Monday, September 30, 2013

Jabra's Sport Wireless+ makes me want to be more active

This next review is for the jogger, cyclist, hiker, fitness fan, or anyone that wants to take their music with them on the go without having to worry about swinging cables or having to spend precious time constantly adjusting their earbuds. Jabra has brought a solution to this problem to market with the  Wireless Sport +, a sweat and elements proof wireless headset with the additional abilities to get FM radio reception and an app to improve your workout, Endomondo. To make sure that precious time isn’t taken away from a workout routine reaching for a swinging in line remote, Jabra has made sure to include the necessary controls to the ear piece. Now that I have determined that these wireless ear buds fit comfortably under my helmet, I am ready to put them to work, so let’s see how they hold up to the test.

When I first opened the box and pulled out the Sport Wireless +, I was not too impressed by the looks as they strongly resembled hearing aids from the early 90’s connected by a flat cable. Where these really shine is functionally, as they are a wireless headset that is both light and did not fall out of my ears prevent me from having to constantly readjust. The inclusion of an FM radio was one of my favorite features as my phone is uncomfortable in my pocket while jogging and my Nano does not have Bluetooth capabilities. My biggest problem with earbuds is the fit as they either fall out or get uncomfortable after short usage, but Jabra kept this in mind by providing seven different sized and fitted tips to insure a good fit and best sound delivery. The battery life was shorter than I have seen with other wireless headphones, but these are also the only bluetooth earbuds that did not require a remote that hangs from buds and houses the heavy battery. After using for a couple weeks, I have determined that I will always look like a slow person trying to figure out how to get them in my ears, and that are uncomfortable to wear with most sunglasses.
At the end of the day Jabra’s Sport Wireless +, were a great pair of workout headphones. As someone that works inside at a desk, I still prefer my over ear headphones for the comfort and sound quality, but refuse to use them when running or bicycling. With these wireless earbuds, I can do almost anything aside from swimming while wearing. Being able to wear under a helmet while riding my ATV and still able to hear my playlist over the motor without discomfort was great as some of the longer trail rides can lead to in depth conversations with myself. The fitness tracking app that comes with a 3 month subscription, Endomondo, is a nice additional feature as it is an easy app that tracks your workout routines and numerous other fitness data points to share socially or for your own records. At first, I was not too impressed by the sound quality and fit, but after trying the numerous eargels and finding the best fitting, it completely changed the whole experience from sound quality to comfort. Jabra’s Sport Wireless + are available now for the price of $99.99 and a must have for the fitness fan that has had it with their current earbuds.

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate | Bringing tag team to your console

Team Ninja has created another version of their high kicking fighter and Konami has recently released Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate on the PS3 and Xbox 360. Ultimate comes packing some additional features found in the Vita’s Plus version that were not available to DOA5 on the consoles. On top of previously seen and requested play modes, Ultimate also includes classic stages and new fighters, Rachel and Momiji from Ninja Gaiden. The same fun and anatomically exaggerated brawler experienced in DOA5 is there, but the majority of the of the new options are dedicated to the online play, with arcade style matches and tournaments. We have had our time with Plus, it is time to bring that same experience to the big screen.

I will start with my favorite new feature to Plus that is now available on the console, 2 on 2 tag play in online matches. Throughout my time spent trying to win against the bad of the bad, I had no problem finding people to challenge, unfortunately that did not really help me. I have always enjoyed but equally sucked at this brawler in comparison to the 2D fighters, luckily the improved tutorial is also included from the portable version. Similar to the 2D Street Fighter, Ultimate has added character points, grades, and titles to show off accomplishments or to make me feel warm and fuzzy winning an online match after a long losing streak. The bad, this is easily the lobby music, sure it sounds hip and got me amped for my first match, but it looping over and over again soon became tortuous. I said finding opponents was no challenge, the caveat to that is if you open up the filters there is no problem, but once you starting tweaking online settings, the community dwindles.

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate was exactly what I expected, a more polished version of DOA 5 with the inclusion of previous DLC and new content. I would easily suggest that anyone who has not had the chance to experience DOA 5 would benefit most as this is how the game was meant to be played. As someone that already owns Plus on the Vita, it would be a hard sell to get me to purchase again to play from my console. For those that already own DOA 5 and do not want to pony up more money for the new features, there is Core Fighters, which is a Free to Play experience with the same gameplay seen in Ultimate but without the Story Mode and vast selection of fighters and costumes, those come with a price tag. Dead or Alive Ultimate is available now for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 for the price of $39.99.

MashButtons reviews Killer is Dead

It has been a while for two things, a game review and a Suda 51 game, well luckily we are killing two birds with one stone on behalf of the recent console title, Killer is Dead. This recent entry is an action title that features the zany and off the wall style that we have come to expect from Suda 51, KADOKAWA, and GRASSHOPPER. The premise to Killer is Dead is that you take on the role of hitman and gigolo Mondo Zappa, the newest recruit of an elite killer agency, Bryan's Executioner Office, to complete a number of contracts. There have been a number of cult hits from the twisted mind of SUDA51, but this one sports the cell shaded look that fans had previously seen in No More Heroes and Killer 7, so it is high time to see how it compares to the obscure collection.

As I started Killer is Dead, I thought I knew what I was getting into, but like any other Suda 51 games with exception to Sine Mora or Black Knight Sword, the writing still managed to surprise me and make me blush at times. The cell-shading is reminiscent to earlier games and the writing is equally absurd to anyone that has played any of his games. The gameplay is where the real fun is at because the action is fast and rhythmic, the visuals are bright and flashy, and weapon upgrades are available for both your sword and biomechanical arm based on how well you do in gigolo mode. Gigolo mode is a part of the game in which you meet up with different women to give gifts and ogle up and down while your date is distracted until you get the confidence to seal the deal. I was not a big fan of the biomechanical arm as aiming it slows down gameplay greatly and the lack of lock on ability to enemies and switches bring hacking and slashing to a halt.

Killer is Dead was a fun game to play and as a fan of just about all of the Suda 51 games, it was exactly what one has come to expect from him. The story content and gigolo mode were so over the top that it makes you uncomfortable, but not quite to the point of questioning life decisions that got you to this point. Shadows of the Damned and Lollipop Chainsaw are still my favorite, but Killer is Dead was just about as good to me it felt like a more evolved No More Heroes. It did have some nuances that got frustrating at times and that was mainly the aiming and the camera, but the level designs, gigolo mode for upgrades(make sure to have presents on hand), and the boss battles had me engaged from start to finish. Killer is Dead is available now for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 for the price of $59.99.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Ten 1 Design stands the iPad Mini up with the Magnus Mini

The company that has provided us with numerous styli for our tablets have sent us something different from their norm with the Magnus Mini iPad Mini stand. The Magnus Mini is a small and lightweight piece of plastic that is coated with a rubber surface and houses ten individual magnets to set the small tablet and be held upright or at an angle suitable for typing. The stand sports a minimalist look, which is hard to see from the front and strong enough to not only view but is able to be used while upright. I had previously gotten to spend some with with the full size Magnus for the iPad 2 and up, and while it was a little large, it was a mighty stand, now that the Magnus is a fraction of the size, it is time to see how well this this stand functions.
Immediately after removing my iPad Mini from it’s folio case and placing on the Magnus Mini I was in love, as it is small without taking up much space to toss in my bag with me. Using the stand also could not be any easier, but remember that it only magnetically connects to the left side and connect it does by just simply placing above the palm sized stand. After seeing how large the the full size Magnus was, I admit that there was some apprehension on how well it would work based on it's small stature but the Magnus Mini did work and did it well. Just how small is the Mini, well let's just say that it fit in the  iPad Mini's pocket in my laptop bag on top of the tablet without scratching or using force to store. There were a couple items to keep in mind before purchasing, the first being that my tablet had to be removed from it's case before use, and the other would be when the tablet is at a typing angle, type lightly as it isn't quite stable enough for the heavy typer.

The Magnus Mini is exactly what I was hoping for from Ten 1 Designs. With how stylish and innovative their products are , I really wish they produced more. If you are someone that already has a case that holds the tablet at a viewing angle, it may not be a good idea to get another stand, but if you are like me and keep the iPad Mini on the nightstand or desk, then the Magnus Mini will do the job great and stylishly. It has such a low profile that it is hard to even see the stand when my tablet is attached and the soft plastic coating prevents scratches while traveling. Ten 1 Design's Magnus Mini is available now in black for $29.95 and if you own the full size iPad, the Magnus is available in in silver for $49.95.

iPhone 5 case showdown: Findables vs. Slickwraps

It’s another product showdown here and this time it is iPhone 5 cases, one fashionable from SlickWraps and the other is a functional case from Findables. Findable’s FlexStand case is a polycarbonate case with a shock absorbing interior that has a QR code for social media sharing app, and the case folds in half to hold in an upright viewing angle. The other is “the Case” from SlickWraps which is a rubber case with a number of unique design options created in house and includes vinyl inserts to provide complete protection from scratches, bumps, and scrapes. With that said, both are in the same price range but serve different purposes, so it is time to determine which provides the better experience.
I will start off with Findables FlexStand case, while it is not as slim as some of the other protective case I have reviewed, but the Tron-esque black/blue color combination topped with the vertical line to allow the phone to viewed in an upright position at a landscape orientation. This case is not a one trick pony as the free mobile app is fast and easy to register and allowed for me to share my social media information from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or Google+ by having new contacts or friends scan the QR code on the back of the case. One downside would be the opening for the charger on the bottom, if you are using a 3rd party charger, like id America’s CrossLink, then the phone has to come out of the case each time it is charged. The FlexStand case is available now in an assortment of four colors and priced at $29.95.

Next on the chopping block is the Case from SlickWraps and their unique designer series, the case that I got was the Cosmostache. The best way in which I can describe the SlickWraps case is as a more protective SkinIt as they provide a slim 1mm rubber case which has the hip looking mustache and sunglass design. The parts not wrapped by the case are wrapped by vinyl inserts to continue the look from back to front. If “hipster” designs are not your thing, worry not, as there are 10 available designs in the designer series. It was easy to install the vinyl inserts without bubbles but there was an issue with the rubber case as it had bubbles underneath the designer print. On top of being a minimalistic and unique case, it stands out at the affordable price of $34.95.

After spending time with both of the cases, I preferred the Findables case over SlickWraps, although SlickWraps does have the upper hand with a huge number of designs to choose from for a number of devices. While Findables has only a couple of designs in a handful of colors, I was more of a fan of ability to easily share social media information by simply registering my profile information to the QR image on the back of the case, which makes it easy to swap information without mutilating a new contact’s name while entering their information into your mobile device. SlickWraps does stand out with the in terms or materials on some of their other cases as they come using more exotic materials such as cork, leather, metal, grip tape, and more.  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Hammerhead makes sure you never get lost on your bicycle

That is right, we have GPS for just about every vehicle you can think of but the Hammerhead is a smart and social navigator for the bike lover. Sure you may have your own routes, but the Hammerhead aims to introduce you to new routes that are less known and track routes to share with two wheel riding friends.

The Hammerhead mounts to handlebars with a clip to snap the Hammerhead on your personal bicycle and was made with city bike shares programs in mind such as Bixi and B-cycle and is built to easily clip on these bikes along with other programs in Frisco, Boston, and DC. Not only does this handle shark help navigate, it also keeps the user, whether new or seasoned riders, going in the right direction and on safe routes in addition to including lights, both headlight and side lights, to be seen in dark settings.

Sounds like the perfect peddler's companion right? Well another little fact behind the Hammerhead is that it is on Dragon Innovation's crowd funding platform to make sure that the product is slated to execute before it even starts. If peddles aren't your cup of tea, then guess what? A motorcycle version of the app will be created if funding goals are exceeded.

For more information on the Hammerhead and to help back the project, take a look here.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

TYLT releases new, slimmer charging case, Energi

We are having a juice box week here at MashButtons as this next review is another charging accessory, this time in the form of a charging case for the iPhone 5. TYLT has provided us with Energi, the versatile sliding power case, to keep your phone charged on the go without excessive bulk. The package includes 2 slim line cases, one blue and one black, 2500 mAh battery pack that the slim line case slides onto, charger, and headphone adapter. Should you not need the back up charge, just use the slim line case to keep your smartphone protected against impact, once low on juice, slide the slim line case into the battery pack and press the button on the back and your phone has juice again. Its time to see how this case holds up for daily use.

For starters, I liked how the Energi came with two slim line cases, the subtle black to match my phone and the vibrant blue for those more expressive days. The slim line cases have ridges on the sides to slide smoothly into the battery pack and fits great with no rattles and does not come apart easily. The cases have a soft rubber texture that does not empty my pocket when removed, but one thing about the texture that I did not like, was that it picked up smudges easily and is difficult to keep smudge free. The slim case does not take much space and I preferred to keep the Energi battery case in my laptop bag to put on and charge when needed. Also, a headphone adapter is required for headphones which have an angle where the cable plugs into the phone. The included charge of the 2500 mAh battery provides a full charge to the phone when dead, the issue I had with charging was that sometimes I had to push the button multiple times in order start charging.
TYLT’s Energi is a great charger case for the iPhone 5 as it is versatile, whether wrapped in the slim line case or attached to the charger pack. The black slim line case is subtle and adds minimal bulk and the optional blue case is vibrant and stands out when in use. What's even better about juicing my phone with the Energi is that it charges quickly when running low on the go. At just shy of a hundred bucks, the Energi is available now in three color options for the price of $99.99, just be sure to keep the headphone adapter on hand, especially if your headphones headphone input is angled as you will not be able to listen privately without it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

SlickWraps shows off their new cases for the iPhone 5S

We have received a SlickWraps case to review and while my phone is currently wrapped in stache, I figure I would get out the video of the case made for the most recent iPhone while I work on finalizing my impressions of the SlickWrap. Check the video and see some of the great designs available from here.

Zepp Labs refreshes their golf companion with GolfSense 3

I had previously reviewed the GolfSense, which came to us by Zepp Labs, and was just about everything a tech junkie golf fan could ask for. The revamped GolfSense 3 comes to the table packing a handful of new features and it appears the interface has been refreshed. Also looking at the image, the interface has been refreshed to look similar to the upcoming iOS software update. Below are some of the features that set the old apart from the new.
SwingScore - Evaluate the quality of each swing based on your personal goals.
Dashboard – Easily identify what you’re doing well and what you need to work on.
Lab Reports – Analyze and track your trends for each hitting session. These reports can be shared via email, Facebook and Twitter.

Focus Screens – Isolate a single aspect of your swing to focus your practice.

Club head and Hand speed - See estimated club head and hand speed at the point of impact to work on timing.

Backswing Position - GolfSense provides the golfer with an exact club shaft angle measurement at the top of their backswing.

Plane Comparison - Instantly compare how closely aligned the backswing and downswing planes are. Golfers can work to achieve their ideal swing plane by finding what works best for their swing goals.

Wrist Release Speed - A key component of the swing is wrist release, or how fast the golfer’s hands move the club through the ball impact zone. GolfSense delivers actual speed measurements to help improve speed.

Power Pack Showdown: Astro3 vs PowerPak+

I like when I get the chance to do tech face offs, regardless to the type of product or game, and this time around I have two different battery packs to keep my mobile devices charged when away from an outlet. The two items at hand are the PowerPak+ from NewTrent and the Astro3 from Anker. Both of these portable power packs come toting some serious power, both well over 10,000mAh of juice and the ability to charge more than one device at a time. Both packs are available now, come sporting similar price tags at the time of this review, and come sporting two very opposite looks. No point in rambling about features, as both of these packs are so similar to each other, so I figure it it time to plug both in and see which handles my beating better.

I will start with NewTrent's PowerPak+ as they have a past with MashButtons and I have had the pleasure of reviewing their previous battery packs, but this is a behemoth packing 13,500mAh. For anyone unfamiliar with how much juice that is, well lets just say that equates to recharging your smart phone of choice roughly 6 times without having to recharge overnight or during a work shift. This much power makes the PowerPak+ a saving grace for any road trip or trade show, particularly because it has the ability to charge both smart phones and tablets, simultaneously. This juice box functions as advertised on paper, but at the end of the day, there was one thing that stood out to me, the case, while it does have a rugged look, in my hands it felt a little cheap.

Next on the chopping block comes from a company in which I am unfamiliar with, Anker, a team of multinational techies and the product they brought to the table is the Astro3. While their power pack does not quite have as much juice holding capabilities as NewTrent's contender coming in at a close second with 12,000mAh. Astro3 may not have the edge on power storage, but stands out in a number of other ways, particularly with build material and number of USB charging ports. The case has a soft rubber coat and hides a light indicator to show status by illuminating when shook. The other great thing about the Astro3 is that it has three USB outputs to charge from so that you can simultaneously charge a car load of devices on a trip. Lastly, since this device has a soft rubber finish, it comes with a carrying case to keep it smudge free.

At the end of the week and being unplugged from all wall chargers, I have come to my verdict and when all is said and done, I preferred my time spent with the Astro3 over the PowerPak+. The reason for this decision is because of the Astro3's sleek look, smaller size, and not two, but three charging outputs that can all be used at the same time. It is not to say that it was a close call, because the PowerPak+ was packing more juice, does not show smudges, and comes at a more affordable retail price. If you are someone that is on the go, use multiple mobile devices, and do not currently have a portable battery pack or if the one you have now simply isn't cutting it, I would definitely recommend either of these packs.

Roccat's multipurpose hub dubbed the Apuri

Those Germans at Roccat like keeping us busy over here,  this time around we have a companion to go with the Kone XTD, Isku FX, and Hiro, in which I am currently using. We have the Apuri, an  active USB hub with a removable bungie to  keep mice cables from lying on and dragging across the mouse pad. The Apuri is the first entry to Roccat’s more ergonomic products dubbed Smart Desktop Management System as it serves multiple purposes with such features as a four port USB hub that offers power and the top has a mouse bungie that resembles a scorpion tail to keep the mouse cable from tangles or getting in the way. Now that it is out of the box and onto the desktop, time to see if it is a good fit or a valiant try.

To start, the Apuri blends right in with the numerous other Roccat PC gaming accessories out on the market, from it's stealthy look, soft rubber feel, and blue ambient lighting, it went with the look of my desktop well. The mouse bungie works great to keep the cable away from my mouse pad so that there are no interruptions mid match. No Roccat mouse or cord, no problem, as the Apuri's bungie is made to fit all corded mice and like I said about cordless nice, the bungie is removable. On the topic of options, the hub has the ability to charge devices from it's four ports, but if you are like myself and do not want the extra cables, just use the USB cable and the Apuri for thumb drives and micro USB dongles to wireless accessories. The downside is the additional cables that can and will quickly add clutter to any desk. The other item in which could, or rather should, have gone differently in the design and build process would be the Apuri's feet as they are rubber but not much in the way of preventing slippage and when my mouse is attached and I am frantically playing a game, the last thing I would want is for the Apuri to move as well when it is supposed to be keeping my mouse cable at bay.

The Apuri is a nice addition to most any desktop, whether the mouse you use is corded or cordless, as it's primary job is as a USB hub and second as a cable management system. The ability to charge is great to have when needed, but I do not charge from my computer, nor do I like unnecessary cables, so I was happy that the power cable was not needed unless while charging and is not required for the ambient blue lighting to function. With the Apuri being the first product in Roccat's Smart Desktop Management System and seeing how this functioned with my current Roccat accessories I look forward to seeing how the upcoming SDMS products function together. The Apuri is available now for less than forty dollars from a number of online retailers.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Mashbuttons Reviews a few new retro iPhone cases | Review

 We here have received iPhone cases by the truckload it would seem over the years.  Yes, cases, come in many sizes, shapes, designs, textures, and features.  However, this would be the first time we've come across an iPhone case that their feature is interactive.

Well, kind of interactive.  These are the new "Retro Game" cases from PureGear with the little mini game on the back.  Perfect for when your games on the iPhone aren't quite entertaining enough.  As far as cases go, they're pretty standard fare.  They don't add much bulk, are made from a hard shell plastic, and fit and iPhone 5 snuggly, offering up minor protection, but not full-blown military grade shock or shatter proofing.  These are, as they say, pretty run-of-the mill cases.  What sets them apart, is when you flip over the case.  Rather than a cool design, or a tactile fabric, these include a maze, or even one with a small pinball game in it.
It's reminiscent of games you may find in a cracker jack box, or perhaps take home from a childs birthday party goodie bag.  It's really more gimmicky, and one could even say ironic that one may want a case like this.  Perhaps some would cling to the nostalgia, or irony they would provide.

Again, cases come in all colors and patterns, and fabrics, etc, so we shouldn't really look at anything beyond the maze game as anything more than just a unique design, and with a myriad of cases out there - I kinda like these for their simpleness.

The collection comes in three varieties, with apt names:  There's the "Amazing" which is of course, the aforementioned Maze game.  The "Groovy" which requires you to navigate three silver marbles into the center of the maze to win.  And the "Undecided" which is a simple version of a magic 8-ball.  Pull back the plunger to send the marble up and let it decide your day-to-day decisions.  Each available for an MSRP of $29.99.

Monday, September 2, 2013

SmartStyle case protects iPad Mini is in style

The company that has provided me with the Dash Folio case for the iPad Mini has sent the latest in their mini tablet lineup, SmartStyle, by X-Doria. The SmartStyle case differs from the Dash Folio by way of design as it touts a unique puff printed cover with 3D patterns in Bloom and Herringbone, which also makes the case easier to carry on the go. This case is also designed to stand either upright for viewing or inclined for typing and is topped off by magnets in the front flap to sleep/wake when to case is opened and closed. The iPad Mini is wrapped in a rubber case to withstand impact in which the cover is sewn to in order to make up this slim stand out fashion case, so let’s see how it holds up.

The SmartStyle is the most slim case I have reviewed for the small tablet yet, with the slim rubber case that holds the iPad Mini and the fabric cover that is just thick enough to be stable but not so thick that it lacks flexibility. The smart cover is also a great feature as you do not have to slide to unlock every time you open or close the front cover and the puff print of the pattern provides peace of mind with additional grip for those times it is not stored away in a bag. The flexibility of the cover and the multiple folds for viewing angles also make access and shooting pictures fast and clear of obstructions. The previously reviewed Dash Folio  had an elastic strap to hold the front cover closed, unfortunately the SmartStyle lacks the means to keep the front cover closed on the go aside from placing between multiple items or simply holding closed. In order for the case to be as thin as it is, it does not provide the same amount of security that some of the other cases I have reviewed provide.

The SmartStyle case by X-Doria is a nice and affordable case that both protected my iPad Mini and made it stand out from the numerous tablets throughout the office. Coming in two specific designs, the Herringbone comes in blue and white color, while the Bloom comes with a pink and teal scheme. After reviewing a number of cases for the tablet from X-Doria and a number of other accessory companies, the SmartStyle is easily the loudest looking and most stand out case that has wrapped my mini iPad. With the numerous ways in which a front cover can be held closed, i.e magnet, button, strap, etc., I am still surprised none of these methods were used to help keep the front cover closed. X-Doria’s SmartStyle is available now for the price of $39.99.

Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit has mobile devices in mind

We have previously reviewed an iPhone case with a solar charger equipped, but Goal Zero decided to take it a step further by providing me with their Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit.The contents of this kit consist of the Guide 10 Plus battery pack with four AA rechargeable batteries and Nomad 7 solar panel to charge the battery pack. The Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit is the smaller of what Goal Zero has to offer and that is not to say that it lacks the ability to keep you up and running without power, it just means that it keeps your rechargeable AA and AAA (not included) batteries, tablet, e-reader, phone, compact audio devices, and more. I will be reviewing each of the two components of this kit separately, starting with the Guide 10 Plus Recharger, so let’s get to how this tech survivor kit holds up.

The Guide 10 Plus seems like a step backward in terms of portable power, but having the ability to remove the rechargeable batteries in devices that are not rechargeable but require batteries and easy to replace the batteries should they stop holding a charge. What I particularly liked about the Guide 10 Plus was that it was easy to charge without sunlight via the Nomad 7 and once fully charged, you can use the AA batteries in gaming controllers when you are not roughing it, USB output to charge mobile devices, or use the pack as an LED flashlight. It is a bit confusing to tell the remaining power when charging but luckily there is a cheat sheet included on the back of the kit. Lastly, the kit includes an adapter to house house rechargeable AAA batteries should you opt to spend the additional $14.99.

The Nomad 7 is the real stand out piece of the kit, especially when using in Arizona in the summer time as it worked perfectly. When my phone was directly connected to the Nomad 7 solar panels, it started charging immediately and was continuously charging while using my phone and was not losing a charge while doing so. There are loops surrounding the panel to strap to a backpack while hiking or riding and also folds up nicely to take little space in any bag. There is a pocket on the back to store the Guide 10 Plus and cables so the kit is ready on a moment’s notice. When charging while parked, included is a 12v cigarette adapter to use chargers from the solar panel without draining from my car battery.

At first I was pretty apprehensive regarding the Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit, mainly because I was unaware how effective solar charging technology is and the fact that the Guide 10 recharger stored the power on four rechargeable AA batteries. Being that the kit’s use was in Arizona during summer, it actually outperformed my expectations across the board in terms of size and capabilities. I would absolutely suggest the solar recharging kit to anyone that lives in a sunny climate, being in Arizona, this kit is actually now carried on me at all times, being stored in my truck on the go and in my Camelback pack while riding to make sure my phone, GPS, and GoPro are ready to be charged at a moment’s notice. The Guide 10 Plus Kit is available now for the price of $119.98.

MeCam has your night of forgotten memories covered

Here is a new one for me, as I love my digital cameras, from action to DSLR to point and click cameras, each one has it’s own individual purpose and this next one, well this is different from that which I am used to. We have received the Mecam, a small hands free camera, designed to be worn via safety pin or as a necklace to record life in either 720P or 5.0 megapixel images. Want to record your debauchery to see what you got up to the night before? No problem, as the little camera has LED infrared built in to help capture videos and pictures in low light settings. Let’s see how this affordable little go everywhere camera performs.

I particularly enjoyed how small and light the little personal recording device was, weighing in at only a couple ounces, it does not pull on shirts...unless it catches something. Using the Mecam is pretty easy with only three buttons on the right side for my thumb to press without being photobombed by phalanges. This tag along comes in five various colors, so depending on the color of my shirt or backpack strap, it’s inconspicuous and gets some interesting faces from people trying to figure out what they were looking at before asking what it was. I did notice it was a bit difficult to identify the individual buttons at times as they sit almost flush with the case and do not provide much feedback when pressed to let me know if my input was registered, luckily the light on the top indicates power, recording, and mode. The other thing, well that would be the type of connection used, it’s not the nearly universal micro USB, but another cable to store in my laptop bag’s charger pocket, luckily the id America CrossLink freed up some space.
The Mecam is a neat idea that is pretty well executed to be an incognito camera to have on you at those moments where you wish you had a camera on hand. This itty bitty camera clips on via safety pin so it is easy to attach to virtually anything, mine currently resides on the strap of my laptop bag. As someone whose typical on the go action camera is a GoPro and my main digital camera is a DSLR, this is a great in between camera when you are on a hike or out with friends recording the evening to study the game tapes the following day...or figure out who you need to apologize to. That being said, the Mecan is suitable for most any age or situation and available now for the price of $49.99.