Category Archives: battery

More Juice for your Apple iPhone



All smartphones drain batteries like electricity is going out of fashion but many external battery are bulky, fiddly or both. Gosh!‘s new Parallel battery for the iPhone 5 might be the first that’s both sleek and convenient.

The Parallel comes in two parts, the battery pack itself, and a matching iPhone case that makes connecting the phone to the battery an absolute doddle. The iPhone 5 can stay in the case when you don’t need the extra power, but as soon as the main phone battery starts to fall, whack in the extra battery and it’s good to go. The additional 2,500 mAh is a huge increase over the iPhone 5’s standard 1,440 mAh.

The Parallel battery has smooth lines that fit the iPhone 5’s taller size and the case comes in a choice of 5 colours too.

Gosh! Parallel iPhone 5 case and battery

The Parallel is on show at CES, North Hall, iLounge Pavilion, Booth 6723.

 


Samsung Galaxy S3 Update



Samsung Galaxy S3About a month ago I retired my trusty Sprint Evo 4G (original Wimax version) and got a Samsung Galaxy S3.

My initial impression of the Galaxy S3 was quite positive. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time now with the Galaxy S3, so I want to give a bit of an update on my experience with it. I drive a truck over the road and also use it as a podcast aggregator and playback device, so I am spending even more direct time with my phone than the average consumer might.

The Sprint version of the S3 is currently using the so-called “Ice Cream Sandwich” Android 4.04.

Battery life is excellent compared to the three previous smartphones I’ve had over the past several years using the stock battery that came with it.

The large 4.8” inch AMOLED LCD high resolution touchscreen is superb, with excellent color saturation. The extremely thin form factor allows me to easily carry the phone around in a front pocket.

Performance remains excellent even though I’ve installed several dozens and dozens of apps. App performance is rock solid. I had many of the same apps on my HTC Evo that would sometimes crash or cause problems that run perfectly on the Galaxy S3. I attribute this performance increase to more primary phone memory and perhaps better overall hardware design architecture. It’ likely that people that experience problems with certain apps are really experiencing lack of enough physical memory in their device in the same way that desktop computers experience fewer crashes and more overall stability when they have more physical RAM in which to execute the program code.

The Galaxy S3 has excellent WiFi performance. Connected to a Verizon MiFi 4G WiFi hotspot the WiFi has no slowdown issues even when simultaneously using Bluetooth.

The Bluetooth functionality works pretty well overall, but not quite as good as the HTC Evo. I have a JVC Stereo-Bluetooth-capable stereo in my pickup that functioned just fine with the Evo in speakerphone mode that doesn’t work properly with the Galaxy S3. I can hear callers through the stereo speakers but they cannot hear me through the return channel microphone. I don’t know if there is a Bluetooth version number conflict that could possibly resolve the problem via a JVC firmware upgrade, or if the problem might be resolved when Sprint and Samsung release the next “Jelly Bean” version of Android for the Sprint version of the Galaxy S3.

This problem with the S3’s Bluetooth not working properly with my JVC stereo is even more perplexing, since it works perfectly well with the other Bluetooth devices that I own, including a Tango TRX high fidelity Bluetooth stereo speaker that also can work as a speakerphone.

Overall I’m extremely pleased with the Galaxy S3. This is one of the most amazing pieces of technology I’ve ever owned.

In my opinion, the Galaxy S3 is currently the best phone on the market today.


Apple Excitement? Not So Much.



I have a number of Apple products and I’ve been a bit of a fan in the past. Apple products of the past represented genuine value. Not only would the operating system continue to work well on aging hardware, but Apple products used to be repairable.

I’ve had a Sprint HTC Evo 4G for about two and a half years. The original Evo is still a great phone, but it obviously cannot work with Sprint’s new LTE network, so it was time to upgrade.

About a month ago I was seriously considering an iPhone 5. However, the details about the new iPhone 5 screen size began to emerge and I didn’t like what I was hearing – it was only a 4” inch screen. My Evo had a 4.2” inch touch screen, and I didn’t want to go to a smaller screen size – if anything I wanted an even bigger screen.

The original Evo was admittedly a battery hog – I knew that would be the case with it going in. Fortunately, the original Evo has a user-changeable battery. I changed batteries twice in two years. The way I use my phones, I destroy batteries – I MUST be able to easily replace them myself. So besides the smaller 4” inch iPhone 5 screen, it has a sealed battery. (Incidentally, the latest HTC Evo LTE also has a sealed battery, also making it a non-starter for me.)

So, I ended up getting a 16 gigabyte Samsung Galaxy S3 from Sprint. The S3 has a gorgeous AMOLED 4.8” touchscreen along with a user-replaceable battery, which tipped the balance for me in the end. I have the unlimited data “Simply Everything” plan, so I am able to use my phone as my podcast aggregator as well as the playback device. I transferred the 32 gigabyte Micro SD chip from the Evo to the S3 and can even go to a 64 gigabyte chip if the need should arise.

Apple revolved around Steve Jobs and his innovative brilliance. Steve Jobs had some serious personality flaws, but he was able to succeed in spite of those flaws. Now that Steve is gone, I fear that Apple as a company has embraced Jobs’ personality quirks as if they were the source of innovation.

Having high-priced products that cannot easily be repaired for me is a deal-breaker.

By the way, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is an awesome device and I could not be happier with my choice.


VidaBox Introduces Power-Over-Cat5 Charging



VidaBox, makers of high-end Media Center computers and media servers, today announced a brand new product that brings charging capability to your Cat5 cables.  There are actually two new products – the vPower Station and the vCharger.  To my knowlege, VidaBox is the first manufacturer in this field, although there have been ways of extending USB via Cat5 around previously.

The vPower Station can connect a single CAT5/5e/6 cable at up to 328 feet [100m] long, and provide steady power to the vCharger, which has a powered USB port.  The vPower Station is a 4 port adapter.  The vCharger has one ethernet port and one USB port for charging a device.  The vCharger is also backwards compatible with Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) switches as power sources.

While both devices are aimed at custom installers, as are most of the VidaBox products (they even state in their press release that “The vCharger can be also used in a table-top environment, or custom-built into new or existing furniture, as its gloss black finish gives it a high-end look that blends into any environment,”), the retail price makes them a real possibility for the general consumer market.

Both products, the vPower Station and vCharger, retail for $99 each and the purchase of 4 vChargers will get your a free vPower Station.  You can head over to the VidaBox site to check them out, find out more, and place an order.

VidaBox Debuts New vCharger & vPower : Complete Power-over-CAT5 Charging Solution for USB Devices


TP-Link Mini Wireless Routers at The Gadget Show



TP-Link WR702N wireless-n routerTP-Link had a large stand at The Gadget Show Live with a huge range of different products on show. Switches, ADSL modems, wireless routers, IP cameras, Powerline adaptors; you could easily build a complete home IT infrastructure using only TP-Link products.

What caught my eye was a range of portable mini wireless routers, “nano routers”, that were smaller than paperback books. Three different models were on show; the first was the TL-WR702N, a relatively standard 11n wireless router but only 57 mm square and 18 mm deep – it’s the one shown in the picture left.

Second was the TL-MR3020, a bit bigger at 74 x 67 x 22 mm but offering 3G connectivity via a dongle as well.

Finally, a brand new wireless router was on display, the TL-MR3040, that included a rechargeable battery giving several hours of use. More rectangular than square, it uses a 3G dongle (rather than integrated SIM tray), to get mobile connectivity. Price is expected to be less than £50.

Eric from TP-Link took me through their range in more detail.


Veho Mobile Gear at The Gadget Show



Pebble Power PackVeho probably isn’t the first name that springs to mind when thinking about gadgets but they have a sizeable range from miniature video cameras to digital photo frames and Bluetooth headsets. In the UK, their products are sold in the main big boxes – PC World and Currys.

On Veho’s stand at Gadget Show Live, I played with a USB microscope which showed magnified images on the PC screen. Perhaps a little limited with just two magnification levels (20x or 200x) but good fun nevertheless.

In this interview, James Farmer from Veho takes me through some of the Veho range, including their Muvi miniature DV cameras, Pebble portable battery packs and Mimi wireless speakers. I really liked their Pebble range of battery packs as they had a lovely smooth shape, like the original Palm Pre.

 


Eco Alkaline batteries that won’t mess with mother nature



Jon Wurm of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology talked to Jessica Bell of Eco Alkalines about their Earth-friendly batteries. They tested the Eco Alkaline batteries with national brands and found they matched Duracell and Energizer in life expectancy.

The Eco Alkalines are bio-degradable, with no harmful mercury, cadmium or lead getting into the ground. You can just throw them out with your normal household trash.

You can find out more at leiproducts.com/eco-alkalines

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Duracell Powermat Charger and Backup Battery



The Duracell Powermat has been around for a little while, but this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas they revealed their latest innovations to the product.  The Powermat, combined with a special case for your smartphone makes for very easy charging – simply lay your handset down on the mat and walk away.

They also showed off a backup battery which also charges on the Powermat and then can be carried with you so that you always have a source for emergency charging.  The new backup battery not only charges on the mat, but can also be charged via USB so you can use a variety of chargers, from computer to wall wart to a car charger.  You can check all of it out in the video below and also visit them on the web.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine.

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iPowerUp Charging Cases and Pico Projector



iPower Pro Pico ProjectorToday’s power-hungry smartphones need recharged on a regular basis – you’d be lucky to get two days work out of one. iPowerUp have products to alleviate this problem: Andy and Courtney chat to Jerry Bessa, CEO.

iPowerUp offers a range of charging cases for iPhone that provide physical protection combined with a lithium-polymer battery to double the usage time. Both the phone and the battery can be charged through micro-USB port without removing the iPhone. Price is $60. Further variants have a built-in FM transmitter to play music through car radios and another has a solar cell on the back.

Amazingly, iPowerUp has managed to cram a mini DLP projector into a charging case that’s only a little bit bigger than an iPhone. The iPower Pro will display at 640×360 resolution but can create a projection up to 60″ from 9’6″ away. Of course it will need to be in a darkened room to achieve this full size and a smaller projection will be far more watchable. Priced at $229, it’s on sale now.

Interview by Andy McCaskey and Courtney Wallin of SDR News and RV News Net.

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SiriusXM Lynx Satellite and Internet Radio Receiver



SiriusXM Lynx Satellite RadioSiriusXM is best know for their in-car satellite receiver head units but the latest Lynx unit combines satellite with Internet radio and an mp3 player. John finds out more with Sirius sales manager, Paul Truman.

The Lynx SiriusXM receiver combines the traditional head unit with features more usually found on a personal media player. Large touchscreen – check, mp3 playback – check, Internet radio – check, wifi and Bluetooth – check, rechargeable battery – check.

But one really clever feature most media players don’t have is the ability to go back in time. Not literally, but your favourite stations are constantly being recorded so that if you tune in and discover you missed the start of the programme, you can simply rewind the stream to the start of the show.

To cap it off, the unit is about the size of a paperback. Sweet.

Interview by John of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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