The Kobo Aura is waterproof and ready for reading in the tub

Kubo Aura

Sometimes sitting down with a good book is all we need to relax. Of course, to get the most out of your relaxation time you want to combine as many relaxing things as possible. Taking a hot bath with chamomile tea in addition to your book is bound to do some good in restoring a bit of your sanity. Of course, many people use eReaders anymore, so if you don’t want to bring it along in the water without having to buy a new one, you might be in the market for some better options.

If you’ve already ruined one eReader to this sort of situation and would like not to lose another, then this Kobo Aura might be able to help you out. This Japanese product is IP67 compliant, meaning it can be used for up to 30 minutes under 1 meter of water. It would be especially handy if you like to read on your way home and live in a rainy area. This has a 6.8” Carta E Ink HD touch screen with a 1430 x 1080 resolution. It has around 4 gigs of built-in memory, and should let you immerse yourself in a good read in no time at all.

Not only will this be safe closer to water, but this option is much easier on the eyes of avid readers as there’s no light constantly blazing into your eyeballs. This device doesn’t come cheap at $149.99, but not losing it to a day at the beach or a long bath might be worth it. Of course, there are about a million different eReader options out there, and you could always just put your Kindle in a freezer-sized Ziploc for a cheaper option.

Available for purchase on Amazon
[ The Kobo Aura is waterproof and ready for reading in the tub copyright by Coolest Gadgets ]

Samsung S7 vs iPhone 6s, NFC payment rings, new Netflix shows and more – Friday links

fridaylinks

If you’re watching the clock till it’s time to start the weekend, I have something a little more “productive” that you can do. Click through to see a short list of five sites, products and other interesting things that I have collected this week.

ROMOSS Rolink Hybrid Cable: One Cable with a Flippable End for MicroUSB or Lightning. What?!

My thoughts: What are the chances that Apple decides to drop the Lightning connector and switch to a USB Type-C connector for the iPhone 7? Wouldn’t it be a perfect world if everyone used the same cables? Yeah, I am not going to hold my breath.

NFC payment ring completes Olympic beta tests, moves on to public pre-orders

My thoughts: I really want this tech to take off. The thoughts of not having to swipe a credit card or even use a phone to buy something sounds fantastic to me. BTW, the ring talked about in the article above is by the same company that makes the NFC Ring that I reviewed earlier this year.

The iPhone 6S bests the Galaxy S7 edge by 17 seconds in this speed test

My thoughts: I am looking forward to reviewing the iPhone 7 when it comes out later this year. I’ve even toyed with the idea of switching back to iOS full time. I love Android, but I’m also bored with it right now and would welcome something different.

Report: LG V20 to Ship after Upcoming Nexus Devices

My thoughts: I was not impressed with the the LG G5, so I sure hope for LG’s sake that the V20 is a lot better.

Netflix September 2016 Movie and TV Titles Announced

My thoughts: Jeanne and I started watching Stranger Things last night and are already hooked after just one episode. What are some other must see Netflix original series other than Orange is the New Black which we already watch?

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Samsung S7 vs iPhone 6s, NFC payment rings, new Netflix shows and more – Friday links originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on August 26, 2016 at 1:27 pm.

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Magpul DAKA Pouch is water-resistant & super tough

magpul-dakapouch

We carry more gear and accessories all the time, much of it smallish items that we want to keep organized and protected from the elements. For this, the Magpul DAKA Pouch is worth a look. Made from polymer infused textiles with an anti-slip texture that are impenetrably welded on all seams and using a genuine YKK Aquaguard water resistant zipper and a 550 paracord zipper pull with non-slip heat-shrink tubing zipper pull, the Magpul DAKA Pouch is “designed to bring organization to the dusty, dirty, and muddy world we work and play in.” In addition to these features, it also includes carabiner attachment points on the corners as well as a paint pen dot matrix debossed into the body, so you can customize your DAKA Pouch by coloring in the dots to indicate the contents. The Magpul DAKA pouch is available in multiple colors and three sizes including Small for $18.90, Medium for $22.95 and Large for $27.95. Shoot over to magpul.com for additional info or to order.

Filed in categories: Bags, News

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Magpul DAKA Pouch is water-resistant & super tough originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on August 26, 2016 at 12:00 pm.

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Motorola Moto Z review

motorola-motoz-2

It’s been over a year since I posted my review of the Google Nexus 6 (made by Motorola) and two years since I posted the Motorola DROID TURBO review. They sure aren’t kidding when they say that time flies when you’re having fun. Now it’s 2016 and we have two new flagship phones from Motorola that have the latest features that all the cool kids want… Moto Mods. Are modular phones just a fad or is this a feature that is here to stay? I’m not a clairvoyant, so I can only guess. But I can tell you that I’m liking Motorola’s take on this new feature way more than LG’s. Verizon sent me their version of this phone, so let’s take a look at the Motorola Moto Z Droid.

Hardware Specifications

Processor: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 820 processor
Operating System: Android 6.0.1, Marshmallow
Memory ROM: 32 GB, 4GB RAM, Supports up to 2TB microSD Card (sold separately)
Network: CDMA 850, 1900 MHz; GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); 4G LTE (B2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 13)
Display: 5.5” AMOLED, 1440p Quad HD (2560 x 1440), 535 ppi; Corning Gorilla Glass
Camera (rear): 13 MP, ƒ/1.8 aperture, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)
Camera (front): 5 MP, ƒ/2.2 aperture
Bluetooth: 4.1 LE
Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2.4 GHz + 5 GHz with MIMO
NFC
Battery: 2600 mAh (non-removable), TurboPower for up to 8 hours of power in 15 minutes of charging
Dimensions: 6.11″(H) x 2.96″(W) x 0.20″(D) inches
Weight: 4.8 oz

What’s in the box?

motorola-motoz-13

Moto Z Droid smartphone
Wall/USB-C 15W Fast Charger
3.5mm USB-C Headset Adapter
SIM tray / microSD holder tray tool
Wood Style shell
Quick Reference Guide

Physical design and features

Motorola currently has two new Android smartphones. the Moto Z Droid and the Moto Z Force Droid. The differences between the two are that the Moto Force Z is thicker because it has a larger capacity battery, it has a shatter resistant display and a higher resolution camera.

motorola-motoz-1

In the image above, I have my Nexus 6P on the left and the Moto Z on the right. The Moto Z’s display is .2 inches smaller and it looks and feels less phablety (my new favorite word) than the 6P.

moto-z-402

I was given the choice between the Moto Z and the Moto Z Force and decided to review the thinner Moto Z instead of the Moto Z Force just because I had to check out what everyone is calling one of the thinnest smartphones ever. As you can see, it’s definitely thin. I mean really thin. The only thing that detracts from the thinness is the camera which protrudes from the back of the phone.

In hand, the Moto Z feels solid like it’s been carved out of a solid piece of metal and it handles my ever popular Gadgeteer squeeze test with nary a creak or groan.

Thin is great, but this phone feels almost too thin without a back Style Shell. Most people will probably add a Style Shell to the back of the phone, which then makes the Moto Z just as thick as most other smartphones.

motorola-motoz-3

From the front, the Moto Z looks pretty standard with its 5.5″ display and black bezel on the sides, top, and bottom. You’ll notice what looks like a square home button at the bottom center. This is not a physical button. It’s a fingerprint scanner. Touching the button does wake the phone and touching it again will turn off the display.

moto-z-401

The back of the phone is flat with a raised camera lens and a LED flash. Near the bottom is a row of gold electrical contacts. This is the connection point for the Moto Mods.

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The top edge of the phone is where you’ll find the combination SIM card and micro SD card slot.

motorola-motoz-14

The tray is ejected using a tool that is provided with the phone. I almost never think to use those tools because I usually grab a push pin or a thin paperclip. But the access hole in the Moto Z tray is smaller than normal, making it necessary to use the tool. Yay, just one more thing to make sure I carry with me…

motorola-motoz-8

On the bottom edge of the Moto Z, you’ll find a USB Type-C charging and syncing port.

motorola-motoz-9

And on the right side of the phone are individual volume buttons and a power button that has some knurling (grooves) which helps your finger know which button to press since they are all the same size.

Have you noticed that something is missing? Scroll back through the images above. I’ll wait for you to figure it out.

That’s right, the Moto Z is the first smartphone without a 3.5mm headphone jack. Don’t start freaking out that you’ll not be able to use your favorite wired headphones… Motorola includes a USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter with each phone. Of course, that means that you’ll not be able to charge the phone and listen to music at the same time.

I think it’s interesting that everyone has been up in arms about Apple not including a headphone jack on the next iPhone, but it turns out that Motorola beat them to the punch.

Display

motorola-motoz-2

The Moto Z has a nice bright AMOLED display with vivid colors and great viewing angles. I have no complaints about the display except that it doesn’t have the same shattershield tech as the Moto Z Force…

moto-z-400

This phone also features the Moto Active Display that will show the time and notification icons for missed calls, SMS messages, events, etc when you wave your hand over the phone’s proximity sensors which you can see along the bottom edge on the front of the phone. See those two dots? I love this feature much better than the knock-on feature some phones have (LG) where you have to tap the display or pick it up (Nexus 6P) to wake it up. Although the display is not always on like Samsung’s phones, I still like it.

Audio quality

I already mentioned that the Moto Z is the first smartphone to be released without a headphone jack. Other than that, the audio quality is on par with other phones. I didn’t notice that it was better or worse in calls or playing videos. So I have no complaints.

Camera

The Moto Z has a 13MP vs. the 21MP camera on the Moto Z Force. Even though the Moto Z’s camera has less megapixels, I think it does a pretty darn good job taking pix. Check out a few examples below:

moto-z-500 moto-z-501 moto-z-502

Fingerprint scanner

motorola-motoz-6
I think the Moto Z has my new favorite fingerprint scanner. I have always had a love / hate relationship with fingerprint scanners. I’ve talked about this before… They will work great for awhile and then they suddenly start requiring me to scan multiple times before my print is accepted. The Moto Z’s fingerprint scanner felt faster and easier to use than my Nexus 6P. It’s hard to say how long that would last for me though, so although I’m saying I like the scanner on this phone, I wouldn’t hold my breath that I’d continue to like it months down the road. Unfortunately, I can’t follow up and let you know how things progress because I have already returned the Moto Z to Verizon.

Moto Mods

motorola-motoz-5

I wasn’t impressed with LG’s version of phone modules with the LG G5 that I reviewed earlier this year, but I like Motorola’s implementation much better. My favorite “module” isn’t really a module, it’s the Style Shells. These shells snap to the back of the phone and are held in place with magnets.  A wood style shell (can’t tell if it’s actually real wood) is included with the phone and other style shells will be available from various companies.

motorola-motoz-10

Other mods include a speaker, battery pack, a projector and I’m also hearing rumors of a camera. Verizon sent me the $299.99 Insta-share Projector Moto Mod to try out and while it’s not going to win any awards for HD video capability, it’s fun to play with and really easy to use because you don’t have to power the phone off and back on to use it.

motorola-motoz-11

The projector has a fold down stand and its own built-in battery that charges via a USB Type-C port. I didn’t test how long it can run per charge, but I read elsewhere that you should be able to get 1 hour of runtime from a full charge. Once the battery drains it will then use the phone’s battery.

motorola-motoz-12
The projector is simple to use. You just snap it on the back, turn it on and it will project up to a 70 inch mirror of what’s on the phone’s screen. It does have two things going against it though. First of all, it only offers 480p resolution and secondly, it’s expensive at $300. But like I said, it’s really fun and easy to use.

Software and user interface

Other than Verizon’s typical bloatware, the Moto Z feels as close to a stock Android device as my Nexus 6P.

Using the Moto Z for phone calls

I’ve had no issues with phone calls. I’ve found call quality to be clear and volume levels to be just fine. Whether I have initiated calls or received calls, I have no complaints about the Moto Z when it comes to its telephony features.

Overall performance and battery life using the Moto Z for day to day tasks

The Moto Z has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor that is powering most of the latest smartphones on the market, so there isn’t much to say here except that I have no complaints about how fast it loads apps, scrolls through lists, etc. The Moto Z is a snappy phone.

As far as battery life, I had no complaints there either. The phone didn’t have any troubles lasting a full day on one charge. And even if I would have had an issue, I could add 8 hours of power with just 15 minutes worth of charging via the included turbo charger AC adapter. Although I continue to miss the lack of Qi wireless charging on the latest phones, it’s getting more difficult to really complain about this when it takes so little time to re-juice.

Final thoughts

I really enjoyed using the Motorola Moto Z Droid for the 3 weeks that I had the eval unit. It felt good in my hand and was a snappy performer with good battery life. I really liked the snap on Style Shell feature and could see myself starting a collection of different backs if I owned this phone. I also liked Motorola’s Moto Mod implementation and feel like they’ve beat LG soundly with their version of this feature. When it comes down to it. I was sad to send the Moto Z back to Verizon. It’s a phone I have no problem recommending and would be happy to use as my daily driver.

Source: The temporary eval sample for this review was provided by Verizon Wireless. Please visit their site for more info.

 

Product Information

Price:Verizon: $624 (Full price), $26/month for 2yrs
Manufacturer:Motorola
Retailer:Verizon Wireless
Pros:
  • Thin!
  • Good battery life
  • Moto Mods
  • Active display
Cons:
  • Fingerprint scanner isn't a home button too
  • The lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack may sadden some people

Filed in categories: Android, Featured Items, Reviews

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Motorola Moto Z review originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on August 26, 2016 at 11:00 am.

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Whyd delivers first wireless intelligent home speaker

whyd-speakerSpeakers are dime a dozen out there, so when it comes to making a choice, you can be hard pressed when presented with a myriad of options. After all, you might also want to take into consideration the likes of wireless capability in a pair of speakers just for aesthetics or practical purposes’ sake. Whyd has come up with its wireless intelligent home speaker that will boast of a premium design, delivering high quality sound as well as voice control to the masses.

Elegantly and simply known as the Whyd speaker, this it the first ever home speaker to comprise of an elegant 360-degree design complete with full voice control, as it delivers crystal clear 360 HiFi sound with deep and dramatic bass. This is made possible thanks to a quartet of full range drivers and a solitary dedicated subwoofer.

This new speaker was created as Whyd intends to redefine just how people experience and interact with music. One does not need a smartphone, as one can now speak directly to the Whyd Speaker and ask for a specific track, artist, playlist or even a radio station — now how about that for interactivity? The speaker will also play nice with a slew of streaming services such as Spotify and Soundcloud, and will also pave the way for touch control via the stylish, intuitive glass-made touchpad on the top of the speaker.

Key features that are found in the Whyd speaker would be voice control, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth integration, an intuitive touch control panel, a LCD display screen, 360 degree omnidirectional sound, all crammed into a body that measures a rather portable 11.5″ x 7.5″ while tipping the scales at 134 oz. After all, music is inspiring, and hence, your speaker should also follow in the same footsteps, which is why the Whyd speaker is touted to be the perfect combination of design, technology and music.

Press Release
[ Whyd delivers first wireless intelligent home speaker copyright by Coolest Gadgets ]

Satechi Wireless Charging Pad makes charging a snap

satechi-qi-wireless-chargerWhen it comes to charging up your mobile devices, most of us would find it rather tiresome after a while to figure out just which particular charger is meant for which specific device. After all, there are different voltages and colors, but most of the time, we tend to fall back on the humble microUSB port charger and its cable to get the job done where smartphones and tablets as well as car DVRs are concerned. Having said that, the advancement of wireless technology is not all that far away, although the idea is certainly plodding on a whole lot slower than its advocates would like. Qi wireless charging technology has been around for some time, and Satechi intends to make it sexy and convenient with the introduction of its Satechi Wireless Charging Pad.

The Satechi Wireless Charging Pad is a The sleek and premium Wireless Charging Pad made out of aluminum on the outside, where it will open up the door for users to power up Qi-enabled fast-charge compatible devices, and these will include (but are not limited to) the likes of the Nexus, Samsung Galaxy, Note, LG and HTC smartphones. Not only that, Satechi claims that its Wireless Charging Pad will be able to charge up to 1.4x faster compared to standard wireless charging pads, now how about that for efficiency?

The convenience that comes with the Wireless Charging Pad cannot be understated, as it offers users an easy charging experience without the need to attach cables every time they have to juice their devices. Thanks to its extremely slim profile of just 7.8mm, the Wireless Charging Pad would be able to generate less heat to ensure a more efficient charge. Not only that, the Wireless Charging Pad’s compact design would allow it to take up only a small amount of valuable desktop space, which makes it ideal for travel or mobile workspaces. An LED status indicator will light up in blue when the device is charging and turns green when the device is fully charged. Expect the Wireless Charging Pad to arrive in silver, gold, space gray or rose gold shades for $24.99 a pop.

Press Release
[ Satechi Wireless Charging Pad makes charging a snap copyright by Coolest Gadgets ]

Pad & Quill launch new leather bags for men, but I want one too

new-pandq

I received news from Brian Holmes of Pad & Quill that they have two new “slim leather bags for the modern gentleman”. When I read the title of his email and then saw the images of his bags, I was a little miffed because I don’t see how these bags are for men only. 😉 I wouldn’t mind using either one of these bags because I like the way leather and wax canvas bags like their new small briefcase looks. The small briefcase is large enough for a 13″ laptop and features 24-oz filter twill waxed canvas, U.S. full-grain leather, parachute grade stitching, a polished nickel zipper, and hand pounded copper rivets. If you want something a bit smaller, the Valet Luxury bag is made from full grain U.S. steer leather and is lined with 24-oz filter twill waxed canvas. It has enough room to fit an iPad Pro 12.9 or 13″ laptop along other necessary gear. The price for the bags is $209.00 and $139.95 respectively. The smaller bag ships now and the briefcase will ship at the end of September. For more info visit Pad & Quill.

Filed in categories: Bags, News

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Pad & Quill launch new leather bags for men, but I want one too originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on August 26, 2016 at 9:32 am.

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Xtreem introduces new SkyRanger Video Drone

skyrangerWhen it comes to drones, there are many different kinds of models that have already hit the market, and it is no surprise at all that more and more manufacturers are jumping aboard the drone bandwagon as well. Xtreem is one of them, and the company has just introduced the latest addition to its popular range of remote controlled toys known as the SkyRanger Video Drone. It is are ideal for those who are aged 12 and above, as this new drone come in a lightweight yet durable construction and will definitely put users’ flying skills to the test, arriving with long transmission distances as well as demonstrating multi-directional flip maneuvers to the skilled.

Each SkyRanger Video Drone will arrive equipped with a full HD video camera, letting users capture photos and videos of their favorite flying adventures in double quick time and with ease. The SkyRanger Video Drone, for instance, measures all of just 19.7” and tips the scales at a mere 1.3 pounds, making it ideal for anyone with an urge to sit in the pilot’s seat. It has a first person view feature so that you end up with a bird’s eye view of flights on your smartphone. This is made possible thanks to the free app for iOS and Android platforms, as the SkyRanger utilizes the latest 2.4GHz frequency for a strong wireless signal up to 230 feet and 360-degree maneuverability including up/down, forward/backward, sideways movements, flips, stunt tumbles, continuous rolling and more.

Not only that, this easy grab-and-go toy that is perfectly suited for outdoor fun will allow the drone to offer hover mode, headless flight mode and trim/stabilization adjustment. When fully charged, the SkyRanger drone delivers 10 minutes of flying time, and each $179.99 purchase comes with the SkyRanger Video Drone itself, a Wi-Fi 720p HD detachable camera, a remote control, a 4GB microSD memory card and reader, a wall charger and power adapter, spare rotor blades and parts and a smartphone-to-remote control bracket.

Press Release
[ Xtreem introduces new SkyRanger Video Drone copyright by Coolest Gadgets ]

Smartphone Projector 2.0 lets you watch movies on-the-move in style

smartphone-projector-2A smartphone is a smartphone, and so too, is a projector just that, although the world of convergence technology has seen the likes of Samsung make a move to integrate a projector into a smartphone a few years back. That did not prove to be a hit among the masses, but it still was quite a decent idea that never really took off since the final device did not exactly excel in its work. Enter a peripheral that might just make you love your smartphone all the more — the £19.99 Smartphone Projector 2.0 which will arrive in Black & Gold and Copper shades.

It does not matter if you are looking forward to your weekly YouTube shows or even shorts, such as the weekly dose of Honest Trailers, you can always enjoy having a blown up view with the smartphone alone — aided by the Smartphone Projector 2.0, of course. With the Smartphone Projector 2.0, you will be able to transform everyday YouTube videos into grand cinematic events, where it will also perform its task of projecting films from your smartphone onto the wall. This is made possible thanks to a high-quality glass lens with an impressive 8x magnification, and it itself is made from rugged cardboard printed to look like a retro projector. Since it arrives fully assembled, there is no need for any kind of construction. Pretty cool, yes?
[ Smartphone Projector 2.0 lets you watch movies on-the-move in style copyright by Coolest Gadgets ]

LUNATIK EPIK H2O is a tough, water-resistant Apple Watch case

lunatik-epik-h2o

I don’t have an Apple Watch. It’s not that I don’t want one, mind you. It’s just that for years I’ve been wearing watches like G-Shocks that are water-, dirt-, and shock-resistant—really tough watches. And as much as I’d like to have an Apple Watch to pair with my iPhone, I just don’t see the Apple Watch standing up to the wear and tear and activities that I would put it through. LUNATIK must have had some similar thoughts when they designed their EPIK H2O, a rugged, water-resistant case for the Apple Watch. Although this multi-layer case is constructed from high-quality materials, like PC/ABS, stainless steel and silicone, and tested to 5 ATM of pressure (meaning you can swim while wearing it), the EPIK H2O still allows full visibility and access to all Apple Watch features like recharging, the heart-rate monitor, digital crown and button. Compatible with 42mm Apple Watches, the LUNATIK EPIK H2O is available in Black or White Jacket color schemes for $79.99 and a limited America Edition (complete with red, white and blue colors and subdued flag strap for $89.99. Float over to lunatik.com for more info and to order.

Filed in categories: Cases and Covers, News, Watches and Clocks

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LUNATIK EPIK H2O is a tough, water-resistant Apple Watch case originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on August 26, 2016 at 7:00 am.

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