Saturday, July 1, 2017

BLITZWOLF ~ Charging Up To Six Devices



Charging Up To Six Devices….

© 2017 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

BOB SKIDMORE

CORRESPONDENT


Charging multiple devices can be a real challenge. Typically, the need for individual chargers of various shapes and sizes would be required. In addition, to hook up all this gear could be space consuming using all the various chargers.

The BLITZWOLF BW-S4 desktop charger is a possible solution. It’s a neat new design. A lot of thought went into it, but there’s still room for improvement. The design incorporates 6 USB ports, 3 on each side of the unit. Each port has a dust flap cover to minimize dust. 


When all three flaps on one side are opened it becomes a tray allowing a non-covered smartphone to lie on its’ side. A cool idea, but, since most users have some form of protective or external battery case, or cover, the smartphone may become too thick for the tray. The unit itself is very compact making it ideal for home or travel use.

The BLITZWOLF BW-S4 has an input voltage of 110-240 volts, 60/50Hz at 1.2 amps making it a worldwide device.

(TIP: When purchased in the USA, an AC wall plug adapter for the foreign countries where the unit is to be used would still be required.)

The output voltage is 5 volts, 10 amps DC allowing each port to deliver up to 2.4 amps to the plugged in device. Naturally, the charging speed is determined by how many devices are charging at any one time and what the current consumption is. Devices that can be used include Android smartphones, iPhones, iPads, iPods, GPS, PSP and many digital cameras. Basically any device that uses the standard USB wall charger will work.

The BLITZWOLF BW-S4 is a well-built charger. It has a white glossy finish that matches many OEM chargers that come packed with your device. It certainly gives you a lot of bang, or charge, for the buck! The only shortcoming is the fact that the original intent of laying your smartphone in a fold-down tray is probably not possible, a design flaw indeed forcing me to give it only 4 stars. Definitely a must have if you have multiple devices that use a USB charger.

GADGETEER’s RATING: ★★★★

MSRP: $29.95

For more information go to: goo.gl/DIwefq


Graphic credits: Fizzics & Google Images

Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at bob.thegadgeteer.skidmore@gmail.com, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. The manufacturer generally supplies products and press releases at no cost for the articles and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings.
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Thursday, June 1, 2017

BRYDGE


“BRYDGEING” The Gap In Tablet Keyboards….

© 2017 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

BOB SKIDMORE

CORRESPONDENT


Since 2010 iPads and tablets have become the next best thing to laptops. They’re small, easy to use and especially convenient when on the go. Perhaps one of the negatives is the lack of a truly responsive keyboard. While touch screen keyboards, common with these devices, fill a need, they can be clumsy and sometimes unresponsive. So, what’s the solution?

BRYDGE has taken the external keyboard to the next level. While many competitive keyboards have existed for quite some time, BRYDGE has succeeded in providing a truly professional product.

The BRYDGE keyboard accessory is made from a single piece of honed, solid aluminum, unlike competitive models made of plastic. Its’ appearance, style and features can easily be compared with that of Apple’s more recent MacBook models. Two solid, pressure-fit hinges are supplied with an adjustment range of 180°. 


This unique hinge design makes it easy to attach or remove from the tablet to/from the keyboard. When attached, the pad easily folds flat to shut down and store. In this position the BRYDGE automatically turns the screen and keyboard off, or conversely returns both to normal operation when opened. In essence the BRYDGE keyboard has the feel and look of a lightweight laptop. It can also be used when completely unattached. Other features include backlit keys with three levels of illumination and an off position. It’s interesting to note that the RETURN KEY in many cases acts as the HOME BUTTON found on the iPad. The rechargeable battery uses a standard USB type charger and can maintain a charge for as much as 3 months. This makes it possible to use the BRYDGE worldwide. Battery level indication is also provided,

I found the BRYDGE to be very user friendly. When reading a book or newspaper in the attached mode I easily adapted to the horizontal position. 
However, what did take some adjusting to on iPad models was the lack of a track pad on the keyboard. I found myself constantly reaching for a missing track pad. This is not a fault of the BRYDGE, but rather the lack of design by Apple, perhaps a welcomed future design consideration on Apple’s part. The BRYDGE is available in several models to accommodate various brands of tablets; 12. 3 for Microsoft Surface Pro 3 & 4; 12.9 for iPad Pro 12.9˝; iPad 9.7 Pro, iPad Air 2, and iPad air; iPad Mini 4. A complete line of accessories including a 128gb SSD card for the Microsoft version, are also available.

GADGETEER’s RATING: ★★★★★

MSRP: $99 - $149 Depending on model desired. Available at retail, or on line from the manufacturer.

For more information go to: goo.gl/zqAK1P

Graphic credits: Manufacturer

Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at bob.thegadgeteer.skidmore@gmail.com, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. The manufacturer generally supplies products and press releases at no cost for the articles and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings.
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Monday, May 1, 2017

Sonic Chip Technology That Enhances Beer


Sonic Chip Technology That Enhances Beer….

© 2017 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

BOB SKIDMORE

CORRESPONDENT


This month’s column features a form of technology that can enhance the flavor of bottled or canned beer right in your home. It’s a technology that incorporates the use of small chips in the form of Sonic Wave Oscillators. These oscillators generate various inaudible sound waves that when applied to beer, in the final pouring process, creates an entirely improved flavor that likens or surpasses that of true tap style beer beverages. Sound Complicated? Not really, I’ll keep it simple!

In 2015, two friends, Philip Petracca and David McDonald, began the process of applying technology found in a standard household appliance used in Philip’s ill son’s bedroom to improve the taste of containerized beer. Being avid beer connoisseurs they had a passion and their FIZZICS system was developed. Marketing soon followed that year with the help of ABC TV Sharks Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban.


The FIZZICS “Original” and the “Waytap” are designed to fit on your countertop or bar. The “Original” accommodates any size bottle or can up to 64ozs. The “Waytap” was designed as more of a transportable unit and accommodates 12-25oz cans and 12oz bottles. It also has a 10oz pour-stop feature. While tapping the pour, the pour will stop at a 10oz pour allowing the remaining 2ozs for the sonic treated head process. This is a nice feature, but only works with 12oz containers. Carrying cases are also available for both models. Four standard AA batteries power both models, enough for about 100 pours. There is no gas of any kind required. Operation is simple. Place the beer container in the unit and securely lock down the cover or housing. Pull the tap lever forward leaving about 2ozs remaining unfilled in the glass.

(TIP: Always pour the first pour at a 45° angle so the beer flows down the side of the glass. This minimizes the amount of the natural head. When pouring the final pour, tap pushed in reverse, keep the glass straight thus allowing for the sonically processed head to complete the two-step process for maximum enjoyment.)

Push back the tap lever to dispense the processed head, which is automatically subjected to the Sonic Wave process.

(TIP: Pouring the head may take a few seconds before you see a flow. You will hear a sound of liquid flowing & gurgitation prior to seeing the head being dispensed. This is normal.)

Walla, you have poured your masterpiece!

I found that both FIZZICS models work well with most brews, but not all. The taste is a big improvement over normal containerized beer. 


Regular packaged beer heads have a weak foaming appearance with lots of air pockets, while the FIZZICS head is solid in appearance and to the taste. Cleaning is simple and should be done when your enjoyment is over or when pouring different beer styles. Simply place a container of warm water in the chamber, lock down the housing and pour into a glass using both pouring steps just like you would if it were beer. Wipe out the interior if finished for the day and then leave the container open allowing for airing out. The exterior and rubber pad can now be wiped down. There is no question, the FIZZICS system works! Available at retail and on line. Worldwide distribution is in the works, but Amazon USA does ship overseas. Additional models with additional features are being considered and may be offered in early 2018.

(TIP: The FIZZICS units are designed for CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and some N2 (Nitrogen) beer beverages. They are not designed to work with any other type of beverage. Beers such as Guinness that use Nitrogen should also be fully poured with the two-step process. If you attempt to use only a portion and later pour the remainder in the container, the beer will be flat. Tap beer from some other source and beer in a non-beer container should never be used.)

GADGETEER’s RATING: ★★★★★

MSRP: (Original) $169.00 ~ (Waytap) $129.00 ~ Travel Cases $35.00
Glasses in various sizes and styles with pre-marked fills are also available.

For more information go to: http://www.fizzics.com/

Graphic credits: Fizzics & Google Images

Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at bob.thegadgeteer.skidmore@gmail.com, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. The manufacturer generally supplies products and press releases at no cost for the articles and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings.
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Saturday, April 1, 2017

SMARTPHONE ZOOM



Is It Practical, Or Just Hype….

© 2017 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

BOB SKIDMORE

CORRESPONDENT


The SmartPhone has perhaps become the most practical camera that you own. With every model release we see vast improvements in megapixel picture quality, better lens quality, dual lenses and built-in extended zoom ranges, not to mention that it’s usually with you when that photo op presents itself. This has opened the door to many options designed to enhance your digital photographic experience. Such options include snap on lenses for wide angle and close up photography. These adapters used self-stick magnetic rings affixed to your smartphone that easily grabbed the metal lens housing. They work well, but do come with their shortcomings too.

Zoom+, a marketing company, is offering the HD360x, an 8x zoom measuring less than 3˝ long, and weighs fewer than two ounces. Designed by a German Technologist, the lens easily attaches to your smartphone by means of what looks like a clothespin. By using your smartphone’s zoom control you can quickly adjust the desired range. Removing it from the clothespin mount it can double as a monocular. There is no zoom capability in this application, you simply see a close-up of the scene. In either case the lenses’ focus ring must be utilized. Two rubber lens caps are included, but no instruction sheet, warranty or return policy.


My tests concluded that the mounting process on to the smartphone, while unique, is quite clumsy. It takes some fiddling to get a position that properly fills the screen. The smartphone’s zoom control does indeed work. Like any wide range zoom a tripod is desirable as the slightest shake blurs the image. Even a steady hand has its limits when adjusting the zoom. I would suggest the Arkon Tripod Adapter for adapting the smartphone to the tripod. http://bit.ly/2du9Jh4 When used as a monocular you may wish to lean on something to avoid the shakes. A rubber eyepiece would make this much more user friendly.

While the ads tout the HD360x as a replacement for expensive DSLR cameras, don’t throw them away. This lens is at best, perhaps, a quick substitute in a pinch, but certainly not a replacement. The ads can be deceiving! The MSRP price point is high so as to make the special offers look tempting. What’s the old saying, “you can only expect to get what you pay for”. That certainly applies here.

GADGETEER’s RATING: ★★★

HD360x: MSRP:  $224.45 (Significantly discounted deals available on line)
Arkon Tripod Adapter: MSRP: $14.95

For more information & compatibility go to: http://bit.ly/2kx2MMa

Graphic credits: Manufacturer

Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at bob.thegadgeteer.skidmore@gmail.com, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer. The manufacturer generally supplies products and press releases at no cost for the articles and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings.


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