Archives For Accessories

Thanks to our pal Khaled, we’re back with several unannounced Logitech goodies on tap this fall. While they’re probably not as unique as the WiFi webcam broadcaster, solid computing accessories are a necessity. And I’ve long been a proponent of Logitech’s keyboard and mouse solutions.

Touch Mouse (T620)
The Touch Mice are slated to arrive in both black and white and will retail for $69 according to B&H Photo. While there’s no description, one can assume that the touch mouse is, er, a touch mouse – and the logical successor to the M600. It’s my understanding this may be a PC model, whereas the Mac model will go by T631.

Zone Mouse (T400)
Unlike the Touch Mouse that is presumably covered by a responsive surface, the Logitech Zone Mouse  looks to have a very specific touch sensitive zone. And while I generally appreciate shiny things, I much prefer the T400’s black matte styling over the T620. MacMall has this one at $62.

Rechargeable Touchpad (T651)
The Bluetooth touchpad above looks to replicate what Apple offers. But as opposed to replacing those Duracels every few months, Logitech integrated rechargeable battery. Not to mention this is cross platform. MacMall has it listed for $94, but we’ve seen it as high as $110… and assume it’ll land somewhere in the middle upon release.

beo-play-sleeve

Out looking for a couch, we swung by the neighboring Bang & Olufsen whilst percolating our seating options.  And, boy, were we wooed by B&O’s relatively new BeoPlay A3. Labeling this product an iPad “dock” doesn’t do it justice — not to mention, we hear the dock is dead. This BeoPlay is basically a speaker chasis for your iPad, that kindly integrates a 6-hour rechargeable battery. While B&O is quick to point out the audio quality (3 tweeters, 1 woofer) of this device, being shallow, I’m most impressed by its good looks… with flush tablet fit and multiple display orientations/positions. The A3 ships with two iPad sleeves (to account for all three iPad generations) and, when mated with a tablet, easily pops out of the device using the B&O button on the rear. This would make the most killer kitchen TV. But I’d prefer a few more color options. And perhaps a lower price of entry… At $549, it’s more costly than many iPads it would encase. No one said looking good is economical.

In case you’re not getting enough mobile video with Netflix, HBO Go and the like, the Mobile Content Venture (MCV) has you covered. MCV is the alliance behind Dyle mobile TV, and it’s just signed on a new hardware partner to help turn your smartphone or tablet into a TV-tuning delight. Elgato is the third hardware partner MCV’s announced, and, like Belkin, it’s working on an accessory that will plug into your device for access to over-the-air Dyle TV stations. MCV also has a deal with MetroPCS to launch a Samsung phone with embedded Dyle support. The first Dyle products, including Elgato’s EyeTV Mobile TV, should reportedly be available for the holiday shopping season later this year.

It’s still hard to know if live-broadcast mobile TV will take off, but if the service stays free, it’s got a shot. Dave and I both saw Dyle in action at the CES on the Hill event back in April, and there’s a compelling proposition in being able to watch TV without racking up gigabytes against your mobile broadband cap. However, MCV is also focusing heavily on conditional access (i.e. content protection) features, which may signal that the venture’s backers are considering a service fee in the future. MCV says that conditional access technology is critical for audience measurement (i.e. advertising), but it’s also not promising there won’t be a cost at some point for viewing Dyle stations.

Currently there are nearly 100 Dyle stations broadcasting in 35 markets. Grab your Elgato or Belkin adapter later this year, and if you’re in one of the lucky regions with coverage, you can start tuning in. Content partners include Fox, NBC, Cox Media Group, Gannet Broadcasting, and more.

ipad-smart-case3

Amongst Apple’s WWDC announcements and product releases, a smaller ticket tablet accessory was introduced. The iPad Smart Case ($49) builds on Apple’s Smart Cover ($39) by kindly adding protection to the rear of your iPad 2 or New iPad 3. And, at first blush, it looks pretty sharp. Which just goes to show, one shouldn’t judge an iPad case by it’s cover.

ipad-smart-case8The Smart Case is sleeker than Apple’s first attempt at an official iPad case, but it retains that model’s pointy side seams – making it somewhat uncomfortable to hold as a book or magazine. Conversely, when folding the cover into a triangle as a stand, the iPad angle is too steep for comfortable usage and better suited for passive viewing. Further, and more importantly, the iPad is unstable in this upright position. While the iPad certainly is secure within the case, it can slide around a bit and reveal gaps between tablet and the polyurethane which makes it all seem a bit unrefined and cheapy. Continue Reading…

The Unwired has taken a quick look at the Innergie Magic Cable Trio (~$20) and concludes that it’s “a little bit pricy but definitely a recommended accessory for travelers.” And, from the description, I might have to concur… as these days the bulk my mobile syncing and power cable needs would be covered by Innergie’s USB-to- Apple Dock and microUSB connectors – that third miniUSB is bonus. In addition to offering three connection options, the “tips” don’t actually come off so there’s no possibility of leaving one on a table or losing it in a bag. Instead, they pull forward and flip back for access. Clever. Unfortunately, and probably a deal breaker for me, is the minimal length of the cable which clocks in at under 8″. Perhaps v2 could feature a longer retractable cable and spindle?

Choosing A Tablet Keyboard

Dave Zatz —  November 20, 2011

logitech-keyboard3

While saddling a touch-optimized tablet with a physical keyboard may seem like sacrilege, there are those who prefer the speed and tactile feedback of true touch typing as slates displace netbooks in the market. I’m not quite sold on tablets, but to maximize performance on my wife’s iPad during short weekend getaways I picked up Logitech’s Bluetooth keyboard (~$60). It’s not as compact as some and not nearly as sturdy or elegant as Apple’s aluminum offering, but it strikes the right balance between appearance and performance. In fact, industry analyst Ross Rubin came to a similar conclusion. Unlike the Apple keyboard, Logitech’s features an on/off slide — meaning it won’t accidentally trip in your saddle bag and kill the battery (of the keyboard or the tablet). The Logitech keyboard also ships with a semi-rigid pastic sleeve/case that doubles as a stand… which ended up on our junk drawer (and I highly recommend the convertible Incase Magazine Jacket to more effectively protect and prop up one’s iPad).

Logitech offers two version of this keyboard – the iPad edition that I purchased (with a half off coupon) and an Android-centric variant featuring their OS-specific function keys. Indeed, Logitech mistakenly shipped the Android one and their phone rep attempted to convince me the keys and functions were the same. Fortunately, I knew better given my hands on experience with the incorrect model and insisted on what turned out to be a tedious exchange. Amazon for the win?

Overall, I’ve been pleased with the Logitech keyboard which pairs nicely with various other devices in our household. So while the hot Asus Transformer Prime sets the bar high for tablet/keyboard integration, most tablet owners interested in occasional keyboard use would be well served by this wireless accessory.

Will Apple Crush The PlugBug?

Dave Zatz —  November 1, 2011

Apple accessory maker Twelve South is out today with the PlugBug. As with their other gear, it offers a clever and effective solution to a problem you may not have realized you had. Assuming you’re into all things Apple. In this case, the $35 PlugBug retrofits your existing two-piece Macbook (original, Air, Pro) power adapter to also provide 10w of USB power — sufficient for iPad or iPhone recharging. Nifty, yes? And there’s no reason you couldn’t charge non-Apple USB devices like that corporate Blackberry. While Twelve South holds that most favored position of retail Apple Store product availability, I wonder if their latest initiative will run afoul of Apple… who previously took issue with vendors riffing off their (patented) MagSafe power adapters. Regardless, as a guy with too many gadgets, I think I’m in.