Get A Terrific Tech Gift For Everyone (And We DO Mean, Everyone)
By Anthony Sabatini & Alison Blackman
There isn’t enough space in one single column to tell you about all the “tech” toys that we have tested and loved. So we’re putting together more than one column for our friends who love “tech” toys! This feature includes two utterly fantastic headphones from 1More that look stylish but won’t cost a King’s Ransom. There’s a unique LoopIt set of headphones too, for those who want something unique, chic, stylish and yet really practical. Phone photographers will want the LimeLens to make their phone into a “real” camera. Computer and “desk jockeys” will appreciate the innovative Penclic Mouse B3 that’s not like any mouse you’ve tried before, and you can ease their tired legs and back with an innovative, customized “SmartFit” footrest from Kensington. We hope you enjoy this Terrific Tech Gifts review as much as we enjoyed testing out all of the products. We would love your feedback, too! -Alison Blackman, Editor in Chief, Advicesisters.com-
Two Headphones From 1More
When we reviewed a group of 1More headphones on advicesisters.com’s tech column last Spring, we definitely were excited! 1More offers a lot of award-winning style and a lot of different headphones with great sound and good value, to suit various listening interests and budgets.
Two styles that make a great tech gift are the 1More MK802 Bluetooth Over-Ear Headphones (srp. approx. $149) and the 1More In-ear (single driver) Piston Headphones #1M301.
The MK802 Bluetooth Over-Ear Headphones come in both a stylish blue and head-turning red. But these are not just toys. According to the advicesisters.com’s tech columnist Anthony Sabatini, who knows audio equipment intimately, he pronounced these headphones “flat out better that some studio headphones offered by a leading consumer manufacturer.” He further went on to say this: “Some headphones can be defined as “musical” and this set of headphone is one of them. The rendition is warm and open. In plain English, the sound makes you feel uplifted and happy.
That might be a tall order for some companies, but 1More works closely with musical artists and the collaboration shows itself in these headphones. An artist wants sound which is as close to what is recorded as possible delivered at the proper listening level and these headphones do exactly that. The earcups adjust well and are comfortable. We like the voice prompting Bluetooth and for those who like a lot of bass in their music, there is a three-position base boost switch on the right earcup which allows you to set the base you desire at the expense of losing the artist’s recorded preferences for the base. For those using the headphones for long periods, or if you forget to charge them, you can run them from your smart phone or music player with the included audio cable with microphone, and charge the headphones with the included usb cord (it is rather short). They are a great buy and a great tech gift idea.
The 1M301 In-ear (single driver) Piston Headphones #1M301 were also deemed by Mr. Sabatini in one word: “fabulous” These piston driven in ear headphones not only deliver great sound at a fixed listening level but retains its linearity that is, it sounds equally as good at lower volume levels which is a feature that many headphones, lack. The secret of the sound is a piston suspended by magnets allowing it to move frictionlessly and thus deliver every nuance of sound as opposed to most headphones which are merely very small speakers. The attention to detail was amazing. We appreciated the design of the earbuds which fit perfectly in your ear and can be easily changed for any ear size thanks to an included selection of ear tips. The cord has a microphone for use with smart phones and the attractive, red cloth covered cable means it won’t tangle. These in-ear headphones have an included a travel bag and a storage case which has an insert which you can use to wrap the cable around when you’re not using it. It also has a clip to position the microphone where you want it. For more information visit the 1More website: https://usa.1more.com/
We adore these earbuds that make a fashion statement and a great tech gift idea! The Loopit (srp. $50) by re.design is a hybrid of earphones/jewelry that is 100% clever and chic. The Loopit pairs a lightweight chain in gold or silver threaded with audio wire in black or white (also a black leather and a blue cord version) that makes a necklace. While these are ornamental, they have an audio plug at one end for your smart phone or music player, and they split in the middle with lengths attached to earbuds. The main piece also has a functioning microphone for talking and recording sound, But the main feature is a small magnet attached to each earbud. When they’re not being used in your ears, the magnets attach to two other small magnets at the base of the plug to make a one piece necklace. Wear it, and pull the pieces apart when you want to use the earbuds!
The sound is reasonably good but although they’re more for the fashionista than for the serious audiophile. The weight of the chain made it a bit challenging to keep the earbuds secure in our ears during our wear-test. Increasing the size of the ear tips, helped. Loopit comes with a small, hard-sided, zippered travel case, but the chain versions are aluminum, so you can even wear this when you travel through TSA security and it won’t set-off security alarms! Loopit can be purchased on the Re.design website
Everyone’s taking photos with their smart phones and tablets, but there’s just one problem: these devices have only one lens. So we’re suggesting as a tech gift, the nifty little LimeLens ($99/set), In a small, hard-sided zippered case your get a set of two remove-able smart phones lenses and a stick-on lens attachment that is compatible with 40+ devices (See compatibility here) . The lenses are called the Thinker, a dual macro/wide lens and The Captain, a 190-degree fisheye lens.
The adapter is supposed to be able to fit a wide variety of phones including the Samsung Galaxy s7Edge that we used for our test, but when we got our LimeLens we didn’t see anything about our phone. At that point the Galaxy S7 Edge was a fairly new phone, but note that if you place the lens housing incorrectly, it’s difficult to impossible to fix this since the adhesive won’t be strong again. We were forced to guess at placement, and once we seated the adapter on the phone, the lens didn’t fit. The other issues with Limelens is that you have to affix the lens adapter to the back of your phone without a phone case, and once it’s there, you can’t use a phone case on your phone at all. For some, this won’t be too much of an issue, as the advantage of being able to use additional camera lenses on your phone outweighs having your phone without a case. We can’t say that Limelens was the most user-friendly item we’ve ever tried, but it’s a fabulous one if your phone is compatible and you love the idea of making your phone into more of a useable camera. There are more LimeLenses. Get them at www.limelens.com .
Penclic Mouse B3
For anyone who sits at a computer and uses a mouse all day, who has repetitive stress or carpal tunnel issues, who has a small desk space, or who is left handed (lefties rejoice!) the Penclic Mouse B3 may be the unique computer tech gift you’ve been seeking. The two models are available with cord, wireless with a dongle and Bluetooth. We tested the Bluetooth version.
Basically, you use a pen to push around a very small mouse which is about the size of half a granola bar with the sleek shiny white pen attached to the middle by a pivot joint. The Penclic Mouse is offered in two models: one pen with 5 buttons and a scroll wheel suited for right-handed users and one suited for both left- and right-handed user with its symmetrical design, having the scroll wheel on the pen shaft and 3 buttons.
Using the pen/mouse is much like writing calligraphy you use broad stroke and then you click. Pairing is the same as with all wireless devices, but there isn’t any audio or visual feedback to let you that the device is paired properly. The mouse itself is a standard optical mouse with an LED illuminator and a small camera to track which way the mouse is going based upon what it moves over, it’s a just a very petite size.
One issue we found with this mouse is that even though a normal mouse can cause stress on your hand and wrist, you can always relax your wrist on the surface you’re gliding over. With the Pencilc Mouse you have to hold your hand up for the duration of moving the mouse and then release it entirely to drop your hand to rest it. This may cause the mouse to occasionally end up moving from where you wanted it. Still, we think it’s a great gift idea for anyone who works at a computer and wants to try something new, or who really does have hand and wrist issues and needs to change the way they work with a computer mouse. For more information visit http://www.penclic.se/