25 March 2013

REVIEW: Everyday essential gadgets #1

Stand up, get charged, make a statement and ...drink.

Here at The Test Pit we get sent some incredible pieces of tech to play with; gadgets truly worthy of the full 600+ words we write about them. However, once in a while we get sent things that, although extremely cool in their own way, don't really warrant a full review. And so to celebrate those plucky underdogs, here's a few of our favourites that will help maintain your gadget lust in more subtle ways.

Not all smart phone stands need their own carry case and special technical training to assemble. Some, like the Standeazy, rely on good old fashioned simplicity to do the job. This stand for your phone, designed to be used to prop up your device for media viewing, is made from a single slip of plastic with the same dimensions as a credit card. Stick it in your wallet (next to your Miley Cyrus fan club membership card) and forget about it.

The day you need a stand for your phone you'll be glad you stashed it, as the Standeazy folds out to provide good rigid support for even the chunkiest of handsets. It's even adjustable thanks to the notched arm that connects with the main part of the cradle, allowing a choice of angles. Perfect.Just like the Proporta Pocket Power, we love gadgets that can hide away until our busy modern lives demand their assistance, and the Standeazy is a welcome little addition. Now, when will they make a flat-pack lightsaber?

£4 each
Visit www.standeazy.com

Sanyo eneloop XX Batteries
Batteries are one thing that tend not to be mentioned all that much these days - unless of course its to hark on about a tablet/laptop/phone's battery life. But what about the thousands of gadgets out there that still require good old AAs? For them we write this, with an added message of hope.

To cut a long story short, the eneloop XX batteries from Sanyo are the best rechargeable batteries we've ever used. Not only do they charge quickly and retain a massive percentage of that charge during prolonged periods of inactivity, they also provide unsurpassed levels of power of longevity. And they're all cool and black.

We had them in the belly of dear old Lego Darth Vader while he was out hunting rebels, and he's still out there, a couple of weeks later, LEDs blazing. We also gifted a set out to a photographer chum of ours and he reported back enthusiastically about the batteries' performance during "a shoot". We think he's a photographer anyway. We hope he wasn't using them to power the laser sights on his sniper rifle.

Batteries are something we'll always need around the house, regardless of how technology changes - especially if you have kids. Sanyo's eneloop XX cells really are brilliant and we think a couple of sets and a charger should be a necessity for any home.

You have been charged.

£9.99 for a 4-pack of AA
Visit www.eneloop.info

Video Business Cards
We've all had business cards at some point; be it for a pointless job we hated or for getting our mobile number out to as many potential one-night-stands as possible. Trouble is they're a bit dull, aren't they? After all, it just a bit of card with your name on it. If only there was another, more entertaining, way of leaving your details with someone. What's that? There is? Ohhh...

The Video Business Card comes wailing its way from Vidioh! a company that does wondrous things with very small and thin LCD screens. Basically, instead of just a bit of text to give to prospective clients (or bedroom buddies), the card features 128MB of space in which to place a dramatic and eye-catching video presentation about yourself and your company. This is then automatically played whenever the card is opened, with sound being delivered through the built-in speaker. All this from something the same size as a conventional business card (albeit much thicker).

The cards are pretty pricey, coming in at 14 quid each if you want 1000, but still its a step in the right direction if you'd like to live in a sci-fi future world. What shall we put on ours? Would a naked dancing video be too much?

£14.25 per card for 1000-1499 units
£15.25 per card for 500-799 units
£19.25 per card for 100-199 units.

The App Mug
So you're at work, you've got your feet up on the desk and you are busily ignoring that growing email inbox. But hey, who can blame you for taking it easy, after all it is coffee break time.

Knocking back a gulp of the hot black stuff you reach into your pocket for you phone. You've just had the funniest thought about a news story you glanced over that morning and have decided share it with the world over Twitter. But, oh no, you left your phone at home! The world has surely missed out on your rapier-like wit.

Then you remembered that you're drinking out of your app mug, so finger the appropriate button and prepare to tweet. Or rather you would, if this was a few more years into the future and this mug wasn't just a bit of a fun novelty.

A perfect gift for a very "'appy" friend, The App Mug features an array of fake apps that will have you lol-ing around the office every time a hot drink is poured in. We aptly demonstrate the change via a before and after visual presentation thusly:

And that's about it, except to check out the punnage on that. Lovely.

Thirstday. Lol.
Visit www.geniegadgets.com

That's it for now, but we'll be back with mote everyday essential gadgets soon. Phew.
© The Test Pit

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