12.5 C
New York
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Home Reviews Cool gear under $100 (December 2019)

Cool gear under $100 (December 2019)

Try as we might, there’s simply too much cool technology to keep up with. New products hit the market every day and, as much as we’d love to write extensive reviews about all of them, we just don’t have time. To that end, we’re happy to share bite-sized reviews of technology and gear that we find interesting or worth a closer look.

Below you’ll find products that we’re impressed with that all share one thing in common – they’re all under $100. While these aren’t purely electronics or gadgets, we think they’re awesome.

TaoTronics SoundSurge 60

Finding a pair of quality over-the-ear noise cancelling headphones shouldn’t cost us an arm and a leg. Here’s proof positive that you can walk the line between affordability and performance.

The TaoTronics SoundSurge 60 feature both active noise-cancelling and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, and they don’t break the bank.

Available on a variety of colors (Grey, Mint, Coral, Black) these come with a handy carrying case and a fold-up design that tucks away nicely in a backpack or bag. Oh, and they’re incredibly soft, too.

Put these on the charger for maybe five minutes or so and you’ll get two hours of playback. That’s the kind of last-minute peace of mind we like when we’re heading out the door for the day. A full charge gives you up to 30 hours of play time, so you might be looking at one charge a week. $70 at TaoTronics and $50 at Amazon

Mujjo Insulated Touchscreen Gloves

It’s not uncommon to see gloves with a small tip or section dedicated to touching smartphone displays. It’s great to not have to take your gloves off in the middle of winter just to take a phone call.

The Mujjo gloves are designed with smartphones in mind. Not only do they allow you to touch the screen through each finger, but they also have dedicated grip spots with sticky silicone on the fingers and thumbs. These make it incredibly easy to hold your phone and is a welcome. feature.

Inside is a nice soft insulation (Thinsulate) with fleece that is comfortable yet never gets overly warm. On the outside is a layer of wind-resistant material that stands up to cold days and nights. They’re also stylish, which something you don’t always see in gloves. About $45 at Mujjo

Hohem iSteady Pro 2 3-Axis Handheld Action Camera Gimbal

Capture every moment of any adventure with the Hohem iSteady Pro 2 3-Axis Handheld Action Camera Gimbal.

Improved from the already great version, iSteady Pro 2 comes with a 30% torque improvement on its motors. The 30° angled design on-roll motor with longer support arm makes the action camera display obstruction free and always in your line of sight to capture what you want without any limits.

The upgraded iSteady Pro 2 works with the improved Hohem Gimbal app which allows personal parameters setting, 6-side calibration, and has a new firmware upgrade.

  • Capture the best moments & create transition effects without any post-production w/ the Sport Mode
  • Make an incredible inception effect using the pan 600° rotation
  • Charge other devices through the Micro USB/Type C ports
  • Choose from 4 working modes: pan follow, pan & tilt follow, all lock, all follow
  • Shoot in first-person point of view w/ the AF mode

$99 at AndroidGuys Deals Store

House of Marley Positive Vibration XL

We really love the house of Marley brand, particularly because it uses sustainable materials like wood. Sound quality is excellent and we look forward to listening to music for extended periods. The soft memory foam ear cushions feel just as good two hours into a playlist.

House of Marley Positive Vibration XL

1 of 5

These are not just for listening to music, either, as the onboard microphone and remote let you take calls without unplugging or disconnecting from your phone.

The internal battery gives you up to 24 hours of playtime and just 10 minutes on the (USB Type C) charger provides four hours of playback. Throw the headphones on a charger for two hours and you have a 100% charge.

Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity means you can walk further away from your music source without disruption. On the other hand, the tangle free braided cable means that even when you’re plugged in, you’re not getting all twisted up in knots. $99.99 at House of Marley

Ekster Parliament Fortuna Wallet

Yes, even wallets can be smart. Every one of us has misplaced our wallets, if only temporarily. It’s all too common to waste a few, precious minutes running around the house, hunting for the wallet. It’s time to put a stop to that once and for all.

Ekster has a variety of quality wallets to choose from, all of which look cooler than the one in your pocket. They’re made from premium leather and feature a really cool way of ejecting your cards, but that’s not why we love them.


1 of 6

For starters, the wallets offer RFID blocking, meaning strangers can’t bump up against you in a crowded place and walk away with your credit card information.

Additionally, the Ekster line supports a Bluetooth tracking card, the thinnest of its kind. It’s solar powered and just three hours in the sun is good for two month’s worth of charge.

The tracking feature is the peace of mind you didn’t know was possible. Use your voice to locate/ring your wallet with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa and you’ll be ready to head for the door.

Lose your wallet out and about? Pull up its last known location or let the crowd-sourced GPS network keep you in the loop. That’s right, other people can update you if or when they happen to wander within range.

If all else fails, each card has a unique QR code printed on the back. Whoever finds your wallet can scan it to pull up information and get in touch with you.

We’re big fans of the Parliament Fortuna as it’s slim and tucks away nicely but still manages to holds cash, upwards of eight credit cards, and the tracking card. Best of all, it’s offered in seven great colors. $79 at Ekster ($20 for optional tracking card)

Keychron K2 Mechanical Keyboard


UAG Universal Watch Straps

Urban Armor Gear (UAG) isn’t just a brand that consistently delivers quality phone cases. Indeed, it has a number of watch straps as part of its portfolio, too. Some are designed for specific devices like the Apple Watch, but others are more general in nature.

Many of today’s smart watches, such as the Fossil Gen 5, offer up simple ways to replace or swap out straps. To that end, UAG has various designs with multiple colors and lug sizes (20mm, 22mm) to choose from. We’ve had fun replacing the straps on a few of our watches; it’s as easy as changing the design of the face.

The Active watch strap features a strong, Velcro fastening that’s as tough as anything you’ll find. Not only does it give your watch a more rugged appearance, but it withstands more rigorous activities better than silicone or leather. Choose from three colors, including (our favorite) orange. $60 at UAG

You don’t wear your gym clothes to a nice dinner, do you? So why would you wear a splashy silicone strap to a fancy dinner? Change your watch to match your attire in just seconds.

The Leather watch strap, available in two colors, is a great way to class up that otherwise sporty experience. It keeps things professional and classy and yet stays put better than more traditional leather bands. The magic comes from the locking snap collar which ensures your band doesn’t come undone. $70 at UAG

Note: Select outbound links may include affiliate tracking codes. Revenue generated from any potential purchases is used to fund AndroidGuys. Read our policy.


Inspired by The Queen’s Gambit? Check out these chess training courses

Have you checked out the hot trending Netflix miniseries “The Queen’s Gambit” yet? If the first part of 2020 was all about Tiger King, the end of the year was all about the drama based on the 1983 novel.If you found yourself having been inspired or interested in chess, but don’t know anything about the classic game, you’re in luck. The AG Deals Store has a number of online training courses designed to help you get a better understanding of the game.Whether you’re brand new to the game or if you’re looking to take your skills from good to great, we’ve got you covered. Behold, a roundup of four training courses for players of all skill levels.The Complete Chess Bundle for Beginners to Advanced Players – $99.99Basic Chess Theory to Advanced Defenses! International & Grandmasters Provide You with 121+ Hours of Content to Help You Go from 0 Elo to a Competitive Club Player14 Courses262 Lessons120+ HoursMastering Chess for Advanced Players Course Bundle – $49.99International & Grand Chess Masters Provide You with 44 Hours of Content on Advanced Endgames, Schematic Thinking, and Crystal Clear Positional Vision4 Courses91 Lessons44+ HoursHow to Play Chess for Beginners Course Bundle – $49.99Enter the World of Chess & Learn from 32 Hours of Content from International Chess Masters — Master the Board, Pieces, Rules, Basic Tactics, and More6 Courses84 Lessons32+ HoursAdvanced Chess Strategies & Tactics for Intermediate Players Course Bundle – $49.99Get 37 Hours of Content on Decision Making, Pawn Structures & More Straight From Chess Masters Davorin Kuljasevic, Solano Cuya and Yuriy Krykun4 Courses70 Lessons37+ Hours

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD (2nd Gen) review

I haven’t purchased a 10” tablet since my 1st generation Apple iPad. I’ll add that I haven’t spent more than $100 on a tablet since buying the aforementioned tablet. Prior to receiving the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD (2nd Gen) with Google Assistant for review, I used, albeit sparingly, an Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet (7th Gen, 2017).As laptops slimmed down and phones got bigger, the tablet market seemed to be the solution to nobody’s problem. While tablets can be great for content consumption, they just aren’t cut out for content creation in my opinion.Retailing at only $130, does the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD offer enough to change my mind  about the tablet market in general?DesignThe Smart Tab M10 HD is really an attractive piece of hardware. I would even say it’s on par with an Apple iPad in terms of design and build quality on the surface. The tablet is constructed of aluminum alloy with a glass slab covering most of the 1280×800 10.1” screen.Overall, the dimensions are 9.5” x 5.88” x 0.32” and weighs .92 lbs. The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD is powered by a MediaTek 8-core processor running at 2.3 Ghz with 2GB of RAM. Onboard, there is 32GB of eMMC storage with the ability to add an additional 1TB using the microSD slot. The tablet is powered by a 5,000mAh LiPo battery rated at 8 hours of video playback or 10 hours of browsing. The tablet runs Android 10.Included with the Smart Tab M10 HD is a small charging stand that holds the tablet upright. In this position the tablet resembles a large digital assistant or digital photo frame. The charging stand connects to the included 5v 2A adapter via an included microUSB charging cable. The tablet can also be charged directly using the included USB-C cable.The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD’s full specifications can be found here.PerformanceAssuming your primary use cases are web browsing, content consumption (e.g. YouTube, Netflix), general applications (e.g. Amazon, online banking, social media), or casual gaming; you’re going to be happy with the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD. I was actually quite impressed with page rendering speeds out-of-the box.The tablet boasts Dolby Atmos enabled side-firing speakers and while they weren’t awful, they were a little tinny and I would much rather listen to music through a portable bluetooth speaker. They were adequate for video or movie purposes, although you won’t be getting anywhere near home theater-like audio experience despite support for Dolby Atmos.My intended primary use for the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD was as a digital assistant similar to the Google Nest Hub or Echo Show line of smart displays. Having the charging dock stand, I assumed incorrectly that the tablet would enter a “Show Mode” as Amazon calls it on their Fire Tablets. Google did in fact add this feature called “Ambient Mode” recently and the Lenovo M10 HD tablet is supposedly one of the supported devices.Unfortunately, despite finding “How-To’s” on setting up this mode, I was unable to successfully add the M10 Tablet as a Google device. Ambient mode will occasionally show slideshow photos of a selected photo album, but mostly; the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD sits next to my Amazon Echo Show 5 with a black screen. Unfortunate, since my house is automated and secured using mostly Google products including Google WiFi and Nest Cams.Double-tapping the screen will bring up Ambient Mode allowing you to use voice commands as you would other Google Home Hub devices. Pressing the power button; however, will bring the user to the full tablet application launcher. I am disappointed that despite the name, “Smart Tab M10 HD (2nd Gen) with Google Assistant,” that it requires you tapping or powering on the device in order to launch voice commands. This isn’t necessarily a knock on the Lenovo Smart Tab itself, since Google Android is driving the functionality. That said, Amazon Fire Tablets also run a version of Google Android and they have enabled a simplified way to activate Show Mode allowing their tablet to become a smart display assistant.ConclusionsIf you are a casual user of tablets, I think that you could be completely happy with the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD. Its 10.1” high definition screen is great for web browsing, watching movies and shows, or light gaming. Because it runs Android 10, you have full access to countless apps on Google Play store.Like many other tablets not called iPad, you won’t find many custom accessories such as fitted cases and keyboards. There are some available for the Smart Tab M10, but there are going to be limited options unless you go with “generic” accessories. One review for the tablet I came across complained of not being able to find a case that works with the included stand.  Additionally, the Smart Tab M10 does not have native support for pen or stylus input such as the iPad Pro, Windows Surface or even some of the Samsung Galaxy Tab devices.Again, with a retail price of only $130, you can’t complain too much when an entry level Apple device starts at almost 3x more. Personally, I just don’t have a good use case scenario for a tablet device. My hopes of using it as a smart display ultimately let me down and for a similar price; I think I would be better going with a Google Home Hub or Amazon Echo display device with their “always on” displays.

How much money can a phone case save you?

Some people refrain from getting a phone case. The rest of us know that a phone case can cost anywhere from £10 to £50, while the average Samsung phone costs £450. Putting a mobile cover makes much more sense than purchasing a new one in case you damage it.According to a study by T-Mobile, nearly 50% of smartphone owners have lost their devices or damaged them. For people who have damaged their smartphones, 37% scratched the screen, 29% dropped it down the stairs and spilled a drink on it, and 20% dropped it in the toilet.Why is a Phone Case Necessary?No matter how careful you are, gravity is more powerful than you. You will probably drop your phone at least once or twice during its lifetime. How much protection your phone needs, though, depends on the mobile you use: most Android phones are built a lot durable and are more likely to survive an accidental drop. The Samsung S10, on the other hand, while blessed with extraordinary looks, is a lot less likely to survive the occasional drop. Here, the argument for using a phone case becomes much stronger.For instance, if you happen to drop your brand new Samsung S10 and break its screen, a screen replacement would cost you at least £219.. This is an unnecessary expense that you can avoid with a phone case that would cost you anywhere between £10 and £50 – whilst looking stylish!It’s also worth noting that even reasonable phone cases can give you protection against drops by preventing you from dropping the phone in the first place. Besides, a lot of phones have slippery backs, and a good phone case can not only add some grip to it but can also keep it from slipping out of your hand and onto the ground. However, nothing matches a good-quality phone case, and it’s better than having nothing to protect your phone. We highly recommend checking out Samsung phone cases and seeing whether there’s one that suits your style.Even if you’re not keen on purchasing a phone case, there’s more to a case than just protecting a phone against occasional scratch or shattered back. For instance, Samsung Phones have a camera lens flush with the back, which makes them more prone to scratches and other damages. It can cost you a lot of money if you damage your new Samsung or even the latest Huawei handset. Moreover, it’d be even more difficult if you damage one of the buttons of your phone, which costs more than screen replacement.That being said, even if you do not care about the little scratches on your phone, the majority of people are. If you drop your phone with a case, your phone won’t break but it will create nicks and scratches that will lower the resale value. Having a phone case is one of the best ways to upgrade your phone at a lower cost — so it is commendable to sell your old gadgets instead of keeping them as a backup.Alternative Ways Of Protecting Your DeviceIn case you do not want to use a phone case, there are other measures you can take to keep your phone safe. The best thing, of course, is to get insurance. You can get protection against potential drops, scratches, spills, and other accidents for only £73.53 a year, in addition to £36.33 for any individual repair. However, it is better to get a phone case to protect your smartphone from any damage. And if it gets damaged, it may be more cost-effective to just repair it yourself and save the money for later.You can also protect your phone without applying a back cover. Screen covers can not only protect the phone screen from scratches but they can also protect the back of your phone. This will protect your phone from shattering completely, along with adding more grip to the back of your phone to keep you from dropping it. And if you want to give your phone some individuality and grip, you can get a skin for the device.Nevertheless, in the end, it all comes down to individual preferences, how careful you are about accidents, and what phone you have. Not to mention how you’re using your device — if you are someone who regularly goes hiking, swimming, or use it for shooting videos and pictures, you might want to protect it with a phone case. If you’re mostly careful, you might be okay with a simple phone case. In any case, try out a back cover and see how you like it. You can always take it off and try both ways to see which approach you prefer.EDITOR NOTE: This is a promoted post and should not be viewed as an editorial endorsement.

The Blade X1 is an affordable 5G phone on Visible’s already cheap rate plan

What you need to knowVisible is launching the new Blade X1 5G, the latest in the Blade smartphone lineup.The Blade