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.

Catalyst Products for the Holidays, Part 1: Waterproof Cases for the Apple Watch Series 1, 2, and 3

It is always great to review Catalyst products, as they usually make waterproof products for mobile devices that can get you through life itself. I reviewed one for the iPhone 7 at the beginning of this year, and I was pleased to review three for the Apple Watch Series 1, Series 2, and Series 3.

Catalyst Waterproof Case for 42mm Apple Watch Series 1

It’s hard to believe that the Apple Watch is on its third series, but this is made for the Series 1. The Catalyst case for the Apple Watch Series 1 is IP-68 waterproof for up to 165 feet, and I have no idea why would be going that deep, but there it is.

This is all thanks to the high impact polycarbonate case front, allowing access to the touchscreen, then a layer of clear silicone that connects with the tactical side button with the crown dial. Even though you need to screw it together, it comes with the screwdriver you need and keeps water out and protection in.

If you want this for your Apple Series 1, head to the Catalyst site here and lay down $59.99 for it. It is available in Stealth Black, Rescue Ranger (black with orange dial), and Green Pop (variation with white and green dial).

Catalyst Waterproof Case for 42mm Apple Watch Series 2

Okay, it would appear that Catalyst really upped its game when it came to the Apple Watch Series 2, as this case is also IP-68 waterproof for up to 330 feet. Dang, you can go super deep with this! Also, you can drop it from 6.6 feet, something that you can do with the Series 1, which I really should have mentioned in my review prior.

Near as I can tell, it looks like the construction is similar. It has that impact-resistant polycarbonate housing and the silicone waterproof sealing wrap. Yes, you have to screw it in like the other one for the iPhone Series 1, but you get that protection!

You can get this Catalyst Waterproof Case for the 42mm Apple Watch Series 2 for the same price ($59.95), and it is available in Stealth Black, Alpine White, Army Green, and even a special glow-in-the-dark model.

Catalyst Waterproof Case for 38mm Apple Watch Series 3

This particular waterproof case for the Series 3 can also accommodate the Series 2, which is quite something. Like the one made for the Series 2, it can also go 330 feet deep and survive drops of 6.6 feet.

The construction of the case is similar, so I won’t bore you with the details about the polycarbonate outer shell, the inner membrane, and all. However, I will say that the features of the watch are fully functional including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE, Siri, Digital Crown, Side Button, Hear Rate Sensor, and Magnetic Charging.

You should be able to pick up the Waterproof Case for the 38mm Apple Watch Series 3 for $69.99 on the Catalyst Site, but is only in one color: Stealth Black.

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.

Armpocket Flash i-40 and Ultra i-35

It has been a while since we reviewed a good Armpocket product and yes, we have reviewed the Mega i-40 Plus and the i-35 armband before. I am assuming that these are this year’s models, or something.

I suppose that if you have never heard of an armband, then you would be surprised to find there is a way to put your mobile device on your arm in order to access the touchscreen through a window. Oh, and there is a way to listen to your music thanks to earbud access.

Armpocket Flash i-40

The Flash i-40 is made for devices up to 6.5 inches/16.5 cm, with an arm strap that fits up to 15 inches (38 cm). that’s good enough for the iPhone X/8/7/6 Plus, Galaxy S8+, Note 5, Google Pixel XL, or Pixel 2 XL. You can also carry your ID, credit cards, money, or even your keys in this thing, all thanks to some multiple interior storage compartments.

In the case of the Flash i-40, it is made of an ultra-soft bamboo/rayon mesh that is some great eco-friendly fabric made from recycled plastic. You can put your device inside, and it will be safe from both weather and sweat.

This would probably be a good time to talk about the multi-mode LED lights that can change functions with an easy squeeze button. By the way, the battery is included.

So, if you are looking to do some running in the day or the night, I would suggest wearing this Flash Mega i-40 on the Armpocket site for $49.95.

Armpocket Ultra i-35

Now, the Ultra i-35 can fit devices up to 6 inches (15.2 centimeters), which is good for the iPhone X/8/7/6, not to mention the Samsung S8/S7, or Google Pixel 2/Pixel. It also has the room for ID, keys, and cash.

It does not have the flash, and by that, I mean those flashing lights. It is made of that same ultra-soft bamboo/rayon mesh with some dual zippers for some protection against weather and sweat.

Not only is it a quality armband equal in quality to the i-40, but this one is available in a lot of great colors like Arctic Blue (a blue camo design), Arctic Berry (red camo), Arctic Storm (black camo), as well as purple and black. It is available for purchase on the Armpocket site for $39.95.

J5Create Part 2: USB Type-C Multi Adapter, USB 3.0 Mini Dock, and 5-Port USB Super Charger

Okay, it’s time to review some more J5Create products, and today I am looking at these docks/adapters. I’m not certain that this is a good way to organize “Tomorrow’s Products Today” but hey, I really like their slogan and should have mentioned it in my first article.

J5Create JUD380 USB 3.0 Mini Dock

Okay, so let’s say that you want some kind of external dual monitor for your PC or Mac, so you should just use the USB port. The JUD380 has that 3.0 plug, and then there are a lot of ports like two USB, one for the firewire, an HDMI port, and a VGA. Also, there is an optional Micro 8 DC in 5V.

The whole thing is very good at what it does, which is made for plugging in an adapter without some crazy expensive video card. All that is required is that you use the JUD380 to load the drivers, plug the adapter into the USB port, and then plug in the VGA or HDMI port.

It comes with three viewing modes like: 1) Primary, with individual applications open on each monitor 2) Extended mode, to allow you to extend your desktop across multiple displays, and 3) Mirror mode, for cloning one screen to another.

Sound like something that you like? Head on over to the J5Create site and pay $79.99.

J5Create JCA374 USB Type-C Multi-Adapter

The JCA374 is very similar to the JUD380, but it is a USB Type-C Multi-Adapter with HDMI/Ethernet/USB 3.1 HUB/PD 2.0 ports. It provides extra connectivity from your computer with 5 Gbps transfer speed.

As stated before, you might notice that the ports are similar, almost exactly alike when compared to the JUD380. However, this one has that USB-C, which J5Create says is the new standard for connecting desktops and laptops, but I am not certain if it “will eventually replace all current USB cables and connectors”.

I have a USB port on my HTC 10, and I love how fast it charges. so there’s a great powering and it has fast data transfer rates of up to 10 Gbps. Oh it is also good for 4K video, and has some surge protection.

You should be able to purchase the JCA374 USB Type-C Multi-Adapter for $79.99 on the J5Create site.

J5Create JUP50 5-Port USB Super Charger

This last product of the JUP50 40W 5-Port USB Super Charger is pretty simple. I mean, who doesn’t want an extra 5 ports for just about anything?

In this case, the JUP50 has Intelligent Identification technology, allowing you to detect devices and give them a great charge. Each one has 2.4A, which is good enough for some surge protection as well.

So, if you want to get in on this, head on over to the J5Create site and pay $29.99 for it.

J5Create Part 1: JDA159 Mini DisplayPort to 4K HDMI Adapter and JUC500 USB 3.0 Wormhole Switch

It has been a good long while since I have reviewed a decent J5Create product, and I am not certain how to describe what it is that they make. Generally, their products are accessories for your computer designed to link one thing to another, and these first two products are a demonstration of that.

J5Create JDA159 Mini DisplayPort to 4K HDMI Adapter

The JDA159 is a Mini DisplayPort to 4K HDMI adapter that is made to connect your Mac or PC to to a 4K HDTV or some other device that can use an HDMI port. It is compliant with both DisplayPort 1.2 and Thunderbolt 2, as well as compliant with HDMI 1.4 specifications. Oh, while we are talking about specs, it supports resolutions up to 4K Ultra HD (4096 x 2160, 30Hz) and 3D video formats over HDMI.

The best part is how easy it is to install. It is a true plug-and-play technology, and all that is required is plugging the JDA159 Mini DisplayPort to the computer, then plug the existing HDMI cable from your display into the Mini DisplayPort adapter. It can’t get any simpler than that, seriously.

You should be able to purchase the JDA159 Mini DisplayPort to 4K HDMI Adapter on the J5Create site for $39.99.

JUC500 USB 3.0 Wormhole Switch

The JUC500 is essentially a double-duty USB 3.0 cable that allows you to do all kinds of things between two computers, even if one is a Mac and the other is a PC. Oh yeah, this is all about compatibility here, with new drivers to download.

What is really interesting is you can link two computers, and you can use a keyboard or mouse on either on the other computers. Does that make sense? I hope so. Perhaps it is better to say how you can drag and drop files from one computer to the other.

So if you have some file that you want to transfer to another computer, just select it, and then drag and drop it over. You should be okay for all types of file transfers, and it is backwards compatible with USB 2.0.

You should be able to purchase the JUC500 USB 3.0 Wormhole Switch on the J5Create site for $59.99.

Three Cygnett Products to Charge Your Devices

cygnett_chargeup_digital_6000It has been a while since we’ve reviewed Cygnett products, but the opportunity to do so has come to us again. Like the last time, we have a portable powerbank- the ChargeUp Digital 6000. We were also given a Lightning™ to USB cable, and a Micro-USB to USB cable.

The first item I’ll cover is the ChargeUp Digital powerbank. This particular one at 6,000 mAh is one of their mid-range as far as power goes. They also have similar products that are at 10,000 mAh, and lower ones at 4,000. This change is mostly reflected in the price. The super thin devices are black with your choice of blue, green or red accents. They have a nice digital display in the corner to let you know how much battery life is remaining.  *Note: On the box, it says it is precharged and ready to use. When I pulled it out, there was only 78% charge. Other reviews I have read seemed to have various percentages. One review said there was no charge. I’m guessing your mileage may vary.

It comes with a Micro-USB charge cable, and also works with Lightning™ to USB cable(not included). There are two USB ports on the powerbank, so you can charge two devices at once. The lithium polymer battery gives it the ability to hold more charge and to charge devices at a high speed. The 6,000 mAh ChargeUp Digital can be purchased on Cygnett’s site for $69.95.

Lightning-black_e2e579d2-060e-48d7-86c6-c7ee608e9893_1024x1024The Lightning™ to USB cable we received is a reinforced, braided cable made for iPods, iPhones and iPads. There is 13 ft/4 m of cable, which is a nice length to charge devices without having to be right on top of a USB port. You can buy as short a cable as 1 m, and that will reduce the price. This cable costs $49.95 if you buy it on the Cygnett site

And finally, we have a Micro USB to USB Cable. This one Cygnett sent to us to review is also 13 ft/ 4 m. As with the Lightning™ cable, it is also braided to make it durable. It provides rapid 2.1A charging. This cable is available for $29.95. You can also get the white PVC style cord for the same price. 

Earin True Wireless Earbuds Review

Only_Buds_front-620x400With all the activity we do, it’s great to not to have to be tied down to something. Many earbuds have you hooked up to a line trailing down your arm, neck , back, or leg. There’s an option, though, for those who don’t want strings to hold them down. We were sent these wireless EARIN earbuds to review, so here we go.

Coming from a Swiss startup, these Bluetooth- enabled earbuds come in a nice package. The box that holds them looks like a cardboard box, but it opens and closes magnetically, and the magnets also attract the earbuds so that they don’t fly out when you open the box. We still recommend that you carefully open the box because there still is a chance for them to fly out, and those little guys are miniscule and round, and they roll.

The box contains the wireless earbuds, a charging capsule reminiscent of the flashy-thing in the Men in Black movie, a micro USB cable to charge the flashy-thing, stabilizers to make extra sure they won’t come out of your ears with heavy activity. There’s also the Comply foam tips that give a tight seal, or if you would rather, there are Silicone tips.

The case, or flashy-thing, will hold the earbuds as they charge, and you had better be sure to put these earbuds in the case when you aren’t using them, as that is the only way to turn them off. If you just put them in your pocket, the battery will drain on them, so it’s best to keep them in the case. It will likely be a safer place to keep them anyway. A simple light will turn on while it’s charging the earbuds, another light on top indicates that the case is charging itself.earin-true-wireless-earbuds-with-charging-case-and-aweni7-5

There are complaints that sometimes the right ear bud will cut out, and there is sometimes lag when watching videos. The left ear bud is the one that connects to your device, and the right one is a slave, so it’s not always as reliable as the left.

Other wireless earbuds on the market might run less expensive on price, but we haven’t been able to compare the sound quality of them. We have reviewed the Jabra wireless earbuds, and they are about $100 more, though the Earins used to be the same price, and the Jabra had the addition of being able to take calls because of the microphone. You can’t take calls on the Earins. You can also check your heartrate with the Jabra pair.

Earin does have a special app that you use on your phone to control the bass boost, the balance of volume in each ear, and you can see how much battery life you have left in them. Speaking of battery life, there is about 3 hours of battery life in them, and you can charge them up to 3 times in a fully charged capsule.

Earin is coming out in the future with the M-2 earbuds. These look to be more advanced with a microphone and a way to control them with touch interface on the earbuds. The question will be whether they are comparable in price and quality to the other wireless earbuds out there. Still, at $149, the M-1 might be what you are looking for.

Secure Protection for Your Phone With the Urban Armor Gear PATHFINDER Series

GLXS8_PATHFINDER_RST-MAIN.1006_grandeUrban Armor Gear has protection available for many devices- laptops, tablets, and phones, and we have reviewed many of them here at TheGeekChurch. The case we’re reviewing today comes from the PATHFINDER series.

The case we were sent to review is specifically for Samsung Galaxy S8, but you can also get them for iPhones. The PATHFINDER series cases come in black, white, and rust- which is the color we got. It looks more orange, and brighter than what you might think rust would look like, but still a very nice, sporty color.

This case has many of the same characteristics that other UAG series cases have- like being feather-light, impact resistant, anti-scratch, and having the same great access to charging ports, and the camera/flash. I currently have the Composite case on my phone(Galaxy S7), and it feels very similar. In fact, the descriptions on the UAG website here and here are pretty much the same- with the exception of things unique to the S8- like being “compatible with Samsung Pay and Samsung Fast Wireless Charging Convertible.”

As with all of their cases, the Pathfinder series is drop tested according to military standard of 810G-516.6, which is assuring to those who want to protect their phones in case they drop. If you can appreciate this quality of case for your phone, they sell for $34.95 on the UAG site, or you can buy them at other places like Amazon, Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

 

 

Protect Your HUAWEI P10 and Mate 9 with UAG Plasma Series

We’ve reviewed many excellent phone cases from Urban Armor Gear. These cases that we’ve been sent to review from the company are from the popular PLASMA series. They are for the HUAWEI phones like P10 and Mate 9.

Ice for the Huawei Mate 9

                         Ice for the Huawei Mate 9

The PLASMA series for other phones like Samsung Galaxy S7 have come in different colors like Ash (which is dark grey in color), Magma (red), and Cobalt (blue). There is even a Citron(green)- in addition to the other colors for an iPhone. From what we can tell, if you want a PLASMA case for the Mate 9, it will come only in Ice- which is the clear case. The P10 has the option of Ice and Ash. So there isn’t as broad a variety of colors for these phones, but color can be overrated anyway.

These cases have it where it really counts, though. There is the three layer protection- which consists of an armor shell, shock cushions, and impact resistant rubber. The case is feather light, while still providing the quality that you need to protect your phone. As with all the other UAG products, the cases have been drop-tested to Military Standard of 810G–516.6.

The P10 comes in Ash and Ice

                  The P10 comes in Ash and Ice

Each case has the sturdy, rubberized grip that helps those of us with butter fingers. Also, there is easy access to the ports for charging, headphones, and an opening for the camera, as well as access to the fingerprint sensor on the HUAWEI Mate 9 located below the camera. The power button and volume button is covered and protected, but still work just as well.

Overall, this is a great product that we trust to protect our phones, and if you want the same protection, you can purchase one for $39.95 on the UAG website for the Huawei Mate 9 here and the P10 here.