Saturday, January 25, 2014

Element Case partners with Hogue for the ultimate tactical case

I like the rugged iphone cases that are built to take a beating, however I am not a big fan of all the bulk it takes to surround and protect, basically making a high tech device look like a child's toy. Element Case has not only shrunk the mold on rugged case, but also teamed up with some pretty big brands to expand their lineup. The case in which I received is in partnership with Hogue, a company known by military and law enforcement for their pistol grips. The Sector 5 Black Ops case comes packing a non-glare anodized aluminum case with hard corner links, an Attack Back Plate that includes the Hogue grip insert, and the Element Case Tactical Holster, so let’s see how it holds up.

First off, I love the look of the case and as someone that is a gun owner and enthusiast, it is just fitting that these two companies team up for a tactical case. The case in which I received was the Dark Earth color which still has not been scratched after two weeks of hard use. The included rash guards are nice and wrap around the phone so it is not scratched by the case and spare parts are included should you lose a screw or crack a corner. The look of the back plate was awesome as it had the machined G10 grip insert in which Hogue is known for and it also carries a low profile design to minimize bulk. The Tactical Holster is another subtle touch in which I really enjoyed as it fit on my belt or on my laptop bag and actually sported a tactical look.

Unfortunately, the main reason I wanted to check out this case is also the only issue I had with it as well. The Attack Back Plate is not locked into place by way of the aluminum bumper, it is a back piece that sticks to the phone and in my situation would stay on for an hour before beginning to peel up. Now, the actual Element Case is awesome with a minimal profile, easy grip design, protection, and massive curb appeal by limitless customization starting at $99.99. Even though I had an issue with the back piece, there are still two other Hogue branded cases, ION 5 Black Ops and Rogue Black Ops, both in which appear to not have a back plate that sticks to the back of the phone.

The HipShotDot is the go to training tool for FPS fan

Another device found on the CES show floor to enhance gaming experience to shooter fans came to us from AirDrop Gaming and is appropriately named the HipShotDot. This simple device is all about function, by placing a red LED in the middle of your crosshairs for more accurate hip shooting in firefights. Compatible with all gaming consoles and hundreds of first person shooting titles, the tiny light is suction cupped to the TV and a thin cable runs down the middle of the screen to plug into a USB power source. I got to spend some time with it on the floor in a crowded area so now that I am in the comforts of my home, it is time to see if the HipShotDot was a must have or video gaming gimmick.

I have a lot of experience with FPS titles and am a fan of most of them, but one thing I would also say is that I am by no means good at them when it comes to online multiplayer. This does cause frustration at times and practice helps, but this little device helped with my focus and improved my reaction times. There are two suction  cups, one for the center of the screen and the other to anchor the wire to the bottom bezel of the TV to keep the thin wire running vertically down the screen.  The red dot is bright and easy to set up and comes with plenty of wire to plug into your gaming console of choice and the small suction cups make it fast to remove when not playing shooters.

The size of the HipShotDot was great and did not take away from the field of view or cause any frustration while using. The wire running down the center of my screen was a bit distracting at first, but once my focus was on the red dot, I did not even notice the wire. I noticed that my stats were improved now on TV’s unequipped with the HipShotDot as knowing the area to focus on for hip firing and aiming down the sites. This is a great little accessory in which I noticed vast improvement from quickly and is available now for the price of $29.99.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Gunnar provides us with first CES 2014 review, the Intercept Color Collection

Now it is time to get into some of the swag we were given at CES, and the first item is the Intercept Color Collection provided to us from Gunnar Optics.The Color Collection adds a handful of color to the stylish Intercept while providing the same lens benefits found in other models. The advantage in which Gunnar provides comfort from strain whether at work in front of a monitor or during long gaming sessions from the amber tint and anti glare coating. Someone that spends a lot of time in front of the screen, I am anxious to throw the Intercepts on and see how they do.

The Intercept comes sporting the Ray Ban looking frames and when I am wearing them, the lenses do a great job first and foremost at eliminating glare. Whether looking at my monitor typing up this review or playing a first person shooter, I did feel like I was squinting less and it was slightly easier to see opponents in the shadows. On the show floor, I got the chance to try on different frames and lenses and of the various models that made an appearance, I preferred the Intercept because of the larger lense which provided a larger filtered field of view.

While these have that retro feel to the design, they unfortunately did not share the same fit as they slightly pressed behind my ears making me have to take off in between rounds. As someone that requires corrective lenses at distances, they would have to be worn over glasses and that would just look silly, however, I would definitely suggest use to someone that wears contacts or does not need corrective lenses. That being said, Gunnar is also able to provide their lineup with prescription lenses built for your needs. The Intercepts Colors are available now for $69.99 and available in five bright colors.

Snow Lizard helps get through CES with SLPower 2.4

This next accessory comes to us at the greatest opportunity, Consumer Electronics Show, a conventional floor that is known to drain a battery mysteriously fast. Snow Lizard has provided me with their pocket sized portable power pack which is toting 2400 mAh of power to recharge a phone or tablet via the single USB output. The battery pack is just smaller than most smartphones out there and there is an LED indicator on the front to indicate when to recharge. It is time to see how it held up on the battery sucking show floor.

Unlike a lot of battery packs that come in a variety of shapes and bulky not friendly to pocket sizes, the SLPower is close to the size of my phone so when both are in my pocket it does not add much bulk and provided more power than power cases. The amount of power was enough for quick boosts to my battery on the show floor to provide a substantial charge to get back to my room and recharge. The little battery pack did this for three days before it was time to recharge, and the 4 LED’s on the front make it easy to determine when to charge, unlike having to memorize certain colors or flashing patterns to know how much charge is remaining.

The size of the SLPower 2.4 is my favorite feature as it is easy to charge and carry without discomfort or taking up a lot of space in my laptop bag. The awkward part is stuffing a full length cable in my pocket but the purchase of a short lightning cable would resolve this. The ability to charge either phone, tablet, or even my point and click digital camera were a lifesaver at two separate occasions. Snow Lizard’s SLPower 2.4 is available now for the price of $39.99.