Category : Tech News

This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – Nov. 11, 2014

By Gregg Ellman

Reviews of the Garmin Nuvi 2689LMT GPS, Kwikset Kevo door lock and the Maxell MB-2 portable Bluetooth 4.0 speaker.

Garmin Nuvi 2689LMT GPS

If Garmin could, they would control the gas and brake pedals in addition to doing an amazing job of getting you where you want to go.

I tried out the company’s latest GPS unit, the Nuvi 2689LMT, and again they made me wonder how they can make a better GPS unit than the previous – but they always seem to.



This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – Oct. 21, 2014

By Gregg Ellman

Reviews of the Rachio Iro sprinkler system, Epson’s new luster metallic inkjet photo paper and VisionTek’s USB 7-port charging hub.

Rachio Iro Sprinkler System

I was emailed an offer to try out the Rachio Iro sprinkler system, described as easy to set up and use. “As for the sprinkler, you plug it in where your old controller was and then it helps create a customized watering schedule with you home WiFi network. You then can change, update it from your phone anywhere you have a signal.”

Sure enough, it was pretty much that easy.

Rachio Iro sprinkler system


This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – Sept. 22, 2014

By Gregg Ellman

Reviews of Monster’s NCredible N-Ergy Impressions earbuds, Monster SuperStar Bluetooth speaker and Powercard Turbo portable battery, as well as Satechi’s USB Portable Air Purifier and Fan.

Monster’s Earbuds, SuperStar Bluetooth Speaker & Portable Battery

Monster-N-ERGY-EarbudsMonster, the company that makes great cables to connect all of today’s electronics to one system, also makes some other great products, most notably headphones.

A few weeks ago I took a vacation and brought along some new Monster products, including the Monster NCredible N-Ergy Impressions earbuds.

First off, when you buy any Monster product, the first impression is how much attention is put into packaging. Usually this ensures you’re getting a well-made product, but not always.

In this case you are getting what you expect: a well made product with great sound and of course well packaged.

For $69 I consider these a great deal. You can spend a lot more and get worse, and for others you can spend less and get a lot more. So this puts the N-Ergy Impressions earbuds right in the middle of the road.

The sound is excellent; they aren’t going to knock your head off with head-banging bass but they produce a nice consistent sound at any volume.

Each speaker is magnetized to they can stick together and hang around your neck when not putting sound in your ears. They are also attached to a tangle-free cord.


This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – Sept. 8, 2014

By Gregg Ellman

Tech reviews of the iStabilizer Monopod and Shutter Remote Bundle, Moshi Digits gloves, Syncable-Duo cable and iLuv TimeShaker Micro.

iStabilizer Monopod & Shutter Remote Bundle

The iStabilizer Monopod and Shutter Remote Bundle are the perfect solution to make selfie photos much more appealing because it lets you include your subjects and more of the environment around you.

iStabilizer remote

The iStabilizer (one foot long when collapsed, 1/2 lb.) attaches to a camera at one end and extends more than 3 feet, giving your camera far more reach for that coveted selfie. It’s compatible with most every smart phone and other action cameras including iPhones, Androids, Blackberrys and GoPros.

But the key to the system is the hand-held wireless Shutter Remote (1.38 x 3.56 x 0.38-inches and weighing only an ounce).

The remote connects to your device with Bluetooth and fires with your camera app or “any other app that uses the volume button to trigger the shutter,” according to the company.

I fired it up with an iPhone 5s problem-free. Since it relies on Bluetooth, the remote can be about 35 feet from the camera if you’re using another device to keep it in place.

The remote also works with Apple computers (Macbook, iMac, Mac Mini) for snapping photos, music selections, volume and even to talk to Siri.

Cost: $59.95 for the bundle, includes the remote and monopod



This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – Aug. 19, 2014

By Gregg Ellman

Tech reviews of the Vaavud wind meter, Audiovox Mobile TV device and Rapoo wireless keyboards.

Vaavud Wind Meter

Vaavud Wind MeterWhen I saw an email inviting me to test the Vaavud wind meter, I thought it was just another one of those gimmick smartphone accessories.

But I decided to give this one a try since I’m a smartphone junkie and my wife thinks I’m a weather junkie. This could bring all my worlds together.

Much to my delight, the Vaavud works as advertised to “turn your smartphone into a high-tech meteorological tool.”

The cup-anemometer tool attaches to your headphone port (Android and iOS), and along with the Vaavud app, you instantly know the wind speed.

Of course the day I tested it there was no wind so I took it along for a ride in my neighborhood holding my iPhone 5s out the car window with the Vaavud attached.

It worked like a charm, reading the speed as I went faster or slower. The wind speed can be displayed in choices of m/s, knots, mph, km/h, bft.

The gadget is described as being designed like a wind measuring tool, the cup-anemometer. It has two-cup functionality instead of the standard three, enabling it to be pocket sized.

The app has user interactions with other Vaavud wind meter users globally to share your wind speed and find out what it is in other locations – the fun is endless!

Cost: $49.95 in choices of green, red or white



This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – July 28, 2014

By Gregg Ellman

Reviews of the Oregon Scientic Weather@Home, Voyager Edge Bluetooth and the Henge Docks Vertical Docking Station for Macs.

Oregon Scientific Weather@Home – Model BAR218HG

Weather-HomeThe Oregon Scientific Weather@Home (model BAR218HG) is one of those gadgets, which you don’t think you need until you need it.

With the weather station you no longer have to troll your TV stations, websites or apps to get weather reports. Instead you can become your own household’s weather-forecaster with the Bluetooth-enabled weather station you keep inside, paired with a temperature and humidity sensor you keep outside.

The sensor is powered by a single AA battery (not included) to take readings and send it to the weather station wirelessly. Then with Bluetooth you can read the results on your smartphone with the device’s free app (Android and iOS), up to 55 yards away.

Temperatures are also taken inside along with daily hi/lows, humidity and forecasts.

I compared the weather station vs my local news weatherman and they were both right on with predictions of temperatures more than 100 with a slight chance of an afternoon storm. While it doesn’t take much of a prediction with that forecast, they were both accurate as the week went on.

The Weather@Home is powered by 3 AA batteries (not included) and has other alerts for storm warnings, wind, frost, fog, the percentage of moon phase and an auto setting clock.

Cost: $53.64



This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – July 23, 2014

By Gregg Ellman

Reviews of Samsung Galaxy Tab S, iHome iDL46 Charging Clock Radio and Patchnride tire repair kit.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S

Samsung-Galaxy-Tab-S-1When a brand new Samsung Galaxy Tab S arrives on the doorstep, I’d imagine most people would tear it open like the Christmas present you have been salivating over. In my case, it took me almost 2 weeks to open it but it only took about 2 seconds to find two great features.

Over the next few days I found many more, and in case you are wondering, the first two features were a back button and the ability to turn off all your running apps at once.

And before I get to anymore, I’ll come clean with full disclosure: I’m an Apple user. I have been for some time with computers, iPods, iPhones and iPads.

Typically when I use a non-Apple product I wonder why it doesn’t have some of the features I’m used to.

In this case I went back to my iPad wondering why it doesn’t have some of the features the Galaxy Tab S has, but I’m thinking these companies fight enough in courtrooms these days over who stole each other’s technology.


This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – July 1, 2014

By Gregg Ellman

Reviews of the Microlab FC60BT wireless speaker system, Wicked Audio Divvy audio splitter and MOS Reach Power Everywhere AC/USB extension.

Microlab FC60BT

Making the right choice for a wireless speaker system can be mind-numbing with the endless choices. Go no further then the Microlab FC60BT.

Microlab FC60BT

Before I opened the Microlab sound system, I read the press release, which describes it as an “audio wireless Bluetooth/NFC 2.1 Subwoofer Speaker System, featuring Microlab’s patented HC2D Technology, a powerful subwoofer, and two advanced stereo satellite SQ speakers without enclosures for crystal clear sound without harmonic distortions or vibrations that often happen when speakers are enclosed.”

I can’t say it any better but to translate that into something understandable this system rocks the house.


This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – June 10, 2014

By Gregg Ellman

Reviews of the Blumoo remote system, Grill Daddy kit, Tegware Bagel smartphone case and Sparkbeats app.


Blumoo-remote-systemBlumoo, from Flyover Innovations, is a device that works with its own app to let you take control and eliminate the pile of remotes for infrared-controlled home entertainment devices.

I figured the setup would take some time, so I sat down with the device, instructions, my laptop, iPad and a nice big glass of ice tea.

After a few refills I was controlling my TV, Apple TV and even brushed the dust off my CD player.

Before starting you must figure out a place for the Blumoo hardware, a 2.75-inch tall device that looks like a mini coffee cup from the side. It’s built with an angled base enabling it to receive a signal from most anywhere in the room and is paired with your handheld device via Bluetooth.

The setup guide walks you through steps of what to plug in including RCA cables for audio and of course the included power supply.


This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – May 20, 2014

By Gregg Ellman

Reviews of the Garmin Vivofit, Kenu Highline iPhone case and ECOXGEAR Ecoterra Boombox.

Garmin Vivofit

I had my editor test the Garmin Vivofit for 15 days since she is a fitness nut along and chases around a 2-year-old. Here is her viewpoint after testing.

Garmin Vivofit

I wore the Vivofit side-by-side with my year-old Fitbit Flex. There are a couple of differences: One, the battery – the Flex is rechargeable, while the Garmin takes two CR1632 batteries. Two, the Garmin has a screen to display information, while the Flex has five lights to indicate your day’s achievements. Both fitness trackers have similar band closures – and both are equally likely to be accidentally knocked off.

Compared to the Flex, the Garmin seems a bit stingy on the steps. But I think you always have to consider information like this “useful” but not absolute. The variation in my steps in the 12 days I was able to accurately compare (thanks to the battery needing to be recharged on the Flex) ranged from 2.1 percent to 13.8 percent.

Still, I prefer the Garmin to the Fitbit not only because of the battery type, but because the screen shows you the information you want to know with a quick scroll using the surface button. (Yes, there is a Fitbit with a screen, but it has been recalled for a band issue.)

Syncing is as easy as opening the app, holding the button on the device until “sync” appears and letting it do its thing. Garmin confirmed that any firmware updates will be sent automatically to the device while syncing.

Also, if you already own an ANT+ heart rate monitor, you can pair it with this device (though I didn’t try). The Garmin Vivofit is $130 for just the band, or $170 for the tracker and a heart rate monitor.