Catalyst Products for the Holidays, Part 2: Impact Protection Case for the iPhone X

It’s been about a week since the new iPhone X has come out, and Apple’s newest, most expensive, and smartphone with no home button certainly needs a case. As usual, Catalyst has a solution with the Impact Protection Case for the iPhone X.

Now, I am going to have to say that this is one of Catalyst’s first cases that is not waterproof. It certainly is a change for the company, and I don’t know if it is a welcome one. I’m going to have to let the fans decide. Yes, Catalyst has its share of fans, right?

This has a grippy rubber bumper that has a clear back as well. It also has a lanyard attachment and rotating mute switch. but enough about that, what about the drop protection? It is good for about 9.9 foot drops.

In addition to this, the Impact Resistant Case includes a wrist lanyard, and I am not certain if that is a new feature or not.

Well, whatever the case, you got to like Catalyst’s new Impact Resistant case for the iPhone X, ad it comes in Black, Blueridge/Sunset (Blue/Orange), Army Green, as well as Coral for $39.99 on the Catalyst site.

X-Doria Wood Defense Lux and Defense Shield

It’s hard to believe that it has been four years since I have reviewed an X-Doria product. The last time was a case for the iPhone 5 for crying out loud! Fortunately, I had the chance to review some other cases, and these are for the iPhone 7/8, so hooray!

X-Doria iPhone 7 Case Defense Lux Wood

X-Doria is well-known for its cases, and the Defense Lux case for the iPhone 7 (and 8) is made of some impact resistant polycarbonate. You can see the wooden exterior, but there is also an aluminum frame around this guy.

The end result is an iPhone 7/8 case with military grade protection, and it has soft kind of rubber interior lining and allow you to snap in Apple’s smartphone. In fact, the frame opens out in a very unique manner that I won’t even both to describe.

I am told that it has been drop tested to survive six-and-a-half feet drops on hard surfaces like concrete. You should be able to receive the iPhone 7 case Wood Defense Lux for about $39.99 on the X-Doria site, but it looks like its wooden cover comes in one color: bamboo.

X-Doria Defense Shield for the iPhone 7

Now, let us talk about the Defense Shield. It has the hard polycarbonate, soft rubber, and anodized aluminum, but as you can see, it lacks the wood of that previously mentioned Lux case. Part of it is its machined metal, and it looks like there is also some rubber on there too.

I’m going to say that the review units that I have been sent look nothing like the image here. It’s just a weird pattern in the rubber on it, but I’m going to just bring it up here.

I’ll also bring up that the Defense Shield can withstand drops of 9.9 feet, which is slightly more than that Wooden Lux. Something I should also mention is how there is some kind of sound channel that can amplify the bottom speaker and redirecting the sound to the front.

I’m not certain how much these X-Doria Defense Shield cases cost, as they seem to be sold out on the X-Doria site. I may need to alter this article if something changes on that front.

Nomad-ic Christmas, Part 2: Hex Case (iPhone 7/8 Plus), Leather Folio (Samsung S8), Leather Folio (iPhone X), Clear Case (iPhone 7/8 Plus), Clear Folio (iPhone X), and Wallet Case (iPhone X)

Okay, as I said in my last Nomad review of the chargers and cables, I said that they make a whole lot of awesome cases. Today, I’m going to be reviewing six of them for the iPhone 8, iPhone 7/7 Plus, iPhone X, and Samsung Galaxy 8.

Nomad Hex Case for the iPhone 7/8 Plus

I believe that this has been referred to as the “Rugged Case”, but it is more like the Hex case. I am assuming it is called that due to its hexagonal shapes on the polycarbonate and TPU rubber construction. I like the hexagonal shapes because they really make the case stand out, and I am not certain why I like it so much.

What is interesting is how it gives protection to the iPhone 7/7 Plus, and it will give protection for a 2 meter drop. It has all the proper holes and the raised edges to protect the iPhone screen.

It comes in the Black and Smoked Gray, and you can find it on the Nomad site for $39.95.

Nomad Leather Folio for the Samsung Galaxy 8 (S8)

This particular case is one of those cases that allows it to close like a book. Not only that, it has the slots made for 3-6 credit cards, driver’s license, and whatever else that you have. By the way, there is a pocket for the cash too.

I have reviewed cases like this before in the past. The issue that I have with these types of cases is that if you are using your phone, you have to flip the cards to the back. Then you are giving everyone a view of what credit cards that you own, and that flap thing becomes like a book that you break the spine on.

There is a bonus that is uses vegetable tanned Horween leather, and then elegant construction for the Dow Dupont polycarbonate frame. You can get it on the Nomad site in rustic brown for $39.95.

Nomad Leather Folio for the iPhone X

Okay, there is hardly any difference between the Folio of the Samsung Galaxy 8 (S8) and this particular Leather Folio for the iPhone X. It has the spot for 3 credit cards as well as a cash pocket, but this is compatible with wireless charging, which is something that I didn’t mention last time when I reported on it in the last section.

I have already stated what I liked about the leather folio, and it has that Horween leather look. By the way, it has a rich patina look after extended use. That means that it changes to a darker color of brown later. It actually looks pretty dark brown already.

You should be able to purchase the Leather Folio for the iPhone X as $49.95 on the Nomad site.

Nomad Clear Case for the iPhone 7/8 Plus

As you can see in this image, the Clear Case is kind of a hybrid or a Two-Face version of the leather and clear cases that Nomad puts out. The end result is the some new kind of aesthetic that I like a lot, and will be imitated.

It has that vegetable tanned Horween leather with the Dow Dupon polycarbonate frame, and they are somehow fused together. It also blends together with raised edges to protect the iPhone screen, as well as giving the iPhone 7/7S/8 Plus protection for 6-foot drops.

Oh, this is quite the awesome case, and if you have that version of Apple’s smartphone, this is great. You can purchase the Clear Case for the iPhone 7/7S/8 Plus for about $39.95 on the Nomad site.

Nomad Clear Folio for the iPhone X

Okay, now it is time to talk about another mixture between vegetable tanned Horween leather and Dow Dupont polycarbonate frame with iPhone X. There seems to be a lot of this on these Nomad cases, and honestly, that is kind of refreshing, really.

Yes, I would love to talk about its features, but I have talked about them already with the other cases. It has 3 credit slots, and there is also a cash pocket. I guess people are using their cases for wallets now, which means that the wallet market is about to be phased out.

Now, if you want to purchase this particular case, you should be able to purchase the Clear Folio for the iPhone X on the Nomad site for $49.95.

Nomad Wallet Case for the iPhone X

So, here’s this last case that is made of vegetable tanned Horween leather, not like there is anything new about this. I suppose there are also great features like 6 foot drop proection as well as the ability to hold 2-4 credit cards. Oh yeah, it develops that rugged patina look after a while.

So yes, nothing new here, but I suppose that the takeaway from this is that you should always bet on Nomad. I mean, they make a lot of great cases, as well as chargers. Yeah, there’s no way I’m going to say anything bad about Nomad.

You can purchase the Nomad Wallet Case for the iPhone X on the Nomad site for $39.95.

Nomad-ic Christmas, Part 1: Powerpack, USB 3 Port Hub, 4-in-1 USB-C, Universal Cable, and Battery Cable

Since I will be reviewing a lot of products for this holiday, I am very glad to review some great Nomad products. It feels like I have been reviewing their product for a while, and they usually make some great chargers and cables. Sometimes they combine the best of both worlds, like the Leather Charging Wallet for the iPhone. I will be reviewing both in the next few days, so I will start by reviewng the chargers and cables.

Nomad Powerpack

The Nomad PowerPack boasts an “ultra-rugged construction.” Under that assertion on the box, it states, “mortise and tenon” joints. I had to look up what that was, and apparently it is a type of joint that is one of the strongest in wood-working, and apparently used in the construction of this product. It is also created with Dow Dupont polycarbonate frame and TPU rubber exterior. The construct on this product is pretty grippy, though, and it would not be easy to drop.

There is a feature on this device that I can really appreciate. I have some external battery chargers to assist in charging our family’s devices on the go. The problem lies in always being able to locate them when I need them. The answer to this is an app called Tile® that works with Bluetooth tracking, and as long as you have your phone, you can ring up your Powerpack- being able to hear it from other room, or buried in a deep pocket in your backpack. If you have Apple (iOS 8.1 and up) or Android (4.4 and up), you will be able to use this app on your device.

There are two different Output ports- USB C and USB A. The USB-C charging works with high-density Panasonic li-ion cells, and makes for some fast charging. There are 3 indicator dots on the end that will tell you how much battery life is in your PowerPack. 1 dot = 1-33%; 2 dots = 34-66%; three dots = 67-100%. There is also a sensor that will detect the lighting in the room so it will dim the LEDs at night, which is a nice touch. An iPhone 7 will be able to charge 3.5 times off a fully charged pack.

The Nomad PowerPack is pricey at $119.95 on their website, but for something that has these great features- especially the ability to track and find missing devices, it could be well worth it for someone looking to charge in style on the go.

Nomad USB Hub – 3 Port

I’ll start with this USB Hub – 3 Port, and yes, that is an odd name for it. However, everyone probably needs one of these.

The circular disk with soft matte rubber top and polycarbonate housing has 3 USB ports with one high output 2.1A and two standard 1 A UB ports. These ports are located underneath so you can plug in three USB devices, and then plug in the device into the wall.

Yes, it has some LED charge status indicators, with an ambient light sensor that dims the LEDs at night. I would have to say that I will applaud its handiness and how it can do three devices at once. I would love it if future versions of this device have some kind of Qi magnetic charging thing on top.

You should be able to purchase the Nomad USB Hub – 3 Port for $39.95 on the Nomad site.

Nomad Universal Cable USB-C

Now, the Universal Cable USB-C is quite an interesting charging cable. Each end has two types of connectors, with a USB C at both ends. I honestly don’t know any reason to go USB-C to USB-C, but hey, it could be used on…something.

On one end, with the USB-C is a male USB A plug, and on the other end, also with the USB-C, is a Micro USB device. This means that if you have a micro USB device, you can charge it in many ways. What was funny is that I have a Bluetooth headset that I attached to my HTC 10 (which has a USB C port), and I believe my phone was charging my Bluetooth. I don’t think I’ve ever done that kind of charging before.

The cable is a braided ballistic nylon cable that looks really ultra strong, and I would trust my weight with it. As a data cable, it carries a USB 2.0 data transfer, and is well-set for fast data-charging. Oh, it is quite long at 5 feet (1.5 meters).

You can get this Universal Cable USB-C for about $29.95 on the Nomad site.

Nomad Universal Cable

The Nomad Universal Cable looks to be made of the same material as the Universal Cable USB-C, but it is a lot shorter at 0.3 meters. Again, I would trust my weight on it, and it is 10K Mil-spec flex tested. I am not certain what that means, honestly.

This particular Cable has a USB A on one end, and the other is a three-part guy with a MFi Lightning tip, Micro USB, and USB Type C. You can see in the image how each port somehow can overshadow the other, which is a really good design.

It is a good deal for something that everyone needs, and it really does accomodate a lot of devices. It is billed as “one cable to rule them all”, and I have to admit that it deserves its epic tagline. The Nomad Universal Cable is for sale on the Nomad site for $29.95.

Nomad Battery Cable

I’ll talk last about another cable that I was sent to review, the Battery Cable. Unlike the other cables, this one has a 2350 mAh battery. Since this is a battery cable with a Lightning connector, that means it will give you a good charge for your iPhone 7 or iPhone 8.

As you might have guessed, the battery cable/battery is a pretty great product to have. Honestly, I usually don’t see a charging device that is this small and can curl up like a little whip.

The Battery Cable is quite a great gift for the holiday at $49.95 on the Nomad site.

iHome for the Holidays 2017, Part 4: Bedside Stereo Speaker System for Amazon Echo Dot (iAVS1)

It is very funny that I am writing about iHome’s Beside Stereo Speaker System for Amazon Echo Dot (also known as “Spot for the Dot” or iAVS1). I have recently discovered a show known as Mr. Robot, and in the second season, there is not only a huge twist but a character who converses with Alexa.

I have to admit, that I haven’t had the chance to review Amazon’s Alexa device so I can constantly as it questions. However, I am going to set up this article in the form of an interview.

Me: Alexa, what is iHome’s Bedside Stereo Speaker System for the Amazon Echo Dot?

Alexa: Also known as the iAVS1, this “spot for the dot” is made for the Amazon Echo Dot. It is a compact bedside clock speaker.

Me: How does one connect the Dot to the iAVS1?

Alexa: It can be directly connected via audio with the hardwired aux-in cable.

Me: So what can I do with this?

Alexa: You can ask me anything, and I will try and provide you with the correct answer within the capability of my programming.

Me: Can you play my music?

Alexa: Whatever the Echo Dot is connected to, the iAVS1 amplifies the sound with a Reson8 speaker chamber.

Me: Can I set my alarm with this?

Alexa: Absolutely, yes.

Me: What powers the iAVS1?

Alexa: It is powered by a 100V-240V universal AC adapter.

Me: Can I power the Dot with the iAVS1?

Alexa: Yes, through MicroUSB cable connections.

Me: Is there an option for a battery backup?

Alexa: Yes, with 2 AAA backup batteries for the clock, which are included with the iAVS1.

Okay, just to let you know, I didn’t actually have a conversation with Alexa to get this faux interview. Truth be told, I have no idea if Alexa would answer a question such as “how much does this cost”.

The answer is $69.99, and it is available on the iHome site.

iHome for the Holidays 2017, Part 2: The Bluetooth Docking Clock Radio + Triple Charging with Watch Charger (iPLWBT5)

I believe that the first time that I reviewed an iHome product, it was one of their iPod docks. This is a rather antiquated product, but the iPhone and now the Apple Watch has created the need for a new kind of dock with this Bluetooth Docking Clock Radio + Triple Charging with Watch Charger (iPLWBT5).

Being an iPod/iPhone dock is not the only thing old school about this, as it definitely hearkens back to the days of alarm clock radios. Yeah, if you remember the eighties or even the nineties, then you probably have one of those things. I’ll go ahead and highlight the alarm feature of dual alarms and separate wake times.

As you can see, you have the option of plugging in an iDevice and the Apple Watch. Both are set up to charge, and the iPhone/iPod cradle is set up for a Lightning charger. Oh, did I mention there is a USB charging port? Because there is one.

By the way, you can stream your audio thanks to its Bluetooth compatibility. This also works as a great speakerphone, and there is some voice control as well. I believe that the Melody Music Assistant, which seems to be some kind of new feature for all iHome products, is made for using your voice for accessing music from iHeartRadio, Spotify, or others.

As for other features, let’s talk about how you can sync the clock with an iOS device. Then there is an auto dimming feature that can somehow sync with the environment. Then there is the 6 FM presets, because this is what it does.

In short, this iHome iPhone/iPod dock is really made to compliment your room, not to mention your home. It can be purchased on the iHome site for about $129.99.

Our Review of the BOBINE Flexible iPhone Dock

This KickStarter funded project was sent to us to review from [FUSE] chicken.  This company makes a variety of charging cables, travel cables, phone docks, and stands. The product we were sent to review is called BOBINE, and is touted as “the world’s most flexible iPhone dock.”

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photo courtesy of [FUSE] chicken

photos courtesy of [FUSE] chicken

Unfortunately, as we don’t have iPhones, and the BOBINE is designed specifically for iPhones, I was unable to actually use the product on my phone, but I did unbox the product, and got to experience how well it is manipulated to be used in various manners- such as this tripod. It seemed to be a very sturdy cord, and handy to use for charging your phone while

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Youtube videos of the product in action in a moving vehicle show that it’s not as stable as a mount on your dash- a bit wiggly, but sufficient to use for hands- free calling or getting directions.

This YouTube video demonstrates ways to flex the stand to make it more sturdy.

 

I enjoyed the tag that was attached to the cord:

“While this product may seem self- explanatory, PLEASE READ the Start Guide first!”

The other side read:

“Stop!

Twist me, curve me, bend me, but PLEASE DON’T fold me or be overly aggressive as I have feelings too.”

Attached to the instructions is the personal e-mail for the founder of the company. It’s nice to see companies with personable service and a sense of humor.

This nice product is 24 inches long, comes with a unique registration code so you can obtain a warranty within 90 days of purchase, and it’s available for $34.95 on the company website. Free shipping on product over $50, too!

Our Review of the Olloclip Pivot

Olloclip PivotAt this point in my life as a reviewer, I review an Olloclip product a year. If for some reason that you haven’t heard of Olloclip, they create these photo lenses made for smartphones, particularly for the iPhone, that allow for focuses and a fish-eye lens. The Pivot is essentially a holder for one of their Olloclip lenses, and I’ll start with a disclaimer saying that the Olloclip lens, like the one I reviewed last year, is not included.

It does come with a handle which has that threaded Universal Mounting thing on it. On this particular handle is a button that allows for some rotation, about 225 degrees of spinning. You can see that circle in the middle which allows you to stick your finger for extra support.

The end result is a device that reduces the shakiness in your video. The Pivot also has a Universal Clamp, a 1/4-20 mount for a GoPro adapter. There is also some kind of cold shoe mount so you can put on one of those flash things.

By now, if you are not familiar with my reviews of Olloclip, then you know that I never give them bad reviews. There is a lot of love, work, and care put in Olloclip products, and the Pivot is available for about $49.99 on the Olloclip site.

Bodyguardz Pure Screen Protector for iPad Pro 10.5 and Trainr for the iPhone 6S/7 Plus

Well, it is time to review another great product from Bodyguardz, and they are very good at making screen protectors. They also make some cases, and today I am going to review both a screen protector and a case.

BodyGuardz Pure Premium Glass Screen Protector for Apple iPad Pro 10.5

bodyguardz Tempered iPad Pro 10.5If you are not familiar with a screen protector, then you probably need one. I remember seeing one of these ten years ago, before the age of smartphones really hit. It is a simple thin piece of glass to keep the touchscreen safe, and the Bodyguardz Pure is Tempered Glass for the iPad Pro 10.5.

This one is made from ion fortified tempered glass that is not just as hard as steel, it is harder than steel. This has some extreme impact and scratch protection that is optically clear with anti-smudge coating.

The end result is one of those screen protectors that goes on pretty easily as it comes with an installation kit and a microfiber cleaning cloth. By the way, it won some innovation awards back at CES 2013.

You should be able to purchase the Bodyguardz Pure Premium Glass Screen Protector for the Apple iPad Pro 10.5 on the Bodyguardz site for $59.95.

BodyGuardz Trainr Case for the iPhone 6/6S/7 Plus

Bodyguardz TrainrI actually reviewed this protect’s brother with the Trainr Pro, but this is just the Trainr Case with Unequal Technology. I’m not certain what makes it unequal, but it is made of sport-grip materials with a clear back and has some composite padding.

Similar to the Bodyguardz Pure, it is able to absorb impact, on contact. Also, this has some impact gel with a polycarbonate back, and the end result feels like a soft grip. The entire thing is actually quite flexible to easily accommodate the iPhone 6/6S/7 Plus, and presumably the iPhone 8 Plus.

If this is something that you like, head on over to the Bodyguardz site and pay $39.95 for it. It is available in Black/Gray, Gray/Blue, Gray/Mint, and Rose Gold/White. About the only difference between the Trainr and the Trainr Pro is that the Trainr Pro has this removable armband.

UAG 2017 Part 2: Monarch Series for iPhone 8/7/6S and PYLO Series iPhone 8/7/6S Cases

Well, in addition to the Monarch and PYLO series for the iPhone X that I reviewed yesterday, today is going to be another UAG (Urban Armor Gear). This time, we are talking about the iPhone 8/7/6S and iPhone 8/7/6S Plus.

Monarch Series iPhone 8/7/6S Plus

UAG Monarch iPhone 7 and 6 PlusWell, this is the time where I could seriously just cut and paste the Monarch review for the iPhone X. I suppose that the Monarch case for the iPhone 8 Plus/7Plus/6S Plus/6 Plus is just that, but it is bigger.

Yes, it has the same 5-layers of protection, and the top grain leather and alloy metal hardware. It also has that same terrific look with the honeycomb traction grip.

There is something that I forgot to mention in my last review of the Monarch Series. It meets 2X military drop-test standards, and I don’t know why I forgot to write about the protection of this series offers.

Also, I forgot to mention that some of the colors of Monarch for the iPhone X look really similar. Not so with the iPhone 8/7/6 Plus, as it only comes in three options: Platinum, Graphite, and Crimson. The Platinum is kind of silver with black, and the Graphite is the one that you see here.

You can purchase the Monarch for the iPhone 8 Plus and its accommodating series of Apple smartphones on the UAG site for $59.95.

PYLO Series for the iPhone 8/7/6S

UAG PYLO iPhone 8Again, there is hardly any difference between the PYLO for the iPhone x and the one for the iPhone 7/6S. It has that transparent case with soft corners, but there is one thing that I want you to notice.

Just look at the images on my two articles. Go on, I’ll wait. Do you see it yet? Here’s a hint: look in the corner for the hole for the camera. You can see that the iPhone 8 version has a hole that is horizontal, but the PYLO for the iPhone X has a more vertical look to it. Yeah, I thought that I would point that out because I needed something to write about, and no one else is writing about that.

So, you can purchase get the PYLO for the iPhone 8/7/6S Case for $39.95 on the UAG site.