Scosche boomBottle: Rugged Outdoor Speakers

boomBottle

Fresh water’s all well and good but what if you’re cycling, hiking or camping and want a fresh beat. Well you’re probably in the 1987, which was the last time when anyone used the term “fresh beat” unironically (and incidentally when the Simpsons was first aired). But on the off-chance you’re not a time traveller with a bad haircut and an “Eat My Shorts” tshirt you might just be interested in the Scosche Industries boomBottle, an omni-directional portable bluetooth speaker.

If you’re a tech jouralist you might be thinking that the last thing the world needs is year another portable bluetooth speaker. And you’d be right. They’re jostling for number one place for most boring thing to land in my inbox, next to iPhone cases and fashion headphones. Fortunately Scosche are award-winning innovators and know how to bring something new to the party. We got a chance to play with one at a recent London press show and liked both what we heard and saw.

boomBottle-Pool

The boomBottle fits in most water bottle cages and is great if you’re sharing your tunes with the rest of the neighbourhood. Well great for you. I’m sure your neighbours might very well object. Dual 40mm drivers produce rich, deep audio with amplified acoustics that overcome loud environments (like London press shows). The integrated passive subwoofer features a ported enclosure for enhanced bass performance.

Of course it’s a dangerous world out there and the last thing you want is for your baby to be damanged by the elements. The boomBottle has IP4X-rated splash proof casing to protect from unexpected weather, sweat and other moisture. There are large rubberised buttons that you can operate, even when wearing gloves. The shock-proof TPU exterior can withstand drops and vibrations (I gave it a tiny bit of a fling and it seemed fine). All the charging and audio ports are safely hidden behind a secure flap so you don’t have to worry about mud creeping into an AUX port.

boomBottle

The boomBOTTLE’s built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides up to 10 hours of continuous playback on a single charge. The bluetooth has wireless range of 33 feet so unless it should work even on the largest Penny Farthings.

Like almost every modern Bluetooth speaker, there’s a built-in microphone, for use as a speakerphone, capable of delivering echo-free phone conversations and interacting with Siri or the Android equivalent. There’s also 3.5mm auxiliary input if you hold no truck with this new-fangled Bluetooth business.

The boomBOTTLE will be available from April priced at £120. For further information visit Scosche.

Scosche myTREK Wireless Pulse Monitor review

Serious about staying in shape? Then you’ll need data and lots of it. It’s hard enough to exercise (believe me I struggle with it on a daily basis) but it’s even harder to make each workout really count. It’s deceptively simple to think that breaking a sweat on the treadmill entitles you to a post run donut. It’s even easier to think that your work out was harder than it really was. If only there was some sort of Wireless Pulse Monitor to strap on my arm as I struggled through my fitness regime.

myTREK

Fortunately my very specific prayers have been answered with the Scosche MyTREK Wireless Pulse Monitor, a high-tech way to jazz up your workout and keep you in control your fitness. A tad smaller than one of those new-fangled iPod nanos, the Scosche MyTREK Wireless Pulse Monitor straps to your arm with velco and connects to your iOS device by the magic of Bluetooth. One you sync the two it should prompt you to download the free Scosche myTREK app that will track your workouts and monitor your performance.

The app has gotten pretty dire feedback on iTunes for constantly crashing and having “the wrong calander” but the app I used (running the latest version of iOS) had absolutely no issues.From within the app you can select a type of workout and a playlist and you can control musical playback and volume using the buttons on the Pulse Monitor. Sadly it doesn’t play nicely with other audio apps, so I’d shift a workout playlist out of Spotify and keep a couple of spare podcasts in iTunes rather than Instacast if that’s your thing (it’s my thing).

One you’re strapped in the myTREK will automatically calibrate itself and calculate your pulse then provide a visual representation to mirror your activity. It’s fun leave it on during a Michael Bay action movie to see if you drop down to sedate levels or if you blood actually boils at the thought of what he did to Transformers.

The myTREK also features built in GPS so you can check the distance you’ve run (if you’re outdoors obviously) and see how many calories a 10 minute jaunt around the park really knocks off. Audio prompts provide real-time feedback and you have up to 5 hours of workout time thanks to the lithium-ion battery. And if you don’t want to carry your iPhone on you as you hop from spot to spot it has a working range of up to 33ft – handy if you’re doing circuits.

The Scosche myTREK is available from Apple UK for £129.95.

Colourful & classy cases for MacBook Pro, Air and iPad

It’s that time of year when we start thinking about what we might ask Santa for, and pretty high on my list is a new case for my MacBook Pro. Now I’m not normally one to get too excited about things like laptop bags, but I will make an exception for the Black Raspberry range from be.ez.

LA-black-raspberry

A new addition to the Black Addict range, the Black Raspberry looks pretty ordinary from the outside, but open it up and you’ll be stunned by the fabulous shocking raspberry-coloured interior.

The LA robe sleeve for the MacBook Air 13in, MacBook 13in and MacBook Pro 15in are made from black jersey fabric surrounding be.ez’s low resilience polyurethane and 5in memory foam, which regains its shape if it is knocked or bumped. There is also a laptop bag, and prices start at £22.99 from www.be-ez.com/where.html

BoomCan

If you want some sounds on the move, how about the Scosche boomCan, which is about the size of a film canister (remember those?). For those who don’t, the speaker is less than 2.5inches tall and not quite 2 inches wide, yet it can pump out the sound thanks to a 40mm driver.

If you want audio when watching movies, listening to music or playing games on your portable media player, the boomCan plugs into any 3.5mm audio jack and has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that offers up to seven hours of power. It is also possible to daisychain together several of the speakers to create your own sound system.

The price of this mini marvel? £19.99 from Square Group retail stores.

Pippetto

And finally if Santa has been kind enough to give you an iPad2, I personally don’t think you deserve anything else unless you have been exceptionally good. But if you have excelled yourself this year, why not ask him for a Pipetto Classic iPad case?

These luxurious cases are made from Italian leather and come in elegant finishes including patent, rocker black, vintage black or khaki brown. Close the cover and the iPad automatically reverts to ‘sleep’ mode.

A small back pocket can to be used to hold paperwork or cables.

Style and elegance doesn’t come cheap though – the Pipetto iPad2 case comes in at £99.99 from www.pipetto.co.uk.

Music on the move from boomCAN or Gumball portable speakers

There’s not much point having all this portable kit, if you’re stuck with a very unmobile speaker if you want to listen to tunes, games and videos without using headphones.

BoomCan

So listen out for the Scosche boomCAN, a portable speaker that is only slightly bigger than a film canister (if you remember those in these days of digital cameras). It means it’s about 2.5 inches high and less than 2 inches wide.

The boomCAN plugs into a 3.5mm headphone jack, so is compatible with pretty much any portable media player. And its in-built rechargeable lithium-ion battery offers up to 7 hours of music playback. It is also possible to daisy chain multiple boomCANS together.

“With the boomCAN we designed a portable, affordable, speaker perfect for dropping into a backpack before a camping trip, holiday abroad or day at the beach,” said Kas Alves, executive vice president of Scosche Industries.

It may be small, but its makers claim it is big on sound – pumping out your music thanks to a 40m driver

The Scosche boomCAN is available in silver, black, red and silver for £19.99 from Square Group retail outlets.

iPod-speakers

If you’re looking in this budget, you might also consider the Veho Gumball Portable Speaker. This nifty piece of kit is coated in a matte black rubberised coating and when closed, take on a ball shape – hence the name presumably. Unclip it and it opens up to reveal two 2.2 Watt speakers.

The built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery (which can be charged from the mains or via a PC or Mac using the USB connection) will offer up to five hours of playback and there is a 3.5mm jack with dual volume control.
The Gumball speaker is compatible with iPods, iPhones, MP3 players, mobile phones – anything with a 3.5mm headphone socket, in fact.

Available from www.gizoo.co.uk for £14.95.

iPad 2 and the race of the third-party accessory makers

Steve Jobs had barely left the stage and my inbox began to fill with third-parties eager to give me their take on the iPad 2. Apple’s obsession with thinness has trimmed the old iPad to a shadow of its former self and left the rich ecosystem of cases and knick-knacks looking to upgrade. As with the iPad 1, Apple debuted a pretty clever case system – this time using folds and magnets to simultaneously shield and show off your new device. Third-parties will have their work cut out.

iPad-2

Scosche Industries were first in my inbox:

“We take pride in consistently being one of the first accessory manufacturers to market following a new Apple product announcement,” said Kas Alves, Executive Vice President of Scosche Industries.  “This time we are taking our commitment to being a market leader to a new level by delivering all our new iPad 2 products in the same month as Apple’s announcement.”

And what did they have to show? The Scosche glosSEE p2 is a translucent, flexible rubber case for the new tablet that provides an enhanced grip and superior protection while the Scosche snapSHIELD p2 is a low profile polycarbonate case for iPad 2.  The shatterproof snapSHIELD is $29.99 and the glosSEE is  $39.99. There was also the $59.99 Scosche freeKEY, a water resistant, Bluetooth keyboard, perfect for working on the go (presumably if you are around a lot of liquids).  The silicone keyboard has a wireless range of up to 30 feet, a retractable USB cable for charging, and rolls up for easy storage.  Although as it works with all Apple Bluetooth iOS devices, sneaking it in under an iPad 2 press release is probably cheating a bit.

Logic3 were quick to email and remind me that their iPad dock range covered here works just as well with an iPad 1 as an iPad 2. Duly noted.

iPad-2-case-Proporta

However, I was most impressed with Proporta, the Brighton based manufacturer of protective gadget cases and accessories, simply as they went all out – releasing 17 new products designed specifically for the new Apple iPad 2 – 15 different protective cases ranging from £19.95 to £59.95 and two Advanced Screen Protectors. The range includes two styles of Proporta’s unique Aluminium Lined Leather Case, an eco-friendly Proporta Smart Recycled Leather Case, two exclusive Mizu flexible TPU shells, five fashion-focused cases from the Proporta Shine collection and a distinctive Maya II pouch range. Two Leather Sleeves, Profile Hard Shells, Leather Style Cases and a Black Leather Case complete Proporta’s Apple iPad 2 protective case offering.

As for our actual thoughts on the iPad 2? Well I’d be foolish to opine so strongly on a device I’d not yet touched but I retain some cautious optimism until I get one in my hands. More than most gadgets, tablets and smartphones need to be played with before you can get a decent sense of them. I’m a big fan of my iPad 1, have been underwhelmed by most (but not all) rival offerings and write most of my LG articles on it – the tiresome dictum that iPads (and tablets in general) are solely for consumption rather than creation should surely be put to bed now. An iPad that is faster, lighter and throws in a few new toys (cameras, HDMI out and gyroscopes) can’t be a bad thing. Now does anyone want to buy my old iPad?