Reviews

Four of The Best Samsung Galaxy S7 Cases

It’s been a couple of months since the release of the Samsung Galaxy S7 so there are now hundreds of different cases out there but today we are checking out four great cases that should satisfy your phone protection needs. All of these cases will protect your phone from an average drop but differ vastly in grip and overall feel. The great thing about all four of these cases is that they will add little-to-no weight to your S7 while still providing great protection.


Spigen Slim Armor

First off we have the Spigen Slim Armor in Gunmetal which is a go-to case for many smartphone buyers as it offers the best of all worlds. This case is half plastic and half rubber which allows for great drop protection while keeping phone sleek. All of the buttons are covered with rubber which makes them less clicky yet easier to press. This case doesn’t let much heat through so it’s great if you play lots of games and your device tends to get uncomfortable from the heat. The back of the case is plastic which allows the case to easily slide out of a pocker or purse.This one also has a little kickstand which works perfectly if you want to watch a movie on a plane or just prop it up around your home.

The Spigen Slim Armor for the Galaxy S7 is available at Mobilefun for £19.99 ($24.49).


Caseology Parallax Case

Next up we have the Caseology Parallax Series case in black which is my favorite of the bunch because of how solid it feels in the hand. Unlike the plastic back from the Spigen Slim Armor, this one has a rubber back with a nice texture that makes it feel more rugged and secure in the hand. This one has buttons on top of the original buttons which keep that nice clicky feel you get with the S7’s buttons. The lip on the front of the case is enough to protect the phone yet isn’t obstrusive when you slide past the screen onto the case, it’s been designed perfecly for the phone.

The Caseology Parallax Series case for the Galaxy S7 is available at Mobilefun for £19.99 ($24.49).


Olixar Ultra-Thin and FlexiShield

Lastly we have the Olixar Ultra-Thin and the Olixar FlexiShield, both of which are silicone cases. The Ultra-Thin case is very thin while the FlexiShield is a little thicker and feels a bit more plasticky than just gel/silicone. I love keeping my devices minimal so my choice here is the Ultra-Thin. If you tend to like gel cases then you will like both of these. I’ve always prefered plastic/rubber cases like the Caseology or Spigen since I like the more slippery material so it slides in and out of my pocket. The FlexiShield feels more like a case since the buttons are reinforced and there’s more material than the Ultra-Thin. I definitely don’t reccomend the Ultra-Thin if you tend to drop your phone a lot since this one will protect it but your device could still get damaged since it’s very thin.

The Olixar Ultra-Thin retails for £7.99 ($9.99) while the Olixar FlexiShield is £5.99 ($7.49), both are available on Mobilefun.


We do want to thank the folks from http://www.mobilefun.co.uk for providing us with these cases to review. We also want to note that any of these types products purchased through mobilefun will have a 1-year warranty.

The Jungle Book Movie Review, A Visual Spectacle

Disney’s “The Jungle Book” is now out in theaters and if you’ve been on the fence about watching it, I reccomend you buy a ticket and just watch it. I also reccomend not watching any of the clips that have been uploaded throughout the internet since you will enjoy the scenes more in the theater. Most of you are probably familiar with The Jungle Book thanks to the books or the 1967 animated movie by Disney.

 

 

It goes without saying that this movie looks amazing, it’s the most amazing use of CGI that I have seen to date. Everything looks like it was actually shot in a jungle and some animals are so well done that they just look like the real thing. There are a few things in the movie that are different from the animated movie which I find to be a good thing. There are only two songs in the movie and they aren’t even full songs. One is just Mowgli and Baloo kind of singing while the other does have some more instrumentals and a Disney song vibe but neither take you out of the movie. The songs did a great job of paying homage to the originals and provided some relief from the tension throughout the movie.

 

 

If you are unfamiliar with “The Jungle Book” then here is Disney’s description of the movie:

Directed by Jon Favreau, based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli, a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan, who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat.

That is all you need to know going into this movie, if you know more then you will still enjoy the movie. The main animals in the movie are voice by Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, and Christopher Walken. I enjoyed all of the voice acting in the movie with the exception of Scarlett Johansson who does the voice of Kaa (the python), the problem is that her voice doesn’t blend into the tone of the scene. Kaa has always been voiced by a man and Kaa’s scene would have been much better if Johansson’s voice had been tweaked or if a guy would have voiced it. My parents, who aren’t good at recognizing voices, immediately noticed that it was Johansson’s voice which I don’t see as a good thing. Even Christopher Walken had a slightly different voice which gave King Louie a personality.

The movie is pretty much an animated movie but it’s so well done that at no moment did I say “that’s clearly a prop and that’s clearly a green screen”. Below is a video that will give you an idea of what went into creating “The Jungle Book” but I suggest you watch the movie before watching the video as it might ruin the effect of it all.

 

 

It would take 30-40 hours per frame, and since it’s stereo [or 3D], it requires two frames to produce one frame of the movie — at 2K, not even 4K,” Legato said. “So you can tell how much the computer has to figure out, exactly what it’s doing, how it’s bouncing, how much of the light is absorbed, because when it hits an object, some gets absorbed and some gets reflected.

I think they started using the Google cloud, which has tens of thousands of computers, and sometimes it would take two or three days to render a shot, he said, exasperated at the mere thought of the process. As powerful as the computers were, they ultimately were just taking cues from the human innovators who spent years on the film. via/Inverse

 

 

There is only one living thing in this movie and that’s Mowgli played by Neel Sethi (10 yrs old) who is new to acting. Sethi is able to hold this whole movie together with great acting especially when you take into account that he is just talking to puppets or people dressed in green leotards. In the end, this movie is visually breathtaking and is 100% worth watching in theaters. The story is solid, effects are flawless, and it’s shot wonderfully. As a rating I give The Jungle Book an 85 out of 100 which is 5 points less than I gave Disney’s Zootopia. Basically “The Jungle Book” is a great movie but not one I would buy on Blu-Ray since I wouldn’t enjoy it as much on the second viewing.

UO Smart Beam Laser Projector Review

If you’ve been paying attention to the trends in tech, you may have noticed that projectors have been making a push in the market. Specifically, many companies have been coming out with pico projectors, which are very small, portable, battery-powered projectors for on-the-go use. One of the options out now is the United Objects Smart Beam Laser projector, which is a small cube-shaped projector that packs a punch.

DSC00792First of all, let’s take a look at the design of the UO Smart Beam. The projector has been built very well, and feels really solid in the hand, with what appears to be an aluminum body encasing the internals. It can probably take a beating, which will be great for on-the-go use. The projector measure in at 2.2 inches cubed, meaning it’s incredibly small and portable. It also weighs just under a 0.5 lbs, making it very light. In addition, the projector looks very modern and professional, allowing business professionals to use the projector in meetings without it being an eyesore.

Now for the features. For such a small size, it’s pretty amazing what the company was able to fit inside. The projector boasts a minimum of 60 lumens, 1280 x 720 resolution, a laser-driven light source, 4200mAh battery, and wireless streaming from some Android, iOS and Windows devices. Now, 60 lumens may not seem like much when compared to other full-size projectors, but it is easily visible in low-light to completely dark settings. The battery is enough to last about 2 hours according to the company, which is about right based on my testing, meaning a full-length movie can be watched just with the battery.

DSC00803Setup is incredibly easy. Plug in the projector to a power source (or if it’s already charged, just turn it on), plug in a video source via the DLNA/MHL/mini-HDMI port or stream from a PC, Android, or iOS device, and that’s it! The projector has built-in speakers, which are alright and good for on-the-go use, but I would recommend using a different audio device by plugging your video source into a different speaker for better sound if possible. Focusing is done automatically, thanks to the laser-driven light source, so you don’t need to worry about that. The only drawback I found with the setup is the lack of any keystone adjustment from a laptop or Android device, meaning the projector has to be at the right height to get a rectangular image. However, if you are streaming from your iOS device, you can adjust the keystone in the SmartBeamLaser app. The best solution to the keystone issue (if you’re using a laptop or Android device) and one I highly recommend is the tripod with projector mount you can purchase from UO for $20.

DSC00826As for the picture, I was truly surprised at how good it looks. The image above shows about a 40″ image with overcast daylight coming through a large window on the side (the camera makes it seem darker than it actually was), and everything could easily be seen. I also tested projecting about a 120″ screen, and movies look pretty good, though dark scenes are a bit difficult to see.

All in all, if you want to save some space with a small projector, or you want to bring one with you on a trip for presentations or entertainment, the UO Smart Beam Laser is a fantastic option! It’s a bit pricey at $379.99, but it can be used in many different scenarios, and I would definitely recommend it if you are considering a pico projector. The projector can be purchased from KDCUSA’s website, and I do recommend purchasing the tripod as well.

Google Glass Experience Review, 1 Year 1/2 Later

After nearly two years with Google Glass, I thought it was about time to tell you about my experience with Google Glass and if it’s worth it. I’ve been a supporter of Glass since its announcement and will continue to be one. Google Glass has its ups and downs but the most important thing is its potential, I am nothing but sure that the consumer version of Glass will be awesome and a product worth owning. The video below has a small montage of clips at the beginning but the actual review starts at 1:28.

 

Blip TV: Mirror

Bragi Dash Smart Truly Wireless Earbuds Review

As we move further into the age of wireless audio with the iPhone 7 abandoning the ever-so-present headphone jack, a new category of “truly wireless” earbuds has been popping up. So you may be asking, what does “truly wireless” even mean? Well, as you may have seen, many earbuds that have claimed to be “wireless” actually have a wire in between the buds that generally goes around your neck. So, a few companies, such as Bragi, decided to do away with any and all wires, leaving us with Bragi’s first product, the Dash.

The Dash started as a Kickstarter project back in February of 2014, with an enormous amount of support, raising just under $3.4 million with the promise of earbuds completely free of wires and with loads of other features. These features included activity tracking, touch controls, on-board storage, water-resistance, and more. The campaign had initially intended to ship out the Dash units in October of 2014, but due to many setbacks, they started shipping out units in early- to mid-2016. With initial reports of problems with the microphone and Bluetooth connectivity, it seemed, at first, like the Dash could be just another Kickstarter flop. Instead, however, the company dedicated a lot of time into creating new updates to the firmware that drastically improved, if not completely solved these issues.

The Sound

DSC01138An earbud can’t be good without sounding good, of course. So, how does the Dash stack up to the competition? After all, the price for these is not cheap, coming in at around $300. Well, they’re actually pretty good! I wasn’t expecting amazing sound from a device so small, yet packed full of components. What I found was that the Dash produces a good, clear sound, though certainly preferring the mids over the lows and highs. That said, I am quite a bass-lover myself and I’m coming from using a V-Moda Crossfade M-100, so I’ve been spoiled, and for earbuds, the Dash does a good job producing the bass it does. If I had to compare it to some other earbuds, I’d compare the sound to something like the “wireless” (but not completely wireless) Jaybird Bluebuds, which are quite good themselves.

Bluetooth Connectivity

Now, a common issue with truly wireless earbuds is their often lacking performance in their ability to hold a strong Bluetooth connection. In the beginning, there were lots of complaints from users experiencing poor connection even if the phone was placed only as far as the user’s pockets. Obviously, that’s a huge issue, but also one Bragi appears to have fixed through their updates. I can confidently say that I have had virtually no issues whatsoever with the connectivity of these earbuds, other than maybe one or two micro drops in connection. I tested the Dash by walking around a room and was able to go as far as 10 to 15 feet away from the source without experiencing any connectivity issues. Additionally, just the process of using and connecting the earbuds is really simple. All you do is take them out of the case and put them in your ears. The buds sense when they’re in and automatically turn on, connect to each other, and connect to your phone or other device.

Comfort and Design

DSC01125Another historically common problem with this category of audio products is the ridiculous look of the product or their inability to stay in ears due to the sheer weight they carry. Luckily, this is not an issue with the Dash. While you may get some head turns while using this product, people often just don’t care, and the Dash really doesn’t look bad at all. Additionally, these earbuds were surprisingly comfortable to wear. They come with multiple sleeves to fit your ears (XS, S, M, and L), and once you find the right fit, the earbuds fit snuggly and quite comfortably. I haven’t had too many issues with the buds falling out, which has always been a problem for me, whether or not the earbuds I was using were wireless. Yet another check mark for the Dash.

Gestures/Controls

A neat feature of the Dash is the way you control them. There are multiple ways that you control the Dash, including through the app, touch sensors on the outside of each bud, and head gestures. For instance, if you receive a call while using the earbuds, just nod or shake your head to answer or deny the call. Playing and pausing is easy, with just a tap on the right earbud, or start tracking activities with a tap on the left. One of the issues I noticed is that the touch sensors aren’t only sensitive to your fingers, so putting on a winter hat caused the earbuds to do some unwanted actions. After looking around a bit, though, it looks like Bragi addressed this issue by including a touch lock that can be implemented by holding down on both the right and left touch sensors, which worked well and solved my problem.

Other Features

DSC01143The other features included with the Dash are a microphone, onboard storage, a heart-rate sensor, and a case that charges the buds 5 times on-the-go. To start off, the microphone had quite a few complaints in the early days, with users claiming it was unusable and that the person speaking sounded robotic over the phone. This is yet another area where Bragi has used its firmware updates to address an issue. When I was using the microphone for phone calls, some people said there were no problems at all, while others said it sounded a bit muddled, but they could still hear me and know what I was saying. As for the onboard storage, there’s not much to be said about it. Songs can be added through a computer and using it works as described. Next up is the heart-rate sensor, which seemed to be relatively accurate, though I didn’t have another device to compare it to at the time. This is a really nice feature for athletes looking to listen to music without an annoying wire and no need for a smartwatch. And lastly, the charging case. The case is built quite well, with an aluminum sleeve and a strong metal or plastic where the earbuds actually rest. The earbuds flash when they’ve been connected properly, and a magnet holds them in place. My only complaint is that I feel like I will drop the earbuds when trying to get them out of the case because you have to take the sleeve off, hold that, hold the battery part, and then fiddle with getting the buds out. That said, overall, the battery case is a nice feature, as the battery life on the buds isn’t spectacular at about 3 hours.

Conclusion

So, what are my overall thoughts of the Dash? Well, I like them. I don’t know if I, personally, would quite want to spend the $300 for them, but I could understand why some would. The features work well and the sound quality is pretty good, considering everything that’s built into them. I think Bragi’s next product, the Headphone, could also allow a lot more people to purchase their products, with reportedly better sound quality and a much lower price of $149. However, that new product does strip the Dash of many of its capabilities, including the water-resistance, touch controls, onboard storage, and heart rate sensor. So it really comes down to what you want. If you want the smart capabilities, there really is no other product out there that offers all of the Dash’s capabilities, but if that does interest you, the Headphone is probably the way to go.

2in1cable’s Micro USB/Lightning Charging Cable Review

For a long time, Apple and Android users have fought over which of their phones or operating systems are best, all while never actually accomplishing anything. Luckily, a company called 2in1cable decided to resolve one of the biggest 1st-world problems: your friend always has the wrong charging cable. The interesting part is how they went about solving the issue.

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The interesting part is how they went about solving the issue. One may think they just created a splitting cable, where you have one USB end that connects to two different ends (one a micro USB end and the other a Lightning end). But that would look weird and not many people would be fond of it. So, the company came up with the novel solution of just combining the two ends into one single end that can fit into either a micro USB or Lightning port. Simple stylish, and most importantly incredibly useful. Now you can charge your friend’s Galaxy S7 even though you have the 6S.

Pic 2

Another pretty cool thing the team did is create a lot of different styles, from a simple white cable to cowboy blue jean or various colors of leather. If you’d like to pick up one of these neat cables, head on over to their website at http://www.2in1cable.com/. Also, check out the images of some of the cables below: Pic 3

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Review: Amber Power Case for Apple Watch

Since the Apple Watch first came out, I’ve been looking for an accessory that will charge the watch on the go, as well as protect it while I am not wearing it. I think I finally found that accessory, and it’s called “Amber.”

 

Apple Watch Power Bank - Amber

The Amber is an Apple watch charger with a built in battery that resembles an older generation Mac Mini. The design is solid, and feels just as premium as the Apple Watch itself. I have no doubt that it could protect the Apple Watch, regardless of environmental conditions.

Apple Watch Power Bank - Amber

I have had to travel twice since I received the Amber for review, and both times it has become my ultimate travel companion. I used to have to unplug the apple watch charger from the wall and throw it into my bag, now all I do is make sure the Amber is charged up, and then I am on my way. Sometimes I didn’t even need to take the charger for the Amber with because the battery inside the Amber can recharge the Apple Watch 8 times. It can also, if need be, charge provide some  juice to your iPhone.

Apple Watch Power Bank - AmberThe product was brought into production thanks to a successful IndieGogo Campaign that raised over $100,000. Overall, I’ve really enjoyed my time with the Amber, it’s a great addition to your Apple Watch if you are in the market for an Apple Watch case/power bank. Amber is available for pre-order on their website for $69, and will be available for purchase later this year for $99. It will retail in Silver, Space Gray, Gold, and Rose Gold so it will match your Apple Watch perfectly.

 

 

Henge Dock Vertical Docking Station for MacBook Air Review

 

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Henge Docks is a company that makes docking stations for various models of the MacBook, so you can just set your laptop in and essentially convert it to a desktop. This particular review relates to the MacBook Air 13″ model, which supports one USB and one Thunderbolt port. The cost of this dock is set at $65 and can be purchased at Henge Docks’ website.

imageFirst off, we’ll look at the design. This dock has a white plastic outer coating and grey inner color, with a durable plastic inside to help make sure it’s sturdy. With a larger base, you can ensure your MacBook won’t fall over. On the other hand, though, it’s not to big and the part that hold the MacBook is quite thin. On the back are the two ports: one USB and one Thunderbolt, and on the sides the Henge Docks logo is shown in grey.

This design is very nice, though I kind of wish that Henge Docks had chosen an aluminum color to match with the MacBook and accessories like the SuperDrive, Magic Trackpad, and keyboard.

Next up is the functionality. With a vertical dock and a design like the MacBook Air, there isn’t a great way to cover all of the ports, which does kind of leave me wanting more from something like this. Because the Air has one USB port, SD card port and Thunderbolt port on one side and another USB port, 3.5mm audio port, and charging port on the other, a vertical dock can only utilize one USB port and the display port. However, I wish Henge Docks had split the port into two on the dock itself so you could at least plug one mouse and one keyboard into it. Simultaneously, though, it’s not going to break the bank to purchase a USB hub for additional devices. The other side-effect to using only the one side is that you have to plug the charger into the top of the Air, so Henge Docks included a clip to hold the charger in place, so that also isn’t too big of a deal.

Overall, I think this dock is probably the best vertical one on the market for the MacBook Air. Even with its quirks, everything seems to work very well, and I feel completely safe using it without it falling over. I highly recommend you check it out!