With the holidays rolling around and Cyber Monday (Black Friday’s younger sibling) nearly upon us, you shoppers out there have a tough job to do. Not only do you have to find great deals, but you also have to sift through thousands of gadgets to find the right ones for your friends and family. So, I thought I would help you out with this little gadget guide. I have spent time with each of these gadgets and can honestly recommend each one of them.
Product:Â iW1 Speaker with AirPlay
This speaker is really one of the best gadgets I have reviewed all year. I love listening to music, but sometimes headphones arenâ€™t enough for me. Sometimes it is nice to be able to just plug in and blast some music. It is just a matter of finding out something that will pump out full, bold sound without costing a fortune. I can honestly saying that the iHome iW1 is the perfect speaker. Not only can it produce room-filling sound, but it is visually strikingâ€”Iâ€™ll get back to this in a sec. Sound is the most important thing when looking for a speaker. If it doesnâ€™t sound good, what is the point? I am pleased to report that the iW1 sounds excellent. The sound is clear and crisp and the bass is superb. You can even control how much bass there is or turn it off completely. This speaker is also one of the best looking speakers I have seen. It is completely black, save a metal band around the bottom, and the top has lit-up capacitive touch buttons. The whole thing is just one sleek package.
The iW1 works with your iPod or iPhone using the 30 pin dock port, standard 3.5mm cable, or AirPlay. For the most part I use AirPlay, but when my Wi-Fi is shaky, I like being able to connect directly. I donâ€™t know if I would go as far as to say that this is a portable speaker, but it does have an internal battery and a handle so I suppose you can carry it from room to room. The iW1 also comes with a remote so you can control it even if your iPod/iPhone is docked. Overall, I am very pleased with iW1. It looks great, sounds even better, and is well worth the price.
The Wakemate is a product that you have to see in action to believe. At first I was a little unsure about how well it would actually work, but I was pretty surprised. The Wakemate is a wristband that you wear when you go to sleep. It monitors your sleep by seeing how much you move. The bracelet pairs with an iPhone app; this app then keeps track of your sleep cycles so you can see how much sleep you are actually getting. The app creates charts and graphs to show you exactly how deeply you slept and for how long. The Wakemate does not stop there though. You can also set an alarm window and it will wake you up at the optimal time in your sleep cycle within your given time-frame. Because it wakes you up when you are in your â€œlightestâ€ sleep, you wake up feeling more refreshed; it is almost as if you woke up on your own.
The band is comfortable and after a night or two, you get used to it being on your arm. The good thing about the band is that it is machine washable. Simply take out the electronics and then wash the fabric part.
I really do not mean to sound like a television advertisement, but if you are tired of waking upâ€¦well tired, I really think you should give this a try. It is comfortable, easy to use, and effective.
Product: InCharge Home BT iPhone charger
I love this product for a number of reasons. For one it is a great charger. It is 10W which means it is twice as fast the block adapter that comes with the iPhone. To charge my iPod touch from zero (the point where it turns itself off) to 100% took a little under 3 hours. I was surprised and impressed with this because according to Appleâ€™s website it takes 4 hours to charge completely.
The second reason that this product is so amazing is because it turns any speaker into a Bluetooth speaker. Simply plug it in to the 3.5mm headset jack and pair your iPod; you can now stream music to your non-bluetooth products. I thought this was awesome because my sound system is pretty old so it does not have any way to connect an iPod. However it does have an auxiliary port in the back. With the XtremeMac charger, I can just plug in, play my music, and still have the freedom to walk around.
This charger is unique and extremely convenient. In fact, I wish this was the standard one that shipped with all Apple products. It is only a little bit bigger but oh so much better.
Product: iMainGo X Portable Speakers
Portable Speakers are things that I am constantly looking for. I love sharing my music with friends at school and other events but my iPodâ€™s speakers just donâ€™t cut it. For me, a portable speaker has to sound great but still fit in my backpack or it is not effective. It needs to HAVE great volume without TAKING UP a lot of volume. I recently came across the iMainGo X speaker case, and it could very well be exactly what I was looking for. It is a speaker that also doubles as a case. It zips around your iPod or iPhone to protect it when you are out and about. And, because the front has a clear plastic, you can use your iDevice through the case.
This thing sounds great for its size. It is clear and has a decent bass. It gets 12 hours of battery so you can go a couple days of off-and-on playback without recharging it. The iMainGo X also has two headphone jacks which means it can also double as a headphone splitter. This speaker is the ultimate travel accessory whether you want to share some music with a group or just a friend.
Product: Helo TC RC Helicopter
Getting this made me feel like a little kid again; it was THAT exciting. The Helo TC is a remote controlled helicopter that you control with your iPhone or iPod touch. Like most RC helicopters it has a bit of a learning curve, and because I was flying indoors, I may have hit the walls once or twice. Eventually I got a hang of it and I was surprised to find how much control I had over it.
The Helo TC comes basically comes in three parts. You get the helicopter, the remote that hooks on your iDevice, and the app. The helicopter is controlled by infrared so in order for it to work with your iPod you get a remote attachment. It plugs in to the headphone jack and then clips on to the side. Once everything is all hooked up, you are ready to fly. The app UI looks good and is really simple to use. You get a joystick on one side and a power slider on the left to control the rotor speed. It is only a matter of getting a hang of how much thrust is right and how much to turn the joystick. The controls also include an abort button which will cut all power to the helicopter in case the propellers get stuck.
The Helicopter itself is great quality. It has a sturdy-feeling metal frame and a hard plastic shell. The blades are also some sort of harder plastic. I was really impressed with the build of it. I know that it can survive mild tumblesâ€”I accidentally stalled it from about 8ft and there was no sign of any damage from the drop. The Helo TC also has a few different lights including a spotlight on the front. This makes it possible to fly it outside at night. The only problem is that the device is on the light side; a small amount of wind can carry it off into a tree or neighborâ€™s yard.
I definitely would recommend this if you have kids or are still a kid at heart. It provides hours of entertainment. The only negative I could find is the battery life. It takes a lot of power to spin the blades and with the lights on too, the power supply gets drained pretty quickly. Luckily, the charge time is approximately 35 minutes, so you will be back out flying in no time.
If you have any questions about these products, feel free to leave a comment below. Also, if there is a certain product you would like me to review, email me at Bryce@todaysiphone.com and I will try to get ahold of one before the holidays. Lastly, be sure to follow me @TiP_BryceÂ for more news, reviews, and iOS awesomeness.