Category: Gear

I Need a Bluetooth Speaker that Freakin’ Rocks… – JBL Charge Review

 

So everyone is into this whole portable Bluetooth speaker thing these days. A couple years ago, they were scarce, on not even on the market, and now you have so many options to choose from, you might not even know where to start. Bose? Beats? How about good ole reliable JBL? Well, if you’re looking for the best bang for you buck, look no further than the JBL Charge.

This thing freakin’ rocks. After some research I decided to drop $150 (Amazon.com) on it, and holy crap I wasn’t disappointed. I opened the Amazon box and saw that even the JBL Charge box was made from high grade material. Super thick durable cardboard, with a nice matte finish to it. The box flipped open like I was opening a long lost chest to reveal the JBL Charge nice and snug to its custom fit mold to ensure that nothing would go wrong during shipping. JBL Charge blue 35613369 06 610x436 I Need a Bluetooth Speaker that Freakin Rocks...   JBL Charge Review

 

I immediately unwrapped it from it’s protective foam and turned it on to discover that it already had a charge to it. I hate it when I get new electronics and I have to wait and charge them before use. This is America, I want it NOW! The speaker was super easy to use, very straightforward. There’s three buttons on the top, power, and volume up and down. Power button turns it on (in case you were confused) and hold down the power button to pair with your Bluetooth device. The JBL Charge will start making a sonar type sound to signify it’s searching and then boom, you’re ready to rock.

I chose a song that had a pretty even balance between treble and bass to test out the speaker for the first time, and man, did it sound good. I turned the volume all the way up on my phone and was impressed with the how loud it got. I thought to myself, is this thing going to be loud enough for when I take it tailgating? Hmmm… Oh yeah, there’s a volume up button on the speaker itself. “I THINK IT GETS LOUD ENOUGH!” I shout to my dog over the blasting music. He may be scared of it now because of the sudden increase in noise… my bad.

Image Charge Side View 01 1024x1024 I Need a Bluetooth Speaker that Freakin Rocks...   JBL Charge Review

 

One of the reasons this thing has the capabilities to get this loud despite its size is because there’s an intake on the side of the unit. The intake portion really does suck. I put my hand over it to just see how much, the thing is like a low powered vacuum cleaner. Probably not the best idea to keep that thing covered for too long.

If you were wondering how the JBL Charge got its name, well, it’s because it charges your phone. It has a USB port on the opposite side of the intake that charges any portable device. If you’re blasting music outside partying, you don’t have to be tied down to to power outlets. Now, the speaker is reported to last for up to 12 hours of playtime, I’d like to see how long the thing lasts while it’s charging and playing music at a loud enough volume. Probably not very long, but you know what…still an awesome speaker, and totally worth the purchase.Image Charge Side View with iPhone I Need a Bluetooth Speaker that Freakin Rocks...   JBL Charge Review

The JBL Charge comes with a collapsible wall charger and separate USB to mini USB cable to charge the unit. The USB cable looks like a pretty durable cable as well, nothing that will be torn to shreds with minimal use, definitely nothing you have to worry about breaking. And if it does break, totally replaceable at any electronics store for minimal out of pocket cost. Also included is a black case made of like wetsuit material or something, great for protecting your new investment.

If you’re in the market for a new Bluetooth speaker, seriously, check out the JBL Charge. Less complicated that the Bose units, less expensive, and is still loud enough for almost any occasion without sacrificing sound quality.

 

10 I Need a Bluetooth Speaker that Freakin Rocks...   JBL Charge Review

 

 

 

TheGeekHq Rating: 10/10

A Couple Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Geek in Your Life – Under $35

 

For all of you that waited until the last minute to get that holiday shopping done, here are a few gift ideas for the geek in your life – and guess what. They’re all under $35! All this stuff can be found at the ever so awesome ThinkGeek.com. Check it out, and submit any ideas of your own!

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Camera Bag with Epic Holding Abilities – CineBags Cb10 Cinematographer Review

Like a lot of geeks out there, the majority of my money spent is on electronics, and when I buy electronics, I try to treat myself to top of the line equipment when I can. No need to dilly-dally with that mediocre shi…stuff. When I decided that the camera in my life needed an upgrade, go big or go home right? Boom Canon 5D! I like video and photography, and it had the best of both worlds. Now, before too many people start going off on how the 5D is inferior to this camera or that, this review isn’t about that, it’s about protecting that high priced piece of equipment you just purchased.

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Headphones for the Geek on a Budget – Monoprice Headphones Review

 

monoprice405x475fpo Headphones for the Geek on a Budget   Monoprice Headphones Review

Looking for an insanely inexpensive pair of headphones but still want decent sound quality? The Monoprice hi-fi DJ style over the ear headphones (quite the name) is the answer for the geek on a budget. Generally I would go for something that had amazing sound quality, noise cancelling tech, and had ear pads that feel like they were made out of the wings of 1,000 angels, but I wanted to find something I could take out into the field while shooting video and not have to be super intense about making sure they were alright. All headphones that have the above qualities tend to be a bit pricey, so they would have to be babied.

The Monoprice hi-fi headphones fit within the price range of not having to worry about if your purchase suddenly gets run over or dropped off the third story (production life can be hazardous). And for $18.99 the price is just right to not have to worry at all about them getting obliterated (seriously, it can be REALLY hazardous).ear headphones (quite the name) is the answer for the geek on a budget. Generally I would go for something that had amazing sound quality, noise cancelling tech, and had ear pads that feel like they were made out of the wings of 1,000 angels, but I wanted to find something I could take out into the field while shooting video and not have to be super intense about making sure they were alright. All headphones that have the above qualities tend to be a bit pricey, so they would have to be babied.

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Brace Yourselves For Old Tech! – Monster iCarPlay Cassette Adapter Review

 

Alright, this item may be a bit outdated, but believe it or not, some people actually still use these things…*ahem* and I’m one of them. I just don’t like the interference I encounter with the FM transmitters, although I admit I haven’t tried the high end ones, mostly because I’m cheap. I’m a geek on a budget people! With that being said, one can come to the conclusion that I also don’t own a car with an AUX input, because why the hell would I need one of these. I may cry myself to sleep at night. It’s a toss up.

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JARVIS Iron Man 3 App Review for iOS – Making waking up a little less terrible.

 

What geek hasn’t dreamed of having JARVIS in their life? The ability to have an A.I. personal assistant with you at all times would make life just so much more entertaining, not to mention waaaaay more organized. One could only hope that the technology for a real life JARVIS will be developed soon, we certainly are getting closer. And now, Marvel fans, earlier this week the JARVIS app was released for iOS devices.

While the JARVIS app is limited in what it can do and is not a full replacement for Siri (damn it), the awesomeness factor is exponentially higher. The JARVIS iPhone app features a voice controlled interface with the ability to tell you the current date, time, temperature, weather forecast, and even your appointment reminders, all in the JARVIS voice we know from the movies.

photo 2 JARVIS Iron Man 3 App Review for iOS   Making waking up a little less terrible.

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Sound got your down? – Rode VideoMic Review

Alright, here’s a problem everyone encounters. I’m shooting a small budget short film, and the mic we currently have picks up way too much outside noise. Ok, maybe this isn’t a problem for the layman, but it’s something I encountered recently. I wanted to get a mic that was priced as low as possible without sacrificing too much quality. The price was a huge factor for me since the mic was going to be used on the Canon 5D that I just spent what felt like all the money in the world on. Read more

ROKU – “Quality Couch Time”

So I’ve noticed an increasing amount of advertisements for Roku lately, and I have to say I’m a fan of their direct humor. Why lie about our love for Television? Embrace it and watch more of it. This is the message they’re delivering, but lets not discuss the moral example they are setting, lets discuss the device itself.

Roku Billboard OneSeason ROKU   Quality Couch Time

Spoiler alert: I love it.

Having moved around a lot in the last few years, I’ve used various roommate’s devices such as the Apple TV, XBOX 360, PS3, Wii and one of those Blu-ray players that have Netflix on it.. and not having paid for cable in even longer has resulted in copious hours of streaming TV. They all generally provide the same satisfaction but here are the things I like a lot about the Roku.

HBO GO! One of my biggest complaints around the board was the lack of a HBO GO App on most devices. Aside from the XBOX, I hadn’t been able to use my Mom’s HBO account on my TV. Yes I know the XBOX has an app as do some other devices, but I wasn’t really interested in buying a gaming console or a more expensive device or TV just for streaming. Let alone pay for cable and premium channels. Now I realize this isn’t necessarily the fault of the devices, nor do I care to really research it. Most consumers won’t.

roku lt 2 300x226 ROKU   Quality Couch TimeIt’s small and simple! While all the gaming consoles are great at being gaming systems, they weren’t the right fit to fill my need for a streaming device. They’re too big and filled with extra features that at this time I was not interested in. Yes they play Blu-Rays, DVDs, etc. but I already have a Blu-ray player (the cheapest one on Black Friday.. no streaming).

Apple TV was really cool and I loved the integration with iTunes and the iPhone/iPad, but I don’t have an iPhone or iPad (Droid and Tabet-less). I also don’t use iTunes exclusively, my shit’s everywhere. Sorry bout it.

The device is smaller than the Apple TV, but the remote is bigger. I like the size though, isn’t easy to lose. Like the remote for my Macbook I lost years ago.

It’s cheap! Starting at $50? That’s like 5 drinks at a bar. I impulsively spend that much way more than a one time purchase for a Roku. Naturally, I received the Roku 2 XD as a gift (thanks babe!), but that’s besides the point. The 2 XD is only $30 more and you get 1080p – worth it.

Roku partner remote 580x459 300x237 ROKU   Quality Couch TimeApps on Apps! When it comes down to it, the Roku seemed to give me everything I wanted. Plus a whole bunch of apps I didn’t know that I would want and now can’t live without. I noticed a lot of the Blu-Rays I purchased on Black Friday came with Digital Copies, which I was able to save to a Vudu account and watch on my Roku. That’s pretty nifty. The Pandora app is pretty fun for parties, Crackle – which is basically a free Netflix (yes there are ads) had alternate options, a bunch of channels with shows/movies I’ve never heard of – time to explore!, and the ability to search and download new apps and channels all the time. I don’t rememberthe Apple TV ever letting me add and customize it this much..

If you’re considering purchasing one of these devices, you don’t really need someone to sell you on what they do. You already know you want to watch TV/Movies. If you’re looking for games, then get a console. (Though the Roku 2 XS can play Angry Birds and other such games.) All you need to know is that the Roku is one of the cheapest streaming devices, it is fast, works great, has a lot of options including apps that aren’t available elsewhere, and won’t let you down. I haven’t used any of the Android based devices, so maybe those are good too, but in my experience this was the best option and I haven’t regretted it yet.

 

roku2 xs 300x170 ROKU   Quality Couch Time

 

Now excuse me.. I believe I’ve put off watching TV for enough tonight.

LifeProof iPhone 5 Case

 

Looking for the ultimate iPhone case? Tired of replacing the screen or losing your phone to water damage? Well LifeProof cases are the solution.

I recently obtained a LifeProof case for my iPhone 5, and so far, it’s held up to my standards of protecting those valuable and precious electronics.

lifeproof 1 LifeProof iPhone 5 Case

LifeProof cases are said to have what they refer to as the “Four Proofs”, waterproof, dirt proof, snow proof, and shock proof. Their cases are tested to military standards for shock resistance, with the military standard number to prove it, MIL STD 810 F. Yea that’s right, bask in its glory. The LifeProof website goes into detail about what the standard means exactly, but to sum it up, the case can withstand infrequent and non-repetitive drops and shocks. Basically, you can drop your phone from a normal height with no problem, just don’t do it a bunch.

lifeproof 2 LifeProof iPhone 5 Case

One of LifeProof’s most magnificent features is the whole dust proof/waterproof aspect of it. Once again they have the little number to prove what their case can do. IP-68 has a specific meaning to it, where each letter/number stand for a different test it passed and the results of that test. If you want to know exactly what each number or letter means you can go to their website, if not, I’ll just give you the bottom line. You can bring your phone or tablet to the beach, bury it in the sand, and not have to worry any getting in it.

lifeproof 3 LifeProof iPhone 5 Case

Don’t want to leave your phone on the beach while you’re in the water? You can freaking bring it in the water with you! If installed correctly, the LifeProof case can withstand immersion in water 6.6 feet deep for 30 minutes. With the use of waterproof headphones and the waterproof headphone adapter, you can listen to music while in the water as well. I’ve gotten a lot of use out of the waterproof feature, but not under the usual circumstances. I pretty much never go swimming, but it’s great to see people’s faces when you act like you hate your phone and just dump it into a glass of water. Priceless.

lifeproof 5 LifeProof iPhone 5 Case

LifeProof makes an abundance of accessories for you case. Waterproof headphones, bike mounts, armbands, speedometer sensors, and those waterproof headphone adapters mentioned earlier.

There are a couple of drawbacks to the case, not necessarily drawbacks, but little annoyances for me at least. First off is the headphone adapter. The adapter pretty much must be used in order to listen to music over headphones or speakers. The Apple EarPods are practically the only headphones that fit into the headphone access opening, barely. So if you use other headphones or like to plug your phone into speakers, you’re going to have to constantly take the phone in and out of the case. The second little annoyance is the plastic cover over the face of the phone. The plastic is not exactly flush with the screen, and feels unusual to press through to get to the screen. There aren’t any problems with pressing through the screen protector, it just takes some getting used to after having a normal screen protector that sticks on. The third is that the speakers are a little bit muffled because of the waterproofing. It’s not that much of a hindrance, it’s just…noticeable.

lifeproof 4 LifeProof iPhone 5 Case

Even with the drawbacks, LifeProof is by far one of the best cases on the market. Its abundance of proofness makes it superior to the Otterbox in certain ways, but the sleekness of the case is not even comparable. The LifeProof case looks waaaay better. If you’re looking for a phone case that will allow you to drop your phone from a three-story window, go with the Otterbox. If you need a phone case that can withstand your everyday lifestyle, occasional clumsiness, and still look great while doing it, LifeProof is the  case that you must have.

 

9 LifeProof iPhone 5 Case

 

 

G.I.A. Rating: 9/10

More information on LifeProof cases can be found at www.LifeProof.com

 

 

iPad Mini

Apple recently announced their new iPad Mini. This thing is the definition of first world problems.

meme iPad Mini

Alright, well with that out of the way, it is a pretty cool little device, I mean c’mon, it’s an iPad…just mini. It has pretty much the same specs as the late 2012 iPads, it’s just slimmer, smaller, lighter (about half the weight of an iPad). The display isn’t out of this world like the full size iPad, as it only has a 1024 x 768 display, aka not retina. The resolution is similar to the iPad 2. So, if you absolutely need to have that intense display, the iPad Mini is not for you, as you’ll just have to settle for just vibrant colors, not insanely vibrant colors.

 iPad Mini

The unibody construction for the iPad mini looks similar to the iPhone 5, showing that awesome two-toned aluminum in either white and silver or black and slate. Also like the iPhone 5, it uses the new Apple Lightning connector, so be sure to have a cable when traveling, as not everyone has at least 8 of these cables lying around the house anymore. If you are anti-carrying a cable around with you at all times, Apple sells an adapter for the lightning connector for an additional $30.

One major noticeable difference is that the iPad Mini has the A5 processor. So, if you need the fastest iPad on the market for your games and immediate web browsing, go with the iPad’s A6x chip. The iPad Mini’s A5 chip is more than capable of handling all the gaming and web browsing, it will just be slightly slower completing tasks.

 iPad Mini

The battery life is pretty nice for a small tablet with this kind of power. With a reported 10 hours of battery life on a single charge, you can use it on most journeys, except if you’re traveling to Mordor, that takes forever.

Here’s a nice little chart for you that breaks down the specs of the iPad Mini in an organized chart that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye:

Screen shot 2012 11 01 at 7.58.07 PM iPad Mini

The iPad mini is a great competitor for other small tablet devices. Its slightly larger screen gives it a small edge over other tablets, without taking away from the whole mini aspect of it. Minus the display and processor, it’s virtually similar to the iPad, allowing Apple customers to choose between products on screen size alone…and maybe pricing. The iPad mini starts at $329 for the 16GB model, while the iPad now starts at $499 for a 16GB model, pretty significant difference for the geek on a budget.

 

8 iPad Mini

 

 

G.I.A. Rating 8/10

More information on the iPad mini can be found on Apple’s website at Apple.com