Last Minute Holiday Gift Guide for Christmas 2017

Well, if you are like me, then you probably are wondering why you put off your Christmas shopping so late in the year. For those that are wanting to get that perfect gift for the holiday season should check out these items. Some of you will recognize this as my Black Friday Gift Guide, but I added a few things that I have recently reviewed.

How about Headphones?

Let’s start with Beyerdynamic’s DT 770 Studio.

You might want to get some when you sleep with the Soft-Tones Pillow Speaker. You can also try the SleepPhones by Acoustic Sheep.

There are models that are wired and wireless from ZAGG’s iFrogz.

You can get some great earbuds from 1More with the Dual Driver LTNG ANC In-Ear Headphones.

Also, Outdoor technologies has a good pair, along with some Bluetooth earbuds you can read about here. Speaking of Bluetooth earbuds…

Need a pair of Bluetooth earbuds?

I would suggest the Jabra Elite 25e for wired action. For wireless action, check out the New Elite Sport, also from Jabra.

The SleepPhones have a wireless version.

Oh, did I mention the iHome Fit (iB71), because that exists too.

Then there is the MOXYO Mission Wireless Earbuds.

There’s a Computer Accessory for you!

I recommend the IOGEAR Compact USB-C Docking Station with PD Pass-Thru and the Thunderbolt 3 to Dual 4K DisplayPort Adapter.

Then there is the OWC Thunderbolt Dock 3.

J5Create has several types that you can read about here and here. There’s some more J5 accessories available here.

You should see what Accell is making.

Need a Case for your Smartphone/Tablet?

UAG has some great ones like the iPhone 8/7 like the Monarch and PYLO, as well as the iPhone X.

Go with brands like Patchworks!

Something really unusual is this thing from Vibes Audio.

Now Toast gives you some good cover as well!

Catalyst also has several of them for the iPhone X and Apple Watch.

BGZ Brands also has the Lander Moab case for protection against the cold!

There are also some great ones from X-Doria. This might not be a case, but I recommend Armpocket for when you take your phone out on the road.

Speck has some really terrific cases, and you can read about the ones for Samsung and Apple.

Oh, you should also get yourself a screen protector, like the type made by Invisible Shield.

Then there are the ones from Nomad.

There are also some from Bodyguardz.

If you want a Folio case for your iPad, check out these two from ZAGG.

Also, UAG has your Google Pixel covered with these cases.

Looking for a gift for a gamer?

There is the Crusher Wireless from Skullcandy.

There is the Custom Game for Beyerdynamic. Then there is always the SteelSeries Rival 110.

There is also the Logitech G433, a 7.1 Wired Surround Gaming Headset.

Chargers are always needed!

There are ChargeHub X3 and X5.

Check out the Kodiak Plus 2.0 from Outdoor Technology.

It is similar to the Nomad 3-Port Hub, Powerpack, and the Charging Cables.

You can also go wireless with your charging thanks to the Mophie Wireless Charging Base.

Check out the RapidX DualX and X5 Rapid Car Charger.

I wish this one is available, but it is the Fingerpow.

Then there is the myCharge AdventureUltra and AdventureMax. Not only that, there is the myCharge Adventure JumpStart.

You can also go solar with the PowerKeep 12 and 36, as well as the Powerkeep Wanderer.

The M-EDGE Packlight, Tech Sackpack, and 8000 mAh Power Bank are also worth it.

Then there is the Bobine Flexible iPhone Dock.

Need to Boost your phones’ reception?

I would recommend the Wilson Drive Sleek Signal Booster for cars.

How about a Bluetooth speaker?

There is the iHome iBT77 Speaker as well as the iBT374. Then there is the iAVS1 for the Amazon Echo Dot. There is also the iPLWBT5 for the Apple Watch and your smartphone.

Oh, there is also two from Outdoor Technology, the Turtle Shell 3.0 and Buckshot 2.0.

Need a keyboard?

Check out the Matias Wireless Aluminum Keyboard with Backlight.

Cherry also has the MX Board Silent and the G80-3850 MX Brown 3.0.

I also had a fun time with the Snakebyte Key:Board Ultra.

Got a musician on your list?

I’m going to recommend two products from IK Multimedia with the iRig Mic HD 2 and the iRig Keys I/O 25.

Like taking pictures with your smartphone?

Get yourself an Olloclip Pivot!

How about something for a biker?

No problem. Get the SmartHalo.

Want something for the kitchen?

Look no further than the Gourmia GTA1500 Digital Electric Air Fryer, Griller, and Roaster.

You might want to check out the Bedol Squirt Water Clock.

How about a GPS device?

Seriously, check out the TomTom GO 52 Navigation Unit.

Traveling for the holiday?

I recommend the eGee Touch TSA Smart Travel Lock.

Also, there are two great backs from Cocoon Innovations that I will recommend. The first is the Graphite 15-inch brief and the second is the TECH 16-inch backpack.

What a more connected home?

If you want some automated bulbs, check out Sengled’s Classic Kit A19.

Speaking of home, you can do some home improvement with the TapHanger

Speck Christmas, Part 2: Presidio Ultra (iPhone X), Presidio Wallet (iPhone 6S/7/8), ShieldView GlassPro (iPhone 6S/7/8), Presidio Metallic (iPhone 6S Plus/7 Plus/8 Plus), and Presidio Clear + Print (iPhone 6S Plus/7 Plus/8 Plus)

Okay, it is time to review some more Speck, and we have a lot going on here. Unlike last time, when we reviewed Samsung-related accessories, we are going to cover what Speck has for Apple with

Speck Presidio ULTRA for the iPhone X

I have to be honest when I say that I am surprised that the Presidio Ultra is not one of those waterproof cases. As far as I know, it isn’t, because it would have bragged about it on its packaging.

As it stands, the Presidio ULTRA for the iPhone X will give you the protection for Apple’s latest and greatest smartphone, at least from dust and dirt. If that sounds good to you, let’s throw in a little 15 foot drop protection. Oh, it has a no-slip grip, and 360 degrees of port protection.

Not only that, but this has four layers of protection thanks to our old elemental friend of Impactium. It also comes with this rugged holster as well.

In short, it looks like the Presidio Ultra for the iPhone X has it all, and it is available on the Speck site for $49.95.

Speck Presidio Wallet for the iPhone 6S/7/8

So, this is another interesting military-grade case with the Presidio Wallet. This one is made with two layers of protection, and it has that Impactium shock barrier. Did I mention that it is military-grade, drop-tested at 10 feet? Because it is.

You can see why it is called the Wallet, and it can hold up to 3 cards. I’m actually seeing this feature as practically standard these days, but that depends on how you shop. I still use a wallet, but I think the next generation will just use a driver’s license and a computer program to pay.

If this is something that you desire, head on over to the Speck site and pay $44.95 for it.

Speck ShieldView Glass Pro for iPhone 6S/7/8

Okay, it looks like I’m going to briefly not talk about cases to talk about screen protectors, and they do go hand in hand. The ShieldView GlassPro is tempered glass with sapphire treatment, and it is shatter resistant with a sapphire perimeter.

I always like how easy they are making screen protectors these days, and this particular one is easy to put on. You can then have the protection against scratches and oil.

It is quite good, and you can get it for about $49.95 on the Speck site. And by the way, you should really just get a screen protector if you don’t have one already.

Speck Presidio Metallic for the iPhone 6S Plus/7 Plus/8 Plus

Well, this is a case that is quite something, with the Presidio Metallic. Like other cases of its type, it has two layers of protection and that Impactium as well.

I would have to say that Metallic isn’t really accurate, as it doesn’t appear to be made of metal. I mean, it feels like some kind of hard plastic, something that is not soft to the touch.

It certainly is very decent, and it is available on the Speck site for about $24.97. At least for now, as that could be a holiday rate.

Speck Presidio CLEAR + PRINT for iPhone 6S Plus, 7 Plus, and 8 Plus

Well, I have already talked about the CLEAR in my aforementioned Samsung review, and gone into detail about how it is military grade and drop tested for 8 feet. It also has that Impactium that I keep bringing up, and this will be the last time that I bring it up.

What makes the CLEAR + PRINT different is that it has a design on it. I suddenly realize that as I have been writing about all of these and have not mentioned the color of any of these. The CLEAR + PRINT is all about the cool design, and for some reason, there are bikes and flowers on these cases.

I highly recommend going to the Speck site and checking the patterns out for yourself. You can get it for about $24.97, and that is a possible discount price for some of the patterns.

UAG (Urban Armor Gear) Plasma Cases for the Google Pixel 2 and XL 2

By now, I have become pretty familiar with Urban Armor Gear (UAG) and their line of cases. I was very pleased to try out the Plasma case for Google’s line of smartphones with the Pixel 2 and XL 2.

I will have to say that the Plasma is a design that I have seen and reported on before, the last time was with the HUAWEI P10 and Mate 9. The Plasma has this hard plastic thing going on as well as this mesh thing with a cool rubberized frame.

Part of what makes the Plasma work is that it is feather light, which means that you can barely feel the weight. The issue is that you get the protection, which is what you really want. It certainly has the military drop test standards pass.

Now, the ones that I got to try were ice, which means that they are clear. They are also available in Ash, which is black in its color. You can get the Plasma for the Google Pixel 2 for $39.95 here, and the Google Pixel XL 2 here for the same price.

Speck Christmas, Part 1: Presidio CLEAR, GRIP, and GRIP + GLITTER for Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8

It’s been since the beginning of the year since I reviewed Speck products, so I was quite pleased to be reviewing some of their products for the newer products like Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and the Note 8. These are the ones with Presidio in their name, presumably after that famous neighborhood in San Francisco.

Speck Presidio CLEAR for the Samsung Galaxy S8

Well, it’s pretty easy to see why this is called the Presidio Clear, because this case is…yeah, I don’t really need to say it.

The Presidio is made of some transparent Impactium, and I’m very certain that I can’t find that on the table of elements. Still, if you want to give your Galaxy S8 some protection from eight-foot drops, I would go with this guy, who keeps it pretty clear as well.

The Presidio Clear is also designed to be very scratch resistant, so should you require protection of this type, I would suggest going for it. You can get it on the Speck site for $19.97, but that might be a holiday discount as it is regularly $39.95.

Speck Presidio GRIP for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8

I’m going to do two reviews for the price of one, because there really isn’t much difference between the Presidio GRIP for the Samsung Galaxy S8 as there is from the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Unless we are talking about size here.

Like the CLEAR, the GRIP is easy to see how it got its name. See how ribbed it is on the sides? Good luck trying to accidentally drop your device when it is wearing one of these.

Oh, and it also has an Impactium Shock Barrier on the inside, and I’m considering calling whoever assembles the Table of Elements and adding it. You can add the Presidio GRIP to your Samsung Galaxy S8 here discounted to half-price for $19.97 or your Galaxy Note 8 here discounted to half-price for $22.47.

Speck Presidio GRIP + GLITTER for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Okay, before I talk about the Speck Presidio GRIP + GLITTER for the Galaxy Note 8, I should bring up something that I should have brought up when I was talking about the GRIP.

That is, it has two layers of Impactium, and it is military grade drop-tested at 10 feet (3 meters). Like the GRIP, it is very soft, and it has the ribbed sides for non-slippage.

So, it is a great case, and it comes with glitter! It sparkles under the light like a vampire, the Twilight kind. You can pick it up on the Speck site for about $49.95. I don’t think there is a discount going on this guy, though.

The iRig Keys I/O 25 by IK Multimedia

I always like when I get the chance to review some IK Multimedia products, and when it came time to review a keyboard from them, I jumped at the chance. The iRig Keys I/O 25 is named due to its 25 piano keys (which is about two octives), and it is a 25-key ultra-compact MIDI controller with input/output audio interface for the PC, Mac, iPhone and iPad.

You can see the touch-sensitive sliders, buttons, as well as the knobs on it. The slider strip is for pitch and modulation, and there are 5 programmable encoders, as well as 8 velocity-sensitive pads.

Just to let you know, you will be needing some software if you want to be making music on this thing. I will readily admit that I am not the type who is adept on that, but my daughter is. She would appreciate the sampling rate up to 96 kHz, with bit depth up to 24 bit. We had a bit of a difficult time getting the software, as the iRig Keys I/O 25 need software to work. I’m talking programs like the SimpleTank 3, Syntonik Pro-V, and T-RackS Deluxe, all available from IK Multimedia. I really wish that these programs, available for the iPad and iPhone, would be available for Android devices.

By the way, this guy is full of ports. It’s got a Neutrik combo input jack for line, instrument, or mics. It will also run on 4 AA batteries, not to mention USB power.

So if you are a music nut (not to be confused with a music note), and you want to do your keyboarding on something that saves space, I would recommend the iRig Keys I/O 25. It is available on the IK Multimedia site for $199.99, and the I/O 49 is available for $299.99.

Lander’s Moab Case gives the iPhone protection from the cold

It’s been about two years since my last review of a Lander case, and I believe that they are owned by BGZ Brands, the same guys that do Bodyguardz. The Moab case from Lander came in Bodyguardz packaging, and this is a case that is designed to protect against the cold.

I had to admit, I have been using my phone in the cold and felt that touchscreen was like the bottom of an ice cube tray. I couldn’t help but wonder if this will hurt my phone in time. I honestly don’t know how cold it would have to be before it would not work, but I am assuming I would be dead by this time.

The Lander Moab (which is a very odd name for this product) is a case with a lanyard and it has some protection from what it calls the “crush zones”. The Moab case has a squishy feeling on both sides, and it also has an Illumifind, which is this reflective stitching that allows you the user to find the case and your phone in the dark.

So, here’s the deal, you can get it for the iPhone 6/6S/7/8 and the Plus sized models here, and I managed to get one for the iPhone X.

Bedol Squirt Water Clock

I’m not certain why I am reviewing the Bedol Squirt Water Clock, as I don’t think there even is a market for alarm clocks anymore. Seriously, doesn’t everyone just have an alarm on their smartphone?

Still, I like the idea of creating an alarm clock that doesn’t run on batteries or electricity. Using its technology, it can convert water into clean energy power. If you are worried about the inevitable running out of water and having to reset your time, there is a memory chip can remember the time so no resetting is required.

So, it is a terrific alarm clock, and it looks like a drip. Seriously, there really isn’t much I can say about it, and I actually believe that I have reviewed it before. If so, I can’t seem to find it, but I know something that I can say: the particular model that I was sent looks like a drip.

Actually, I just thought of something. If there is some kind of power outage, this could really help you.

Now, if you want the Bedol Squirt, you should be able to purchase it for about $26.00 on the Bedol site.

Snakebyte Key:Board Ultra Hands-on Review

Every once in a while, I receive something in the mail/UPS/FedEx/DHL that I didn’t expect, and so I feel a need to review it. This is what happened to me today with the Snakebyte Key:Board Ultra, and since this is a keyboard review, I feel compelled to type my review on it to get a better idea of what is going on.

First of all, I need to talk about its arrangement. I am not certain how well you can do this as a reader, but go in closer for a close-up. On the first glance, it looks like a QWERTY keyboard, but it is in fact a QWERTZ keyboard.

This is going to show my ignorance, but it would appear that the “Y” and “Z” keys have switched places. I’m going to assume that this is how it is supposed to be for certain languages, as I noticed that the instructions on the box are in English, French, and German. This would explain why some of the vowels on the right side have those two dots over them, and I am not certain what those are called. As I said before, I am ignorant, and I’m pretty certain that you can switch it. As it were, it defaults to the keys that I am used to hitting on a QWERTY, which means “Z” is “Y” and vice versa. It makes sense if you type with it.

I found that the Shift key on the left side was a little too small. Normally, it is two keys thick, but it is only one key, with mistakes ending up with the “\” symbol before a small letter.

This is a mechanical keyboard made for professional gamers, and I am assuming that it means you can use it for speed, because I feel a certain increase in the speed at which I am typing this out, minus on the aforementioned keyboard errors that I keep making. Still, the programmable macros ought to be able to help the PC gamers out there.

Also as a bonus are the 18 different types of lighting effects, which really make the keyboard stand out in the most effective way. Heck, it seems to fit in with the Christmas lights for the holiday season.

The construction is also this cool metal frame that even has a rubber coated hand rest. It really is quite something, and you can find out more information about it on the Snakebyte site. Now, here is where I normally put the price of what I am reviewing, but honestly, I just can’t seem to find it no matter how many Internet searches that I have done.

Our Review of the Jimu Robots BuilderBots Kit, plus a special book announcement!

By now, I have reviewed two Jimu Robot kits already, including the Tankbot and Buzzbot. For those who need a quick refresher, the Jimu Robot kits are these building kits similar to LEGO MINDSTORMS, and these creations can be programmed to do all kinds of things, with the controls being on the user’s smartphone or tablet.

The Jimu Robots Builderbots Kit

I recently got a chance to try out the Jimu Robots Builderbots kit. For reasons that I will get into later, I will explain why I didn’t review it earlier.

The Builderbots Kit has two basic robots that you can see on the box. The first is the Grabberbot with the big claw, and the other is the DigBot that looks like a small bulldozer. These came with special instructions that you can download off the Jimu Robots app, which tells you via 3D instructions how to build and program.

Of course, there is nothing new about that, as you can read in my other Jimu Robots reviews. The reason why it took so long for me to review this product is that the instructions took a while before they appeared on the Jimu Robots app, not to mention the product on the Jimu Robots site.

It took a while, but the review unit that I was sent months ago is ready to go, and I like it a lot. There are a lot of colored pieces that are great to work with, and I enjoy the Sensor (also in the Tankbot kit) as well as the LED light. The LED light is very great as it can shine with many colors, and even create these emoticons.

You should be able to purchase the Builderbots kit on the Jimu Robots website for about $99.99. That is quite a bargain for a construction kit like this, and for two reasons, I will recommend it.

The UBTECH Jimu Robots Builder’s Guide: How to Create and Make Them Come to Life

Yes, here is the second reason! It is time for me to announce my 8th published work! This is The UBTECH Jimu Robots Builder’s Guide: How to Create and Make Them Come to Life.

This has been quite a journey for this past year. I pitched this book last year after I reviewed the Buzzbot/Muttbot and Tankbot kits, and it fell through by Christmas. Then, sometime in January, it looked like it would happen again.

And so it did. I had a chance to try out just about every Jimu Robot kit available, and then I combined them all to write a book about them. The book goes into detail about each piece, and then how to get these pieces together to do all kinds of things. For example, I have a chapter on how to make a vehicle and make it drive, as well as one on how to make a walking vehicle. There is an entire section on coding, as well as other special projects.

Yes, I had a lot of fun writing it, and it took a lot of work. It is available on Amazon now, and of course I encourage you to check it out.

Vibes Audio Baserox Modular Phone Case with Vibrox Sound Engine Bluetooth Speaker and Voltrox Power Bank

Today is a good day for a great review, and these products from Vibes Audio are something really fantastic. It isn’t every day that I see products that are very useful, but this is up there with the Fingerpow Magnetic Charger.

Vibes Audio Baserox Modular Phone Case

I believe that this particular device is called the Baserox because it is the start of a base to build your foundation on. The Baserox Modular Phone case is made with a particular large hole in back, but this is for a specific purpose. This hole is made to fit the Vibrox Sound Engine Bluetooth Speaker as well as the Voltrox Power bank, but I will go into detail about later.

I am not certain what kind of materials that the Baserox is made of, but it is made for drop protection in a thin form factor. What I really want to talk about is the giant hole known as the StickMount Adapter.

That Adapter is made so you can put in the Vibes Audio Sound Engine for a Bluetooth Speaker or the Voltrox Power Bank battery. I believe that this system is set up so you can swap out one for the other. Not only that, you can remove your Vibes Audio Bluetooth Speaker or Mobile Battery so you can share it with a friend.

You should be able to purchase the Baserox for the iPhone 6/7/8 (also for the Plus models) and the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S8 for a low price of $29.99 on the Vibes Audio site in black or white.

Vibes Audio Voltrox Power Bank

Okay, the Voltrox is a mobile battery, and by now you know the drill. You know, if your smartphone needs some juice, you just plug it into one of these. How many times have I reviewed one of these? Better yet, how many times have I mentioned that I have reviewed one of these?

The Voltrox Power Bank has the unique ability of clicking to the back of the Baserox. You can also just remove the battery to plug it into something else. The one I had was for a USB-C, but it is available for the Apple Lightning and USB Micro.

If this is something that you like, you can go to the Vibes Audio site and lay down about $49.99 for it, but you might not stop there.

Vibes Audio Vibrox Sound Engine

Again, this is a Bluetooth Speaker, and yes, I have reviewed these before too. Of course I am going to talk about how I have done this before, but how many Bluetooth speakers can fit snugly in back of the Baserox.

If you see the site, you can see the Vibrox has this unusual speaker that can make water ripple. I suppose that is to show off that the Vibrox is waterproof, and how its sound works. I found that after I had paired my phone with this speaker (who had a very seductive voice, if I might add), I was able to put this on the table and have an interesting amplification effect.

Not only can you attach this speaker to your smartphone with the Baserox, the Vibrox also comes with a detachable stand so you can really rock out. Oh, by the way, it has a built-in microphone, so you are capable for 2-way calling.

You can get the Vibrox on the Vibes Audio site for about $149.00 in black or white.