. There is a built-in microphone and speaker, and you can record footage with some microSD cards. It will cost about $89.99.

Check out their products on the Geeni website.

Posted by on January 4th, 2017 No Comments

VESA Unveils Two Big Announcements at CES 2017

vesaRight now, in Las Vegas, is one of the biggest tech shows in the world. Yes, I am talking about CES, and for the first time in eight years, I will not be attending.
This doesn’t mean that I won’t be covering it, and I fully plan to with VESA.

If you don’t know about VESA, they are an international non-profit corporation, and they support and set industry-wide interface standards for the PC, workstation, and consumer electronics industries. Generally, I usually cover tech or gadget companies on this blog, but I thought I would cover something that they are showing off at the show.

They actually have two announcements: the first is an early certification program for video source and display products using DisplayPort High Bit Rate 3 (HBR3), the highest data link rate supported by the DisplayPort standard version 1.4 published in March 2016.

So what does this mean? Well, DisplayPort interfaces with HBR3, which are now available on consumer products, and it can drive 8K video resolution using a single connection, not to mention 4K displays. Yes, 8K video is a thing, and I’m guessing this is one more step to bringing 8K to you formally.

The second announcement from VESA is the completion of its compliance test specification (CTS) for products incorporating the USB Type-C connector and the DisplayPort Alternate Mode (Alt Mode) standard. These new CTS documents allow VESA members to have Authorized Test Centers (ATCs) worldwide, or completing self-testing and posting their certified product information to VESA’s database.

This is a move toward more USB-C, and I can’t say that I am too surprised by that. Man, my phone charges so fast with USB-C.

You should keep your eyes on VESA, and I’m wondering what they will be doing in the future. Head on over to the VESA site to find out more information.

Posted by on January 4th, 2017 No Comments

JCPAL 3D Armor and Preserver Screen Protectors for the iPhone 7

jcpal-1I’ve never really heard of JCPAL before they sent me some products to review, and I’m going to talk about two screen protectors for the iPhone 7. I believe that these are the right ones. You’ll have to excuse me, as sometimes I get sent products, and then I just kind of match them to their website to see if this works.

Let’s talk about the 3D Armor Anti Blue Light Glass Screen Protector. It is made of tempered glass, and it could be ultra-tough Gorilla Glass. It has a 3D curved edge, and it is easy to install. Also, there is a lot of scratch resistance and a fingerprint resistant coating.

I am told that it can protect your eyes against harmful blue light, and I believe this might have been a subject that I discussed with Reticare. I’m beginning to wonder how much of a terrible problem this is for our eyes, because I’m wondering if our mobile devices are killing our eyes. I mean, are we going blind because of them?

That’s probably a subject for another article. If you are interested in this, head over to the JCPAL site and lay down $39.99 CAD for it.

jcpal-2Okay, now let’s talk about the Preserver Ultra-Tough Edge Glass Screen Protector. There doesn’t seem to be any feature about blocking out harmful blue light, but it is aluminosilicate glass with “perfect clarity”.

It has a PET 3D curved edge frame that is also easy to install and fingerprint-resistant coating. It is also quite scratch-resistant. I’m not certain what else I can really say about it, as this is pretty much a description of every screen protector ever made.

So, if you are interested in this Preserver Ultra-Tough Edge Glass Screen Protector, it can be purchased for about $39.99 CAD on the JCPAL site. I think those are Canadian dollars, so I’ll let you do the fiscal translation.

Posted by on December 25th, 2016 No Comments

Thonet and Vander HOCH BT and LAUT BT Speakers

thonet-and-vander-1It has been a while since I have reported on a Thonet and Vander product. The last time was with the K├╝rbis BT Bluetooth Speakers, and these are speakers that very much rock. Also, they really like to brag that they have “German Engineering”. Today, I’m going to discussing the HOCH BT and the LAUT BT Speakers.

Let’s start with the HOCH BT, and it has some “pure, authentic sound” with 70 W RMS (35W + 35W) Power Output with 350 watts of peak power. I know those numbers are important to audiophiles, but let’s just say that it is loud, loud, and more loud.

Also on deck with these HOCT BT stereo speakers have a high desnity acoustic absorber that “prevents vibration and ensures sustainable performance”. They are also made of some HDAA wood and mesh as well. The HOCH BT is a 2.0 Speaker for crystal-clear sound and a great bass boost with 350 W peak power.

As far as connectivity, what do you think the BT stand for? Yeah, it can do Bluetooth, which will connect to any mobile device with Bluetooth compatibility. Oh, it can do RCA stereo input for wired devices as well.

You can find out more information about it on the Thonet and Vander site and it looks like you can order them on Amazon for $249.99.

thonet-and-vander-2And now it is time to talk about the LAUT BT, which is a 2.1 speaker characterizes for having a balanced and harmonic sound. It has a Crystal Clear, Authentic Sound, with its 68W RMS (34W + 17W x 2) Power Output for delivering 340 watts of peak power.

Remember what I said about the bragging of German design? It has the sophisticated acoustics with a high density acoustic absorber for the highest sound resonance. The LAUT BT is apparently made to become a home theater, and it is made for really bringing some serious sound to life!

What is very interesting is how there is an option for Bluetooth and RCA connectors, and yet there is a Bluetooth extension that is good for up to 132 feet. I have to admit that is pretty great.

Anyway, the LAUT BT is available on Amazon for a special price of $106.95, which is a markdown from $179. You can always go to the Thonet and Vander site for more information as well.

Posted by on December 20th, 2016 No Comments