Best Camping Tech for 2021

If you are going camping this summer, you are going to want to check out this list of the best camping and outdoor tech.

While it is certainly nice to step away from the busy tech-focused world we live in, leaving our phones and computers behind, there is also something to be said for getting away on an adventure with the best outdoor tech and gadgets available. 

Check out my list of the best camping and outdoor tech for 2021 


BIOLITE CAMPSTOVE 2 – $299.95

I covered the BIOLITE CampStove 2 back in back 2017 when it was first released. The CampStove 2 is a portable wood burning stove that converts heat into electricity. 

BioLite’s patented core technology captures waste heat from the fire through a heat probe attached to the stove’s power pack. The captured heat is converted into electricity via a thermoelectric generator. This powers a fan and sends electricity to a USB charging port. Excess power is stored in the internal. The internal fan injects air back into the burn chamber which improves combustion and creating a cleaner, more efficient burn.

The CampStove also comes with an array of accessories such as a lamp, kettle and cooking grill.

Check out the BIOLITE CAMPSTOVE 2.  


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LUMINAID PACKLITE LANTERN – $49.99

The LUMINAID PACKLITE LANTERN is something I have never considered needing before. However, when I think back to every time my family and I have gone camping, one thing that inevitably happens is we arrive to the site late in the day and are trying to setup camp and cook dinner since we are all starving after a long drive. 

I have used trouble lights, oil lanterns or even our van’s headlights, but none of those are ideal. When I came across the LUMINAID I knew it needed to be on this list! 

The lantern is solar powered so you will need to do a bit of planning to ensure it has a charge to get you up and running. You can also charge via a USB port if solar is not an option, however.

Delivering up to 150 lumens of LED light at max power and can supply up to 50 hrs. of light in low power mode. 

My suggestion is to pick up 4-5 of these lanterns to illuminate your entire campsite. They are also waterproof with an IP67 rating so they can stay setup for the whole trip. 

Check out the LUMINAID PACKLITE LANTERN


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LIFESTRAW PERSONAL WATER FILTER – $25

The LIFESTRAW PERSONAL WATER FILTER is something you are going to want to have on hand if you are going to be away from a potable water source on your next camping or hiking adventure. 

The LIFESTRAW filter removes a minimum of 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, and filters to 0.2 microns. It does this without the need for iodine, chlorine, or other chemicals. 

You can place this in any body of water like a river or stream and drink through the straw delivery clean, filtered water that will not harm you. A must if you are going to heading into the back county.

Check out the LIFESTRAW PERSONAL WATER FILTER 


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AKASO V50 PRO NATIVE 4K 30FPS 20MP WI-FI ACTION CAMERA WITH EIS TOUCH SCREEN – $189.99

Now we are into some real gadgets in the Gadget Syrup sense! You likely have not heard of AKASO before but think of them as a poor-man’s GoPro. And that is not a bad a thing! 

The AKASO V50 ACTION CAMERA records in up to 4K/30FPS, shoots 20MP stills and has WI-FI to transmit your content a smartphone for editing and sharing. 

This action cam also offers EIS or Electronic Image Stabilization to ensure your videos and images are stable and clear. There is also a 6-position gyroscope onboard to ensure the camera always knows which direction it is oriented. 

This camera bundle includes 2 x rechargeable 1100 mAh batteries, chargers, a remote-control wristband, and lots of other useful accessories. 

AKASO V50 Pro Action Cam
AKASO 14 in 1 Action Camera Accessory Kit

If you really want to step up your action camera game, you should also consider the AKASO 14 IN 1 ACTION CAMERA ACCESSORY KIT. This add-on kit only costs $24.99 CAD and includes useful add-ons such as the chest strap, mini tripod, and floating wrist strap. 

Check out the AKASO V50 PRO ACTION CAMERA 


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JBL FLIP 5 PORTABLE WATERPROOF WIRELESS BLUETOOTH SPEAKER – $149.98

The JBL FLIP 5 is one of the best rugged and waterproof speakers available and comes in a variety of assorted colours. Eleven to be exact.

Look at all those colours!

The 4800mAh battery provides up to 12 hours of playback time and the speaker is IPX7 rated, which means it can be submerged in up to 3 ft of water with no fear of damage. 

Its cylindrical design also makes the FLIP 5 easy to pack in your back, taking up minimal space.

The FLIP 5 also supports pairing with other “partyboost” speakers giving you the ability to create a stereo pair.

Check out the JBL FLIP 5 PORTABLE WATERPROOF WIRELESS BLUETOOTH SPEAKER


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JACKERY PORTABLE POWER STATION EXPLORER – From $259.99

A few years ago, the family and I went camping in Northern Ontario. The site we selected was a no-power site. We figured we would be fine without electricity and we could use the battery from our SUV to keep our cooler running overnight. Using the car each day to keep the battery charged for the next night would be fine. We woke up on day two and the battery to the SUV was dead and our food was warm.  

Sigh. We moved to a powered site immediately. 

Had we planned better we would have brought one of these with us. 

The JACKERY PORTABLE POWER STATION EXPLORER will let you power and charge your devices when you cannot get to a wall charger. You can power up to 4 devices at a time including smartphones, laptops, small heaters, and lights. 

The JACKERY PORTABLE POWER STATION EXPLORER also can be recharged via solar, but you will need to purchase the solar panel separately. 

Its biggest limitation is that it cannot power devices like a kettle because of the wattage requirements. 

Check out the JACKERY PORTABLE POWER STATION EXPLORER 


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VANKYO BURGER 101 3D PICO PROJECTOR – $276.99

The VANKYO BURGER 101 3D PICO PROJECTOR may be a bit of an unnecessary camping item, but it sure is a lot of fun. I have long been a user of the Motorola Z line of phone and Moto Mods. The mod I have used most has been the Incipio InstaShare Projector which snaps onto the back of the phone, turning it into a fully functional projector. 

The VANKYO BURGER 101 3D PICO PROJECTOR does not snap onto the phone, but instead connects via Wi-Fi or HDMI to your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. 

This projector provides up to the equivalent of a 100” screen size at 1080p resolution and has a built-in 5200mAh battery which is more than enough to get through a movie or a few TV shows on Netflix. 

All of this comes in a device that weighs about the same as an iPhone 12. 

The projector also supports 3D playback if you have 3D glasses, which are not included. However, I would not buy this for its 3D capabilities, but more for its size and convenience.

Don’t forget a big white sheet and some rope to create a makeshift projector screen!

Check out the VANKYO BURGER 101 3D PICO PROJECTOR 


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That is it! There are hundreds of other fun and useful gadgets you could take camping with you, but these are some of my favourites. I hope you enjoyed and let me know in the comments what type of tech you take with you when venture to the great outdoors.


If you would like to see other guides like this, send me an email HERE.

Kickstarter Spotlight: STORM 2 Sci-Fi EDC Power Bank For Digital Nomads

The STORM 2 EDC Portable Battery is not your average power bank.

There are a lot, like a lot, of different portable battery packs on the market. You see them everywhere. Like Google Home Minis, you find them everywhere you turn, even in the the bottom of the cereal box. For the most part, they are all the same boring black slab of battery with nothing that sets it apart from the others. Ever once in a while, you find one that stands out. However, they’re a pretty boring category of tech gear.


I will admit, the Pikachu one is pretty damn cool. It also has USB C for charging which is nice ⚡

I don’t use these very often any more. Mostly because they either lack the power to run everything I need them to or just don’t like to lug the ugly bricks around. Then I came across the STORM 2 Power Bank courtesy of Daniel Rubino from Windows Central. Much like Daniel, I find these battery packs tend to all be the same, but the STORM 2 has an LCD which ties into the battery pack’s OS/firmware and the housing for the battery is completely clear. It caught my attention.


I have seen a lot of comparisons to a Cyberpunk-style design, but for me it feels more like a prop from Star Trek.


STORM 2 Power Bank from Kickstarter
Microsoft Surface Duo connected to the Storm 2 Power Bank. 📸: Daniel Rubino

What is the STORM 2 Sci-Fi EDC Power Bank For Digital Nomads?

The STORM 2 is a 27,600mAh / 99.36 Wh battery pack at its core, but it has a few extra tricks up its sleeve. The housing that encases the battery is clear, which serves no purpose other than to look cool and nerdy which is right in my wheelhouse. You can see the battery, circuitry and ports.

On the top-side the STORM 2 has a LCD display which allows you to control the power banks OS/firmware. Yes, this battery pack runs its own OS. The OS runs on a 32-bit M3 ARM MCU chip.

Check out the spec breakdown:

Power100W PD In/Out
3.3-25.2V DC Out
Pass-through charging
Battery27,600mAh/99.36Wh
Panasonic-Sanyo NCR18650GA
Ports2x USB Type-C (100W, 30W)
1x USB Type-A (5V)
1x DC Output (3.3-25.2V/3A)
Display1.14″ IPS TFT LCD
FeaturesAirline Safe Compact Battery Bank
Retro Style Monitor
Manual Power Control
Voltage Protection
Short Circuit, and Temperature Protection
Lifespan500 charges
Recharge time1.5 hours
Size151 x 46 x 59 mm
Weight578 grams
MaterialAluminum Alloy/V0 fireproof chassis

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Using the single button on the battery allows you to control the batteries settings for things like temperature control, voltage, etc.



Thanks to the impressive spec list the STORM 2 can fast-charge 3 devices simultaneously. On their Kickstarter page they state you can “charge your DJI drone with the DC port, MacBook Pro & iPhone with two USB-C ports, and your smart watch at the same time to boost your productivity.” It is pretty impressive that a portable pack this small has the ability to charge a MacBook Pro plus additional peripherals.


Charge your DJI drone with the DC port, MacBook Pro & iPhone with two USB-C ports, and your smart watch at the same time to boost your productivity.


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The DC port which allows for passthrough charging is also key for the STORM 2. Many, or rather most power banks do not allow for this, unless you’re breaking the bank and getting something like the massive Anker batteries that are more akin to a car battery in size. It is this kind of convenience coupled with a good price that make this so compelling.


It is also worth nothing the Watt-Hour size of this battery, which is 99.36Wh. Why 99.36? The STORM 2 is “airline safe” and they were able to achieve this by keeping the battery capacity under the 100Wh airline restriction. When we are allowed to do things like fly again and travel you will be able to bring your STORM 2 with you keeping your devices charged, even above 30,000 ft!


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Where can you buy the STORM 2?

The STORM 2 is currently running its campaign on Kickstarter. The team behind this battery pack reached their goal of $10,000 USD or $12,900 CAD about 5 minutes after going live and the project currently has a little over $200,000 CAD in funding. If you would like to back the STORM 2, Early Bird pricing is still available for $138 CAD + $24 CAD in shipping. The campaign runs until March 25, 2021 and orders are expected to start shipping internationally in April of 2021.

Check out the STORM 2 on Kickstarter

Best Surface Book 2 Accessories

The Surface Book 2 may be the most “complete” notebook on the market in 2018. It checks all the boxes, but like any device, the experience is dramatically improved with the correct accessories.

Check out my list of the best Surface Book 2 Accessories!

The Surface Book 2 may be the most “complete” notebook on the market in 2018. It checks all the boxes, but like any device, the experience is dramatically improved with the correct accessories.

Check out my list of the best Surface Book 2 Accessories!


Megoo Surface Book Tempered Glass Screen Protector

 The Surface Book 2 had a gorgeous touchscreen, so taking care of it should be of the highest priority!

 The Megoo Tempered Glass screen protector is a must. Spec’ed at 9H hardness the Megoo can stand up to scuffs and scratches from nearly any object.

Some lower quality screen protectors cause the display to look faded or dull. That won’t be that case with the Megoo, since it is highly transparent, allowing 94% of light through from the display.

It is also only 0.2mm thick, so added weight and bulk on the display will not be an issue.

You can pick up the  Megoo Surface Book Tempered Glass Screen Protector at Amazon.ca for around $25 CAD.

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Xbox One Wireless Controller

The Surface Book 2 packs some serious power. The review unit I have been spending time with of late ships with a Nvidia discrete GPU w/2GB GDDR5,  an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U at 4.2 GHz, and 16 GB of RAM.

With all that power, you’d be doing Microsoft a disservice by not using it for gaming, and you can’t game, properly, without an Xbox One controller.

Selling at the Microsoft Store for $74.99 CAD, the Xbox One controller will work with both your Windows 10 PC and Xbox One game console.


StarTech.com USB-C Docking Station

Surface devices have suffered from a lack of ports to allow users to connect various peripherals and displays. The Surface Book 2 is no exception offering only two USB 3 Type A ports, one USB Type C port and an SDXC slot. Actually, that is better than say the Surface Laptop which peers only a single USB Type A and mini DisplayPort connection, but given the performance abilities of the Book 2, I would have hoped for more connectivity options.

Thankfully, many companies offer various docking station options which give users a variety of ports. One solid example is the StarTech.com DK30A2DH docking station.

The DK30A2DH allows users to connect dual 4k displays, six USB Type A devices, Ethernet, and 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks. All of this connects to the Surface Book 2 via a single USB Type C connection.

The  DK30A2DH sells for just over $227 CAD from Amazon.ca

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Surface Pen

Any Surface device wouldn’t be complete without a Surface Pen. Since the original Surface release, the Pen has seen dramatic improvements with each new release. The current Surface Pen iteration is incredibly precise with 4,096 pressure points which makes drawing and sketching nearly lag-free.

The Surface Pen doesn’t come cheap though. It will set you back $129.99 CAD.


That’s it! Those are my picks for some of the best Surface Book 2 accessories? Agree? Disagree? What did I miss? Let me know in the comments section below!

 Don’t forget to check out my Surface Book 2 Review while you’re here!

OneUp: The First Truly Portable and Ultra Compact Life Preserver

You’re probably asking right now, “Why am I reading about a life preserver on a gadget blog?” That’s a great question! The reason, however, is a simple one. Some of the coolest tech and gadgets out there are not AI-powered robots, laptops or smartphones. Some of the coolest tech I have looked at since starting GadgetSyrup.com has been outdoor techs such as the Skycamp from iKamper, HURU’s all-weather backpack and the BioLite CampStove 2.

I recently came across another really interesting outdoor piece of tech; OneUp. Check it out

You’re probably asking right now, “Why am I reading about a life preserver on a gadget blog?” That’s a great question! The reason, however, is a simple one. Some of the coolest tech and gadgets out there are not AI-powered robots, laptops or smartphones. Some of the coolest tech I have looked at since starting GadgetSyrup.com has been outdoor techs such as the Skycamp from iKamper, HURU’s all-weather backpack and the BioLite CampStove 2.

I recently came across another really interesting outdoor piece of tech; OneUp. Check it out below.


What is OneUp?

OneUp is the billed as “World’s Most Compact Self-Activating Life Float” and comes in can the size of a Monster Energy drink.

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What Does OneUp Do?

It is fairly obvious based on the description, but OneUp, when thrown into the water, rapidly transforms into a full-sized inflated life preserver. The process is quick too, according to OneUp the device takes only 2 seconds to transform from its energy drink sized can into the life preserver.

OneUp is pretty impressive device too, given its size. As I mentioned, it is no bigger than an energy drink can and weighs less than one pound, but when inflated can hold up to 330 lbs or 150 kg.


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How Does It Work?

Using tech commonly used with aeronautical & naval safety and security, OneUp is equipped with a small salt pod and a CO2 sensor that is triggered by contact with water.

When the OneUp lands in the water, the salt pod instantly dissolves, revealing the CO2 inflation sensor and therefore, causing the rapid release of CO2 into the contained inflation device.

What makes OneUps life preserver even more fascinating is its reusability. Deflation and repack into its container takes a little over a minute and but you will need to replace the salt pod and CO2 cartridge after each use. 



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What Else?

According to the World Health Organization, drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional deaths globally, with an estimated toll of 360, 000 lives or 42 deaths every hour. That is a staggering number.

Being equipped with a device, like that of the OneUp, water safety can be dramatically improved no matter where you are, be it the beach, the local swimming pool or when traveling by boat on a large body of water.

Saúl Arteta, CEO of OneUp, has said that the mission of “OneUp is to improve water safety forever while giving people an easy-to-use tool they can rely on during any water activity.”


Until now, life
preservers have been bulky and difficult to manage. With our new device, people can still enjoy
their time on the water and trust that if an issue arises, OneUp is there to save anyone in just
seconds.

— Saúl Arteta, CEO of OneUp

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Finally, a little fun behind the name. OneUp was selected as the name of this device as a throwback to classic video games of the ’80’s and ’90’s because extra lives were commonly referred to as “OneUps” And that is exactly what OneUp is; it is an “extra life” approach to aquatic safety. It is nice to see a company using a little nostalgic fun with their naming conventions.


Where to Buy OneUp?

Early-bird pricing is available today, April 4th, on Indiegogo for $49. OneUp plans to ship their life-saving device sometime this summer.

For more information head over to OneUpSaves.com.


What are your thoughts on the OneUp? Is it a game-changer for you? Personally, for myself, a father of 3 small children, I absolutely plan to purchase a few of these to keep on hand. You never know what is going to happen when out on open water. In a perfect world, you never need to use a device like OneUp, but I would rather have it on hand and not use it, then need it and not have it.

Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

GadgetSyrup Geeky Gadget Gift Guide 2017

Christmas is right around the corner. Time to start thinking about the geeks on your shopping list.

Check out the GadgetSyrup Geek Gadget Gift Guide for 2017!

The holiday season is coming up quickly and let’s be honest here. The “geeks” in your life are not the easiest to buy for thanks to their introverted-ness and sometimes less than effective communication skills. With that in mind, and myself, being one of those “geeks” I just described, I have put together this short list of items that are sure to please even the pickiest of geeks.


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Anki Cozmo & Anki Cozmo Collectors Edition

 Cozmo CE & Cozmo
Cozmo CE & Cozmo

First up is Anki Cozmo. He was the must-have toy of the year last holiday season and it is looking like he will be right near the top again this year. However, you will have to make a choice if you plan to put Cozmo under the tree this year. Do you go with the classic white and red theme or do you pick up the Cozmo Collectors Edition which comes in a Liquid Metal paint finish. My vote; get both!

Check out my two Cozmo reviews HERE.

In Canada, Cozmo and Cozmo CE are available at Best Buy. Check them out!


Anki Overdrive Fast and Furious Edition

If you have been on the site before you know that I am a big fan of Anki and the great products they have released over the past year. Last year I reviewed and talked a lot about Anki Overdrive. It is a very fun and easy-to-play racing game that mixes in Artificial Intelligence into its software to take the game to a level not seen in this type of game. You can read my review of the original Overdrive game HERE and more recently, my unboxing and overview of the Fast and Furious Edition.

The inclusion of the Fast and Furious franchise into the Overdrive family has been tremendously done. The cars from Overdrive and even the original Anki Drive are compatible with the Fast and Furious app giving you endless amounts of possible race combinations.


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Google Home

If you have been keeping score in the smart speaker battle between Google’s Home and Amazon’s Echo/Alexa you would likely place Amazon in the lead, and you should. Alexa is literally everywhere and showing no signs of slowing down. However, I would recommend that a prospective smart speaker buyer get their feet wet with Google’s offering. 

The Google Home has been doing a wonderful job of playing catch up to get near feature parity with Amazon, but that is not the reason I would recommend the Home over the Echo. The functions of the Home will be familiar to most users, especially Android users since the Google Assistant is more or less the same when comparing the smartphone to the Home versions.

If you’re looking to get started with a smart speaker that is familiar and easy to use with hundreds of useful integrations the Google Home would be my pick.

Check out the Google Home HERE.


Aukey EP-B61 Bluetooth Headset

This Bluetooth headset from the accessory maker, Aukey, is, for all intents and porpuses, a budget alternative to those looking for the Apple-Beats X headset released earlier this year.

I reviewed this headset in early November and was pleased by the overall, quality of the audio provided. The biggest let down was more the fault of Bluetooth 4.2 issues than of the headset itself. 

One of my favourite features is the ability to have a simultaneous connection with two devices, making it easy to bounce between phone and laptop audio quickly.

Check out my review of the EP-B61 Headset HERE.


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ZUS Smart Tire Safety Monitor

 ZUS Tire Monitor (Image: Digital Trends)
ZUS Tire Monitor (Image: Digital Trends)

Let’s be honest, the tire pressure sensor and monitor that is built into your vehicle from the factory is pretty much useless. Some vehicles are better than others, but in the case of my two vehicles, a Ford and Dodge, they do not provide any information until one of the four tires are low on pressure. Once that alarm is sounded, I’m on my own to stop and manually check the pressure of each tire to see which tire is causing the alarm.

The ZUS Smart Tire Safety Monitor system is a must if the factory options provided by your automaker is as useless as mine.

Check out the ZUS Smart Tire Safety Monitor HERE.


August Smart Lock

 August Smart Lock (image: CNET)
August Smart Lock (image: CNET)

Do you need a smart lock? No, not really. However, all geeks and nerds alike feel that they need a smart lock. If you do decide to bestow a smart lock upon your geek, I would recommend the August Smart Lock.

Recently refreshed with a new lineup of more affordable locks, August is one of, if not the industry leader in this space.

You can see the full August lineup of smart locks HERE.


SNES Classic

Last year people were either trampling each other trying to get the last of a small shipment of NES Classics from their local Best Buy or actively trying to scam desperate parents out of hundreds of dollars so they could give little Jimmy an NES for Christmas. 

This year Nintendo has released the SNES Classic which has already shown to be in demand as much, if not more than the NES from a year ago. 

Nintendo has committed to more stock, and that appears to be the case despite stock selling out almost instantaneously when it comes available every few weeks or so. 

The SNES Classic comes with 21 games installed including the previously unreleased “Star Fox 2” which never saw the light of day during the original SNES glory days.

Pro Tip: The I have been able to get the line on the SNES Classic more than once this year by following Best Buy Canada’s gamer channel on Twitter. The account (@BBYC_GamersClub) does not tweet often, but when they do, it is usually to announce the availability of new games and consoles. I suggest following this account and turning on Tweet notifications to be ready for the next SNES Classic stock drop. Also, check out the site BrickSeek. It can send you notifications so you know when a retailer has stock online or instore.


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BITTBOY Handheld Gaming System

 A trio of BittBoy handhelds.
A trio of BittBoy handhelds.

If you were not lucky enough to find a SNES but still want to give your geek a retro-game fix the Bitt Boy is a handheld system that is more-or-less a classic GameBoy knockoff.

The Bitt Boy, unlike official Nintendo retro releases, does not run official games, but rather runs an NES emulator that comes stocked with about 300 different titles.

The build quality is certainly not going to be the greatest here, but for the price paid, only $30, it is sure to provide a decent level of entertainment when on the go or when simply sitting on the couch in a vegetative state refusing to do anything productive.

You can pick up a Bitt Boy HERE.


Essential PH-1 Android Smartphone from Essential/Andy Ruben

 Essential PH-1 with 360 Camera. Image: Telus.com
Essential PH-1 with 360 Camera. Image: Telus.com

Ok, hear me out. Anyone who has been following the news-cycle on the Essential PH-1 will think this is crazy to recommend as a gift, but if we look at our core audience here, geeks, this is actually an ideal device for this type of user. 

The Essential PH-1 (PH-ONE…get it…) is possibly the most beautiful phone released in 2017. Yes, even more so than the iPhone X (come at me Apple fans!). That is a significant factor when a geek is scoping out their next phone. 

Another reason to consider this is the simplicity of the software included by Essential. There is essentially no software installed out-of-the-box. The only customer piece of software included is the Essential Camera app which is, by all accounts, hot garbage. The beauty of Android, however, is that it is near effortless to install the ported versions of Google HDR+ Camera app allowing you to take some stunning photos. They won’t be Pixel level quality, but they will be considerably better than the stock camera app from Essential. 

Next up is the phones expandability or potential expandability thanks to the wireless USB 3 spec used by the phone to connect to devices like the Essential 360 camera. There is promise here and if Essential can make headway here similar to that of Motorola with the moto-mod system we could see some really fun and useful mods for the Essential phone next year.

Finally, the Essential PH-1 was created by Andy Ruben; the father and creator of Android. If you did not know this already, shame on you!

The Essential PH-1 can be ordered directly from Essential HERE and in Canada, from Telus HERE. Note the device, despite being exclusive to Telus does come unlocked for all major Canadian carriers.


That sums up the GadgetSyrup Geeky Gadget Gift Guide for 2017. Let me know what you think of the list and tell me what items you have on your list this year!

HURU All-Weather Backpack Preview

HURU is an all-weather backpack that is launching today, September 26th, 2017, on Kickstarter with the goal of being your go-to bag for every possible scenario. It is designed for “both the office and the outdoors and is constructed using premium materials: army-approved, water-resistant Cordura fabric; best in the world YKK zippers; and custom steel stoppers and fasteners.”

If you are like me you do not know how to go out for an extended period of time without a completely unnecessary swath of different gadgets, cables, batteries and other tech gear, than you may be interested in what I am sharing with you today. Before I get to the goods though, let me set up the back story and reasons why I am very interested in this product.

This summer we took two extended vacations and each time I left home with at least 4 phones, 2 cameras, 2-3 laptops, several cables, portable batteries, SD cards, etc. Did I need all this stuff, maybe not? Did I want to have all this stuff because I have an issue where I over pack on the tech side, maybe…probably…ok, yes I do.

Why tell you this? Well, taking all of this stuff isn’t such an easy task when the bag you’re using isn’t designed to handle everything you’re going to throw at it. Of the several backpacks and messenger style bags, I have available, not one has the right amount of storage, or is not the size, or isn’t comfortable to wear for long periods. The bag I elected to go with on each trip was a standard run-of-the-mill laptop backpack with a handful of generic, yet mostly useless compartments. It simply doesn’t cut it.

That is where the HURU backpack comes into play. Read on the learn more about this incredibly versatile pack.


What is HURU?

HURU is an all-weather backpack that is launching today, September 26th, 2017, on Kickstarter with the goal of being your go-to bag for every possible scenario. It is designed for “both the office and the outdoors and is constructed using premium materials: army-approved, water-resistant Cordura fabric; best in the world YKK zippers; and custom steel stoppers and fasteners.”

Oh, and in case you were wondering what HURU stands for; I know I certainly was. “HURU” is Swahili for “free” or “freedom”. Why that name? Keep reading, I think it will all make sense after seeing everything HURU has to offer.



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The HURU backpack comes loaded with useful features. Here are the top 10 outlined by the HURU team:

  1. The belt, which can be transformed into a detachable waist bag. Just take it off, put your wallet, bank cards, phone, keys and other valuables in it and go on exploring the city while leaving your backpack safe in the hotel or in the car.
  2. HURU is water-resistant. You don’t need an extra cover for the backpack. No drop of water will get inside HURU and damage belongings, as it is constructed using water-resistant Cordura fabric, YKK zippers and a real leather base.
  3. Water-resistant hood stored in the backpack, ready to protect the owner from unexpected showers.
  4. HURU backpack opens like a suitcase, which makes makes packing for a trip very easy.
  5. HURU’s capacity is 22 liters and it is expandable to 40 liters in one simple move.
  6. Backpack fits into the hand luggage compartment on the airplane, so your belongings are always with you during the flight.
  7. A lateral stiffness plastic base is installed in the backpack’s rear section to spread the load across the whole back, thus drastically decreasing pressure on parts of the spine that would normally be compromised by backpack usage. This is really important for anatomical and physiological well-being, reducing the spinal load as much as possible.
  8. Each strap has a secret pocket for keys, bank cards or an ID card. These pockets can easily be accessed by the backpack owner, but not by a thief.
  9. In addition to the main section of the bag, HURU has two extra compartments: one for a 15 inch laptop and a smaller one for a book, a tablet, or some documents. The backpack also has a separate roll-up compartment where you can store items up to 20.6 inches (53 cm high), such as a tennis racket or a skateboard.
  10. There is a special heat insulating compartment to store drinks.

HURU Features Gallery


I want our customers to enjoy the combination of functionality and awesome design that HURU embodies. We made sure that our backpacks look and feel great both on the inside and on the outside.

— Olg Vlasenko – Founder of HURU

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Why I Like The HURU Backpack

The HURU back appears to be the bag that is trying to do it all. It checks almost all of the important boxes when looking for a good gear bag and it is also doubling as a suitcase making, what I think, maybe the perfect travel luggage.

For me, a few of the most notable features are water-resistance, a dedicated documents compartment, ergonomic backing and chest and waist support. The high-quality aluminum fasteners are also an excellent touch. If this bag is going to handle everything the team behind HURU intends you to, the zippers and fasteners must be built to last.

The HURU bag also includes another incredibly useful feature. The bags belt is detachable, turning into a shoulder-sling or waist-pack of sorts which would be very useful to someone such as myself when out-and-about with my wife and kids. Keeping my phone, wallet and keys in a pocket is not always ideal or possible depending on the outing. I can see this being just as useful as the backpack itself on many occasions.

Long story short. This backpack is built to last!


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Check Out The HURU in Action


Where Can I Get My Own HURU?

The HURU backpack, as mentioned, launches on Kickstarter today and backers looking to snag a HURU can pledge $250 for one backpack and up to $2400 for a set of ten backpacks.

The HURU team plans to ship early bird backpacks in December of 2017, with the remaining packs going out around February of 2018.

If you would like to contribute to the HURU campaign head over to their Kickstarter page HERE!

Don’t forget to check out the HURU launch video too!



The HURU backpack is the creation of Oleg Vlasenko, an entrepreneur who has created several businesses in the IT and healthcare sectors. Like myself, he was never satisfied with the bags and luggage from other companies. Tired of this he was inspired to create the HURU pack. I reached out to Oleg to ask him what he wanted to be the number one thing customers would get out of the HURU pack. Here is what he had to say;

“I want our customers to enjoy the combination of functionality and awesome design that HURU embodies. We made sure that our backpacks look and feel great both on the inside and on the outside.”


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Head over to the HURU Kickstarter page to learn more and back this awesome project!

HURU ON KICKSTARTER

What do you think of the HURU backpack? Let me know in the comments below!


Anki Cozmo Carrying Case Review

Cozmo loves to explore, so make sure he travels safe and in style with the official Anki Cozmo Carrying Case. Click through to read the full review!

For the last year, Anki has been pushing new and exciting features to Cozmo and his application. With each update his abilities and level of interaction increases. This is great to see such cadence on this front and the latest update has made the experience much more enjoyable, but what if you want to take Cozmo on the road to show off his abilities to friends and family?

My solution until now was a small cardboard box just big enough to tuck in Cozmo, his Power Cubes, charging base and USB wall adapter. A functional, but not an aesthetically pleasing solution.

That’s about to change now with the release of the Official Cozmo Carrying Case.


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 Build Quality and Design

As with all Anki products, the quality of this product is exceptionally high. The exterior, made from a highly durable material comes with the Cozmo logo and his trademark skeptical eyes.



Inside you will find custom moldings for your Cozmo robot, 3 Power Cubes, charging cradle and small round cutout for a charger or extra treads. I would have liked to have seen a custom cutout for the Anki USB wall charger that ships with the original Cozmo robot though. It does fit inside the circle cutout, but it is less than ideal.

There is also a small zippered compartment in the lid of the case which you could store additional items in. I have been using this to carry around portable battery packs in this compartment. Since Cozmo has to be in his charging station to wake up, I usually elect to use a battery pack to power it rather than a wall plug. It provides for greater flexibility and less cords running across the floor when using Cozmo in a different location.


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Overall Thoughts

Compared to how Cozmo was getting around before the carrying case is a major upgrade. The round cutout for a wall charger or treads would have been better suited as a cutout for the Anki wall charger. However, the inclusion of the zipper pouch in the lid more than compensates for that. The overall quality of the materials used, as mentioned, is of a very good quality and should be able to stand up to the wear and tear of constant use.

The Cozmo Carrying Case from Anki can be purchased in Canada exclusively from Best Buy for $44.99.

In the USA, various different retailers such as Amazon offer the carrying case. Head over to Anki.com for more info.

Have you picked up a Cozmo yet? If so, will you be purchasing the carrying case as well?

**Updated** Unleash Your Inner Star Lord With This Replica Bluetooth Helmet From Marvel.

I don’t know about you, but I am very excited for the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie set to premiere later this year. As part of the marketing push from Marvel, we will see a lot of new toys and gear popping up everywhere. This on has to be the best one so far. Check out the Marvel Legends Series Star-Lord Electronic Helmet.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has come and gone from theatres, but as the video release nears the Star Lord Bluetooth Helmet is now available on Amazon.com for $108.99. It will be coming to Amazon Canada on September 1st, but can be pre-ordered now for a whopping $178.45.


The countdown is on for the release of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2. As part of what will likely be an onslaught officially licensed items leading up to the premier, Hasbro and Marvel have shown off a replica Start Lord helmet. 


This isn’t just any plastic replica helmet, though. It also comes with a Bluetooth headset built in.

Pop this helmet on and your practically Peter Quill.

The helmet will retail for $100 USD and can currently be pre-ordered on Amazon.com.

It currently is not available on Amazon.ca, but my fingers are crossed!

Oh, and here is the latest Guardians of the Galaxy trailer that dropped yesterday as well.

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Summer 2017 Essential Travel Camping Tech

If you are heading out for a camping trip or road trip this summer you should step up your travel tech game. Check out this list for a few ideas on some essential travel and camping tech gear for this summer.

If you are heading out for a camping trip or road trip this summer you should step up your travel tech game. Check out this list for a few ideas on some essential travel and camping tech gear for this summer.


UE WONDERBOOM Super Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker



When you head out on any camping trip, bringing along a Bluetooth speaker is a must. Whether it be looking from some tunes to listen to during the day, at the camp fire or tunning in to listen to the game, a good speaker is key. For this summer I would recommend the UE WONDERBOOM Super Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker.

Available on Amazon for $129.99 the UE speaker is available in black, red, orange and blue and offers 360-degree sound thanks to its cylindrical design.

The UE speaker offers up to ten hours of battery life and typical Bluetooth range of about 100 ft.

Why the this UE speaker though? The version of the speaker is “seriously waterproof” and will float thanks to its IPX7 rating.

Click the link below to pick one up now!

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SITPACK portable seat

Finding a good place to sit when on out and about hiking on a camping trip can be a challenge. With the SITPACK seat, you can mitigate this problem.



Weighing only 1.32 lbs and collapses down to the size of a 50cl can the SITPACK can hold up to 220.


You can pick up your own SITPACK directly from the the manufacturer here.

The SITPACK is currently avaiable for $60 USD


BioLite CampStove 2

The CampStove 2 is a portable wood burning stove that converts heat into electricity.

The CampStove 2 generates up to 50% more power output than the original CookStove while also containing a 2600 mAh battery. Something the first generation lacked.

Aside from producing clean and storable energy, the CampStove 2 can also be used for more conventional purposes such as cooking meals and boiling water using the Portable Grill and KettlePot add-ons.




The generator & power pack of the CampStove 2 contains USB Type-A ports for powering or charging your devices. It also contains 3 LED strips allowing you to keep tabs on fire strength, power output, and fan speed.

The CampStove 2 can be purchased directly from BioLite for $129.95 USD and qualifies for free shipping in Canada, the USA and Europe.


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Anker PowerCore+ 20100

Having a portable battery pack is an essential pretty much all the time these days thanks to the bevy of devices we carry with us. When camping it is even more of a necessity.

The Anker PowerCore+ 20100 is one of my favorites thanks to the flexibility and power offered by the USB type C port on top of the two USB type A ports.

As the title states, the battery comes with a 20100 mAh battery which is enough to charge most phones 4-5 times over.

Thanks to Anker’s “PowerIQ” and “VoltageBoost” technology the PowerCore+ 20100 offers rapid charging to most mobile phones and can also charge laptops like Apple’s MacBook.

You can pick it up on Amazon down below.

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AirSelfie

Now, this one may not be essential, but it will be sure to be both useful and fun.

The AirSelfie is a pocket-sized drone with a 5-megapixel video camera. It only has a three minute flying time per charge and a range of about 20 meters but would make an excellent companion when hiking unknown terrain, allowing you to scout out the area and avoid getting into an undesirable position.


The AirSelfie will set you back about $280 USD, so it is far from inexpensive, but if used effectively, will be worth every penny.

You can learn more and pre-order the AirSelfie here.


What do you think of the list? Anything you will be picking up for heading out this summer?

Anything you would add to the list?

Let me know below!


Upgrade Your Tent with Skycamp from iKamper

Take your camping to the next level! Check out the Skycamp rooftop tent from iKamper.

What is Skycamp?

The Skycamp, from iKamper, is a unique take on the prototypical tent. Rather than dealing with a mess of poles, pegs and bags way to small for repacking the Skycamp is a collapsable room that mounts to the roof rack of most vehicles.

It is not just a tent on your roof either. Every Skycamp comes equipped with a kingsize bed which lies on the hard plastic floor (no more tree roots!)

Why do you want this?

Judging by the video above, the Skycamp is incredibly easy to set up. According to the iKamper, it should take less than one minute. For me, this is a major selling feature. Our current tent is a behemoth, requires its rolling suitcase and takes a very long time to setup and tear down.

The Skycamp, by nature of its design, is always off the ground. Keeping you dry from water seeping in from the bottom seems, while also keeping you up and away from unwanted four-legged visitors.

The biggest reason I would buy the Skycamp is the freedom it offers. With this, you can camp anywhere, at any time. It makes road tripping far easier than having to lug, setup, and tear down a tent. Can’t find a campground while on a long road trip? No problem, find a rest area or service center and you’re set.

Where can you buy it?

Pre-orders are currently available at iKamper.com for $2500, which is $900 off the price the Skycamp will eventually retail at.

You can also purchase via Kickstarter as well for another 15 days.


Overall, the cost of the Skycamp will be prohibitive to most, but if you’re thinking of something like a popup trailer or a very easy to use camping solution I think the Skycamp is worth considering.

BioLite CampeStove 2

Remember when camping involved packing up the car with a tent, sleeping bags, matches, clothes, food and bug spray?

 

Forget all of that. We can’t camp today unless we have smart devices and power to keep them charged! The BioLite CampStove 2 is here to meet that need. Check it out!

Remember when camping involved packing up the car with a tent, sleeping bags, matches, clothes, food and bug spray?

Well; those days are over. It is time to come to terms with the new way of camping which involves several smart devices, battery packs and things of the like. I have accepted this reality and stress before a camping trip about things like; Do I bring one portable battery or two? Should I bring a second lightning cable? Does the tablet have enough movies and shows for the kids? 

Welcome to the future! Isn’t it great!

The CampStove 2 from BioLite is something I am seriously considering for this year’s camping outings. I am always tweaking the packing list for each years camping, and something like this is certainly going to be beneficial for my family and me.



What is it?

The CampStove 2 is a portable wood burning stove that converts heat into electricity.

The CampStove 2 generates up to 50% more power output than the original CookStove while also containing a 2600 mAh battery. Something the first generation lacked.

Aside from producing clean and storable energy, the CampStove 2 can also be used for more conventional purposes such as cooking meals and boiling water using the Portable Grill and KettlePot add-ons.

Click here to check out all compatible BioLite add-ons

The generator & power pack of the CampStove 2 contains USB Type-A ports for powering or charging your devices. It also contains 3 LED strips allowing you to keep tabs on fire strength, power output, and fan speed.


Check out the CampStove 2 promo video from BioLite.


The CampStove 2 can be purchased directly from BioLite for $129.95 USD and qualifies for free shipping in Canada, the USA and Europe.


What do you think? Is the CampStove 2 something you would consider bringing on your next camping adventure?

Do you miss the old days of roughing it in the woods? Or have you embraced this new way of camping?

Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse Review

Check out my review of the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse. I recently decided it was time to improve my ergonomic setup after taking a few weeks off of work, only to return to a considerable amount of discomfort when I started using a mouse again.

I recently took a few weeks off of work, spending next to no time at all using a mouse. My computer use was limited to either my Surface Pro as a tablet or my Nexus 6P phone.

Upon returning to work, I almost immediately felt discomfort and pain in my right hand. At first, it was not significant, but after a few days of using my mouse again my hand was considerably irritated. Clearly the discomfort was being caused by the use of a mouse. 

I had often considered an ergonomic mouse in the in the past, but alway stuck with my traditional standard notebook mouse from Logitech. The older Logitech MX Anywhere to be concise.

However, the direct correlation between my hand pain and mouse use was enough to kick the search for a better, more ergonomic mouse into full gear.

I was strongly considering the Anker offering which looks much like a shark fin. However, after using it on-loan from a co-worker for a week or two, it was too dramatic of a design to be useful for me. I have larger than average hands which made the shark fin design almost more challenging to use than a traditional style mouse.

Having used and enjoyed the Bluetooth Microsoft Sculpt Comfort mouse in the past I decided to “pull the trigger” on Microsofts Ergonomic mouse.



The Sculpt Ergonomic mouse is shaped much like a baseball and does an effective job of keeping your wrist and hand in a more natural position. When holding a traditional mouse, your radius and ulna are crossed with each other. This will inevitably lead to discomfort. A more natural resting position for your arm/wrist/hand is found when holding your arm on its side, or with your palm up.

I have used the Sculpt Ergonomic mouse for a little over two weeks now. I am very pleased with the immediate comfort and relief provided to my hand and wrist in such a short period.

The mouse comes with a few useful features as well that any modern mouse should come with at minimum.

  • Scroll wheel
  • Windows Button
  • Back Button

Those are pretty basic features found on most mice today. However, many ergonomic offerings lack these, as they are focusing on the form, more than the function. 

The absence of a forward button is unfortunate considering that amount of space available on the thumb side of the mouse.

My biggest issue with the mouse is not with the physical mouse itself but rather its choice of connectivity to the PC. In a time where port-limited ultrabooks reign supreme, Microsoft elected to use a 2.4Ghz wireless connection which requires a dongle.


#DONGLELIFE


Almost all wireless peripherals today are using Bluetooth rather than 2.4Ghz wireless, including many of Microsofts own keyboards and mice. Not only did they choose the #donglelife for users of this mouse, but the size of the dongle used is a bit disappointing.



The mouse takes advantage of Microsofts “BlueTrack” technology, which allows users to use the mouse on nearly any surface, including glass and is powered by two AA batteries.

Another thoughtful design choice Microsoft made with the Sculpt Ergonomic mouse is the battery door. Rather than a traditional click-in design, this one uses magnets to keep the door secure. Removing the door also reveals a slot to stow-away the massive wireless dongle for safe keeping while on the go. 

SHOULD YOU BUY THIS?

I would absolutely recommend this mouse over others for users who are either dealing with some sort of discomfort while using their current mouse or simply wanting to make a healthier choice ergonomically to avoid future unwanted pain while using the computer.

The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse can be purchased from Amazon for $55.43 CAD with a Prime Membership.


Review: Anker SoundCore Sport Waterproof Speaker

Changing things up with a speaker review this time! The Anker SoundCore Sport is powerful Bluetooth speaker in a tiny package, and it is waterproof! Check out the full review!

Taking a bit of a detour from headphones and headsets, I’ve decided to try out the Anker SoundCore Sport mini Bluetooth wireless speaker. I don’t spend a lot of time listening to audio through actual speakers. My working environment lends better to the use of headphones. However, there are times, such as at the beach, out by the pool or having a backyard BBQ where I may want to play some music. If you’re going to invest in a speaker for this type of use, you don’t want just any cheap speaker; you want one that is going to be able to withstand the elements. 

Well, I think I have found the perfect speaker to foot the bill here.

The Anker SoundCore Sport is an extension to the ever-growing line of Anker audio products. It is extremely affordable and contained in a tiny package. Read on below the break for the full review and final verdict.


 Brad, we do this every time...
Brad, we do this every time…

WHAT IS IN THE BOX

SoundCore Sport Speaker
Manual + warranty info (18 months)
Charging Cable (Micro USB)
Silicon wrist strap


SPECIFICATIONS

Weight: 227 grams
Dimensions: 8.5×8.5×4.5 cm
IPX7 rated for resistance to water, snow, dust, and sand
3W driver and subwoofer delivering Hi-Fi sound quality
33-foot range
10hr playback
Built-in microphone, for taking calls from your connected device


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BUILD QUALITY

Despite the exceptionally small size of the SoundCore Sport, I was very satisfied with the quality feel of the speaker. This premium build is the case for most Anker products, however.

The plastic housing of the speaker feels very durable, as do the speaker grills on both the front and back. As mentioned, the Sport is IPX7 rated, but it is not designed to withstand extreme physical abuse. Based on my experience, the Sport should have no problem surviving small falls, but its plastic construction could be prone to breaking if dropped from too high.

The buttons on the Anker are typical of other waterproof speakers with a nearly flat design that is sealed off to stop water from entering between the button and the external chassis.


PERFORMANCE

I was blown away by how much pop this speaker had. Compared to my older, but much larger JBL speaker, the Anker was much louder, clearer and has so much more base.

Listening to a variety of different podcasts, audio books, and music the Anker could be heard clear across any room in the house, even when competing with other noises.

Controlling the functions of the speaker via the volume, power and call answer buttons was rather difficult. The buttons are so flush and being sealed, that pressing them is almost impossible to do unless you make a conscious effort to ensure you press the button correctly.


BOTTOM LINE – SHOULD I BUY THIS?

For the price, and the pop provided by the speaker; you should buy this. This is worth every penny. A small gripe with the buttons is easy to get past since you can control most functions of the speaker from your paired phone or computer.

Christmas is close, but if you order soon, this would be a great stocking stuffer!


Review: Aukey EP-B18 Foldable Bluetooth Headphones

Having tried many different earbud style Bluetooth headphones this year, I felt it was time to try on a pair of on-ear style headphones. Check out the the GadgetSyrup review of the Aukey EP-B18 Foldable Bluetooth Headphones.

I’ve spent a lot of time testing and reviewing different Bluetooth ear buds this year. I have used many good and not-so-good sets of in-ear earbud headsets. Every single pair though has the same problem for me. That problem is that they are not comfortable to wear for any extended period. The same can be said for wired earbuds as well. The in-ear design, for me, is not comfortable for long periods. 

I have never really considered a simple pair of on-ear headphones since they historically have been bulky, heavy and uncomfortable. However, times have changed, and many manufacturers are producing affordable, high-quality on-ear headphones. 

I have had the opportunity to test out the Aukey Foldable EP-B18 on-ear headphones, and I have been impressed by the quality and comfort they have delivered. Read on below the break for the full review.


WHAT’S IN THE BOX

 Relax, Brad. It's just headphones.
Relax, Brad. It’s just headphones.

Delivered in relatively simple packaging you are met with the headphones, micro USB charging cable and a 3.5mm male-to-male cable which can be used to convert the headphones into a wired set.

You will also find the warranty information card, which is for two years.


SPECS

Aukey lists the playback time for this headset at 10 hours. While also stating 200 hours of standby time. In my use, I was able to achieve about 7-8 hours of playback on a single charge. Your mileage may vary.

Like most other Bluetooth headphones these days, they contain Bluetooth A2DP, which stands for Advanced Audio Distribution Profile. What does this mean? Simply put, it allows audio to transmit from your phone to your headphones without compromising the sound quality. Bluetooth audio is still well back compared to the quality of wired, but having this tech built in does usually lead to a better listening experience. You will also find that pairing and use of the playback controls work better with devices containing A2DP.


BUILD QUALITY

 You can call Dr. Venkman & the Ghostbusters using the EP-B18s! They have a mic for making phone calls too!
You can call Dr. Venkman & the Ghostbusters using the EP-B18s! They have a mic for making phone calls too!

The overall build quality of the headphones is fairly decent. They do feel a tad cheap due to their plastic construction. However, the quality and comfort of the foam earpiece covers are slightly above average.

The slightly sub-par build quality though did not lead to an unfavorable experience when it came to comfort. Since these are on-ear, the headphones were extremely comfortable to wear for extended periods. I spent most of my time wearing them while at work, sitting at my desk. Unlike earbuds these headphones never cause any irritation while I was using them.

The USB connector on most Bluetooth headphones I have used is consistently sub-par in their design and hard to access. The ease of access on the Aukey’s however, was excellent in comparison to others. Most of this attributes to the size of the headphones compared to the earbud design. The same applies to the 3.5mm auxiliary jack on the opposing earpiece. 

The headphones are also foldable. The ability to fold these down is welcomed, making them easier to put in your laptop bag while on the go. They do not fold completely flat like some other designs can. However, they do fold down to be compact enough to travel well.

 Easy to use folding design allows the EP-B18s to travel well.
Easy to use folding design allows the EP-B18s to travel well.


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PERFORMANCE

The audio quality of the Aukey EP-B18 is good. Not great, just good. For spoken audio such as podcasts and audio books, the quality is slightly above average. However, music is a somewhat different story. It is passable in most scenarios, however, for songs that have high treble with sharp sounds you will find that the audio is quite tinny. 

If you are like me, listening to mostly podcasts and audio books, these are completely passable, particularly in the price point, these are offered. If you’re any audiophile, which I am most certainly not, you may want to move up to a higher price tier to find something more suitable. 

Switching over to the 3.5mm wired option I did conclude that the tinny pitch was not quite as noticeable. So the previously mentioned tinny sounds can be attributed to the quality of Bluetooth audio. It has improved significantly but still has a way to go before it is on-par with a wired connection. Once the 3.5mm cable is connected, the power to the headphones shuts off, which will save you battery for when you need it.

The volume controls, which are positioned on the right ear piece, leave much to be desired. First, they do not function when using the 3.5mm connection. When using them over Bluetooth, I found that the controls were hard to locate and use. There is a small raised “nib” on the volume up/down controls which are supposed to make it easier to find. This was not the case for me, and I would prefer that they used a dimple-style design for you fingers to slide into. 

 The power button is tactile, but the volume controls are sub-par.
The power button is tactile, but the volume controls are sub-par.


BOTTOM LINE – SHOULD I BUY THIS?

So; should you buy these? For $35.99 CAD, absolutely. They are decent enough quality that you will not be disappointed with the purchase. If you are seeking a high-quality music experience, you’re not looking at this price point. You are likely looking to something like the Bose QC35 headphones. 

These are best suited for someone looking for a decent listening experience for podcasts and spoken audio but may also want to play music from time to time.

You can purchase the Aukey EP-B18 from Amazon.ca.

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Improve Your Notes With The Livescribe 3 Smartpen

If you have ever tried writing on a tablet or phone screen, you know that it is a less than amicable experience. Especially, when you have horrible handwriting such as myself, writing on a screen leads to an illegible amount of scribble that ends up being completely useless. Check out the Livescribe 3 Smartpen for a possible solution!

If you have ever tried writing on a tablet or phone screen, you know that it is a less than amicable experience. Especially, when you have horrible handwriting such as myself, writing on a screen leads to an illegible amount of scribble that ends up being completely useless.

Sometimes paper simply beats digital. The experience of writing on a tablet, no matter how far the technology in touch screens and digital pens has progressed, is sub-par at best. 

However, even though writing on paper is better than glass, you don’t want to wind up having several notebooks piling up around you. Nor do you want to take the time to scan each page into your PC for viewing later.  With the Livescribe smartpen, you can now take notes on paper and have them automatically be replicated digitally with zero effort.

HOW DOES IT WORK

The Livescribe Smartpen looks like a simple (slightly large) pen. However, it connects to your tablet or smartphone and syncs with the Livescribe application which is available on iOS and Android. The pen pairs to your device with a Bluetooth connection.

The caveat with the Livescribe is that you have to use the Livescribe “Dot Paper” notebooks which contain a specific dot pattern, allowing the pen to know exactly what you have written, and where.

You can also record audio along with your written notes by tapping the record icon on the dot paper notebook. This could come in helpful while conducting an interview, for example. A useful feature which is highlighted in the video below.

The pen contains a small about of memory as well, allowing you to save a small amount of written text on the pen should you be away from your smart device while taking notes.

As mentioned, you’re bound to using the Livescribe Dot Paper for your note taking. However, you are not bound to the Livescribe application for storing your notes. The Livescribe pen has third party integrations for Beesy for iPad, Noteshelf for iPad, Microsoft OneNote, and Evernote.

The cost of the Livescribe pen may give pause, but if you take a lot of notes and want to sync and store them digitally, and with ease, it may be worth the investment. 

The Livescribe 3 is available on Amazon Canada and Best Buy Canada for around $250 CAD.

What do you think? Overpriced gimmick, or a great solution to your notetaking woes? 

Must Have Travel Tech 2016

It’s that time of year where you are likely going to be traveling a bit more than usual with Thanksgiving in the USA followed closely by Christmas. For all that time spent on the go this holiday season, check out this list of must have travel tech to make your trip a little easier.


I wrote earlier this year that my family and I will be driving, over the course of three days, to Florida. It is going to be a long trek and I’m sure by the end of the drive we will all want to vegetate at the rental house for a few days. Despite how long the drive is, and how tiring it will be, this is what we’ve signed up for. To make that trip a little easier, packing the right tech can make all the difference. Here are a few essential items for travelling this year. 


StarTech.com AP150WN1X1U Travel Router

Most hotels nowadays have wi-fi included, but there are still a surprising number that have the wired only Ethernet in the room. In some cases, that may be fine, as long as you have the right dongle in your bag and are the only one wanting to use the blazing fast hotel internet. However, in most cases, you want to get online with your phone, tablet or as is the case with my family, connect more than one device to the internet during your stay.

The solution to this is a fairly simple one. A pocket-sized travel wireless router.

The AP150WN1X1U portable wireless N router from StarTech.com allows you to turn any wired connection into a wireless hot-spot. It is powered off of any 5 volt USB connection, such as your laptop or even the back USB “service port” on most TVs.

The AP150WN1X1U supports three different modes of operation; Access Point, Router and Repeater making it a pretty versatile device that can be quickly setup via its web interface. When not in use the compact size tucks away nicely in your bag or pocket.

Get the StarTech.com AP150WN1X1U Travel Router at Amazon:

Canada

USA


Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C

I never thought I would use a device such as this next one as often as I do, but the reality is, for a power user such as myself, a portable high capacity battery pack is a must on any trip these days.

The Anker PowerCore+ 20100 with USB-C is my personal favourite. I tote either a Nexus 6P or a OnePlus 3 as my daily driver on the phone side, so the USB-C port is a wonderful thing on this battery. It also contains 2 x USB-A ports for older legacy USB devices, or USB-A to USB-C cables. Both of which are handy for charging my wife’s iPad Mini 2 or the kids older iPad Mini at the same time.

The battery is 20100mAH and all USB ports provide 5v/2.4amps of power which is actually enough to charge the new USB-C based MacBook.

Anker also includes their rapid charge tech as well ensuring that your devices charge at max speed without causing any damage to them. 

Inside the box you will find the battery, a case, a USB A-C and USB A-micro B cable.

Get the Anker PowerCore+ 20100 at Amazon:

Canada

USA


Google Chromecast

Recently covered in the GadgetSyrup Geek Gift Guide, the Chromecast is a very handy travel companion if you are on the road with only your mobile devices (phones, iPads, tablets, etc).

Simply connect it to the HDMI port on the back of the TV in the hotel room, switch the input and away you go. From your phone, tablet or some Windows based laptops you can cast your YouTube or Netflix videos to the TV. Thus avoiding suffering through channel surfing on the hotels basic cable and avoiding the high cost of renting movies through the hotels clunky video rental interface.

Get the Google Chromecast from Google:

Canada

USA


TrackR Bravo or Tile Mate

Ok, you spent the night in a hotel, the kids threw stuff everywhere, you’re trying to get packed up and get back on the road for the next lag of your trip and you can’t find your keys or some other vital item to get going. Well, had you prepared yourself by using a Bluetooth tracker such as the TrackR Bravo or Tile Mate you would have already found that item and been on the road.

Pick up either the TrackR or the Tile, attach it to your keys, bags, kids or pets and with a quick tap from within their respective iOS or Android apps and you will be able to track down your item quickly by sounding their alarms. Another really cool feature I like with my Tile, is if my smartphone is hiding somewhere, a quick press of the button on the Tile will activate the alarm on the phone. You don;t realize how handy this is until you us it. Trust me.

Get the TrackeR:

Canada

USA

Get the Tile Mate from Amazon:

Canada

USA


TFY Universal Headrest Mount

Now that you have found your keys and phone, you’re loaded in the car and the kids want to watch a movie. If you’re fortunate enough you bought a van for this trip that packs a Blu-Ray, DVD player, 2 screens and Bluetooth headphones and this is an easy fix. However, lets say you didn’t buy that van, or still have one rear-facing car seat and child that cannot see the roof mounted screens. No worries, you’re covered there too!

The TFY Universal Headrest Mount wraps around nearly any headrest in the vehicle and using its two adjustable clamps will fit any tablet style device from 7″ through 11″. I’ve used this with a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 and it works like a charm. The clamp is strong enough that,  despite the Surface Pro being a relatively heavy device compared to an iPad Mini, it will not move of fall down while on the road.

Get the TFY Universal Headrest Mount from Amazon:

Canada

USA


Plantronics BackBeat PRO Wireless Noise Canceling Hi-Fi Headphones

Regardless of whether you are travelling alone or with the family, sometimes you just need to block out the noise and focus on listening to a book, podcast or music. 

For this, the Plantronics BackBeat Pros make a great addition to your travel tech arsenal. Sure, there are the Bose QuietComfort 35s, but at half the price the Plantronics BackBeats are a great mix of price and performance. The feature active noise cancellation, a built in mic should you need to take a call while listening, sync with multiple device, offer decent sound and up to 24 hrs of battery life.

Get the BackBeat PRO from Amazon:

Canada

USA


Neewer® Camera Handle Pistol Grip

This item, and the next, have made a world of difference in the quality of smartphone videos I have taken recently. The way you hold your phone to take a video doesn’t translate into a very steady video most times since it is not a natural way to hold something. But attaching this to your phone and holding the grip you will see a massive improvement in the stability of your videos and pictures. Since it uses a standard tripod mount thread, you can also use this with any tripod mountable camera.

Very handy and highly recommended.

Get the Neewer Pistol Grip from Amazon:

Canada

USA


Mudder Universal Smartphone Adapter Mount

In conjunction with the pistol grip, you will need something to clamp your phone onto that can also mount to the tripod style mount of the grip. The Mudder adapter can be mounted vertically or horizontally to the Neewer grip. 

There really is not a lot to say about the Mudder. It works well with the Neewer grip, holds the phone securely. If you tend to shoot a lot of video with your phone, like most people do, the combo of the Neewer Grip and Mudder Mount will be well worth it!

Get the Mudder Smartphone Mount from Amazon:

 

Canada

USA


That about wraps it up for this one. There are countless other things that could have been on this list but these were a few of my must haves for when on the go.

Are there any essential travel tech items that you take with you on every trip? Let me know in the comments below!

4moms Self-Installing Car Seat

Installing a car seat is a scary thing. You never truly know if it was done properly. It does not have to be that way any longer. The Self-Installing car seat from 4moms ensures that your seat is installed correctly and that you baby is riding safely.

As a father of 3, I have installed and reinstalled many car seats over the years. It is never fun, and you never know if it is 100% correct. Is it uneven? Is it tight enough, too tight? No matter how many times I have installed the seat, I always have a small amount of doubt in my mind and fear that it was installed incorrectly.

If only there were a way to ensure it was installed correctly. Sure, you could go to a car seat clinic usually put on police or fire services, but again, they are also eye-balling the installation and hoping for the best.

Now there is. The 4moms self-installing car seat will give you that peace of mind that your seat was installed correctly and your baby is as safe as possible.

Once you have placed the seat base in the car and connected the anchors on both sides of the seat, the automated portion of the installation takes over from there. Using the 4moms application on your smartphone, the seat will tighten the UAS anchors to correct level of tension. Next, the app will signal the seat to level-out, ensuring that it is completely level with the ground below.

Not only does the application show you this information, but the seat base itself also has an LCD screen as well.

It does not end there, though. By way of the application, the seat will be continuously be monitored, alerting you to any issues with latching, leveling, tension, battery and child size.

One thing we always have had a concern with regarding the installation of our infant carrier was if the baby was too big to stay in the carrier. Or perhaps the harness is too high/too low. The 4moms application covers this as well.

It is great to see a company like 4moms investing in technology add-ons for devices such as car seats. It is known that 4 out of 5 car seats are installed correctly, yet, most manufacturers do little to improve their products to ensure a correct installation. 

The 4moms self-installing car seat can be purchased directly from 4moms for $499.99 and is available in gray or black. They ship for free in the USA and Canada.

It is also available from Amazon US for $479.99 USD. It does not appear to be available on Amazon Canada.

Picbot – A motorized and automated mount for your Smartphone

Step up your smartphone photography game with the Picbot, an automated camera mounting rig designed with an intuitive easy to use design.

If you are looking to up your smartphone photography or video game, check out the “Picbot.”

What is the Picbot?

Picbot is an automated, motorized mount for your smartphone that enables you to take 180 or 360-degree panorama photos/video and stunning time-lapse shots, among many other things. What makes the Picbot more appealing is that it has face tracking abilities as well, which will allow it to monitor one or more people simultaneously allowing you to get more creative with your video productions.

You can also override the automation by taking control yourself via a Bluetooth connection, should you wish to go manual.

Picbot is controlled via a very intuitive and useful app allowing you to control all aspects of the Picbot including built-in editing for photo and video.

The Picbot will come in black, white and rose gold (pink) and can be easily mounted to any standard tripod. 

As of October 31st the Picbot was fully funded on Kickstarter and no longer available for backing/purchase. You learn more about the Picbot over at http://mypicbot.com/.

 

Easily turn your bicycle into an electric bike with the “electron”

We all want to ride our bikes to work, but many do not. Not because we are lazy and don’t want to put forth the effort, but because upon arrival you do not want to be hot sweaty and exhausted having to start your work day. The Electron bike is part of a growing segment of e-bike attachments, but the difference here, is that this one is actually well made and extremely easy to install and use.

Many of us today are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of riding a bicycle to work, or for getting around town, the problem for most is not that we are too lazy and don’t want to put forth the effort. The issue, I feel, is that the majority of us do not want to arrive at work, or wherever your destination may be, tired and sweaty, then having to start your work day.

I used to ride to work a few times a week. The trip was 11 km to the office, and by the time I arrived, I was hot sweaty, and the last thing I wanted to do was put on my “business” clothes and sit down at my desk. 

This is where a product like the Electron Wheel could come in extremely handy.

So, what is it?

The Electron Wheel is a nearly universal electric wheel that replaces the 

The Electron has 250-watt motor with a maximum speed of 20 mph or 32 km for us Canadians. A 10.7 Ah lithium-ion battery that provides a range of up to 30 miles (48 km). The battery is also sporting the ability to quickly recharge in about 2 hours with the optional 4-watt quick charger.

How does it work?

The Electron is an app-connected device that you monitor and control via the Android or iOS app available from electron using a Bluetooth 4.0 LE connection. The motor is pedal assisted meaning the more work you put into pedaling, the greater your range and speed should be.

Installation is claimed only to take about 30 seconds as well, which is much better than most other electric bicycle conversions. This installation includes removal of your old front wheel followed by installing the Electron wheel and pedal assist sensor. So a bit more than 30 seconds. Either way, though, it is a seemingly easy conversion.

The Electron comes in especially handy in hilly areas. Have a look at the video below and watch how effortlessly the Electron propels the ride through the streets of San Francisco.

The Electron wheel comes in two sizes, a 26″ and 28″ tire size.

It can be purchased from Electron directly for $799, plus an additional $85 if you which to add the quick charger add on.

Turn Any Watch Into A Smartwatch with Chronos

If you aren’t ready to give up your old wrist watch, but would really like to enjoy some of the features of a smartwatch, you may want to give the Chronos a serious look.

Intrigued by the allure of having your phone notifications sync to your wrist watch, but not ready to give up that old Timex yet? I have just the thing you are looking for.

The Chronos is a “smart disc that attaches to the back of any watch,” allowing your previously dumb watch to perform smart features such as; health and fitness tracking, music controls, notification alerts and a “find your phone” option via a tap on the face of your watch.

You will also be able to use your Chronos watch to take pictures and silence calls.

All of the Chronos “smart” features can be controlled via their application, which is available on iOS at the time of this writing. Android is currently stated as coming soon.

The Chronos, since it lacks a display and is placed onto the base of your watch, alerts you by using lights and vibrations. Both of which are controlled via the aforementioned Chronos application.

The Chronos uses “micro-suction” for the adhesive tech to hold the device to your watch and they claim compatibility with “any watch.” If you’re not sure what “micro-suction” is, it is somewhat akin to the sticky and washable adhesives found on most windshield mountable phone/GPS mounts. If the section loses its ability to stick, simply wash it gently under cold water.

Chronos uses a rechargeable lithium polymer battery that should last about two days on a full charge. Chronos does recommend charging it when you sleep, but it only takes about 30 minutes to fully charge, so don’t worry too much if you need to pop it on the charger while in the shower or having your morning coffee. 

Charging is done by dropping the Chronos, while connected to your watch, onto the included wireless charging cradle.

The Chronos is not waterproof but is IP67 rated. Meaning that it is water-resistant, but should not be submerged for extended periods. Wearing your watch while doing dishes or out in the rain for a short period should not cause any damage. Keep in mind though that the micro-suction tech that secures the Chronos with your watch may weaken during contact with water.

The Chronos certainly is an interesting device and could certainly prove useful if you still enjoy the traditional wrist watch. One caveat to using this device, though, is that it will add thickness and weight to what is usually an already cumbersome watch. Coming in at 3mm thick and 10g in weight, the impact may not be significant, but is certainly something to consider.

What do you think? Is the Chronos something you may take into account while you hold out for true smartwatches to improve? Or, simply because you prefer the traditional watch look and feel while longing for a few extra features?

You can purchase a Chronos from https://wearchronos.com/ for $99.99 USD, shipping out in early November 2016.

Another New Tile! The “Tile Mate”

The Tile family of Bluetooth trackers continues to grow, by going smaller! Check out the Tile Mate.

A few months back Tile updated their offerings with the Tile Slim, which was a vast improvement over the original Tile, but not meant to entirely replace its predecessor.

The Tile Slim was meant to be placed in a wallet, stuck to a tablet/laptop, or somewhere that you wanted a thin discrete way to track belongings. The Slim was not able to be (easily) used with car keys, since it lacked the keying hole.

Fast forward to October and we now have the “Tile Mate”.

The Mate is a replacement for the original Tile, coming in at 25% smaller, while packing all the same features. Including the key ring hole.

The Tile Mate is also part of the reTile program, which allows you to easily replace your tile when the battery runs out. Tile generally says a Tile should last about 1 year, but your mileage may vary.

The Tile Mate can be purchased directly from the Tile website for $25 each or $70 for a 4-pack.

 Check out my review of the original Tile while you are here!
Check out my review of the original Tile while you are here!

Pebble 2 – Now Available for Pre-Order

Searching for a new or possibly your first wearable. Look no further than the new Pebble 2.

Pebble, the company that is widely known as the one who really pushed smartwatches into the mainstream, is back at it again following another extremely successful Kickstarter campaign with a new line of watches.

The original Pebble was very basic, but everything that it did was done effectively. Something devices like Android Wear and the Apple Watch have struggled with since hitting the market to take on Pebble.

The Pebble 2 seems primed to continue that while packing in more features and a better design.

Why does the Pebble interest me? Well, until recently, I have been a devout Microsoft hardware fan. For years I swore by my Windows Mobile 5/6/6.5, Windows Phone 8/8.1 and Windows 10 for Mobile devices. I still use a Surface Pro 2 as one of my primary devices and have owned both Microsoft Bands. After waiting for Microsoft to update the Band 2 with the Band 3 only to be disappointed when Microsoft decided to throw in the towel (at least for now) on their fitness platform, I decided I would start looking for something to replace my Band 2 when it inevitably fails.

My first instinct, now that I am back to using an Android device as my daily driver, was to look to Android Wear. After mulling over several options I couldn’t pull the trigger on a one. The main reason being the allure of the coming Android Wear 2.0 release and new hardware to go with it. As we know now all the major OEMs in the Android Wear space announced they would not release new hardware in 2016, followed by Google announcing they were delaying Android Wear 2.0 until 2017 as well. With these two announcements being made I am afraid that Google is getting ready to decide they are done with the Wear experiment, get their typical “Google ADD” and pretend like it never happened. There was not even a whisper of Google Wear news during the October 4th Pixel launch event.

As an Android user, the Apple Watch is not an option, so Pebble seemed like the only logical option. And now I am asking myself, why have I not looked at them as an option from day 1?

The Pebble 2 comes packing the following features:

  • 24/7 Hear Rate Monitor
  • Sleep Tracking and Recovery
  • Smart Fitness Tracker
  • Pebble Health Insights
  • Voice Control
  • Notifications
  • Music Control
  • 30m Water Resistance
  • Up To 7 Day Battery Life
  • ePaper LCD (100% viewable outdoors)
  • Quick-Release Bands
  • Thousands of Apps and Watchfaces from the Pebble Store

That is a lot of functionality, but based on all of the feedback on the original Pebble devices, early feedback on the new devices, your use of the device will be as simple and as intuitive as ever.

What do you think? Is the Pebble 2 something you would consider as your first or next wearable?

The Pebble 2 can be ordered from Pebble for $129.99 USD

WipeBook: The “last notebook that you [will] ever buy”

The last notebook you may ever buy. Meet the Wipebook.

I am always in search of something to either increase my productivity or reduce waste in my day to day.

Recently I discovered the Wipebook. At first glance the Wipebook looks like any other spiral bound notebook. However, it is much more than that.

Wipebook states that their product may be the “last notebook that you ever buy.” Why, you ask…

The Wipebook brings together the benefits of;

  • a pencil, being a non-permanent way of taking notes, but not always easy to completley erase.
  • a pen, offering a better writing experience than a pencil
  • a notebook, since it is portable and can move with you form place to place.
  • a whiteboard, giving you a great non-permanent way of jotting down ideas, but is usually stuck to a wall in a meeting room.

It is a rather simple, yet completely practical and useful idea.

The Wipebook, and new improved Wipebook Pro can be used with semi-permanent markers such as the Staedtler Lumocolor Correctable dry erase markers. Wipebook offers them for $3.99. You can also use them with whiteboard makers as well.

Based on content found on Wipebook’s site, the semi-permanent maker route is a better way to go. Once applied, the notes tend to not smear or rub off unless you are actually attacking them with an eraser. Going the whiteboard maker route, you will find that your notes wipe off with little to no effort with your fingers or hand.

That is not say the the dry erase whiteboard markers don’t offer their benefits. Let’s say your in a brainstorming during a small meeting, you want to get the benefits of the whiteboard, but would rather confine yourself to the Wipebook. Since the dry erase comes off with ease, you can quickly change or iterate on your ideas as you go.

The Wipebook really offers the best of both worlds.

There is a small caveat, but really nothing you should be concerned with. It is a reusable product, but since you are using a semi-permanent marker, leaving the ink on the paper for too long can lead to some difficulty when removing the ink.

Here is a short video from Wipebook’s YouTube channel displaying the effects of leaving the ink on for extended periods.

In Canada, the Wipebook, Wipebook Pro and recommended accessories here and at Staples.

What do you think about the Wipebook? Something you could adopt? If not, what do you use for note taking when you’re PC is not an option?

Review: AUKEY EP-B13 Sport Bluetooth Headphone

The Mobile Canuck search for the best budget Bluetooth headphones continues, this time with Aukey’s EP-B13 Sport Bluetooth Headphone. Sporting water-resistance and solid fit, we may have a new leader.

I have been trying out a lot of Bluetooth headphones of late, not because I have a need (lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack) but rather a simple desire to have less wires in use, no matter the situation.

I have tried other around the neck styles before from various other contract manufacturers but never had a good experience. The main reason being that I wear eyeglasses. Each set I have tried either wouldn’t sit nicely because of the arms of my glasses, or would fit, but cause my glasses to sit uncomfortably. 

This design from Aukey is far from perfect, but it I think I finally found a pair I can actually wear with comfort for more than a few minutes.

The packaging that most of these budget headphones come in is nothing flashy, but again, this is expected since they are “budget” headphones. Nor does it really matter, since you’re going to toss the box either in a drawer or in the recycle bin.

What’s in the Box?

Inside the box you’re greeted with the following:

  • Headphones – surprise!
  • Large and Small replacement ear tips
  • USB A to Micro B cable
  • Product Manual
  • Warranty registration card

*Note: according the Aukey, there is supposed to be a carrying case as well. My package was sans case.

Build Quality

Overall, I found the quality to be good, but not great. The casing and materials used are plastic, as is the case with more Bluetooth headphones in this price point. I never felt as though they were too fragile, but wouldn’t be comfortable putting into my bag without some care and consideration for what may end up on top of them.

The buttons were tactile and easy to find and press for call answer/power, as was the case with the volume controls, found on the top and bottom of the right ear piece respectively.

The hook style design was fairly comfortable to wear for extended periods, however the tops of the hooks did sit considerably higher over the tops of my ears than I would have liked.

Sound Quality

The Aukey EP-B13 headphones provide a pretty excellent quality sound output for the price. By no means am I an audiophile, but I can tell the difference between good and bad at the very least. 

They sport Bluetooth 4.1 with AD2P, providing for a quality stereo sound experience. Compared to other headphones I have reviewed and used, the bass level was also respectable and never did I experience a “tinny” effect with music playback or spoken audio.

Other Thoughts & Experiences

Aukey rates the range of these headphones at 33ft or 10 meters, which is pretty standard based on the Bluetooth spec. I will say that I was unable to achieve this range in most cases, despite a clear line of site.

Battery life is rated at 4.5hrs of “use time” and standby was 175hrs. Both of these appear to be pretty accurate.

Connection to your phone is the same with the Aukey as with most other Bluetooth headphones as well. Press and hold the power/call button from a power off state until the pairing beep is heard. You should then see the pairing available on your device.

Overall I have been very impressed with the Aukey EP-B13 Bluetooth headphones. They have a comfortable fit and well executed design. 

If you are in the market for a versatile pair of Bluetooth headphones that won’t break the bank, I would seriously consider these in your search.

Kickstarter Spotlight: Dot: The Physical Push Notification

Welcome to the first in a series of “Kickstarter Spotlights” where a fun and useful Kickstarter project will be shared.

First up is the “Dot” a “Physical Push Notification”

Welcome to a new series on Mobile Canuck. Each week (maybe more!) I will spotlight a new and exciting Kickstarter project that is worth having a look at.

Kickstarter Spotlight

First up in the series is “Dot: The Physical Notification”.

What is Dot?

The “Dot” is a location based tracking tag of sorts that will perform a specific task based you have assigned to it when you enter the area that the Dot is secured.

For example, when you enter the garage after arriving home from work, the Dot can alert you to start dinner, or to take the trash out.

Think of Dot as a physical “IFTTT” (If This Than That) device.

The Dot connects to your smartphone via a Bluetooth connection. As mentioned, when you get within range of your Dot it will understand where you are and remind you of only the notifications relevant to that location.

Dot can also be used to control smart home devices such as light bulbs or thermostats and since it is specific to your device, any family member can set it to adjust those devices to their preference when they enter the space.

You can also use Dot for more simple things such as seeing if your roommate is home and if they are busy or not. A Dot placed on their door can indicate if they are they and based on colour selection, can be used as a visual queue to say “C’mon in!” or “Go away!”.

The Dot is controlled via the companies iOS or Android app, as seen below.

The Dot team has opened their API up to developers making the use cases for this device endless.

How much is Dot and when can I get one?

Currently, the Dot has based their Kickstarter goal almost 5 times over with a little under $100,000 pledged buy 1,400 plus backers.

With 7 days remaining, a pledge of $20 will get you one Dot, while $55 will net you three Dots. You can pledge all the way up to $5,000 for 20+ Dots and a “Small Business Tracking Solution”

The Dot team expects delivery of the Dot to backers for March of 2017.

Check the Dot out on KICKSTARTER

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