Carry Your Laptop in Style with the Hex Supply Laptop Tote

It’s been a while since we’ve reviewed products from Hex, a company in California that combines fashion with technology. They create designer bags and cases to carry laptops, tablets, phones, and more. When I went to Hawaii five years ago, I took the Hex Cabana laptop tote with me. It has served me well ever since. Well, today, we have a new one to review. This one is the Hex Supply laptop tote.


Photo credit:Hex

What you should know about the Hex Supply laptop tote

  • A padded pocket inside has room for a 13″ – 15″ laptop.
  • Another pocket on the inside will fit a tablet.
  • There is a pocket on the front perfect for a phone.
  • Two pockets on the back of the bag can fit small items.
  • The inside has slots for cards, pens, and keys to keep you organized.
  • There is a removable shoulder strap.
  • The dimensions of the bag: 16.75″L x16.5″W x 5.5″H
  • Volume: 24.9L

Design of the Hex Supply laptop tote

The waxed canvas exterior actually comes in different styles and colors. They are the same price, but are named a little differently. You can find them all under the totes section on the Hex website. The color that we were sent is actually a lighter gray color with a pink lining. The accents are also waxed coated, and this provides a water resistant exterior. Genuine leather zipper pulls add to the classic look. It not only looks good, it is extremely durable with bar-tacked critical seams, and handles/straps that are surplus grade webbed.

Want to buy the Hex Supply tote?

These high quality bags are available for $99.95 on the Hex website.

We thank Hex for sending us this laptop tote free of charge in exchange for our fair and unbiased review. No other compensation has been provided.

New Collection of Catalyst Products Released

Catalyst, a company we have reviewed products for as recent as February, just released a new line of Apple related products on the 10th at Pepcom Digital Experience in San Francisco. We got a chance to get a peek at them, and we will do a round-up briefing on each one in this article.

The Catalyst Carry Case for your Apple Pencil

This rubberized case, available in this slate gray color, will hold your Apple Pencil and adapter, and keep it protected from drops and scratches. The rubberized case prevents it from sliding off your desk. If you happen to drop it, however, it is rated to protect from falls up to 9.9 ft. A small carabiner clip is also included to help you keep track of it. A little bending motion makes your pencil and adapter easy to pop out of their protective pockets. This product is available on the Catalyst website for $21.99.

The Catalyst Apple Pencil Grip Case

Similar to the previous product, this case also has the hypoallergenic silicone material- this time in a triangular shape that lends itself to a comfortable grip. You don’t need to pop out your pencil, as the tip is open ended, but it does have another pocket for the adapter, and those clip together with an included carabiner to keep everything together. The grip case is also MIL STD tested to 810G to protect the pencil in the unlikely event of a drop. $27.99 will buy you this case here.

The Catalyst Waterproof AirPods Case

Now on to protection for those AirPods. This small, innovative case won an honoree award for innovation at CES this year. It’s wonderful if you are around water, as it is waterproof up to 3.3 ft, and drop proof to 4 ft. Also includes a carabiner, so you can carry it with you easily. You can also charge them inside the case with the port for the lightning adapter.
A video is good to demonstrate just what this can do.

This case isn’t exactly new, but it was released in a new color of coral, which is what we were sent. It also comes in Blueridge/Sunset, Frost White, Slate Gray, Deep Plum, Army Green, and even Glow in the Dark!  If you want to get one for yourself, they are $29.99.

 

Impact Protection for the Apple Watch

 

The Series 2 and Series 3 case available in 42 mm and 38 mm is another new product. This one is not waterproof like the other Catalyst cases, but is drop proof up to 9.9 ft with it’s impact truss system. It features 2 layer protection, and a bezel to protect the screen. It also has Catalyst’s patented digital crown button to protect the digital crown button on your watch. It’s easy to install and remove.

$39.99 will buy both sizes in a variety of colors like Blueridge/Sunset, Coral, Black and Space Gray, and Army Green. It does not include a watch band, but we have you covered with the last product…

The Catalyst Sport Apple Watch Band

This band is lightweight(18 grams) and breathable- with it’s honeycomb-like patterned holes. It’s available for the 42 mm and 38 mm Apple Watch Series 1, 2 and 3- and compatible with the Catalyst case.It comes in the same colors as the cases, so it works great with whatever is your style of protection. These bands can be purchased for $39.99 on the Catalyst site, too.

Our thanks to Catalyst for sending us these products to review free of charge in exchange for our unbiased and honest analysis. No other compensation was provided.

Berlin Backpack Carries Your Tech in Style

Toffee is an Australian company that offers many sleek and stylish bags of different types to carry your laptops, tablets, phones, and anything else. Their cases and backpacks offer padded protection for your gear, while adding a classic look. In this review, we’ll talk specifically about the Berlin Backpack.

credit:Toffee

What You Should Know About the Berlin Backpack

From the Toffee website:

  • Outer Fabric: 100% waxed cotton canvas and genuine leather
  • Side pockets: 100% genuine naturally milled leather with a subtle pebble grain
  • Lining: 95% Cotton, 5% Spandex
  • Bag Size: 260 mm/11.4 inches (L), 410 mm/15.3 inches (H), 14 cm/5.5 inches (W)
  • Compatible With: MacBook Air/Pro, Surface Pro 3 & 4 and other similar sized notebooks up to 13-inch.

 

Design

This backpack is very nicely designed. Pulling it out of the plastic wrap it came in, I can smell the leather and cotton canvas. It has a new, clean smell. The straps are slightly padded, but not as thick as most backpacks. Still it provides comfort. The Berlin Bag seems like it would be a bit awkward looking on a big person, as it’s size is really not that substantial.

The backpack comes in these three colors. We received the green one to review. As you can see, there is a leather cup holder on the side, and the front pocket could hold some small things like pencils or calculators.

The inside has a winning craftsmanship with pinstripes, and a quilted pocket to provide some nice cushion for your (13 in.) laptop. The smaller pocket in front of that is just the right size to hold a tablet. Of course, there’s also the additional room in front of that to carry books, or other essentials you might need to take along.

The bottom of the bag has four metal feet, which will allow the bag to better sit upright, and also keeps the material up off the floor. The whole build of the bag looks to be very durable, which is good because:

Berlin Backpack Price

The sleek design and durable build will come with a pricetag. You can buy the bag for about $165, which looks to be in the mid price range for the backpacks/carrying cases offered by Toffee. It does qualify for free shipping off their website.

We would recommend this backpack to students looking for a fashionable way to carry their devices. While Toffee sent us this backpack for free to review, we will remind everyone that we are not sponsored by this company, and our review is done without bias.

Otterbox Pursuit Series Case for Samsung Galaxy S9

OtterBox is a well-known company for their cell phone cases. We have certainly completed many reviews on their products at The Geek Church. The most recent review was an offering for the iPhone X. The new Samsung Galaxy S9 can also be protected by OtterBox. Today’s review is for the OtterBox Pursuit series.

photo credit- Otterbox

Pursuit Features

The Pursuit case promises by Otterbox to be “the thinnest, toughest, most protective case” of their products. It protects from dust, mud, dirt and snow. It’s not waterproof, but the Galaxy S9 is waterproof in and of itself, so that feature isn’t really needed. It has Otterbox Certified Drop Protection with a limited lifetime warranty.

Although there is the raised, beveled edges on the front of the case to help protect the screen, it is recommended by many reviewers out there to get a screen protector for full protection. Many screen protectors will work with this case.

There are nice cut outs to fit your cords and such, and the one on the back for the fingerprint sensor and cut well to prevent the flash reflection. There is a chamber at the bottom of the case to pull the sound to the front- giving an enhanced audio feature in the case. The buttons are easy to manipulate.

Pursuit Set-Up

The case takes a little work to put on, but fortunately there is a how-to video:

Buying the Pursuit

If this kind of protection is what you want for your phone, it comes with a steep price-tag. It costs about $70, and you can buy it on the OtterBox site in three options of colors. It comes in black, black with a clear back so you can see your phone through the case, or Coastal Rise- which is pink with black accents.

OtterBox was generous enough to send us this case for free in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. No other compensation has been provided.

Phone Cases from Tech21 to protect your iPhone X and Galaxy S9

It’s been a while since we’ve reviewed products from Tech21, but they are a good company if you are looking for some cases and protection for your phones. They have sent us some more cases to consider and tell you about. So get ready for our assessment of four different Tech21 cases.

Tech21 EVO LUXE

This classy looking case looks like leather, but it’s really “Vegan Leather,” or what seems to be some PVC material. It kind of has a leather smell, but I don’t know if that’s chemicals I am smelling. The drop protection on this black case is made of 3 layers with ribs on surrounding the sides of the case on the inside. This design with FlexShock is said to protect your phone from 12 ft. drops. The lip wraps around the front so you can place the phone face down and have protection. The part that covers the buttons on the sides are not very prominent, and might be a little tougher to maneuver than other cases I have seen.

If this ultra-slim, 1.8mm thick case that works well for wireless charging appeals to you, you can find it for $49.95 on their website. We were sent the case for Samsung Galaxy S9, but it’s also available for iPhone 8 and up.

Tech21 EVO WALLET

This case is good for those looking for something to totally envelop their phone. It contains the same FlexShock drop protection from 12 ft. This one, though, has a leather- like front (maybe this one is actually leather) that wraps around your phone. There is a clasp to close it on the side. It seems a little difficult to open and close the clasp. That may get easier with time. I can see it becoming problematic if you want to access your phone in a hurry, but there are cutouts and buttons so that you can answer calls with the cover still on. The tactile buttons on the left side, again, are not very prominent.

A cool feature is the ability to carry a couple of credit cards in a concealed compartment in the front of the phone. The case comes in pink or black, and they have different textures. I can’t tell what the texture of the black case is, but it definitely has a different texture from what I see. We received the pink case. This one for the Galaxy S9 is $49.95. It is the same price for iPhones, and from reviews I have seen on those, there is a way to take the Folio cover off and just use the basic case. I don’t see that on the case for the Samsung Galaxy S9, though.

Tech21 PureClear

If you want a clear case for your phone, this could be the one for you. It has a 10 ft. drop protection of two layers- the ribs like the cases above, and BulletShield material, which is used in bulletproof glass. It’s thin(1.2mm), and can be charged wirelessly. It also says that the case resists UV damage for longer and therefore won’t yellow. The button covers on this case seem much better to me than the others.

This case, also available for other phones has a cost of $39.95 on the Tech 21 website.

Tech21 EVO Check Evoke Edition

Finally, the last case we are about to review is a beautiful way to protect your phone. In this case, we received the iPhone X cover in clear and blue. It also comes in pink, with red flowers.

This case also has the FlexShock impact protection, and has a promised protection of 10 ft. drops. Again, a thin, light-weight design for easy access to wireless charging. The back of the case has a texture with checks, and the floral design that really stands out. This design costs $49.95, and this Evoke edition only seems to come for the iPhone 7 and up, but the Evo Check is available for other phones as well.

That concludes our review of these phone cases. Our usual disclaimer- these cases were sent to us for free to review in exchange for our fair and unbiased analysis. No other compensation has been given.

LifeProof SLAM for Samsung Galaxy S9

LifeProof has sent us phone cases to review in the past- the last one being the FRĒ for Samsung Galaxy S8. This time, we will be giving you our analysis of LifeProof’s SLAM case for the S9 (also available for the S9+). This case is designed primarily to protect your phone from drops.

photo credit: LifeProof
The case boasts the MIL STD rating 810G-516.6, and survives drops from 2 meters. It is not waterproof, like the FRĒ, but it is cheaper in price, and the S9 phones already have the IP68 waterproof rating, so you have coverage there.

Putting the case on is not too tricky. There is a plastic key included to snap apart the shell so you can put your phone in, and once you place your phone in the front part, the back will snap on with a bit of pressure on your part.

SLAM Design

The clear cover on the back allows the S9 owner to see their phone. There are added colors around the side bumpers, though. You can choose from Nightflash (green/black), Aloha Sunset (pink/blue), and Lava Chaser (gray/orange).  While the side wraps around the front of the phone a bit, there is not a lot of protection that seems to be offered for the phone face, so a screen protector is recommended.

The buttons on the side are covered, and the buttons on the case may be a bit stiff at first. The port cutouts provide easy access unless you have a third party headphone jack that has a wider diameter than the one that comes with the S9. Otherwise, you can access your fingerprint scanner and all perfectly fine. The thinness of the case is important for those who don’t want bulk, and ease of wireless charging.

Purchasing the SLAM

This case is available for purchase on the LifeProof site for $49.99. They have excellent customer service and free shipping in the US.

We also like the companies Giving Back philosophy,  and how they work with kids to prepare them for the future.

This review was done without bias and fairly, and LifeProof did send us this case to review free of charge.

Patchworks Protection Options for Samsung Galaxy S9

We’ve reviewed cases and screen protectors from Patchworks before. This time we’ll be reviewing cases and screens made for the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. The glass screen protector is the ITG Full Cover. The cases are from the Level ITG series and the Monogrip.

First off, we’ll cover the glass screen protector. This protector has beveled edges that wrap around the screen nicely to fit the curved sides of the S9 Plus. Patchworks uses a unique heat bending technique to bend the edges- as opposed to other glass screen protectors that shave the glass to fit. This technique is said to improve the durability of the glass.

The screen protector boasts a hardness of 9H- which I have found does not equate to the Mohs hardness scale, but rather something like a pencil hardness test. We have not tested out the glass by trying to scratch it, but it’s more than likely to be pretty tough. The most important part is that it protects the screen underneath. The Patchwork page guarantees the scratch resistant part of it, so at worst, you could get a new screen protector out of it.

There is an oleophobic coating that will aid in preventing fingerprints and smudges. It is also very smooth and will give you a screen that responds beautifully to touch. On top of it all is an easy application, which makes the $24.95 suggested retail price a good deal. I saw a $15.95 pricetag on the WalMart website, though.

photo credit:Patchworks

Next up, we have the Level ITG series case. This one comes in black or red, and looks simple and basic, but it really does have what it takes to protect your phone- as proven in the Military grade drop standard 810G. The case wraps around the front and sits 1 mm above a glass screen protector to provide even more screen protection.

There are good sized cutouts for ports so everything is easily accessible, and the design around the flash will prevent the flash reflections.The buttons will be covered, but are tactile and easily-manipulated at the same time.

The dual layer TPU and polycarbonate case has air pockets to help cushion from any drops that might happen. It will be hard to drop the case with it’s textured grip on the side and anti-slip surface. As durable as the case is, it is very thin and works well with wireless charging. It retails for $24.95.

 

Last, but not least, we have the Monogrip case.

photo credit:Patchworks

This case is similar to the Level ITG in protection, accessibility, and many of the things we mentioned above. This one has a aluminum finish, but looks like a leather grain, and feels like it as well.

A triple layer of aluminum, TPU and polycarbonate give protection to the phone inside, and also has the ribs on the side to give the user something to grip.

 

The lifetime warranty protected case comes in black or taupe, and is also listed at $24.95. 

 

It’s hard to go wrong with any of these cases, and we appreciate Patchworks sending us these products for free in exchange for our fair and unbiased review.

Landing Zone USB Type-C Hub for the new MacBook Pro Review

For our 2nd Landing Zone review, we will be covering the USB Type-C Hub for the MacBook Pro. If you don’t need all the extra ports that the Thunderbolt 3 provides, read on to find out how this device could be useful for you.

 

This hub is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand (4 1/2 x 2 inches and about 1/4 inch high), but gives you several different ports to plug in all your devices, therefore eliminating the need for a bunch of dongles. Using the hub is as easy as plugging it into the ports on the side of the MacBook Pro. Similarly easy to unplug and slide in a pocket while carrying the MacBook. You could leave it plugged in, but it might not fit in your carrying case.

Featured:

  • 2 USB Type C ports, which will support 5K video output, 40 gigs of data transfer, and up to 100 W power
  • A port for HDMI cables- up to 4K capacity
  • A USB Type C 3.1 Gen 1 port with a transfer rate of 5 Gb/s
  • 2 USB 3.1  Type-A ports- again with 5 gigs of data transfer rate
  • and a SD card slot that supports up to 104 Mb/s data transfer rate

Landing Zone has thoughtfully included a Micro SD to SD card adapter.  There are rubber feet on the bottom of the all-metal casing- providing for stability and a decent quality.

If you have a 13-inch or 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar released in 2016 and 2017, or the 2016/2017 13-inch MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar, we think this product will be a good deal for those looking for some ports to plug things into.

You can buy it on their website for $99, and get a discount if you qualify under their student/educator deal.

We thank Landing Zone for providing a free review model in exchange for our fair and unbiased evaluation.

Landing Zone Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station for 15 inch MacBook Pro Review

Landing Zone is a Silicon Valley company that is dedicated to make docking stations designed for Apple users. They were generous enough to send us three products, which we’ll cover in three separate articles today. In this review, we’re going to look at another Thunderbolt 3 product- a Docking Station For 15.4″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

This isn’t the first time we’ve reviewed a Thunderbolt 3 product. The last review of one was by Promise Technology- just last week. Landing Zone’s docking station has quite a different look and set up, but many of the same features. This Thunderbolt 3 actually fits the MacBook Pro on it which gives you a bit of an angle on your keyboard, but it has some good ergonomics.

There are several different ports to use:

  • 3 USB 3.1 Type-C Ports
  • 1 USB Type C Passthrough Port
  • 3 USB 3.1 Type A Ports (one with high speed charging)
  • an HDMI port
  • a Mini DisplayPort or HDMI Port (depending on how you want to use it)
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • SD card slot
  • Micro SD card slot
  • a 2 way audio jack
  • a slot for a Kensington Security key to lock up your MacBook Pro
  • and, of course a port for the power cord (a 96 W adapter is included)

Your MacBook Pro could be working for you like this one:

Note, while the docking station looks very metallic, it is actually made of a plastic material, which makes it lightweight, but it still feels sturdy and of reputable quality. It is easy to set up and use right away.

The cost of this device is $299, but if you are a student, you could qualify for a discount by purchasing it on the Landing Zone website.

Thanks again to Landing Zone for sending us a free model in exchange for our fair and unbiased review.

Two UAG Cases to Protect Your Galaxy S9- Monarch and Plasma

Urban Armor Gear (UAG) is a popular and reliable brand for phone cases. We’ve done many reviews for them in the past, and are pleased to review two cases that we’ve reviewed before, but are now available for the new Samsung Galaxy S9 phone. These cases are in the Monarch and Plasma series.

UAG Monarch

photo credit: UAG

We recently reviewed the Monarch case for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+. This one we were sent has pretty much the same design, but of course, it is made to fit the S9, and there’s also one for the S9+.

What I’ve noted about this case is the announcement of the top grain leather on the box. The leather part of the case really does feel nice to the touch, and looks to be of great quality.

The other features of the case to be noted are pretty much the same as the other cases in the series. It has the sturdy UAG quality with a drop test rating two times military standard. It has the traction tire- like grip on the side. With a 5 layer protection, the case is very rugged, but also light weight. It does add a bit of bulk to your phone, but that’s the cost of protection.

The case does fit around the edges of the phone so you can lay the phone on its face without worrying about scratching. Easy access to your buttons, good cut-outs for the ports on the bottom, and cut right on the back so you don’t get the glare from the flash.

This case runs at $59.95, and comes with a 10 year warranty, so you know there’s a good value. We were sent the black case, but it also comes in red for a sleek contrast as well.

UAG Plasma

As with the Monarch, we’ve also reviewed several cases from the Plasma series.

photo credit- UAG

The Plasma series seems to cover just about everything from phones of many different brands like LG, Huawei, iPhone, and Samsung, and also Surface laptops. So, it’s natural that they would come out with a case for the newest Samsung Galaxy phones.

Coming in an array of colors like Cobalt (pictured), Citron (a yellowish green), Ash (black), and Ice (clear), these cases offer a three layer protection. There are shock cushions in the corners, and the case has been drop tested to military standard, also.

UAG does a superior job in making lightweight, but sturdy cases, and this one is no exception. It is not as rugged as the Monarch, but offers many of the same features. It’s also a bit less expensive at a price of $39.95.

We can safely say that both cases could be recommended by us, and will take this moment to say thanks to UAG for sending us these cases for free in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.