Category Archives: Reviews

Ask Juan: How the hell do you remove an OtterBox Defender Rugged Case?

otterbox defender case ask juan help how to remove take off somegadgetguyA couple months ago I did a three part series on my favorite line of rugged cases, the Defender from OtterBox (linked below this video). Even though I showed in detail pretty every feature of the case, and how to install one, I missed one crucial aspect in all three reviews.

How do you take the darn thing off? Good thing my Youtube viewers call me out on stuff…

Shop for OtterBox on Amazon: http://goo.gl/28FFnZ
iPad Defender Case Review
Nexus 7 Defender Case Review
Lumia 920 Defender Case Review

Review: Toast Wood Cover for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

toast in portland wood phone case cover galaxy note 2 somegadgetguyI like finding quirky, new, and unique accessories for personalizing our technology. Toast in Portland is one of my favorite finds this year. Using wood and leather surfaces which are laser cut and engraved to precisely fit our phones and our personalities.

Let’s take a look at how I turned my Galaxy Note 2 into a wooden phone!

For more info check out: http://ToastMade.com
My interview with Toast CEO Matias Brecher: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7x1YOTRaFg0

(Video) Looking back at the Jawbone Jambox – Review and Audio Quality Test

jawbone jambox bluetooth wireless speaker audio quality test somegadgetguyMoving forward, I’ll be testing more accessories like I do smartphones.

You can find a collection of videos where I test the speakers on phones for example, using the same audio and video clips, so you can see and hear the differences between different phones. Bluetooth speakers are becoming very popular, and now I’ll be building that same audio test into my reviews. Starting with a speaker which really helped to popularize wireless audio, the OG Jawbone Jambox.

Coming soon, reviews on the HMDX Jam and Nokia Play360
Shop for the Jambox on Amazon.

Review: Focal Camera App (Beta) for Android

focal beta camera app screenshot android cyanogenmod somegadgetguy (4)I wont get into all the drama surrounding this app. For those curious, there’s a third party ROM team called CyanogeMod which just went corporate and is looking to improve how people might load the CyanogenMod custom ROM onto various smartphones. For a brief time, the Focal camera app BETA was baked into CyanogenMod, but was removed for stability reasons and issues with licensing. Focal Developer Guillaume Lesniak shared his perspective on his G+ page.

Anywho, now Focal is its own standalone app on Google Play, and while we’re definitely talking BETA here, it’s got serious potential to offer a unified high quality camera experience to all users regardless of what phone they might be using.

focal beta camera app screenshot android cyanogenmod somegadgetguy (1)Focal borrows some of the aesthetic of the stock Android Nexus app. Your shutter control floats on top of the viewfinder, and menus are hidden by swiping gestures. A slide up from the left side of the screen (in portrait) brings up a scrolling menu where you can find a huge number of photographic controls. Sliding across the shutter button allows you to change between photos, videos, panorama, photoshere, and switching between the front and rear cameras.

focal beta camera app screenshot android cyanogenmod somegadgetguy (3)The number of options at your command is pretty formidable. The basics are up front, toggling the flash, adjusting white balance, “Scene Mode” options (auto by default), and activating HDR options. Exposure controls and metering options help dial in brighter or darker pics, and in camera filters allow you to see what your shots will look like in black and white, sepia, and negative color space. Lastly color saturation and JPEG quality settings can help your shots retain more detail or achieve smaller file sizes.

What’s ingenious is how well laid out these options are. They aren’t anything you wont find on another manufacturer camera app, like on the HTC One or GS4 for example. They are laid out in a very straightforward way here however. Tapping on one category provides the user a pop up with icons and text to explain what options they have for controls. That pop up remains until the user taps on the category again to collapse the options. Every control is found in this interface. Not like on other apps where some options are found on screen and some are buried under a separate menu. It really is the most intuitive layout I’ve seen on a camera app featuring this much control.

focal beta camera app screenshot android cyanogenmod somegadgetguy (5)The interface is smooth, but performance is very shaky on several phones. Taking a pic froze my HTC One. The GS4 was able to utilize most features, but rendering a PhotoSphere locked it up. The LG Optimus G Pro was the most stable, but would default to the lowest resolution output for pics.

As for output, it’s hard to see much difference between the various phone apps and Focal. Using Focal’s quality settings, you can dial up jpegs almost twice as large as what you would normally see out of a phone app. The biggest I saw was a 5MB image off the LG. Usually your phone’s camera app will pump out around a 2MB pic.

So the verdict? Not read for your main driver. It is called a BETA, and that label is accurate. What we see is some pretty terrific potential though. For the number of phones I get to play with, there’s something nice about some consistency. For my personal phones now I tend to fall back on the same apps and launchers so I know where everything is by muscle memory regardless of what phone or tablet I use.

Adding a consistent camera experience would be a nice addition to the list.

Focal BETA on Google Play

Review: Blue Microphone’s Yeti Pro USB Microphone

Screenshot (88)An oldie, but a goodie.

Let’s take a look back at one of the best USB microphones currently on the market. The Yeti Pro is still chugging along as a great solution for those wanting to improve their home recording or podcasting capabilities.

Time to go hands on with this multi-pattern wunder-mic!

Review: The Body Glove ShockSuit Rugged Case for the Samsung Galaxy S4

body glove shocksuit galaxy s4 slim rugged case review somegadgetguyI like rugged!

Being able to use our delicate tech in challenging environments is becoming a very important topic for me. A 5″ screen is a lot of glass to potentially shatter while in the middle of a hike or out on a job site. Body Glove is offering up a new ShockSuit case for Galaxy S4 owners looking to add protection without adding a ton of bulk.

Shop Body Glove cases on Amazon!

Review: The Kingston Digital MobileLite Wireless Flash Reader

kingson mobilelite wireless flash reader SD card somegadgetguySometimes the cloud isn’t enough.

While I find it fantastically helpful to have a couple gigs up in the cloud, there are still times I need to have access to files locally. I might need files which are too large to wait for a download, or I might need to easily share files with a couple users around me. I might just be in poor coverage without access to WiFi. For as good as our cloud solutions have gotten, I find I often still resort to “sneaker-net” to move files back and forth between different computers.

This gets even more complicated when I want to interact with a file on a mobile device, especially those pesky iOS devices which lack proper file managers. You can’t just load up a movie file on an iPhone while out and about for example. Plugging your iPhone or iPad into a proper computer and dragging a file over without iTunes means that file wont show up in any of the apps on your iDevice. Sure, there are other workarounds, funnily enough using iCloud for instance, but none have the simplicity of a point to point transfer.

kingson mobilelite wireless flash reader next to HTC One somegadgetguyKingston was kind enough to send over a MobileLite Wireless Flash Reader for me to play with. The dream of the MobileLite is to create a local wireless storage solution for multiple devices to utilize. Specifically up to three devices can log in and share the info on either an SDXC Memory Card or USB Flash Memory Drive.

MobileLite is a small grey/black brick about the size of two iPhone 5’s stacked on top of each other. It’s fairly light at 98 grams, and it comes with a USB cable to charge MobileLite using a computer or AC Adapter. Kingston also includes a MicroSD card adapter for those of you which pull Micro cards out of your phones, cameras, tablets, etc…

Continue reading Review: The Kingston Digital MobileLite Wireless Flash Reader

Free to play First Person Shooter ‘SuperHot’ bends time around your movements

superhot free bullet time fps first person shooter time bending somegadgetguyThere’s something to be said about a biting simple game mechanic being executed well. Some of my favorite games to play focus on one mechanic and hammer every piece of the surrounding experience to fit that mechanic. The indie gaming space is starting to really drive this point home in ways that larger developers and studios might be afraid to explore.

My new current obsession is ‘SuperHot’ a plot-less first person shooter which asks of you only a small understanding before throwing you into kill or be killed situations. See you have something of a super powered advantage over your enemies. Time slows to a crawl when you remain still, and speeds back up as you move. It’s like a heightened adrenaline backed perception of time. Like when people describe being in a car accident, their brains slow time down, yet the whole experience happened in the blink of an eye.  SuperHot captures this dynamic beautifully.

As you move through maps, picking off generic red assailants, you have the advantage of taking a breath to line up your next shot, dodge an incoming projectile, plan your next move. Don’t think this means the game is easy however, as sometimes that caution will inadvertently line you up for a kill which will only happen once you start moving again.

superhot free bullet time fps first person shooter time bending kill somegadgetguySuperHot’s graphics are super simple, which I dig. It’s all about focus. You have to know instantly what you’re trying to accomplish. The game’s tone plays into this. Instructions are near non-existent. Objectives are delivered by flashing single words on the screen at a time.  It quickly creates that “rat in a lab” feel I haven’t experienced since firing up the original Portal. That unknown quality. You’re doing something you have to do, yet you have almost no understanding as to why you have to. At once unsettling and darkly satisfying.

SuperHot was created during a 7 Day FPS challenge, and the developers have set up a Steam Greenlight Page to explore any interest in making a larger version of the game. In the meantime head over to SuperHot.com to give it a whirl for free!

(via Reddit)