Great gadgets come in small gift packages

1 MusicProGifts come in all shapes and sizes, but bigger isn’t necessarily better or more desirable. So here are a few gift ideas all of which I had an opportunity to test-drive, that are all much smaller than a bread box and some of which might actually fit in the palm of your hand.

High Fidelity Electronic Earplugs

This first one certainly fits the criteria, but it’s designed for your ears. The Music•Pro High-Fidelty Electronic Musicians Earplugs by Etymotic Research as the name says is ideally suited for musicians, but equally sensible for anyone to find themselves in environments where hearing protection is without trading off sound fidelity, which something like typical passive earplugs can’t accomplish.  READ FULL ARTICLE at G4 Canada.

NewerTech NuGreen desk lamp features 50 LEDs

nugreen_gall2Desk lamps are not typically something in this Gadget Guy’s repertoire or even on my list of tech gifts for under the tree but I was happy to make an exception for the NewerTech NuGreen energy efficient flexible neck LED desk lamp.

The first thing you’ll notice is that it looks pretty cool. It has a flat aluminum base, a bendable 12-inch gooseneck, which allows you to position, it depending on where you need the light and an equally flat disc-shaped head that matches the lamp’s base quite nicely.

What’s even cooler is how it puts out the light. The lamp head features an impressive 50 5mm light emitting diodes (LEDs), producing a very bright (4500K) white light similar to what natural daylight would look like. This makes it ideal for almost any room in the house. It’s not designed to light the whole room, but more in a concentrated area like a desk. Still, you wouldn’t want to switch it on and looked directly at it, as it would be truly blinding. What’s even more amazing is how energy-efficient it is. With all that light it puts out, it only consumes a mere 3.6 W total power and the LEDs remain cool to the touch.

According to the company, the LEDs are designed to last for up to 45,000 hours of use, which they say is up to 22 times longer than a traditional bulb. And they’re eco-friendly too. They contain no mercury and therefore can also be recycled.  READ FULL Review at G4TV Canada’s Tech News.

 

Wink makes home automation easy

1 Wink HubEDMONTON, AB, Dec 11, 2014/ Troy Media/ – In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a Babel Fish is a fictitious creature which, if you stick it in your ear, immediately converts any language into one that you can understand. This makes the Wink Hub, recently introduced to Canadians by The Home Depot, the “Babel Fish” of Home Automation.

The Wink Hub is a hardware (hub) and app solution designed to bring all of the different “smart” brands, most of which operate within their own eco-system and protocols, together under a single platform to allow them to work together. Currently, Wink is compatible with over 70 products from a dozen or so brands, including Philips, GE, DropCam, Honeywell, Schlage and more.  READ Full article at TROY Media.

BlueDriver deciphers your “Check Engine” light

Product Lemur

You’re driving through Banff to Fairmont Hot Springs and the dreaded Check Engine light illuminates on your car’s dashboard. Expletives come out from your mouth, followed by the onset of panic and you assume the worst. Besides the time and probably $100 or so excluding repair costs to find out what the problem might be, it also dawns on you that you and your family, just might have to spend the better part of your holiday with your new best friend – the tow-truck driver. So it’s great to know that there’s a product like BlueDriver by Lemur Vehicle Monitors touted as “Professional diagnostics for everyone”.  Now it won’t fix the problem, but it might just give you the information you need to give you peace of mind and possibly save you from unscrupulous mechanics.

More specifically, BlueDriver is an advanced diagnostic scan tool – similar to those used at car dealerships and vehicle repair outlets to troubleshoot and diagnose car trouble and demystify the dreaded Check Engine light. Read more… AT CANOE TECH BLOG.

Gadgets to look for during Black Friday Cyber Monday week and holiday buying season

CES 2014 - Photo - KX-PRW120_2

If you’re looking for that special gift for that special someone or perhaps yourself, why not take advantage of possible Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals many of which are going on for a week. Not only can you save a few bucks, you won’t be rushing like many of us on Christmas Eve trying to round up the last few items. While sale flyers and “apps for that”, can help you find the right price, here’s just a couple of ideas for gadgets I’d recommend you might want to check out and some of them are actually on sale right now.

Panasonic KX-PRW120 SmartPhone Connect Cordless Phone

People say with everyone going to mobile phones that cordless phones are a thing of the past. But the recently introduced Panasonic KX-PRW120W SmartPhone Connect Cordless Phone, which I had an opportunity to test-drive a few months back, not only gives you the best of both worlds it actually integrates them.

The phone is actually a Wi-Fi enabled device that works nicely with your wireless devices including tablets. So when a landline call comes in, for example, you can actually “transfer” your call to your mobile device that sitting on the network enabled with Panasonic’s Smartphone Connect app for iOS or Android. This will allow your son to seamlessly take a call on his iPad that you transfer to him. Even better, your landline is now freed up for other calls.    Read more… AT CANOE TECH BLOG

iStabilizer Shutter Remote snaps pics videos and more

1Shutter-RemoteiOS_1024x1024Long before the term was popularized but now abuse, people struggled to find the way to get that perfect “Selfie”. While there have been hardware and app solutions to solve that ultimate puzzle, the Shutter Remote by iStabilizer has come along to give you that wireless proverbial extra long arm that you need, plus more.

Shutter Remote is a pocket sized remote that that not only gives you a wireless Bluetooth remote shutter button, but also a media controller for your music and video, a remote iOS Home/Siri controller and a wireless presenter, good for a range of up to 3 m.

It’s a little thicker, wider and shorter than the Apple Remote, but it still very comfortable to hold and with a lot more functionality. It runs off 2 x CR2025 batteries (large coins cells), so it’s not rechargeable, but the company says they should last up to six months if you use it for about an hour a day.

Its thickness allows for a conveniently located on/off switch on the left side and pairing button on the right. It has a familiar circular media controller, with the “+” (Volume Up) button (or Volume down – not documented), acting as your shutter release for your perfect Selfie.  READ FULL REVIEW at G4TV Canada.

 

iPad tablet stand for your backseat riders

RoadShow

A few weeks back, we reviewed the Airframe+, a practical gadget that allows you to easily mount your oversized smartphone at the front of your car, more specifically, on your vent’s grill. This week, we look at the Felix RoadShow, a tablet stand designed for the iPad and other tablets for your backseat riders.

There’s obviously no dashboard in the backseat area. However this clever gadget is designed to mount on the back of the front seat headrests.

More specifically, it clips to the headrest’s post allowing the placement of any iPad or compatible tablet including many of those with hard-shell cases to make it easier to watch your movies, play games, or whatever you like to do with your iPad without keeping it in hand. It’s durable and sturdy made from hard polycarbonate and silicone. It measures 1.5″ x 4.5″ x 8.5″ and weighs less than 200g. It’s quick to set up and get going and requires no tools. Read more… At Canoe Tech Blog

FlipBelt does away with armbands and fanny packs

FlipBelt_NeonYellowYou’re out for a jog or run but you need to carry around your smart phone, keys and probably a few other things. You don’t have that many pockets and your tired of those very in attractive armbands and things bouncing up and down in your pockets. So the good folks at FlipBelt have come out with a cool little fitness accessory of the same name, so you can carry all of the above, including something as big as an iPhone 6 Plus and more, right around your waist.

Read more… at CANOE TECH BLOG

Review: Fluance Fi30 Bluetooth Wood Speaker System

I’ve become so used to seeing speakers that are housed in cabinets made with plastic and metal that I almost forgot about speakers that come in wood grained cabinetry just like the ones I got so used to during my formative years. So I was pleasantly surprised when I had an opportunity to test drive one that reminded me of days gone by.

Fluance, a North American based direct-to-market speaker brand, has combined the best of yesterday and today with their high-performance Fi30 speaker system. It features wireless audio streaming via Bluetooth powered by aptX enhanced audio technology incorporated into a solid audio grade MDF wood cabinet.

Although it is wireless, it’s fairly hefty and not really designed to be portable, measuring 16.5″ x 5.5″ x 5.5″ and weighs a whopping 8.3 pounds. There’s no battery option as it runs purely on AC and the kind of device that would not seem out of place on a wall unit or mantle.

Under the hood it has two 3-inch woven glass fibre composite drivers with butyl rubber surrounds. There is no separate bass speaker, but in the rear you’ll find two respectably tuned bass ports that give you just about that you just the right amount of resonance without the need for a subwoofer.   READ FULL REVIEW at G4TV Canada

Satechi LightMate lights charges and breaks glass

lightmate_start

It’s not quite a mini Star Wars Lightsaber, but the Satechi LightMate, a 4-in-1 flashlight, emergency light, glass breaker and portable USB charger that can possibly save you in a time of need. And unlike the immortalized Hollywood prop, LightMate is a real product, solidly built – made from an aluminum steel alloy that the company says can withstand the weight of an average sized car.

The flashlight features fairly bright LEDs, putting out 220 lumens that can be seen, even in daylight. You can select from three different brightness levels – 100%, 50%, 15% as well as two emergency modes – strobe and SOS modes which cause the LEDs to flash in two different patterns.

Using it as a flashlight makes it idea for directional lighting to light up the way, but it also comes with a white screw-in light diffuser for area lighting, like for reading a map in the dark.   Read more… at Canoe Tech Blog