Plantronics RIG 4VR: PlayStation VR Gets A Big Aural Plus

RIG Surround Package

One key element to a great Virtual Reality experience is immersive sound quality and out of the box, Sony’s PlayStation VR is somewhat lacking thanks to the budget-minded earbuds packed in with the unit. While far from terrible, it’s hard to feel fully dialed in with those teeny buds tickling your eardrums. Fortunately, the fine folks at Plantronics got on the case and have come up with a great solution with their great RIG 4VR headset (MSRP $69.99). Officially licensed, they match the PS VR perfectly, fit over the big headset with an adjustable headband, connect to your PS4 in one of a few ways and yes, sound absolutely great for the price point. Continue reading

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KontrolFreek Makes My Day (And Yours, Too)

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If you own any current gen game console with a wireless controller (or a PS4 or Xbox One, to be precise) or play PC games on a big screen TV while planted on the couch across the room, you very likely despise the way too short charging cables packed inside the box. Well, KontrolFreek has you more than covered with its magnificent, essential 12 foot USB Gaming Cable ($12.99 MSRP). This inexpensively perfect no-brainer gift idea makes that charging time smarter and faster, getting you back into your gaming session while still camped out and comfy.

Designed for PlayStation and Xbox controllers, PC, and micro USB-compatible mobile devices, you can plug it into your phone, tablet or anything else it supports once your game controller of choice is all juiced up. As that silly stock PS4 cable has already caused me to knock my console off its perch once, that KF cable came in really handy when it arrived this afternoon. My PS4 is sightly bruised on the lower front right but working fine, thanks.

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Get on the Good Wood, Get Your Tech Some TOAST

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TOAST logo greyIt’s hard to believe a mere ten people work at TOAST hand-making beautiful custom environmentally friendly wood cases and covers for everything from phones to tablets, laptops, game consoles and more, all reasonably priced.

The Portland, Oregon-based company uses sustainable wood and in addition to standard cases also does custom work where buyers submit their own artwork for one of the specific cases they manufacture and within 3-5 days (for single item orders) they turn out a lovely tech keeper/keepsake.

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I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony and Microsoft haven’t bugged these folks to turn out a small amount of custom console cases for special occasions, but maybe they have and I’ve yet to hear about it. If not, someone needs to get on the ball over at Corporate and give he TOAST guys and gals a ring-up. It’s too bad the Wii U isn’t represented here, as Nintendo’s soon to be replaced console could use a bit of classy coverage journalists aren’t giving it (ha and ha). Still, if you’re a PS4 or Xbox One owner looking for a way to show off your consoles and want a finish that’s not only going to be unique even if you order the same one for multiple consoles (that’s the power of wood for you, folks!), it’ll make your gaming pals wanting their own freshly made TOAST, well there you go.

A Powerskin Pop’n For A Penny? GRAB IT!

PSK-POPN-LTG-WE_3Qtr-Back_800px_081414-500x500If you’re in need of a great little hybrid phone charger for your iPhone or Andrioid phone, Powerskin has a NICE deal ready for you. But only if you act FAST. You can grab a Powerskin PoP’n portable charger for a PENNY plus shipping ($9.99), a great deal because these babies usually go for $49.99 at retail.

All you need to do is click HERE, pick ONE and check out using the code ONECENT. That’s that. The big caveat is this deal is for Continental US residents ONLY and of course is limited to ONE per person. Hey, Powerskin doesn’t want you opening up an eBay shop to try and rake in a profit on their great deal, now. Anyway, you’re buying one of these, right? RIGHT? I thought so. You were busy ordering one and missed that question is all…

Review: Amzer Stando Universal Tablet Stand

Amzer Stando 1You had ONE job to do, Stando… and you do it REALLY well. If you’ve poked around looking for one you probably know that tablet stands are a dime a dozen these days. Or more precisely, feel like they cost a dime a dozen to make. Some look great but tend to be flimsy, fall forward pieces of junk not worth sending back because the shipping probably costs more than the price paid. Amzer’s Stando laughs in the face of those cheap stands by being more than worth its $39.99 price tag. It’s stylish, stable and dirt simple to use for anyone interested in getting their 7 to 11-inch tablet to act as a handier (and hand-less) video player or other useful option.

There’s nothing fancy about the Stando other than the name, but this is a great thing. Out of the box it takes a few seconds to set up thanks to an intuitive design. A bend to get it open, a simple expanding of the arms to hold your tablet of choice by two corners, a bit of adjusting to your preferred viewing height (and maybe a spin to see it rotates that device a full 360 degrees) that’s that. The weighted base is perfect and even some heavy table banging for test purposes didn’t dislodge the tight grip the rubberized arms held on my tablet. I’d bet a dollar that nice clicking sound Stando makes when you adjust it was engineered in on purpose. It lends a “mechanical” sounding element to the holder as well as gets the attention of anyone in the immediate vicinity. That’s also not a bad thing as during my outdoor test at a nearby diner a few people came up to check out the Stando and ask where I got it.

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As the unit is made for a single task, don’t expect anything like a USB power charger built into the base or a fancy carry bag. That said, the unit is designed so your device’s charger slot and other useful ports and buttons are always within reach. Stando will fit tablets that have one of Amzer’s silicone Jelly Cases protecting it with the same grippy relish it holds an uncased unit. This is one of those products that works so well there are no real complaints to make so it’s easy to recommend. It’s even sturdy enough to be somewhat kid-friendly provided your kid has been very well schooled in tablet handling and knows the difference between a gentle tap/swipe motion and cat-pawing a tablet to the floor. Some kids get this, some don’t – you’re mileage may vary.

Bottom line, for that $39.99, you’re getting a fantastic product that will last through many years of usage, is travel friendly and just may become your tablet’s best friend. Amzer’s got a winner here for tablet owners looking for quite possibly the best tablet stand to date. Grab one and make you flimsy stand owning friends quite jealous.

Score: A

STM Wants To Keep Your iPhone 6 Non-Bendy – Let Them, I Say…

STM Harbour 

Eh, you’d figure Apple would give a nice sturdy case away for free with that new expensive phone they sell, but we’ve been “trained” to pay out the nose for something protective that SHOULD come in that box. Yeah, yeah, I know people like to have variety in their first or third-party phone protection solutions, and in the words of one Apple-head I know who lemmings up for each new model “They’d probably just give you something cheap you’d want to throw away” (ouch!). But if you have to buy a case for that new every-phone, let me be the first to say STM will never steer you wrong. Their new Harbour case for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus has a hardshell frame and soft rubberized lining along with a hinged base that doubles as a handy stand, allowing for easy removal. At a mere $24.99, it’s a must if you like your tech less bendy when it’s not supposed to budge. Yeah, you know what to do, right? I thought so.

Got A Camera? Get A Miggo. It’s That Simple.

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Logo_Miggo_circle_white_on_blueBecause I’m not a camera phone person, I sort of feel like a pariah when I see all those hip kids whipping out their phones, tablets and whatever else they have that they’ve overpaid for with a lens attached to it. granted, phone cameras HAVE indeed come a long way from their not so hot beginnings and yes, there are plenty of budding to pro shutterbugs that have taken many a classic shot with one of those things.

Me, I love the feeling of a CAMERA doing its thing in my hands or someone with a much better eye, so it’s great to see a product like Miggo around to make me want to carry my camera out into the wild and strut around proudly. Granted, you don’t have to even try to stand out with a Miggo wrapped around your camera. Just whipping out yours to take a photo is enough to get tongues wagging and maybe a few phone/phab/tab-only photogs glancing greenly in your direction… Continue reading

Pop Scope: Looking To Make You A Better Cameraphone Shutterbug Soon…

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So, I got a Pop Scope sample to play around with a few days ago and it’s a pretty cool little peripheral for those of you with normal-sized smartphones looking to take some cool selfies or other arty shots and have them look as if you’ve either got super-long arms (or a friend helping you out). This cool little device is a tripod/reach extender that’s lightweight, simple to use and supports phones up to 170 grams (5.99657 ounces… oh, let’s say 6 and get that out of the way). Pop Scope works with any photo timer app (there are a number of free to download timers available for iOS and Android phones), extends from 6.5 to 21 inches and its swivel head can tilt up to 90 degrees, allowing you to get a few formerly impossible angles when you’re out and about by yourself.

Setting up a Pop Scope is fast – just clamp your phone (with that timer app installed, of course) into the holder, pop out the legs, place it on a flat surface, adjust the height as required and you’re all set. As it’s made mostly of lightweight materials, it’s not something you’ll want to whip out on a really windy day. But as the song goes, (warble) “On a clear day, you can see forever…” While it works quite well (and yes, some curious people WILL ask you what you’re attaching to your phone when you use this), if you’re a big tablet user or have one of those fancy curved screen phones, you’ll want to hold out and see if the folks at Pop Scope can whip up something for you in the future. I’d gather they’re looking into that, but for now, the company is going to be running a Kickstarter starting August 21 for this model, expected to sell for around $44.99.

Poke back at that link above around then and if you’re smiling because you’re now thinking of some really cool ways to use that Pop Scope, well… it’s your move.

CE Week Best of (1 of 3): “Get The Picture” With This Quintet of Snappy Tech Goodies

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Save for the restrooms, nearly everywhere you looked at this year’s CE Week, there was some sort of tech accessory being showed off, a dongle dangled in your face every ten paces and other high and low tech tech related goodies of all types vying for attention and coverage. I liked a lot of what I saw, so in a few parts today and into next week, here are a few photo-related suggestions for you potential gift givers out there or those of you looking to give a little or big something to yourselves at some point:

slideshow_5ZTYLUS Smartphone Camera Lens (iPhone 5/Samsung Galaxy S/Galaxy Note): If you take a lot of photos with that iPhone or Galaxy, you’ll definitely want a ZTYLUS sooner than later. Invented and designed by Tim Hsu, this lens attachment (with optional case that makes your phone look like something even more futuristic) has a 4-in-1 lens that expands your creative options, is relatively inexpensive and as the official site says, will help you take better smartphone photos. The Revolver 4-in-One Lens is $69.95 and the case is $39.95, but I say snap both up in a combo pack from the ZTYLUS web shop for $99.95 and get your friends wondering when you became a secret agent (who just so happens to take REALLY awesome camera photos).

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CE Week: Protection Is The Name Of The Game…

CE WeekIt really doesn’t matter at all how much you spend, have spent or will spend on that hot new tech gadget at all if you don’t take care of it, folks. Sure, there are those who dispose of stuff as soon as a new model ships out or if there’s even the hint of an issue with it, but I’d bet most consumers don’t have that luxury in this economy and would be more than happy to have their tech last longer and even work better in some cases. This year’s CE Week was packed with some really cool new and returning products I can highly recommend, so pull up a chair if you haven’t already and maybe take some notes or click away on the following links at your leisure…

stm-112-033P-16_largeSTM Bags: I’d only heard of STM about a year or so back from a friend of mine who said they were “the best made laptop bags you’ll ever see”, which I promptly took with a grain of salt, as I’ve seen plenty of well-made carrying bags in my day. Anyway, he showed me the new laptop case his wife got for his birthday gift and I had to agree after poking through it thoroughly that there was some merit to his hyperbole.

These Australian-designed bag, cases and sleeves just look like they’re going places, even if you’re just hoofing it a handful of blocks to the nearest coffee spot to grab a cuppa and work on that great novel you think will rocket you to fame and fortune. Of course, if you walk in with your gear in an STM, people may think you’ve already made it. I guess that’s a sign of accomplishment, that looking successful stuff, as some of us have trouble finding a pair of socks that properly match (raises hand and waves it around)…

STM actually gave away that same model this year as a freebie to anyone who popped up at their booth with either the postcard they’d sent out or a mention of the email they shot around to a bunch of lucky attendees. As my own laptop is bigger than the bag handed out, I ended up getting someone who’s birthday was coming up a little replacement for his bag when it finally needs replacing and I’m betting he’s going to be surprised. My eyeball is actually set on that STM Sequel bag in the photo above, as it’s got everything I’m looking for and then some.

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