Need Samsung accessories? These are perfect for the new Galaxy S8+

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ have been out for a while now, and to go with it, there’s plenty of new Galaxy-ready gear.  Whether you need a proper case, charging cables or other accessories, there are some new options from different companies.

Samsung Accessories – Cool Cases from Olixar

Olixar makes a variety of smartphone accessories for Samsung phones.  From ultra thin cases that are barely there, to ones that are durable and drop-proof, there’s a case to fit every need and situation. My personal favourite for the new Galaxy S8+ is the clear soft plastic version that’s super slim and barely there.  It lets me admire the slim stylings of the phone itself.

Samsung Accessories -Handy Colourful Cables by Ventev

ventev colour charging cable  colorI absolutely love colourful charging cables. Not only are they interesting and different, it’s easy to locate yours among everyone else’s at the office or airport. These cables are available in 3.3 or 6 foot lengths which is extra long too, meaning you’re not going to be tied to the wall while you’re waiting for your phone to recharge.

I love the candy colours available and the flat profile means they wrap easily and don’t tangle.

Ventev also makes handy screen protectors for the Galaxy S8 as well as power and charging options too. I’ve found their gear to be well built and durable in previous tests.

Samsung Accessories – Extra Power from Belkin

belkin power bank charger pink color colour bestRoad tripping means you need in-car power. I recently had a chance to sample some new Belkin gear for my Galaxy S8+. I fell in love with the Home and Car Charging kit that comes with a cable, wall plug and car power adapter.  It was super handy to have all my charging options covered in one package.

I also absolutely love Belkin’s rose gold brushed aluminum power bank. The MIXIT Metallic Power Pack 6600 is powerful and attractive, giving you the ability to charge two devices at once. This was super handy while I was camping, since I could juice up mine and my husband’s smartphones in my daypack. The 6600 mA battery will charge a smartphone three times over, and can also charge your tablet. It doesn’t matter what phone you have, the USB plugs let you plug in anything that needs power.

As I adapt to life in the Samsung Galaxy/Android world, I’m finding these new accessories invaluable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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”

New Charging Technology – CTV Tech Talk

erin-nov-2This month on CTV Tech Talk, I showed gadgets for keeping your phone charged and ready.

Get a longer cable belt-cable-native-union

I hate short charging cables. There’s nothing worse than having your nose to the wall, crouched on the floor by an outlet, waiting for your phone to recharge, while still trying to use it.

The Belt Cable from Native Union is a soft, braided cable with a leather tab to help you keep it rolled up and untangled. It comes in 4-foot, 8-foot and 10-foot lengths, giving you a lot of options when you need to be plugged in. I’m able to use my iPad while reading in bed, even though the nearest outlet is across the room.

Rock a nicer dock

dock-charging-native-unionLet’s face it, most charging cables included with our devices are designed to be utilitarian, but isn’t it nice to have lovely things? I think this heavyweight charging Dock from Native Union is sculptural and sexy.  The simple design may look basic, but it holds my phone securely, and still lets me see the screen clearly, and access it easily.  The weighty soft rubberized metal base ensures your phone stays put, and the rose gold brushed metal backing plate give it a touch of style. If you need it to, the whole thing comes apart and folds flat .

charging dock heavy native unionKeep your cable where you put it

night-cable-native-unionThe Native Union Night Cable is a braided cable with a weighted ball on the end that lets you place it on a table, and it keeps the end of the cable where you can always find it. The ball can be moved up and down the length of the cable so you can adjust how much cable is sitting out.

These cables are super durable and stiff, which makes them largely tangle-free.

A cable with a built in alarm

buzz

Ever wonder if your spouse if sneaking your phone while you’re asleep? Have you caught your kids sneaking into your room to recover their seized technology? This new cable might be able to help.  The Skross Buzz cable will vibrate and sound an audible alarm if unplugged. It could also come in handy if you’re charging in an airport or cafe and need to turn your gaze from your phone. Click here to read more about this cable and see a video about how it works.

MiTagg Lamp MiTagg lamp 2

The minimalist c-shaped lamp is purpose-built; the top is an LED light, with dimming abilities, while along the base are different options for charging; there’s an Apple Watch charger, a phone charger, plus a space to keep a power bank ready for when you need to grab it and go. You can use these docks individually, or all at once, with the lamp on or off.

Tech Talk Contest

This lamp would be at home in an office or a house, depending on your aesthetic. If you want to try to win one of these lamps, click here to enter the contest while it’s active.

Smart charging cables & accessories for your phone

belt-cable-long-native-union- chargingPhone batteries never last long enough, so making sure you’ve got a backup plan is important. I’ve been checking out some new charging devices and accessories that can help you stay powered up, while looking chic, and solving some annoying problems. Continue reading “Smart charging cables & accessories for your phone”

This cable keeps snoopy spouses & grabby kids at bay

Ever wonder if your spouse if sneaking your phone while you’re asleep? Have you caught your kids sneaking into your room to recover their grounded technology? This new cable might be able to help.  The Skross Buzz cable will vibrate and sound an audible alarm if unplugged. It could also come in handy if you’re charging in an airport or cafe and need to turn your gaze from your phone.

Check out the video to see how it works.

My Top 10 Tech Gadgets of the Year

I’ve had the great fortune to test some of the best and most-coveted tech gadgets this year. I’ve reviewed a lot of devices, but only these make my top 10 list for 2015.  My criteria? They have to be easy to use, perform as promised – or better – than the companies advertise, they have to be useful, practical, and well made. It has to be something I’d actually buy for myself, and there’s also bonus points for coolness.

Here’s the list, in order.

10. Belkin Mixit Charging Cables

IMG_7398With the battery life of many phones in a sad state, it’s imperative to carry extra cables or a portable battery pack. But they can be heavy, or clunky, or get tangled up inside your bag.

Belkin has come up with a WAY better option that I think is going to be a huge hit.  There are three smart additions to their MIXIT line of cables.

Made from natural leather, the MIXIT Lightning to USB Tassel is a chic handbag charm that hides a premium metallic charging cable in its tassels. Belkin says, “its fringe design takes a purse from bleak to chic, keeps the cable tidy and prevents it from getting tangled.” I also love the chic lobster clip that makes it easy to attach and swap it from bag to bag. Read the full review HERE.

9. Vitamix Blender

IMG_6963I like using frozen fruit and fresh kale in my smoothies, however my blender will only chop the hearty greens so well.  Inevitably I’m choking down tiny kale fibers, or having them get jammed in the straw. Oh, and there’s usually some giant pieces of frozen fruit left in the bottom too.

Not with the Vitamix.  This blender is able to absolutely liquefy its contents, usually on just one blending cycle. That means no bits of kale, and no frozen chunks. I was sceptical at first, but I can attest the Vitamix is on another level when it comes to blending. Full Review HERE.

8. Biolite Campstove

rsz_biolite_recropThe BioLite CampStove was the company’s first production piece. The concept is simple and genius at the same time: the CampStove creates a smokeless campfire that can cook meals and boil water in minutes. Setup is easy, fuel is free, and the company says, “flames are hyperefficient with performance on par with white gas stoves.” Then at the same time, the stove’s heat generates usable electricity for charging LED lights, mobile phones, and other personal devices. The stove’s USB connector will charge up most devices, and every twenty minutes of charging with a strong fire gives you about an hour of talk time on most smartphones. Probably more than you need out in the bush! The stove can also boil a litre of water in about 5 minutes in the small, Thermos-sized kit. I tested this gadget on a summer camping trip and it was compact, easy to use, produced a lot of heat, and gave me juice on the go. It’s a must-have for the serious camper. I love Biolite’s NanoGrid light kit a lot too. Read about both HERE.

7. Phonesuit charging case

phonesuitAre you the type who always runs out of juice on your device? The Phonesuit Elite battery case will keep you going all day long.  On its own, it protects, then when you need the extra hit of power, you just turn it on, and it gives you an additional 120% charge. The beauty of these cases are they recharge in 2 hours, and are quite slim, considering all the power it packs.  I liked these cases because they’re really durable, they recharge quickly, and the deliver that extra power punch quickly. Read how to get one, and about some other great case options HERE.

6. MyFox Security Camera

myfoxA small oddly-shaped camera, but it works like a dream.  A beautiful HD video picture, and set up is super easy. With the free app downloaded, I was able to set up the account in no time, and the camera was fully operational in about five minutes.The MyFox camera is without a doubt the easiest camera with the best video quality for your home secutity dollar. Read the full review HERE.

5. Fujifilm Instax Share Photo Printer

IMG_2828Wondering what to do with all the digital photos that sit on your device for years and years?  Start printing the best ones!
The new Fujifilm Instax Share printer is truly pocket sized, but it operates basically as you might remember a Polaroid camera operating; it spits out a small photo instantly that takes a couple minutes to fully develop. The result is retro-cool prints in an instant. The printer is easy to operate, and makes great quality prints.
Read more about the Instax printer HERE.

4. Felony Case

IMG_0380I only picked two cases as tops this year, and this is one of them. These plastic shell cases from Felony Case are definite winners for most eye-catching.  The 3-D raised texture on the  Kaleidoscope case is stunning, but the softness of the design means it’s comfortable to hold, despite looking menacingly like a torture device. In gold, rose gold, black and white, these cases are stunning accessories. Not to mention the case is barely a millimeter thick, so it adds absolutely zero bulk to your device.  While the business-types have been coveting the Moshi cases and the hipster are after Fuz, the fashionistas all want my Felony Case!  Check out the full write-up on Felony Case, as well as som other great options HERE.

3. Osram Lightify Flex

IMG_6431I’m sure under counter lighting is going to be a hugely popular use for this product, but you could see getting really creative with it too: lighting around a mirror, a headboard, under a glass table top, or stone bar. There are endless possibilities because this lighting is ultra thin and completely bendable. The Flex kit is super easy to install, and gives you the option of turning the lights different colours. I absolutely love changing the look and mood of the room with coloured light, and Flex makes it easy and chic. Learn about the Flex kit HERE.

2. Qwerkywriter Bluetooth Keyboard

QWERKY111Qwerkywriter is a solid aluminum metal (but not heavy!) keyboard that connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to iPhones, iPads, iMacs, MacPros, Macbooks, Android Tablets Devices, Windows Tablets, and more. It also has a functional carriage return bar that works as an ENTER key.
I absolutely love the feel of the industrial strength mechanical switches that give the device a unique clacky feel and sound. Punching typewriter keys requires just a touch more force than a younger generation will be familiar with, but those old enough to appreciate Mr Dressup reruns will love the stress relief properties.
Read all about Qwerkywriter on my blog HERE.

1. Ring Video Doorbell

IMG_4769It’s a simple gadget that’s infinitely useful. Ring is a video doorbell that lets you respond to visitors remotely via your smartphone from anywhere.  Got a package being delivered and you’re not home? Use Ring to answer the delivery driver’s call and instruct him to leave the package with a neighbour.  Annoying salesperson? Know before you open the door and get stuck in conversation. Ring is ultra-easy to use and get set up and has a sharp HD camera and high quality 2-way voice interaction. Added motion-detection alerts can also keep you safe from people lurking around or casing your place. I have Ring at my house and love it.
Read the full review HERE.

Have you got a gadget you think deserves top billing? Is there a gadget I should look at for next year’s list? Let me know in comments, below.

 

 

 

Read more tech news! Surf cool tech topics HERE.

Travel Gadgets & 5 Top Travel Tips

tech talk 3We all look forward to travel in the busy summer season.  With the number of travellers climbing, and delays inevitable, it’s a good idea to bring along some tech to keep you sane, entertained and connected while on vacation, whether it’s a plane trip or a road trip.  This week on CTV Morning Live I shared some good gadget picks, as well as my top travel tips.

Top Gadget Picks:

Comfy Noise-eliminating Headphones

marley

On CTV Morning Live, I showed off some headphones.  House of Marley’s Over-ear “LIBERATE” Headphones ($99) are soft and plush with a good sound, retro styling, and ability to block out airplane drone and angry toddlers.

Jabra_Revo_Wireless_image_1440x1440px_06Ditto for the Revo wireless headphones by Jabra.Going wireless is huge for air travel; no cords getting caught up in the seatbelt, or getting tangled when you get up to use the washroom.

If over-ears seem too bulky, my personal favourite headphones are the Monster Adidas in-ear headphones, because they block out noise like a boss, and are ultra comfortable to wear.

Adapter/Router Powerpack by Satechi

smart_travel_router_angle_lan_web

When travelling abroad, it helps to have a variety of plugs available to recharge your gadgets.  An interesting take on that is a versatile, compact adapter kit from Satechi that doubles as a wireless router and signal booster for your hotel internet.  The Satechi Smart Travel Router / Travel Adapter with USB Port adapts to fit into four of the most common plug configurations used around the world and has different modes for your wireless networking.

I also shared my 5 Top Tech Travel Tips on CTV Morning Live:

tech travel junePack extra headphones.

Headphones get lost, break, or you forget them, and of course without them, you can’t listen to music, TV or watch movies.  Stash an extra set of small earbuds in your carry on and you wrap them up with a handy Cord Taco to keep tangles at bay.

Bring your cables.

Beat delays by bringing your charging cable, plug and/or an external battery pack to supply juice through the longest flights or most annoying delays.  Never put them in checked baggage, as they sure won’t help you in the plane’s underbelly.

Preload TV shows, movies and podcasts at home onto devices.

Airport and hotel wifi is notoriously slow, and can be tedious to set up (nevermind having to give out personal info to get the connection).  Save time and frustration by filling your device with content you can watch all trip long.

Always carry-on your electronic devices.

They’re expensive, sometimes have personal info on them, and let’s be honest, it would be devastating to lose them or have them stolen from checked luggage.  Carry them on no matter how heavy that makes your carry-on bag.

Stash all your cables and accessories in one zippered bag.

It keeps them all in one place, makes them easy to find and keeps them from getting tangled up in the rest of your luggage. Of course, carry that bag on too as insurance.

If you’ve got a great travel gadget tip, I’d love to share it.  Post yours in comments.

tech talk june1

Better Device Charging Options! Throw away that 3-foot cord!

We use our smartphones so much today, it’s almost impossible to have a battery that can keep up.  So when the juice is gone, what do you do?  What are some better options for keeping your devices charged and at the ready?  Check out my recommendations:

Trunk Charging cable: ilovehandles.com

trunk

A small, compact charger that bends to accomodate nearly any USB plug, the Trunk is small enough to fit in your pocket, but handy in a very big way!

USB Outlets: leviton.com

leviton

It’s frustrating when all the plugs in your home are taken up charging your devices.  A smart alternative is to have USB plugs installed.  These from Leviton, available at many home improvement stores, have the regulation dual AC plug, plus 2 USB slots, allowing you to charge up to 4 devices, and also come in other configurations!

Space Bar Charging Station, Pivot Power Bar and Converge charging dock: Quirky.com

pivot

Quirky.com has to be one of my favourite websites right now.  The company works with inventors to bring their tech ideas to life  – and to the market.  Some of the smartest ideas are their Space Bar, which is a monitor stand that also doubles as a USB power centre, and the Pivot power bar, which curls like a snake to allow you to actually use every slot in the power bar.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 5.36.24 PM

The Converge charging station (above) is also smart, allowing you to keep cords organized, and in line while charging devices as they stand.  The dock also has enough power for both small and high-speed items, and you can fit several phones, or phones and tablets with ease.

Cord Taco, Mod Case & iPhone “Sleeping bag” : thisisground.com

cord taco

A simple invention, but one that’s really handy is the hilariously named Cord taco from This Is Ground.  The leather circles snap around bundled cords, keeping them tangle free!  The adorable and soft iPhone sleeping bag keeps your device safe, while allowing a bit of space in the back for your charging cord (like the Trunk above!).  And the luxe leather  Mod case has slots and compartments for cords, headphones and cables, plus room for a large smartphone, or notebook.

Cobra Car Starter & Device charger: cobra.com

jumpack original

One of my favourite gadgets this year, the Cobra JumPack will not only charge any and all your devices via its USB port, it will also boost your car on a cold day!! I can’t tell you how handy this is.  I’ve tried it and it works so well, I’m getting these for all my friends. Read my full review of it here.

Energi Charging backpack: tylt.com

tylt

A genius option for the traveler, the Energi backpack comes with power pack and cables to keep all you tech charged, while it rests safely in your backpack.  Just keep the included power pack juiced for when you run low, and use the handy cord openings to feed cables through the inside to everything stays secure.

Powerocks Charger/Flashlight: POWEROCKS.CA

power

This handy little gadget is a flashlight that doubles as a battery pack.  Compact and lightweight, it’s got enough juice to fully charge your phone and then some.

Got a gadget you just can’t live without? Let me know in comments below!