Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Accessories’

22
Jul

Kinivo M2 Bluetooth 2.1 Speaker System [Review]


I

love listening to music. I listen to it while I am walking around campus, driving in my car, sitting around my house, and even while writing this article. However, I have never gotten into headphone, speakers, or any other type of audio equipment. As long as I could hear the music and it sounded good, I was happy. When I got the chance to review the Kinivo M2, I was eager to see if a new set of speakers would drastically change how my music sounded.

First ImpressionsKinivo M2 full set up

In the box, you find two 2.5″ wired satellite speakers and one 6.5″ subwoofer. The power cable is built into the subwoofer and a 3.5mm-to-RCA cable is also included. When I first took the M2 out of the box, I thought it looked pretty nice. The wooden subwoofer felt solid and the gold accents along the black speakers popped.

The satellite speakers are plastic and have a glossy finish on the front that picked up fingerprints extremely easily. From just taking them out of the box and setting them up on my desk, the fronts were covered with prints and I had to spend some time cleaning them off. My favorite aesthetic feature of the M2 has to be the glowing ring around the volume know. The blue-white light is almost futuristic and I love anything that lights up. This system is not going to blow anyone away in the looks department, but it feels solid and well-built while still managing to look nice.

 

Setup and Operation

SKinivo M2 NFCetting up the Kinivo M2 was a piece of cake. I decided to replace my old desktop computer speakers with the M2, which was simple with the included 3.5mm-to-RCA cable. With the subwoofer hooked up, all that was left was plugging in the satellite speakers into the correct places and setting them on my desk.

The Kinivo M2 can accept audio from both a wired and Bluetooth source so the next step was connecting my phone to the speaker system. One great feature of the M2 is that it uses NFC so all I had to do was set my phone on top of the subwoofer and select that I wanted to pair with the speaker. If you want to pair a device that does not have NFC, you can do that by pressing the “Pair” button on the back of the subwoofer and searching for the M2 in your device’s Bluetooth settings. To switch between wired and Bluetooth, you must press the “Source” button on the back of the subwoofer. While this is not difficult when the M2 is out in the open, having it below my desk required me to get on my hands and knees to reach the button.

Kinivo M2 back pluginsPlacing all the controls on the back of the subwoofer did make for a cleaner product, but I do with the buttons had been placed in an easier to reach spot such as next to the volume knob. Speaking of the volume knob, it is located on the side of the Kinivo M2’s subwoofer. It is easy to turn and sometimes almost too sensitive. With the subwoofer placed beneath my desk, I found that it was easy to adjust the volume with my foot and that has been working quite well so far.



Sound Quality

Here is the most important part of any speaker review, because at the end of the day, a speaker’s main purpose is to create the best sound possible. I have owned a few Bluetooth speakers in my life, but none of them were 2.1 speaker systems; so I expected the Kinivo M2 to deliver some decent sound quality.

However, I was completely wrong. The M2 is one of the best sounding speaker systems I have heard. Lows sounds great with the added subwoofer and I can feel the air moving by my feet when listening to a song with hard hitting base. The mids are just right and provide good separation between different voices and instruments. The highs are bright and clear, fully rounding out an enjoyable listening experience.

To put this speaker system to the ultimate test, I decided to try NPR’s recent “How Well Can You Hear Audio Quality” quiz. For those who are not familiar with this test, you are given three versions of an audio segment and are asked to select the one you think is the high quality, uncompressed auido. Each versions increases in quality with a 128kbps mp3, a 320kbps mp3, and an Uncompressed WAV.

Streaming over Bluetooth from my Nexus 6, I was able to easily identify the uncompressed audio all six times and get a perfect score. I am no where close to an audiophile and do not know a thing about high bitrate audio; however, I could easily tell that the uncompressed audio sounded better on the Kinivo M2. For comparison, through my Sennheiser HD 205’s plugged into my Nexus 6, I only got four out of five. I think that this is the best testament to the Kinivo M2’s sound quality. You can tell the difference in high quality audio when listening through these speakers.

Overall Thoughts

After using the Kinivo M2 for a few weeks, it has continually impressed me with its great sound quality for a reasonable price. The M2 retails for $120, but you can grab it on Amazon right now for only $80. For a speaker that sounds this good, both prices are a fantastic deal.

What I liked:

  • Amazing sound quality
  • Good price
  • Solid build
  • NFC for added Bluetooth pairing convenience
  • Easy set up
  • Cool, glowing volume ring

What I did not like:

  • Rear button placement can make reaching them difficult
  • Average design
  • Extremely sensitive volume knob
  • Glossy plastic on satellite speakers is a fingerprint magnet

The post Kinivo M2 Bluetooth 2.1 Speaker System [Review] appeared first on AndroidGuys.

21
Jul

Android Wear sporting ASUS ZenWatch drops to $129 in the Play Store






style=”display:block”
data-ad-client=”ca-pub-8150504804865896″
data-ad-slot=”8461248232″
data-ad-format=”auto”>
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push();

The Android Wear sporting smartwatch portfolio is pretty hefty. The Motorola Moto 360is still one of the most lusted after variants out there. The LG Watch Urbane and the upcoming Huawei watch are some of the other highly sought after ones. There is one more that had a lot of people drooling, including myself, and that was the ASUS ZenWatch. While it didn’t bring anything super radical or amazing, it did bring a curved square glass look with leather straps and watch faces from ASUS before Google made it a thing.


The watch had a retail price tag of $199.99, which was slightly less than the round variant of the Moto 360 unless it happened to be on sale. Currently the watch is listed for $129.99, $70 off. There is no indication that it is permanent or sale price drop. If it is permanent, then it is likely the ZenWatch 2 could be finally making its way into the store soon. Either way, if the ASUS ZenWatch was on your list of things to pick up, now is looking like a pretty good time to do it.

Head to the Google Store and get your ASUS ZenWatch order in before things change.

The post Android Wear sporting ASUS ZenWatch drops to $129 in the Play Store appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

19
Jul

SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones Review: The audio is strong with this one






style=”display:block”
data-ad-client=”ca-pub-8150504804865896″
data-ad-slot=”8461248232″
data-ad-format=”auto”>
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push();

As a Star Wars nerd, when I heard SMS Audio were making headphones that were Star Wars themed, I couldn’t help but get super excited. I realize that audio companies that are started by rappers, like SMS Audio and Beats by Dre generally don’t have fantastic reputations among audiophiles for various philosophical reasons, but for me, and I’m sure most of the remaining population of the world, how your audio equipment looks is also quite a big factor. That’s where the SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition headphones come in, which as you can imagine, tries to leverage on its Star Wars licencing by creating headphones that look like iconic parts of the Star Wars franchise, and we’ve been checking out a pair – let’s jump in.

 

What’s in the box

SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones Review
SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones Review
SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones Review

You might think that getting the Star Wars licence was enough for SMS Audio, but they’ve actually made a very impressive effort to make this set of headphones a memorable one for fans of the franchise. The unboxing itself will be an experience: inside the box, not only will you get the Star Wars themed headphones, you’ll also get a hard case in your chosen theme with an embossed Star Wars logo, a holographic card of the hero (or villain) your headphones are themed for, a cleaning cloth and, of course, a 3.5mm audio cable with in-line mic to connect your headphones and your device.

SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones ReviewSpeaking of themes, the Star Wars Second Edition headphones are available in four different flavours, including R2-D2, Chewbacca, TIE Fighter and Darth Vader. For reference, the First Edition saw themes like the Rebel Alliance, The Empire, Boba Fett and Stormtrooper – if I’m honest, this Second Edition incorporates these new characters into the headphones much better than the First. Personally, I’m a big fan of the Chewbacca and the Darth Vader sets.

SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones ReviewThe headphones themselves are an on-ear affair, but the ear cups are a little larger than you would typically expect from on-ear headphones – they covered all of my ear, and then some. Padded with leather, the ear cups and the head band form a very cushioned fit for the Second Edition headphones. The rest of the headphones are made up of plastic and small amounts of metal – all of this makes the Second Edition headphones incredibly light, which makes a huge difference in the comfort area – more on that later.

SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones ReviewOf course, given the size of that hard case, the Second Edition headphones are also collapsible, folding up nice and compact with plenty of room for your cable and cleaning cloth. One observation I did have of the collapsing mechanism is that it gives a very satisfying snap when opening and closing your ear cups.

 

How do they perform?

SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones ReviewSoundwise, the Second Edition headphones draw their sound power from two 40mm drivers – this is pretty much the staple driver size in this part of the audio market. Accordingly, these headphones have a lot of oomph behind them, particularly in the bass area. It should be no surprise that headphones from a company founded by a rapper has bass at its heart – that much is the legacy of Beats by Dre – but if that’s your jam, you’re not going to be disappointed. Playing tunes with thumping bass-lines like Ginuwine’s Pony or Adam Lambert’s Ghost Town really accentuate what these headphones have to offer.

SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones ReviewThe mids and highs are generally good too – I’m not going to say clear because that doesn’t quite describe them: depending on where you sit on the audiophile scale, at worst, I’d call them a little muffled; at best, I’d call them warm. Listening to something like Ed Sheeran’s Photograph really highlights this as the bass overpowers the nuances of the mids and highs. Listening to classical music, however, was interesting – in keeping with the theme, I listened to John Williams’ Duel of the Fates from Star Wars and the heavier bass does actually work in the french horns’ favour – though this may be an exception. Note that there’s probably a little tuning to do with equalizer settings if that’s what you want to do – this is just what’s available out of the box.

The summarize the audio experience, I would say if you’re big on R&B, rap, dance, EDM or anything heavy on bass – even pop – the Second Edition headphones have exactly what you need. For everyone else, these headphones are still exceptionally good, don’t get me wrong – the depth they offer is actually pretty good – but they might not be tuned to your exact genre of music of choice.

SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones ReviewMoving onto comfort, the Second Edition headphones are extremely comfortable to wear – the oval ear cups and high quality soft leather are very pleasant on the ears, and make for a very good snug fit. This snug fit also works as passive noise cancelling which works as well as passive noise cancelling can hope to work. In terms of comfort on long sessions, the Second Edition headphones are generally quite good for long periods of time, but I would say that the fit is quite tight so you may get points of soreness after a long listening session.

SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones Review
SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones Review


As I mentioned before, the cable that is included with the Second Edition headphones also includes an in-line microphone which means you can take calls while listening to music on your smartphone – a single button will also let you answer calls and pause/play your music. The mic works well enough, though it’s not anything special in crowded spaces – be ready to bring it closer to your face in those environments.

 

What I like about the SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones

SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones ReviewWhat isn’t to like about the looks of the Second Edition headphones? Getting the Star Wars licence is one thing but doing it justice is another – the First Edition is a little bit cool, but the Second Edition has managed to capture the Star Wars legacy even better, and I’m convinced it could find itself on any Star Wars fans’ wishlist. There are a lot of other Star Wars characters too, so I’m hoping there’s a Third Edition lurking around out there as well.

SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones ReviewI really like the feel of the Second Edition headphones as well – a lot has been made in the media about the perception of quality in audio products, but SMS Audio does this with the Second Edition headphones without errant pieces of metal or anything – the plastics are flawlessly molded, the leathers feel great and it all feels really well put together.

 

What I don’t like about the SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones

SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones ReviewThe bass is a standout on the Second Edition headphones, but for me, it’s just a tad overpowering. There are definitely songs where this is warranted, but it was a bit jarring in songs where bass isn’t supposed to be the focal point. That said, that is a personal preference, so take that as you will.

SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones ReviewThe price of the Second Edition headphones is also going to be a tall order – underneath all the awesome decor is a pair of STREET by 50 on-ear headphones, and while these do retail for $179.99 USD like the Second Edition headphones, it’s still not a small sum of money. Then again, for the Star Wars fan, whether it be a personal purchase or a gift, you’re likely not to be disappointed due to the unique nature and look of the headphones and could be worth the premium.

Final Thoughts

SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones ReviewIt’s not often that the Star Wars franchise gets licensed products that are realized so well, but we’re glad SMS Audio took the chance with these Star Wars Second Edition headphones. A set of headphones that caters for the bass-lovers, it’s a unique combination of the Star Wars franchise and quality audio, one which could be too good to pass up for many fans.

For more information about the SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition headphones, you can get to the SMS Audio product page here. We’ve also got Amazon links below if your determined to shoot first.

http://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&Operation=GetAdHtml&ID=OneJS&OneJS=1&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=wwwandcom-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00VQ8QEB4&asins=B00VQ8QEB4&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true&MarketPlace=UShttp://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&Operation=GetAdHtml&ID=OneJS&OneJS=1&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=wwwandcom-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00VQ8QEAU&asins=B00VQ8QEAU&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true&MarketPlace=UShttp://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&Operation=GetAdHtml&ID=OneJS&OneJS=1&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=wwwandcom-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00VQ8QE32&asins=B00VQ8QE32&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true&MarketPlace=UShttp://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&Operation=GetAdHtml&ID=OneJS&OneJS=1&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=wwwandcom-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00VQ8QELO&asins=B00VQ8QELO&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true&MarketPlace=US

SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones Review: The audio is strong with this one
A great pair of headphones that has the added novelty of the Star Wars franchise
Build Quality
Sound Quality
Comfort
Value for Money
The good
  • Star Wars!
  • Feels like great quality
  • Extremely light
The bad
  • Bass can be overpowering
  • On the pricey side

4.2Overall Score

Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

The post SMS Audio Star Wars Second Edition Headphones Review: The audio is strong with this one appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

15
Jul

TYLT ENERGI+ an awesome backpack that charges your stuff


Kickstarter can be real hit or miss sometimes. For every great idea that gets funded, there’s another that never seems to materialize. Lucky for us the TYLT ENERGI+ falls in the former category. Their idea was to integrate an extremely functional backpack with the ability to charge your mobile devices. All they needed to make it happen was $50,000. Not only did they hit their funding goals, but they surpassed it, hitting over 150% of their goal. We’ll be looking at whether they were able to accomplish all they set out to do with this backpack.

TYLT ENERGI+ overview

I recently had the opportunity to review TYLT’s RIBBN charger. What impressed me the most about that device was the quality of materials and product design. So, needless to say, I came into this review with some pretty high expectations.

When I first pulled the TYLT ENERGI+ out of its box, the first thing I noticed was that there were instructions and diagrams everywhere in the backpack, showing how to get things set up. There was also a manual, but I didn’t need it. The diagrams were more than adequate. I also noticed a few loose strings poking out of the backpack, not a big deal, but again, I’m coming into this with abnormally high expectations.

When you purchase the backpack you’ll also receive a 10,400mAh battery pack and 3 micro USB cables. One of the cables will have an older 30 pin iPad/iPhone/iPod adapter plug attached. Before you continue setting things up, it’s best to charge up the battery pack to full capacity. The battery pack charges using a standard micro USB cable. They do not furnish a charging cable, but the device will work with the phone charger you already have and can even charge from any of your computer’s USB ports. One added bonus of the battery pack is that it has an output of 4.2A. This will allow you to quickly charge tablets, phones, or anything with a micro USB connection.

TYLT ENERGI+ setup

The backpack has a little pouch for the battery pack that will snuggly hold it in place. All the cables are fairly easy to route to the various pockets and pouches that you might want to place your devices in. One of the best features is that they don’t limit the pockets that can be routed to. Even though there are only 3 cables, almost all of the pockets can have a cable routed to it, so you don’t have to rely on where TYLT recommends you to place your devices. You can use your discretion to decide where you could best use the charging capabilities.

I also loved their cable management solution. They included elastic strips in strategic parts of the backpack to keep your power cables nice and neat. If you’ve ever built your own computer, you know how important that cable management can be.

Overall it’s not too difficult to get things up and running. It also fairly easy to reroute the cables to adapt to your changing needs.

TYLT ENERGI+ usage

I mentioned earlier that the idea for the ENERGI+ was to make an extremely functional backpack. I think the better word to describe it would be practical. There is virtually no unused space. If there is an empty space, there is a pocket. They even included a space with a rigid sunglasses and phone holder. This exact same space, of course, has a slot for a power cable, but it also has a slot to feed some wired headphones outside of the backpack so you can listen on the go.

Everyone that I showed the backpack to said that the only thing it needed was a water bottle holder. They then proceeded to be amazed as I pulled out just such a holder out of one of the pockets. This is just another example of how TYLT utilizes every usable space on the backpack. I was able to cram a ton of stuff in the backpack. I had my laptop, laptop power adapter, tablet, phone, lunch container, and various knick-knacks, with room to spare. Even with the backpack being fairly heavy at this point, the strategic padding really helped to remove any undue strain or pressure on my body.

I imagine that when they designed this backpack, they had a bunch of people sitting around asking, “Yeah, but can it do this?”. There are so many little things about this backpack that make it great. For example, there is a waterproof pouch on the front of the backpack for important documents. There is an embedded NFC tag in the strap so that you can trigger your phone to easily do certain tasks. There is a slot behind the backpack that will allow for the handle from a roller luggage to slip through so that you don’t have to carry the backpack on your back while getting to your plane at the airport. Speaking of traveling, the ENERGI+ is also TSA friendly.

What we liked

  • Extremely functional and practical
  • Ability to charge devices on the go
  • Wow factor

What could be better

  • A lower price would be nice
  • More flexible battery pocket for other nonTYLT battery packs
  • Quality was slightly off from their norm

TYLT ENERGI+ overall

For the most part, TYLT met my expectations with the ENERGI+ and I am very happy with the results. If you’re in the market for a backpack and travel a lot or you find yourself needing to charge your mobile devices fairly often, this is the backpack for you. If you’re a penny pincher, then not so much. The TYLT ENERGI+ retails at $169.99 on TYLT.com but is currently on sale for $119.99 with free shipping for Prime members on Amazon.

 

The post TYLT ENERGI+ an awesome backpack that charges your stuff appeared first on AndroidGuys.

14
Jul

Deal: ChargeIt! wall charger can power 3 devices at once, now only $22.95


chargeit!-1

Tired of plaguing your outlets with multiple phone chargers? It’s a very common issue among tech enthusiasts. It gets even worse when traveling, as we have to pack a big fur ball-looking mess of tangled USB chargers only to keep our devices running. Those who feel this pain may find comfort in the ChargeIt! USB Wall Charger & Micro USB Cable offer the AA Deals Store is currently holding a great offer on.

The ChargeIt! wall charger can now be had for only $22.95, a 54% discount over its original $50 price point. This deal will end in 5 days, so you best be sure you put your name to one before it’s too late. Let’s tell you a bit about the charger before you decide if it is right for you.

chargeit!-3

What makes this accessory special is its ability to power three devices at once. The power brick sports a couple full-sized USB ports for charging any device. In addition, a convenient microUSB cable has been built into it. This flat cable is hard to get tangled and wraps around the charger, effectively reducing its footprint to a mere red stripe on the product.

chargeit!-2This is no slow charger, either. It benefits from a 15 watt output, which is shared across all 3 ports. It also charges devices at 2.4A through the included cable, while the USB ports will charge at 2.1A and 1A, depending on which port is being used.

The ChargeIt! wall charger is a handy little device that will ease your charging hassles significantly. At $22.95, it should really be a no-brainer for anyone with more than one USB-powered gadget. And don’t forget – sharing the deal may get you a $10 credit, so the offer could get even better!

Buy the ChargeIt! USB Wall Charger & Micro USB Cable

10
Jul

[Review] Rokform Galaxy S6 Crystal V3 case plus accessories go beyond protection and into usefulness


[Review] Rokform Galaxy S6 Crystal V3 case plus accessories go beyond protection and into usefulness
Build & Design85%
Ease of Use 90%
Added Functionality85%
Cost 85%
The goo
  • Affordable pricing
  • Easy to put on
  • Extremely handy
The Bad
  • One piece case

86%Overall Score

Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

0%






style=”display:block”
data-ad-client=”ca-pub-8150504804865896″
data-ad-slot=”8461248232″
data-ad-format=”auto”>
(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push();

I am a naked device kind of person. Manufacturers work hard to deliver a device that looks amazing and then we toss a case on it to protect that beauty, but at the same time detract from its looks. Often times the cases we use are bulky and can even hinder your device use experience, but offer superior protection. Other cases are more for looks and offer  minimal protection, but protection none the less. There are very few cases on the market that offer a little bit of everything along with additional functionality. Incipio shows some style with additional features like card holders and kick stands. Pelican offers outstanding protection and a belt clip that doubles as a kickstand. Those are the sorts of cases I look for. The ones that can do more than just protect my device. Rokform, in my opinion, currently offers the best protection coupled with a laundry list of additional functions that it is almost ridiculous. Let’s take a quick look at the new Rokform Crystal V3 case for the Samsung Galaxy S6 and a few of the separate accessories that are available. Mind you, the accessories aren’t specific to this case, they are cross compatible with all their phone cases and universal kits.

Rokform Crystal V3

The Crystal V3 case for the Galaxy S6 comes with a few things in the box. First you get the one piece case for he phone. It offers up a rubber rim on part the shell at the bottom and top along with the cut out for the camera. The rubber extends on the volume side to allow easy control of your devices volume keys. On the opposite side it rims the case and drops in to allow a rubber button to press the power button. You also get a lanyard and a small round metal Rokform disk. (I’ll clue you in on that in a minute.)

Rokform Crystal V3

The rear of the case is a clear plastic that allows you to still see the rear of your S6 in places. There are two additional features built-in on the rear as well. The lower portion houses a round magnet that is slightly larger than the size of a quarter. There is a soft felt cover over it to keep the metal of the magnet from rubbing your S6’s rear glass. Small side note, they call the magnet BAM. It is short for Big Ass Magnet. The magnet is housed in a rubber grommet that can be removed if desired. The grommet is textured on the opposite side, or back, of the case, but doesn’t protrude at all.

The second additional feature you might notice is an odd cut out that sits just above the magnet. I will explain what that is all about when I get to one of the accessories short.

Rokform Crystal V3 Galaxy S6 (13)Rokform Crystal V3 Galaxy S6 (14)

Before I dive deeper into the additional accessories and functions of the case, lets talk how it fits and feels. Being a one piece case means you will need to push a little to get your device inside. It also means that if you want to take it off, you might have a tough time. After about the 6th time putting it on and taking it off it becomes pretty simple. Mostly because I figured out that if you start pulling from the top corner while pressing from the rear through the camera or the center cut out, it will just ease its self out of the case.

Rokform Crystal V3 Galaxy S6 (15)

I am always a bit leery when it comes to cases that cover access to my volume and power buttons. I have experienced cases that used rather rigid materials that made it near impossible to turn the screen on. The material Rokform used is sturdy, but moves quite easily on button presses. Inside where the buttons res they added a small raised molded rubber form that shortens the push to the button from the outside. In a nut shell, I could use all three buttons as easily as if they were exposed and not covered. The plastic that forms the rest of the case is your typical polycarbonate material.

How the case works

Unlike most traditional cases, the Rokform Crystal V3 serves as much more than a protect barrier between your phone and outside elements. As I mentioned above, there is a magnet inside the case its self. While I am sure you can figure out what to do with it, I’ll still explain a few use cases that I have utilized it for. I recently changed out the alternator in my car. Not being a car guy, I used YouTube to walk me through the process. Being that the car is metal I was able to set my phone on the fender without fear of it falling off while I was watching the tutorial and changing the alternator.

I also used it in the kitchen while I was cooking since the stove hood is metal.

The small disc that comes with the case is metal and more so geared to be used in your car. You use the alcohol prep pad to clean off the dash and adhere it with the 3M adhesive. I haven’t decided where to place the disk yet as I don’t have any really good flat driver facing spots in my Subaru. If placing it in your car isn’t really your thing, you can always adhere it to an other flat surface that isn’t metal. Maybe the wall above your workbench, or next to your PC monitors in your office.

Accessories: The Rokmeister


Rokform Rokmeister

The first additional accessory I landed to add to this case is the Rockmeister. It is a bit ominous looking in the packaging, but it is a bit more useful than deadly. It is designed to click into the back of your case at will. You don’t ALWAYS have to have it on and can easily leave it at home during the week. The Rokmeister serves us two purposes. With it attached it acts as a belt clip for your device. Easily enough explained. Its second use comes when you detach it from the case as it is also a bottle opener. Pretty useful product if when you find yourself out at the lake without a way to crack open a brew.

Rokform RokmeisterRokform Rokmeister

Rokform Rokmeister (2)Rokform Rokmeister (3)

Accessory #2: The Multi-Tool

Rokform Multitool (3)

The second accessory doesn’t have a fancy name like the Rokmeister does, but it does offer up a number of uses that make it pretty valuable. The Multi-Tool is a solid piece of machine aluminum which makes it sturdy, but also light weight. On the front you have a pre-installed Rokform metal disc that allows you to do a couple of things, mostly lets you prop your device up using the Multi-Tool as a removable kickstand.

Rokform Multitool (2)Rokform Multitool (1)

On the bottom of the Multi-Tool you will find a set of holes. One is drilled and threaded to fit a tri-pod while the other is smooth. The smooth hole, I am told, fits on a Golf alignment tool. I am not a golfer so I will just take their word for it. You will also notice that there is a cut out. Again, this little guy is more than capable of helping you open your bottles. The end has a larger whole as well as a smaller set cross drilled. Either of which could be used to attach the Multi-Tool to your key chain if you felt like it. Although, I think it is a little large as a keychainable accessory. However, it is easily attached to a backpack with a Carabiner clip.

The Multi-Tool is offered in the silver black color you see above, as well as an all black and a black with red option.

Overall thoughts

Rokform is one of those companies that takes the basic principal of protecting your valuable investment and gives you added functionality that is easy to use. While I have put a few different cases on some of my devices, the Crystal V3 case is the one I keep going back to. While I do preferr the previous models 2 piece design, the single piece design makes more sense. I have zero issue with the magnet interfering with anything on the device nor have I had issues with the buttons being unresponsive.

Like any other case, it will add a little bulk to your device, but its bulk is easily overlooked by its additional functionality. Rokform doesn’t force you to spend a premium for a ton of accessories packaged together. You buy the case and can grab anything else you want, when you want. If you don’t need a bottle opener on your belt clip, then just buy the belt clip attachment. Don’t want to adhere the Rokform disc to your dash, then get the Windshield suction mount that uses the mounting slot on the rear of the case. Do you hit the back country trails on your mountain bike? Then snag the Bike Mount kit. The whole line up is certainly unique enough to turn some heads anywhere you go.

One annoyance, which is one that might be a sticking point for some, is the magnet. I am smart enough to keep it away from my debit cards, but those that toss them in the same pocket as the case might run into issues. The second semi annoying thing, is again, the magnet. When my phone is in my pocket and the magnet is facing out, it will stick to the car or washing machine when I am close to it. Not a HUGE deal, more so just funny really.

Pricing details 

Rokform could easily charge a premium for all the products, but they don’t.

  • Rokform Crystal V3 case for the Galaxy S6 will set you back $38.99 on Amazon and $39.99 from Rokform. 
  • The Rokmeister currently only showing up on Rokforms site and is set at $29.99.
  • The Multi-Tool will run you $49.99 on Rokform.com.

Rokform offers a slew of accessories for a variety of devices, not just the Galaxy S6. If they don’t make a case that suites up your device, you can always pick up the ultra affordable universal adapter. It mounts to the back of most cases, or even straight to your phones back, and gives you all the same versatility as a dedicated Rokform case. Be sure to browse through all their products at Rokform.com and check out the Rokform store front on Amazon.

The post [Review] Rokform Galaxy S6 Crystal V3 case plus accessories go beyond protection and into usefulness appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

10
Jul

Google releases Ethernet adapter for the Chromecast in case your Wi-Fi is dodgy




<ins class="adsbygoogle"
style=”display:block”
data-ad-client=”ca-pub-8150504804865896″
data-ad-slot=”8461248232″
data-ad-format=”auto”>

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push();

The Chromecast has cemented itself as one of the must-haves for any self respecting Google/Android fan, however the fact that it requires a Wi-Fi connection means that people with dodgy Wi-Fi connections might not be able to utilize the streaming dongle to its full potential. Thankfully, Google has finally released an ethernet adapter for the Chromecast, meaning you’ll be able to connect a physical ethernet cable from your router to your Chromecast to cut out the middleman. The adapter will run you $15 USD, however while that seems like a small sum by itself, when you factor in that the Chromecast costs $35 USD on top of that, it makes the whole package a little less attractive relative to its competitors.

chromecast-ethernet-adapter2While the adapters when up on the Google Store this morning, unfortunately, they’ve already sold out.  No doubt Google will replenish stock at some point in the future – we’ll let you know as soon as we know. And as all things new at Google go, the ethernet adapter is currently only available in the US, but we assume availability around the world will follow very soon. If you feel like staring at the product page until it’s back in stock, you can hit the link below:


Ethernet Adapter for Chromecast

What do you think about the ethernet adapter for Chromecast? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Google Store via Droid-life

The post Google releases Ethernet adapter for the Chromecast in case your Wi-Fi is dodgy appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

9
Jul

Google releases Ethernet adapter for the Chromecast in case your Wi-Fi is dodgy




<ins class="adsbygoogle"
style=”display:block”
data-ad-client=”ca-pub-8150504804865896″
data-ad-slot=”8461248232″
data-ad-format=”auto”>

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push();

The Chromecast has cemented itself as one of the must-haves for any self respecting Google/Android fan, however the fact that it requires a Wi-Fi connection means that people with dodgy Wi-Fi connections might not be able to utilize the streaming dongle to its full potential. Thankfully, Google has finally released an ethernet adapter for the Chromecast, meaning you’ll be able to connect a physical ethernet cable from your router to your Chromecast to cut out the middleman. The adapter will run you $15 USD, however while that seems like a small sum by itself, when you factor in that the Chromecast costs $35 USD on top of that, it makes the whole package a little less attractive relative to its competitors.

chromecast-ethernet-adapter2While the adapters when up on the Google Store this morning, unfortunately, they’ve already sold out.  No doubt Google will replenish stock at some point in the future – we’ll let you know as soon as we know. And as all things new at Google go, the ethernet adapter is currently only available in the US, but we assume availability around the world will follow very soon. If you feel like staring at the product page until it’s back in stock, you can hit the link below:


Ethernet Adapter for Chromecast

What do you think about the ethernet adapter for Chromecast? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Google Store via Droid-life

The post Google releases Ethernet adapter for the Chromecast in case your Wi-Fi is dodgy appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

8
Jul

BRAVEN BRV-X: A must have summer Bluetooth speaker essential [Review]


BRAVEN BRV-X: A must have summer Bluetooth speaker essential [Review]
Build80%
Battery 70%
Sound75%
Price80%
The good
  • Long battery life
  • Charges your phone
  • IPX7 waterproof
The bad
  • Proprietary wall charger

76%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

0%




<ins class="adsbygoogle"
style=”display:block”
data-ad-client=”ca-pub-8150504804865896″
data-ad-slot=”8461248232″
data-ad-format=”auto”>

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push();

Summer is in full swing across the nation and for many that means getting outdoors. While I can certainly appreciate being in the great outdoors and enjoying the peaceful sounds of nature, that doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes want some tunes by river, lake, or camp site. There are no shortage of Bluetooth speakers to choose from out in the wild. Some offer a little more than others. Some offer very little for a lot. BRAVEN, in my opinion, is one of those speaker manufacturers that does its very best to meet consumers needs in the middle by offering a lot for a middle ground price tag. Lets take a look at one of their offerings, the BRAVEN BRV-X.

What’s in the box

Braven BRV-X (2)

  • BRAVEN BRV-X Speaker
  • Charging block with 4 international charging adaptors
  • 3.5 to 3.5 headphone cord
  • BRAVEN branded strap
  • BRAVEN branded lanyard

Virtual overview of the exterior

On the top edges of the speaker we have controls to adjust volume, power it on and off, play/pause, change tracks and answer incoming calls.

Braven BRV-X (5)

The rear of the speaker is where you will find a screw on/off back. Under this is where you find a few key essentials to the speaker. First up is the charging port, a USB out to charger your phone or other devices, a battery life indicator and a switch for indoor and outdoor mode. You will also find an AUX in port to use that 3.5 to 3.5 headphone cable that BRAVEN packed in the box with anything that isn’t Bluetooth enabled. Just to the side of the removable back is a NFC tag that lets you easily pair the speaker to a NFC compatible device.

Braven BRV-X (6)

The bottom offers up four rather larger rubber feet that are almost sticky to reduce vibration when on a smooth surface. They aren’t quite sticky, but certainly feel like they are when you have it sitting on a table or counter.

Braven BRV-X (7)

The whole speaker is wrapped with rubber over molding combined with high-impact plastic that provides shockproof durability and gives it a unique feel in hand. Without all the fancy words, it means the speaker can take a solid beating and is likely to not withstand some bumps and drops without falling apart. 

Interior specs

Inside BRAVEN packed a 5,200 mAh battery to power the speaker and any device you need a power boost to while on the go. It is rated for 12 hours of continuous playback at medium volume. That rating excludes any device charging of course. Braven doesn’t offer up details on the speakers, drivers or any hard numbers for audiophiles. It is apparent that there are two speakers that can be seen behind the front grill. As for watts, or ohms or impedance ranges, I am at a loss.

Additional, and important, details

There are a number of additional details to the BRV-X that are notable. Obviously this line is geared as a much more rugged outdoor type of speaker. That means it can take a good beating and keep on playing. It also means that as long as the rear cover is in place the speaker is also water-resistant with an IPX7 rating. That rating gives the speaker protection against submersion of 1 meter for 30 minutes before something could potentially go wrong. I see no reason to go diving with the speaker, but an accidental foll or splash won’t ruin your tunes for the day.

BRAVEN also has a pretty killer technology built into the speaker that they dub TrueWireless Technology. This technology allows you to pair two BRV-X device to each other to give you left and right stereo output while controlling it all from the same device.

How does it sound?

As mentioned above, the BRV-X carriers two sound profiles. One for indoor listening and one for outdoor listening. The indoor settings turns up the bass and gives you a full body sound for a large room. It can crank to max and not have any popping or distortion. However, if you go into your phone, or audio apps, settings and push things up to its max there can be some crackling issues. In a nut shell, don’t toss on Dre and crank the bass boost to 100% and expect it to thump without some potential audio issues. I did adjust some of the output sound through Rhapsody to get a little more bass and level out the mids/highs easily though for a bit more of customized sound experience.


Braven BRV-X (8)

The outdoor mode takes things to the opposite side of the spectrum by pulling the bass down quite a bit and pushing the mids the highs up. It pushes more sound for a larger outdoor space that is still clear and sounds great at all volumes. It would be thee perfect setting for late night moving watching in the tent on lower volumes as it highlights the voices quite nicely.

I ran a few phone calls through the speaker since it does offer an integrated microphone for speakerphone functionality. The recipients could tell I was on speakerphone, but were clueless to it being any different from my phones speakerphone. They could hear me just fine and I could easily hear them. Switching to outdoor mode seemed to product the best voice quality as it cleared out the bass from some of my male friends voices.

How does the battery perform?

I currently work in a retail space for 8 to 10 hours a day. The speaker sits out in plain view pumping out tunes from a variety of devices from the second we open until we close. It sits mostly at medium volume with some max volumes for demonstration purposes or to open/close the store. I have had no issues with the speaker lasting the whole shift with most occasions having it last through two whole days before it needs to be charged. By days I mean open to close for our retail hours which is 10 – 7.

What is it going to cost me?

The speaker is competitively priced for the rugged sector with a sound quality that matches nicely at $199.99. That price tags offers you up the gray and black offering in this review or the black with blue accent variant of the BRV-X.

What I like best about the BRV-X

Being that I have kids and it is summer, I really love that the speaker is IPX7 rated. It has sat outside on a number of occasions in the front and back during water fights and sprinkler sessions all without fear of it getting wet. It is plenty loud enough on both indoor and outdoor modes to rock my yard and that of a few neighbors. Lucky for me my neighbors all have the same taste in music that I do and they usually want me to turn it up more.

It is small enough and light enough to take on trips but packs enough sound to not force you to sit 3 feet away to hear it.

Braven BRV-X (4)

Indoor and outdoor mode give you a quick ability to switch profiles with little fuss and the difference in how it sounds is noticeable enough to warrant switching it for different environments.

The included strap is pretty cool and can be very useful in a variety of situations. Strapping it to the front or back of a quad, to a small tree or to the boat are the first things that come to mind. I strapped it to a low branch on the tree in the back yard to elevate the speaker and help it throw some more sound out over everyone heads.

What I dislike most about the BRV-X

A person can easily pick apart any product for some flaws. I do my best to point out the little things that may or may not drive you crazy. In the case of the BRV-X it still rests on the proprietary charging plug that still needs to be plugged into a wall outlet for charging. This method of charging is understandable, but limits long-term outdoor use for some. If I plan a week-long backpack trip and want to take the speaker for some tunes, I will be out of luck on day 2 or 3. I don’t usually venture out that long personally. Most trips have a car or generator accessible for one reason or another and I can give it a charge if needed. However, the lack of additional charging options, like a micro USB port for instance, is perplexing.

While I am very confident in the companies support and customer service, I don’t see a way to purchase another power plug-in the event of the one in the box getting lost or damaged.

The Bluetooth connection, whether connected manually or by NFC, was as quick and as painless as any other Bluetooth product I have used. It offers the usual 33-foot range and you will notice the music cut in and out around that marker. Other interference can cause the same thing. I also noticed that if you have multiple devices paired to the speaker that it will connect to what it feels like offers the best connection, not necessarily the one you are trying to pair with. I did have to put the speaker back into pairing mode to make it switch to the device I wanted to use at the moment. I am not sure if that is a fault of the speaker, or the devices and Bluetooth though as other devices I have available are super easy to toggle the connection on and off and connect to another device.

Overall thoughts

If you are in need of a solidly built, lightweight, great sounding and long-lasting speaker to get you through your summer adventures and beyond, it is hard to say that the BRAVEN BRV-X isn’t a solid choice for $199.99, from BRAVEN.com. Everyone that I know that has listened to them say they sound better and outperfom the Beats Pill and other similar devices they have used or purchased.  I never got into the Beats hype, but I trust their opinions as much as they trust mine when it comes to product purchases. All that have picked one up tell me they still love it and use it nearly daily in the back yard for BBQ’s, at the river with the family, out camping on the weekends and on their desks at home.

You can venture over to BRAVEN’s site to take a closer look and order it directly from the company if you do so desire. If you love shopping though Amazon as much as I do though, you can save yourself a little money on both color options. At the time of posting this the BRV-X in black was $168.98 and the gray was $187.59. Odd price difference for the same speaker, but I don’t have control over that. Hit the links to get one ordered today. If you are looking for a different option, maybe something a little smaller like the BRV-1 check out BRAVEN’s other speakers on Amazon

http://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=ss_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=wwwandcom-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00I6DN4AG&asins=B00I6DN4AG&linkId=VGF6Q4LC6KZARITX&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=truehttp://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=ss_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=wwwandcom-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B00I6DNPH8&asins=B00I6DNPH8&linkId=FM43LLBSFTIJU7JR&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true

The post BRAVEN BRV-X: A must have summer Bluetooth speaker essential [Review] appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

7
Jul

Review: Kevo by Kwikset, the Bluetooth deadbolt that is almost awesome


Review: Kevo by Kwikset, the Bluetooth deadbolt that is almost awesome
Build65%
Installation75%
Ease-of-use60%
Functionality70%
The good
  • Easy installation
  • Looks good
  • Free app
The bad
  • Forced eKey purchases
  • Lack of device support
  • Works 75% of the time

68%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

0%




<ins class="adsbygoogle"
style=”display:block”
data-ad-client=”ca-pub-8150504804865896″
data-ad-slot=”8461248232″
data-ad-format=”auto”>

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push();

Getting into your home is just as important as locking it up from outsiders. When I first saw the Kevo from Kwikset at CES 2015 I was more than a little interested in the product. Mostly because we have lived in the same house for almost 2 years now and I have no idea where my house keys are. Not a huge issue since we park in the garage all the time and have the ‘clicker’. While I can’t seem to find the house keys anywhere, one thing that never gets lost is my Android device. It is always attached to me 24/7. Needless to say that using my phone as my house key is a great solution to me locking myself out. Let’s take a look at the product and the process involved to get it set up and installed.

The Hardware

The box is rather small, but a bit heavy as it contains the whole kit to get you up and running. Yes, batteries are included too. So kind of them to do that. Inside you have your user manual, installation guide, the interior lock, 2 different deadbolts depending on your door, the outside lock, a set of traditional keys and a Bluetooth Keyfob. You also get a set of plates for the door frame and all the screws needed to assemble the lock.

Kwikset Kevo Smartlock (4)

If you have ever change a door handle or a deadbolt in the past then the installation process should be pretty straight forward. There are a few little things you will want to make sure you read and do though. For instance, threading the wire from the outside lock to the inside lock, using the right dead bolt piece and putting the right plates on in the correct order. I took some photos of how it goes together. It was pretty easy, but did take me longer than I anticipated. It would have gone a little smoother had I had a second set of hands to hold a few things for me.

Kwikset Kevo Smartlock (11)Kwikset Kevo Smartlock (12)

Kwikset Kevo Smartlock (13)

The App

Once installed you go through pairing it up to your Android 5.0+ device, select phones at the moment, and the key fob. It only takes a couple of minutes to complete that process. On the phone front you need the Kevo app installed first. The associated app lets you do a number of things that are rather convenient. One of the best functions is sharing an eKey with someone else. That can be your wife, girlfriend, husband, boyfriend, kids, mother, neighbor or what have you. It can easily be revoked at any point in time giving you full control of access to your house wherever you are. If you opt for the eKey solution you are given 1 additional eKey to the one you get for your primary device. i.e. you only get two eKeys. If you need more eKeys for others in the family you will need to buy them at $1.99 each up to 5. Alternatively you have the option of offering up temporary eKeys that are free and good for a 24 hour period. Again, you can revoke those at any time during the 24 hour period.

Kevo App (6)Kevo App (2)Kevo App (3)

Kevo App (4)Kevo App (5)Quickset Kevo

As you can see in that final screenshot you get a running log of who has accessed, or attempted to access, your lock. I was in and out quite a bit today. You will see the names of those that have other eKey access in your list as well. Unfortunately, with limited device support my wife is bound by the Keyfob since her HTC one M8 at the time and now LG G4 don’t officially support the app.


After the lock is installed and the app is up and running you are set to start using it. When looking at the lock from the outside you won’t notice much difference to any other dead bolt lock on the market. It isn’t until you tap on it that you will see the LED lights start to circle the lock. They start off blue to let you know that it is attempting to connect to your device and unlock your door. It will go green and unlock if finds one. If it doesn’t it will flash orange and stay locked. If your phone is in your pocket or hand it will vibrate and you will get a notification stating that a request was denied. I also found that if the lock was triggered while I was inside the house I would get a notification that Kevo denied access to someone.

Kevo inside

The inside of the door gains a rather larger box that houses all the electronics and easy access to the battery compartment and sync options. A small LED light above the manual deadbolt lock flashes an orange color when the door is locked. A small, but nice, feature when it is dark and you aren’t sure if you locked to door.

Does it work?

The ultimate question though is does it work as it should. Well, yes and no. Having the lock on my front door for over a month now and using it everyday I am still conflicted on its usefulness. The point of the lock is to be able to walk up to your door with your device in your pocket and tap the lock and get inside. However, I have been denied access to my home more than once a day. Not total denial that required digging out the keys, but denied none the less. Seems sitting in a pocket isn’t enough motion for the Kevo app to wake up to allow access. I often had to grab my phone and shake it then tap the lock to get inside. After about the first 2 weeks I routinely just shook the crap out of my phone while walking up to the door. It probably looked stupid, but it always unlocked, or locked, my door.

I also have had a number of occasions where upon entering while it was already unlocked that the jarring of the door would trigger the deadbolt to lock again. That resulted in a number of door shuts right on an open dead bolt. That can’t be good for the dead bolt of for the door jam. It seems to happen more with my 5 and 14 year old who come flying through the door like the world is ending. However, it also happens a number of times with my phone in my pocket when I go to open the door to a visitor or call my son inside.

What about the video!

There have been a number of videos out there, like this one, and this one. While I would love to break the lock and see if it was a legit test, I have serious issues with destroying things. If a criminal wants in your house they will get in regardless of the lock used. Hell, if I was a crook and saw this on a persons door I’d just steal their phone and walk in. Anything short of a couple of deadbolts, a security system and armed guard and guard dog will give some people peace of mind.

Overall thoughts

The Kwikset team came out of the gates targeting iPhone users with, what seems to be, a solid app and product. On the Android front it has been more of a “sure, let’s try it out” sort of vibe. It started off by supporting the Nexus 6, HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S5. The Galaxy S5 support hinged on Android 5.0 to be installed on your device. Since then the device list for Android has grown to include the Nexus 9, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note 4 Edge. Again, hinging on Android 5.0 being installed. They don’t have a single LG device on the list Other devices sporting Android 5.0 are out of luck barring side-loading the app as the Play Store prevents you from installing it natively. Doing so though doesn’t guarantee that it will work either and the side-loaded device still needs to be on Android 5.0+. Basically if you aren’t a Nexus owner or Samsung owner you are sort of out of luck in using the Kevo right now.

The Kevo smartlock seems to work best with the keyfob versus an Android phone. Bluetooth, while getting better with BLE tech, is still Bluetooth and most people don’t want to leave it on all day just so they can tap their lock to enter or exit their home. I certainly don’t feel any less safe with the Kevo installed on my front door, but I certainly have more annoyances than I would with just digging out my key of my pocket.

The lock has some potential, but it still has a long way to go before it is the “must have” keyless entry system for your home.

Buy your Kwikset Kevo Bluetooth Smartlock via Amazon

The post Review: Kevo by Kwikset, the Bluetooth deadbolt that is almost awesome appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 334 other followers

%d bloggers like this: