Photo gear from Joby lets you go handsfree

With so many of us relying solely on our smartphones for the bulk of our photography, it’s too bad we don’t put much effort into making the shots truly great. While lighting, luck and skill are definitely part of getting a good photo, you can improve your snaps with a few key accessories. Joby is a large company that makes photo accessories and gear for DSLR cameras, and action video cameras like GoPro, but it’s also got some gadgets that can help you with the photos you take on your phone. Continue reading “Photo gear from Joby lets you go handsfree”

Ventev Mobile accessories & charging gadgets come to Canada

There’s a new provider of mobile and wireless accessories like cables, power banks and charging gadgets. Ventev, a US-based maker of gadgetry and smartphone gear, has arrived in Canada.

I recently had a chance to try out some of the gear, and was very impressed with its durability, sleek styling, simple design and versatility. Continue reading “Ventev Mobile accessories & charging gadgets come to Canada”

Review: Speck Cases for smartphones and laptops

 I’m going to argue your cell phone case is almost as important as the phone itself. After all, if you drop your phone, or have something bad happen to it, a good case is the only thing that will keep you from a hefty replacement bill. So it pays to choose wisely.
One brand of smartphone case I’ve been loving is Speck. They have a few different models, and an infinite number of colors, which means there’s a case for every need and personality.

Speck Candy Shell + Faceplate
Speck Candy Shell + Faceplate

The Candy Shell cases provide impact and shock protection, and Speck says it’s drop tests meet or exceed military standards.  The Candy Shell cases have a dual layer design which Speck says provides “uncompromising protection without the bulk”. Indeed, the cases have a kind of rubberized lining on the inside, and a very hard plastic shell on the outside. But that shell is not so hard that it’s a problem to get your phone in and out of the case easily.
Speck also makes a different version of the candy shell cases called Candy Shell Card, which allows you to slide in a few credit cards into the case itself and hold them securely, so you can do away jamming both your wallet, and your phone into pockets. You can also slip some cash in there too for safekeeping.  The Speck cases also all have a raised edge, or what Speck calls the bezel, which protects the screen from impact as well.
IMG_2559Still another type of case, is the Candy Shell Grip, made for people whose smartphones often fly out of their hands. Candy Shell grip features rows of small rubberized lines, which help you get a better grip on that smooth plastic case.

Some other versions of the cases include the Mighty Shell, which claims to have two times the drop test durability of even its other Candy Shell cases.  This case contains what Speck calls “radial impact geometry”, where the inner walls compress on impact to absorb the shock. So if you’re one of those people very prone to dropping your phone all the time, this would be the case for you. And finally, yet another version is the Candy Shell plus Faceplate case, which provides all the protection of candy shell with a slick matching see-through cover to keep the glass protected. Something else I like, the Speck cases are warrantied for one year.

The inside of Mighty Shell
The inside of Mighty Shell

IMG_2443Another Speck case I had a chance to test was the See-through Hardshell case for MacBook Pro.  These ingenious and very attractive cases are made of durable polycarbonate, come in two pieces, and snap around your laptop (both top and bottom), but give it almost no extra bulk. The semi see-through plastic gives the laptop a nice look, and it doesn’t pull off easily.  Nice additions to the bottom of this case, are an opening for the fan underneath, as well as rubberized feet, to keep the slippery plastic from going anywhere.  Openings along the side also provide full access to the ports and buttons that I need. It’s probably important to note that this case in particular is more to prevent the computer from scratches, spills, and stains, than to protect it from a hard drop.

The Bottom Line
I recommend Speck cases not only for their durability, but theirversatility, and attractiveness.   I tested each of these cases out, and yes even dropped the phone a couple times (more accidentally then on purpose). I’m not only happy with the way they responded, but I really enjoy the way they look.

A close up look at the slim laptop shell case by Speck.
A close up look at the slim laptop shell case by Speck.

I advocate for having a couple of different cases in your case wardrobe, so you can adapt to different things you’re doing. I think it’s good to have a nice case for going out, as well as a more durable case if you are into running cycling or other outdoor activities.  You can also have a very slim case for when you need to stash your phone in a pocket, but a slightly bulkier one you don’t mind dropping into a bag, or sitting in your car’s console.

Speck Candy Shell in action.
Speck Candy Shell in action.