Bits and Bobs

Random bits and bobs that I have purchased.

Everyone loves geeky gaming goodies, right?!  The only issue is, items can sometimes be very expensive, and/or, the quality isn’t always up to scratch.  When the kind folk over at PDP (Performance Designed Products) offered to send me over a few of their Pixel Pals to take a look at, I couldn’t refuse.

The ones that landed on my doorstep a few days later are Mario, Luigi, and last but by no means least, Link (from Zelda, if you needed to know.)  First impressions??  AMAZEBALLS!!  These little guys are all just a pleasure to look at.  But it doesn’t stop there.

 

 

Each Pixel Pal stands at around 5 inches tall and around an inch wide, which helps to keep them upright without having to use alternative methods.  The magic really starts when you pop off the battery compartment on the back (each of which has a character themed sticker on the back) and stick in 2 x AAA batteries (not included.)  Then simply flip the switch into the On position.  These little guys then glow in all their illuminated goodness.  Now don’t get me wrong, they all look pretty impressive before the are switched on, but once they are all lit up, they look even better!  I like the fact that they are battery powered, as there are no pesky wires in the way.

 

 

Pixel Pals are priced at around £14.99, but I have only found them available at either GAME or Amazon.  You can see some of the range on the PDP website here.  I am hoping more of the range will come to the UK, mainly so I can complete the collection.

These 8-bit, eye catching figures would make ideal gifts for the gamer in your life, and being priced relatively low, they aren’t going to break the bank.  In my opinion, they are well worth every penny.

Let’s face it – walking around with a charging cable for your devices in your pocket is not ideal, and I doubt many people do it.  Having the option to carry something lightweight, small, and fully portable, however, is great and is now possible thanks to the affordable NOMAD ChargeKey.  NOMAD were kind enough to send me out one of their Micro USB to USB ChargeKey units that should work with all Micro USB devices.  Also available is a Lightning connector for use with the new iDevice models.

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The ChargeKey arrived in a very simple cardboard envelope packaging.  Simply open up the front and you are greeted with the Key itself.  That’s it!  Remove the Key from the sticky adhesive that holds it in place and you are good to go.  Size wise, the Key is no bigger than a standard house key, which makes it the ideal size to attach to your keys and carry it about with you.

The Key itself is made from a hard plastic at the two ends, one end with the Micro USB connector and the other with the main USB connector, and also has a rubber material in the middle that allows it some room to move about.  This could prove handy for a few reasons – less chance of it poking you while in your pocket, less chance of it being damaged and snapping while in your pocket, and lastly, it allows a bit of movement when hooking up your device.

When it came to using my phone with the Key, I had it connected to my laptop.  I didn’t want to risk using it with a wall adapter as it would mean leaving my phone hanging and to be honest, that would kind of defeat the object of the Key as if you are at home, you would use your wall adapter any way.  Having it hooked up to the laptop though, charging started as you would expect and I was also able to sync my phones photos and emails as well.  I also gave it a try using one of the PowerBanks that I have and am happy to say that that worked as it should.

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Overall, the NOMAD ChargeKey does what it says.  It is small, lightweight, portable, and comes in handy when you least expect it.  Always having it to hand is a major plus thanks to being able to have it attached to my keys and knowing that I don’t have to walk about with a charging cable in my pocket or bag is handy.  You never know when you’re going to be caught without power!  Priced at an affordable £20 over on Amazon UK, I think it is a must have addition, especially for those of you who like to be able to stay connected all of the time!

I was recently sent the PocketBoom Rechargeable Bluetooth Portable Speaker for review from the guys over at KitSound.  This is one product I was looking forward to getting to grips with.  Check out the unboxing video below.

Setting the speaker up for use was an easy task.  simply power on the PocketBoom speaker and put your phone/device into visible mode.  Your device should pick up the speaker after a few seconds – once it has, choose the speaker from the list of available devices and it should pair up.  If you run into any issues when it comes to pairing the devices, check out the included user manual and you should be sorted in no time.

The sound that the PocketBoom pushes out is surprisingly awesome!  For such a small device, I was not expecting what I heard.  The speaker pushes out a decent amount of bass as well, but depending on what device you are using it with, you may want to adjust the levels on the device itself beforehand to get the best sound out of things – even if you download an equalizer app or something to help with this, it is definitely worth it.

Because the speaker also doubles up as a hands-free device, I was itching to try out both the incoming, and outgoing sound quality.  When a call comes through, simply press the little button on the top of the speaker (the one with the phone icon) and you will be connected.  Incoming call quality through the speaker was great quality and did not come through distorted at all – again, very surprised at the quality.  Outgoing voice was a little on the quiet side when listening through the phone, but I could still hear what was going on.  This was easily rectified by rotating the speaker a little so that the small microphone port was facing the person talking rather than facing the opposite way.

The small rubber section on the bass of the speaker provided a decent amount of grip when the speaker was placed on a surface.  Pressing the buttons, etc, did not cause the speaker to move about unnecessarily, something else that I really liked.  The overall design of the speaker is very easy on the eye and definitely something that you would not be embarrassed to be seen with.

Having the option to connect up a 3.5 to 3.5mm cable is handy, especially if you have been using the PocketBoom for a prolonged period of time via bluetooth and the battery is starting to get low – you can still use the speaker if you are not ready to power down just yet.  When it comes to recharging the speaker, simply connect up the Micro USB cable and plug in the other end of the cable to a PC or laptop, or even a USB mains adapter.  I have used the speaker and managed to get around 3 hours of continuous play from it before having to charge again.

This tiny speaker really does pack a punch when it comes to playing music.  No matter what style of music you choose to play, it comes through nice and clear, and with a decent amount of bass.  The hands-free feature just adds to this little box of awesome and makes using it an absolute pleasure.  You can pick up the PocketBoom Rechargeable Bluetooth Speaker in a wide range of colours and for the price of around £30.00 GBP.  An excellent product at an affordable price.

The Speak’n Go Earset from Sandberg is  made to not only provide you with the freedom of using your phone whilst keeping your hands free, but also to provide excellent call quality, with the added extra of using it to fill your ears with musical goodness.

The earset arrives in the standard Sandberg packaging – a see through plastic packaging that gives you a nice view of the product itself, with the ‘need to know’ information also included.  The front of the packaging shows that you can use the earset for handsfree conversation, and that the earset contains an inline microphone and answer button.  The back of the packaging provides a short paragraph about the headset – this information is also available in several different languages.

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Taking the earset out of the packaging, to be honest, if you have ever used a pair of earphones with your phone or an MP3 player, then you would already know what this earset is like.  It has the standard earphone feel to it, complete with the inline controls for use, and the 3.5mm connector at the end.  The earbuds themselves are the standard size earbuds, not the in-ear ones that are available nowadays.  Saying this though, the in-ear canal version of this earset is available from Sandberg, and both styles are available in a range of colours.

Comfort wise, this earset is not too bad.  I don’t have overly large ears and they stay in place as you would expect them to.  I am not sure, however, how they would feel to someone with smaller ears, or whether they would fit in place enough to be comfortable – the same with people who have larger ears.

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I used the earset to listen to some music from my phone and while the music quality was ok, it wasn’t the greatest I have heard.  Saying that, this earset is made for managing phone calls while on the go, and in that respect, they performed really well.  I had no complaints regarding the quality of my voice during phone calls, and I have no complaints in regards to the voice on the other end of the call.

Overall, this headset does what it was made for, very well.  Trying to use it for other tasks such as listening to music, etc, I don’t think would provide the satisfaction that you may be used to with other earphones.  For a handsfree headset for use when on the go, the Sandberg Speak’n Go does exactly what it says on the tin (and packaging).

Today I have a pair of Trendz in-ear canal earphones to review.  First off, the packkaging that they arrived in is simplistic but shows you everything that you need to know.  Through the clear window on the front of the box you get a clear look at the earphones themselves.  You can see the cupcake design on the outside of the earphones and can also see that they are in-ear canal earphones, rather than just the regular earbud style.  The rear of the box gives some specifications, as well as the social media and web url for Trendz.

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Removing the earphones is simple – open the box and pull out the transparent plastic sleeve that they are sat on.  I will admit that getting the earphones off of the sleeve was a bit fiddly, but that was mostly because I didn’t want to snap the cupcake part from the earphone itself.  Once removed though, you are left with a generous length of cable with the 3.5mm adapter at the end.  The cable is a nice pink colour, as it the earphone themselves, and it all fits really nicely together.  Style wise, you can mix and match these earphones with other Trendz products, from phone cases to USB drives.

Sound wise, the earphones performed pretty well.  Obviously they are not up there with the earphones that you pay through the nose for, but for the price you shouldn’t be disappointed.  Because these are in-ear canal earphones, they perform better than the standard earbuds as far as reducing outside noise so that you get to hear more of the music and less of everything else.  When it comes to comfort, I didn’t have an issue.  I have used these earphone all weekend and suffered no discomfort.  The earphones stayed in placed once inserted and there was no looseness or anything, even with prolonged use.

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These earphones can be picked up from Amazon UK for around £12.99 GBP and with Christmas just around the corner, these would make an ideal gift.