4 months ago

Goal Zero Venture 30 waterproof battery pack review


This summer I went camping with the Goal Zero Venture 30 7,800 mAh backup battery. My grand ambitions of getting a tan from something other than a computer screen led me to find a battery that could handle all sorts of treacherous terrain, and the Venture 30 is built for the job. Not only does it have a grippy, rubberized rim for impact protection while stomping around in the woods, it is waterproof without needing extra gaskets to cover up the plugs.

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4 months ago

Hands-on the KONA waterproof case for Samsung Galaxy Note 4


A quality waterproof case for Galaxy Note 4 that works wonders above or below the drink.

Summer's in full swing right now for those of us on the top half of the planet. And for a lot of folks that means time around, on and in the water. Instead of packing my Galaxy Note 4 away in my dry box before launching my boat, I opted to give the KONA Waterproof Case a try to see how it held up to a scorching hot day on the Gulf of Mexico — diving and all.

First off, it's important to note that this waterproof case comes in two sizes, and isn't strictly for the Galaxy Note 4 — meaning it will gladly accommodate other devices of similar and smaller sizes. That said, I found the Note 4 to have a perfect fit (minimal wiggle room) with the standard model. If you're rocking a case, you may want to check out the extra large option for a more appropriate fit. It's opened and closed using a swivel-lock system at the top, protecting anything you put inside from water intrusion.

The case is completely clear on both sides, making it easy to utilize your touchscreen and even take pictures and video above or below the water. Technically, you can talk on the phone through the case, but it's a bit like talking to Charlie Brown's teacher for anyone on the other end. The TPU material isn't overly thick and actually feels nice to use over the touchscreen, but can be a bit spotty underwater at times. Using the included lanyard, I dragged my Note 4 with me as I went about my hunt for a fruitful spot for scallops. Even after a nearly a 9-hour day of being on the water, not 1 drop managed to get inside the KONA waterproof case.

I also didn't notice any fogging inside, which is usual complaint of mine with other waterproof cases. You can always pack other items inside, too. I was able to fit my Aukey 10k Portable Quick Charge 2.0 Battery, along with a USB cable, some cash, and my ID with no problem.

Is the KONA a keeper?

$13 Buy Now

That's a definite yes from me. I love the fit and the clear TPU on both sides that let's me access just about anything I need without the worry of water damage. Sure, Ziploc bags are probably the most inexpensive way to go, but I never feel completely confident that my device is safe for these kinds of activities. Besides, the KONA's $13 price tag is worth every penny for a true waterproof solution instead of a makeshift one.

Get more info on summer accessories for Android!

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4 months ago

LG Tone Active Bluetooth headset is going on sale later this month


LG has announced that it will commence sales of its Tone Active Bluetooth headset from later this month in North America and Korea. The headset will be available in select countries in Europe, Commonwealth of Independent States, Asia and Latin America over the course of the third quarter.

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4 months ago

Best waterproof power banks for Android


These waterproof power banks are great for emergencies and surviving through the thick of things.

When it comes to summer accessories that really stand out and make a difference, having a waterproof power bank can really save your skin in a variety of tough situations. Not only are they built to take a beating, they're great for providing battery life to your smartphone or tablet when there's not an outlet in sight. Dive in as we line up the best waterproof power banks we've found that will survive the hot and heavy this summer.

READ NOW: Best waterproof power banks

GJT Solar Panel 8000mAh Waterproof Power Bank

$18.99 Buy Now

Charge up this GJT Solar Panel Power Bank before you head out for a complete backup of 8000mAh. And if you end up draining it while you're out in the wild, let the sun do the rest. The built-in lithium polymer battery charges via the monocrystalline solar panel when there are no outlets to be found, and it's completely waterproof and shockproof. On the back is an LED flashlight that's great for emergency situations in the dark, and there are 4 charging indicator lights on the front to identify exactly how much life remains. It even packs over-charge/discharge and short-circuit protection.

UNIFUN 10400mAh Waterproof Power Bank

$19.99 Buy Now

Great for just about any activity, water-related or not, the UNIFUN Power Bank holds an impressive 10400mAh of backup battery life for all your favorite mobile devices while you're away from a regular power source. It features an IP66 rating and has dual USB outputs (1A and 2.1A) for simultaneous charging when battery life gets critical. You've got port plugs that cover everything up when it's not in use, and a built-in flashlight at the top that's able to keep up 6-8 days after a complete charge. Its durable construction keeps it from sliding on most surfaces and is completely waterproof and shock resistant.

JJF Bird Solar Panel 12000mAh Waterproof Power Bank

$39.99 Buy Now

Here's a solar charging power bank that holds a bit more juice than the GJT option, but still packs all the same waterproof and shock-proof features. Charge up the JJF Bird Power Bank using the microUSB cable or even via the monocrystalline solar panel. There are 2 USB outputs for simultaneous charging, battery life LED's on the front for quick and easy monitoring, as well as an emergency LED flashlight up top for those hard to see situations. It comes with a carabiner clip for hooking to your backpack or pants, too.

EasyAcc 9000mAh Waterproof Power Bank

$23.99 Buy Now

Rocking an IP67 protection rating, the EasyAcc Power Bank comes in handy for camping, beach days, fishing, hunting, or hiking. Its 9000mAh capacity is enough to provide a solid 2 complete charges to most mobile devices, and serves as a great companion for both day and night time use. Along with its built-in flashlight, the EasyAcc Power Bank comes with a compass, carabiner clip, carry strap, and a couple microUSB charging cables. The 2.1A output will boost your device's battery when it hits the red, whether you're miles away from civilization or lounging by the pool. There's no fretting when this tough power bank takes a dip in the drink.

Novobeam 3000mAh Compact Waterproof Power Bank

$17.49 Buy Now

For those occasions when you're certain battery life isn't a serious concern, but need just a little extra security, the Novobeam Compact Power Bank is an excellent solution that's discrete, and fits just about anywhere. Since it only packs a mere 3000mAh, you're likely to only get a single charge out of it for most modern devices. It's the Novobeam's slim size and lightweight design (less than 3oz) that make it such an ideal companion for single-day hikes or fishing trips. With a 1A output, it's not out set any records in charging speeds, but it'll certainly be your savior if caught in a sticky situation.

What's your favorite rugged/waterproof power bank?

See a waterproof power bank on the list you're interested in, or do you have eyes on a different portable battery? Either way, we're interested in hearing what your go-to power bank is for those wet and extreme conditions. Drop us a line below!

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4 months ago

Incipio OffGRID first look: Adding a microSD card and external battery to the Galaxy S6

Incipio OffGRID case for the Galaxy S6

Ask anyone who owns either the Samsung Galaxy S6 or the Galaxy S6 edge what they'd change about the phones, and you'll see two answers rise above all others. They need better battery life, and they miss having external storage via a microSD card. Incipio has returned both of those features with its OffGRID battery case. And being that it's also a case, you're going to get a bit of protection thrown in for good measure.

So let's take a look at this case — which retails for $89 but already can be found on sale — and what it makes your phone look like.

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4 months ago

Android Wear support in the Flir One is too cool


There are several practical applications for relatively inexpensive thermal cameras. The ability to offload processing onto your smartphone, which often has a much better screen and offers a more responsive UI than most mid-range thermal cameras out there, is a great idea. Flir's new One camera takes things one step further if you're an Android Wear user by allowing you to use your watch as the viewfinder and shutter button for the camera, making it possible for you to set your phone up somewhere to monitor an area and record when necessary.

Remote shutter functionality for smartphone camera apps in Android Wear is nothing new, but rarely do you see the watch used as a functional viewfinder. It's most commonly just a shutter button, with a brief glimpse at the photo you took after the fact. Flir's setup is a center-cropped live view through the cameras, with a small shutter button on the bottom of the display. Whatever your current settings are in the Flir One app is what comes through on the viewfinder, and the screen flashes when a picture is taken as confirmation.

The video feed on your wrist is impressively smooth due to the low resolution the cameras capture together, but there's a minimum 5-second delay in the feed on your wrist. Even with that lower resolution, if your Bluetooth connection isn't great you can experience delays as high as 30 seconds from real time. Still, if you're looking at a reason to have a Flir camera around for work this is a feature well worth keeping in mind.

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4 months ago

Hands-on with Flir One, a smartphone-powered thermal camera

Flir One

Thermal cameras are little more than a fun toy for most of us, but the companies and contractors that rely on the technology to be more efficient in their work are routinely faced with the tremendous cost associated with most of the hardware in the category. Over the last two years we've seen an effort to make thermal cameras smaller, cheaper, and in some cases even relying on your smartphone to do a lot of the heavy lifting.

The most recent advancement in this lineup is the Flir One, a microUSB dongle that promises to offer a decent thermal camera to those who don't need a $1,000 rig for every job. Here's a quick hands on of this new accessory and it's many features. Spoiler alert — it is also a fun toy.

This is not Flir's first effort in the smartphone accessory space, but it's easily the most polished — especially for Android phones and tablets. The microUSB dongle comes with a nice carrying case with a lanyard for when it's not in use, and it's small enough to be pocketable. Even when outside of the case, the two lenses on the front of the dongle are recessed, so accidentally dropping the camera doesn't immediately spell disaster. It's a fairly simple design, with a microUSB port on one side to charge the included battery and a power button to activate the camera on the other.

Getting this camera to work on your phone is a three step process. You need to open the Flir One app, connect the camera, and tap the power button. You'll see a notification asking for permission to allow data from the microUSB port, and once you've hit OK the thermal image will appear on the screen. From this point, you're using the cameras attached to the bottom of your phone for everything, and the camera on the back of your phone isn't active at all.

Flir's multi-spectral dynamic imaging tech uses one regular camera for detail and one Lepton camera for heat, placing them together in the app to create a single image. This means even though you can get plenty of thermal information with the lights off, the best pictures come from well-lit environments.

Flir One Shot

As you can see in this photo, there's occasionally some drift between the detail sensor and the thermal sensor on the camera. The focal point for these two cameras is best at two feet or greater to avoid this visual separation, but at that distance the detail is usually clear enough that you can figure out what you're looking at with relative ease, so if your goal is to use this camera to find heat or cold leaks it's unlikely to be a problem. You'll also note the resolution of the photo is fairly low by modern smartphone standards, but in fact the 640 x 480 image or video captured by Flir One is twice the size of its predecessor.

Flir One Screenshot

The Flir One UI is about as straightforward as you can get. There's a giant capture button for grabbing photos, a toggle switch in the bottom left for switching from photo to video, and a menu toggle for accessing a thermometer that draws a crosshair in the middle of the screen with the temperature, and some basic settings for camera quality. If you swipe from right to left, you'll get the last photo taken in a built in gallery mode, where you can edit and share photos. These photos are already saved to your local storage, and already accessible from your existing Gallery app, but if you want a quick look back at the quality of the last shot it's a handy swipe away.

Swiping from left to right accesses a panel with nine color map options for the viewer, allowing you to choose how the thermal information is displayed and captured. These options range from flat gray with tiny splashes of color for the warmest or coldest spots to full on Predator Vision, and just about everything in between. The Iron setting, which is the default when launching the app for the first time, is my personal preference. Since I'm not using this for anything other than making pretty colors on things, that doesn't count for much. They are more than just filters, though. There's potentially significant information in each option, depending on what you want from an image. Here, see for yourself.

Ultimately, $250 is still a steep ask for something like this if you're only using it for fun, but there's plenty about the Flir One that should be attractive to those who could use a thermal camera that is a third the cost of "cheap" thermal cameras. It's also $50 cheaper than the competing Seek thermal camera for Android, though we've not yet done a side by side to see which of these cameras is actually better. If you're looking for a decent thermal camera on a budget, or you're looking for a fun accessory for your Android phone, the Flir One seems is worth a closer look.

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4 months ago

Best waterproof pouch cases for Android


Stay calm and cool this summer with a waterproof case for your Android smartphone and tablet.

As things heat up this summer, most of us are making plans to cool off by taking frequent dips in our pool, or visiting nearby lakes and beaches. No matter where you end up, there's the constant reminder that your Android is in jeopardy the closer you get to water. And let's face it: most cases out there aren't designed to handle the sand, waves and salt. We've rounded up 5 waterproof cases for Android devices that allow you to get your summer splash on without the risk of water damage.

READ NOW: Best waterproof pouch cases for Android

TETHYS Waterproof Case

$9.99 Buy Now

This waterproof Android case comes in 2 different sizes to accommodate a variety of devices measuring up to 5.3-inches and 6.1-inches for a comfortable fit. Using a sturdy swivel lock system at the top, this case keeps everything you toss inside bone dry, whether you're floating on the surface or taking a dive. The front of the case is made of a completely clear TPU that allows you to use your touchscreen — perfect for checking missed calls, texts, or emails without exposing your device to the elements. The back features a smaller 2-inch window that leaves room for camera, as well as a 1/4-inch opening for an armband (not included). A lanyard is bundled with the TETHYS waterproof case which can be attached to the top. It's not ideal for talking on the phone nor does it float.

KONA Waterproof Case

$11.99 Buy Now

Fitting devices up to 6.3-inches, the KONA waterproof case sports a completely clear design from front to back and uses a swivel-lock system to keep water intrusion at bay. This pouch is much more basic as far as features go, but does have the ability to float and be used underwater in depths of up to 100ft. There's a premium clamp lanyard included, and the case is backed by an impressive 5-year warranty if you experience any wear after extended use.

MoKo Waterproof Tablet Case

$8.95 Buy Now

If you're planning on taking your tablet poolside, consider grabbing the MoKo waterproof tablet case — it fits devices up to 8.4-inches. The durable TPU casing with a snap and lock seal keeps your tablet and other items inside dry at all times. It's IPX8 certified up to 98ft, so you won't be restricted if you want to take some underwater photos. There's even a handy carry strap on the back along with an included lanyard that attaches to the top closure. The MoKo waterproof tablet case also comes in a variety of colors to choose from.

JOTO Waterproof Case

$8.99 Buy Now

For a more customized fit and look, the JOTO waterproof case accommodates devices up to 6-inches and features a TPU border around the edges. Both the front and back of the case share a completely clear window that makes it easy to utilize your touchscreen, take pictures, or record video above or under water. The case is IPX8 certified up to 100ft. and is secured shut by a snap and lock closure at the top, similar to the MoKo and TETHYS waterproof cases. The JOTO case floats while in the water and comes with a durable lanyard to wear around your neck or secure to your wrist while enjoying a swim. You can pick up this waterproof case in different color borders ranging from black and white to blue and magenta.

Aquapac Large Whanganui Waterproof Tablet Case

$41 Buy Now

Last up is Aquapac's largest waterproof case available, the Large Whanganui. This case is ideal for just about any tablet or for storing a variety of items inside like sunglasses, medkits, maps, money, you name it. It features the Aquaclip seal that uses 3 levers to twist open and closed when needed, and comes with its own shoulder strap for easy portability. Not only does the Large Whanganui float, but it's also completely submersible with an IPX8 rating. The front is clear for touchscreen use, while the back is more of a light gray — not camera friendly, although slightly transparent.

What are your favorite waterproof cases?

Are you already prepared to keep your Android devices safe from water this summer? We're interested in hearing what waterproof cases you're currently using or planning on picking up to keep your gadgets dry. Sound off in the comments!

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4 months ago

Save 40% on Ballistic Glass Screen Protectors for Galaxy S6

Today you can score BIG savings on this durable tempered glass protector for Galaxy S6 through Amazon using coupon code: S6NATION. Our first impressions were great: easy installation and clear, durable protection against scuffs and scratches. Free 2-day shipping is also available for Prime accounts if you're in a rush.

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4 months ago

Poll: Do you need the Incipio Offgrid case for your Galaxy S6?

Incipio Offgrid case

Over the weekend we caught wind of the Incipio Offgrid case for the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 edge. In case you missed it, the case holds a 3,700 mAh battery as well as the hardware needed to add up to 128 GB of micro SD card storage to your Galaxy S6. And it's not terrible looking.

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4 months ago

Best Buy appears to be selling an updated Moto Hint for $129


Best Buy has begun selling what appears to be an updated Moto Hint for $129, while also marking the original listing as discontinued. Motorola is scheduled to show off some new products on July 28, though it is not yet clear exactly what the company will announce. The Moto Hint was first announced almost a year ago, and it faced its fair share of problems and complaints since the release.

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4 months ago

Best Android gadgets of the week: MOOV Now, SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick, and more


It's another week and another round of excellent Android accessories. Every Sunday, we try to find great products that have been released recently and play nice with your Android phone or tablet. These include fitness trackers, speakers, and some more basic (but admittedly useful) gadgets. Without further ado, let's dig in.

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4 months ago

A quick look at the Vinsic Wireless Charger


It's slim, lightweight, and always stays lit up whether you're charging or not.

We were about due for another wireless charger review, and this time we've got our hands on the Vinsic Wireless Charger. It's a bit larger than the average charging puck, but still keeps a low profile on any desk or nightstand. Measuring in just over 6-inches in length and nearly 3.5-inches in width, it fits every device we have nicely, including the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. The entire charging pad is made of a smooth plastic that steals your fingerprints with a quickness, but is extremely lightweight — weighing in at nearly 3oz.

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4 months ago

This Galaxy S6 case doubles the battery and adds SD card support


This Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge case aims to alleviate any issues you might have over battery life and lack of SD card support.

With a built-in 3,700 mAh battery as well as a built-in micro SD card slot, the Offgrid case looks like it was designed to fill the gap many think Samsung left with the Galaxy S6 when they moved to a new design. We've seen battery cases before, but the twist here is support (via USB OTG) for an SD card of up to 128 GB. Put in your SD card, pop the case on your Galaxy S6, and a flip of a switch changes from charging mode to storage mode.

Yeah, we're interested, too. We ordered one to check out — anyone else?

Buy the Incipio Offgrid case for $89.99

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4 months ago

This is the XShot Selfie Stick Deluxe with Bluetooth Remote


Great for group and solo shots, this selfie stick's remote connects via Bluetooth for quick and easy capturing.

Fully extended, the XShot Selfie Stick Deluxe reaches 31-inches and collapses to a compact 8-inches — perfect for storing in a backpack, cargo pocket, or purse. If you really want to get crazy, keep it inside the fanny pack at your waist for the complete getup and embrace your awesomeness.

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