Category: Reviews

Review – iClever BoostCube – Designed for Performance & Travel

When it comes to travel, there is always the need for USB wall chargers.  The question is how many you want to carry and if they are really designed for travel.  For me, when I’m on the road, I have a separate charger for my Nexus 6P, my Nexus 9 and my Fitbit Blaze.  That’s a lot of cables and a lot of chargers.  Then the team over at iClever sent me their recently redesigned dual-port USB wall charger.  I now carry one less wall charger.

The iClever BoostCube series is actually made up of several different models but the one they sent me to review, the IC-WB21W, is perfect in so many ways.  It is truly designed for travel with folding AC prongs and a compact design.  Recently the team at iClever sent me this newly redesigned charger to review and I’m quite pleased with what they have done with this simple yet important accessory.

Review – Choetech Current Voltage Monitor USB-C Cable

Like many readers, I travel a lot and often times I’m trying to charge my Nexus 6P at the airport.  More airports today have seats with USB ports on them so even if you can’t find an electrical outlet, you can still get charged up before or between flights.  The trick, however, is how much you use your phone while it is charging.  We all know that using your phone while it is charging increases the charging time.  But by how much?  Wouldn’t it be great to see how much your phone is consuming energy as you charge it?  Enter the Choetech Current Voltage Monitor cable.

The Current Voltage Monitor cable allows you to see how much voltage is running to your phone as it charges and equally, how many amps are being consumed by your phone to charge it.  Not only will you see how your usage is impacting the charging time, you will see if that USB port in that chair at the airport is only putting out 2-3v instead of 5v which also slows down charging time.  Recently the team at Choetech sent me one of these cables to review and its quite handy having this knowledge in the palm of your hand.  Here’s my review of this handy little accessory.

Review – Microsoft Arrow Launcher – The Best Launcher for Microsoft Users

Earlier this week I posted a review of the Nova Launcher for Android.  In that review, I pointed out that if you are looking for a launcher that has a whole load of knobs to turn, it is the best option for you.  But for those of you who aren’t interested in turning all the knobs or, more particularly, are deep in the Microsoft ecosystem, there is a solid option for you too.  The Microsoft Arrow Launcher.

Arrow Launcher doesn’t have the configurability of Nova Launcher nor does it pretend to have them.  Instead, Microsoft has taken this launcher and focused it on productivity.  Contacts, apps and documents are easily accessible from the launcher, getting you editing that Word file quicker and with few taps than opening the app itself.  But it also does all this with speed and battery friendliness that makes it a great option even for those who don’t necessarily use the Office apps.

I’ve been running Microsoft Arrow Launcher on my Nextbit Robin for the past few weeks and I have no problem giving it a thumbs up.  It works great, has enough configurability for those want to tweak a little bit and gets you deep into the Office apps without having to fuss with it.  Here’s my review and thoughts on Arrow Launcher.

Review – Nova Launcher – The Ultimate Android Launcher?

Over the course of the past few months, there have been two important changes on the Android launcher front.  The first was the announcement of the Google Pixel and its still exclusive launcher back in October.  Then came news last month that the Google Now Launcher is being removed from the Play Store this month.  This latter bit of news has caused a lot of questions in the Android community with users looking for alternative launchers.  That’s were Nova Launcher comes into the picture.

While there are literally dozens of launchers in the Play Store, Nova Launcher remains one of the most loved and used.  But is it the best?  That’s going to depend on what you want and expect out of a launcher.  If you like seemingly endless configuration and customization, you would be hard pressed to find anything better than Nova.  There are a huge number of configuration changes you can make in the launcher, from how your App Drawer is accessed, presented and even your icons for apps.  It is truly impressive and even if you just want to run things “out of the box” with Nova, you likely won’t be disappointed.

Review – Noreve Griffe Laptop Case – Elegance, Style and Protection for Your Laptop

When it comes to laptop sleeves and cases, there are plenty to chose from that give you protection.  But many of them lack in overall quality and style.  Afterall, if you are going to be carrying such a case into a meeting, you want it to look the part, not just be utilitarian.  That’s where Noreve Griffe 2 laptop case becomes the case of choice.

Noreve is based in Saint-Tropez, France and makes hand crafted cases for a wide range of devices as well as travel and office accessories.  All of their products are created out of exceptionally high quality leathers, assembled and stitched by hand and are some of the most luxurious cases you can find.  I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing several of the couture cases over the years, most recently the Ambition Folio cases for the Nexus 6P and Nexus 9 (which are available for other devices).  This, however, is the first time that Noreve has sent me a laptop case to review and it is just as impressive and stylish as their mobile device cases.  No matter what you carry for a laptop – Windows PC, MacBook Pro or Chromebook – the Griffe 2 case will provide great protection and look good doing it.

Review – Acer Chromebook 14 CB3 – An All Around Fantastic Chromebook

If there is one mid-range Chromebook that exemplifies how far the platform has come, it could well be the Acer Chromebook 14.  This comfortably priced $286 Chromebook has all of the features you expect from a device running Chrome OS but it has something that so many others lack:  Style and panache.  The all aluminum chassis is beautiful, the Full HD display is easy on the eyes and it has the performance to keep up with your day-to-day tasks.  But the added bonus of this particular Chromebook is that it has the ability to run Android apps and it can do it on the main production line of Chrome OS (the Stable channel).  That makes it one of the best all around Chromebooks out there.

I recently picked up the Acer Chromebook 14 and after using it for several weeks, it is hands down the best Chromebook I’ve used to date.  My reliable and fantastic HP Chromebook 11 G4 has been replaced and without giving away the entire review, I have no hesitation in recommending this offering from Acer.  It is just phenomenal to use day in and day out.  Here is my review.

Review – Snocru – The Ultimate Tracking App for Skiers & Snowboarders

I am apologetically addicted to skiing.  I love tech and my career but at 9 times out of 10, if you ask me what I’m thinking about, I’m going to tell you skiing.  2017 has been a great season for me so far and like many skiers and riders, I want to keep track of where I’ve been, how fast I’ve gone and how many vertical feet I’ve skied in a day.  One of the best and most complete apps for this is Snocru.  The app allows you to track all of these statistics for the day and does it in a battery friendly way.  Snocru also lets you link up with friends who are skiing with you so you can compare stats and share that information with each other or on social networks like Facebook.

I’ve been using the app for the past few weeks to track my skiing and it has quickly become a must-have app for me.  If you are a skier or snowboarder, you will probably find it a must-have app too.

Review – Withings Blood Pressure Monitor – An Excellent Tool to Monitor Heart Health

Like many aspects of healthy living, understanding your blood pressure and the impact it has on your body is critical.  This is especially true for those with a genetic predisposition to heart disease and high blood pressure.  High blood pressure can have long term damaging impacts on your body that can include heart attack and stroke.  Monitoring your blood pressure and your pulse can be done at home with the Withing Blood Pressure Monitor.

The Withing Blood Pressure Monitor allows you to take your blood pressure at home, leveraging the Withings app on your Android or iOS phone to keep track of it on a daily or weekly basis.  While it is not as accurate as a medical office checking your blood pressure, it does serve as a solid tool to help you understand what you eat, drink, weight and exercise do to your blood pressure.  I’ve been using the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor for many months as part of keep track of my blood pressure as heart disease runs in my family.  It has become an valuable tool, giving me information that I can readily share with my doctor to discuss and make dietary or lifestyle changes.  Here is my review of this great medical tool.

Review – Sleep as Android – Wellness Begins With Good Sleep

Sleep is a critical part of any healthy lifestyle.  Getting the proper amount of restful sleep not only helps with your psychological wellness but also has other health benefits when it comes to general well being and fitness.  Sadly, most Americas struggle to get the proper amount of sleep each night or have poor quality of sleep.  Sleep as Android is an app that allows you to measure your sleep, the quality of that sleep, and integrate that data with apps like Google Fit.  By having the app running on your phone next to you as you sleep, it will track your sleep cycles, see trends and even record noises as you sleep to see if you are snoring or, worse, suffering from Sleep Apnea.

Sleep as Android, however, is so much more.  It can serve as your alarm clock, can play soothing sounds to help you relax and get to sleep and gently wake you up in the morning.  It is an all-in-one app for your sleeping.  I’ve been using the app since the beginning of 2017 as I am focusing on making sure I get the right amount of sleep each day.  It has been an eye opening app for me and has become a daily part of my life as I try to live a healthy – and rested – lifestyle.  Here’s my review.

Review – Noreve Ambition Folio Case – Luxurious Protection for Your Nexus 9

When it comes to luxury cases for your phone or tablet, few fit the bill like Noreve.  The French couture designer from Saint Tropez makes some of the most beautiful phone and tablet cases available today.  Each case is handcrafted and fits the devices they are designed for perfectly.  I’ve had the opportunity to review many of their cases over the years for a wide range of devices and when they contacted me to review the Ambition folio case for my Nexus 9 tablet, I couldn’t pass up the chance.  If you want a case that not only provides protection for your tablet but looks stunning as you use it, this case is for you.  Here is my review.

Review – Noreve Ambition Folio Case – Elegance & Protection for Your Nexus 6P

When it comes to cases for your Nexus 6P, the options are pretty endless.  But when it comes to an elegant look with excellent protection for your phone, look no further than Noreve.  The French couture designer has been making handmade, premium cases and accessories for devices for years and their line up for the Nexus 6P doesn’t disappoint.  I’ve had the privilege of reviewing several of their cases over the years for a variety of devices and jumped at the change to review the Ambition grain leather folio case for my phone.  As you would expect for a luxury case, this one is fantastically constructed with great attention to detail and a solid fit around my phone.  Here is my review of this great case.

Review of F1 2016 – A Worthy But Not Perfect F1 Game

As a Formula One fan, the desire to play a reasonably realistic game based on real drivers, teams and circuits has been there for a long time.  The challenge has been the lack of such a game.  Sure the console games are fantastic from Codemasters but on mobile devices – both Android and iOS – there were F1-style games but nothing that would truly satisfy a fan of the sport.  That changed when Codemasters, the developer behind the console F1 games, released their mobile centric game, F1 2016.  While it doesn’t have the level of controls or customizations that the console level game has, F1 2016 is a remarkably well developed game with outstanding graphics, real teams, real drivers and, of course, real circuits.

I have been playing F1 2016 since the day it was released and I will admit, despite the hype, that I was skeptical that it would be a good game playing experience.  Happily, I’m wrong.  It is a great playing experience.  It’s not perfect but it is fun and challenging and that should keep F1 fans who want to turn a few laps at Monaco, Spa or Silverstone, happy and satisfied.