"Verizon Lifestyle Blogger"
I'm a long-time consumer of new technology, which is unusual since I'm old enough to be the mom of a huge percentage of people on social media!
Many of my peers are befuddled by technology and social media. Some have joined Facebook and Twitter and now blog, and some are now using tablets, smart phones and e-readers. I have been often asked for help and advice.
This year I've had the opportunity to access new products, from portable drives to smart phones, back up batteries and gadgets.
Some have been amazing and great; others have been okay, and yet others have been disappointing.
I'm writing this recap of some products I've either purchased, funded, or have been given to test this year. I hope you find some of my opinions useful!
Samsung Galaxy S4 - photo: Verizon
Our oldest son has one and loves it. The camera shoots photos with clarity and true color, and for viewing media, the screen is huge. I use my phone as my camera, so I was impressed with the quality of images I shot with this device. Also, the Android Play Store has a ton of applications available. But would I recommend it to my friends? Most of my friends are 40 and older. Even though it is a terrific device, it's really for tech- and Android- savvy people. It is less intuitive, and I think many of them would find it challenging to use.
LG G2 - photo: Verizon
You read the tip in context of your actions, and can choose to never see it again, or allow it to pop up again if you find yourself in the same place. There are tons of great features about this phone, including the camera, which is 13 megapixels (MP). Thirteen MP cameras sell for $230 to $1900. Of course a camera phone doesn't have the variable controls of a real camera, but wow—the LG G2 has some pretty amazing features. Would I recommend this to my friends? If they are at all tech-savvy, I would say yes.
PowerBlock - photo: Griffin
The second, third and fourth are manufactured by NewTrent.
iMirror - photo: New Trent
It is relatively small (about the size of an iPhone 4S). In terms of power, it can provide you with about 26 hours of video playback (movie) time. I paid around $80 each at the time, but you can now find them on Amazon for $38. Would I recommend this to my friends? Yes, but New Trent has a newer model that is less expensive and has more power. (see below)
iCarrier - photo: New Trent
PowerPak 10.0 - photo: New Trent
Its height and width are smaller than either the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the LG G2 — in other words, highly portable. It can recharge your phone up to 5 times. This has been an amazing battery.
A couple of cool things I've been given to try include the Belkin NetCam and the Belkin Wemo Switch. Wow. Both of them have been terrific! Both have apps available that you install on your smart phone, and you can control them from wherever you are.
The Belkin Netcam HD Wi-fi Camera with Night Vision came in really handy recently when I was on vacation in Hawaii. Even though our 26-year-old son was housesitting, he would forget to turn on lights. I was able to check in via the camera and see it was 9 PM and the house was dark.
Belkin Netcam HD - photo: Terri Nakamura
I texted him, "Did you remember to turn the lights on in the dining room?" and he would text back, "Are you watching us on the camera?!" You can set it up to message you if it detects motion. And the night vision is very cool. In pitch-blackness, you can see what is going on from wherever you are. I think this is a really nifty thing to use for home security, or if you're curious to see what your pets are up to while you're at work!
A terrific adjunct to the Belkin Netcam is the Belkin Wemo Switch . Let me just say, I plugged it in to an upstairs lamp, and seeing the downstairs was dark, was able to at least turn on a light upstairs, all by using my iPhone.
Belkin Wemo Switch
The beauty of both Belkin devices is, you can have multiple devices set up around your home and control them with your phone. I think it's a good value at about $50.
The Ready Case is something I funded on Indiegogo. I opted for the 16-gigabyte (GB) version. You're probably wondering why I would need to specify GBs for a phone case?
Ready Case - photo: Ready Case
I liked the concept of it a LOT, which is why I funded it. But once I had it in my hand, I had problems with it. I loved the memory stick, but had a lot of trouble removing and replacing it. And as far as the multi-purpose blade, I don't know what happened, but it fell off and it's now lost. The case itself leaves an exposed area on the back of the iPhone, which made me feel nervous. It was an opportunity for the phone to be scratched or damaged. The lenses were very cool, though! As much as I love the concept, I don't recommend it.
3-in-1 Universal USB Charging Cable - photo: StackSocial
I've funded a variety of projects on Kickstarter, too. You can check them out, feel free to ask me about them!
Do you wait to adopt, or are you on the bleeding edge? What are your favorite new devices and gadgets? I'd love to know what you're using; what works, and what doesn't!