Category Archives: Accessory

Ten One Design’s Timeframe Charging Sleeve at CES 2016



ten-one-design-logo-01_mTech accessory company Ten One Design is bringing its latest innovation, the Timeframe Charging Sleeve for Apple Watch, to CES 2016. The Timeframe sleeve slides easily onto your watch, regardless of size or band type, to deliver a reliable charge without any hassle or inconvenience.
The Timeframe sleeve is expertly designed to fit your Apple Watch snugly
and securely, so you can toss it into your purse, gym bag,
or desk drawer for a guaranteed charge wherever your day takes you. When it’s time to go, just flip the built-in release lever and out pops your fully-charged Apple Watch.

watch2
In addition to providing a quick and easy charge, the Timeframe also provides top-notch protection from bumps, drops, and wear-and-tear, so you have less to worry out and more time to go about your day.

The Timeframe Charging Sleeve from Ten One Design is available for preorder today here. It retails for $24.95 and is scheduled to begin shipping on January 28, 2016.


Huion Digital Artist’s Glove



Huion Digital Artist GloveI recently purchased a Huion brand Digital Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet via Amazon for use when drawing and painting with my Surface Pro 3 using the Microsoft Pen digital stylus. The idea of a digital artist’s glove is to electrically isolate the parts of one’s hand that would normally rest on the surface of a glass capacitive touchscreen when drawing or painting. This allows the same relaxed natural hand posture that is used when writing or drawing directly on paper, allowing the side of the hand to rest directly on the surface of the glass without interfering at all with the drawing or painting process with the digital stylus.

I find that the Huion Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet works perfectly to isolate the side of my hand from a glass capacitive touchscreen such as on my Surface Pro 3 and also my iPad Air. It provides a very natural, relaxed drawing experience. Normally one must hold one’s hand in a rather unnatural hovering position when drawing or writing with a stylus on a touchscreen surface. An artist’s glove neatly solves this problem. The Huion Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet seems to be made of some sort of stretchy, smooth lycra material.

However, trying the same glove on my Lenovo C40 all-in-one touchscreen computer, curiously the glove does not work at all to isolate. I don’t know this to be a fact, however I suspect that the Lenovo C40 touchscreen is made out of some sort of plastic conductive material and not true glass. Tapping lightly on the Lenovo C40 touchscreen to my ears sounds more like tapping on a plastic material than it does tapping on true glass. If you decide to get one of these artist’s gloves, make sure that the capacitive touchscreen you intend to use it on is made out of glass and not a form of plastic material.

The Huion Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet seems to be sized a bit small. Reading the Amazon reviews ahead of time, I ordered the large size. I’m glad I did. The glove fits my hand just fine, but it is certainly not what I would in any way consider a loose fit.

The Huion Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet is constructed in such a way that it can fit either the right or the left hand. It completely covers the wrist, the little finger and the figner next to it; leaving the middle finger, index finger and thumb completely exposed since those are the fingers we typically use to hold a pen or pencil.

Even though my Surface Pro 3 has great palm rejection with included Microsoft applications such as OneNote, the palm rejection feature does not function in every application, especially third party drawing and painting applications such as Adobe Photoshop Elements. Using the digital artist’s glove gives me complete freedom to rest my hand on the screen as much as I want, especially useful when making delicate interactions with the stylus on the screen.

I suspect one using an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil stylus would enjoy similar benefits.

The Huion Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet sells for $17.99 and is an Amazon Prime item. I highly recommend it to anyone that draws even casually on a glass capacitive touchscreen device. I would suggest going ahead and ordering the large size.

 


Onelink Brings Connected Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors to HomeKit



Onelink smoke and CO alarmWhen Apple announced the launch of HomeKit, its platform for the connected home, hopes began running high that HomeKit would become the one platform to “rule them all” in the Internet of Things space. And while the rollout of HomeKit has progressed somewhat slowly, more companies have begun releasing products specifically made for HomeKit. One such company is First Alert, who recently announced the release of its Onelink line of products, kicking off with a connected smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detector.

The intuitive, easy to install two-in-one alarm protects against threats of smoke and CO by sending notifications to users on their iOS devices or Apple Watches. The alarm can also be easily tested or silenced using the Onelink Home app. Siri voice commands allow users to check the status of their detector and ask if an alarm was triggered. Since the Onelink Alarm is HomeKit-enabled, privacy is built in and data is always encrypted, ensuring that users’ privacy is protected at all times

The Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke + CO Alarm features a 10-year sealed lithium battery that lasts the life of the alarm. By utilizing photoelectric broad-based technology in conjunction with patented smoke entry system, it is efficient at detecting both smoldering and fast-flaming fires, while being less prone to nuisance alarms.

The Onelink system is designed to work with most existing interconnected hardwired alarms in the home, so users do not have to replace all existing functioning alarms at once, and can do so over a period of time. All Onelink alarms are designed to wirelessly interconnect through a Bluetooth mesh system with other Onelink alarms in the home when an emergency is detected.

The Onelink by First Alert Wi-Fi Smoke + CO Alarm is currently available at Lowe’s and Amazon. It will also be available at Apple Stores and the Apple website in time for the holidays..


Turn Nearly Any Display into a Computer with the Google Chromebit



ChromebitGoogle has been busy expanding its Chrome-branded line of products with the latest item being its new Chromebit. The Chromebit is somewhat similar to the Chromecast, Google’s low-cost video streaming stick. Both devices are about the size of a candy bar, both devices connect directly to a TV or digital display thru an HDMI port. But the Chromebit is more than a simple video-consumption device.

Pair a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse with the Chromebit and you’ve got an instant computer. Check e-mail, surf the web, stream YouTube videos and more. The Chromebit is in contention for the world’s lowest-cost computer. The stick is set to retail for $85.00 (this of course doesn’t cover the cost of mouse, keyboard, display, and Internet connection).

The Chromebit is powered by a Rockchip processor and comes with 2GB RAM, and it relies on Google’s Chrome OS. It’s hardly a powerhouse computing system, and it probably won’t replace your trusty desktop, laptop, or tablet computers. But it’s still an impressive achievement in small-form factor computing and could be incredibly useful to institutions that need to quickly fill a computer lab on a budget. Also, Chromebit could be useful when traveling, due to its compact nature and the fact that it’ll work with any HDMI-enabled display.

The Chromebit is not currently available for purchase. It’s unclear as to when the device will officially be on the market.


CalDigit Announces New Line of USB-C Docks



CalDigit USB-C DockUSB-C is still a fairly new type of connection for computer peripherals. But, it’s growing acceptance means it’ll surely become ubiquitous over time. Due to the nature of how USB-C works, it may be necessary to use adapters or convertors to make USB-C ports work with all of your devices. CalDigit is the latest manufacturer to bring new USB-C docks and adapters to the market.

First up is the CalDigit USB-C Dock. As computers like the new Macbook or Google Chromebook are shipping with limited ports, connecting devices such as monitors or external drives has become more complicated. Adding the CalDigit USB-C Dock would allow users to charge their computer and connect all their devices at the same time. The USB-C Dock is available in five different colors and adds all of these connectivity options thru a computer’s USB-C port: 2 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 3 x USB 3.1 Type-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, Gigabit Ethernet, Audio In/Out, and A/C Power.

Next is the CalDigit USB-C Mini Dock, which has many of the features of the larger USB-C Dock, but the mini version can be powered over the USB-C connection to the computer, whereas the larger dock requires A/C power to operate. The mini dock comes with these types of connections: 2 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.1 Type-A, HDMI, VGA, and Gigabit Ethernet.

The mini dock is considered to be more portable, and would be a good device to have in the field for remote work or on-site presentations. Both docks are available for preorder now, with the mini dock starting at $89.00 and the larger dock starting at $149.00. CalDigit will be selling these devices in the U.S. as well as most other major markets.


Timex Metropolitan+ is an Analog Watch and Activity Tracker



Timex Metropolitan+There’s been a real convergence in wearable devices over the last year. It’s a logical progression for consumer technology, especially when it comes to devices like watches and activity trackers that you’d wear on a wrist. Timex, a long-standing name in the watch industry, is embracing this trend with the release of its new Metropolitan+ watch/activity tracker.

The Metropolitan+ probably doesn’t fit the image you’ve already conjured up, based on other similar products. The Metropolitan+ isn’t some bland-looking digital clock with a small readout that just also happens to be an activity tracker. The Metropolitan+ features a stylish analog clock face and the watch can be customized with a number of interchangeable bands.

Along with the time, the Metropolitan+ also displays your activity information right there on the watch. The device employs a special fourth watch hand that’s used to measure your progress. There’s also a special register that shows how close you are to achieving your daily activity goal.

The Metropolitan+ can sync your activity information with a mobile device via Bluetooth. From there, you can share the information with most popular fitness/activity tracking apps. The watch also comes with a replaceable battery capable of holding a charge for over a year. No need to plug the watch in and let it recharge overnight. The Metropolitan+ also includes an Indiglo backlight for viewing the watch in dark environments. The watch is water resistant as well.

The Timex Metropolitan+ watch is available for purchase now starting at $125.00. Additional bands typically run $20.00 each.


Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse



Touchpads and touchscreens are great, but sometimes you just need the ultimate precision of a mouse.Microsoft Arc Mouse Bluetooth

Microsoft has always made great computer mice. The Microsoft Mouse has never tried to pretend to be a fashion computing accessory. It’s always been a reliable workhorse that feels great in the hand, does what it is supposed to do, but otherwise just gets out of the way.

Modern portable computing is all about compactness. A traditional mouse shape isn’t ideal for a portable computer accessory.

I was recently looking for a new portable wireless mouse, and I came across the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse.

The Ark Touch Mouse consists of a clever arcing design. The arc snaps into the flat position for storage, and into the raised arc position when in use. Cleverly the arc/flat position also serves as the on/off switch – arced is on, and flat is off.

It uses BlueTrack technology that works precisely on virtually any surface, including reflective surfaces such as glass or rough surfaces such as wood or even carpet. I can confirm this claim – it works precisely on every surface I’ve tried, making it extremely useful for portable computing situations.

It has physical left and right mouse buttons, but in the center it has a narrow touch surface that functions as a virtual scroll wheel. The touch surface simulates a scroll wheel with the use of an integrated vibrator that does a pretty good job of mimicking the feel of its physical counterpart. The center touch surface also has an accelerated scrolling function that responds to faster up and down finger motions for fast window scrolling. The palm portion of the mouse is constructed of a smooth rubber material that has a velvety feel that offers a good gripping surface. The mouse runs on two AAA batteries, which are included.

The basic Microsoft Arc Mouse comes in two versions – one with a tiny nano-sized USB dongle that is cleverly magnetized and sticks to the back of the mouse for storage, and the other version with integrated Bluetooth for a few dollars more. On Amazon the Arc Touch Mouse dongle version is currently selling for $39.93 and the Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse is selling at Amazon for $44.30.

There is also a new Microsoft Arc Touch Arc Mouse Surface Edition that Amazon sells at $58.57 that uses Bluetooth 4.0 that will work with compatible “SmartReady” PC’s and tablets.

The dongle version Arc Touch Mouse is Mac OS/X compatible.

For the Bluetooth versions I would make sure to research specific devices to make certain they can recognize and work with the mouse.

I don’t need the mouse for every task because my Surface Pro 3 type cover has an integrated touchpad that works fine for many jobs. For tasks such as precision video editing, the mouse is easy to pull out of the storage bag, plug the USB dongle in, snap the mouse into the arced “on” position, and it’s ready to go.

If you are looking for a very capable mouse that is easy to store in a flattened state and will work precisely on virtually every surface portable computing situations might force you to encounter, the Arc Touch Mouse is a mouse to consider.


MacRumors Buying Guide Helps with New Apple Purchases



MacRumors buying guideWhen is a good time to upgrade to a new Mac, iOS device, or Apple accessory? The general thinking has always been that you should upgrade once a piece of technology is no longer serving your needs. And that’s a good way to approach the decision. Still, you can never be too informed when it comes to making what could amount to a major purchase. Also, you don’t want to bring home a shiny new piece of technology and then find out a few weeks later that Apple has refreshed that product line, effectively leaving you with last year’s model.

Popular Apple-news site MacRumors has a buying guide that compiles historical information as well as the most recent rumors relating to Apple products. The guide then rates different products on a Buy Now, Neutral, Caution, and Don’t Buy scale. The ratings are fairly self-explanatory but if something is marked as Buy Now, then that product line has been recently refreshed. If an item is described as Neutral, then it’s likely to be at the midway point to a product refresh. A Caution rating indicates that product line is nearly out of date. And if a product carries the Don’t Buy warning, MacRumors believes that a refresh is imminent.

Given my recent computer issues, I’ve been looking at new Mac options. I may go with a Mac Mini, and when I started checking the MacRumors guide a few weeks ago, the Mini was being given the Caution label. Within the last few days, that rating has been upgraded to Don’t Buy. I will likely hold off on that purchase now, since it looks like Apple may have new Minis on the market in early 2016.

At present, the buying guide is giving a Don’t Buy rating to the MacBook Pro (non-Retina), Mac Mini, Mac Pro, and Apple displays. If you’re in the market for a new Apple product, be sure to check the buying guide first. It might save you some heartache down the road.


Griffin’s Guide Cable Management System is Here



Griffin GuideNothing lights up the obsessive-compulsive side of my brain more than cable management. It can be very satisfying to find ways to organize all of the cables required by my electronics. But it can also be a frustrating process of make-shift solutions and messy cable clumps that only partially work. Fortunately, Griffin has come to the rescue with its Guide cable management system.

Guide consists of three grey steel bases and three anodized aluminum magnetic anchors in three shapes (small, medium and large) that are rearrangeable to capture and guide cables along any surface. The different shapes of the anchors allow for cables of various sizes to be held in place and gives users the option to use just one anchor, or a combination of all three.

Users can arrange Guide’s three steel bases anywhere to hold power adapters, Ethernet, phone, HDMI and charging cables, among others. The three bases and three anchors can be used together on one surface or separately on multiple surfaces.

Guide magnetic cable anchors are on the market now at a suggested retail price of $39.95 for a set of three anchors/bases. Guide is just one item in Griffin’s cable management line of products.


Booq Boa Shift Backpack Review



booq LogoOn review here is the Booq Boa Shift, a lightweight laptop backpack and brother to the Booq Taipan Shock reviewed a few weeks ago. Cut from the same cloth, both physical and metaphorically, the Shift takes laptops up to 17″ compared with the Shock’s 16″, but there’s little in it terms of overall size at 46 x 34 x 20 cm. There’s plenty of room inside for the gadgets and gear, with a slim pocket for the laptop, a larger section for gear and a couple of outer pockets for easy access. It’s a svelte, streamlined pack when all zipped up.

booq Boa Shift

The outer material is 1680D triweave water-repellent polyester closed with YKK zips and all the stitching is neatly finished and taped over on the inside. It looks like a quality product – there are no stray threads or sticky zips. The specs say the Shift weighs around 1.4 kg (3 lb) which is heavier than the Shock and although I don’t have the benefit of the two backpacks side by side, the Shift does feel a little more substantial with extra internal pockets.

The dedicated laptop section is closest to the back side of the Shift and has padding on all sides. It took every laptop I had with ease, including a hefty HP ProBook with a near 16″ screen. My small Chromebook almost disappeared inside it.

booq Boa Shift Internal Pocket

In the main section, there’s a selection of zipped pockets, netted areas, keyrings and pen-holders with plenty of room for books and lunchboxes too. The Boa Shift has flashes of yellow both inside and on the back. The main pocket opens good and wide for easy access to the insides.

booq Boa Shift Internal Pocket

The Boa is loaded with features. To start with all the zips are YKK’s water-repellent versions, so once closed up the bag will keep gear dry in a rain shower, and the bag looks neat as there are no zip teeth showing. Each side of the bag has two open pockets which will take a small bottle of water or perhaps boarding passes. The shoulder straps have two small elastic pockets that can take small items, such as an mp3 player. On the rear, there’s a separate zipped pocket, just the right size for an ereader or small tablet.

booq Boa Shift back

One final touch is a small separate zipped pouch for bits’n’pieces like headphones or credit cards. I can see it being handy travelling too, as you could put all the essentials in it and simply pull out the pouch before putting the Shift in the overhead bin.

Comfort-wise, the shoulder straps are well padded and can be adjusted for fit. There are little loops on the end of the straps to help tighten when needed. There’s an airmesh back padding to help with the load while keeping cool. I loaded the Boa up with some books and lugged it around for a bit and there’s no complaints here.

booq Boa Shift Straps

Finally, as with all Booq backpacks, the Boa Shift comes with Terralinq, a service designed to reunite lost bags with owners. By pairing a serial number on the backpack with the purchaser, the Shift can be returned should it be found.

Overall, as with Taipan Shock, the Booq Boa Shift is a well-made backpack that has plenty of pockets and space for safely toting the biggest of laptops and all the gear that goes with them. The Boa Shift is available from Amazon.co.uk for around GB£120, which is pricey enough and given that the Shock is currently retailing for about half the price, unless you need that extra 1″ or so, I’d stick with the Shock. However, if size matters (or you want a more streamlined pack), take a look at the Boa Shift.

Thanks to Booq for the loan of the Boa Shift.