Saturday, December 13, 2014

Silk is next to provide their lineup of protective cases for the iPhone 6

Next in the category of cases for the new and improved iPhone, comes three cases from a company, new to MashButtons, Silk. The cases received are the Vault Slim, the Stealth Armor tough case, and last but not least, the PureView clear case. Each case provides a unique feature and look for the phone appealing to wider range audience. A nice feature that appears on each of the cases is the screen protector and the low profile lip that protects your screen for those times when your phone needs to be placed face down.
 I will begin with the Vault slim wallet case, whose stand out feature is the ability to store up to three cards plus cash. What I preferred with the Vault over the previously revised Q Card Case is the quick access slot that makes it a whole lot easier to retrieve cards from their secure slot. The build also has a raised area, which places tension on the cards in the case so I always had a sense of security that the cards won't fall out whether storing one card or three with cash. The material used in the design of the case uses a soft touch surface to also prevent the emptying of pockets when removed. 
Next up is the Stealth armor case, which is a rugged and slim case for the phone that has removable colors to go with whichever colored iPhone you decided to go with. Silk provided military-grade protection to protect the phone from unfortunate falling incidents. Since it does not have a place for storing cards, the case is much slimmer and results in comfortably fitting in most pockets. While the case looks simple the inner workings are what provide great protection with shock absorbent core using a dual-tred design and elevated 360-degree corners.
Lastly, we have the PureView clear case that is more like a bumper and has a clear plastic window on the back. The window makes this a glass bottom case allowing you to make your own custom flair by way of included template. The PureView provides the same protection used in the Stealth armor case. I liked the ability to change up what you show off on your phones backside, but be sure not to keep anything else in your pockets with the phone as the back she'll gets scratched easily

Sunday, December 7, 2014

2014 Holiday Gift Guide

With the holidays, comes the difficult gift shopping for friends and loved ones. Since it is that time of year, I have listed a few items that should help with taking care of those on your NICE list. With the athletes, outdoor, and drone drone enthusiasts in mind, I bring you in no particular order, my wish list gift guide.

Swann: Xtreem QuadForce HD Video Drone

  • Shoot 720p HD video and 3MP images to a Micro SD card
  • 2.4GHz control for a working wireless range up to 330ft
  • Designed to fly in any direction with its 4-axis and lightweight yet durable construction
  • Easy-Fly Gyro Technology provides stability and makes flying a breeze
  • Powered by built-in rechargeable Lithium-ion battery & recharged via remote control
Price: $89.99

Zepp Labs: Zepp 3D Multi-Sport Motion Sensor

  • Sensor wirelessly transmits data to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth after every swing
  • Users can review and replay their swing in 360 degrees
  • Baseball: track bat speed, path, timing, angles at impact, trends and more
  • Golf: track speed, tempo, club plane, hand path, backswing position, hip rotation and more
  • Tennis: track shot type mix (serve, forehand, backhand, smash), power and spin (topspin, slice, flat) and more
Price: $ 149.99

X-Doria: KidFit 

  • One size fits all slap bracelet
  • KidFit motivates through consistent encouragement and fun, challenging goals for real world awards
  • Parents set activity goals and see stats and trends via the KidFit app
  • Scores of 100 for easy understanding
  • iOS and Android compatible
Price: $49.99 Pre-Order (Ships August 15th)

Divoom: Voombox-Travel 
  • Palm Size, Rechargeable, portable Bluetooth speaker designed specifically for rugged conditions
  • Splash-resistant case that protects its components from splashing water and dust
  • Wirelessly stream audio from tablets, smartphones and other Bluetooth-enabled devices
  • 6-hour rechargeable battery and a 2’ driver and 2” passive radiator
  • Included metal carabiner design lets you clip it on to your belt, jeans or backpack

Price: $49.90

Swann: SwannSecure Wi-Fi Monitoring System
  • Shoots real time 720p HD video or still images to a 7” monitor
  • SwannEye app for viewing on PC, Mac, tablets & Smartphones including iPhone, iPad & Android devices
  • See in the dark up to 50ft with built in IR cut filter
  • Built-in microphone captures audio
  • Expandable up to 4 cameras

Price: $ 379.99

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Kicker’s KPW takes a beating and does not skip a key

Kicker has released its new portable Bluetooth speaker, the KPW, a durable water resistant speaker and a convenient design. Similar to the BoomBottle from Scosche, the KPW’s design allows it to fit easily in most any water bottle holder. Dune season has started so what better way to review a durable speaker than to put it in the cup holder of a RZR XP1000 and see if 1) it stays in the cup holder and 2) still worked after three days in the sand. Let’s see how the handheld speaker stood up to the torture. Three days out in the sand dunes, the KPW was placed in the cup holder by day and campfire by night. I did not expect this little speaker to be keep up as well as it did, I only had to charge it twice and it stayed in the cup holder while jumping and when hitting hard lines. The sound quality was better than most sharing the same size and the individual passive woofers made a noticeable difference as it took the place of the car stereo we usually used without worry of waking up to a dead battery. One end twists to control the volume and a button to take calls but my only gripe I noticed was the lack of ability to change tracks.The KPW is a miniature brute in that it is durable, small, loud, and stays where you place it. With sand virtually everywhere, the KPW kept going and now that I am back home and the speaker and I got a thorough cleaning, the beast still sounds like it did when it took it out of the box with the only casualty being the volume knob has a little grind to it. The closest comparison to the KPW that I have come across is Scosche's BOOMbottle, but Kicker's portable speaker outperforms it in every way and I am now a big fan of the individual passive radiators for additional depth. The Kicker KPW is available now in black or white for the price of  $179.95.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Destiny | A look back on the launch

We never reviewed Destiny, and was the case, a lot of other outlets had trouble getting reviews out on time based on a number of factors.  The launch was met with little to no reviews.  A new genre from a proven development house you'd think would be easy to get reviews online.  But instead, gamers were left trying it out on their own.  Mind you, the successful Alpha and Betas that were played out in June and August respectively gave us a taste of what was to come.

It's been over two months, and in a few weeks time, on the 3-month anniversary, Bungie will be dropping their first planned DLC, The Dark Below (Dec 9th).  We wanted to look back and discuss the highs and lows of the massively ambitious MMOFPS.

As of writing this, I have poured over 50 hours killing Hive, Dregs, Knights, and Templars.  I've raided the Vault twice.  I've played hundreds of games and looted caves, stairs, farmed some materials and participated in nightly and weekly strikes.  I've done this with current friends and have met new ones along the way.  I've danced in the tower, danced on top of an enemy and rode my sparrow across the large maps in search of chests, and chasing bounties for XP.  My cohorts have put in over 400 hours, and have created my first online Clan via Bungie's website.  I have never spent this much time on a single game and still just need to play each night.

Destiny is not perfect.  There's limited planets to explore (Earth, the Moon, Mars, Venus) and some repetitive areas.  There's limited loot (compared to a title like Diablo, or World of Warcraft); but those games have been around for years amassing a legacy to build upon.  I think Destiny is getting there.  It's self-proclaimed "10-year plan" I'm assuming will continue to build on the foundation that is Destiny.

The missions and bounties are somewhat repetitive, no doubt.  A lot of the game is lather, rinse, repeat.  There are glimpses of greatness found in pushing yourself as a player to try the weekly nightfall on level 28, with all the (non) perks to make it more challenging (juggler, angry, void burn, etc), or taking on the Vault of Glass with 5 others forcing you to find a rhythm and work together to defeat Atheon.  All the while hoping the gear you covet most drops so you can finally make it to level 30.

As I spend the next two weeks hoping to hit 30 before the DLC, I am encouraged by the community, and the overall approachfulness of those who are still at it, day after day.  I for one am looking forward to many more long nights.  Hopefully, we'll be able to bring you a review of the DLC shortly after it launches.  Stay tuned for more.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Domke releases Next Generation lineup, I go hands on with the Metro Messenger

Domke, a trusted brand in providing heady duty and functional satchels, courier, and messenger bags. My messenger, the Ruggedwear Military, is a spacious bag to carry the load. The bag’s design focuses on functionality using a patent pending organizational system to set up as you see fit all while knowing that it’s contents are protected. The main compartment is set up to hold camera and lenses, while the surrounding pockets not only carry a laptop and tablet. Now that I have this heavy-duty canvas messenger bag packed full and survived both my commute and road trip, let’s see how it did.
The bag is built for anything and just about everything you can throw at it or even in it. At one point I had my work computer, MacBook, point and click camera, two water bottles, DSLR, three lenses, chargers, and iPad mini. Sure it was heavy, but great to be able to toss everything needed for a business trip and knowing the camera is on hand with everything needed for editing in one place. The side pockets and two front pockets expand if additional storage is needed, but the zipper on top is what stole my heart. Unzip and I could access my camera and lenses without fiddling with the buckles to open the flap.There were a couple of things I would have liked to have seen added or improve, but not to worry, the list is a short one. My first suggestion that is my biggest complaint while commuting is the lack of a handle on the top of the bag, for the short distances in which the strap would be excessive. The only other item I would suggest is that Domke have provided better/stronger clip to hole the strap to the bag. The clips used are plastic and have come unhooked twice so far in my use.I have review a variety of camera bags from the minimal to the bulky, fashionable to the functional, and this has a bit of everything in place. It is a larger bag but still manageable to carry daily to work and is the best reason I have found to keep my camera on me and never have an excuse to miss a shot. The Metro Messenger is not only available in RuggedWear Military, but also available in RuggedWear Black, Cordura Black, and Cordura Tan. Domke knows bag owners are in for the long haul by providing refinishing wax for bringing your bag back to life after battling the elements.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

With new phones, come new cases; the iPhone 6 Case Roundup

The new iPhone 6 has hit consumers far and wide, which means the accessory floodgates have been opened. Having a device we are all dependent on which is not only pricey, but also fragile to boot, there is a high demand for cases to protect this digital crutch. The first cases that we have received are the CM4 Q Card Case and the UAG Outland case, both for the iPhone 6. It’s time to break em down and see which case is best to protect your new smart phone. First up is the Q Card Case, and some of it’s standout features include the ability to protect the phone with a soft rubber build and a pocket that holds up to three cards and cash, eliminating the need of a wallet. The soft feel of the case is very comfortable and the protection keeps coming as the case extends from the screen allowing to lay flat without scratching the face. I liked the fact that this case easily removes the need for a wallet but do not overstuff as it does stretch the fabric. 

Next up is the UAG Outland Case, a more tactical designed case to protect the new iPhone from bumps and bruises. Most cases claim protection from accidents, but UAG goes a step further by drop testing to military standards. This strength comes from the 2-ply protection, a soft inner core with a hard plastic shell. What I did like about this case, which was not included in the card case, was extended corners for grip and skids pads on the back. 
Both of these cases also include protection from scratches by providing easy to install screen guards.  Each also allow easy access to the buttons, have a low profile to allow use of most headphones, and do not interrupt pictures with glare. Depending on what the case is being put to would define the best fit, if outdoors often or just generally clumsy then the UAG case would be my suggest go to, but if you find yourself as a minimalist that has been searching to do away with a wallet then the Q Card Case is where it’s at. 
UAG’s case is available now in six different colors with a price of $39.95. The Q Card Case by CM4 is available in three colors and has a $39.99 price tag

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Jabra releases the Move; bold on ear wireless headphones

We have another headset in and this gem comes to us from Jabra, dubbed the Move, cutting cords for wireless personal audio. Move is an on ear headset which uses Jabra's DSP to provide the most digital sound out of the high quality components used. These cans are built for both style and durability with a simplistic Scandinavian design and metal adjustable arms. Controls are on the side to take calls and control audio playback but should you run out of juice on the go, the audio cable will allow continued listening until the next available charge.

These headphones are pretty smooth looking, fit well, and sound even better. The Move feels sturdy without weighing on my head or neck, when not listening. The long use with minimal strain comes mainly from the fabric wrapped headband and leather wrapped ear pads, both with plush cushioning. The headphones sound great at higher volumes but tend to have a lot of sound bleeding and at lower volumes they are a bit flat. These headphones were also not made to be packed away as the arms do not fold in and the sides swivel, but not enough to lay flat.

Jabra's Move are a pretty good set of headphones that do a solid job of keeping my phone in my pants. During use, they strongly reminded me of my time with the Revo Wireless, just lacking the touch features and coming out at a fraction of the price. Move also isn't limited to the everyday black, but offer individuality for the bold in blue or red. The Jabra Move On ear headphones are available now for $99.00.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

iblazr is the phone flash accessory I didn't know I needed

Next up we have the iblazr, a unique accessory for the smart phone camera junky, in the form of a 4 LED flash for Android and iOS devices. The thumb sized flash plugs into a phone or tablet via 33.5mm jack, includes it's own internal battery, and has multiple light modes for those low light shots and videos. The four powerful LEDs are topped with 70-degree optics to provide enough light for just about any situation. Features aside, it's time to see how this simple beast performs.
The iblazr was more functional than I was expecting as it could be used as a laptop lamp by way of a flexible charger or audio extension cable and a light source for personal camera from the included cold shoe mount. I was worried about the battery life due to the small stature, but the internal battery outlasts my phone. The iblazr is easy to use with a push of the button and additional presses for various steady light levels. Using the flash requires use of the iblazr app, which is on par with the iOS 7 camera app, unfortunately after upgrading to iOS 8, it does not offer the same features but offers a lot more lighting than the LED flash on the phone.

I enjoyed the iblazr for its' portability and night shots it was able to capture, but was ultimately surprised by the functionality it provided. My only complaint is the app required to use the flash function, but after a week of use it was quickly overlooked by the amount of time I used for the steady lighting and the multiple light levels. I have a soft spot for phone camera accessories, such as the iblazr and lenses for the capabilities they are able to provide to the devices most of us cannot be without. The iblazr is available now in white or black for $49.99 and aluminum for $69.99.