It’s been a few weeks since I did a tech post. Since there haven’t been any recent new product announcements that have blown my socks off, I figured I’d do a couple of micro-reviews for things I’ve picked up in the past month or so.
Spigen Slim Armor CS
Price: $24.99 (buy on Amazon.ca)
I made the dumb mistake of trusting people in public a few weeks ago and left my iPhone’s Smart Battery case in a charging station at a bar. The good news is that I was smart enough to separate the case and the phone, and as such only lost the case and a Presto card that I had double-sided taped to the back of it.
Not wanting to invest another $130 into a case for a phone that’s now two generations old, I decided to go with a plain-ol, normal people case. Spigen’s products always have decent reviews, and I liked the idea of the hidden card slot to replace the bootleg tape job I had last time. In the past few weeks, it’s proven sturdy and easy enough to pop the card in and out for times that bus drivers refuse to believe that I tapped on with my phone. It looks nice, its reasonably slim, and there’s lots of space for headphone and lightning cables to plug in. Overall, I’m pretty happy with it.
Anker PowerCore 10000
Price: $33.99 (buy on Amazon.ca)
Still needing the extra battery life on the go, though, I did decide to grab a better external battery than I previously had. It’s amazing how small and how quick these things have gotten in the past couple of years; my previous 12000 mAH charger, bought in late 2015, was about double the size of this one.
Being able to stuff this in a pocket with a couple of <1ft lightning and micro-USB (headphones) cables has been great, and I can go days without having to recharge it. It’s probably the best external battery I’ve used.
Xiaomi Smart Scale
Price: $54.99 (buy on Amazon.ca)
The scale I had previously was a standard-fare Walmart digital thing, and it wasn’t particularly good. It was super inconsistent and never gave seriously accurate readings.
This seems to do a lot better, and for the price, is a lot better than options like the Fitbit Aria. It’s cross-platform, can recognize multiple people, and works pretty seamlessly through Bluetooth. Readings seem consistent and syncing is pretty painless. I appreciate that it speaks with HealthKit, so I don’t have to input anything manually into Apple Health anymore.
Elgato Game Capture HD60 S
Price: $219.95 (buy on Amazon.ca)
I’ve been using a Hauppauge HD60 for the past several months to record my television/game console inputs, and honestly? It was fine. It gave me what I wanted (a place to GIF from), and it was hard to complain about it.
But it was still missing a few things. For one, decent quality sound. Maybe that was on me, but I was getting a really tinny, mono playback from my recordings. I also had to keep tabs on when to start recording, and I definitely couldn’t watch anything from my computer given that the feed was about 2 seconds behind.
That was all addressed with this Elgato model. It’s basically live; good enough for TV and while I haven’t tested it, probably not far off for gaming. The flashback recording feature gives you a cached recording to spin back to and discard if you don’t need it, meaning anything that I may have missed previously doesn’t require me to spin back on my Bell box. Plus, the sound and video quality is way better. $220 is a little steep, and you definitely need a very good CPU to get the most out of this thing, but it performs very well.
Price: $69.99 (buy on Amazon.ca)
I’ve been meaning to grab a webcam for the past little while, if only because you never know when you’ll have your big 30 seconds of Skype-recorded fame. My issue was that I didn’t want something that was terrible, nor did I want to pay out the nose. Originally, I planned on waiting for Logitech’s 4K BRIO model with Windows Hello support to drop to a reasonable price, but at $250 right now, I doubt that day will come soon.
The C920 has been their most popular high-end model for at least 5 years now, because of how easy it is to use and because it gives you about as good performance as you’ll need out of a webcam before moving on to more serious tools. $69 is an obscenely nice price for it, given that it’s retailed for $129 for ages and is just now floating down to $99. With that in mind, it was the right time to take the dive, and while I haven’t used it much yet, it’s about what I expected. I’d reccomend it while it’s still on for this price.