DailyTekk » Reviews http://dailytekk.com Thu, 20 Mar 2014 18:32:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 Bose SoundTouch WiFi Speaker Review (Hint: It’s Awesome) http://dailytekk.com/2014/01/27/bose-soundtouch-wifi-speaker-review-hint-its-awesome/ http://dailytekk.com/2014/01/27/bose-soundtouch-wifi-speaker-review-hint-its-awesome/#comments Mon, 27 Jan 2014 15:19:28 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=10258 Kitchen

BlackBoseLogo300pxSponsored by Bose. As a promotional post, this post reflects the views of the writer and not necessarily DailyTekk’s editor.

The Bose SoundTouch is a wireless streaming music speaker that makes music look and sound great. I should know—I’ve been testing a SoundTouch 20 speaker for the last couple months. In that time it has nearly become a member of the family—that’s how much it is loved around the house.

Before we talk about anything else let’s talk design. The Bose SoundTouch is more than easy on the eyes. It doesn’t just play music, it looks good doing so. I’ve had speakers in the past that I wanted to keep out-of-sight. The SoundTouch is not one of them. It is is something you won’t mind displaying front and center. It doesn’t look or feel cheap. In every regard, this is a high-quality speaker.

SettingsRemoteBefore I dig into any other features, I have to tell you about my absolute favorite: WiFi connectivity. Thanks to WiFi connectivity, the SoundTouch lineup allows me wireless access to my entire music library, Internet radio (including Pandora).

Just in case the brilliance of this feature hasn’t sunk in just yet, let me elaborate. Unlike a Bluetooth speaker that plays music from a connected device (like your phone, for instance), the SoundTouch connects directly to the Internet. There is no intermediary device needed. You can use a smartphone to control the speaker, if you like, but it’s certainly not necessary.

Now that I’ve told you about my favorite feature, let’s talk sound quality. For a nice and compact speaker, it’s got big sound. I mean BIG. The tones are pure, the bass is rich and it goes above and beyond filling up a room. I’ve currently got a SoundTouch stationed on my kitchen counter and it takes care of my entire bottom floor. Heck, I can hear it just fine all the way upstairs. In fact, when I am upstairs and the SoundTouch is playing downstairs, it’s like it’s in my bedroom or office right there with me (and that’s with the volume hovering around 50%). Hopefully you are getting the picture that this thing delivers powerful sound.

bose-soundtouch-app_02Fortunately, there’s no need to push the speaker to it’s limits thanks to the multi-room capacity. I’ve got two SoundTouch systems setup in the house and that means that it’s easy to listen to the same music in different rooms or even separate music in different rooms. You could theoretically have a SoundTouch in every room in your house.

Using the SoundTouch is simple and easy. And fun. On the top of the device you’ll see a few buttons. There are six dedicated presets (for saving a particular Pandora station, for example). You’ll find the same buttons, labeled 1-6, on the included remote. Most of the time I simply punch a preset to start listening, but there’s also a great (free) iOS app that will let you choose new stations, adjust volume, etc. In addition I can now pump up the volume using AirPlay from my iPhone, iPad or MacBook. This means that Spotify fans like myself are going to love the SoundTouch.

Since the device connects to the Internet, there’s a bit of initial setup, but it couldn’t be easier. Simply connect the speaker to your computer using the included cable to get it connected to the Internet and get the initial settings dialed in. The process was smooth and never had a single hiccup.

The Bose SoundTouch is one of those rare products that you can’t say anything bad about. It’s awesome on all fronts. If you are looking for a superb speaker, don’t look elsewhere. Available in 3 varieties: SoundTouch, SoundTouch 20 and SoundTouch 30.

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Adonit Jot Script Pro Evernote Edition Review http://dailytekk.com/2013/12/17/adonit-jot-script-pro-evernote-edition-review/ http://dailytekk.com/2013/12/17/adonit-jot-script-pro-evernote-edition-review/#comments Tue, 17 Dec 2013 15:47:35 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=10662 adonitjotscriptevernote

This review is going to be a bit heartbreaking to write for one simple reason: I love Evernote. DailyTekk practically runs on it—nearly all of my ideas for posts start within the app. I recently wrote a piece for ReadWrite called 10 Ways to Make Evernote Rock Harder which garnered over 7k social shares. Naturally I was excited to discover the new Evernote Market for physical products that enhance the Evernote app experience. As I got to browsing through the store one day I discovered what looked like the mother of all styli: the Adonit Jot Script Evernote Edition.


I think the official Market description is really what hooked me:

Those clunky, squishy-tipped styluses just didn’t do it for us. So we asked our friends at Adonit if they were game to build something specifically for the art of note taking. Enter the Jot Script Evernote Edition, the first true precision-point stylus that allows your handwriting to flow as freely as your thoughts.

So I ordered one. Well, I take that back—I requested a sample for review, first, to give it a try. Adonit actually didn’t have any to spare—even for a review on a tech blog—because the item was so popular. I was a bit  disappointed, but this seemed to be a good sign. People wanted the stylus. So, I took the plunge and ordered myself one.

Big mistake. Like I said, I love Evernote but I absolutely hate—even loathe—the Adonit Jot Script Evernote Edition stylus. There’s no way I can recommend it for purchase.

I’ll keep this brief, but here’s my list of grievances:

  1. It feels cheap.
  2. It writes poorly.
  3. The palm rejection technology simply sucks.
  4. The sound of the stylus writing on the iPad is loud and distracting.
  5. It’s expensive.
  6. It’s top-heavy.

I expected such an expensive stylus ($74.99) to feel premium, but the opposite is true. I could probably forgive or overlook all other complaints if it wrote well, but it doesn’t. It’s slow and cumbersome (and to be fair, I haven’t yet found a stylus that isn’t). My palm does just as much writing as the stylus. I love the idea of a “non-squishy” tip but it is loud as all get out. If I can’t use it in a meeting, I might as well not own it. Since the battery fits in at the top the whole thing feels unbalanced.

This, unfortunately, is one stylus you should avoid like the plaque. If you are looking for alternatives, they can be found in our list of The 100 Best iPad Accessories.

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Sphero Review: This Is The Future of Fun http://dailytekk.com/2013/12/13/sphero-review/ http://dailytekk.com/2013/12/13/sphero-review/#comments Fri, 13 Dec 2013 22:54:30 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=10622 sphero

Ever since I first laid eyes on it, I wanted it. It goes by an interesting name: Sphero. It’s a toy, and like you might have derived from the name it’s a sphere. Not just any sphere. Nope—this is a sphere that you can control with your smartphone or tablet. It glows, it sounds like R2D2 and it comes with a ramp. In short… it’s awesome. There’s a reason why I had to include it on my list of The 100 Best iPad Accessories.

I’m not just saying that—I know from experience because I recently got my hands on one. I already knew that the technology and the team behind Sphero was cool (more on that in my interview with Adam Wilson, founder of Sphero’s parent company) but the experience is every bit as fun as you might think. Taking it out of the box is an Apple-like experience—you know there’s something good inside but you’re blown away by the incredible packaging job. With Sphero, you can just tell a lot of care and thought went into the packaging—you almost hate to undo it all… but that feeling quickly passes as curiosity gets the better of you.

Once the ball’s out of the box, setup takes just a few minutes. A quick double-tap on Sphero itself wakes it up so you can pair it via Bluetooth with your devices. In my case I am using an iPhone/iPad setup so I headed to the app stores to download the free Sphero app. Once everything’s connected up, it’s time for the fun to begin.

The main Sphero app has two modes. “Just Drive” lets you do just that—drive. There are no goals—just fun. Aside from driving you can hit a button to make the Sphero freak out a little bit. Good for when it gets stuck in a corner or on a surface where it’s hard to get some traction. Hitting this button will elicit the R2D2-ish sound from your device’s speakers and is worth doing many times just because. Additionally, there is a button whose icon looks a bit like a rainbow; pressing it makes your Sphero turn colors… lots of colors. It’s fun (especially in the dark).


The second mode found in the main Sphero app is called “Level Up” which lets you earn upgrades the longer you play. Sphero doesn’t run at full speed right from the get go. Brilliantly, the experience is designed to get better the more you use it. Things you can upgrade include: colors (number and brightness), top speed, core reactors and boosts.

If that was all Sphero was—a ball that could be controlled via Bluetooth—it would be well worth the price tag for anyone looking for an awesome and unique toy (especially around the Christmas season—hint, hint). But Sphero does a lot more. On the one hand, it’s a fairly simple and straightforward device, but thanks to apps that work with it, Sphero can be made to do things I never would have dreamed it could.

For instance, there’s a free app that turns your Sphero into a racing beaver using AR (augmented reality). Using the camera in your phone or tablet, the Sphero literally turns into a beaver that races around your floor. Coins appear on the screen for you to collect. Imagine controlling a racing game by holding the Sphero in your hand and turning it to turn the wheel. You can even control your music using a Sphero.

Know who else loves Sphero? My pets. They chase it endlessly as it zooms around the house—and when it’s resting? They conk out next to it waiting for it to come back to life.

As fun as Sphero is, there’s actually more to it than games. Sphero can actually teach programming. That’s right—Sphero itself is programmable. Enter commands and create routines and watch it go.

For the price, you’d expect something durable—and Sphero is just that. It’s made from a sturdy polycarbonate shell that oozes sci-fi (it could easily be something you’d see in a TRON movie). It’s also waterproof and shock-resistant. In other words, it isn’t just made to look pretty—it’s very usable.

Finally, one of my favorite features about this product is the wireless charging. Sphero comes with a cradle that plugs into a wall outlet. When you’re done playing, just sit Sphero on top and let it charge. It’s easier than plug-and-play.

Sphero spells intense, lasting fun for kids (and pets) of all ages. You don’t have to be a tech-enthusiast to enjoy Sphero. This is a next-gen toy that heralds the future of fun. Don’t think—just buy.

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Aereo Review: 1 Month In and Loving It http://dailytekk.com/2013/11/17/aereo-review-1-month-in-and-loving-it/ http://dailytekk.com/2013/11/17/aereo-review-1-month-in-and-loving-it/#comments Sun, 17 Nov 2013 13:13:26 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=10106 aereo

I wanted Aereo the second I laid eyes on it. It recently launched in my area and I immediately activated my service (a few days earlier than others as I had been on the waiting list). For the uninitiated, Aereo is a service that pipes over-the-air TV to up to 5 of your devices. You rent a micro-antenna from the company and they give you access to the signal over the Internet. It’s great.

Aereo takes the pain out of watching over-the-air TV. There’s no such thing as bad reception. I don’t have to mess with moving a crappy antenna around to get a certain channel in. There’s an incredibly well done TV guide online that tells me what’s on right now and intuitive DVR controls. The search function works great. You can link your Aereo account to Roku. You can connect with Facebook to recommend shows to friends. Video quality can be set to low, medium, high or auto.

Over the years I have been a cable subscriber, a satellite subscriber (don’t do it) and a Netflix subscriber (I never could bring myself to get Hulu Plus… it never felt very compelling). What I have found is that my favorite shows are consistently produced by and aired on NBC, ABC, CBS and, occasionally, FOX. It’s been about a year since I cut the cord, so to speak. Right now I’ve got a couple Apple TV boxes setup in the house to stream Netflix and rent a la carte movies. Until I got Aereo I was watching episodes of my favorite TV shows as they become available online the next day. That is getting ridiculous, though, with all the commercials online now. Live sports had to be seen with the rabbit ears.

Everything is different now. Aereo has put be back in control of my entertainment. Frankly, the experience is superb. It couldn’t be easier to record a show. Watching a recording is just as delightful. If I bring a show up on an iPad or on my Mac it looks great on the big screen via Airplay. The next killer feature I hope Aereo is able to produce is a native app on for Apple TV. It’s a minor annoyance having to load all the content up on a separate device. Fast forwarding through ads on a laptop, rather than being able to use a remote, is a bit of a pain.

Aereo’s channel lineup is perhaps a bit more robust than you might initially have thought: Aside from the big 4 networks I mentioned above, there’s PBS, the CW, Bloomberg, ThisTV, GetTV, myTV, AntennaTV, BounceTV, Create and more.

Pricing starts at $8 per month, but I’d recommend making a jump to the $12 tier which allows simultaneous recording.

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Prompts vs iA Writer: A Dual iPad Writing App Review http://dailytekk.com/2013/11/17/prompts-vs-ia-writer-a-dual-ipad-writing-app-review/ http://dailytekk.com/2013/11/17/prompts-vs-ia-writer-a-dual-ipad-writing-app-review/#comments Sun, 17 Nov 2013 12:56:19 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=10098 promptsvsiawriter

I’ve been writing a lot lately and I’ve been doing most of it on my iPad. I love writing on the iPad. I’ve got an Origami case/stand with a full-sized Bluetooth Apple keyboard (of course I don’t write long-form content using the on-screen keyboard!). I’ve been testing out two writing apps recently: iA Writer and Prompts. Both offer distraction-reduced writing experiences and both offerings are quite honestly very compelling.

While both apps offer clean and minimal writing interfaces, the similarities end just about there. iA Writer’s biggest standout feature, in my mind, is it’s focus mode which grays-out all but 3 lines of text when activated to help you concentrate on simply getting the words out of your head. The focus mode keeps you from doing any heavy-duty editing and, true to it’s title, does tend to help me focus.

The keystone feature in Prompts, as the name suggests, is that it offers prods at the push of a button to help you get around that old arch-nemesis known as writer’s block. Sample prompts include include: “Add more personality,” “Explain it to a child,” “Emphasize a character trait,” and questions such as, “Why does it matter?” As a blogger, not all prompts apply to me, but it’s easy enough to breeze past the ones that don’t.

From my perspective, neither workspace is completely perfect, but both are more than enjoyable. iA Writer provides more whitespace/padding around the typed words than does Prompts and puts information such as word and character count at the top of the screen where it’s easy to glance at. I much prefer the default font in Prompts, however, over the screenplay-looking (typewriter-style) font employed by iA Writer.

Both apps are able to sync files with Dropbox, but Prompts throws in another very cool feature: writing statistics. Perhaps more of a novelty than a true productivity-enhancer, it’s definitely fun to see what day/time you are most productive. The ability to set a writing reminder is also pretty neat, though Siri works just as well. I do wish Prompts would auto-save my work instead of making me physically tap the save button. Why ask me if I’m sure I want to exit to the menu without saving instead of just making sure my work is saved automatically?

Both apps have similarly useful keyboard shortcuts. Option + up or down will move the cursor to the beginning or end of a paragraph quickly. There is a similar shortcut for skipping to the very beginning or end of an entire document. In both apps, pressing the eject button makes the onscreen keyboard appear or hide.

The truth is, both of these apps are pretty awesome. I wish that their excellent features could be combined into one powerful app. Choosing between the two will simply come down to personal preference. From a design and cognitive standpoint, however, I do feel it’s a bit weird writing in a font that looks like a typewriter’s output, especially as the editor of a blog about new technology. I believe every element should have a purpose. Since I don’t write scripts (which absolutely must be in that certain font with specific spacing, etc…) I have to ask what the point is? For now, I’ll probably continue writing in Prompts.

One final note: Prompts does have a few glitches here and there. For instance, if I accidentally turn the on-screen keyboard on, by the time I turn it off there’s usually a white block left in it’s place on the screen until I exit the document and reopen it. Also, there are times when (in portrait mode) the app doesn’t stretch text to the side of the screen without a bit of screen turning. These are only small annoyances, however, and won’t keep me from using the app. I’m sure they’ll get fixed in an update soon.

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iPad Air Smart Case Review http://dailytekk.com/2013/11/08/ipad-air-smart-case-review/ http://dailytekk.com/2013/11/08/ipad-air-smart-case-review/#comments Fri, 08 Nov 2013 13:51:08 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=10045 The bottom line: The iPad Air Smart Case excels as a stylish, lightweight and high-quality protective enclosure. It fails a little bit at being a stand.

Since I ordered my iPad Air and the corresponding smart case ($79) from Apple the day they were first available, I’d imagine I am one of the first to post a review. Normally, a case isn’t something I would feel needed to be reviewed because it does something so simple: protect your purchase. Typically, when shopping for a case, I’m usually only looking at how stylish and durable it might be. If it has some extra functionality baked in that makes it unique, that is worth considering as well.

I opted for the Project Red iPad Air Smart Case pictured above less for the AIDS assistance (sadly) and more for the color (though I’m happy some of the proceeds will go on to help people in need). I tend to like bright colors and this is definitely a bright case. For my last iPad I had purchased Apple’s Smart Cover. I’ll never do that again. The back of the iPad is the easiest to scratch and get messed up. Eventually I ended up buying a whole new case that covered both sides. So, with this new purchase I didn’t want to take any chances and went for the Smart Case.


Since the Smart Case was “Designed by Apple in California” I assumed it would be the epitome of perfection. For the most part it is, but when it comes to acting as a stand to watch movies, for instance, it kinda sucks. I can’t believe I’m saying that about an Apple product, but the truth is it barely stands up. It’s weird because the triangle stand that forms in the back anchors to itself magnetically, but the magnetic connection it fairly week. If you so much as slightly touch the top of the iPad while in this formation, the stand will collapse. That means you won’t be able to push the home button without bracing the stand/iPad from the back first (because it will fall over). I couldn’t tell you if the Smart Case for iPad Mini works the same way or not.

If you are looking for an iPad case that looks good and is made of top-quality material, this is a great purchase. If you plan on making heavy use of the stand feature, you might want to consider looking elsewhere.

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One Blu-ray Player to Rule Them All http://dailytekk.com/2013/08/07/one-blu-ray-player-to-rule-them-all/ http://dailytekk.com/2013/08/07/one-blu-ray-player-to-rule-them-all/#comments Wed, 07 Aug 2013 11:00:49 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=9599 BDP-103-top-front-hr

CLICK HERE to win this amazing Blu-ray player!

No home theater is complete without a great Blu-ray player. I say great because, as you may have experienced, not all Blu-ray players are created equal. Enter the OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray player. This bad boy comes loaded with category-leading features you’ll soon wonder how you lived without (skip a few paragraphs down to get right to the good stuff).

Ever had a slow-loading Blu-ray player whose buttons break easier than a crispy fall leaf? This Blu-ray player isn’t going to let you down. That’s because the steel chassis is built to last and the dual-processing capability will ensure that menus load snappily. Those two features alone already make it better than nearly every Blu-ray player available at Target, Wal-Mart and BestBuy. Trust me though, there is plenty more to love.

Although we live in an increasingly connected world where smartphones can stream content onto your TV and videos can simply be purchased or rented through Apple or Amazon, physical discs still play a large role in our lives. For one thing, nothing beats the audio and video quality of a Blu-ray disc (although streaming is getting very, very close). Additionally, and most likely the biggest reason you have for owning a disc player these days, you probably have a large library of Blu-ray and DVD discs that you paid good money for and you need a way to show them in all their glory.


Video Quality

If you are looking for quiet, aka noiseless or artifact free, video playback you are going to love Marvell’s Qdeo processing technology that comes built-in to the BDP-103. If your TV can handle it, the BDP-103 is fully capable of delivering a superb 4K experience (that’s four times the quality of 1080p HD for those not yet acquainted). If, as I suggested in the previous paragraph, you are one of those people with an enormous DVD archive, fear not… this device magically up-converts your older discs to make them shine like new (OK, maybe it’s not magic, maybe it’s the per-pixel motion-adaptive de-interlacing and advanced scaling, but still). One feature you don’t want to miss is the ability to play content at 24 frames per second (the frame rate movie theaters actually use), a feature that works with some DVDs as well. If you are the persnickety type you’ll also enjoy the advanced picture tuning capabilities that let you finely-tune the brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, sharpness, noise reduction, color and contrast.

Sound Quality

Let’s not forget about the audio performance of the BDP-103 because it doesn’t skimp. At all. Did you know sound could be HD? Well it can, thanks to the Dolby TrueHD capabilities, you’ll get lossless (woohoo) studio-quality audio designed to be paired with high-definition speakers. DTS-HD Master Audio also ensures your audio is identical to the studio master. 7.1 channel output means you can push sound out to a 7 speaker setup (and 1 subwoofer) and digital and coax outputs mean you can be the master of your audio domain.

Media Support

When I say this machine does a lot, that is no exaggeration by any means. You’ve already seen that, at it’s core, this networked Blu-ray player plays discs in a superb fashion. Now you’re going to see what else it is capable of. Blu-ray 3D support and 2D-3D conversion, for starters. With the press of a button, the BDP-103 converts non-3D Blu-rays and DVDs to 3 dimensions. Here’s where the “networked” part comes in useful: you can play Netflix, VUDU, CinemaNow, Pandora and Rhapsody content without the need for another box. If you need even more content than that (you greedy thing), you can even plug in a Roku Streaming Stick to get the full Roku experience as well (without the clutter of another box laying around). In case anyone actually still uses this feature, you can also access BD-Live content as well.


Before buying a Blu-ray player it is helpful to know what little details you may or may not be missing out on (in this case, you don’t miss out on much). The BDP-103 comes with dual HDMI outputs (useful for playing 2 different programs on separate TVs simultaneously), dual HDMI inputs, an MHL link (for connecting smartphones and tablets), 3 USB ports, a remote control app you can download to your smartphone, a connection with Gracenote for album and video art and title information and a partridge in a pear… wait, no, that’s all.

Enter To Win!

Click here to enter the sweepstakes for your chance to win this incredible Blu-ray player!

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Review: POP Bluetooth Retro Handset by Native Union http://dailytekk.com/2013/01/22/review-pop-bluetooth-retro-handset-by-native-union/ http://dailytekk.com/2013/01/22/review-pop-bluetooth-retro-handset-by-native-union/#comments Tue, 22 Jan 2013 20:42:58 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=8916 photoFor those wanting to up the style ante or people who miss the good ol’ days when phones had rotary dials and curved handsets with the curly cord, the POP Bluetooth retro handset by Native Union may offer a welcome change of pace. Additionally if you are concerned about radiation hitting your head from their cell phone, this handset can provide peace of mind.

The POP Bluetooth retro handset looks and feels great, though there is room for a lot of improvement in the call quality department. The first caller I tested this handset on immediately asked if they should call back because I was coming through choppy. Test after test, I could hear people just fine but they seemed to have a bit of difficultly hearing what I had to say. The product I received for review had clearly been opened and used before, so it may be possible that it had been treated badly and thus had lackluster performance. The handset itself has 3 buttons on it’s underbelly: power/answer/hangup and volume up and down. The retro-ness continues with a retro ring–when your iPhone is connected the handset does the ringing. Note: you can also connect this receiver with an iPad.

The design is just like the handset of a retro rotary dial minus the base and cord (actually a rotary-style cord does come included but is only used to charge the phone via USB). It’s very lightweight (I’d almost prefer a bit more heft, actually). The handset is made of a nice plastic (color choices are black, red and blue) that has a soft velvety touch/feel. In the box you’ll also find a rectangular felt cloth which you can put on a desk or surface to “hold” the receiver when not in use.

What I like best about this handset is it’s concept. If people could hear me better I’d use this all the time: it’d be convenient to simply leave my phone in my pocket.

Setup was a breeze with no instructions necessary. Regardless, a nice instructional booklet is provided as are some stickers and the aforementioned USB cord for recharging.

Price: $49.99
Available: Now
Buy: Native Union


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Review: Impecca Bamboo Keybaord and Mouse http://dailytekk.com/2013/01/17/review-impecca-bamboo-keybaord-and-mouse/ http://dailytekk.com/2013/01/17/review-impecca-bamboo-keybaord-and-mouse/#comments Thu, 17 Jan 2013 20:24:34 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=8750 impeccabambookeyboard

Want to spice up your workspace while sparing the rainforest? The Impecca wireless bamboo keyboard and mouse combo set will help PC-based designers and the eco-conscious do just that. While this keyboard isn’t for everyone, those that are looking for a solid bamboo keyboard will find a lot to like here.

The most notable feature of this keyboard and mouse set is that they are made from bamboo which is a very sustainable material because it can grow back very quickly and doesn’t require much water or vast resources to grow; thus, bamboo products are very earth friendly because they don’t eat up other, more valuable, resources such as wood or metal (and won’t contribute to the plastic mess floating around in the ocean).

While the inner workings of this combo set do contain some metal (of course, it must), the bamboo veneer looks pretty nice and can really make your office stand-out from that of your co-workers or add a touch of high design to your workspace. It can be a bit hard to see the labels on the keys, but trained typists (i.e. everyone these days) will have no problem banging out an email, report or blog post. They keyboard keys don’t feel clunky and respond pretty well, though it’s not as smooth to use as the Apple keyboard I am used to. That actually brings up another point… this keyboard is made for a PC. Since I don’t have any PCs laying around to test this with, I paired it with my Mac (which works just fine, but it’s a tad bit annoying having to remember that the Windows key works as Command key and I don’t like the Internet Explorer icon staring at me from just above the number keys). The mouse looks and works just fine and I appreciate the attention to detail that I found even as I opened the mouse case to put in a couple of AAA batteries; the battery compartment stays shut with a couple of tiny magnets. I do, however, wish that the keyboard could tilt up a bit more in the back, but that is a small complaint.

Both the keyboard and the mouse feel solid and sturdy and both have quite a bit of weight to them compared to the non-bamboo keyboard and mouse you are most likely used to using. I don’t mind that; it gives it a premium feel and makes you feel like you are paying for something solid as opposed to something plastic and cheap.

This keyboard would best suit the environmentalist or the designer, but probably not the everyday user. You are going to buy this for looks and to feel good about supporting a renewable resource. So, for both of those to types of people, this could make a good present; the only little issue for designers might be that many designers use Macs.

The best feature, by far, is the look and feel of this set. It’s cool and solid. Buyer beware: no batteries come included so you may want to have some AAAs laying around and ready to go so you aren’t stuck when it arrives.

Price: $99.95
Available: Now
Buy: Impecca

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Review: GoSmart 200 Series Freedom Stylus Works Great for Precision Tablet Writing http://dailytekk.com/2013/01/15/review-gosmart-200-series-freedom-stylus-works-great-for-precision-writing/ http://dailytekk.com/2013/01/15/review-gosmart-200-series-freedom-stylus-works-great-for-precision-writing/#comments Tue, 15 Jan 2013 17:01:29 +0000 http://dailytekk.com/?p=8656 gosmartstylusdailytekk

I’m the artistic type; a graphic designer by trade/schooling who constantly sketches out big ideas and I just found a great stylus to compliment my drive: the GoSmart 200 Series Freedom Stylus. It looks and feels like a pen (except for the tip, duh) and works as advertised: it writes smooth and precise. If you are a person who enjoys writing but has yet to fall in love with writing on a tablet, a constant sketcher like me or an artist of any shade, the 200 series from GoSmart is worth a look.

Using the 200 series stylus from GoSmart is as close to writing with a pen on a tablet as I have come (I tested this with an iPad using the Paper app). Once you get over the interesting spring-like tip (where you are used to seeing a point–and which doesn’t take long at all), writing with the stylus is pretty decent. If you are looking for an experience that is 100% like paper, I don’t think ANY stylus/tablet combination offers that just yet, but you can certainly write much finer and with far more precision that if you used a finger or a rubber-tipped stylus. Using the 200 series allows you to do a few things you can’t do with a finger very easily like write smaller, write in cursive and sketch/draw fine lines accurately.

A sample of writing using the GoSmart 200 Series Freedom stylus.

A sample of writing using the GoSmart 200 Series Freedom stylus.

The pen-styled stylus has a nice weighty feel to it making it seem like a premium product–something worth paying for. When you grip it you will be gripping a nice metal surface with just the right amount of texture for grip that maintains a nice smoothness about it at the same time. The cap allows you to clip the stylus to a pocket or perhaps an iPad case just like you would a “real” pen. The stylus I tested came with a black cap, but there is a patriotic assortment of additional colors available to choose from including red, white and blue.

This pen stylus is ideal for anyone who yearns to write on their tablet as naturally as possible. It is also ideal for artists or engineers who need to be more precise and accurate in their projects. Would you want to write an entire book with is? Probably not, but would you want to write notes for a class or add a handwritten note in Evernote? Sure.

The best thing about this stylus is it’s conventionality. It look, feels and acts like a pen but happens to work with a tablet. As the world continues to evolve and become more technologically-driven, new interfaces seem to be designed with old habits in mind; in any case, old habits die hard. People are used to writing with pens (if they do any writing these days). You certainly can’t draw with a keyboard. My previous stylus of choice was a wider, rubber-nosed stylus which looked really cool when I ordered it but was only good for “painting” apps. This stylus is functional and perfect for a business person.

Price: $23.95
Available: Now
Buy: GoSmart

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