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1 year ago

Nexus 7 FHD travel cover - it's cheap, and it's cheap

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Here's a quick look at the Nexus 7 FHD Travel Cover from ASUS — and, frankly, it's not really worth more than a quick look. What you've got is a very basic "light but durable polymer" in a folio style that gives the tablet some basic protection while allowing full access to the microphones, speakers and ports, along with the power and buttons.

This is a no-frills cover — it feels like soft-touch rubber, and the glossy ASUS logo on the back stands out nicely against the matte finish on the rest of the cover. It's plenty easy to slip the tablet inside — too easy, really. The fit leaves a bit to be desired. The front cover flips over with no resistance whatsoever, but there's no magnet to turn the display on when it's opened. 

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1 year ago

Goal Zero solar charger review

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Off the grid and your battery's in the red? No problem.

The summer’s not over yet! If you’re finally getting around to that camping trip you’ve been putting off the last couple of months, or have the last in a long string of outings to finish off the season, odds are you’re mindful of keeping your phone and tablet powered. Never mind  those guys that keep harassing you to put away the technology and enjoy the great outdoors; you’ve got an e-book to enjoy, music to listen to, pictures to take, and hikes to navigate.

To that end, I’ve been trying out the Goal Zero Nomad 13 solar charger and Sherpa 50 Power Pack. You can also get an optional inverter and cable pack to charge your laptop or other gadget - say, a mattress inflator. The solar panel is built extremely well, surrounded by a tough canvas material. A wide array of loops all over provide plenty of fastening options. I’m not a huge fan of the mesh backing used to contain the charging cables. If you’re outside, you want to keep that stuff good and dry. Also, the front is kept shut with a rather flimsy magnet. Velcro or some kind of mechanical latch would make me feel more confident.

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1 year ago

Best Buy finally looks to have Pebble smartwatch in decent numbers

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If you've given up hope on Pebble actually fulfilling your Kicksktarter reward, it's worth swinging by Best Buy's site today. The big-box retailer appears to actually have the smartwatch in stock — and indeed our order is already showing as having shipped. 

You can have any color you want, too, so long as it's black. And at this point, Best Buy may be your best bet. 

More: Pebble at Best Buy

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1 year ago

Incipio FIXIE Universal Tablet Stand review

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The Incipio FIXIE stand is one of the handiest accessories for the Nexus 7 that I've ever used

You've just found a review one of the handiest little gadgets for tablet owners ever made. The Incipio FIXIE Universal Tablet Stand takes a simple concept — something to hold your tablet so you can see the screen while it's on a table or desk — and fleshes it out so that it will work great for almost any situation.

It's universal, hence the universal bit in the name, and works for 7-inch and 10-inch (and any sizes in-between) tablets with or without a cover or folio case. You set your tablet in the rubber coated cradle arms at the bottom, and it faces you rather than point towards the ceiling like it does while laying flat. This makes it great for reading, watching a movie, or as a digital picture frame.

But the secret here is the adjustability of the whole works. The stand is a two piece design, with an aircraft aluminum build the uses a "cam" effect to hold the screen at several different viewing angles. Want your tablet to sit upright at a steep angle so you can read an article on the web or an e-book? It can do that. Want to lay your tablet back so it's at the perfect angle for typing out an email? Move things around and that's covered, too. The same goes for landscape viewing of movies, or just sitting with a nice slides show while charging or not in use.

I like to keep my tablet on my desk in case I need to play a game in the middle of the day do some work with it, and I've never really cared about how it was sitting there. But the past few days I've been trying the FIXIE stand, and I'm not going back. With the angle that suits me perfectly, it gives me yet another bit of screen real estate that I can keep my instant messages open in while using my computer monitors in full screen. The flexibility of the FIXIE stand means you'll probably find the right use for it, too. 

You can grab the Incipio FIXIE Universal Tablet Stand from ShopAndroid via the widget in the beginning of this post or by clicking on this link. Head past the break to see a slew of images of it in action and how it works.

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1 year ago

Urban Armor Gear Composite Hybrid Case for Samsung Galaxy S4

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Protect your Galaxy S4 and give it a bold look at the same time

 

The Samsung Galaxy S4 can get a little slippery. I'm not going to knock it for being made of polycarbonate, I get Samsung's reasons for doing it and they're good ones. But with no texture and humid east coast summers, a case is a must for this one. The phone is tough, and can withstand a fall as well or better than any other, but these things aren't cheap — protecting it with a case is a smart investment.

If you want a case that looks bold and tough, and actually is pretty darn tough, the Urban Armor Gear Composite Hybrid case for the Galaxy S4 might be what you're looking for. It's two-part construction, where a hard outer shell is mated with a soft impact resistant core, makes it easy to put on and use and will protect your S4 from the things life can dish out. And the styling will make it stand out in the crowd.  Read along after the break for a closer look.

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1 year ago

ZENS Wireless Single Charger review

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ZENS is taking Qi charging to the next level in style and function

 

I've been looking at Qi wireless chargers here lately, and every time the subject comes up someone wants to know more about the ZENS charger. We've all heard good things, and often enough that it was evident I needed to get one and have a look. I've used plenty of them, had some varying results, but I had never heard anything bad about the ZENS unit. At ShopAndroid.com, it has a solid five star rating after 26 reviews.

I think I understand why, after using one for a few days.

There's no secret, it's a Qi compatible coil housed in a casing that rests quietly on your desk or nightstand. As long as the Qi standard is followed faithfully (looking at you, first-run Nexus 4 and your weird issues in this area), setting a Qi compatible device on top of the coil should charge it. The Zens charger does just that, but someone put a little thought behind the rest of the unit.

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1 year ago

Review: Lloyd Flex Case for HTC One

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Show off your Lloyd loyalty with this light and simple case.

 

Most are in agreement that the HTC One is one of the best-looking and best-built phones out there, but sometimes you want a little protection from the elements. If you're going to cover up that beautiful aluminum shell with something, it might as well have our very own Lloyd stenciled on the back.

The Lloyd Flex Case is a light and durable TPU case that protects your HTC One without adding much bulk and looks darn cool doing it. Hang on after the break and see what it has to offer.

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1 year ago

Seidio SURFACE kickstand case for Nexus 4 review

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Protect your Nexus 4's fragile exterior and pick up some style points at the same time.

 

The Nexus 4's design has a lot of great features, but one of them isn't durability. With big plates of glass on both sides of the device and easily scuffed plastic around the sides, we wouldn't blame you one bit for wanting a case wrapped around it. Or like many of us, you may have gone without a case on your Nexus 4 at first, and now about 6 months in it has picked up some wear and is in need of a little facelift. 

Seidio makes many great cases, and it now offers what is called the SURFACE kickstand case for the Nexus 4, and it's designed to take a beating and add a little bit of functionality and style while it does it. Read along after the break for a closer look.

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1 year ago

NVIDIA Shield official accessories

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Keep your NVIDIA Shield safe and give it a new look with these official accessories

To go along with our review of Shield, we're also taking a look at a couple of accessories being released by NVIDIA. Today we're looking at the official custom carrying case as well as the custom lid. The hard case is exactly what you think it would be, along with a nice surprise around back. It's custom molded to fit Shield perfectly, with moldings on the inside for the triggers as well as a small mesh pouch for smaller accessory on the top half. The inside is lined with a soft felt, and we've yet to notice it leaving any marks on Shield. You'll see some nicely done Shield branding on the front, with "NVIDIA green" piping accenting the bottom half of the case. It also has a wrist strap, which is removable if it's not really your thing. I haven't dropped it, but it's built well enough to take a decent impact. I wouldn't go throwing it across the room, though.

The custom lid is something that allows you to personalize Shield more to your liking. Initially they will be available in glossy black and carbon fiber. I don't have the carbon fiber here, but the glossy black is very well done. I've used it almost exclusively, and it's held up well, with no nicks or scratches to be seen anywhere. Whatever NVIDIA used on this particular lid needs to be shared with other manufacturers — it's that durable. They are held on magnetically, and try as I might, I can't make it not line up the way it's supposed to. Initially NVIDIA used a type of clip to hold them on, but switched to magnets based on feedback from industry experts. It works really well, and kudos to them for listening to the feedback and making appropriate changes.

You can pick up the custom carrying case for $39.99 and the lids for $19.99 each from your local Shield retailer. We have a hands-on video and a few pictures after the break.  

Have questions about Shield?  We'll have all the answers you want in our Ask Me Anything thread.

NVIDIA Shield review | NVIDIA Shield forums

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1 year ago

LG gives another sneak peek at the G2 — and its 'QuickWindow' case

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Never mind that we've got a little more than a week to go before the LG G2 is unveiled in New York City — the Korea manufacturer is letting loose let another teaser.

What you see here is what appears to be a flip case with a transparent window — yes, just like what Samsung's got on a couple of its models — that'll add a bit of functionality to the G2. In fact, it's got a good half-dozen features packed in there. Through the window you'll be able to see a clock, the current weather, an alarm clock, music player, incoming call details and text messages.

And, as you see, it'll be available seven colors.

LG is set to launch the G2 on Aug. 7 — if it can wait that long.

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1 year ago

Chromecast review

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Did this $35 dongle just make Google a player in your living room? We think so

Chromecast came out of nowhere and got a lot of people excited about what it had to offer. Everyone had been expecting Google to do something with the idea that was born in the Nexus Q, but the media and the public were both pleasantly surprised when Sundar Pichai showed us the little dongle that held so much power.

Chromecast is not quite Google TV, and it's not quite a Roku. It fills a happy medium between the two, and is a great way to get your content on to your television. With platform support from Android and iOS, as well as the Chrome browser and OS, it's useful for most people. With an open set of APIs for developers to use we can imagine big things from this little stick. If you're tied into the Google ecosystem, it's a no-brainer. Even if you're not, it's a cheap solution to get content from the web to the television without any wires or hassle. Let's have a look at what it is, what it does, and how you can use it.

More discussion in the Chromecast forums

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1 year ago

Security camera showdown: Dropcam HD versus Belkin NetCam HD

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Over the last year, I’ve been getting really excited about connected home gadgets, and with Talk Mobile's security week kicked off, now's a perfect time to dig in. To date, I hadn't really taken the plunge on any major phone-friendly home accessories — not even for the Nest thermostat. But I got in on the preorder for Lockitron (which is shipping shortly), and the other week both the Dropcam HD and Belkin NetCam HD landed on my doorstep. These Wi-Fi-connected security cameras are both sitting around the $150 price range and offer access to live video streams from Android, iOS, and web apps. Both can share those streams publicly or privately, and both have night vision.

I was already pretty familiar with Belkin’s WeMo system (the remote light switch works great), so was excited to see what they were doing on the home security side. Meanwhile, Dropcam has been a long-standing leader in consumer security, and I was eager to see if their product stood the test of time. So let’s dive in and see which of these two is the better big brother.

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1 year ago

Draco Hydra aluminum bumpers for the Galaxy S4 and HTC One

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It's time for a quick look at the Draco aluminum bumpers for two of the hottest Android phones available — the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. These are nicely crafted combinations of plastic and metal that wrap around your smartphone in the usual bumper style, leaving the screen and the back of the phone exposed. 

And they do so with a premium price. You need to know that up front. The Hydra bumper for the Galaxy S4 runs $99 direct, and the Draco One bumper is $79. These aren't cheap. But neither do they feel cheap. That's evident as soon as you pull them from their boxes.

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1 year ago

The new Nexus 7: Wireless charging feature

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The new 2013 Nexus 7 uses the same wireless charging standard as the Nexus 4 -- and the same chargers.

If you were one of the lucky ones who was already able to score a new 2013 Nexus 7, you might not know about a great feature -- Qi wireless charging. It doesn't charge your new tablet fast, and it still requires a cord be plugged into the wall, but it is a great feature for the nightstand or your desk. While the tablet is sitting there not being used to play games, surf the web, or browse your favorite social media network -- all things it does very, very well -- it can be collecting a few charged electrons to keep the battery bumped up. And it makes a great nightstand clock with the Dashclock extension and Daydream feature activated.

We've got a handful of Qi chargers laying around, so I've been fiddling with them all morning. I want to see which ones work the best out of the bunch, and fans of the Nexus brand will be pleased with the result -- the Nexus Charging orb is a perfect match for your new Nexus 7.

They all work. Nokia's charger seems to work fine on my tablet, but offers no compelling reason to choose it over any others. The big Energizer Qi charging mat works fine, too, but it's ugly as sin and life is too short for ugly accessories. The LG puck works really well, and the fact that the charging coil is mounted directly in the center of the back cover of the Nexus 7 makes it easy to place and it stays put. But that blinking light will drive you bonkers at night.

Enter the Nexus charging orb. You new tablet grips the funky rubber surface of the orb just fine and won't slip, and the angle it keeps your Nexus 7 resting at makes that big, beautiful screen easily viewable while it's charging. Combined with some of the great Daydreams available in Google Play, it's the perfect solution. And it's powered by holo. Ok, not really, but it does say NEXUS on the face of it.

If you've got a Qi charger laying around, by all means use that one with your Nexus 7. If you have to buy one, because come on, you have to, grab the Nexus Orb from Google Play. You can use the link above. There are a couple pics after the break, and plenty of room for all your comments.

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1 year ago

SD card showdown: Testing the SanDisk Extreme

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Earlier in the month we told you about a new SanDisk SDcard that offered the fastest speeds available. Those were some big words, and anytime we hear claims like that we have to try it for ourselves.

It just so happens that I'm the perfect test subject for this. I don't use SD cards in my phones, so I have no bias or preconceived notions about any brand or products. I do use SD cards in my cameras, so I understand how important fast read, and more importantly fast write, speeds are for users.

So I pitted two pricey models and one budget model against each other, to see how things measured up in the real world. Armed with my trusty Nikon and a Samsung Galaxy S4, I put things to the test. Read through, and see how things worked out.

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