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Andre Lawrence (Miami, Florida)
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OtterBox [Commuter Series] Apple iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S Case-Retail Packaging Protective Case for iPhone-Black (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
OtterBox [Commuter Series] Apple iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S Case-Retail Packaging Protective Case for iPhone-Black (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Offered by Geeksmart
Price: CDN$ 34.99
6 used & new from CDN$ 12.22

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars (Grade: B) Otterbox Commuter for iPhone 5: A Good Basic Cover., Jan. 26 2014
We’ve had Otterbox “Defender” for some of our older phones and so we’re familiar with how well built they are.

I personally called up the Otterbox office about 2 years about an inquired about a case that was big enough to accommodate an extended battery for an EVO 3D. I was told that they only produce those for a few models.

Otterbox should make a case for phablets that it’s customers will most certainly put extended batteries in, like the Note 3 and/or the One Max.

Since we can install a stronger battery on our iPhone 5S, this is sufficient.

The iPhone 5 Commuter case is, in my opinion, better than the Commuter version for the S4.

The case is two-piece, soft-slip cover and the hard case combo along with a screen protector.

I wish that this Otterbox “basic” protection would come with either a kickstand and/or belt clip.

The Commuter case at $20 is competitively priced.

“B”

uNu Enerpak Vault 11000mAh Dual Port 2.1A External Battery Pack for iPhone 5 4S 4, iPad mini, the new iPad, iPod Touch and Most Android Phones
uNu Enerpak Vault 11000mAh Dual Port 2.1A External Battery Pack for iPhone 5 4S 4, iPad mini, the new iPad, iPod Touch and Most Android Phones

4.0 out of 5 stars (B+) Unu 11000 mAh External Battery: A Critical Review, Jan. 22 2014
Longueur :: 2:22 Min

Unu’s 11000 mAh battery is one of the best all-around high-capacity batteries that’s cost-friendly.

I have several high, high capacity batteries (10G +) and this is consistent with majority of the brands, not near the top but sort of in the middle.

***
Like all Lithium ion batteries, this 11000 battery has to be conditioned for at least 10 days before it can hold a full charge long enough to charge multiple devices if necessary.

It was better than 7 hours after I first plugged it into the wall to get it from half charged to full charge…. 7 hours. (It may have been longer but I had a meeting I had to get up for the next morning.)

After draining my cellphone to 4% of battery strength—this battery, a 3500 mAh battery took an astounding 5 hours to fully charge. Subsequent re-charges was about the same amount of time, and, using the higher 2A/ tablet output.

Despite the battery taking a relatively long time to recharge a device, it also has to be said that it mains its own battery strength for several days.

I have an 8000 mAh from 2 years ago that I found after not using it since 2012, it still had about 80% charge in it when I turned it on. That’s a comforting thing to know when you use a lot of battery-intensive devices that high-capacity batteries are that reliable.

***
Pro’s and Con’s
+ Battery maintains its high-level charge (as opposed to lower-capacity lithium ion whose charge evaporates within hours after recharging a device)
+ Relatively small for a battery its size.
+ Economical. At this writing its $45 (about $15 cheaper than other 11000 mAh batteries.)
+ 2 output ports; one for tablets/ phablets, one for smartphones
+ relatively lightweight.

- Battery’s output is noticeably weaker than many of its competitors
- Battery also takes quite a while to get fully charged.

Considering all of the positives and negatives, Unu’s 11000 is definitely a

B+

ARCTIC Power Bank 4000 Ultra-Slim 2.0A Output 4000mAh Backup Battery/Charger for Tablet and Phone, Silver
ARCTIC Power Bank 4000 Ultra-Slim 2.0A Output 4000mAh Backup Battery/Charger for Tablet and Phone, Silver
Price: CDN$ 29.98
5 used & new from CDN$ 24.99

4.0 out of 5 stars (Grade: B+) Arctic 4000mAh: A Critical Review., Jan. 22 2014
Longueur :: 1:24 Min

Artic’s 4000 mAh is a bit of an improvement over their mico-sized 2200 mAH.

Aside from it being a higher capacity battery that can recharge smartphone, phablets and many tablets, this battery is extremely thin and lightweight.

The battery has a couple of minor drawbacks that should be mentioned.

1- Although the battery has two (2) ports to charge the devices I mentioned with a 2A (2mAh output) for tablets and a basic 1A (for smartphones), I found that even after conditioning the battery for several days that the battery was still very slow to recharge a cellphone and I found myself double checking to see if it was still charging.

2- 4000 mAh is essentially good for just one recharge.

So, given the choice between this and the 2200 which are just emergency charge batteries, it makes more sense to pick the 4000 which is only slightly bigger but one that you can recharge a tablet on the go and if you don’t have any access to an ac connection.

ARCTIC Power Bank 4000 Ultra-Slim 2.0A Output 4000mAh Backup Battery/Charger for Tablet and Phone, Black
ARCTIC Power Bank 4000 Ultra-Slim 2.0A Output 4000mAh Backup Battery/Charger for Tablet and Phone, Black
Price: CDN$ 29.98
5 used & new from CDN$ 24.99

4.0 out of 5 stars (Grade: B+) Arctic 4000mAh: A Critical Review., Jan. 22 2014
Longueur :: 1:24 Min

Artic’s 4000 mAh is a bit of an improvement over their mico-sized 2200 mAH.

Aside from it being a higher capacity battery that can recharge smartphone, phablets and many tablets, this battery is extremely thin and lightweight.

The battery has a couple of minor drawbacks that should be mentioned.

1- Although the battery has two (2) ports to charge the devices I mentioned with a 2A (2mAh output) for tablets and a basic 1A (for smartphones), I found that even after conditioning the battery for several days that the battery was still very slow to recharge a cellphone and I found myself double checking to see if it was still charging.

2- 4000 mAh is essentially good for just one recharge.

So, given the choice between this and the 2200 which are just emergency charge batteries, it makes more sense to pick the 4000 which is only slightly bigger but one that you can recharge a tablet on the go and if you don’t have any access to an ac connection.

Arctic Cooling ARCTIC Sound S111 Compact dice-shape speakers USB-Power
Arctic Cooling ARCTIC Sound S111 Compact dice-shape speakers USB-Power

3.0 out of 5 stars Arctic S111 Portable Speakers: A Critical Review., Jan. 13 2014
Longueur :: 4:47 Min

I like Arctic products a lot. All of the Arctic products, I seen so far, is substance over style. There’s nothing flashy about Arctic products, they’re selecting and putting their name on better-than-average components and selling it very reasonably. And, the “S111” portable speakers are no different in that regard, except it’s missing a couple of standard features that hard to ignore.

The S111 is a cute wireless, portable speakers that can be used to augment or replace the cellphone’s speaker (except, maybe the HTC One), a tablet’s speaker and most certainly the default speakers on a laptop.

The set comes with:

+ A pair of 4w (2x2w) speakers
+ Quickstart guide

The speakers come with a headset jack and a USB output head—one for connecting to a device and the other for charging the speaker.

This is first issue I have with the speaker….

The speaker needs to be charge and I immediately plugged it into a usb-ac adapter then plugged it into the ac. There’s no power/ battery indicator to let you know how much battery power there is or how much is left to charge.

Beside there not being any adapter(s) included I was also surprised that the speakers cones are laid bare. There’s nothing shielding the cones which are no more than '” open from the surface of the outer cover. It would be very easy to mistakenly brush you hand or any object by it and damage the speaker.

*** Sound ***
The sound is good. Good not great. I like the fact that the speaker set is loud, as you can see in the video, with various kinds of music played through them, the speakers reproduce the sounds very loudly. But, no one should expect high fidelity.

They measure: 2.5” x 3” x 3” and has a dynamic range of 50Hz to25Hz.
*** Pro’s and Con’s ***

+ Very small footprint
+ Reasonably price, a great entry-level budget speaker
+ Sounds louder than the stated 4w

- No indicator light
- Poorly designed, must be careful where you place these speakers
- Should have included more charging-related accessories.

All in all, a good pair of speakers that in most cases is better than the speakers on your laptop, tablet or cellphone, but the design and lack of certain, necessary features is definitely missed.

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Dollar For Dollar, One of The Best Gaming Headset Available. Arctic “P531”: A Critical Review., Jan. 12 2014
Longueur :: 2:56 Min

There are more than two dozen gaming headsets you can buy here, but Arctic’s “P531” is in the same category as one of my favorites, the Logitech “G430.”

Like the G430, the P531 is a mid-range headset, except it’s about $35 cheaper than the Logitech.

The set fits very snugly. This for me is a positive, but I was told by a professional gamer that if you’re using the headset specifically for long-term gaming sessions, you DON’T want to have the headsets to fit snugly because they become uncomfortable after awhile. The loose fitting G430’s are preferable because they don’t put pressure on the ears, despite leaking sound.

That being said, the P531 have a very distinguishing style that can’t be ignored, such as:

* Sturdy, well-built (definitely not cheaply made)
* A thin, flexible mike (that’s unobtrusive)
* A dedicated, “wing” handle on the ears to help adjust the fit
* A large control bar with separate volumes for the channels including the mic.
* USB interface.
* Windows AND Mac compatible.

After having them several weeks, I love the way they fit. But, I also see what the criticism is from experienced gamers. And, that advice should be taken into consideration.

The mic is very, very good. I’ve been doing voice-over with the headset in place of my computer’s (very competent) internal mic and I find with the P531’s that I don’t get an ambient sound since the headset’s mic is barely an inch from me.

When watching Netflix, you definitely hear the surround sound and that also goes for games.

Compared to the G430’s, the P531’s have
+ 5.1 sound sound
+ Mac compatible
+ feels sturdier
+ $35 cheaper

- Lacks the Dolby Digital circuitry built into the earpieces
- 7.1 surround sound.
- less comfortable the longer you play video games or if you watch more than 1 movie.

So, the P531’s stack up very well against the well-received G430’s despite not having a 7.1 surround sound and Dolby Digital. But, all of this could be offset by the fact that the P531 is little more than half the price of the G430’s… and it’s a steal.

For the average headset wearer—5 stars
For serious gamers, 4 stars.

Arctic Cooling ARCTIC Sound P531 Professional 5.1 USB Headset
Arctic Cooling ARCTIC Sound P531 Professional 5.1 USB Headset

5.0 out of 5 stars Dollar For Dollar, One of The Best Gaming Headset Available. Arctic “P531”: A Critical Review., Jan. 12 2014
Longueur :: 2:56 Min

There are more than two dozen gaming headsets you can buy here, but Arctic’s “P531” is in the same category as one of my favorites, the Logitech “G430.”

Like the G430, the P531 is a mid-range headset, except it’s about $35 cheaper than the Logitech.

The set fits very snugly. This for me is a positive, but I was told by a professional gamer that if you’re using the headset specifically for long-term gaming sessions, you DON’T want to have the headsets to fit snugly because they become uncomfortable after awhile. The loose fitting G430’s are preferable because they don’t put pressure on the ears, despite leaking sound.

That being said, the P531 have a very distinguishing style that can’t be ignored, such as:

* Sturdy, well-built (definitely not cheaply made)
* A thin, flexible mike (that’s unobtrusive)
* A dedicated, “wing” handle on the ears to help adjust the fit
* A large control bar with separate volumes for the channels including the mic.
* USB interface.
* Windows AND Mac compatible.

After having them several weeks, I love the way they fit. But, I also see what the criticism is from experienced gamers. And, that advice should be taken into consideration.

The mic is very, very good. I’ve been doing voice-over with the headset in place of my computer’s (very competent) internal mic and I find with the P531’s that I don’t get an ambient sound since the headset’s mic is barely an inch from me.

When watching Netflix, you definitely hear the surround sound and that also goes for games.

Compared to the G430’s, the P531’s have
+ 5.1 sound sound
+ Mac compatible
+ feels sturdier
+ $35 cheaper

- Lacks the Dolby Digital circuitry built into the earpieces
- 7.1 surround sound.
- less comfortable the longer you play video games or if you watch more than 1 movie.

So, the P531’s stack up very well against the well-received G430’s despite not having a 7.1 surround sound and Dolby Digital. But, all of this could be offset by the fact that the P531 is little more than half the price of the G430’s… and it’s a steal.

For the average headset wearer—5 stars
For serious gamers, 4 stars.

Avantree Juno 6800mA 2.1A Output Portable External Battery Pack Charger Power Bank with Detachable Micro USB Cable for Android Mobiles Phones, Tablets, or Kindle Series; USB Port Could Charging Other 5V Electronics with Original Cables, White/green
Avantree Juno 6800mA 2.1A Output Portable External Battery Pack Charger Power Bank with Detachable Micro USB Cable for Android Mobiles Phones, Tablets, or Kindle Series; USB Port Could Charging Other 5V Electronics with Original Cables, White/green
Price: CDN$ 34.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 34.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Avantree 6800 mAh “Lithium Polymer” External Battery: A Critical Review., Jan. 12 2014
Longueur :: 1:42 Min

*** Lithium Polymer (ion) vs. Lithium iOn ***

One of the nice things about the Avantree 6800 battery that sets it apart from other high capacity batteries right off the bat is that the battery itself charges very fast. This may have to do with the fact that this battery’s main component is a Lithium Polymer ion bank.

The more commonly used/ more popular/ more experienced-tested is the standard, Lithium ion bank. Lithium Polymer batteries have the same components as a traditional ion batteries but the manner in which the cells are situated allows for it to hold a charge longer. There’s also the technical issue of how to house a lithium polymer because of past issues with overheating due to overcharging. The issue may be resolved by housing the battery cells in plastic instead of metal.

*** Testing ***

Usually, manufacturers send the batteries half charged and it takes about 4 hours to get an 8000-10000 mAh battery fully charged from that point. This battery only needed 75 minutes to be fully charged after being plugged in.

The battery is also uniquely designed. I’ve never seen an external battery that has a charge plug housed right on the battery. So, there’s literally no way to forget the micro-usb plug.

As you can see in the video clip, my old Android phone with an extended battery of 3500 mAh down to 1%, it took only 90 minutes to go from 1% to 100%

The set comes with:
* 6800 mAh with an attached usb plug.
* paperwork

Arctic Cooling ARCTIC Z-2 Black Dual Monitor Arm w/USB Hub Integrated
Arctic Cooling ARCTIC Z-2 Black Dual Monitor Arm w/USB Hub Integrated

5.0 out of 5 stars A High Quality Monitor Arm. Arctic Dual Monitor Arm, #Z2: A Critical Review., Jan. 11 2014
Longueur :: 2:39 Min

I have several monitor arms and all except for one was meant to be screwed to a wall.

The “Z2,” a heavy-duty, cast iron computer accessory is supposed to be attached to strong (heavy) table. Also, the clamp has to have a 3” base to attach itself to.

The set includes:
* Mounting pole
* Monitor Arm
* Pole clam and covers
* Hex key
* Assortment of screws
* USB hub-base
* Installation guide

As you’ll see in the video, installation was less than 5 minutes.

One thing that has to be strongly emphasized: the Z2 is very, very heavy to hold. The table that holds this arm must be very stable because the arm weighs about 20 lbs, then you have the potential to have to monitors that can weigh up to 22 lbs total.

Some of the other benefits are eyelets that can direct the monitor plugs away from the front and a convenient usb base.

The Z2 also gives you the choice of either a VESA 100 or a VESA 75 mounting dimension depending on the flat monitor’s spec’s.

I have no doubt about the quality of this arm but the issue has to do with where this arm is placed because of the weight of the monitor(s) and the arm itself.

Great quality. 5 stars.

Cable Matters Micro USB to HDMI MHL Adapter in Black w/ 3ft Charger Cable
Cable Matters Micro USB to HDMI MHL Adapter in Black w/ 3ft Charger Cable
Offered by Cable Matters
Price: CDN$ 11.99
2 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cable Matters’ HDMI Adapter (MHL) for Samsung Galaxy S3/4 and Note 2/3. A Critical Review., Jan. 10 2014
Longueur :: 2:44 Min

I recently upgraded my business phone when I switched carriers and went back to T-Mobile.

The phone I recently purchased was the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. For my use, it serves many, many purposes but primarily as an interface to use with larger monitors.

Because part of my company offers marketing and advertising services, we often use entrepreneurial video clips to demonstrate how certain ideas play out, how technology can help grow your business, how things could go wrong, study how certain projects leads to peripheral or ancillary markets and so on.

The HDMI Adapter for the Samsung line of phones (MHL)—because not all adapters will work with all smartphones, even those of the Android persuasion. This cable allows us to see and hear what on our phone screen by duplicating the image on to a HDMI-enabled monitor. To get the sound, I had to connect the Bluetooth speaker.

Apart from business, you can also stream movies, watch YouTube, play games and with the real estate of a monitor connected to your phone.

This is a handy, handy device that you’ll find indispensable.

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