Microsoft unveils an ergonomic keyboard for Surface fans
Surface computers (plus the Surface Dial) aren’t all that’s new at Microsoft’s fall event. The company has quietly unveiled various Surface accessories, headlined by a Surface Ergonomic Keyboard. The wireless input device is effectively a cross between the earlier Designer Bluetooth Desktop and an ergonomic keyboard — you get a more comfortable typing feel with quiet, low-profile keys. There’s even a double-cushioned Alcantara palm rest (the same material you saw in the Signature Type Cover) that promises to be gentler on your hands even as it spruces up your desk environment. A pair of AAA batteries will power it for a full year.
There’s also backlit, minimalist (i.e., non-ergonomic) Surface Keyboard for people more concerned with desk space than wrist strain, and a Surface Mouse with a metal scroll wheel. You can even get a special version of the Surface Keyboard with a fingerprint reader to help you log into Windows 10 that much faster.
All of the new add-ons will ship November 10th, and you can pre-order them today. They’re definitely not the cheapest accessories you can buy, however. The base Surface Keyboard costs $100, and it’ll take $130 to get the ergonomic version. (There’s no price for the fingerprint keyboard as I write this.) Think of it this way, though: If you want peripherals that complement a Surface PC or just want that look and feel for a third-party system, you now have the option.
Click here to catch all the latest news from Microsoft’s big Surface event.
Source: Surface (YouTube), Microsoft (PDF)
Olloclip’s new lenses attach quickly to your iPhone 7
Now that there are new iPhones with revised cameras, many smartphone photographers are going to want new Olloclip lenses. Thankfully, they’ve arrived… and Olloclip didn’t just tweak the connectors and call it a day. Its new Core, Active and Macro Pro lens sets not only have improved optics (“premium multi-element coated glass,” Olloclip says), but an improved interchangeable lens system. Called Connect, it separates the frame on your phone from the lens housings. This lets them quickly attach to and align with your iPhone’s camera, even if you have a screen protector. You should spend less time swapping lenses and more time shooting, in other words.
The lenses themselves aren’t a revolution, but they’ll cover most of your photographic needs. The $100 Core Lens kit includes fisheye, 120-degree wide-angle and 15X macro lenses that prioritize flexibility above all else. You can get it with a protective case for $120. The $80 Macro Pro set includes 7X, 15X and 21X lenses for extreme close-ups, while the $120 Active Lens bundle includes both a 2X telephoto lens and a 155-degree ultra-wide lens to capture those outdoor adventures.
You can pre-order all of the lens kits today ahead of the planned early November launch. You may want to choose your lenses carefully if you have an iPhone 7 Plus, however. There’s no mention of taking advantage of the Plus’ longer-range secondary camera — you’re not going to combine that extra zoom with Olloclip’s other optical tricks.
Source: Olloclip (PR Newswire)
Of course EE’s hyping wireless headphones on iPhone 7 day
EE’s Add to Plan scheme lets anyone taking out a two-year smartphone contract walk away with accessories in exchange for a couple of extra quid tacked onto their bill each month. Launched last year, EE today announced a slight change to the T&Cs. Instead of the cost being spread over 18 months and customers paying a premium for the convenience, they’ll now square it away in 11 and pay out no more than the retail price. A wider product range will soon be offered, too, including wearables from Fitbit (from £8 per month), smartwatches and Samsung’s Gear VR headset (also £8 per month).
What EE is pushing above all else, though, is wireless headphones from the likes of Beats, Bang & Olufsen and Skullcandy, which’ll be available through Add to Plan from £3 per month starting September 16th. Interesting timing on EE’s part, given it’s new iPhone day and many a rumour has suggested Apple is dropping the 3.5mm headphone jack this handset generation. Coincidence? Almost certainly not.
Logitech’s new mouse works with three computers at once
If you’ve ever used more than one computer at once, you know that juggling extra mice can be kind of annoying. Logitech thinks it doesn’t have to be: the company has just announced a new mouse designed specifically for folks who use more than one computer at a time. Okay, maybe that’s a small segment of the population — but for the right person, the M720 Triathlon could be a godsend.
The $70 Triathlon’s chief trick is its ability to connect to three devices simultaneously — allowing users to switch between machines with the click of a button. The mouse can connect with Logitech’s Unifying Receiver, or directly over Bluetooth, and boasts compatibility for Windows, Mac OS, Chrome, Android and Linux. It also claims to last for up to two years on one AA battery. Not bad. Too bad it doesn’t come with an equally versatile keyboard
Incipio just bought headphone maker Skullcandy
You probably don’t see Incipio as more than the company who made your phone case or external battery pack. However, it’s quietly becoming something of an accessory powerhouse: it owns brands like Braven and Incase. And now, it’s getting even bigger. Incipio is paying $177 million to acquire Skullcandy, best known for its ostentatious (if not usually top-rated) headphones. The move not only gives it a dedicated headphone brand, but dips its toes into the waters of gaming gear thanks to Skullcandy’s Astro Gaming badge.
Incipio tells The Verge that the deal won’t erase the Skullcandy brand, so it’ll likely retain much of its identity. However, don’t be surprised if this leads to devices that Skullcandy wouldn’t have otherwise made on its own, or crossovers where some of Skullcandy’s influence rubs off on Incipio’s other gadgets. Either way, the accessory world could look very different in the near future.
PS VR Aim Controller promises 1:1 precision for virtual shooters
The PlayStation VR headset might not be the only new PS4 accessory you’re grabbing this fall, as Sony unveiled this add-on for use with the game Farpoint. The PS VR Aim Controller picks up where the PlayStation Move shooting attachment and Sharp Shooter left off a few years ago, promising direct 1:1 tracking — wherever you point the controller, your in-game gun points the same way. Farpoint is a PS VR exclusive and developer Impulse Gear is already claiming it enables “things in Farpoint that just are not possible in a standard FPS game.” We’ll hopefully have a chance to judge that on the E3 show floor this week, but first you can check out a trailer below.
Follow all the news from E3 2016 here.
LG G5’s VR headset, 360 camera and other accessories hit the US
When LG announced its modular G5 phone last month, it also revealed a line of “Friends” companion devices to go along with it (See what it did there?). Included in the lineup are the 360 VR headset, 360 Cam, the Harman Kardon-powered Tone Platinum audio headset and the Cam Plus camera grip. While the phone itself is already available in the US, these gadgets that the company intends for you to use with the handset were not until now.
LG says that the major carriers in the States will offer these add-ons or you can purchase them directly from the company. The Cam Plus module that adds a grip, camera controls and takes advantage of the G5’s modular design is the most affordable of the group at $70. If you’re looking to nab the VR headset, Tone wireless audio headset or 360 Cam, be prepared to hand over $200 for each of those. Unfortunately, there’s no mention of the BB-8-like Rolling Ball, but LG did note that more third-party companion devices were on the way.
Source: LG (PR Newswire)
Otterbox’s new case lets you use accessories without removing it
Ah yes, phone cases. A necessary purchase if you’re accident prone or tend to drop your handset on the regular. Unfortunately, adding that accessory usually makes for a headaches whenever you try to use another mobile add-on like a thermal camera or lens clip. Typically, you would have to remove your protective case before you could use any of those other gadgets. Well, Otterbox is looking to rid you of that frustration with the new Universe system and it’s swappable “accessory modules.”
On the back side of the phone case, there’s a slot that allow you to attach add-ons like a super compact speaker, Square reader or additional memory. The full line also includes things like Olloclip lenses, a Seek Thermal camera, tripods and more that can all be used without having to take you phone out of the main case. Otterbox’s Universe system is available May 29th for iPhone 6/6s and iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus with the case itself priced at $50. There’s a collection of 15 accessories that work with the case that are available at launch, except for the Goal Zero battery which will arrive in June. Here’s the full list and pricing info:
- Square contactless and chip card reader: $50
- Olloclip 4-in-1 lens: $80, includes fisheye, wide-angle, 10x and 15x zoom options
- SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive: $60-$120, available in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities
- Nite Ize Steelie vent mount kit: $40
- Goal Zero slide battery: starting at $60, adds a full charge to your iPhone
- Manatee Works StingRay barcode scanner: $95
- Seek Thermal compact camera and case: starting at $249
- Influx WiFi booster: $40
- PolarPro Trippler tripod: $50
- PolarPro Stance compact tripod: $30
- PolarPro PowerPack removable battery pack: $50
- PolarPro Beat Pulsar wireless mobile speaker: $60
- PolarPro Fisheye wide-angle lens: $30
- PolarPro Trail Blazer armband: $35
- PolarPro Stash Slim mobile wallet: $20, stores cards on the back of the case
Best LG V10 cases
The LG V10 is a great phone for a lot of reasons. Chief among them, the V10 looks very nice and feels very sturdy thanks to its stainless steel frame and rugged plastic back cover. The device can take more than a few hits, but of course you probably don’t want to tempt fate and walk around without any sort of protection for your investment.
See also: 6 problems with the LG V10 and how to fix them
Even stainless steel can be scratched and nicked, so if you’re looking for some good cases for the LG V10, you’ve come to the right place. We have a selection of cases for all tastes and budgets, from minimalist clear ones to rugged creations designed to take a beating. Let’s get right to it.
Spigen Slim Armor Protective Case for LG V10
LK Luxury Wallet Flip Case For LG V10
Spigen Slim Armor Protective Case for LG V10
Verus Minimalistic Crystal Bumper For LG V10
Impact-resistant dual layer construction from premium TPU and polycarbonate.
Obliq Flex Pro Bumper Protective Case for LG V10
Spigen Rugged Armor Case for LG V10
What do you think of our best LG V10 case list? which is your favorite V10 case?
Best USB-C portable battery chargers
While the USB Type-C standard has yet to find mass adoption in the mobile world, 2015 saw a decent uptick in the number of devices embracing such technology such as the OnePlus 2, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P. Things aren’t going to slow down any in 2016 either, as we anticipate that many other major manufacturers will be jumping into the fray, offering Type-C ports on their flagship, and even mid and low-end phones and tablets.
One of the biggest downsides to the new standard however, is that you have to either buy a ton of adapters so you can keep using your chargers, portable batteries, and other microUSB accessories — or you have to start over again from scratch. If you already have invested heavily into power packs and other accessories, going the former route might make the most sense. That said, a portable battery charger designed for USB Type-C has its advantages over using an adapter with one designed for microUSB. First, charging speed will be much faster with a Type-C connection. Second, less adapters and other cables to bring along with you.
It’ still very early days for USB Type-C portable battery chargers, but a quick look at Amazon turns up about a dozen or so options. Below we listed just five that we felt were worth highlighting due to their brand recognition, as well as their positive ratings and reviews.
See also: Best Android phones (January 2016)
Anker PowerCore+ 20100 mAh
The Anker PowerCore+ packs 20100 mAh and is comes in at $50.99 on Amazon. Along with the 10 LED capacity indicator, the PowerCore+ has 2 USB ports outputting power at 2.4A each, and a USB Type-C port. Included in the box is the power bank, a USB to USB Type-C cable which is used to quickly charge the power bank, a travel pouch, and a micro USB cable. Keep in mind that you don’t just charge the power bank using type-C, there’s also Type-C output, meaning you can charge your Nexus 6P (or whatever have you) from the battery charger as well.
The Anker PowerCore+ is also utilizes a number of special technologies to help ensure the best experience possible, such as PowerIQ, a proprietary technology used to replicate the charging protocol of each device to ensure safe and efficient charging. VoltageBoost is another proprietary technology that detects cable resistance in order to provide a steady charge. It is worth noting that Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 is not supported with this one however.
CHOETECH 10400 mAh
The CHOETECH 10400 mAh portable battery pack can be yours for $31.99 on Amazon. The pack has two USB ports, one of which is compatible with Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 technology. The USB Type-C port is compatible with a variety of devices such as the Macbook, Nexus 6P, and Pixel C. Included in the box, is the power bank, and a USB to USB Type-C cable. The warranty lasts for 18 months. The device can be charged via micro USB and by USB Type-C.
At half the capacity and only about $20 cheaper, the CHOETECH might not seem as impressive as the Anker, but it’s lighter size/weight and the offering of Quick Charge 2.0 support still make it worthwhile.
RAVPower 20100 mAh
The RAVPower 20100 mAh External Battery pack is offered for $59.99 on Amazon. The battery pack is a simple black box with a four dot LED battery indicator. The battery pack has a micro USB port used to charge the battery pack, a USB 3A Type-C port, a USB port capable of supporting Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 and 3.0 technologies, and an iSmart USB port.
The iSmart port is used for devices that have been identified by RAVPower, and is optimised on a device by device basis. There’s certainly plenty of juice here too, as 20100 mAh is enough juice to power a Galaxy S6 close to 5 times, and an iPhone 6S nearly 8 times. The pack has overcharge and circuit protection to protect your devices from the very thing that keeps them running.
While the RAVPower is the more expensive than the first two options, it’s big battery combined with Quick Charge 2 and 3 support make it a pretty compelling option.
Talentcell 10400 mAh
The Talentcell 10400 mAh power bank the least expensive device on the list, at just $26.99 on Amazon. The power bank is charged via micro USB 2.0 and has a USB Type-C port, a full sized USB port, and an LED flashlight. Included in the box is the power bank and a male to male USB Type-C. This power bank supports a variety of Type-C devices other than the 12 inch Macbook, and can charge up to two devices simultaneously.
If you are looking for the cheapest option out there, the Talentcell fits the bill, and is still relatively well reviewed. Of course, there’s something to be said for brand recognition and trust, so if that’s a factor for you — you may be better off considering one of the previous power banks.
Once again, a lesser known brand name but the ivoler is aggressively priced at $31.99, making it a tad more expensive than the Talentcell. The ivoer 10000 mAh offers one standard USB port and one Type C that supports up to 5v 3a. While the iVoler doesn’t have Qualcomm quick charge support, it does claim to offer rapid recharge capabilities that lets it top off many devices from 0% to 100% in around 3.5 hours or less using Type-C.
Personally, we’d probably pick the TalentCell over this one, but it never hurts to have a few more options.
Any other solid options you are aware of that didn’t make it onto our list? Give us a shout in the comments and we’ll be sure to take a look.