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”

MiTagg lamp – multipurpose tech & charging center

MiTagg lamp 1I get some of my most interesting ideas for tech gear and blogs from coworkers; Neena stumbled across this unusual gadget, and had to know if it was all it’s cracked up to be. The MiTagg desk lamp is much more than a light; it’s a multi-talented tech and charging center.

What the MiTagg lamp does

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.

The lamp is made from an aluminum skin and has been given a brushed finish.

Testing the MiTagg Power StationMiTagg lamp 2

This lamp would be at home in an office or a house, depending on your aesthetic.  I kept my sample on my desk at the office and had many a coworker come over to take a look at the unique contraption. Most people thought it was handy, and I have to agree.  All the plugs in our office are located under our desks, so charging anything while at work requires crawling around on the floor, and hoping for a spare outlet. Of course, there’s never one down there.

With the lamp handily on the desk (I unplugged another dumber desk lamp to make room for the MiTagg) and now fully powered, it was easy to dock my phone nearby while working, and have it stay powered up. Of course having this device take up just one plug, while allowing me to charge multiple devices, and still providing desk light was a smart solution, as far as I was concerned.

There’s no set up or complications with this power center; unpack, plug and it’s ready.

mitagg nukiOptional accessory – NuKi power bank

The lamp I tested came with a small battery pack or power bank called NuKi. The NuKi comes with a separate charging cradle, which seems redundant when most power banks today can recharge with any USB plug or outlet. MiTagg’s website calls this ‘frictionless’ charging, and indeed the NuKi can simply be dropped into its cradle for a recharge, but of course that cradle has to be plugged in via USB somewhere (probably your lamp).

Valued separately at a whopping $69 USD the extra power supply is “a compact, portable keychain backup battery solution with an integrated Apple® MFI Lightning Cable and convenient detachable keyring means you’re always ready for instant power on-the-go,” according to MiTagg’s website. Considering powerful and long lasting power banks can be had for a fraction of that cost, I’m a little surprised this one can only deliver 75% charge (1800 mAh) to an iPhone for that price and size.

Mysteriously, the NuKi also comes with a detachable key ring, so if you did want to weigh your keys down with a large and awkward key chain, you could.

NuKi has location trackingNuKi_Silver_4_large

NuKi also comes with built in location tracking, as some power banks are nowadays, probably because they’re so easy to set down, or plug in and walk away then forget.  You’ll need a separate app for that feature.

A thought for next time – MiTagg Power Station Lamp

If I had one complaint about this product, it’s that the light itself could be more powerful and cast a wider glow. As it is, the light is very down-focused, meaning it lights up the devices it’s charging on its base, more so than my work area.  It can’t be adjusted either; if the LED could be swiveled to provide more directional task light, I think it would be far more useful. I found myself not using the dimming feature, and instead wishing the lamp could be brighter, perhaps to spill off the base and get where I needed some light the most.

The MiTagg Power Lamp Station sells for $299USD and is available at the MiTagg website.

If you have a gadget I should check out, please reach out on Twitter or Instagram @ErinLYYC

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.

Spyder Commuter is the ninja of extra power

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 11.15.10 AMSince our smartphones work as everything from digital wallets, to phones, to tracking devices and even keys for our homes, it’s more important than ever that they don’t run out of power.

That’s why it’s a good idea to carry extra juice with you whether it’s in your car, bag or pocket. The new Spyder Commuter pack will fit in any of those places, and can supply enough extra power to keep you going for several more hours.img_1167

The Commuter is a 3-in-1 universal battery charger. It can be used in the car, by plugging it into the wall, or as a standalone power pack for on the go needs.The wall outlet and car charger end both fold into the battery pack so it stays sleek and compact when it’s not in use.

The Commuter is a perfect companion for travellers, since it weights a scant 4.5 oz or 128 grams, and you can charge from an AC wall outlet, via USB on your computer, or in the car. Plus it works with any smartphone or tablet.

I found this device super handy for extra juice on the go. It has 2600 mAh, which on my iPhone 6 gives me one full charge. Though there are other power banks out there that will give you more power than that, often you’ll need to remember to bring along charging supplies like a car adaptor, cord or AC plug.  This one has it all built right in, meaning that even though you might need to recharge it more often, it’s much easier to do so.

Find The Commuter at Spyder’s website for $59CAD

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Power on the go: Anker slim battery case

anker case
I’m always looking for power solutions.  I’ve got cords and cables in nearly outlet at home, but of course when you’re in the most desperate situations where your device is dying, you’re rarely at home. That’s why I love battery cases.  You can wear them on your smartphone all day long, and only use them to boost your juice when you need to.
IMG_8114-0I think they’re handier than external charging battery packs, because you don’t need an extra pocket or space in your bag to stash it; it’s just always there, and you don’t need to fuss with tangled cords.
A new slim charging case I’ve just discovered is by Anker.  Their battery case will give you up to 70 hours more audio, 19 hours of 3G talktime, 15 hours of video, 14 hours internet or 3½ hours 3D gaming. Almost as important as the extra battery life is the fact these cases are Apple approved, meaning you won’t own it for a few months then have your device reject it.
This case feels quite slim in the hand and on the phone, and the convenience of charging your phone up without being tied to a cord is truly awesome.  While this case is super slim, it also packs impact protection, meaning your phone is safe from accidental drops too.
Get your hands on one of these Anker Ultra Slim Extended Battery Case cases via Amazon.
anker 2

Cool New Camping Gear!

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Stanley French Press Coffee Kit

You can usually find me testing out the latest gadgets and high tech gear.  But this time, some of the new gear I got that I’m most excited about isn’t as high-tech as I’m used to.  I love it nonetheless and want to share.

First up, this awesome Stanley French Press Coffee Kit I got at Campers Village. This versatile set up allows you to boil water in the compact narrow kettle pot, add your coffee (grounds are conveniently stored in the lid!)  then use the French press plunger grid to press fresh quality coffee, and transfer it to the thermos where it’ll stay hot for 24 hours. It also keeps drinks cold or iced if that’s your thing. I also thought it was really clever that the lid unscrews into two coffee mugs.

I also got a lot of use out of this kit by pairing it with a Biolite CampStove. Check out my video of how it all worked together!

black diamond ember power lightNext, I tested out a handy flashlight charger. The Black Diamond Ember Power light gives you light when you need it, which you always do when you’re camping, plus its USB port will also charge any gadget you have with a USB plug.  Dead camera?  No problem.  Phone out of juice? Easy to fix. I kept this gadget in my purse and also found it really versatile when we were short-cutting home through a park after visiting a neighbour after dark. My husband’s also been stealing it for everything from finding some papers in his truck after sunset, to recharging his phone on the golf course.

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LED Tent Peg

Speaking of light, I also love these new 10″ LED Light Tent Pegs from Coghlans.  They secure your tent, tarp or lines, and have a simple twist on/off bright LED light which will keep you from tripping in the dark. I found myself using these to mark hazards around the campsite too, like big rocks and roots. Now, if only we could build LED lighting fibers into the tent strings….

I also picked up a couple other low tech options that I find I’m using constantly while camping and on the road.

The Nemo Helio Pressure Shower is super handy if you like to camp away from crowds and off the beaten path.  It comes in a tiny zip pack about the size of a mixing bowl.  The 11L capacity means plenty of water, and because it rests on the ground, you don’t need to worry about hefting it overhead, or trying to fill it while it’s dangling from a tree. So how does it work then?  You pressurize the “tank” with a foot pump then use the sprayer to enjoy 5-7 minutes of shower time.

Curious how it works?  Watch the short video!

Lastly, I snagged one of these versatile hooks, thinking it would come in handy and it did. The Nite Ize Gear Line is a handy line with rigid twist-tie-like tabs on each end.  It’s got several different carabiner-type S-clips along its length, meaning you can string up whatever you want and keep it there with ease.  You can use it on a tree like I did to keep a garbage bag within easy reach, or use it in a tent to keep gear, towels, water bottles, or keys off the floor and within grabbing distance.

nite ize gear line

That’s just some of the new gear I’m loving this season.  You can find everything I mentioned at Campers Village in Calgary and Edmonton, or online at Campers-Village.com

I’ll also be showing off these gadgets and some other cool camping gear later in July on CTV’s Tech Talk!