Booq Taipan Shock Backpack Review

booq LogoThe Booq Taipan Shock is a lightweight laptop backpack for devices with screens up to 16″, designed to store the laptop safely in a padded section, placing all the accoutrements of mobile life in other pockets and compartments. As can be seen in the photos, it’s a relatively big backpack at 46 × 33 × 21 cm giving it a large internal volume for plenty of gear. 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. The specs say it weighs just under a kilo.

Booq Taipan Shock back

Booq Taipan Shock strap sideThe dedicated laptop section is closest to the back side of the Shock and has padding on all sides with a flash of red material. The Shock easily took a chunky HP ProBook with a 15.6″ screen and a more svelte 13″ Lenovo Yoga looked almost lost inside the padded laptop pocket.

Booq Taipan Shock laptop pocket

In the main section, there’s a selection of zipped pockets, netted areas, pen-holders and slots for paper pads. There’s plenty of room for books and lunchboxes too.

Inside the Taipan Shock

Booq Taipan Shock Removable KeyringThe Taipan Shock has loads of neat 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. As the zips are covered with a layer of material, they look neat and tidy, with none of the zip teeth showing. For convenience, one of the side pockets has a detachable keyring, and while the arm straps can be adjusted for fit, any extra webbing can be neatly wrapped and retain with velcro to stop it flapping around. Finally on the rear of the backpack, there’s a pocket that’s just the right size for an ereader or 7″ tablet, which is handy for easy access.

Booq TagsThe Taipan Shock looks very smart in grey but for a bit of brightness a few coloured leather pull-tabs are included which can be swapped in. It’s a neat touch.

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

Overall, the Booq Taipan Shock is a well-made backpack that has plenty of pockets and space for safely toting larger laptops. The Taipan Shock is vailable from Amazon.co.uk with an RRP of £80.

Thanks to Booq for the loan of the Taipan Shock.

OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock at CES

OWC logoOther World Computing (OWC) always turns up at CES with new toys and this year Todd looks on with desire as founder Larry O’Connor shows off the latest accessories from the Mac shop.

First up is a 240 GB SSD with USB3 crammed into a memory stick form factor. Made to match most Apple products with a brushed aluminium finish, it’ll set you back a cool $199. A 480 GB version will be coming soon!

Next is OWC’s Thunderbolt 2 Dock which brings five USB 3.0, two Thunderbolt 2, FireWire 800, HDMI, gigabit ethernet and audio in/out ports into a single unit. On order for delivery in February, this will set you back $249 as a CES limited-time special ($299 normally). Very handy if you have legacy FireWire gear that you want to use with newer Apple computers.

Other products mentioned but not shown include SSDs for Mac Pro upgrades, software RAID solutions and portable backup drives.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Todd Aune of The Elder Divide for the TechPodcast Network.
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Urbanears Brings Gear to CES

Urbanears LogoSwedish headphone outfit Urbanears today announced a new line of accessories for the traveller, commuter and music fan. The colourful gear will be released throughout 2015 and will include the everything needed to ease the stress of modern life.

If you are an Urbanears fan, you’ll notice their DNA and design aesthetic in the accessories. Fabric cables and tags echo their headsets, and the clever SnapConstruction keeps the pieces together.

Urbanears Accessories
The first accessories to hit the stores this spring are the Thunderous Lightning Cable, the Concerned Micro-USB Cable and the Helpful Phone Case, for iPhone 5 and iPhone 6. Available in seven different colours – black, dark grey, tomato, true white, chick, jam and mint, they’ll be on sale at select Urbanears retailers worldwide, and at urbanears.com by March 24th.

The Helpful Phone Case is simple but clever. It looks like any normal iPhone case for the 5 or 6, but it has a hidden slot to take an RFID travel or metro card. It’s then a case (sorry!) of swiping your phone to get through the barrier and on your way. Genius.

Vivick’s Latest Gadgets

Vivick HeadphonesCanadian firm Vivick produce a wide range of gadgets, covering everything from iPhone cases, laptop accessories and AV gear. Andy and Scott look at three of the latest products.

On show from Vivick is anLED desk lamp speaker that can be driven via Bluetooth but wouldn’t look out of place on the set of a 70s sci-fi movie. Continuing the theme, they had a Bluetooth headset which looked a bit more up-to-date but I can’t comment on the sound quality. Finally, they showed off a combo-laptop / USB rechargeable battery which had some really good design ideas. It seems to be a brand new product as it doesn’t yet feature on their website, but if you are a battery hogging traveller, keep an eye out for it.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the TechPodcast Network, who should be commended for keeping the interview going.

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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.

 

Breffo Spiderpodium for Smartphones and Tabets

Breffo Spiderpodium Smartphone CradleThe Breffo Spiderpodium is a flexible yet somewhat disturbing cradle for smartphones and tablets. Nic McMahon from Breffo chats with Andy and Courtney about the success of the Spiderpodium over the past year.

The Spiderpodium has had a good year with a Nasa mission and a starring role on The Apprentice (not Dragon’s Den as suggested in the video). Nic reveals a marketing tip…despite myriad uses, people have difficulty imagining how they could use the Spiderpodium. However, show the Spiderpodium in action as an iPhone holder on a bicycle and they’ll need to have one.

The smartphone version is $19.99 with the bigger tablet model priced at $34.99 and they’re available in a range of colours.

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

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iLuv Wins With New Travel Gadgets

iLuv LogoiLuv will be familiar to many with their extensive range of matching accessories for tablets, smartphones and MP3 players. At CES this year, iLuv won no less than 5 CES Innovations Honoree awards to add to their collection of accolades. Todd gets a review of their latest products from Peter of iLuv.

The DreamTraveler is combined iPhone dock, USB charger and mains power strip squared aimed at those unfortunate souls who have to spend time in poorly equipped hotel rooms. It has two USB charging ports, three power outlets and an Apple connector for charging iPhones, iPods and iPads.

For the international traveller, iLuv has the RockWall, a dual USB charger that comes with the right mains plugs for different countries round the world.

Finally, the Mo’Beats is a portable tablet or smartphone cradle with Bluetooth wireless speakers that has a built-in lithium-ion battery which will run for about 4 hours.

All the products will be available in April or May. The Mo’Beats SRP is expected to be $89.99 but the website is currently showing $99.99. I think Peter gets his prices mixed up in the video as the RockWall is priced at $49.99 on the website and the DreamTraveler is $129.99.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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The Zagg Sparq Portable Power at CES

Zagg LogoZagg’s protective films are popular “first purchases” for new smartphone owners and but Zagg offer other products in the mobile working space. Todd chats to Nate from Zagg to about the Zagg Sparq, a portable rechargeable battery pack.

The Sparq is mains charged, with two front-facing USB ports to recharge any  portable device with a USB-type connector. The internal battery has sufficient capacity to recharge four times the average smartphone. Perfect for when you’re on the road.

Available now for $99.99 from Zagg online with free shipping.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Ebook Light and iPad Stand Reviews

Over the Memorial weekend, I purchased a couple of accessories for both my Kindle and my iPad. Neither are complicated enough for a full post, so I thought I would review both within a single post. The first is a eBook light from Belkin, the second is the Mini-Stand for the iPad from Targus.

I was looking for an e-book light that wouldn’t cost me an arm and leg but was fairly sturdy. I finally decided on the eBook light from Belkin. It works, but I am not sure it is going to be the last e-book light I purchase.

Ebook Light

I was a little annoyed when I realized that it required three AAA batteries and none were provided. This is a pet peeve of mine, if you sell a product that requires batteries, either provide the batteries or clearly state no batteries provided. According to the Target site the package should have included batteries, so I double checked the box and there were no batteries. So I spent 10 minutes try to find batteries to test the light. The second more long-term problem is that when you clip the light to the Kindle it is not tight at the bottom of the clip. Because of the arm it is a little top-heavy, so the bottom pulls away slightly, this is something I may or may not get use to. I do like that the arm is adjustable in all directions. The light is bright enough even at the lower level that reading on the Kindle even with the room light off is quite enjoyable.

Mini-stand for the iPad

The second accessory was a stand for my iPad. I was again looking for something simple, not too expensive and easy to carry. I found the Targus mini-stand at Walmart and so far I am very happy with it. It is a simple clear block of hard plastic. There are spaces at both end where you can place the iPad. The angle of the iPad will depend on which end you choose. You can place the iPad in either portrait or landscape mode in the stand. It does not work if you have a cover on the iPad. The stand is about as thick as two original iPads, but not too heavy. I like that it is really simple with no parts that can break and easy to carry. Also at less than $15.00 the price was right. If you are looking for something fairly inexpensive that works, the Mini-stand from Targus is a good choice. An added bonus is it works well with the iPhone too.

Tabgrip Making it Easier to Hold on to Your iPad

Tabgrip is a device that secures to the iPad and provides a grip on all four sides. There are also legs that come out of all for grips so you can lean it how you want in both portrait and landscape mode. It makes it easier to pass the iPad and helps to keep fingerprints off the surface as you are passing it. It protects the iPad’s sides and back, while still keeping the iPad light. The iPad can still lay flat, but be suspended above the surface. It’s $50.00 but can be found on sale at both the Web site and on Amazon for as low as $35.00. Great for both home and business.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News.

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