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5 months ago

The Nexus 5 bumper case

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Here's our first look at the official Nexus 5 bumper case that's being sold by Google. Ours is in the currently unavailable "bright red" color, which to our aging eyes looks more like a DayGlo orange and should be appreciated by anyone who's ever had to do search-and-rescue on the high seas.

Anyhoo. We're not quite sure when a "case" became a "bumper case," because this guy covers everything save for the front of the phone. The case is more rigid than flexible, with the Nexus logo printed on the back. (We'll see how long that holds up.) Wireless charging still works with the case on the phone.

It's thin, but definitely makes the phone a wee bit larger. You've got cutouts for all the ports and nubs for all the buttons. The phone slips in easily enough, and it's not going anywhere once it's there. But it's also not hard to remove. 

What is difficult, however, is stomaching a $34.99 price on this thing. That's not cheap, at all.

We've got more pics and hands-on video after the break.

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5 months ago

Sony SmartWatch2 review

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Sony’s third try at a smart watch hits almost all the bases

Sony is no stranger to the concept of smart wearables. We’ve seen the Sony Ericsson LiveView (which is best forgotten by everyone) and the original SmartWatch introduced at CES in early 2012, which was a little bit better but suffered from connectivity issues. Their latest version, aptly (yet unimaginatively) dubbed the SmartWatch 2 has a history to build on, and to try and not repeat.

Wearables are going to be a lucrative business for the right people. We all saw how the Pebble ripped through its Kickstarter goals, so the desire is out there. It will take a company that can get the form and the function just right to steal it all. Could Sony have done it with the SmartWatch 2? Sales say no, but we all know that best selling doesn’t mean best. Hit the break, have a read, and see what you decide.

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5 months ago

Google Play adds new colors of Nexus 7 Sleeve, HP Chromebook Sleeve

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Google expanding its accessory options, but they can't be ordered just yet

While the Nexus 5 and its associated accessories hit the Play Store today, Google quietly also updated the case offerings for the Nexus 7 and HP Chromebook 11. The Nexus 7 Sleeve, which was released back in August and works with either generation of the tablet, has picked up a neon yellow and subtle grey color. The sleeve will still set you back a hefty $29.99, but you're getting a well-made case for the money. We're still seeing "coming soon" for both new colors, unfortunately.

On the larger side of things, the newly-announced HP Chromebook 11 Sleeve is getting a new color — a red inside with white outside combination. It's the same $49.99 price as the other colors, and again is still "coming soon."

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5 months ago

Whole bevy of official Nexus 5 cases also available in Google Play

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Stylish (and expensive) ways to protect your new Nexus 5

Along with the announcement of the Nexus 5 on Google Play, Google is rolling out an assortment of different cases for the phone. There's both a "bumper" case available for $34.99 (£24.99 in the U.K.) and "QuickCover" for $49.99 (£34.99). The bumper isn't much of a bumper at all, and actually covers the back of the phone as well. it is made of a "hard outer shell and soft rubber lining," and is offered in black, grey, red and yellow — while it seemed to actually be on sale for a moment, it is dropped to "coming soon" in all colors.

The QuickCover case is much the same, but has a flap that covers the screen as well. Both black and white varieties are "coming soon" at this point in the US, with the black version currently shipping in the U.K.

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5 months ago

Hands-on with the Cisco DX650 Android-powered office phone

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Bringing Android into the enterprise market in a new way

Android isn't just for the consumer smartphone market — Cisco is hoping to bring the power of this operating system and ecosystem to the world of enterprise desk phones as well. The DX650 is Cisco's latest offering to the business side of things, basically grafting a full-featured Android tablet running Jelly Bean onto what would otherwise be a basic office phone.

You get the basic set of phone features with a physical dial pad, speakerphone and receiver, but everything can also be handled through Cisco's custom phone, contacts and video conferencing apps that are loaded on the device. A front-facing webcam can connect you to folks in a more personal way, and live HDMI out also lets you link up to a larger display if you'd prefer to run more of a true video conference. If you don't have a traditional phone system, you can even link up the DX650 to a smartphone over Bluetooth and use the speaker and handset just like any other connected device.

Now we realize this sort of product may not be on many regular consumer's wish lists, but for those who have to use an office phone all day this may be a cool way to step things up to the high-tech world. Hit the break for a video walkthrough and more pictures of the Cisco DX650.

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5 months ago

Viewsonic to release giant 24-inch underpowered Android serving tray that doubles as a PC monitor

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Yo dawg, I heard you liked Android so we put Android in your computer monitor

If you are looking for a 24-inch Jelly Bean tablet with last years internals, Viewsonic has just the thing for you. The VSD241, a concept which we first saw last January at CES with the VSD240, is what Viewsonic calls a "smart display." This means it can double as a monitor through its HDMI input, or act as a stand-alone Android tablet. And at 24-inches, I almost hate to use the word tablet.

In all fairness, it's not such a bad idea. Hook it up to your laptop for a second display, or if you need access to Android you can use the VSD241 stand alone. The internals, however, may not be up to the task of pushing modern Android apps out to 24-inches.

It's packed with a Tegra 3 inside, which Viewsonic says will deliver blazing performance, but there is no mention of how much memory will be on board, or the resolution. The VSD240 we saw at CES had a 1080p resolution, so we imagine this model will be the same.

It's good to see companies push the envelope. I think we all agree on that one, but I can't help but think this is one envelope best left un-pushed. What say you? Speak out in the comments and let us know if there's any interest in this one. The full press release is after the break.

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5 months ago

Google Glass receiving hardware refresh, explorers can now invite 3 friends

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Explorers who purchased Glass already can upgrade to the new hardware version for free

Google announced today that it will be expanding the availability of Glass, as well as refreshing the hardware based on Explorer feedback. While there aren't any specifics on a new design or exact features, Google is saying that the new version of Glass will have compatibility with future prescription and sunglass lenses, and include a mono earbud. Presumably other hardware changes will be made as well — Google has been listening to those with Glass and tweaking the design accordingly.

Any of those initial Explorers with Glass who purchased a pair before today will be able to swap them out for the new version for free as well, which is a nice gesture to those who jumped on the $1500 bandwagon early. Furthermore, Explorers now have the ability to invite three friends to become Explorers and pay for their own pair of Glass.

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5 months ago

Amazon has Sony SD cards on the cheap for today only

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Save up to 60 percent on all sizes and capacity Sony SD cards at Amazon

If you're in the market for a new high-speed SD card, you'll want to swing by Amazon and have a look at their "Gold Box Deal of the Day." Full size cards, microSD cards, and even a wireless server that uses an SD card for storage have been marked down by up to 60 percent, so there's something for everyone.

One important thing — you'll need to add these to your cart right from the Gold Box Deal web page. Other sellers may be selling the same items and they won't be marked down. And the whole shin-dig is good for today, October 23, only.

Even if your phone or tablet doesn't use SD cards, you probably have a camera or media player that does. Give it a look and see if you can save a few bucks.

Amazon's Gold Box Deal of the day

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6 months ago

The Vktech 60x microscope attachment for the Galaxy S4 is a cool way to spend $17

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See what you've been missing with this 60x microscope lens for the Galaxy S4

The best part about having a really popular phone is all the crazy third-party accessories that get built for it. I did a little shopping at Amazon last week, and one of the things I picked up was this Vktech 60x microscope attachment for the Galaxy S4.

It's a simple concept. You have a plastic case back, and over the camera cut-out there's a threaded ring. A tubular lens body and LED light attachment screws into it, giving you 60x optical zoom and illumination so you can take some wild close-up shots of anything that fits under the lens. The lens tube and LED assembly comes with a tiny pleather carrying pouch to keep it from getting grungy in your pocket or bag.

The lens tube is easy to screw on and off, the case is easy to snap on and off, but neither will fly apart during normal use. It's a little tricky to get focused, but I've found a solution that seems to work. Zoom your camera app the whole way in to 4x, and extend the focusing tube the whole way. Place the end of the tube on whatever it is you're taking a picture of, and slowly slide the tube back into the body until you get a clear picture. The area of crisp focus is small, but there's enough detail that you can crop out the center and still have an interesting picture.

Needless to say, I've been having a ball with it taking all sorts of pictures of everything I can get my hands on. Hit the break to see some of the shots. You can pick up your own Vktech 60x microscope kit from Amazon for $16.79.

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6 months ago

Logitech introduces enterprise-grade P710e Bluetooth speakerphone

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A spendy accessory aimed at corporate users on the go

Logitech is hoping to capitalize on the increasingly mobile workforce's needs for quality speakerphone audio with its latest Bluetooth speaker, the P710e. Built to be used with any phone or tablet over Bluetooth as well as your laptop over USB, the P710e brings enterprise-level speakerphone quality to any device that you connect it to.

On the mobile side, the P710e offers Bluetooth pairing over NFC, as well as a device dock in the top of the speaker for making video calls. When working wirelessly, Logitech is quoting 15 hours of battery life for the device, which should get you through even the longest conference calls with ease.

Logitech pegs the price of the P710e at a cool $169.99, but there isn't any easy way to buy one just yet — being that this is a enterprise-focused device we may be waiting a little while before anyone can buy them directly. This certainly isn't your average consumer-focused Bluetooth speaker.

Source: Logitech; (2)

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