Monday, May 26, 2014

Turn your phone or tablet into the ultimate universal remote with blumoo

Similar to the previously reviewed Rocki, we have another device that takes one perfectly good thing and allows it to do something it wasn’t intended for. This time around, we have blumoo, a small and inconspicuous device that turns a phone or tablet into a universal remote that is compatible with more than 200,000 different devices. The blumoo uses a Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connection, infrared, and is compatible with both apple and android devices. So after spending a half hour setting up my devices on the app, I figure it high time to get to the experience.

Out of the box, the blumoo is small, sexy, and does not skimp on build quality. On top of the fast and easy setup, sometimes it took a couple tries to get a component synced, but once all was set up on the app, it turned catching up on my TV shows into a new experience. This is mainly because on top of being a universal remote, blumoo also doubles as a media manager of sorts. In the setup, I was prompted to select my cable provider, and then was able to view the channel guide, setup alerts for shows, and receive suggestions on similar shows to check out. I have reviewed a similar device from griffin which had some signal issues due to the need of line of sight, this does not have that limitation and I was actually able to control my stereo from my patio.

In the end, there was only one device which I was not able to get working which was a TV in which I recently purchased, but other than that, I had my receiver, TV, apple TV, and Playstation 3 setup to use from my iPad Mini. I preferred the use on a tablet over the small screen on the phone, especially to view and navigate the guide and set up push notifications. If you have plethora of remotes and are looking for an intuitive and unique way to consolidate the clutter, the blumoo is available now for the price of $129.99.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Father's Day Gift Guide 2014

Mother's have had there day and now it is time to tell that father in your life how much you appreciate him by way of gear and gadgets. I have selected some items that would be a great fit for most any father so take a gander and see what that special man of the house may like to open on June 15th.

For the athletic dads or the ones the need the extra activity, we have the Zepp 3D Multi-Sport Motion Sensor from Zepp Labs. The same company that allowed tracking and analytical data to pop's golf swing is now able to help his tennis or baseball swing should hr not like to swing a club. Noted features include:
  • 3D motion sensor easily attaches to any bat, club, or racket using innovative sport-specific mounts
  • Sensor wirelessly transmits data to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth after every swing
  • Users can review and replay their swing in 360 degrees
  • Able to compare swings to pros and friends and share your swing data with others
  • Zepp application records critical data and provides analysis, personalized tips, drills and coaching
The Zepp 3D Multi-Sport Motion Sensor is available now at Apple and Verizon for $ 149.99.
For the new dad or the overly paranoid someone has been sneaking into the liquor cabinet, Swann offers the SwannSecure Wifi Monitoring System with Monitor and Camera. This wifi monitoring system allows proud dads to show off their precious little ones off in real time or as a precious reminder when away, day or night by use of built in IR cut filter.
  • 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
  • Built-in microphone captures audio
  • Easy 3 step set-up using a QR code & your Smartphone or tablet with no manual networking configuration required
  • Mount the camera on any flat surface, upside down, on the ceiling, or on a wall
The SwannSecure Wifi Monitoring System with Monitor and Camera is available now at for $ 379.99.

Lastly, we have the gift for the dad that likes to entertain with that is sure to be the life of the party and will make the neighbors wish they were invited. Pyle Audio brings the Street Blaster to the list with a 1000 Watt Bluetooth boombox that offers four hours of charge along with illuminating LED lights that pulse to the music.

  • High Output 1000 Watt Full Range Stereo Speaker System
  • Portable Bluetooth/NFC speaker designed specifically for rugged condition
  • Water-resistant case that protects its components from splashing water and dust
  • Wirelessly stream audio from tablets, smartphones and other Bluetooth-enabled devices
  • 4-hour rechargeable battery and Built-in Mic and Guitar inputs
The Pyle Audio Street Blaster is available now at for $ 249.99.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

UAG outfits my phone and tablet with Mil-Spec Scout and Scout Fol

Our next review comes from a company new to me, Urban Armor Gear, and they have provided me with their military spec cases for the iPhone 5/5s and the iPad­ mini. UAG is a Southern California based company that has the adventure seekers in mind when designing their lineup as all products provide a rugged and protective design to survive the bumps and falls a bare phone would not typically survive. Their composite cases offer multiple function protection via a hard outer shell teamed with an impact resistant core and an array of colors to also turn heads and stand out from saturated phone case market.

I will start with the Scout case for my iPhone and this case with fast and easy to put on and the first thing in which I noticed were the larger volume and lock button, making it easier to locate and press while the low profile case avoids adding too much bulk to an already slim phone. The corners are raised and the border also prevents the phones screen from resting flat on surface to help prevent superficial scratches to the screen. The design does a great job of providing a tactical look for enthusiasts and protection for the abusive phone users by way of a patent pending honeycomb design on the inside to increase protection over that of the more standard cases by making sure that each case meets military drop test standards. The Scout case is available now in a variety of seven colors for the price of $34.95.

Next up is the Scout Folio case for the iPad Mini and if you couldn't gather from the name, this gem sports a folio design that protects the screen when not in use and sturdily holds upright when in use. This case does include similar feature to the Scout phone case, such as the lightweight composite construction, large tactile buttons, impact resistant core, and meeting military drop standards. Where it does stand out is the design and materials in which it is wrapped in, as it has a soft hexagonal material that is easy to grip and prevents sliding. Like most folio cases out for the apple tablets, this does make use of a Smart Cover to preserve battery on top of protection and the cover also folds put to stand upright in landscape layout for watching, browsing and typing. The Scout Folio is available now in black for the price of $49.95.

I was impressed with the UAG lineup for my apple devices as the sported a tactical look, provided protection from the overly fragile devices, and an affordable price tag. Sure there were some nuances, mostly just the loose fit along the bottom of my phone, but the extreme heat of Arizona is usually the cause and the bulkiness of the cases. The Scout for the iPhone's added bulk wasn't too bad, but the Scout Folio really added some girth to the tablet. If you are a fan of tactically designed tech accessories but do not have an apple phone or tablet, worry not as UAG also has cases for a number of Samsung's devices and the HTC One.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Jabra cuts the cord and brings us Rox

We have another set of wireless headphones from Jabra, maker of some of the most innovative wireless headsets I have had the pleasure of reviewing, and this time around we have the Rox Bluetooth ear buds. The Rox buds cut the cord to the phone and use solid steel to create these wireless buds, but the real stand out features happen to be what you can't see, like the hidden charge port under the left bud's cap, the power saving magnets, and being built to IP52 standards to protect from dust and water. Now that the Rox are synced and fully charged, let's see how they hold up to the challenge.
For starters, these earbuds are extremely portable and love the ability to easily power down when not in use by sticking the two buds together via internal magnets and power back on by simply pulling apart. The small low profile ear buds also deliver loud sound with surprisingly deep bass, the highs on the other hand did sound a little flat before using the Jabra sound app which allows playback in Dolby Digital Plus sound and access to a graphic equalizer to tune to my liking. Jabra's fact sheet shows five and a half hour playback between charges, which had me worried they would die before the end of the workday, but when I would stick the buds together when not in my ears, the charge lasted throughout the day until I got home to throw back on the charger.

At the end of the day, there were a couple things in which I would have preferred were done differently during production and the first would be stronger magnets as they do come apart easily when set down causing them to power back on and use the limited charge. The other would be the tuning out of the box as the Jabra sound app helps but I prefer to not require a separate app for each wireless audio device I use throughout my household. Other than that, these ear buds are amazing and insure a comfortable fit based on your usage and ear size with a wide variety ear gels and ear wings to keep the sound flowing to your dome without constant adjustment. Jabra's unplugged and uncompromised Rox earbuds are currently available in black or white for the price of $129.95.

Polk goes to the next gen with the 4 Shot headset

We have the first headset specifically designed for the next gen consoles, specifically the Xbox One from Polk Audio and the cans in hand are the 4 Shot High Performance Wireless Gaming Headphone System. The 4 Shots are just what the console was lacking if you are like most gamers that share space with roommates or family members and easily allows the high performance sound that Polk is known for without the clutter of numerous cables to the console for power and sound. Now that this tailored headset for the Xbox One are out of the package and ready to go, let's see how they perform.
This headset is incredibly easy to set up and use out of the box and to my amazement usage is not limited to the Xbox One. This headset was made to be used with not only the new Xbox but also tablets, phones, and while not advertised, it works with the PlayStation 4. The sound is great providing clarity and range but the real high point of this headset has got to be how comfortable they are. The 4 Shot's comfort comes from the over ear fit and leatherette wrapped plush ear pads topped with pivoting cups to make sure they snugly fit for short or long gaming sessions without pain or discomfort over time. Lastly, in the packaging are a couple different cables based on what you are using the headset with, but in order to use with the Xbox One, I had to use the included headset adapter that plugs into the controller after a quick update to place the audio control in my hands unlike when using with Sony's next gen console.
During my time with the 4 Shot's there were some nuances, the first being the retractable near field microphone, which was a clever way to mute and use during online play, but the mic did not do well at picking up speech unless I yelled and it still sounded distant. Polk is aware of this and included a boom mic to make online chat functional but also makes the retractable mic pretty much useless. The other issue would be that the headset is considered wireless, but not exactly what you would expect as it does require a cable connection to the controller, but at least now you don't have cables running across the living room to the console.

When all is said and done, I had a great time with Polk's 4 Shot headset, whether using with my phone, tablet, or next generation consoles as they do a damn fine job at bringing sound as it was intended to your ear holes without waking roommates or family members. On top of using at home, I actually used them as my primary headphones with my phone at my desk or watching Netflix from my phone and the experience was great with loud clear sound to hear games, movies, and shows as intended all without an additional power source. The 4 Shot is available now in three different colors for the price of $159.95.