Logitech K380 keyboard puts 3 devices at your fingers

Logitech triple threat keyboard

Not one, not two, but three devices, all commanded by a single keyboard.

Three Bluetooth presets on one thoughtfully designed, battery operated, portable input device.

I’ve been using the Logitech K380 for a little while and I still can’t get my head around why someone would need to hook up a keyboard to three different devices at the same time. However, if you do, this keyboard is a no-brainer.

The triple Bluetooth functionality is the “gimmick” Logitech uses to draw attention to this particular tool for writers (or anybody with multiple gadgets yearning for input). To me it seems over the top, but it works flawlessly, connecting you with the touch of a button to any of three different devices, whether computers (Mac, Windows and Chrome OS) or mobile (iOS and Android).

Whether you need that kind of connectivity or not, the K380’s build quality, minimal heft and slightly angled, full-size keys will keep you coming back for more. Especially at a street price of about $30.

Logitech is a frontrunner in peripherals and the quality and value of the K380 Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard makes it clear why.

Price: $39.99 $29.99

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Your iPhone is the key to this smart padlock

The LockSmart has no key or combo. Just be sure to have the proper app on your smartphone before you lock up your things.

Buy a shiny new padlock and hold in your hand something that hasn’t changed much since the Romans used them 500 years before Christ. The ubiquitous lock has a u-shaped shackle that connects to a body containing a mechanism that locks and unlocks with a key or combination wheel.

Keys get lost and combination codes forgotten so the company Dog & Bone put its own stamp on the padlock, or actually, your stamp, by creating a smart lock that is controlled by an app on your smartphone.

The LockSmart lock looks like any trusted padlock you loop through a link chain or hasp and staple, but high-security Bluetooth, with 128-bit advanced encryption, is the key to security. The lock owner would access their valuables with the SmartLock app (available in iOS and Android) that allows users to unlock using Touch ID, tapping an icon or entering a password.

The user can manage several LockSmart locks from the app or unlock one from a far should a trusted friend or family member need to gain entry.

The LockSmart is secured thanks to Bluetooth with 128-bit encryption.

Just make sure you have enough juice on your phone at the end of the day when you get to your bike or gym locker. The LockSmart lock is made from hardened steel and a die-cast zinc alloy. It is powered by a cell lithium-ion battery, which Dog & Bone says is good for two years or 3,000 unlocks before it would need a recharge. The app, however, will notify when the battery is low.

The lock can be charged via micro USB which is protected from the elements with a waterproof seal. It will retail for $89.95 at RadioShack stores starting next month or at the Dog & Bone website. There is also a LockSmart Mini for $69.95.

 

Smart thermometer is ready to track your kid’s fever all day long

TempTraq thermometer lets a baby sleep

You no longer have to disturb your kid’s sleep just to see if that fever is getting any better. Months after its CES debut, Blue Spark’s TempTraq thermometer is available for a fairly reasonable $25. The Bluetooth patch keeps tabs on a child’s temperature in relative comfort for a full 24 hours, giving your progeny a chance to rest instead of enduring yet another probe in the ear. It can warn you if the temperature gets above a certain level, and you can use the Android and iOS apps to log when your tiny patient eats or takes medicine. This won’t track the illness from start to finish, unfortunately, but it might be all you need for that one day when you’re worried your little one’s condition might get worse.

Apple releases OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 with Wi-Fi and Spotlight fixes.

Photo: Apple

Along with this morning’s iOS 8.1.3 update, Apple also has some new goodies for Mac users with the release of OS X Yosemite 10.10.2.

The update fixes a problem that caused Wi-Fi to disconnect. The latest version also includes a number of bug fixes for Spotlight, Bluetooth headphones, iCloud Drive and VoiceOver, while also improving stability and security in Safari.

The update is available now in the Mac App Store. Here’s a full list of the changes:

  • Resolves an issue that may cause Wi-Fi to disconnect
  • Resolves an issue that may cause Web pages to load slowly
  • Fixes an issue that caused Spotlight to load remote email content when the preference was disabled in Mail
  • Improves audio and video sync when using Bluetooth headphones
  • Adds the ability to browse iCloud Drive in Time Machine
  • Improves VoiceOver speech performance
  • Resolves an issue that causes VoiceOver to echo characters when entering text on a Web page
  • Addresses an issue that may cause the input method to switch languages unexpectedly
  • Improves stability and security in Safari

Harman Kardon Esquire Mini is the best iPhone speakerphone you can fit in your pocket.

Harman Kardon Esquire Mini - Lifestyle (2)not me

We reviewed two portable Bluetooth speakerphone options earlier: The Philips WeCall ($145) vs. Logitech P710e ($125) . Both are square and have internal batteries and make conference calling easy. But for their ~$150 price tag, I wondered if you could get more portability and style without sacrificing sound quality.

Harman Kardon Esquire Mini Black (3D View) 02

The answer to those questions is the Harman Kardon Esquire line of portable speakerphones. Below, I take a look at the Esquire Mini which retails for $149.99 and can be found as low as 149.99 at Amazon.

Harman Kardon products are always packaged nicely and the Esquire Mini is no exception. The unit itself is slightly bigger than an iPhone 6 and about twice as thick. Around the edges is a beveled metal band which connects the softer black underside with the Kevlar-like front speaker grill. On the back is a big stainless steel kickstand which looks classy for portable electronics.

Around the edges you’ll find a 5 LED battery indicator and mic/grill on one side and USB/MicroUSB AUX input and a leather strap (included) base on the other. On the top/front is a metal volume rocker and power/Bluetooth/Phone buttons. The box comes with a MicroUSB charger cable (5V/1A) and a leather strap.

Powering the device up for the first time it automatically goes into pairing mode and in a few seconds you are paired with iOS(Settings/Bluetooth). If you want to pair a second, third and so on devices, you’ll need to press the bluetooth button for a few seconds to manually enter pairing mode.

Immediately all sound in and out will go through the speaker and you’ll notice that everything becomes very crisp and clear. People on the other end of the phone will also notice a crisper and clearer sound than using the iPhone like a push to talk device. The noise canceling works just like the iPhone and in my tests worked well all but one time.

The device itself purports to have 8 hours of continuous use and I think that’s fair though you’ll get a shorter life if you are using it hard. Those 8 hours also go down if you use it as a iPhone charger which might be one of the Esquire Mini’s best features. In a pinch you can get a full iPhone charge from it as well (and we’ve all been there).

The downsides of the Esquire mini are few but notable. You can certainly use this as a Bluetooth speaker and for most music it is perfectly reasonable. However, if you are looking for bass, you are going to still be looking after you crank this one to 11. You just can’t get the kind of movement you need to make deep lows in a package this thin. As for range, this is a few notches above what Apple puts into the 15″ Retina MacBook Pro.

I’m not design snob but I can’t help but wonder if this design matches up more with the iPhone 5/5s. The beveled stainless steel edging definitely matches up there better. The color options here are also not to my liking. I would stick with the black or white version if you must and skip over the brown and gold versions (though obviously if you have a gold iPhone, you might as well).

harman_kardon_Esquire_Mini_Champagne_aluminum_portable_ultra_slim_bluetooth_speaker

Everyday Usage:

Usage is where the Esquire Mini shines. It fits anywhere an iPhone 6 fits though it gets tight quick in skinny pants. Put it in a purse or jacket pocket or in your briefcase/bag however and you are in great shape. Pull it out at your desk or in a car or in a conference room and you are immediately hearing great sound and able to speak clearly to people on the other end. I often use the Esquire mini to answer phone calls while leaving the phone in my pocket. Having an extra iPhone charge in your pocket is also a big bonus. You can now chuck that battery which was likely close to the same size as the Esquire Mini. The Aux port works exactly like it should.

Wrap up:

This is a fantastic product for portable speakerphone usage and is simply the best looking product in this range at any price. The only downside I can think of as a speakerphone or speaker is the lack of bass which is mostly a factor of its thin, light size. If you want a great portable speaker that also does mic calls, head over to the cylindrical JBL Charge 2 which retails for 129.  However, if you need a speakerphone that gets loud and fits in your pocket, the Esquire Mini which retails for 149.99 is a great product/gift and can be found at Amazon. Oh, and yes it works with Android, Windows or BlackBerry as well.

Logitech X100 Mobile Wireless Speaker is a handful of fun.

Logitech X100 Mobile Wireless Speaker

TUAW reviews its share of Bluetooth speakers big and small, and today’s review comes courtesy of accessory megacorp Logitech. That company has been doing some amazing things for iPhone and iPad users, and it has recently introduced the X100 Mobile Wireless Speaker (US$49.99), a tiny short cylinder of sound that comes in a rainbow of fun color combos. Let’s take a look:

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 3.38 inch diameter x 1.44 inch thick (8.59 x 3.66 cm)
  • Weight: 5.7 ounces (161.6 grams)
  • Recharging cable: USB to micro-USB (included)
  • Battery life: Five hours
  • Available colors: Green, Grey, Orange, Red, Yellow

Design Highlights

My initial impressions of the X100 were positive. It’s hand-sized, colorful (my “orange” model is actually a dark blue with a bright orange speaker grille and highlights), and immediately intuitive to understand. Around the side of the short cylinder are three plainly marked buttons for volume control (+ and -) and Bluetooth. The Bluetooth button is used to pair the X100 with your device or answer an incoming phone call, and also serves as a pause button while playing music. There’s also a power button that is marked only by the universal power symbol.

Buttons on Logitech X100 Mobile Wireless Speaker

The exterior of the speaker is primarily a soft-feel polyurethane, so you can be assured that the X100 will live through drops and bumps. There’s only one LED on the entire speaker — a tiny blue one located behind the speaker grill that alerts you that the speaker is turned on. In case you need to connect the speaker to a non-Bluetooth device, there’s also an AUX input located next to the micro-USB port.

An opening at the top of the speaker leaves room for the included cord or a self-supplied carabiner, making it easy to hand the X100 from a belt loop or backpack.

Functionality Highilights

As usual, testing the speaker meant that I needed to test sound reproduction for music and phone calls, as well as ease of pairing and using the speaker. The controls on the X100 are really simple. I pressed the power button and voila! — the power came on. The first time, it also went into what I assumed was Bluetooth pairing mode, since the blue LED was flashing.

A quick trip to Settings on my iPhone acknowledged that the X100 needed to be paired, and with a quick tap that was completed. The X100 makes the usual bleeps and bloops to tell you when it is powering up and down and has connected to your iOS or OS X device.

Top View: Logitech X100 Mobile Wireless Speaker

What I don’t understand is how a pint-sized non-stereo speaker like the X100 can outperform some competitors costing four times as much. It has amazing sound reproduction capabilities and surprising volume. It’s not the greatest in the speakerphone category, but I have yet to be impressed with speakerphone quality with any Bluetooth speaker.

If there’s any negative I can find with the X100, it’s the battery life. Most other speakers have battery life measured in the eight to ten hour range; the X100 can run for about give hours before needing a recharge.

Conclusion

Logitech continues its run of useful high quality accessories for iOS devices with the X100 Mobile Wireless Speaker. Rugged, playfully designed, small, light and loud, the X100 also hits the market at a reasonable price.

The Griffin Twenty: An AirPort Express Amp That Brings Your Wired Speakers Back To Life.

The Griffin Twenty is a system that takes your existing speakers and allows you to do something new with them. You don’t need an iPhone speaker dock, or Bluetooth speakers, or cables. Connect your favorite speakers to Twenty, and it acts as your stereo receiver for pure digital sound.

Twenty is a problem solver. It doesn’t let your nice, expensive speakers sit around gathering dust. It allows you to beam music wirelessly – through AirPlay – to speakers that have never before had that capability. In short, it’s a game-changer.

The top features of The Griffin Twenty include:

  •    Play audio from your device wirelessly to your stereo system
  •    Stream music from AirPlay-enabled apps, like Pandora, Rdio, Spotify, Last.fm and more
  •    Works with any AirPlay device: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, even your Mac laptop
  •    2.1 channel sound system
  •    Output: 20 watts per channel
  •    Optical audio input with included optical cable
  •    Supports powered subwoofer with automatic active crossover @ 80Hz
  •    Digital audio output to the user’s existing loudspeakers

Connecting your AirPort Express to Twenty with the TOSLINK optical audio cable allows you to blast music from any Airplay compatible device, iTunes library or app like Pandora, Rdio, Spotify and more – all while using those sweet speaker towers you still have from your college days.