Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Belkin “YourType” Folio + Keyboard For iPad 2 & iPad 3

Posted by tomwiles at 12:23 AM on October 13, 2012

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Not long after I purchased my iPad 2, I ended up finding a Bluetooth keyboard case combination on a discount table at a Flying J truck stop priced for $15 dollars. For that low price, I figured I couldn’t go wrong.

Unfortunately, you do get what you pay for. The keyboard quality was very low. It was extremely difficult to type on the rubberized keys — actually no better than the virtual iPad keyboard.

So, I did some looking around online for Bluetooth iPad keyboard reviews and ended up getting a Belkin “YourType” Folio + Keyboard.

Typing on the Belkin keyboard is much easier than the experience I had with the other keyboard. The keys on the Belkin seem to work a bit better and have better overall placement for touch typing.

The Belkin keyboard does not replicate the experience of typing on a good computer keyboard. Also, there seems to be a problem with some occasional lag from when keys are pressed, or even key presses that are missed or ignored. I figure this problem is likely caused by iPad 2 performance issues, and not the Belkin keyboard itself since I experienced the same issues with the prior inexpensive Bluetooth keyboard.

It’s possible that I just have too many apps installed and they are stealing CPU cycles. My iPod Touch, which has an even slower processor than my iPad 2, also suffers occasional stuttering and delays just with everyday use. Turning off push notifications does seem to help this problem on the iPod and may help out on the iPad. The next step would be to start deleting unused or underused apps to see if CPU cycles can be freed back up for improved Bluetooth keyboard performance.

The functionality as a case seems to work as expected. The iPad 2 itself fits snugly in the sleeve. There are cut outs for the on/off switch and volume control, as well as for both the front and rear facing cameras and the home button. It comes with a micro USB charging cable, but you will have to provide the USB charging port.

If I can clear up the Bluetooth lag problem, the Belkin “YouType” Folio + Keyboard would make for a good typing experience for the iPad.

JayBird Headphones for Sport

Posted by Andrew at 2:45 PM on April 22, 2012

JayBird SportsbandTo be honest, I’d never heard of JayBird headphones until I came across them on the DAD Audio stand at Gadget Show Live. However, having listened to their pitch, I’d consider a pair for use at the gym or during sport. Why? Because JayBird specialise in headphones and earbuds that are sweat-proof and difficult to dislodge.

On show were two Bluetooth headsets, the Sportsband and the Freedom. As you might expect, the Sportsband is a traditional headband model with modern styling (shown left), whereas the Freedoms are earbuds (show below) with a twist.

Jaybird FreedomsKeeping earbuds in during exercise is a constant problem, and the Freedoms solve this problem but having a cunning in-ear hook that latches onto part of the ear. This ensures that the earbuds stay in the ear no matter how active and sweaty the wearer gets.

If you are in the UK and are interested in picking up a pair, JayBird headphones are sold online by DAD Audio. Both models are currently £99.

To learn more, listen to my interview with Stephanie at the Gadget Show Live.

IDAPT Universal Multichargers at The Gadget Show

Posted by Andrew at 4:14 PM on April 12, 2012

The need to charge today’s mobile gadgets on an almost daily basis is one of the downsides of faster processors and bigger screens. Although companies like Palm have tried to introduce inductive charging, most gadgets need to be simply plugged in. This leads to the proliferation of wall chargers and a mess of cables.

IDAPT‘s solutions bring order to the chaos with multi-device chargers that have interchangeable charging tips to suit the device being charged – smartphones, portable game consoles, tablets, digital cameras, even rechargeable batteries.

The i4 can charge three devices on top with a fourth on the side (right) and the i2+ takes two on top (bottom left). The i1 eco is a portable charger (middle) and only charges one device but is made from recycled plastic.

IDAPT Charging Units

The bright yellow IDAPT S1 Universal Speaker is shown below with an iPad but it’s device agnostic and uses Bluetooth rather than the device connector to transmit the music. I’ve been looking for a decent speaker dock that works with something other than an Apple device so I’ll be taking a hard look at this one.

IDAPT Loudspeaker Dock

I chat with Myles Pomfret, IDAPT’s country manager at The Gadget Show Live to find out more about these versatile chargers.

World Pride’s Spy Gadgets

Posted by Andrew at 9:10 AM on February 22, 2012

Bluetooth WatchWorld Pride is unlikely to be a name that you’ve heard of, but once you see a few of their gadgets in the video, you’ll recognise them from the gadget stores and catalogues. Jeffrey and Jamie chat with Jim.

The team at World Pride visit factories in Asia and try to spot cool gadgets that haven’t yet made it to market in the US. They then work closely with the factory to refine the product for US consumers. On show here are examples of gadgets that World Pride has already brought or will be bringing to the market.

One of the watches in the interview has a Bluetooth receiver and when someone rings your mobile phone, the watch will display the name or number of the person calling. As Jamie mentions, great if you are in a meeting and want to know if you should take a call.

Other gadgets include a pen and a watch with a video camera built-in and finally, there’s a miniature digital camera. It’s only about an inch wide but it looks like a tiny point-and-shoot camera while still taking 5 MP pictures and HD video.

Interview by Jeffrey “Austin” Powers of Geekazine and Jamie “007″ Davies of the MedicCast and the Nursing Show.

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SoundMatters foxL Pocket Speaker

Posted by Andrew at 11:06 AM on February 19, 2012

Soundmatters foxL speakerSoundMatters show off to Jeffrey and John their range of small speakers, suitable for travel and the home.

First is the world’s best pocket-size speaker (allegedly), the foxL. Weighing a little over a pound, the smart idea was to incorporate the battery into the speaker itself and use it as the bass driver. The foxL comes in three versions; wired, Bluetooth and Bluetooth with the Apt-X codec for CD quality sound. Priced at $149, $199 and $229 respectively.

New later in the year is a mini sub-woofer which delivers 25 watts to give a big sound from a small package. It uses two parallel metal plates to push out the lower frequencies. Expected in late spring or early summer it will retail at $149.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine and Andy Smith of Geocaching World.

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Hearing Loss Help From ClearSounds

Posted by Andrew at 10:20 PM on February 14, 2012

ClearSounds LogoSurprisingly, one in five Americans over the age of 12 has hearing loss severe enough to affect communication and in over a third of the cases, the loss is from noise exposure, not age. ClearSounds produces a range of stylish products that help people overcome their hearing loss and communicate again. Andy and Courtney talk to company president, Michele Alman of ClearSounds.

Suffering from a hearing loss is less about the physical impairment and more about the isolation and withdrawal that occurs when it becomes difficult to hear what’s going on. The problem doesn’t only affect the afflicted; friends and family stop calling and phoning because it’s simply too hard to have a conversation. In turn, the lack of contact leads people into depression.

ClearSounds have a range of products aimed at remedying everyday situations – people with hearing loss want to use cool tech too. The ClearSounds i700 iCreations Phone is combination landline and iPhone dock. The enhanced handset combines a DECT cordless phone with a Bluetooth receiver so only one handset is needed to take both landline and mobile phone calls.

For watching TV, the ClearBlue Bluetooth TV/Audio Listening System is a Bluetooth transmitter and headphones receiver. Rather than turning the TV volume up until it rocks the house, the headphones let the individual set the volume just right for them.

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

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Lil’ Wiz Vibration Speaker

Posted by Andrew at 8:47 AM on February 14, 2012

Lil' Wiz Vibration SpeakerCourtney introduces her favourite “party-in-a-pocket”, the Lil’ Wiz. It’s a mini vibration speaker that converts any flat surface into a loudspeaker.

There are two Lil’ Wiz models – the first is a basic MP3 player and takes microSD cards ($79). The second has Bluetooth and will stream music from any Bluetooth-equipped smartphone or tablet, both iOS and Android ($99).

Both have rechargeable batteries, though it’s not clear how long the battery can be expected to last. A special mount connects the Lil’ Wiz to glass or other smooth hard surface to use a window as a speaker.

I can’t imagine the Lil’ Wiz provides audiophile levels of sound but it seems to be a fun device for some impromptu music.

Interview by Courtney Wallin of SDR News.

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SiriusXM Lynx Satellite and Internet Radio Receiver

Posted by Andrew at 8:40 AM on February 14, 2012

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.

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SOUL by Ludacris Audio Gear

Posted by Andrew at 8:39 AM on February 14, 2012

CES Ludacris Soul PartySOUL by Ludacris can be guaranteed to have some nice gear on show and they don’t disappoint. Allante takes in the latest audio extravaganza.

First up are the flagship SL300 flagship noise-cancelling headphones, with built-in amplification giving great sound even within noisy environments such as aircraft.

The little brother to the SL300s are the SL100s, a smaller headset; still very stylish, but without the noise-cancellation.

And if you prefer earbuds, the SL49 and SL99s are good choices depending on budget.

Finally, the brand new “Party in Box” is a portable iPhone dock…but when I say “portable”, I don’t mean slip-it-in-your-pocket portable. It’s the size of a small suitcase and has a carrying handle. Granted, the sound quality should be amazing and it will blow any other sound dock into the weeds but if you want it, prepare to fork out $1299. Wow!

Pity we missed the party…

Interview by Allante Sparks of F5 Live.

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Vertix Raptor Helmet Communicator

Posted by Andrew at 8:38 AM on February 3, 2012

Vertex Raptor II Helmet Communicator

Veteran biker, Andy “Hog” McCaskey, checks out Vertix‘s Raptor helmet communicator. Let’s roll!

Vertix Raptor-i is a Bluetooth-based helmet communication system that brings together phone, intercom, radio and music player functions into a single unit. It’s perfect for any activity where wearing a helmet is the norm including motorcycling, motorport and skiing.

A microphone and speaker are fitted inside the helmet and Raptor unit goes on the outside. The unit’s controls are designed to be operated with gloves on and a remote control will be available in a few month’s time. Noise-cancellation and auto-gain control to ensure that voices can be heard clearly even at speed.

For the intercom function, two Raptor units can be paired together so that rider and pillion can talk or two riding buddies can chat between bikes.

The MSRP for the Vertix Raptor-i is $160 and it’s available now.

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

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