Tag Archives: review

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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Kinivo BTH410 Bluetooth Headphones Review

IMG_9160The Kinivo BTH410 headphones are a 2-in-1 solution. This headphones features bluetooth capabilities for usage wirelessly or plug in the included 3.5mm jack for wired usage. Pricing and availability are currently available from Kinivo’s website as the headphones are out of stock at this time, but Amazon currently has a used pair for $33.00 (link). The headphones were sent out for review by Kinivo (link).

The headphones come in a glossy black color so it is a fingerprint magnet, but only shows up in direct light. The inside of the headband is a matte finish with a rubberized top portion so that it will stay on your head. The ear cups are a rectangular shape and are an on-ear fit. The headphones are comfortable and the padding is thick and soft. After a few hours (2-3) of continuous use, they do start to wear down on my ears (but most on-ear headphones cause that problem for me). The headphones are able to fold up for easy storage or for traveling.

All of the buttons and ports are located on the left side of the headphones. The multifunction button is on the headband portion with a blue LED. The button is an on/off switch, answers/rejects/ends calls, pairing, and plays/pause music. Adjacent to the multifunction buttons, on the side of the headband, are the replay and skip track buttons, as well as the volume buttons. On the ear cup itself are the micro USB port for charging the headphones, the 3.5 mm headphone port, and the microphone.

The headphones replaced my bluetooth headphones and my wired headphones. It is nice to have one pair of headphones that does both jobs. The headphones work with the included 3.5 mm flat audio cable for use without bluetooth. This type of audio cable reduces tangling cords. This option saves battery power, and I use this option when I am watching a lot of Youtube videos or TV episodes in one sitting. Additionally, the headphones come with a micro USB cable for charging.

When powering on the headphones for bluetooth use, a voice will announce the headphones are on by saying “Power on.” The same voice will announce when power off also, by saying “Power off” or playing a sound. There is also an announcement of “Pairing” when in pairing mode. The voice is quite loud so I would recommend activating these features with the headphones off of one’s ears.

Pairing is quick and easy. Once in pairing mode and bluetooth is turned on, the headphones will show up on the device’s bluetooth list for pairing.Multiple devices can be paired with the headphones for use at different times. I use the headphones with my Macbook and iPhone and both pair with the headphones in seconds after I turned them on.

The headphones have a long battery life (up to 8 hours stated on Kinivo’s website) and I was able to use them periodically everyday for 3-4 weeks before needing to charge. The headphones can be used with the included cable while the headphones are charging. The headphones will play a sound every minute or so when the headphones are running low on battery. Also, the headphones will flash a red LED instead of the usual blue color when the batteries are low.

The sound quality is great for listening to music. There is no loss of sound when using bluetooth. The bass is nice and thumping. The treble is present. Sound is clear and crisp. Each instrument can be distinguished in most songs. The headphones are also great for watching movies and making calls.

Overall, the Kinivio BTH410′s are a great solution to one’s headphone needs. This package offers a wireless (bluetooth) and wired options, which gives the user multiple options for using the headphones. These headphones also offer great sound quality with either option. The plus is the 8 hours of battery life for more enjoying and less charging. I would recommend this pair of headphones to those looking for a bluetooth headphones or a wired pair of headphones as they work great for both options.

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CHOETECH 21W/4.2A Dual USB Wall Charger Review

IMG_9137The CHOETECH Dual USB Wall Charger has two USB ports. One port is a 2.1 A Apple port and the other is a 2.1 A Android/Other port, which is indicated on the USB charger. The wall charger comes in two colors (white and black). The wall charger retails for $12.98 USD currently and is available on Amazon (link).  The wall charger was sent out for review by CHOETECH (link).

The charger is larger than the standard USB wall charger, but allows for two devices to be charged at the same time. When the charger is plugged in, a blue LED light turns on to indicate it is working. The USB ports are located adjacent to the prongs, which is different than most other chargers. But, the position of the ports is good for pointing the bright LED light away from direct contact with one’s eyes. It is on par in size with other two port USB charger I have used. Although, it is a bit heavier than the other chargers I have used. However, the shape of the charger can make it difficult to plug in two power bricks at the same time. Also, the prongs can be hard to open as they are collapsable for easy storage when not in use.

The charger is much faster than the certified apple charger in my tests. The iPhone 5S was used to test the charger. With the certified apple charger, it took 1.17 minutes to charge the phone 1%. The CHOETECH charger (the certified apple cable was plugged into the Apple 2.1 A port) clocked in at 1.02 minutes for 1%. This is a 15 minutes different to fully charge the iPhone to 100%. Keep in mind that charging times may vary so you may not get 15 minutes, but charging with the CHOETECH charger should be faster than the certified Apple charger.

Overall, I would recommend this charger because of the extra minutes the charger can save you. When you are on a time crunch or need those extra percentage of battery, this charger is great to have on hand.

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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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Native Union Switch Speaker Review

IMG_8303The Native Union Switch is a portable bluetooth speaker that offers some big sound. It is a versatile device that does more than just playing music. It comes in a variety of different colors and the standard colors retail for $149.99 on their website (link) or view it on Amazon, where it is currently priced at $75 (link). The Switch bluetooth speaker was sent out for review.

The speaker is larger than some of the portable speakers on the market so it is less travel-friendly than some speakers but makes up for it in features. The speaker allows users to make conference calls, charge one’s device while using the speaker, play music in two different positions, and has a volume dial to adjust sound.

The Switch has four different ports which include the auxiliary port, the phone port (for conference calls), micro USB in for charging the speaker, and USB out for charging one’s device. Included with the speaker is a braided aux cord and micro USB cord that are the same color as the speaker. The braided cords are an added bonus because they do not fray as easily and do not tangle as easily than the conventional cords.

The volume dial is great for adjusting the sound of music or calls to the perfect level because it is precise and easy to turn. There is a feedback sound when the full volume is reached indicated that it has reached the maximum output of sound. Inside of the volume dial is the multipurpose button for turning off/on the speaker, putting it into pairing mode, playing and pausing music, and answering and hanging up calls. The LED next to the volume dial indicates what mode the speaker is in so in pairing mode, the speaker will alternate between white and red flashes. On the opposite end of the volume dial, on the speaker, is the LED indicator that shows the battery percentage left on the speaker.

The battery life on the Switch is impressive. I usually only have to charge it once every few weeks. I use the device about every few days for a couple of hours on average.

Build quality is great on the Switch. It is made of a soft touch plastic with a matte finish so it does not pick up fingerprints or scratch easily. The speaker looks sleek and fits nicely in any room.

The Switch can be used in the horizontal or vertical position and offers the same sound in either position. This is a unique feature of the speaker so if the user has limited space, the speaker can be used in the vertical position.

The sound quality is clear on the device. It fills a small or medium room well. The sound on the speaker carries well. The bass on the device has a nice thump to it. The highs, mids, and lows are present. There is also some good treble. The speaker is also great for adding some surrounds sound to a movies, videos, etc.

Overall, the speaker offers a nice alternative to the speaker on one’s device.  It packs a loud punch in the sound department and offers some extra dimensions of sound that may not be available on one’s laptop, phone, or mp3 player. I would recommend this speaker to those looking for a bluetooth speaker that has good sound quality and many other features.

 

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My Macbook Case Review

IMG_8336My Macbook Case offers many options for protecting one’s Macbook. They have many color options to choose from including pink, purple, blue, and more. The Macbook pro 13″ with Retina display case currently retails for $34.98 on their website (link). The Macbook case was sent out for review.

The case is build with quality material because it has not had an issue even when I have bumped it against multiple surfaces. Also, the finish on the case is fantastic as every little detail, such as the apple cutout and curved cuts on the sides with the ports, is included in the case. The case is a soft touch plastic case and comes in two pieces. All of their cases are see thru so adding a decal to the Macbook works well. The case has a matte finish so although it is a fingerprint magnet, they do not appear on the case as easily as a glossy finish would.

The bottom piece does not reach all four corners of the Macbook for functionality reasons (see video). Rather the case exchanges some protection for the ability to open the top of the Macbook (the screen) all the way. Some other cases limit the angles that the Macbook screen can open to because the top and bottom piece of the cases will conflict, but that problem does not occur here.

The case is flush against the Mac and does not add to much bulk. It is a thin case but offers a lot of protection as I have bumped the Mac against multiple surfaces with no problems with the computer or case. The bottom of the case has four small foam pads that elevate the Macbook from the surface for ventilation, keeps the case from scratching the surface, and keeps the laptop from sliding around. The cutouts on the bottom of the case also reduce the added weight of the case and provide more ventilation.

There are two small things about the case that are specific, but should be mentioned. The left corner of the computer closest to the trackpad sometimes does not stay flush with the case, but can be pushed back into place easily (see video). Also, it is not easily noticeable so there are not too many complaints about that. Secondly, when I first got the case, the bottom piece was a bit rough on my wrists but have since smoothen out so there are no more problems with that (see video).

Overall, the case does a great job of protecting the Macbook while adding minimal bulk. The different color options allow one to personalize the Macbook and make it unique. Also, the ability to see a decal through the case adds even more options for customizing one’s laptop. I would recommend this to people who are looking for a case that offer protection, minimal bulk, and has the ability to see decals through the Macbook.

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OsoMount U-Grip EX and Dash Grip Review

IMG_7413Oso has many different mounts to choose from and their mounts work with many smartphones and some other devices. The U-Grip EX and Dash Grip are similar in functionality and design but still has some unique features that set them apart. The U-Grip EX retails for $29.99 and the Dash Grip retails for $26.99 and you can pick them up on Oso’s website and the U-Grip EX on Amazon. The OsoMounts were sent out for review.

U-Grip EX

The EX comes with two different attachments. There is the on-the-dashboard mount and an over-the-dashboard mount, which attaches to the base/ suction cup part. Both work with the universal phone mounting portion. I mainly use the on-the-dashboard mount because it is the style that I like compared to the over-the-dashboard mount that gets in the way of my car’s A/C and heating buttons and knobs. But some people prefer the over-the-dashboard mount because it does not hinder their vision or distract them like the other mount does. The EX has solid build quality and does not feel like it will fall apart any time soon. It has a nice red accent color that is subtle but still stands out against the rest of the body that is black. The suction cup is strong and holds the mount to the surface well. One can wash the suction cup off with water if too much dust and debris gets on the suction cup and causes it to decrease in stickiness. The mount is simple to use and features a spring-like mechanism for holding the phone in place or taking the phone out of the mount. The rubber portions that hold the phone in place is made of high quality material.

Dash Grip

The Dash Grip only comes with the clamp mechanism to attach one’s device to the mount, which is an on-the-dashboard mount. This mount is made with quality material and is also accented with a bit of red. The red accents are featured on the rubberized contact points inside the clamp where the phone will rest. The suction cup is the same one used in the EX so it is also strong and adheres the mount to the surface well. The clamp is manually opened by the user so the user must open the mount with one hand and place the phone in the mount with the other hand, but the process is fairly simple.

Functionality/ Features/ Etc.

Both the EX and Dash Grip allow the user to mount his/her phone in landscape or portrait mode and at various angles so the user can find the perfect position for his/her device. They keep the phone fairly stable while in the mount so one does not have to worry too much about the phone when on the road. I find the EX is better with stability than the Dash Grip because the phone is flush against the mount with more contact points.

They can be used in numerous ways such as for mounting one’s device in the car, on one’s desk, on one’s bedside table, as well as other locations. The mount needs to be mounted on a flat surface that will adhere to the suction cup so there are many possibilities. I mainly use the EX in the car for GPS purposes and keep the Dash Grip on my desk to mount my phone. Both mounts can be used to Face Time, make Skype calls, record memos, play music, and just display the phone.

Verdict

Overall, I enjoyed using both mounts because I can use them in various ways and they both work well at their jobs. Both are built well and I have had no issue with either one. I would recommend the EX to those looking for the ability to choose between over and on-the-dashboard mounts and increased stability and would recommend the Dash Grip for those looking for a mount for their device and are fine with on-the-dashboard mounting.

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