Review: Hoverboard/Two Wheel Electric Balancing Scooter/Monorover

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Check out our video review of the strange new device that is taking the web by storm. Most often referred to as the Hoverboard, the device goes by many names; Monorover, “Two Wheel Electric Balancing Scooter”, or mini Segway, the hoverboard is bringing us one step closer to the alternate reality of the year 2015 in Back to the Future (Or the end of Wall●E for pessimists). In this review, we talk about how to get one, how it operates, and some discussion about features and build quality:

 

As mentioned in the video, we got our hoverboard from here on Amazon.

Keep tuned for more!

bitplay SNAP! 6 iPhone Case

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bitplay SNAP! 6 Series iPhone 6 Case – The easiest way to snap a shot with your iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Bringing the feel to mobile photography
Like taking a picture with your traditional camera, now experience it on your iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus. The heart of design of SNAP! 6 Series, embeds the shutter button without compromising the thickness and premium looks of iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus.

It just gets better, with lenses
It’s time to make your iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus camera really powerful. Other than taking extraordinary photos, with add-on lenses, these moments can be captured even better.

Keeping it secure, with a strap
We all love taking photos with our iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus, but sometimes, we might risk the chance of dropping them. With the strap, you can now hold on to your beloved phone without worries.

Keeping fully accessible, with your convenience
All ports, buttons and speaker are fully accessible for unhindered access when your iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus is in the case.

Considering ergonomics, the Grip
Hand posture matters and we want to get the experience right. The grip allows you to take a photo more naturally and steadily without sacrificing the slim design and sleekness of the phone.

Matching your style
SNAP! 6 Series is all about quality, simplicity and fun. With Its metallic finish and polished, modern look, it also comes in shades that fit everyone.
Classic Black, Premium Silver, Strawberry Pink and Deep Blue. No matter what your preferences are, you can always find a color that best represents your personality.

Order Your SNAP! 6 Series Case
Learn More about the SNAP! 6 Series Cases
Visit the bitplay Website

SHUMURI SLIM case for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

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SHUMURI-clear-silverThe SHUMURI SLIM is a vanishingly thin case for your iPhone 6 and 6 Plus that offers scratch and scuff protection in a sleek, branding-free design.

The SLIM case is quite possibly the thinnest case you can get for any phone, anywhere. At less than a third of a millimeter, it’s thinner than most business cards, and not much thicker than a couple sheets of paper. SHUMURI-bottom If, like this author, you prefer your phone to be naked, but have found the latest iPhones to be extremely slippery in the hand, the SHUMURI case is the next best thing. You gain some much needed grip from the textured finish, and scratch protection for the back and sides of the phone.

Blue-Side3-4_grandeDon’t expect this case to help your iPhone survive any nosedives, however. This slim case will provide exactly zero shock protection. The phone’s screen is also left vulnerable: this case does not rise past the level of the screen to prevent contact when lying face down, like some other cases.

Blue-Side_grandeThe SHUMURI SLIM rocks a branding-free aesthetic, which means nothing will detract from the design of the iPhone. The case also retains all functionality as well: headphone and lightning ports, as well as the volume, power, and vibrate switches are completely free from obstructions.

The SLIM case is undetectable in the pocket, so you don’t lose any ability to keep your phone in your skinny jeans. The translucent design also helps to unify the design of the back of the phone, which means the iPhone retains all it’s nice lines.

The SHUMURI SLIM case for iPhones 6 and 6 Plus are offered at a very reasonable $18.99 and $19.99 respectively, and can be purchased through their web store at shumuri.com

Visit SHUMURI’s Website
Purchase the SHUMURI SLIM

LuguLake Wireless Charging Power Bank

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The LuguLake Wireless Charging Power Bank adds additional functionality to the traditional power bank with the addition of Qi wireless charging in a well designed and functional package.

The nitty-gritty: LuguLake’s Wireless power pack is a traditional flat rectangle form factor, measuring in at just over 5.6 inches long, 4.1 inches wide, and a third of an inch tall. The main shell is made of brushed aluminum, and the top of the device is covered in white tempered glass. I/O on the device is very straightforward, with a micro USB charging port, USB out for wired charging, and a button used for the dual purpose of powering on the wireless charging functionality, and to view the current battery level. Through the glass top, you will find four blue LEDs for battery level indication, and a red LED to show when wireless charging is enabled.

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Packaging is minimal: the power bank comes in a white box similar to ones the iPhone comes in, and contains the power unit, instructions, and a micro USB cable.

Given the probably-google-translated text on the box and instruction sheet that indicates the product is directly from China, I was surprised to find the unit has a great build quality and a very nice design aesthetic. You don’t get any sharp edges, unnecessary stickers or odd build quirks like gaps between parts or loose connectors; the entire package is clean, minimal, and very well put together.

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The power bank clocks in at 4200mAh, which will give a solid 100% charge to even the largest smartphones currently on the market, and you should be able to get two full charges out of the battery for an iPhone 6. Charging the device itself to full capacity takes a couple hours, but for a battery this size, that’s no shocker.

As the name, the Wireless Charging Power bank includes Qi-powered wireless charging for all devices that support it. Wireless charging is turned on simply by pressing and holding the battery’s single battery till the red indicator lights up. Though convenient, wireless charging does lose more energy in the process, so you’ll get less of a charge and will take a bit longer. However, for phones that support it, not having to dig out your cable or carry it with you makes for some added convenience.

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You can find the LuguLake Wireless Charging Power Bank on sale for $59.99 at Amazon.com.

LuguLake is providing a coupon code exclusively for DailyAppShow readers for $6 off. Use V8S7LYAW at checkout on Amazon.

The company also makes a wireless charging only version (without power bank) and is offering $5 off purchase price at amazon using the coupon code 7CMYDZNY at checkout.

iWerkz Bluetooth Vibration Speaker

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The iWerkz Vibration speaker is a unique twist on the traditional standalone bluetooth speaker with a great idea, but a somewhat flawed execution.

The nitty-gritty: The speaker is reminiscent of an air hockey mallet in shape, with a smaller cylinder on top of a larger one. The majority of the casing consists of matte black metal, with a soft-touch rubberized top. The whole device is a bit larger than a large mans fist, and has a good bit of heft to it. The top of the device has four touch-activated buttons and a microphone hole. There is a play/pause button, left and right buttons for both volume and track control, and a phone button. On the back of the device you find a USB charging port, an on/off/bluetooth switch, and two 3.5mm audio jacks for line in and line out. At the bottom, you find the party piece: a small metal pedestal with a micro suction sticky pad where the sound comes from. We’ll get to that in a second.

IMG_4079The build quality is rather excellent. The heaviness makes the speaker feel high quality, the paint (or powder coating) seems resistant to chipping, and it generally feels as though it can take a knock or two. The backside ports don’t feel cheap when plugging cables in, which is a feeling you often get on other bluetooth speakers.

Packaging is spartan: inside the plain cardboard box, you get the speaker itself, a USB charging cable, an auxiliary cable, and a small piece of wood.

The speaker has two kinds of input: bluetooth and 3.5mm auxiliary in. Connecting via bluetooth was straightforward, put the device in bluetooth mode, and find VIBRO-26W in your phone or computer’s bluetooth discovery screen. The instruction guide informs that only one device can be connected at a time, which means this speaker doesn’t support multipoint, and to connect to a different device, you will have to disconnect from the first one.

The controls are not your traditional buttons, but capacitive buttons lit from below. There is no haptic feedback of any kind from the buttons, and you don’t immediately know whether they triggered or not. The play/pause button works as expected, the left/right arrows skip forward and back tracks when touched once, and control the volume of the unit when touched and held. The phone button is used to pick up and end calls.

Time for a bit of a lesson on how speakers work. A normal speaker like you have in your car is made up of three main components: a magnet, a wire-wrapped cylinder, and a cone made of flexible material. Electricity is applied to the wire to make the magnet move through the cylinder, which in turn moves the cone. The cone vibrates the air to make the sound you hear from the speaker (this is an incredibly simplified version, the actual process is a fair bit more complicated).

The iWerkz speaker works differently than the traditional loudspeaker that you find in most bluetooth speakers. The vibration speaker eschews the attached cone, and attaches the magnet to whatever surface the device is on to create sound via the small pedestal (iWerkz calls the “resonance plate”) on the bottom. There are some benefits and drawbacks to this method. Depending on what surface you attach it to, you can get a LOT of sound out of the thing. And since whatever you attach it to is acting as the speaker, the bigger the surface, the more bass you get. We found the best sound when the speaker was attached to an exterior window. Interior windows work less well, and we suspect that the exterior one is built rather more securely.

IMG_4083However, there is a reason this isn’t the way most portable speakers work. Once you detach the vibration speaker from whatever surface its on (using the sticky pad on the bottom), you get nothing but a faint whisper of whatever audio you’re playing. That means in order for the speaker to be useful at all, it has to be attached to a hard surface. The small wood block is included so that you can use less-than-smooth, dirty, or porous surfaces, but it’s less than ideal: the block is another step between the vibration-making facilities of the speaker, and whatever surface is supposed to be creating sound. This often leads to a very muted sound on surfaces like carpet or car seats. And of course you can’t throw this in your bag and rock out to tunes as you walk down the street or ride down the slopes.

While the speaker has a decidedly good bass response (more so than any other speaker this size could conceivably deliver), treble is essentially absent unless attached to a very small surface. This tradeoff means you have to decide whether you want bass or treble. A reasonably flat response can be found when used on a surface with some sort of chamber, like a shelf cubby or box. In fact, the instructions say the packaging box is meant for that purpose, although any indication of such anywhere other than the instruction sheet is missing. You can set the speaker –while attached to the wood block– on top of the box and get a decent sound from it.

Daisy chaining is possible using the auxiliary ports, and that can be used to get more meaningful treble while still achieving booming bass. Unfortunately this is not possible while also using bluetooth; you’ll have to use the aux-in for input when daisy chaining.

IMG_4117iWerkz pegs battery life at around ten hours (though it isn’t stated whether that’s playback time or standby), and though we haven’t run rigorous tests, with the few hours we played music through it with no drops, and the inclusion of Bluetooth 4.0 (also known as Bluetooth Low Energy), we have no reason to doubt the claim. Charging the device is done via your regular ol’ micro USB port, and should charge 0-100% in a couple hours.

Though the iWerkz Vibration Speaker is small, wireless, and battery-powered, you cannot say it’s portable. You will have to place the speaker specifically in order to achieve any modicum of sound. However, once you find the sweet spot positioning, you are in for some serious boom: this little speaker packs a punch. If you value bass above all else for wireless speakers, you might be able to find a spot for this in your home or at work…Just warn your neighbors. Combined with any method for getting decent treble, the iWerkz speaker will definitely have you grooving.

Check out the iWerkz page here.

The Blazar by Beacon Audio

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The Blazar by Beacon Audio is the largest bluetooth speaker they make and it packs quite a punch. This is a high end portable bluetooth speaker system with a less-than-high end price.

The nitty-gritty: The Blazar is an approximately three and a half inch cube that weighs in at just under four and a half inches. The body is constructed out of a single aluminum outer shell with rubberized top and bottom. Playback controls are found on top, with raised shapes in the rubber to indicate buttons: up/down for volume control, left/right for skipping and scrubbing, and the center button for play/pause. The back has two auxiliary ports (one for in, one for out), the “share” button, power slider, USB charging port, and indicator lights. The sides are dedicated to speaker grilles for the two 50mm drivers, and the bottom has a built-in pedestal underneath which houses the 60mm bass driver. The front of the device is fairly clean, showing only a logo and the microphone holes.

Bluetooth connection is very straightforward: turn the device on and press and the up button on the top until there’s a beep and the LED light flashes to indicate pairing mode. Then you just find “Blazar by Beacon” in your bluetooth devices list. It’s always convenient when devices have an easy to find bluetooth name. Bluetooth connectivity is only 2.1, which is fine, but 4.0 is ubiquitous (and cheap) enough that there’s no reason Beacon shouldn’t have included it. 4.0 saves energy and is often more reliable.

IMG_4075The Blazar includes NFC to make connecting with NFC enabled devices practically effortless: just place your phone near the speaker and wait for the connection dialog to pop up. While this popup showed very quickly for us (within 3 seconds), actually connecting to took a couple attempts. Still, this is a useful feature that saves us the trouble of navigating menus, and it’s possibly fast enough to connect while receiving a phone call to quickly enable speaker phone use.

The Blazar also includes the ability to connect a second blazar unit to use the pair as left and right channels. We didn’t have the opportunity to test this feature out as we were only sent one unit, but the idea seems pretty straightforward: put both speakers into pairing mode, press and hold the share button on the back until they connect and each will announce which direction they’re being used as. Then you just connect your phone and boom, stereo bluetooth speakers. Look ma, no wires!

With both in and out auxiliary connections, you can use traditional 3.5mm cables to connect and to daisy chain other speakers.

Playback controls are situated on top, and should be familiar to most: up and down arrows control volume, left and right buttons control both skipping forward and back, as well as scrubbing through media by holding the buttons. The center button will play or pause, and holding the button will put the device into pairing mode. There is a disturbingly loud beep when turning the volume to max, however. This really should be a lot lower, both in volume and tone.

Build quality for the Blazar is very solid. The single aluminum piece that surrounds the four sides and tough rubberized top and bottom make for a sturdy piece of kit that will no doubt take the odd bang or small fall without too much issue. The larger drivers give the device a satisfying but not encumbering heft. The playback buttons are built into the top using a single rubber surface, which will provide durability over time. The rubberized bottom give it a nonslip grip on pretty much any smooth surface

The sound you get from the Blazar is pretty exceptional considering how small this thing is. You get a great response from the full frequency range at all but the loudest volumes. As with almost any speaker this small, cracking the volume to the max will result in some rather muddy mid tones. Overall, the sound quality exceeds expectations: High frequencies don’t sound like they’re from an empty tin can, nice flat mids that keep everything audible, and bass that actually thumps. I suspect the use of three separate drivers, one of which is dedicated to bass frequencies, is what keeps the sound surprisingly clean.

IMG_4073The Blazar will more than fill small to medium size rooms, and in fact will easily get too loud for practically any bedroom or bathroom—rocking out in the shower is no problem here. In fact, this speaker should cut the mustard for many small get-togethers.

Battery time is reported at 10-12 hours of playback time, and while we haven’t put that claim completely to the test, we have run the device at 50% volume for most of the workday without any signs of stopping. Despite the longevity of battery life, we would liked to have seen some kind of battery indicator.

The Blazar by Beacon Audio includes the same functions you find in most bluetooth speakers these days. What sets it apart is the looks and the sound. You’re getting a very competent sound system from this little box, and a whole lot more sound than you might expect. Set a just over a hundred dollars, you’re getting a lot of boom for your buck.

Check out Beacon’s page for the Blazar here.

 

The Phoenix 2 by Beacon Audio

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The Beacon Audio Phoenix 2 is the followup to their hit original (at least in terms of the now massive bluetooth speaker market). The first Phoenix was a sturdy and reliable kit with a handsome but unassuming exterior. This followup product brings over the best features of its older sibling and adds some nifty new ones.

The nitty-gritty: The Phoenix weighs in at a light 3.6oz in a 3 inch tapered cube and comes in four colors; red, white, blue, and black. Playback and bluetooth control sit at the top and uses a dpad-like control scheme with the usual suspects: volume up and down are right and left respectively while doubling as the forward and back controls. Down is the play/pause button, and up is the function button. The back of the device has a 3.5mm auxiliary-in port, micro USB charging port, and an on/off slider. The sides have speaker grilles, while the front is pretty simple with just a logo and mic holes. The bottom of the device is built as a pedestal for the bass driver to aim downwards. The Phoenix 2 is priced at $59.99 retail.
Connection via bluetooth is very straightforward: turn the device on and press and the up button on the top until there’s a beep and the LED light flashes to indicate pairing mode. Then you just find “Phoenix 2 by Beacon” in your bluetooth devices list. I am appreciative when device makers properly name their bluetooth devices. I hate having to search through indecipherable gibberish device names hoping to pick the right one. With The Phoenix 2, the name on the box is the name it goes by. I was able to connect via bluetooth with zero issues. The speaker uses Bluetooth 2.1, which is unfortunate; the 4.0 spec uses significantly less battery on both ends and seems generally more reliable.

Playback controls are contained on a directional single button at the top of the device, and have a satisfying click that can be felt and heard. Volume, scrubbing, and play/pause work as expected, but I was left wanting with the function button. The button, which shows the company logo, essentially functions only to pair the device. I would have liked to see this button also open Siri or OK Google functionality and answer phone calls.

The build quality is quite nice, especially for the price point. The exterior is plastic with a soft touch rubber coating for nice grip. The indicator LEDs are built into a bezel around the control button which makes for a subtle appearance. Unlike most bluetooth speakers, the speaker grilles use a pleasant cross pattern cutout and uniform black packing for a nice change of pace. The cube-shaped box will fit in with pretty much any decor (unless you’re in a Victorian mansion). Our review unit had a minor gap between the top section and the rest of the housing, but you have to be looking at the unit from directly above.IMG_4069The combination forward/back and volume up/down sometimes get confusing: skipping forward or back is a single click, while holding adjusts the volume. If you’re used to turning your speakers or phone up by a single click, you’ll be in for a bit of a surprise when you try that here.

The sound out of the device is better than expected, but with the compact size of the device, don’t expect to see a hair trick. Sound is delivered via three drivers, two 40mm drivers out the sides and a 50mm bass driver that is just above the built-in platform at the bottom for optimal acoustics. You can turn the speakers up to fill a medium-sized room, but maxing out these small drivers will inevitably bring with it some distortion and the lows and mids tend to get muddy.

At middle volumes, this speaker performs well across the frequency range with audible mids, highs that don’t get tinny, and lows that are surprisingly full from such a small package. As you can expect, The Phoenix 2 sounds great when faced with vocal and acoustic performances, but struggles slightly with low headroom pieces that span the frequency range.

Battery time is reported at 8-10 hours of playback time, and while we haven’t put that claim completely to the test, we have run the device at 50% volume for most of the workday without any signs of stopping. Despite the longevity of battery life, we would liked to have seen some kind of battery indicator.

The Phoenix 2 is a respectable piece of kit with clear intentions: a wireless speaker that will move around with you, mostly at work or at home, but isn’t really intended for being constantly on the move. The speaker sounds great and is easy to use, and is priced competitively for the specs it offers.

Check out The Phoenix 2 on Beacon Audio’s website.

RAVPower Dual USB Travel Charger

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RAVPower brings to the market some of the most innovative and useful accessories for your everyday life and all the gadgets in it. RAVPower has recently released a new product to help power your mobile lifestyle. The RAVPower Dual USB Travel Charger features two iSmart power USB ports in a pocket-size package that can go with you anywhere. The built in wall plug helps to make this charger super portable, and the iSmart USB plugs will automatically detect the maximum charging rate of your devices to charge as fast as possible without damaging any of your device’s sensitive electronics.

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At only three ounces and two inches square, you can throw the RAVPower Dual USB Travel charger in your backpack or purse along with a cable so that you can juice up your smartphone or tablet wherever you are. And at 24 watts, you can be confident your devices are charging at full speed, even power-hungry devices like the iPad or other tablets and large USB powered devices.