Scott Ertz interviews Matias Brecher, founder of Toast, a manufacturer of wood and leather covers for mobile tech devices.
From the toastmade.com website, customers can order and customize a wide variety of custom wood and leather covers for their smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles at affordable prices. Customers can provide their own graphics to be etched into the cases. The price for the plain wooden Note 4 case at left starts at $34.00. Custom graphics and text can add from $5.00 to $10.00 to the price.
The base price for a wooden top cover for a MacBook starts at $59.00. Add a bottom wooden cover for $30.00.
Walnut is the most popular type of wood customers pick.
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Custom-fit earbuds and headphones can be scarily expensive because the price often includes high quality sound drivers as well as the custom moulding. Advanced MP3 Players have come up with a product that solves this problem by adding a molding to already-owned earbuds – the Sharkfin Self-Molding Earbuds.
Inside the somewhat Spock-esque package are two small pots of self-molding silicone that when mixed together will set in about 5 mins. There’s a choice of two colours at the time of purchase, white or gray.
The idea is that you mix the silicone together, wrap a small roll of the material round the outer part of the earbuds, pop the earbuds in your ears, then knead the silicone into the auricle (or pinna) of the ear, before leaving to set. Here’s a video of the process.
Once set, you have a pair of earbuds or headphones customised perfectly to your ears that stay in place even when you are working out.
Naturally in the interests of research for the readers of GNC, I used the Sharkfins on a pair of Sennheiser earbuds. There’s sufficient molding material to do three fittings, so if the first one doesn’t work out, you get a second chance….which you’ll probably need. On the first one, I didn’t get sufficient coverage on the earbud itself and the molding came away from the earbud. The second time I was more successful.
Here’s a picture of my earbuds with the molding in place. I admit it’s not that pretty and it would have looked better with white earbuds but they definitely stay in your ear. I never knew my ear was so wiggly!
Another tip from the fitting would be to keep them in your ears a bit longer that the suggested 5 mins. The silicone was still quite soft at 5 mins, but had firmed up nicely by 10 mins. Leave for a few hours to make sure it really sets.
Any downsides? Depends on your point of view….I think I might be too self-conscious to wear these in any circumstances other than at the gym or running. Putting in the expanded earbuds takes a little getting used to, but once they were in, they were in. Finally, the silicone didn’t stick to my earbuds which meant that the moulding was easy to remove when I wanted my earbuds back to normal. That may be a positive or negative.
The Sharkfin Self-Molding Earbuds cost just £4.99, which I think is a good deal. If you try them out and don’t like them, you aren’t out a lot of money. Similarly, if you break your headphones at the gym, it’s not going to cost much to replace them.
Overall, a good idea at an excellent price that suffers aesthetically but if function wins out over form, these are for you.
Disclosure – the Sharkfin Self-Molding Earbuds were provided free of charge by Advanced MP3 Players.
Novelty sticker company Sticker Munch launched at last week’s The Gadget Show Live and I was able to grab an interview with MD and founder, Sufian Hassan. Sticker Munch offer a range of novelty stickers that put the fun back into technology by incorporating the logo as part of the design or by trading on the geekiness of it all.
The stickers themselves are high quality vinyl decals and can be stuck to almost anything, from laptops to books, skateboards to vehicles. Some of the decals will be for particular models or devices, e.g. iPad, especially when the logo is integral to the design, but others can be stuck anywhere!
Prices range from an astonishingly low 50p up to £10.
The iPhone might be one of the hottest gadgets out there but it’s really just a Ford – any colour as long as it’s black (or white). But not for much longer…iPhone repair outfit mendmyi now offer a customisation service called Colour Lab which offers over 170,000 colour combinations for the iPhone 4 and 4S.
Effectively, you can choose from 11 different colours or finishes for the front glass, front frame, back glass, back frame and home button. The parts call be all the same colour or all different colours; it’s your choice.
The makeover is currently priced at £96 and if you think that’s expensive, you have to remember that these coloured replacement parts, not stickers, skins or covers. I saw the iPhones in the picture above and the quality is fantastic – you’d think they were manufacturer parts.
If you are interested in having the coolest iPhone in the office, check out my interview with Adrian from mendmyi at The Gadget Show.
Andy personalises his gear with help from Jed Seifert of MusicSkins. Why settle for piano black or ice white, just because they’re what Apple says is cool? With vinyl skins, you can customise your phone or mp3 player from a choice of literally thousands of skins. Whether it’s Madonna or Muse, Johnny C or Jay-Z, there’s a skin for you.
Skipping the hyperbole, MusicSkins offer a huge range of vinyl skins for a wide range of phones, mp3 players, tablets and laptops and all ages and tastes. All the designs are officially licensed and there’s new licensing deal with MTV to tie in with their media properties. But if you can’t find something you like you can design your own.The skins are easy to apply and hard wearing.
Prices start at $14.99 for a smartphone. Available on-line and in retail stores.