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I’ve always travelled hand-baggage-only (except when taking my bicycle with me), and when you carry as many gadgets as I do, that can require some efficient packing.

I usually travel with my MacBook Pro, iPad, camera & lens, drone – and sometimes a test gadget or two. Plus, of course, chargers and cables for all of the above.

The higher power output of the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar means that I can use it as a charging hub, but if you’re looking for standalone chargers, as well as a way to reduce the bulk of a MacBook charger, OneAdaptr has some very neat solutions …

If you want an all-in-one charger for MacBook, iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch, the EVRI is all you need.

EVRI

EVRI is a compact power brick with a standard figure-8 power input (as used in Apple’s own chargers) and five power sockets:

USB-C 80-watt socket to charge a MacBook/MacBook Pro

4 x USB 3.0 Quick Charge ports to charge iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, etc

Look & feel

EVRI is a slim black unit with the figure-8 input socket at one end and the five USB output sockets at the other – one USB-C, four USB-A. It measures 4.4 inches long by 4 inches wide by 0.8 inches deep, and weighs just over half a pound.

Like most gadgets, it’s cased in ABS plastic, though certainly doesn’t feel plasticky. You could almost mistake it for a metal case when you first pick it up.

Compare the EVRI to an Apple power brick – especially the meatier one for the 15-inch MacBook Pro – and it’s both smaller and a more convenient shape to slip into a small space. It comes supplied with a figure-8 cable, but you have to choose the one you want.

You will need the appropriate cable for your destination country, or else use a standard international plug adapter, but you can pick up figure-8 cables very cheaply, so I already have one of each type in my travel kit.

In use

Using it is straightforward: it simply replaces your existing MacBook power brick. You can use the existing USB-C to USB-C cable that comes with it. As with Apple’s own chargers, input voltage is 100-240V, making it suitable for use anywhere in the world.

I used to be very cautious with third-party Mac chargers, preferring the safety of sticking to the real thing. But the whole point of USB-C Power Delivery is that it’s a standard: any charger which meets the standard, and has the necessary safety certificates, is safe to use. I’d still recommend sticking to known brands, but I have been using OneAdaptr kit long enough that I consider it one of them.

Although EVRI is rated at 80W rather than the 87W of Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro charger, it kept my MBP fully powered even when doing demanding things like photo and video editing.

All four USB-A 3.0 sockets are Qualcomm Quick Charge ones, so you’ll get high-speed charging of your iPad and iPhone 8/8 Plus/X, along with any other gadgets you have that support quick-charging.

One drawback for me is that I swapped out all my USB-A cables for USB-C ones when I bought my MacBook Pro. I’d prefer EVRI to be all-USB-C, but most of us have no shortage of USB-A cables kicking around.

Flip Duo World & Flip Power World

If you don’t travel with a MacBook, and want a really compact charger for your iPhone and iPad, then Flip Duo World is the company’s neatest option.

In white ABS plastic, this has a somewhat cheaper feel – perhaps because it’s so light at just under 3.5 ounces – offset by a really clever design which gives it more of a premium look.

This is a three-in-one unit with two USB-A sockets, offering a total of 3.4A power. This won’t charge as quickly as 5A devices, but is all about portability – and happily charged both an iPad Pro and iPhone X overnight.

The charger itself is built into a folding UK plug, similar to the Apple one that came with the original Apple Watch here in Britain. In folded form, it measures around 3 inches by two inches, and less than an inch thick. For use in the UK, that’s all you need.

For use in the USA, Australia and other countries with flat 2-pin plugs, you keep the UK plug folded and slot on the US adapter. This is a similar size to the main unit. The pins swivel so they can fit sockets with V-shaped arrangements, like Australia.

For use in Europe, and other countries with round two-pin plugs, you add on the European adapter, which measures about 1.5 inches square by half an inch thick.

Finally, there’s a second version of the Duo that incorporates a 2000mAH power bank, the Flip Power World. This is otherwise identical to the Duo, except that the main unit is five inches long instead of three inches.

Pricing & conclusions

EVRI costs $75 (less on Amazon). That’s slightly cheaper than Apple’s own 87W charger, at $79, for which you get a single unit that will keep all your devices charged.

The form factor also makes it easier to pack than Apple’s own power brick. Personally, this is what I’ll be carrying on my travels from now on.

The Flip Duo World costs $30, which I’d say is a decent price for an all-in-one worldwide charger for iOS devices. But I’d say the Flip Power World at $50 is the more sensible buy, for maximum flexibility. Travelling can be unpredictable, and you can never be sure whether power will be available at your seat on the plane or in airport lounges or gates, so having a backup power supply is handy. The combination of built-in international adapters and battery pack makes this one the winner for me.

The EVRI costs $74.99 on the OneAdaptr site, or a bit less on Amazon. The Flip Duo World is $29.99, while the Flip Power World is $49.99.

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Slashgear Week In Review

SlashGear Week in Review – Week 1 2011

Welcome to the first Week in Review of 2011! I hope your hangover is gone and you had a good time this weekend! Last week was an eventful one leading up to CES 2011 kicking off this month and lots of cool stuff turned up. A British DJ created a cool set of records that when overlapped form the CMYK logo. I want them and I don’t even know what kind of music the artist makes.

A lady took a set of nesting dolls and painted them to look like Dr. Who and they are epic. The dolls have the outer one painted like the Tardis and the other dolls are made up to look like all the people who played Dr. Who. BAE created a concept for war fighting robots that look a lot like the Batman tumbler. The vehicle is dubbed The Raider and is one of seven concepts that are being developed.

I have kids that like to color a lot and they like to break crayons for no apparent reason. The Crayola Crayon Maker will take those broken Crayons and melt them into a new color for your kids to use and give them a reason to break Crayons too. Comcast is considering offering low-cost broadband if the merger with NBC goes through. The access would be offered to homes that fall into a certain demographic, presumably for the poor, if they decide to.

Quirky has a new accessory for geeks in cold climates that wear gloves and use a touchscreen device. The new accessory is called Digits and are like hatpins that are pinned though a glove and allows the touchscreen on the iPhone and other gear to be operated. A successor to the Samsung Galaxy S smartphone is expected to debut at MWC 2011. All we know about the device right now is that it will have a dual-core processor.

A new app called PhoneGuard surfaced this week that blocks the user from being able to text when the phone is going faster than 10mph. The device is aimed at keeping kids and workers safe when driving, but will keep passengers from texting too. Scientists were able to capture the first x-ray image ever of lightning and it looks freakin’ awesome. The bolt was apparently traveling at about a sixth of the speed of light and the camera was still able to capture the image.

Gresso has unveiled a cool new iPad that is probably more than most of us can afford. The thing has a wood back made for 200-year-old wood and a gold Apple logo. France announced that it wants to enact a tablet tax on the iPad and Android tablets, but leave Windows tablets exempt. The tax would apparently add the equivalent of $16 to the cost of the iPad.

Skype blamed the wide-ranging outage of its service on a Windows app bug that killed one of the supernodes it uses. The bug was apparently in IM server and 50% of the people on the service were running that version of the software. Netflix is looking at a wider ranging international push in 2011. Apparently the company is already talking with ad agencies about ad placements for new markets.

The Archos 70 internet tablet with Android debuted this week. It is the first Android tablet to get a 250GB HDD and it uses a 1GHz processor all for $349.99. Apparently, a man on an airline flight punched a 15-year-old boy in the arm for not turning off his iPhone when the flight crew said to. The man was arrested for misdemeanor battery once the plane landed and the kid reportedly had a mark on his arm from the punch.

Sharp announced that its Galapagos Android tablets would be coming to the US in early 2011. The tablets will also be coming to China and India as well. ABI Research has predicted that in 2011 there will be 7 trillion SMS messages sent. That is a lot of messages and included text, MMS, email, and IMs. A video turned up that shows the crazy expensive and cool Leica M9 digital camera getting built on video.

A hacker group called fail0verflow has unvield a new hack that completely bypasses the software security on the PS3. The hack will allow the user to run any software on the console be it pirated games, Linux, or home brew apps no matter the firmware version by generating its own keys. Kindle users gained the ability to loan out eBooks this week. The loan period is only 14 days and the books can only be loaned once if the publisher allows loaning at all.

A cool new accessory for the iPhone that is perfect for anyone with heart issues is debuting at CES 2011. The device is an iPhone 4 case that turns the smartphone into an ECG machine and is called iPhoneECG. The FBI raided ISPs in California and Texas this week looking for details on the DDoS attacked launched by the Anonymous group. Anonymous ran the attacks against big websites like chúng tôi and PayPal as retaliation for the sites not sending funds to WikiLeaks.

NASA discovered more cracks in the tanks on the Discovery this week. The cracks are being repaired and for now the flight remains on schedule for launch in February. Thanks for reading this week’s edition, see you next week!

Fluance Rt81 Turntable Review

Fluance RT81 Turntable Review – Your retro gateway

The current music industry pivot back to vinyl maybe have been exaggerated by the media, but it still warms my record-collecting heart to see so many new options available for those who enjoy listening to LPs. This includes a fresh crop of turntables being built by companies outside the mainstream of traditional platter-spinners like Sony, Technics, and Numark.

I had the chance to spend some time with the RT81 and put it through its paces by way of my ever-expanding record collection, which is nearing the point where an intervention might be the safest path forward for my friends and family.

A few things you need to know about the Fluance RT81 right off the bat: it’s an upgrade over the RT80 in two key areas. The first is the cartridge and needle that comes with it, the venerable AT95e from Audiotechnica, which is a nice budget ‘audiophile’ cartridge as compared to the more pedestrian AT91 offered with the RT80.

The RT81 also offers a solid wood body to dampen vibrations and echo, versus the hollow construction of its more affordable sibling.

Right out of the box, the Fluance RT81 impresses with its walnut finish and the sheer weight its solid construction lends to its frame. It’s a sturdy implement of musical enjoyment, which had me confident that I wouldn’t need to worry too much about the needle skipping when someone walked by the table it was sitting on.

It also helps that the RT81’s body rests on four circular rubber feet, which are directly attached to the chassis (with no springs visible).

Setup was relatively painless, given that the Fluance deck comes with a discrete power cable as well as a pair of AV cables that include an integrated ground cord. The cables aren’t permanently attached to the turntable, which will make them much easier to replace should they ever wear out or become damaged. A clear plastic dust cover sits over the RT81’s mechanism, and a rubber slip mat (an upgrade over the RT80’s felt unit) is also included.

Once I had attached the AT95e cartridge to the tone arm and properly adjusted the weight and anti-skate settings, it was time to take a listen.

I connected the Fluance RT81 to the sound system I regularly use with my Technics SL1300 when playing vinyl, a Marantz 2230 solid state amplifier connected to a set of early-80s discrete channel speakers.

Although its aimed at consumers, the RT81 lacks some of the features you’d find on a higher-end turntable, such as a repeat function or auto-return for the tone arm once a record has finished playing. Also missing: the ability to fine-tune the platter’s speed or adjust pitch.

To its credit, the Fluance deck does automatically stop playback once the needle reaches the lead-out groove, so you don’t hear it bump against the label on an infinite loop. A simple 33 / 45 / Off switch gets things going at the bottom left of the chassis, and this plastic knob was the only part of the RT81’s mechanical bits that felt a little bit cheap.

Playback from the RT81 was quite good, with even the deeper bass of hip-hop and some electronic music coming through smooth and clear. For the money, it’s hard to knock the audio quality produced by the turntable, and although it didn’t match the detail and precision of the sound reproduced by my SL1300, if you were to invest in a better cartridge you’d undoubtedly reap the benefits of improved sound.

This is true of almost any consumer-grade turntable, really, but the AT95e is certainly not a bad starting point.

My only real complaint about the Fluance RT81 was the decision to go with a belt-drive design. Over time, a belt-driven turntable is more likely to suffer from pitch variance as the belt connecting the platter to the drive motor eventually loosens, as compared to a direct drive deck that offers a more stable platter speed alongside instant-on torque.

It’s less expensive to build a belt-drive turntable, however, as one doesn’t have to invest as much material in insulating against the vibrations of the direct drive motor, so I can understand the decision to keep costs down on a budget-friendly model like the RT81.

Loop Mummy Iphone Case Review

Loop Mummy iPhone case review

Smartphone cases are a mixed bag nowadays — some are great, some are good, and some are just pretty awful. On top of the fact that cases are a hotly-debated item in the first place, it’s pretty difficult for case manufacturers to get the attention of smartphone users, and only a few have done it successfully. Loop Attachment has made a pretty unique silicone case called the Mummy, and it’s arrived just in time for Halloween. I ended up trying one out for myself to get a first impression and see how well it worked.

Personally, I don’t use a case on my phone since I’m not a huge fan of them to begin with. However, the Mummy case got my attention pretty quickly, and it’s one of the few cases that I was excited to actually try out. Obviously, right away you’ll notice the back of the case makes it look like the phone is wrapped with mummy wrappings (hence the name). The Apple logo and the “iPhone” are still visible, which is some clever design work to say the least. The mummy wrappings also serve another purpose besides just looking cool. You can stick credit cards, IDs, or cash in between the case and the phone, which also makes it a great makeshift wallet.

As with any silicone case, it can be a little difficult to slide your phone in and out of your pocket due to the rubbery texture, but the Mummy actually felt less rubbery, and it slid into my pocket a lot easier than most cases would. However, just like with any case, the Mummy does add a little bit of thickness to the iPhone, which gets rid of one of the features that makes the iPhone appealing in the first place. It can take time to get used to the size difference, but if you love the thinness of the iPhone, you’re probably not even using a case anyway.

The button “extenders,” so to speak, for the volume and power buttons work surprisingly well; they don’t take any more effort to push than normal, which can’t be said with most other iPhone silicone cases sadly. The opening for the ring/silent switch just above the volume buttons is a bit off, but that’s only because the case is catered towards both the iPhone 4 and 4S, which have slightly different placements when it comes to that small switch — not a huge deal there.

I did find it a bit of a nuisance trying to fit a credit card into the back of the case. Loop didn’t make it easy, since you kind of have to jimmy it in pretty good. There were even times where I was afraid I was going to scratch up the back of my iPhone with my credit card. Cash is even worse, since it’s more flimsy than a card. The trick is just to lift up the flaps and slide it in as best you can.

Overall, if you’re looking to get a minimalist and stylish silicone case for your iPhone, I’d probably tell you to get this one, despite the couple of very minor flaws. The case is well built, looks great, and has a one-of-a-kind unique Halloween theme that also works year-round.

Loop Attachment makes the Mummy case for the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and the new iPhone 5 (pre-order only). The iPhone 5 version will be available early next month for a special introductory price of $20. The iPhone 4/4S version costs $25, or you can get a bundle of three Mummy cases for $60.

Hammo Tv Wireless Headphones Review

The well-padded earmuffs and headband are so comfortable that you can wear them for hours without issue. That coupled with 50 hours of battery life and a range of up to 10 meters (approximately 33 feet) gives you a lot of usability and flexibility.

The Hammo TV Wireless Headphones are also Bluetooth enabled and can be directly connected (via audio cable) to any device for regular usage. Since they fold up for easy storage, you can even take them with you on the go to use with a mobile device and/or laptop.

What’s in the Box

In the box you’ll find everything needed to set up and power the Hammo TV Wireless Headphones. The wireless docking station comes in two pieces but it very easy to put together: the two legs of the metal stand fit snuggly into the base.

Here is everything that’s included:

Hammo TV Wireless Headphones

Wireless Docking Station

Power Adapter

MicroUSB cable

Two Audio Cables

RCA Adapter Cable

USB to Audio Charging Cable

User Manual and Safety Instructions

Limited Warranty

Setting Up Hammo TV Wireless Headphones

Before getting started, it’s important to know that these headphones will only work with TVs that have an RCA audio OUT or 3.5mm headphone audio OUT jack. However, if you have optical digital audio OUT or digital audio OUT, you can purchase an optical to analog converter.

Setting up the Hammo TV Wireless Headphones is so much easier than expected. I’ve tried some TV headphones in the past and they required you to go into your TV Settings and tinker around with some things. They were also a pain to connect wirelessly.

These, on the other hand, are the complete opposite. It literally took all of five minutes to get the headphones connected and functioning. Here’s what you have to do:

Attach the power adapter to the microUSB cable. If you plan to power the docking station via USB instead of a power outlet, you can skip this step.

Connect the microUSB cable to the docking station and plug the other end into an outlet or USB port.

Connect one end of the audio cable to the docking station.

Connect the other end of the audio cable to the RCA adapter cable (if your TV has an RCA audio out jack) or directly into the headphone jack on your TV.

If you are using the RCA adapter cable, connect that to the RCA OUT jacks on your TV.

Turn on your TV if it isn’t already on.

Turn on the docking station using the power button on top. (Hold for one second to turn on, and hold for three seconds to turn off.)

Turn on the headphones using the power button on the back of the left earmuff and wait for them to automatically pair. This should only take a couple of seconds.

Two Is Better than One Using Hammo TV Wireless Headphones

I noticed that I needed to completely mute the audio on my TV in order to hear only through the headphones. Otherwise, the audio plays through both the TV and headphones at the same time.

Doing this also allowed me to see that there is a tiny delay in the audio playing through the headphones. However, I was only able to notice this when hearing the audio through the headphones and TV at the same time, proving how insignificant the delay is.

Charging the Headphones

When the battery is low, the LED indicator on the headphones will flash and play a “low battery” warning tone. You’ll need to use the USB to audio cable for charging: the audio end goes into the headphone’s audio port, and the USB ends plugs into the docking station.

The LED indicator will flash yellow while charging and remain steady when charging is complete.

It takes around five hours to completely charge when almost dead. Also, the headphones won’t operate while charging – not that you’ll be able to use them anyway with the short charging cable that’s included.

Final Thoughts

Hammo TV Digital Wireless Headphones

Charnita Fance

Charnita has been a Freelance Writer & Professional Blogger since 2008. As an early adopter she loves trying out new apps and services. As a Windows, Mac, Linux and iOS user, she has a great love for bleeding edge technology. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

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App Review: Train Conductor 2

Train Conductor 2: USA is by the developer The Voxel Agents. I saw this game sitting in one of the App Store’s many lists and looking at the 4 star ratings made me do one of those impulse buys that I’m sure you all can relate to.

The game begins with a short tutorial and within a minute or so I figured out what I had to do. The objective is very simple, you must guide oncoming trains to their assigned track without crashing into one another… 

The trains will come from both sides of the screen, and will have a number, letter or color indicating what track they need to get on. Successfully getting on the right track and safely navigating the train to safely leave the screen will give you one point. Eventually accumulated will give you enough to pass the level. However, the game ends when you crash into another train or obstacle, so you have to be lightly fast with your reflexes… or as I have mentioned in my other posts, like a ninja!

Controlling the trains is simple; you will use your finger to draw a line from the train to the corresponding track. Each track and train will have a number, letter or color assigned to it. So for example, if the train has a 3, you must guide it to the track with number 3. Tapping on the train will make it stop and you will use these mechanics over and over while avoiding other trains and obstacles the level throws at you. While simple, it becomes very challenging in the later levels as the speed increases dramatically and soon your fingers will be flying all over the screen.

Hence the name, the game offers 5 different US locations: Nashville, Las Vegas, Miami, New York and the Grand Canyon. Each stage features different music and was designed to reflect it’s actual personality. For example, graffiti in New York, beaches in Miami and so on. In addition, each stage has obstacles like in New York you have to navigate through the pillars without crashing.

That brings to me the next point, obstacles. A neat thing about these stages is that you have to use a different strategy for each one. As I mentioned in New York you have to avoid the pillars, Nashville throws you demon trains and the Grand Canyon makes you navigate through the big ravine without a completely connected track.

The graphics are great, as no two levels look alike. The 2D images and backgrounds are colorful and the music was tolerable but sometimes sounded like those cheap MIDI songs from those old cell phones from back in the day (more specifically, New York!)

I can’t argue with the 4 star ratings in the AppStore but I really didn’t have that much fun playing the game. Don’t get me wrong, the developers did a great job in designing a challenging and visually appealing game but personally, it really wasn’t an enjoyable experience. Crashing my train, restarting, figuring out what I needed to do and passing the level didn’t give me any sense of satisfaction.

But in all honesty, it’s really only my opinion against the hundreds of 4-5 star ratings in the App Store, so it’s definitely just me. Anyways for those looking for a well-packaged game with high ratings and low price then you can buy it for only $.99 in the App Store. I hope to hear your opinions!

The Good:

Each level has it’s own personality and difficulty level

Simple to learn with easy mechanics

4 star AppStore ratings with a low price

The Bad:

Low level of replayability

Too short

Annoying music especially in New York

Download Link

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