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

Serial Fidgeters Rejoice!

If you find yourself constantly “fidgeting” throughout the day then check out the Kickstarter project known as the “Fidget Cube”.

Are you a constant fidgeter? Do you find it nearly impossible to sit through those extremely engaging meetings in a stuffy boardroom? Does waiting in line for your morning coffee cause your eye to twitch?

If any of the above were answered yes, or in my case, all of the above answered yes, then this may just be exactly what you need.

The Fidget Cube provides you with six different options for fidgeting. Its small size allows you to fidget discreetly, no matter where you are

I found the fidget cube on Kickstarter where the makers of this fun little cube were seeking only $15,000. As of today they currently have $3,617,754 with 34 days to go in their campaign.

The Fidget Cube, as mentioned, has six sides. Each side can do the following:

  • Click
  • Glide
  • Flip
  • Breathe (an oval shape groove to rub your finger on)
  • Roll
  • Spin

At the very least take a few minutes and watch the Kickstarter video. It is sure to give you a laugh, whether you are a fidgeter or not.

As mentioned the Fidget Cube is available on Kickstarter. The early bird for $14 is already gone, but $19 will get you a Cube, saving you approximately $6 off the MSRP.

The Fidget Cube should be available to backers in December of this year.

Must Have: Narrative Clip 2

Don’t miss out on the “authentic” in between moments in life. The Narrative Clip 2 is a must have for your next vacation or to simply capture the day to day moments that matter.

This December my wife and I have decided we’re going to pack up the kids two days after Christmas and make the long (sooo long) trek to Florida for a week at Disney World and Universal Studios.

We could fly, sure, however, with 2 adults and 3 kids on the ticket, that is a pretty steep price tag at that time of year. So we have decided to drive all the way down. According to Google Maps the journey should take about 19 hrs. We have decided to slit it up over the course of three days. 

Day 1 we will aim for Lexington, KY. Day 2 our target will be Macon, GA and on the third day, we we hope to roll into Orlando in the early afternoon. On paper, seems like a breeze, in reality, I’m sure it will be less than enjoyable, but we are going to make the best out of it and use the drive as a sort of mini-vacation along the way.

So with the particulars of hotels, Air B&B’s and theme park tickets out of the way I need to start thinking about what tech will be best suited for a trip such as this. Devices like tablets, iPads, waterproof cameras, battery packs and two-way radios are givens. However, one thing I reflect on after each vacation (long or short) is whether or not I took enough pictures or video. Although the answer is usually yes, I still fell like I should have taken more or that I missed a several key things.

I feel a camera like a GoPro is too obtrusive to wear all day while on the go. While devices like Sony’s handheld action cams are too awkward to use while juggling other gear and wrangling children.

Not too long ago while looking through posts on one of my favourite blogs, ‘Becoming Nomad‘ by Mike Elgan, I saw in his gear section that he uses a camera called the ‘Narrative Clip 2’. Intrigued, I looked into the camera further and made note of how it would be perfect for our next trip to Disney (originally not planned until at least 2020). So, now that I am in tech planning mode for this trip three years ahead of schedule, I figured I should give the Narrative Clip 2 a closer look prior to buying.

What is the Narrative Clip 2?

As mentioned, it is a wearable camera that can clip onto your shirt or bag, or hang around your neck using a lanyard. The Narrative Clip 2 packs the follow specs:

  • 8.0 MP / 1080p Video (JPEG / MP4)
  • f/2.2 aperture
  • 86.5 degree field of view
  • 8GB internal storage
  • Wireless 
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • GPS 
  • USB 2.0

What does all that mean? Well according to Narrative that will net you about 4000 images or 80 minutes of video before running out of storage.

The Narrative can be affixed to your clothing via the standard hook-style clip, a magnetic clip or via a lanyard should you not want to clip it right onto your clothing.

How does the Narrative Clip 2 work?

The Narrative is a very simple device to use by all appearances. By default the Narrative takes a picture every 30 seconds, but can be adjusted to take shots at as low as 10 second or as high as 2 minute intervals. Another great feature is the manual mode available on the Clip, and that allows you to double tap the front of the camera to take a picture or a video (10-30 seconds in length). All of these features can be controlled via the Narrative app which is available on both Android or iOS devices. From a distance the Narrative app looks like a clean and simple application, however may be a bit clunky to use. 

 Narrative App on Android
Narrative App on Android
 Narrative App on Android
Narrative App on Android

What to expect from the Narrative Clip?

Do not expect to get printable-framable-hang on the wall type images from the Clip 2. Those moments are for your DSLR or other smartphone camera. The Clip 2 is for capturing the authentic in between moments when those devices are not in your hand. Narrative refers to them as “authentic” moments. 

The image and video quality from Narrative looks to be respectable but due to the f/2.2 sensor and lack of optical image stabilization for video images may suffer in some scenarios and videos may be a bit shaky. Again though, this is not the point of the Narrative Clip 2. It is there to capture the small, “authentic”, otherwise missed moments.

The Clip has no buttons. Turning it off is as simple as placing it face down on a flat surface or putting in your pocket.

The Clip also has a useful time-lapse feature that automatically engages when it is place on a flat surface such as a desk or bookcase. 

Other Thoughts

There are some privacy concerns to consider as with a device like the Narrative Clip 2. Ever since device like Google Glass were released. These types of device, despite the ever growing societal acceptance, still carry a significant stigma along with them. So be mindful of the fact your wearing a recording device while using a public restroom or other sensitive areas.

The Narrative Clip two retails on Narrative’s site for $199 USD. However, at the time of this post the Clip 2 is out of stock.

 Available in Piano Black, Arctic White and Narrative Red
Available in Piano Black, Arctic White and Narrative Red

Review: MPOW Flamingo (Elk) Bluetooth 4.1 Headset

Another day – Another MPOW Product – Take a look at the MPOW Flamingo Bluetooth 4.1 headset

What is it?

MPOW has continued to send along some review samples. Next up is the MPOW Flamingo (Elk) Bluetooth 4.1 Headset.

What’s in the box?

Inside the box you presented with:

     The headset (obviously), with medium sized ear tips installed.

A user guide, which outlines the procedure for pairing

A micro USB cable for charging

Small and Large replacement ear tips

Packaging quality is slightly more minimal than recent MPOW products I have seen, but the packaging is small, with little waste, and outlines the specs of the device at a high level. You can’t really ask for more and it is nice to see a company continue to use little waste with their packaging.

One thing of note, which as of this review, MPOW has yet to clarify, the listing of this product is the “MPOW Flamingo”. However, the package lists them as the “MPOW Elk”. I reached out for clarification, but have yet to hear back. When searching the MPOW Flamingo on Amazon.com a product that is similar to the popular JayBird design is all that is found, while MPOW Elk yields no results.

Why would you want it?

Ditch the wires and go wireless for running, exercising or any other activity.

Target audience?

With the secure ear hook design, this is targeted mostly towards runners or others who are constantly moving. The hooks will aide in keeping them in place and not falling out when jostled. Their light weight will also lend itself well to physical activities.

Specs

  • BT 4.1 LE
  • Advanced CSR chip with A2DP tech to deliver higher quality sound
  • Sound Enhance Tech to ensure or strong signal no matter where on your body your connected device is. Designed to reduce signal droppage found on most Bluetooth headsets
  • Ear hooks, to keep a snug and secure fit no matter what the activity.
  • Built in mic on right ear piece to enable voice calls
  • Extended battery life – 7 hrs talk, 6 hrs music, and 160 hrs standby time.

Build Quality


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Extremely lightweight, which has its benefits, but overall fit and finish feels cheap and fragile compared to several other MPOW offerings.

Buttons were tactile and responsive.

Performance/Testing/Experience Results

Overall audio quality was great with no issues and voice callers reported little distortion compared to using the phone alone without the headset. Wind stoppage was not the greatest however.

Battery life is in line with what MPOW states, I found that audio playback was in the 5 hr range. Your mileage will vary.

Length of the wire connecting the ear pieces, as is the case with almost all Bluetooth headsets is too long and was consistently getting pulled or caught when in use. However, the snug fit provided by the ear hooks stopped them from being torn from my ears. Something I have experienced with ever Bluetooth headset I have used to date.

As mentioned the buttons were tactile and responsive, however the placement of the main control button, for calls and audio is poorly placed. When pressing with a single finger you are forced to press the ear tip further into your ear. Something which was not very comfortable. A minor thing, but something to be aware of, especially trying to pause music or answer a call while on a run.

Conclusion

Despite the less than desirable build quality, the lightweight design and the addition of proper ear hooks, vs “fins” found on many other designs, I was very pleased with this headset and would recommend it as an affordable option for the budget minded person seeking an active type design. In future versions I would like to see some adjust-ability added to the ear hooks and a slightly more sturdy housing on the ear pieces. It would also be useful, given the target audience, to include the ability to adjust the length of the wire used, which would provide an even more snug fit when being used.

The MPOW Flamingo/Elk headset can be found on Amazon.

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Review: MPOW Clip on Lens 3 pack “MLens V1”

MPow has a new version of their popular clip on smartphone lenses. MobileCanuck went hands on with them. Have a read to find out the results!

Disclaimer: MPOW contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing some of their products. The first product offered was the MPOW Clip on Lens 3 pack “MLens V1”.

With that out of the way, what is the MPOW Clip on Lens 3 pack “MLens V1”?

Well as the title alludes to, it is a pack of three different type of clip on lenses for your smartphone (or tablet, if you’re one of ‘those’ people). The three lens types offer the following.

  • Wide angle at 0.36X
  • Macro at 20X
  • Fisheye

The lenses are made of a 4 element glass construction and have received a sizable upgrade from their original versions.

What’s in the box?

 It's just camera lenses, Brad. Calm down...
It’s just camera lenses, Brad. Calm down…

The packaging from MPOW gets better each time I see what of their products. They have come a long way from their brown-box/no label days. 
 

 MPow has come a long way with their packaging and design.
MPow has come a long way with their packaging and design.
 Package contents clearly called out on base of package.
Package contents clearly called out on base of package.

Upon opening the box you are met with an instruction card with a brief explanation of each lens and how to obtain the best experience with their use. Next you find the lenses, enclosed in a hard plastic travel case. This is an excellent inclusion, as I was constantly misplacing my older lenses since they would be tossed into a bag with several other accessories and peripherals.

The overall design of the lenses is much like several others found on the market, and for good reason. This design works – it’s that simple. 

The large clip style makes installation on any phone I tried quick and simple.

 From left to right: Macro, Wide-Angle, Fisheye
From left to right: Macro, Wide-Angle, Fisheye

Product Quality

The fit and finish of these lenses are of a fairly decent quality. Older versions of the lenses would twist and bind when leveraged and always felt like they would break if too much pressure was applied. That is not the case here, partially due to design and partially the materials used I felt the quality of the lenses was enough to handle the wear and tear from average use.

Image Quality

The image quality was found to be respectable. However I found two moderate issues with them.

  1. The wide angle lens does add a bit of a fisheye effect, which was less than desirable.
  2. The macro lens comes with a stand-off or riser which allows you to place the riser directly against the object you are shooting. However, depending on your lighting conditions a sort of light shining through water effect can be seen in the output.
 Wide angle shot, using the OnePlus 3.
Wide angle shot, using the OnePlus 3.
 Lookin' good Cap! Fisheye shot with the OnePlus 3
Lookin’ good Cap! Fisheye shot with the OnePlus 3

Conclusion

Overall, the Mpow MLENS V1 is a respectable product but for most it may be too niche or impractical to use. Personally, I find that I will only pull lenses such as these out on rare occasions where the use would make sense. I would be unlikely to use these with any degree of regularity during the day to day or even when on a trip. With all that said however, I would certainly recommend someone who enjoys smartphone photography pick up a package of these lenses to keep in their arsenal of accessories when on the go.

What do you think? Are these too niche to be practical or is it something every smartphone photographer should be carrying? Sound off below!

“Tile” goes “Slim”

The Tile family is growing, and shrinking, with the introduction of “Tile Slim”.

In June I picked up the “Tile” a small BlueTooth enable tracking device that you pair with your smart phone to keep track of things like your keys, wallet, dog…kids. You know, those things that always seem to evade you when you’re in a rush to get out the door and get on with the day.

I reviewed the “Tile” here on MobileCanuck and was impressed with its functionality

Read: “Tile” helps you find the things when you need them the most.

My biggest gripe with the original Tile was its size. Not its height and width, but its thickness of 5.3mm. When on my keys, bag or my kids (kidding, almost I never lose my kids) that size is not an issue, but putting in my wallet was not a desirable use of the device. I compared it to another popular tracking device, the TrackR, which is exceptionally thin and appeared to have greater versatility as a result.

Now, Tile has released a new version of the Tile called Tile Slim which is 2.4mm thin (about the thickness of two credit cards). 

The Slim packs all the same features of the original (minus the key ring hole) and also adds a few, such as custom ring tones and optional adhesive strips to attach it to your laptop or tablet. The adhesives are priced at $5 USD for a 3 pack.

The Tile Slim is currently available on Tile’s website for $30 USD each, or $100 USD for a pack of 4.

Check out the Tile Slim.

Must Have: Anker PowerHouse

Meet the Anker PowerHouse. This 120,000mAh portable battery will keep you up and running while going off the grid!

Camping season is winding down as Labour Day approaches I am starting to revisit my checklist of the items that we bring along with each camping or cottage trip. As I review this list and prepare for the final one or two outings I evaluate what is on the list, remove some of the unnecessary items, and more importantly, I look at what should be on the list for next year.

Heading into next year I think my list is in pretty good shape having added a trouble light and a short length of hose to use at campsites that have dedicated water. However, I think I have found another must have. Meet the “PowerHouse” from the ever popular battery maker, Anker. 

Not too long ago I reviewed the Anker PowerCore+ 20100 portable USB-C/A power pack. It actually was the first review I posted here on Mobile Canuck. I am big fan of Anker and have amassed a small collection of their devices over the last year or so.

So what is the Anker PowerHouse?

It is a 400wh/120,000mAh portable battery containing the following ports:

  • 12V “cigarette” lighter car socket
  • 4 x USB ports with Anker’s “PowerIQ” technology (more on that HERE)
  • Standard North American AC outlet

To put the size of the PowerHouse’s battery into perspective. The OnePlus 3, my current daily driver, has a 3,000mAh batter. Theoretically, one could charge a phone battery of that capacity 40 times. Actually, that is exactly what Anker tells you on the product page for the PowerHouse;

  • 40 phone recharges
  • 15 laptop recharges
  • 7+ hours of power for a “mini fridge”
  •  100+ hours of lighting from a 15V light

Unfortunately, due to power loss from batteries, cables, devices, etc. when charging from a source such as this, getting full use of the 120,000mAh battery will not be possible.

Recharging the PowerHouse is done through the AC outlet or through an optional solar charger

The build quality of the PowerHouse appears to be of a premium quality thanks to its aluminum casing and soft-touch handle. The PowerHouse also is shock-resistant and “impact-tested” which is important given the use of the device is for going “off-grid”. The last thing you want is to drop this while camping and be without power for the rest of your adventure. 

That premium build doesn’t mean an excessively large device however. The PowerHouse weighs in at 9.3 pounds and is 7.9×6.5×5.7 inches in size.

The price of the PowerHouse may be a factor that holds you back from purchasing. The listed price currently sits at $499.99 USD or $656.00 CAD(as of Sept 1, 2016). I have seen it as low as $399.99 and hope as time goes on it gets back to that or lower.

Also, for those like myself, outside the USA, the device is currently not available. An Anker rep told me last week that the PowerHouse is not currently available anywhere except for their own site and is limited to USA only at this time. Amazon.com will not stock and ship the device due to the size of the battery. He did however suggest that I email their support team and request shipment to Canada, as it may be possible in some cases. 

Check the Anker PowerHouse out HERE

Mpow Magneto Bluetooth Headphones Review

The Mpow Magneto Bluetooth headphones are an excellent option for wireless headphones as the smartphone industry inches towards a future where the 3.5mm jack is a part of history.

Recently Lenovo launched the Moto Z, sans headphone jack. Lenovo is the first major brand the release their flagship device with no 3.5mm headphone jack. If rumors in the Apple-sphere hold true, the next iPhone will also ditch the 3.5mm jack in favour of the the lightning port to drive wired audio connections. For a good read on that topic, check out Nilay Patel’s article on The Verge discussing how the removal of port is “hostile and stupid.” Its a good read!

With device makers heading down this inevitable road, whether you like it or not, looking for a solid pair of Bluetooth headphones is certainly something to consider going forward.

The Mpow Magnetos are one of several options but I think you will find that they are one of the most compelling for a number of reasons. More below the break.

You may not have heard of Mpow before, as they are a significantly smaller player compared to the likes of Jaybird, Beats, Plantronics, and other big name brands in this space. The most compelling thing about Mpow, as a brand, is their exceptionally low prices and surprising quality. Not just for Bluetooth ear buds either, but a vast array of different smartphone and PC accessories. 

What else do the Magnetos offer? Well as you may have guessed by their clever name, Magneto, magnets play a key role in their design and function. The outside parts of the ear pieces have small magnets on the inside which allow the the buds to stick together when not in use, be it around your neck or in your bag. Pretty useful right? Well it does not stop their. The magnets also will pause your audio playback when you connect them, as well as resume playback when they are pulled apart. It is a very simple feature, sure, but one that has proven very useful for me in my use of the product. This feature also works to answer calls.

Outside of this unique feature the overall design and build quality of the Magnetos are very appealing, including the inline remote for pause/call answer and volume +/- which I found to be very responsive. The inline microphone handled calls as well as I expected with no reported quality issues reported from the callers on the other end of the line. They also sport the following specs:

  • CVC 6.0 noise cancellation technology
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Battery time of up to 8 hours of talk/music time and up to 175 hours of standby time (your milage will vary, as did mine)
  • Apt-X technology for CD-like, high-quality sound performance

Inside the box you will find a USB micro to type A cable for charging, clips that can be optionally installed to provide addition stability and two different sized ear tips to ensure a proper fit. For most, the tips that are pre-installed, medium, will do just fine.

I picked up the Mpow Magnetos on Amazon for $35 CAD, check the link below for both CAD and USD pricing at Amazon.

MPOW Magneto at Amazon.com – HERE

MPOW Magneto at Amazon.ca – HERE

‘Tile’ helps you find things when you need them the most!

The “Tile” is a Bluetooth enabled tag that will help you keep track of things like your keys, wallet or laptop.

If you are like me, you are constantly misplacing your keys or wallet at home. Despite several efforts to create a designated home for my keys and wallet when at home it just never works out. I set a bowl on the table near the garage door, quickly that bowl is full of other orphaned items leaving no room for the keys, so i set them at the next place I come across or simply forget to drop them there and will leave them on the bed side stand. 

Inevitably, when I am walking out the door to head to the gym, work, store or wherever I can never find my keys. This is not an exaggeration, it is just a fact. Countless times I have had to run around the house like a maniac looking for on of, or both of, my keys or wallet.

Then I discovered Tile and all that has changed.

What is Tile?

Tile is a small Bluetooth enabled block or “tile” and is about 1in x 1in in size. 

Tile, when paired with your phone via the Tile App allows you to locate your tile, therefore leading you to your misplaced item. 

From within the Tile app you will see your list of Tiles, as well as your phone (more on that later). By taping the item you are looking for, and then on the “Find” button and your Tile will start ringing to alert you of its location.

Another handy feature for some (not myself as my phone is permanently tethered to me) is the ability to ring your phone by pressing the “e” on the Tile itself. This, again providing the phone is i range, will ring your phone, until you tell the Tile app you have found your phone.  

You can also share your tile with a friend or family member which will allow them to also try and find your missing item.

So that is all that is great about the Tile. Are there any cons? There are a few.

The Tile battery is not replaceable. To some this may be an inconvenience. I personally would prefer a replaceable battery that I could swap out as needed and recycle the old one through the various recycling programs available in my area. However, not everyone prefers this and Tile makes sure it is easy for you to safely return your old Tile for recycled, keeping the depleted battery of the Tile out of a landfill. When the battery runs out, and you order via their reTile program, Tile sends a long a return envelope More info on that can be found here. https://www.thetileapp.com/reTile. 

The second concern I would attribute to the Tile is its size relative to another e-tag device with similar functions, the “TrackR“. When on your key ring or hidden away in your bag, the size of the Tile is not a concern. However, when placing the Tile in a wallet, it adds significant bulk to an already bulky personal item. This is a very minor concern however. 

Ultimately, I do think the Tile is a wonderful little accessory that will help you keep track of your personal items that seem to grow legs and wonder off, and I highly recommend checking it out. Keep in mind though, that they are disposable items and not perfect for every use case they offer.

Check the Tile out over on their site!

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-Tracker

The action cam is not longer a one horse race. GoPro is still the de facto number one in this space, and for good reason. GoPro has churned out several spectacular cameras in their existence.

However, many new devices are cropping up each day. Read more about the Olympus TG Tracker.

The action cam is no longer a one horse race. GoPro is still the de facto number one in this space, and for good reason. GoPro has churned out several spectacular cameras in their existence.

As I mentioned however, this is not the GoPro show anymore. Several other manufacturers have gotten into this space and one an excellent job.

Enter the Olympus-Stylus-Tough-TG-Tracker. Olympus has always been an brand known for superior quality, but at least in my circles, it is a brand that is often overlooked in favour of brands like Canon. 

Specs:

– 204 degree angle of view

– f2.0 fixed focus

– 4K @ 30p, 1080 @ 60p/30p, 720 @ 120p/60p/30p

– Sensors: GPS, e.Compass, Accelerometer, Barometric Pressure Sensor, Temperature Sensor, Water Sensor

The TG-Tracker is an exceptionally solid device. The overview below shows that this is solid camera, that intends to be known for its strength and toughness compared to others.

– Waterproof to 100ft

– Shockproof to 7ft

– Crushproof to 220 lbf

– Freezeproof to 14F

Available in June for $349 USD & $479 CAD, the TG-Tracker will come in neon green and black colour variants. 

If you’re looking to purchase an action cam this summer, much like myself, I would give the TG-Tracker serious consideration.

Meet Zenbo, a robot from Asus to help you around the home.

Meet Zenbo, a friendly new robot made by Asus, designed to help you around the house.

It is pretty much all but guaranteed that robots are soon going to be playing a major role in our day to days lives. I do not think many in the tech world today will argue that.

I am firmly in the camp that if robots can become a helpful part of my daily routine, by doing menial tasks, alerting me of important notifications and reminders via voice output and things of that nature, bring it on. There have already been great strides with AI in the form of Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s upcoming Google Home device, with the logical next step being a functional robot that roams around the house.

Seems like a great future if you ask me. I am not saying I want a robot to take over running the household for me, but if it can supplant some of those task, again, bring it on.

Then I woke up this morning to ASUS’ news out of Computex 2016 and their introduction of “Zenbo”.

 

 Meet Zenbo

Isn’t he great?

Sure in a creepy, needy, stalker robot kind of way, sure, he is great.

The intro video from ASUS, trying to show off some of Zenbo’s utility doesn’t make this little AI any less creepy as far as I am concerned.

In all seriousness though I think the forward momentum with bots and AI will continue to improve with each iteration, eventually leading us to something exceptionally useful and worth the investment.

What do you think? Is Zenbo a little too creepy to invite intro your home, or does he offer enough utility to justify the investment to help augment your you routine?

Let me know what you think down below. 

The Anker PowerCore+ 20100 packs all the power you will ever need.

Heading out on a trip and not liking the idea of lugging around, and inevitably losing, several different USB chargers? The Anker PowerCore+ 20100 is just what you are looking for.

Well, all the power you will ever need until it needs to be recharged again.

What is it?

The Anker PowerCore+ 20100 is a USB-C portable external battery containing a massive 20100 mAH battery.

This particular portable battery is host to 2 x USB type A ports and 1 x USB type C ports. Charging the battery is completed via the USB type C port which is also capable of delivering a charge to USB type C devices, including the new MacBooks which charge via USB-C.  While the USB type A ports are for charging other devices such as your tablet or phone.

The PowerCore+ 20100 utilizes “PowerIQ & VoltageBoost” technology. According to Anker, ” PowerIQ™ technology dynamically detects and adapts to your device’s unique charging protocol enabling it to charge at full speed. So thanks to PowerIQ™, together with Anker’s industry-leading power output, charge faster and save time.” (source https://www.anker.com/poweriq/). What does that mean? Simply put, your device will charge faster when connected to this battery pack compared to most other charging appliances available.

In the box you will find the following: 60cm USB A to USB-C cable, 60cm Micro USB cable, 90cm USB-C to USB-C cable, welcome guide and a travel pouch. The PowerCore+ 20100 comes with an 18 month limited warranty as well.

Why do you want this?

This is a road-warriors best friend. With the exceptionally high capacity battery, this power pack is capable of charging devices such as Google’s Nexus 6P’s 3,450 mAH battery several times before needing a recharge.

According to Anker, you could charge one MacBook, one iPad Air 2 and one iPhone fully on one charge.

This would be ideal for use on a weekend trip for business or family camping trip and want to keep your phone and tablet charged up without lugging around several different wall wart adapters and cables.

My Experience

I recently used the PoweCore+ on an trip to Montreal. I had no qualms about where I would be able to plug into a traditional charger. We were staying in an Air BNB apartment, so plugging in each night was not going to be an issue.

However, we were planning to be sightseeing each day of our 4 days in the city and I do not trust my Nexus 6P to make it through a day even when the camera is not used. So with the extra drain expected on the battery, I did not want to worry about missing a picture as the result of a dead phone battery.

The PowerCore+ added very little bulk to my bag that was also toting our water bottles among other essentials.

While out and about snapping pictures my battery quickly dropped down to the 40% mark. Between destinations I connected the USB A to C cable to the battery pack and carried on for 20 or so minutes. Each time I disconnected my battery was back up to about 75% and I was ready to go again.

One thing I did not discover until after my trip was how to use the battery with a USB C cable to charge the device. As mentioned this battery can charge a device off of all three USB ports. Each and every time I connected my Nexus 6P to the battery pack it would draw power from the phone, not provide a charge. After some reading online I discovered that to charge a device off the UCB C port, you must first press the indicator button on the battery then connect the device. This appears to reverse the current direction on the port allowing it to charge your device.

Should You Buy This?

Absolutely! There are several other brands in the heavily saturated market of portable batteries but, Anker is number one in this space, so you know your investment will be well worth it in the end. 

The Anker PowerCore+ 20100 portable battery can be purchased on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

Visit Anker.com

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