While most of us have at least one mobile phone, only a small proportion of us have a case for it. There are a huge variety of options from a wallet style that also covers the screen to those that just cover the back and sides of your phone.
Very few units come with a case and often the reason muted by the manufacturers is the same as that used by printer manufacturers for not providing a USB lead, it gives our resellers the chance for an extra sale. Here I am looking at two offerings from Tech 21 who seem to have the highest standard in case design and testing which is far higher than ‘Military Standard’ first Evo GO for the Samsung Galaxy S8 which is stated to be droppable from 3 metres.
With in-car phone use being upgraded regarding penalty points, this next product could be worth a purchase.
It seems a shame that virtually no phones come with a protective case as standard. Here are two offerings the first for the excellent Huawei P9 and second for either the iPhone 6 or 6S, the first called Tudia and the second Defense.
This is a light but strong case to protect what is a very good camera phone yes the one with the dual Leica lenses. This is my phone camera of choice and I have taken a lot of great images with it apart from it doing everything else expected of a quality phone. When you say to a lot of case manufacturers what cases do you have for the P9 or P9 Plus the normal response is silence, so when I was offered this I certainly made space in my review schedule.
Joby are the name to think of for flexible grips. You wind it round any item to leave whatever you want held securely by a tripod screw but not all recent objects such as SmartPhones and even bicycles have tripod screws so they have designed mounts.
First the grip part a very substantial three leg with ten spherical sections so the grip has every chance of doing it job whatever you need to wind it around. Next the grip for the SmartPhone this expands to fit most sizes and makes of SmartPhone. The grip also has the female screw fitting on an adjustable fitting that can turn through 135 degrees and has its own screw tightening device. The width of the phones it can accommodate varies from 5.5 to 10cm and this also has a tightening screw.
Both items in their own way hold things, the first could be a camera or phone and then you could wrap it round something. The second holds data and allows you to transfer it either to anything with a lightning connector on one end and a standard USB on the other.
I certainly remember reviewing other Joby items in the past with their ability to twist round any object to hold your camera securely via the standard screw. On this it works slightly differently the camera screw is still there but now it has a frame attached so that your SmartPhone can be held securely on the fence, lamppost or railing while you take your shots. In a way it becomes a long distance Selfie Stick.
How many remote controllers do you possess? In my case the number is well into double figures although only four are used on a regular basis.
These days an increasing number of electrical devices arrive with a couch-potato accessory such as a remote control unit. You can quickly build up a collection of these devices which have the tendency of being paired so only work with their associated product. Remote controls also have a habit of going missing or exchanging their positions with another similar looking unit in your collection.
Arriving from our friends at Sandberg is another product designed for working with smartphones and digital cameras.
While out and about I regularly see laptops, eBook readers, smartphones, cameras and the like being put to good use by others. However I have never seen anybody using one particular product. Yes I have seen images, usually in promotional documentation, of this type of product being used but I have never seen the act in actual operation in real life.
While I have heard them referred to as vanity sticks, especially in the hands of certain individuals, manufacturers and many users prefer the term Selfie for this type of device which allows users to grab a self portrait of themselves in various locations. The latest product of this type to arrive for testing is the Selfie Pole from Kaiser Baas.
I have to admit that until the arrival of the Selfie Pole, I had never heard of the company known as Kaiser Baas. Not surprisingly, due to the company’s name, I could be forgiven for thinking that this was a German company but that thought would be well wide of the mark. Kaiser Baas is actually an Australian company that has been involved in the design and development of innovative gadgets since 2006.
A tiny camera in a large box but it is not all packaging as it has numerous ways of connecting it to your body so whatever you do and wherever you go the Actioncam 400 can come to and as there is a wrist (watch type) connection you do not even need to touch the camera to activate it.
The Rollei Actioncam 400 5x5x3.5cm and weighs only 78grams. I will not even attempt to give the weight or dimensions with ‘x’, ‘y’ or ‘z’ attached. The camera itself has three buttons on/off and shoot on the top and Wi-Fi connection on the face.
A recent visit to a trade show introduced me to a company that was involved in the development of various products that might stop me moaning about the condition of some hardware items.
As regular readers will no doubt be well aware, one of my big bugbears is the increasing appearance of fingers smears defacing a range of devices. What with manufacturers opting for lacquered black coatings and the headlong rush towards touch being the preferred method of control, then we could well be in for a bumper crops of finger smears decorating, not only on own devices but those that we check out in retail stores or various exhibitions set up to promote such devices.
A recent trip to the London Book Fair was to see the launch of a new book reader. However when walking round waiting for that presentation I found a very interesting stand with a number of gadgets to aid book reading.
It is 30cm long, less than 2cm wide at one end and only 1.5cm wide at the head (light) end, 15cm of the length is only .5cm wide tightly twisted wire that can be formed and turned as you wish, it weights only 39grams. The back end where a single ‘AAA’ battery is inserted also has an opening jaw that can grip anything up to 2cm deep. So it can be clamped to a table or a headboard or even a book. The whole purpose is an LED light to provide a reading source.
While I have been concentrating on children others need gifts and those who have a hobby in this case photography can be an older child, a parent or grandparent, so here are a couple of suggestions from Manfrotto.
Even those with a minimal knowledge will have heard of a tripod that is designed to hold a camera steady for a tricky shot either for the distance, the zoom or just for lack of light, sometimes however there is no room for a tripod. That is where a monopod can help, in its basic form it is a stick with a screw at one end to attach your camera to. This offering from Manfrotto in its fully collapsed form is 38cm long.
A package that by its number you know has been around for a while. However what was first important for one job file size reduction is now less so now it has three other uses that make it a product still useful today.
For a while now WinZip has been owned by Corel, this gives it stability as they tend to develop things and increase functionality and with that value. However here when you install think first as one question you need to answer is will you require it to work with currently existing Zip files if so make the choice with care as new (recent) technologies may not work that well with earlier files.
Here I am looking at two more unusual items, first a 7 port USB hub with all ports switchable. Second an LCD water powered clock in what looks exactly like a soft drinks can, the surprise for regular readers is only one is from Brando.
Here I am looking at two of Brandos more whacky gadgets. First what looks like a Hamburger but it is a hand warmer and massager. Second what looks like a largish mouse (not the rodent) but is a card reader with a memo taker.
While you cannot claim any real ‘medical’ powers for this device it is fun. Imagine a lightly browned burger bun with a burger inside and then a rather garish bright green thick layer of lettuce and that is it but don’t stop reading now as it does have a couple of uses. It is 5cm tall and 8cm across.
Either of these items would make a great Christmas gift, but give some thought to the receiptant as the first one runs backwards. The second is a more conventional al la Wallace and Gromit conventional both are great fun.
At first look this may seem bizarre, however it works exactly like a normal Quartz clock with the twelve at the top and the six at the bottom but there the similarity ends as to the right of twelve is eleven and the sweep second hand goes anti clockwise (as do the hour and minute hands) if you are still confused look at the clock in a mirror and all will make sense. This is great talking point and during my tests it kept perfect time.
Recharging an array of gadgets while on your travels has always been a problem - Duracell have a solution thanks to USB
Until very recently of your gadgets will have required their own personal charger, complete with proprietary connector. Travelling with your mobile phone, camera and MP3 player could easily mean three separate mains chargers eating up your luggage space. USB (Universal Serial Bus) was developed as an inexpensive common interconnect system for computers allowing devices as disparate as keyboards, DVD drives and GPS navigation systems to share an interface a connector.
Sometimes a products title can cause some initial confusion as happened with kit developed by Bluelounge
Space Station! You have to be kidding! Why would you expect anyone with a fear of heights to tackle this particular subject? While experiencing zero gravity might do wonders for my troublesome back; the training involved would be extremely strenuous. These were just some of the thoughts that flashed through my mind when I glanced at the review schedule and saw that I had been pencilled in to review a Space Station.
First a Digital Luggage Scale that is easy to use and it could save you pounds of money by not having an overweight case. Second a Solar recharger for USB devices that comes from Brando those clever USB people in Hong Kong.
Have you ever tried to weigh luggage? The bathroom scales are favourite as of course the kitchen scales never go up enough. The problem is are they accurate and even if they are is the whole weight on the scales? This is a simple device but it can save you pounds (that’s the money pounds) as overweight at the check in is expensive. The alternative is to leave something behind and if you choose that do you have someone nearby to leave it with? It is 16x6x2.5cm maximum.
It is only after one has been using a machine for quite a while that you start to wonder whether the memory can be upgraded and whether there would be any benefit in doing so. This is one upgrade that can be relatively straightforward and within the grasp of many technically aware PC users. It is made simpler by the informative web sites of memory suppliers Crucial and Kingston.
Both notebooks and desktop machines are modular in construction. This means that, in general, they can be fitted with different amounts of memory. As, when they are bought, the maximum possible is often not installed it can frequently be useful to increase the available memory. In general it is simpler to upgrade a notebook because the memory slots are just located under a cover on the underside of the machine while, with a desktop, it is necessary to open up the complete machine.