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Review: OtterBox Blackberry Curve case

Posted in Otterbox,Review by Darrin Olson on February 8th, 2009

OtterBox defender case for the Blackberry Curve reviewThe folks over at OtterBox, protectors of gadgets for the active and accident-prone, gave us a chance to try out one of their defensive products to see just how well it holds up. In this case, OtterBox sent us a protective case for the Blackberry Curve, a device I have with me day in and day out.

Since the case from OtterBox is protecting something I own and depend on daily, we did not put it through the usual drops, dunks and vodka-proof trials that we would normally do. But, despite this we can tell you that this case blows away any other protective case we’ve had our hands on, for any mobile device.

Review: Clarion MiND mobile internet navigation

Posted in Review by Darrin Olson on February 8th, 2009

Clarion MiND hands on reviewThe Clarion MiND appears to be a GPS navigation device at heart, but expanded into a special type of mobile internet hybrid device packed with connectivity and applications bringing dangerously close to a mobile PC, but just not quite. The mobile device has many addition features such as an internet browser, YouTube viewer, media player, file storage, weather, news, maps and of course navigation but runs its own type of hard-wired OS that leaves little for customizations.

The MiND is basically a small mobile computer running on an 800 MHz Intel Atom processor with 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage (with an additional MicroSD card slot) and connects to the world via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and of course GPS. It also houses a couple of USB ports for connecting and transferring data, a headphone jack, speaker and docking port for an included dash mounting kit.

Iomega eGo BlackBelt portable hard drive review

Posted in Review by Darrin Olson on January 26th, 2009

Iomega eGo BlackBelt portable hard driveIomega kicked out a couple of new portable hard drives last month, one of which being the rugged 250GB eGo BlackBelt that we’re taking a look at today. The most stand-out feature we found in the BlackBelt was its Drop Guard Xtreme, allowing the portable drive to take a hit to the pavement from as much as 7 feet in the air and keep on ticking.

This ability to take a long drop is largely due to the black rubber “belt” that envelopes the drive (mostly the corners) protecting it from all angles of impact. The rubber belt is not adhered to the drive so it can be removed if you would like, and your left with a smooth, flat-black flask-shaped chasis that’s maybe a little to big for a pants pocket but will easily fit into the pocket of a jacket.

Hands On with the iTami FiTrainer virtual coach

Posted in Exercise Gadgets,Review by Darrin Olson on January 7th, 2009

iTami FiTrainer headsetReviewing a technology gadget is usually is fair amount of work anyway, but trying out the FiTrainer from iTami turned out to be a little more than I had bargained for. The FiTrainer is essentially a customizable, virtual fitness coach with direct access to your current level of exertion and your ears.

The device is essentially a pair of somewhat-large headphones with a built in heart-rate monitor, music and voice prompts to continuously keep you in the “right” zone for your workout. Users enter in the type of workout and their age and then start exercising. The voice inside the headset guides you through the rest.

Hands on with the new Olive Palm Centro

Posted in Review by Darrin Olson on December 17th, 2008

Olive Palm Centro hands on reviewA common gift people will give themselves for the holiday season is a new phone. With broadband networks getting faster by the minute, a phone that is smart enough to handle surfing the internet, getting email, supporting IM’s and taking pictures becomes more and more attractive. This holiday season we had the opportunity to take a look at a couple of Palm’s smartphones, and in particular we spent some time with the new Olive-colored Palm Centro.

If you’re in the market for your first smartphone or you’re just looking for something that’s slick and easy to use with broadband access you will be well-served to take a look at the Palm Centro. Palm has been getting some mixed reviews lately when placed against some of the latest in smartphone technology such as RIM’s Blackberry or Apple’s iPhone, but we found the Centro to be a refreshing and fun device, and at just the right price.

Hands On with the 8GB Sansa Clip from Sandisk

Posted in Review by Darrin Olson on December 15th, 2008

Sandisk 8GB Sansa Clip MP3 player reviewAnyone in the market for a small MP3 player should definitely take a hard look at the Sansa Clip from Sandisk before making a purchase. Comparable in size to the iPod Shuffle, the Sansa Clip packs in more features and now more storage giving some significant bang for your buck.

The most significant item for us on this particular MP3 player was the storage capacity. This little device now comes with the ability to pack as much as 8GB of music which is really a lot of songs. Connect it to your computer through the included USB cable and quickly transfer music or even use the device as mass storage to go. Also as we had mentioned when the 8GB Clip first came out, the clip provides 4x the storage of the iPod Shuffle for just a small more in price. But the storage is not all you get.

Hands On: Callpod’s Drone Bluetooth adapter

Posted in Review by Jeff on December 12th, 2008

Callpod Drone Bluetooth Adapter Hands on reviewThe Drone, a Class-1 Bluetooth adapter brought to us by the Bluetooth obsessed people over at Callpod, packs quite a bit of convenience in such a small package. We had heard talk of the Drone since back in March and the device launched just last month. We were lucky enough to get a sample to try out and see just how well it performed. The Drone boasts a 100 meter (328 foot) range when paired with other Class-1 Bluetooth devices, and will also increase the range at which Class-2 devices will communicate. CallPod states that the device is so simple you “plug-n-play, then walk away” which is pretty true…

One absolutely brilliant aspect of the drone is its ability to auto-magically pair with a headset or headphones (such as the Callpod Dragon), eliminating the need to type zeroes into a prompt making it incredibly easy to use, saves time and avoids inconveniencing you. And out of the box the drone is intended to be used in this fashion, converting your Bluetooth headset into a mic and speaker combo, making it ideal for gamers or people who find themselves regular Skype users. The drone performed wonderfully when paired with a Jawbone aiding in surviving the zombie horde in Left 4 Dead, and as advertised will swap over to Skype if you receive an incoming call. It also gives you a feeling of liberation when you can wander around while streaming music directly to your headset.

Hands On: BlackBerry Storm launching Friday

Posted in Review by Darrin Olson on November 20th, 2008

BlackBerry Storm hands on reviewAs I am sure you are all aware, Verizon Wireless is launching the much-anticipated BlackBerry Storm tomorrow. This device is RIM’s first delve into a touchscreen mobile phone and swing at taking some of the market share away from Apple and the iPhone. We had a chance to get our hands on the Storm on the eve of the launch day and had some fun playing with the touchscreen and its unique clicking technology.

Obviously the most interesting part of the Storm is the single big button of a screen so we’ll just cut to the chase. The touchscreen in general works as you would expect, sensing your touch on the glass and allowing you to scroll through things like lists, menus and across maps. What’s different about the touchscreen on the BlackBerry Storm which sets it apart from other touchscreen phones is that the glass display is like a single large, mechanical button.

Hands On: Griffin Simplifi dock/charger/reader/hub

Posted in Review by Darrin Olson on November 18th, 2008

Griffin Simplifi iPod dock and charger, card reader and USB hubWe got a chance to get our hands on Griffin’s new Simplifi desktop device recently and we feel they really got the name right on this one. The Simplifi is a small Swiss Army Knife of accessories packed into a smooth silver box that adds some convenience and maybe even a touch of sophistication to your desk.

For starters, the device is a dock and charger for your Apple iPhone and/or iPod. It has the docking port right on top and comes with little plastic adapters to custom fit every iPod ever made with a docking port. However, if you happen to have the iPhone 3G you might want to check the box for a 3G sticker. The original product does not come with a 3G port adapter (not that you necessarily need it for the dock to …

SanDisk Sansa Fuze makes a great stocking stuffer

Posted in Review by Conner Flynn on November 16th, 2008

SanDisk Sansa Fuze makes a great stocking stufferIf you’re looking for an affordable MP3 player, the Sansa Fuze is a nice slim device that feels high-quality in your hands. It’s available in several color options. The device sounds good too, offers a ton of features for the price, just $80, $100, and $120 for the 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB models. The Sansa Fuze is not new by any means, but it holds it’s own thanks to the great price, easy interface, and a bunch of features. It even has an expansion slot that accepts micro SDHC cards.

Some features include: an FM tuner, Rhapsody DNA integration, photo, video, and a voice recorder. The scroll wheel makes navigation a real joy. I really couldn’t find anything to complain about with this player. The battery life is very good whether you are watching videos or listening to tunes. If you plan on buying a music player this Christmas, the SanDisk Sansa Fuze is the way to go. Drop the small amount of dough required and drop it in a stocking.

Hands On: Baylis Revolution Eco Media Player

Posted in Review by Conner Flynn on November 9th, 2008

Hands On: Baylis Revolution Eco Media PlayerBaylis is back with an update to their Eco Media Player, called the Revolution. You might remember that when we tested the original, we liked it for what it was, but our main gripe was navigation and ease of use. Does the Revolution fare better? Read on.

Hands On: Epson EX70 Multimedia Projector

Posted in Review by Conner Flynn on November 2nd, 2008

Hands On: Epson EX70 Multimedia ProjectorThose who tote around a portable projector for presentations will appreciate this one. Connecting to your computer with a VGA or DVI cable is very clumsy. The great advantage of the Epson EX70 is that you can connect via a USB cable. There are maybe one or two other projectors that can do this. If you want that convenience, check out the Epson EX70 for $799. You’ll like the fact that a USB cable is pretty easy to carry with you rather then a DVI or VGA cable. It makes setting things up a breeze.

The WXGA 1,280 by 800 resolution will go good with widescreen notebooks and the EX70 is easy to carry around. You can even show presentations without a computer, using an SD card or a USB drive. All of the ports are easily identified. Even a monkey could do it.

Hands On: SanDisk Sansa slotMusic Player

Posted in Review by Conner Flynn on October 27th, 2008

Hands On: SanDisk Sansa slotMusic PlayerAs you might have heard, SanDisk is offering players with a feature that’s a little unusual, a microSD card slot. The slot is a requirement to work with the new music format introduced last month called slotMusic.

The slotMusic format is basically just digital tracks written on a microSD card. SanDisk’s new Sansa player is made especially for the format and is pretty bare bones with no internal memory, no LCD, and no rechargeable battery. It operates on a single AAA battery. It plays slotmusic cards. Period. The device retails for $19.99. You can also get a customized player with an artist skin and a slotMusic card for $34.99. The skins on the player can be swapped if you like. Both models will be available in 2009. But how did we like it? Click through to find out.

Hands On: WowWee’s Tri-Bot

Posted in Review,Robots by Conner Flynn on October 13th, 2008

Hands On: WowWee’s Tri-BotYou’ve seen him in The Shining and in Rocky as well as various videos and pictures around the web, but is this bot just as awesome in person?

He’s a wise-cracking and highly energetic bot, that’s for sure, but did his personality win us over as soon as we took him out of the box? Hit the link for the full review. Here’s a spoiler: Tri-Bot melted my cold geek heart and has my wife wondering why I can’t stop playing with a wise-cracking robot.

Hands On: Epson MovieMate 55 Home Theater projector

Posted in Home Theater,Review by Conner Flynn on October 13th, 2008

Hands On: Epson MovieMate 55We had the opportunity to check out the Epson MovieMate 55 all-in-one projector, which offers a high-quality projector, a CD/DVD player and stereo speakers in a portable unit. Epson’s goal with the MovieMate 55 seems to be to offer consumers an affordable, easy and convenient home entertainment console that goes anywhere. Did they succeed? Read on.