Archives For Accessories

dlink-window-sensorBy way of the FCC (1, 2), we learn D-Link intends to expand its range of home monitoring products beyond WiFi and into the realm of Z-Wave with a pair of new CR123A-powered environmental sensors. From the product manuals:

The sensor DCH-Z110/Z120 have PIR or door/window integrated with, temperature and illumination, which are 3 sensors function in one, based on Z-Wave technology.

Beyond that arcane product labeling, these will also be known as the myllink Z-Wave Motion Sensor and the mydlink Z-Wave Door/Window Sensor. We can’t say we’re entirely surprised to see D-Link go further down the smart home path, given their collaboration with Zonoff to produce the new Staples Connect hub – which communicates via WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee… and, of course, Z-Wave.

As Radio Shack fights for its life, the once pioneering tech retailer has undertaken a number of positive maneuvers recently. From “interactive” store remodels rolling out nationwide to embracing the smart home, featuring Insteon, Radio Shack is reasserting their relevance in this space – as a destination for geeks and civilians alike. Heck, they’re even Apple Pay friendly.

The most interesting development in my mind is Radio Shack’s take on the Best Buy Geek Squad with “Fix It Here!” – the in-store servicing is capable of handling a variety of smartphone repairs, including screen and battery replacement. Given the high cost of unsubsidized smartphones and sometimes specialized tools or parts (if not skills), this is a valuable service (that I hope to never experience). But, to further put in in perspective, a co-worker cracked his screen a few months back and found someone local online… But, upon arriving at the repair person’s home, he was totally wigged out and bailed. Instead of replacing the phone at great expense, as he did, a convenient and legit operation like Radio Shack’s, would have been appreciated.

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Intro

Back in March, Plantronics announced the BackBeat Fit ($130), a sportier version of their Backbeat Go 2 Bluetooth headphones designed to withstand the abuse of regular fitness workouts (and confirmed sweaty lawn mowing! :-). I’ve been evaluating these headphones the past few weeks and wanted to share a rundown of features and my overall opinion.

Product Info

When you unpack the BackBeat Fits, they come with the headphones themselves, a carrying pouch that doubles as an armband for your phone, and a micro USB cable and charger. The headphones use Bluetooth 3.0 for connectivity which gives you a range of 33ft from your device. As with most new Bluetooth devices, the pairing process was easy with an iPhone 5s. You simply go to the Bluetooth setting page, turn on the BackBeat Fit which goes into pairing mode, and then select the headphones to pair. The BackBeat fit can also remember up to 8 different devices for pairing so it’s easy to switch between multiple sources if needed. Continue Reading…

By way of the FCC and the USPTO, we learn Jawbone may have a variety of new activity trackers and services in the works. We can discern a few things from the “JL06″ filing… Given the test submissions, naming convention, and removable battery this is clearly not a Bluetooth earpiece. Further, in regards to labeling, the Jawbone UP fitness band is listed as the JL01 – suggesting this gadget lives within the same product category, versus representing, say, a new Jambox. Lastly, a number of trademark submissions refer to additional entries in the UP line, including the UP Move, UP2, UP3, and UP4. Our very own Adam Miarka wonders if this “handheld” device requiring “a small coin” to insert or replace the battery might be something akin to the Misfit Shine puck or Magellan Echo Fit watch. We’ll continue to monitor and speculate as we anxiously await the new Fitbit and Jawbone healthful widgetry.

gopro-entry-level

As GoPro introduced their new $400-500 Hero4 action cam, they also unveiled a camera for the rest of us. The new $130 Hero is waterproof, out-of-the-box, shoots 1080p, and is compatible with a wide variety of accessories… and will presumably help fill the vacuum left by Flip. Whereas the advanced feature set coupled with extreme pricing kept me out of prior Heroes, at this price point I can justify a purchase for the occasional vacation adventure. While storage and battery details remain elusive, we do know the GoPro Hero weights in at a mere 3.9 ounces and can be submerged to 40m. Stay tuned, as I’ll be picking one up as soon as it becomes available in October or November.

kindle-family-library

Beyond unveiling a boatload of new Kindle reader and Fire tablet hardware, Amazon finally gets with the program in allowing households (or close approximations) to share their digital media. Not that the current situation has prevented my wife, mom, and I from sharing our Kindle books and Amazon Instant Prime video streaming, Amazon will soon smooth the experience and remove the criminal element by delivering a Family Library:

Never again worry about whose account has the Prime membership or who bought that book you want to read. Family Library links your Amazon account to that of your spouse or partner so you can easily share apps, games, audiobooks, books, and Prime Instant Video content within your household without changing accounts. Family Library lets families share their content across multiple devices, including Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, Fire phone, and Amazon Fire TV, as well as on all of the other most popular devices and platforms with the free Kindle, Audible, and Amazon Instant Video apps. Family Library will be coming soon as part of a free, over-the-air software update.

Further, Amazon one ups the iPad by bringing Profiles to their line of Android-based Fire tablets:

Give everyone a personalized experience—each family member gets his or her own Profile, including individual email, Facebook and Twitter accounts, settings such as display brightness, page in the book, spot in a movie, and game levels, without taking up extra storage on the device for multiple copies of large files like videos and games.

Wink GE Link LED Quick Look

Adam Miarka —  August 28, 2014

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After noticing that a few of my local Home Depot stores had the $15 Wink compatible GE Link LEDs in stock (60w variety), I decided to stop by during lunch to see if they were actually there. Lo and behold, I was able to find some for sale and brought them home!

The GE Links come in a simple box that gives the normal specs for an LED light bulb. A nice little graphic indicates that the bulb is compatible with the Wink Hub. On the back of the box are additional features of the bulb which include

  • Remote operation
  • Sync with other Wink products
  • Automated lighting / Scheduled lighting
  • Dimming ability
  • Usage of up to 22.8 years

Continue Reading…