As part of my research for the Network World Father’s Day 2016 gift idea slideshow, several companies sent along gadgets for me to try out. While some products made the guide, some didn’t – not because they aren’t good, but because I wanted to pick only one device per vendor.
For example, I chose the Ventev PowerCell 3015+ charger for the guide, but they also sent me some other cool devices. The Desktop Charging Hub (model s500, $50 - See it on Amazon) is a combination device that will help you recharge a phone, a tablet and at least one other USB device. The circular unit also has two 10-amp outlets, for powering additional devices (like your computer, monitor or perhaps other accessories for your desk). The Charging Hub comes with a 5-foot power cord for optimal desktop placement, and two grooves for resting your tablet and/or phone. It should help clean up an area if you do a lot of recharging.
Another device I’ve spent some time with is the AUKEY Bluetooth Sport Sweatproof Neckband Headphones ($40, See it on Amazon). There’s nothing spectacularly unique about the design of these – the neckband wraps around your neck, with in-ear earbuds that slide out from the edges of the neckband. There’s a nice magnetized dock for the earbuds, which helps the cable from becoming tangled or cut. The sound quality from the earbuds was nice, although I had to adjust the size of the earbuds to fit my ears, and on occasion they still popped out during a workout session (yes, even during walking). The device promises about 15 hours of talk time and 300 hours of battery during standby mode (an on/off switch helps extend the battery life). The unit is recharged via an included USB cable – there’s no additional power adapter. It falls into the “yeah, it’s cool, the price is good”, but that there are other options available for people who are more serious about their workouts.
Speaking of Bluetooth (and really weak transitional phrases), I also recently tried the MobilePro Deluxe Folio ($80 for iPad Air/Air2, $100 for iPad Pro, See it on Amazon) and MobilePro Bluetooth Keyboard ($65, See it on Amazon) from Fellowes. The two devices are aimed to work together to provide a combination of an iPad stand, pad of paper (hence the folio) and Bluetooth keyboard. The MobilePro series is aimed at business users who use their iPads as their main form of computing – in other words, they don’t use a notebook/laptop anymore, but still need the convenience of a keyboard for their work.
The SmartConnect Case on the folio provides a built-in stand and snap-in tray that lets you view the iPad at three different angles. You can also remove the tray to create a free-standing mode. The SmartConnect System provides magnets on the folio cover that lets you attach the keyboard to the outside of the folio for when you’re on the move. Another nice feature on the keyboard is that its cover unfolds to create a comfortable wrist mat.
You can also use these devices separately – if you’re looking for a Bluetooth keyboard for other devices (it’s compatible with iOS, Android and Windows), for example, or if you just want to carry around your iPad with a notepad on the other side. When combined, however, the two units make for a nice portable keyboard/case/folio setup.
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