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CHOETECH 6 Port USB Charger

IMG_9251CHOTECH’s 6 Port USB Charger is the modern power strip. The charger provides 6 USB ports in a compact design. The rapid charger is available on Amazon (link) for $23.99, and was sent out for review.

The charger is made of plastic material, and the finish is matte black. It is about three-fourths the length of an iPhone 5S and about the same width. It is about an 1″ thick so the charger is fairly small for its capability. The compact size and minimal weight of the charger makes it idea for on-the-go use.

The charger uses a detachable power cord that plugs into the wall and supplies 50W of power. All of the USB ports are on the same side so some of the larger USB cables may not fit next to each other. But, for the standard size USB’s the USB charger can handle charging all of one’s devices at the same time.

The CHOETECH charger is great for traveling because it reduces the amount of power bricks you need to carry around. Many people have a variety of USB charged devices such as phones, cameras, bluetooth headphones, and smart watches to name a few, that they need to charge. Therefore, having a multi-port charger allows users to save wall socket space and charge all of their devices at once.

Usually, before a trip I will go on a charging spree and charge my portable battery charger, camera(s), bluetooth headphones, and other USB devices to take on the trip. This requires me to use a few different wall sockets because I usually am only able to charge one or two devices per each wall socket plug. With the 6 port charger, I can charge 6 devices in one wall socket plug and charge another device such as my laptop or camera batteries in the other plug. This is just one of many examples of ways to use the charger.

The charger can rapidly charge one’s devices. The iPhone 5S was used to test the charger. With the certified apple charger and charging brick, it took 1.17 minutes to charge the phone 1%. The CHOETECH charger (the certified apple cable was plugged into one USB port) clocked in at 0.94 minutes for 1%. This difference adds up to 23 minutes saved charging with the CHOETECH charger over the Apple wall charger.

Overall, I would recommend the CHOETECH 6 port charger because it reduces the amount of bulk you may carry around to charge your devices (or saves a wall socket) and it rapidly charges your devices, which saves time.

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Kinivo BTH 220 Bluetooth Stereo Headset

IMG_9659Kinivo has quality products, and I have reviewed a few of their products in the past. The Kinivo BTH 220 is a headset from their bluetooth line. The BTH 220 retails for $20.99 on Kinivo’s website (link) or on Amazon with Prime shipping for the same price (link). The BTH 220 was sent out for review.

The headset is portable as it folds up into a smaller size. The included felt carrying bag is a plus because it allows one to throw these headphones into a bag without scratching it up. Although, the bag attracts dust. Also, included is the mini USB charging cable and instruction manual. The manual is where you can find information on how to connect to your bluetooth capable device.

The headphones have a leather smell on the ear cups. They are fairly comfortable for this type of headphones that hang off of your ears. The back of the headset hangs in the air behind my head and moving my head up and down causes the headphones to move. This can get irritating quickly. The headphones tend to hurt my after a bit of usage as they hang off the ears, but that is expected because of the type of headphones they are.

On the right ear cup, you can find the volume up and volume down buttons, as well as the replay and skip track buttons. When pushing these buttons on the right ear cup, one can hear the clicking noise in the ear very well. But, the buttons are easy to press and work instantly. This feature is nice because one is able to use the main features when listening to music without having to unlock one’s phone and use up battery for unnecessary things. In the center of the four buttons, is the multi-functional button to power on and off the headset, pair to the device, pause music, answer and end calls, use voice commands (such as Siri), as well as other functions.

The headset boosts an 8 hour battery, which is plenty of time to get some quality playing time in. The mini USB port is also on the right ear cup. One needs to use his/her own power brick to charge this through a power outlet, or one can charge via USB port such as through a computer.

The sound quality is decent. The music is clear and there seems to be no loss of quality. The bass is present, but it is soft not the usual thumping that I enjoy. The headphones are not very loud so you have to turn up the volume on the device to hear, and then gradually increase the sound on the headset to hear it well. I get the usual sound that I like at 1/2 volume on my iPhone 5S and full volume on the headphones. The usual sound I like is usually around the 1/4 – 1/3 volume on the iPhone with most of my other headphones.

Overall, these are decent headphones for the price. The sound quality is good, and the headset is great for travel. I would recommend these headphones to someone looking for an inexpensive pair of bluetooth headphones with good quality sound.

 

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Urban Armor Gear Navigator for iPhone 5/5S

IMG_9234The Urban Armor Gear Navigator case is a protective style case. It comes in a few different colors (each with different names). The Navigator case retails for $34.95 on Urban Armor Gear’s (UAG) website (link) or on Amazon where it is currently $24.95 (link), and was sent out for review.

The case is made with a TPU-like material that UAG only specifies as an impact resistant soft core with a hard plastic surrounding it. This combination provides shock and drop protection for one’s phone. The TPU bumpers on the back four corners add an extra layer of drop protection or if one were to set it down on a table. The case only adds a slight bulkiness to the phone even though it is a protective case.

The plastic material that protects the phone does not have a good grip so the case can be slippery in the hands at times.

There is a large cutout for the phone’s camera so there is no flash interference with the case. There are also large cutouts for the 3.5 mm/headphone port and lightning port so most 3.5 mm jacks and lightning cables will fit. The cutout for the mute switch/orientation lock is also large so it is easy to toggle. The power and volume buttons are covered, yet still easy to press.

The iPhone screen is recessed in the case so there is a lay-on-the-table design. The whole screen is accessible, but the recessed edges on the sides can get in the way of using the phone at times (i.e. sliding finger across screen catches side of the case).

The case comes with an HD screen protector that adds to the protectiveness of the case, as well as a microfiber cleaning cloth and a squeegee to install the screen protector.

Overall, the UAG Navigator is a great protective case that provides shock and drop protection while still remaining lightweight.

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Microsoft Office 365 free for eligible teachers and students

Microsoft Office is the most used program for word processing and other components. The most popular Office program is Microsoft Word. The price to purchase Office may not have been in some people’s budgets, but Microsoft has integrated some ways to reduce pricing for students and more. Currently, Microsoft is offering Office 365, which includes Word, Powerpoint, and Excel to name a few, for free for eligible teachers (faculty and staff) and students (13 years or older). Note that this requires an educational email account, most likely ending in .edu (some have confirmed that their school accounts ending in something other than .edu work [i.e. .org]) from one’s school and some schools may not qualify. This will only work for schools that have integrated Microsoft Office into their system, and thus have contracts with Microsoft. An uncertainty is how long people will be able to keep Office 365, as access may be revoked after one’s .edu is no longer working. But, while Office 365 is available, it would be a nice opportunity to use some great programs that have made many people’s live easier.

Currently this is only available for U.S. students, but Microsoft stated that worldwide access with be coming later in the year. For teachers in the U.S., Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus will be available starting in October 2014, with worldwide access to educational faculty and staff to follow beginning in December 2014.

Visit the Microsoft Office Education portal (website link) to check for eligibility. Also, visit Microsoft’s blog for more details on the offer and what comes with it (blog link).

If you qualify for Microsoft Office 365, you will receive the following as stated on Microsoft’s blog:

  • The latest versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access and Publisher
  • Installation on up to five PCs or Macs, and Office apps on other mobile devices including Windows tablets and iPad
  • 1 Terabyte of OneDrive cloud storage
  • Office Online

 

 

LifeProof Nuud for iPhone 5/5S Review

IMG_9201LifeProof is known for their protective cases. As the name suggests, their cases are water, dirt, snow, and shock proof (up to a certain point). While trading protection for bulkiness, this case can be used for everyday use or on occasion when your life needs it. The Nuud provides screenless technology, which leaves the screen bare unlike their Fre case variant, which comes with a built-in screen protector. The Nuud case comes in a few different color combinations.  The Nuud retails for $89.99 on their website (link), but can be found on Amazon for less (link), and was provided for review.

Starting off with some specifications, the Nuud is waterproof up to 6.6’ or 2 m for one hour fully submerged, dirt proof to seal the phone inside the case so no dust or dirt particles can enter the case, snow proof to keep out melting snow and ice, and able to withstand drops from 6.6’ or 2 m.

The Nuud case provides some nice grip to hold the phone. The added bulk to the iPhone does not take away from comfortably holding the phone in one hand. The Nuud is a two-piece case and takes some work to put the case on the phone and to take it off. The lightning port must be unlatched and the headphone port has to be unscrewed before taking the case apart. But, these two factors protect the ports from the elements such as water.

The front portion has clear seals for the front-face camera, sensor, home button, etc. The clear seals do not interfere with the camera or sensors, and the touch id still works somewhat. The home button is hindered by a piece of the Nuud case so at time the touch id may not recognize one’s fingerprint.

The screen is left bare and a built-in screen protector is not included. The outline of the case around the iPhone’s screen makes it hard to pull down the notification center and pull up the quick toggles. This makes it hard to quickly get to things such as the Wi-Fi toggle. LifeProof strongly suggest removing any screen protectors on the iPhone prior to using the Nuud as they are not responsible if any water gets into the iPhone. A specially designed screen protector, compatible with the Nuud, is included for those that want to cover the screen exposed. The Nuud case needs to be tight against the phone as water can get on the iPhone screen that is exposed, but the case blocks it from getting onto the rest of the phone.

A dummy plastic phone is provided for you to test the waterproofness of the case. I would recommend taking apart the case and reassembling the case with the plastic phone and then summering it in water to see if you can assembling it right to avoid any incidents with your actual phone.

The back piece of the case is clear to show off the color of the iPhone.

A threaded headphone jack adapter is provided, as it needs to be tightened against the case to keep water out. This can be a hassle because it may be easy to lose the adapter or carry it around to use. But, at the price of waterproofing the iPhone, it is a necessity.

The case is nice to have for going to the beach or camping. Because of the bulkiness of the case, I only use it on occasion, but have seen people who use it as an everyday case and love it. I used the case while camping at the beach and it worked great. The sand did not get into my iPhone, but needed to be dusted off of the camera clear seals and home button seal. Also, it was great at keeping the few specks of water that got on the screen out of the case.

The phone was never fully submerged in the water so I cannot verify the effectiveness of the case, because I left my screen protector on the phone, which is not recommended, so I was not willing to put my phone in the water.

Overall, the LifeProof held up well against the elements I faced. Although the bulkiness and few other problems take away from me using the case everyday, it is a nice case to have for those moments when you need it the most. I would recommend this case to those looking for the ultimate protection for what life throws at you.

 

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Anytime, Anyplace, Any Where – With Cloud Computing

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Wouldn’t it be great if you could work at anytime from any place in the world using any device? Oh what’s that? It’s already possible?

Yes thanks to cloud computing, businesses can now operate at any time of day or night from anywhere in the world. What’s even better is that their emails, data and software can be accessed using any device, from desktop computers and laptops to mobiles, digital tablets and even PDAs. This revolutionary technology is vastly transforming the workplace by changing how and when we work.

Proporta Barbour Hard Shell Case for iPhone 5/5s

IMG_8736The Barbour hard shell or snap-on case comes in a few different colors. Currently, Proporta has the case in brown in stock. The case retails for $33.95 USD on their website (link) and was sent out for review.

The olive green color and quilt- like design looks nice. It is a simple design, but is still sophisticated and classy.

The case adds minimal bulk, but as a drawback it provides little protection. There is scratch protection for the back of the iPhone, but the front is fully exposed. All of the buttons are accessible so most of your 3.5 mm jacks and lightning cables will work without removing the case. The camera cutout is large enough so there is no interference with the camera or the flash. The case is flush with the front of the iPhone so there is no lay on the table design.

Overall, the case is great as a snap-on because of the minimal bulk, but for those who are accident-prone, this may not be the case for you as it provides little protection.

 

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