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Before You Buy 131
Show Tease: Coming up! We’ve got more Bluetooth Speakers. Including this cute little one with a panda on it. Some headphones for your gaming. A keyboard for your living room. A giant robot mower. According to my smart watch, it’s time to watch Before You Buy.
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Leo Laporte: Hey everybody! Welcome to Before You Buy, the product review show that we do here at TWiT, in which we get a variety of the most interesting gadgets and doodads available on the market today, and give them to our crack staff, let them try it out. The whole idea here is to give you kind of real world reviews. What it’s like to actually, you know, live with, and use these products. We’re going to kick things off with some more portable speakers. This is a very hot category. Probably one of the hottest categories right now. In fact, headphones and speakers right?
Chad Johnson: Yeah. I think anything that makes sound.
Leo: Sound is big.
Chad: Truly. My honest opinion is I think speakers are so inexpensive and they can mark them up…
Leo: Just like headphones. High margin.
Chad: They can mark them up so much. There’s a factory in China pumping out speakers and all they have to do is repackage them, and sell them for $70.
Leo: But what’s interesting, is there really are quite a variety of form factors now.
Leo: So you should be able to find something no matter what your needs are. Chad Jonson is here. What do you have? Show us some of these speakers.
Chad: So we have three speakers. Two of them are Bluetooth. One of them is not. Let’s start off with this little cute one.
Leo: The Bem.
Chad: The public zoo is sort of the branding that they’ve gone.
Leo: Is this a character that we know from our children’s show, and love?
Chad: Not that I know.
Leo: It’s a panda with an eye patch.
Chad: They just made it look this cute.
Leo: Oh isn’t that sweet?
Chad: I’m not sure if I have a product shot, so I’ll just keep going with this camera here. But yeah, it has a little panda on it. The eye patch even has a face on it, if you didn’t know. This is from Bem wireless.
Leo: It’s Bem!
Chad: Beam. Yeah, you can even see it has the little thing on top. It’s a hard E.
Leo: They do say the public zoo is a trade mark of Han L lee. So I think maybe there is something called the public zoo.
Chad: If there is, okay yeah, that was totally lost on me. I’m obviously not the market for the character on the front.
Leo: This is for 11 year olds right?
Chad: Right. So it’s just a simple Bluetooth speaker. There’s a power button on the bottom. The whole speaker is sort of a soft touch feel to it.
Leo: I like the feel to it. But don’t throw it at your brother’s head, it’s not that soft.
Chad: No, it’s not that soft. Just soft touch. The, on the back there is an aux in and then on top of that, an aux out. So if you wanted to use as sort of like a base station for another set of speakers, you can. Which I actually really, really like. Because you can now Bluetooth audio to it, and then it becomes sort of something larger.
Leo: So it also supports Bluetooth?
Chad: It is.
Leo: Can I pare it with another speaker and make it stereo?
Chad: No. I mean…
Leo: That would be asking too much.
Chad: Yeah. I mean if you had a device that did that, but your phone won’t do that automatically.
Leo: That’s not part of Bluetooth then, alright.
Chad: It does have a few LED things on the back, and it sounds okay. It sounds pretty okay. There’s also on the back, there charging its mini USB instead of micro USB.
Leo: That’s kind of the older USB.
Chad: It’s the older USB. Which I have apparently purged all of my mini USB.
Leo: I know! The only one I still have that still uses the Mini USB is the GoPro. So I still have one.
Chad: Yeah. So luckily there’s a charger included.
Leo: It comes with a cable?
Chad: yeah. Otherwise I don’t know how I would have charged this. And then on the front there are the capacitive touch buttons for volume up and down, and play and pause. So for the pros, it is cute. So if you… if that’s the style that you’re looking for, that’s the style that you want. Also, I did like the aux out. On the Cons, it has the mini USB instead of micro USB. I really wish they would update that.
Leo: What kind of battery life do you get on that?
Chad: Six hours. All of these, I don’t know why 6 hours is the standard.
Leo: That’s the number.
Chad: But it’s the number for all of these speakers. All of these speakers will get six hours of playback time.
Leo: And you said the sound was okay?
Chad: It was okay. This is on the tinny side because it’s so small.
Leo: It’s small!
Chad: Especially if you pumped it up really loud. I mean, I love the aux in, this is the only one that has an actual jack into it. So sometimes when I was just on my computer I could just plug it in real fast and have a computer speaker.
Leo: You’d be surprised how many speakers don’t have that.
Chad: Oh yeah! None of the others!
Leo: I was trying to get speakers for Henrys dorm room so he could hook up the computer right to the speaker set, a lot of these now are wireless. So that’s the Bem.
Chad: That’s the beam.
Leo: Public Zoo version.
Chad: Next is the FAVI Audio+ This one is not a Bluetooth speaker. What this is…
Leo: It’s a dock!
Chad: It’s not a dock.
Leo: It looks like a Dock.
Chad: It has a little chicken.
Leo: It’s a chicken dock.
Chad: What it is, is we’ll have to turn it on.
Leo: Okay, so there’s no connecter there.
Chad: No connector at all. What it basically it uses passive sort of detecting. And there’s some LEDS at the bottom, so you can tell it’s on, to detect whatever is coming out of your phone speaker, and then amplify it through three speakers on the device.
Leo: You’re kidding me!
Chad: No, I’m not. Here let me find something that…
Leo: I’ll play something here. Let me, I’m excited about this because… have I ever met you before? I have nothing up my sleeves, I’ve never used this before.
Chad: Right. Never connected it, never plugged it in.
Leo: So it’s unpaired, so you’re saying I could just put my phone on it…
Chad: Start playing music and put your phone on it.
Leo: That’s kind of neat.
Chad: That’s the promise.
Leo: Let’s see if it works, okay. First let me see if it’s playing out of my phone.
Chad: Start playing music, and turn your phone up all the way.
Leo: Okay, it’s turned up. Okay. Now we’re going to put it on the thing. It’s coming out of the speakers!
Chad: It’s coming out of the speakers.
Leo: How do it know? It’s actually pretty good! Is it amplifying it?
Chad: Basically it has a mic built into the bottom of it, so it’s picking it up and amplifying it.
Leo: So it would work best one the phone where the speaker is on the bottom.
Chad: Yeah. It’s funny. On the box it says for IPhone. But then on the back it says, works with most popular smartphones.
Leo: Right. Because it’s not paring or anything.
Chad: Not paring or anything.
Leo: It’s actually amplifying it.
Chad: Yehah, but you can see it’s very distorted. It doesn’t sound great.
Leo: It doesn’t even sound that much louder. That’s interesting.
Chad: It isn’t absurdly louder. It’s an interesting concept.
Leo: We’ve seen passive ones that are like bullhorns basically, that they take this. But this is actually active.
Chad: This is active.
Leo: Do you put batteries in it?
Chad: You recharge it, it has a micro USB on the side to recharge.
Leo: So the Favi Audio+.
Chad: Right. So the pros are that it’s super easy. You could give this to your grandma tell her to put her phone on it, don’t pare it or anything. The cons are that it’s not incredibly loud. It has a little bit of issues because it’s not a perfect paring.
Leo: It’s not high fidelity.
Chad: Right, and also its cost is $50 so…
Chad: Now the other. I forgot to mention the cost on the Bem, the Bem was $70. $69.99. So this is $50.
Leo: So hey, it’s a better deal than the Bem. No syncing or paris… paring.
Chad: No Paris, there’s not Paris involved.
Leo: Wait a minute, what about hands free phone calls. Can you use…
Chad: It’s just what your phone, it’s a speaker phone.
Leo: I guess you’re right.
Chad: Yeah, you just put your phone on it. So that’s the FAVI Audio=. Next is the Voombox travel. This is from Divoom and this is my favorite.
Leo: From Divoom.
Chad: From Divoom. This is kind of like a little circular cube, I’ll go ahead and power it on here, just by holding it down for a little while. This one gave the best notifications of when it was turning on, when it was paring.
Leo: That reminds me a little bit of the Jam box from Java. So it also has…you can record clips so you can put it on your backpack, kids have little clips… Not super sturdy but
Chad: Not super sturdy, but you’re not going to go backpacking with it or anything.
Leo: No, it’s for going to school!
Chad: Right, exactly. You throw it on your backpack, you throw it on your belt loop, that sort of thing. One of the things I like about this is that it does pare directly with the phone for phone calls. So if I wanted to take a…. it has a little mic in there.
Leo: So speaker phone.
Chad: Yeah, it does do that as well. I’ll just hit play and see whatever was playing last on my phone. There we go. It’s also the loudest and best quality.
Leo: It sounds pretty good.
Chad: There we go. Now we’re at the top.
Leo: That sounds great!
Chad: I really, out of all of them, this was my favorite in terms of quality. They have two drivers in here, it’s also splash resistant. So if you’re by a pool and it gets a little bit of water on it, that’s not going to be an issue.
Leo: And how much is that?
Chad: This one is also at $50, coming it at $49.95.
Leo: That’s a good price on that.
Chad: That’s MSRP, so it might be that later…
Leo: That’s like a third of the jam box!
Chad: Yeah, really good price! It also has behind a little flap here, this is your USB charger. So it has batteries built in.
Leo: Speaker phone as well as speakers. Bluetooth, decent sound. Only 50 dollars. In fact this is the least expensive of the three.
Chad: Yep. So your pros on this one was that its splash resistant, answers phone calls, and the sound quality was really good. For the cons, I couldn’t quite really come up with one! It also comes in different colors, so if you don’t like the green… I have the green color.
Leo: And also six hours battery life. I’m thinking that one’s a buy!
Chad: Absolutely a buy on the Voombox from Divoom. The…
Leo: The Bem public zoo?
Chad: The public zoo… Only if you love the style! I feel like…
Leo: You’d buy it for the style.
Chad: It’s also the most expensive one coming it at $70. So that one is kind of a try. And the VAVI Audio+, I’m going to give that one a don’t buy. It’s, you’re just going to get so much better audio quality from actually paring. If you’re someone who just can’t go through the technical difficulties of paring, Bluetooth. Maybe this is for you, maybe it’s for your grandmother or something like that. But other than that, it’s just too expensive.
Leo: Thank you Chad Johnson, OMG.
Chad: Buy, Try, Don’t buy!
Leo: Chad and the GIZ whiz. Good job! Appreciate it.
Chad: Thank you.
Leo: When I was a young man, when you hear stories that begin like that you kind of cringe don’t you? When I was a young man and HiFis were all the thing in the 50s and 60s.
Chad: World War 1?
Leo: world War 1? No a little later than that! The ones you all wanted, the ones that were in theaters with the Klipsch horn. Big wooden, beautiful cases. Horns all loaded. Klipsch horn, the name in speakers. Now I don’t know if it’s the same Klip family, or if they sold the name, sometimes that happens in electronics. But Klipsch is still around. In Fact Bryan Burnett, our technical director, cranky hippo, has a review of the latest Klipsch gaming headset. Is the set as good? Let’s see.
Bryan Burnett: This is Bryan Burnett from Before You Buy and today I’m looking at the Klipsch KG-200 gaming headphones. This set of headphones will work with the PS3, PS4, PC, and even the Xbox 360. The KG 200 is a wired headset, so you’ll need to have the USB plugged in at all times. The weight is fairly light, which is mostly due to the fact that there’s not a lot of padding on it. But that by no means makes it feel cheap. The plastic construction feels fairly sold. The ear cups are mostly small, and square shaped. And as for the padding, it’s a mesh fabric that allows for air to pass through, keeping your ears cool, while also being open enough for your significant other to communicate that you’re being too loud while playing Halo. After a while the small size of the cups made it uncomfortable, and even more so when wearing glasses. On the right side of the headset is a set of controls. A volume rocker is located directly in the middle and has separate buttons for controlling the game volume, and also the chat volume. Also there’s a mute button, and an EQ toggle that has four different modes. At the top is an LED that glows blue, indicating that the headset is on and will turn red when muted. And, as it’s on the side of your head, it’s hard to tell when muted or not. Also when first using the headset before you’ve memorized the buttons can be kind of difficult. The mic is attachable and has a good range of flexibility. The sound quality is about on par what you’d expect to hear over Xbox live. So good enough for gaming communication, but not so much for recording audio. Included with the headset are all the cables and attachments you’d need to hook up to your gaming devices. So long as it’s not the Xbox one because that needs a sold separately adapter. I tested this with my Xbox 360, and the set up was a bit of a pain as you’re tethered to the 360 with the USB, and then a separate cable is attached to the controller for audio, and finally you have a split off for the component cable where you’re able to plug into the audio inputs. Once everything was hooked up it was relatively easy to use and the sound was really good, crisp, clear, but lacking a little bit of the bass at the bottom when you’re hearing explosions in the background. As for the EQ modes, I didn’t notice much of a difference between the four different modes. So pros and cons. First pro is sound, it’s not the best sounding headset I’ve ever had, but it was good and clear for gaming. Also the second pro would be versatility. You can use this with a variety of different gaming devices, which can come in handy. The 3rd pro would be its weight. It’s really light and if it fits your ears properly I can see being able to wear this for a lot of hours gaming. But as for cons, for me personally the ear cups were a little small and not so comfortable. The volume was really loud, even at just the very lowest setting during playing on my Xbox 360. And the controls can be kind of confusing because you can’t see what you’re touching until you’ve memorized the controls on the side. So is the Klipsch KG-200 a buy, try or a don’t buy? I’m going to have to say a don’t buy. For nearly 130 dollars it’s expensive, and for most people, I find it won’t be very comfortable. But maybe I’m spoiled using the audio technica M50s that we use here at TWiT for editing, which retail for about $120 and are way more comfortable, and sound a lot better. But these aren’t gaming headsets so they don’t include a mic. This has been Bryan Burnett from Before You Buy, showing you the Klipsch KG-200s.
Leo: You know when I go to the bakery over here at Dela Fatarea, Alease, who owns the place, her dads big Klipsch shorns are, you just look up above over the counter there. Sound beautiful still! Those speakers have aged very well, unlike the gaming headphones. Thank you Bryan Burnett, our technical director. That means he’s back on the board there pushing the buttons and doodads. You know, some day we won’t need technical directors.
Leo: Because we’ll have smart things.
Chad: We’ll replace them with Robots. We’ll have the internet of things will replace everything! In fact, so to start with automating your home. But why don’t we just automate the brick house. I could get rid of all of you!
Chad: Every time you set down at a set the lights turn on.
Leo: Everything goes on. You come in the door and it goes Hello Leo, what show would you like to do today? We’re not quite there yet.
Chad: Right. When you’re going to the bathroom the motion detector realizes it and starts playing some music. That’s be great.
Leo: Yeah, just flushes the toilet for you and all that stuff.
Chad: It tweets, if this and that.
Leo: Tie it all in, if, this, then, that. Absolutely. This is SmartThings. SmartThings is actually really, remember this was a kick starter project. Did very well. Now it’s a superb product for automating your home. I’m going to s how you their security kits, but they work with… one of the things a SmartThings hub does is it ties everything together. So this connects to the Ethernet, you’ve got USB here for extending it, or for updating it. And once that’s in your house you can talk to your GE devices, your Schlage keys, your Honeywell thermostats, your eons, yes it works with Nest 2, Philips Hue, colored lights, the Weemo from Belkin, your Sonos even! So just imagine, you come in the house, it senses your presence. You could do that with the little smart thing presence sensing tool. This is the little thing you put on your keychain, or you put it on your cat or dog. You can actually have it so when your cat comes in, it plays meow, meow, meow, meow on the Sonos. Wouldn’t that be cool! That goes right on the keychain.
Chad: Or turns the AC down, because you want the cat to be comfortable.
Leo: Yeah, the cat should have it cool.
Chad: Kitty cat comfortable.
Leo: So we’re going to have a deal on their security kits, if you want to give it a try. Now of course, the security kit is just a starting point, you can add little devices. Buy more of these. Extend it. Use it with other devices because it talks to so many things. Yes, you can use if, this, then, that, and a lot more. So here’s what you’re going to get with the smart home security kit. 329 bucks, you get a smart things hub, you get a motion sensor, which is pretty cool. The motion sensor, well it senses motion, so it can trigger things to turn on when there’s movement, it can send you an alert if there’s motion. It can turn the lights on outside when you arrive home, or you can put it by the cat door. When the kitty cat comes in it can talk to your nest or your cue.
Chad: That’s a great safety feature.
Chad: Because it notifies you someone’s in the house.
Leo: Right. It’ll send you a text, absolutely. You also get the smart sense presence detector, which is what I just showed you that can go on the kitty cats color, or on your keys. Or put it in the car in the glove compartment and it’ll know when you get home. You also get the smart sense, actually you get three smart sense multisensors, that can be used as a window sensor, because there’s two pieces to this, kind of magnetic, so when somebody opens a window or a door, it can automatically sense that. But this thing is really sophisticated. See there’s the two parts.
Chad: That’s tiny too, that’s great.
Leo: But what’s more than that, this can also sense temperature, it can sense motion. This thing is like the ultimate sensor in here. So this is very cool. By the way, all of these things are very easy to pare, you’ll see right here, you just remove the tab on the device, pull it out and it will automatically pare up with the base station. And that’s another thing that’s really important with home automation. You want it to be easy to control, easy to configure. SmartThings is really figured it all out. If you want the smarter home security kid, you’ll add an additional motion sensor, a smart power outlet, and the siren strobe alarm. That’s good for security. Or the smartest home security kit ,which includes all the above, plus another presence sensor, power outlet, and the outdoor light plug and control power outlet. See Ozzie wants one. He wants one right now. Make sure you use the offer code TWIT10 at checkout to get 10% off any home security kit, plus free shipping within the United States. Smart things.com/twit. Do read up on this, I think these guys have nailed it. They’ve figured out exactly what you need. You know, for years I’ve tried to do home automation. This is the first time I’ve felt like, wow, it just works. It’s so much easier.
Chad: And it’s with the internet of things, which is really nice.
Leo: This is the future my friends. Smartthings.com/twit, 10% off when you use the offer code TWIT10 at checkout. Wait a minute now. Speaking of SmartThings, I have to check my phone to figure out what’s next here. Oh! Aaron Newcomb. You know Aaron. Aaron is a regular on floss weekly. He’s an Open Source Guru.
Chad: All about Android.
Leo: He shows up on All About Android frequently. We just love having him. And on TWIG as well. We gave him something I think is interesting. A keyboard designed, not for your computer or your laptop, but for your living room. This is the Logitech living room keyboard. Aaron?
Aaron Newcomb: Hi this is Aaron Newcomb, I’m back again to talk about the Logitech K830 Wireless Keyboard with Touchpad. This is a great little device. If you remember a while ago, I reviewed the Harmony one keyboard that goes with the harmony one product, and it’s really nice. Logitech makes that as well, but they market that under the Harmony name. This is marketed under the Logitech brand, and there’s actually several models of this keyboard, but this I believe, currently is the highest level, in other words there’s like a K820, and a k810, or something. K830 is the highest level, or highest model number you can get. And it’s 99 dollars right now on line. Amazon, or similar services offer them. This is a great little device. Number one, the look and feel is fantastic. It has a nice brushed metal surface. It feels, it’s a little bit heavier than you would expect, which is actually good. It doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall of your lap when you’re using it. And I actually really like that. It does have some rubber feet. It does not have the little popup tabs that raise the keyboard up at an angle. But it’s really meant to be used on your lap anyway, so I think their feeling was you’re not going to need that. The keys are Chiclet style keys, so if you like the keys with little indents, you might not like this but if you’re use to an Apple keyboard, a Chiclet style keyboard, you’re really going to like this. The typing is really easy on this. It is a full sized keyboard, no number pad, but that’s okay, you don’t need that. The touch pad works very well, and it does have function keys across the top for things like volume up and down, mute, fast forward, pause, things like that, that you’re used to on a laptop keyboard are here as well. What this comes with out of the box is the keyboard. It also comes with a little dongle. It’s a 2.4 gigahertz wireless dongle. This is the, I forget what they call it, it’s not universal, but you can actually hook up more devices to this than just the keyboard, so if you have a mouse or something like that that had this little symbol on the dongle, you’re going to be able to use it just with this one dongle, which is great. And I love saying dongle by the way. This is an extension, so if you were to hook this up to a TV, it does support certain TV models directly, as well as laptops and TVs, if you wanted to get this dongle away from any interference or things that might be causing interference, you can plug this into your device or TV, string it out, and then pug this some place on your entertainment center that’s not going to run into any interference. So that’s a nice little add. And then it also comes with a nice tangle free cord to charge it. You might be wondering about the charge. I know I certainly wondered about that, because the last thing I want is a keyboard I use once and then have to plug it in every time. I want to use it again and again. This actually, without the backlight, and we’ll talk about that in a minute, without the backlight a full charge on this will actually last 100 days. So you might only need to charge this three times a year. With the backlight it will last at least 6 days on continuous daily use. So the battery life on this is actually really, really good. So that brings us to one of the best things about this keyboard. It is the backlight. That is the one knock I had on the Harmony keyboard I used a while back, is that it didn’t have a backlight. And if you’re using this in your living room and the lights are dim, and you want to be able to control things it makes it really tough to see the keys. This is really nice, it has a light sensor on it, it automatically senses when the light turns down low, and when you touch the keyboard the next time it will automatically light up at the right level. So its backlit, illuminated, and it’s done really well. It’s not some funky LEDS that shine through the keys. Actually the letters on the keyboard will light up, and it won’t get in the way of your viewing experience either, so that’s really, really good. So for this particular keyboard, the pros are the look and finish is excellent. The functionality on the keyboard is excellent, and the fact that it has, that it’s illuminated has a really nice backlight on the keys. And the batter life also s excellent. And the cons, I can’t think of any, the only con might be the price. I mentioned its 99 dollars. You can find some cheaper models on line, but they’re not going to look as good and they’re not going to feel as good sitting in your lap. So I think it’s well worth 100 bucks, to pick up this keyboard, if you need to use a keyboard in your living room for your home theater or even just your TV experience. I would definitely, definitely, call this a buy! That’s it for this review, now back to you!
Leo: Thank you Mr. Aaron Newcomb. You can see Aaron on Floss Weekly most Wednesdays. You can also catch him frequently on All About Android, and This week in Google. I moved over here because Tonya Hall is setting here, host of Marketing Mavericks, and she has three new iPad, I don’t want to say cases, devices from your IPad from Belkin.
Tonya Hall: It is a Belkin IPad roundup.
Leo: A festival.
Tonya: A festival.
Leo: Let’s start with what? That little one?
Tonya: Yeah. The little one is actually a charger.
Leo: It’s a dock.
Tonya: It’s a dock. It is the Express Dock by Belkin.
Leo: I’m going to resist the urge to say what’s up Dock?
Tonya: You didn’t resist!
Leo: So I see this is connected, so it’s hard wired to what?
Tonya: So there’s a floor foot cord, which is kind of nice, you can actually plug it in to your laptop.
Leo: It’s a USB cord.
Leo: Then we also have a rubberized surface so it sticks on the ground pretty good, and it’s got the lightening port right there.
Tonya: Yes, and that’s an adjustable lightening port, which is kind of nice. So you don’t have to take your iPad out of the case.
Leo: What happens if I press that? What is that? Is that volume?
Tonya: No! It actually adjusts the lightening port you were talking about.
Leo: Oh! It raises it up and down! I could use one of those.
Tonya: It makes it so you can leave it on the case, just stick it right on the dock.
Leo: You just turn the knob and it goes up. That’s awesome!
Tonya: So it’s adjustable!
Leo: Because different cases have different depths.
Tonya: Exactly. So you don’t have to mess with taking it off, just stick it on and when you’re ready to go, you’re all done.
Tonya: It’s kind of nice. It’s a metallic finish. It isn’t aluminum, it just looks like it is. It’s a nice quality weight, so it’s actually a really nice dock.
Leo: Now it says IPad, but I think because of the lightening cable, I suppose you could plug it into an iPhone as well.
Tonya: You can. This one is a little bit bigger I think, so that’s why they... They have one that’s actually a little bit less expensive.
Leo: And you just plug the other end into your mac, or your computer, and then it charges it, and connects it. That’s cool. Now how much?
Tonya: Well that’s the thing. They do have a smaller one that you can use for your iPad, so if you don’t want that, or for your IPhone rather. But this one is $59.99.
Leo; Okay, 60 bucks.
Tonya: But I think it’s worth it, I actually like it.
Leo: It feels like 60 bucks worth of good.
Tonya: It does.
Leo: Alright. That’s the Belkin Express Dock. We have the box right here if you want to…
Tonya: The pros, the quality, the cons it was hard to really come up, really its price I guess. But I would actually pay for it, so I’d say it’s a buy.
Leo: Alright. There’s a buy on the Express dock, what else do you have?
Tonya: Well there’s two other items. The next one is the Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case.
Leo: Whoa! So this is a case that is also a keyboard. But it looks like just a regular case.
Tonya: It does!
Leo: Oh this is it here, huh?
Tonya: This is it.
Leo: Let’s turn it on so we can see it. Now I have had the Logitech keyboard cases, now this one is a little bit more securely attached, which is one good thing. So this is the outside keyboard case. And this isn’t going to fall off as with some of the other keyboard cases.
Leo: It’s about the same size though. What do you think?
Tonya: It’s got a lot of cutouts for all your different uh…
Leo: Angles. Is this your iPad?
Tonya: Yeah. It used to be. I think Leo just bought it.
Leo: Okay, yeah. I’m not going to touch it anymore.
Tonya: I’m just kidding, Leo. But did you see what just happened?
Leo: What just happened?
Tonya: You had the keyboard, because it was unattached, but it recognized that you were ready to use the keyboard. And that’s one of the best things about this. It’s got three adjustable places but as soon as you connect, you’ve got a few seconds and then it…
Leo: Is it Bluetooth?
Tonya: It is!
Leo: Okay. And these are little magnets so they hold it pretty straight.
Tonya: And I really, yeah, it is very sturdy. It’s got this rubberized back as you pointed out. It’s got metallic finish on the bottom, which is actually kind of a bad thing, because as you slide it around, which you will…
Leo: It’s slippery.
Tonya: It’s a little slippery, plus is scratches easily. So I would think they would have reversed it.
Leo: yeah, because this is a little more rubber, leather look.
Leo: They could have magnetically held together, so you have to work to open it up. Which is good. I don’t want it to fall open.
Tonya: And that would have been one of my cons. I was kind of on the fence about that because I would have liked a little snap, or something just a little more secure, because this just snaps in, and snaps out. So it’s not 100% secure as we just playing it on the table found out. But I do like that, the other thing I like is that you know how when you took it apart and you put it on here, you can easily type. It’s a nice keyboard, its actually pretty good. But If I were to walk around, if I were using this for business, and I know I’m not supposed to be moving it.
Leo: No that’s all right, you can move it. But you can fold it down to have it be like an IPad.
Tonya: Yeah! So I can walk around the warehouse. I’m talking to the…
Leo: Without taking the case off.
Tonya: And it knows that it’s time to just use it as an iPad, but when I’m ready to set on the conference room table and I want to have a meeting with somebody, I could do that. Or whatever, if you’re just walking around the coffee shop.
Leo: Oh! That’s cool.
Tonya: It is. I like that.
Leo: So you don’t have to un-pair it. To bring up my keyboard.
Tonya: No, it knows.
Leo: it’s kind of smart. I guess it’s using those magnets to tell the case what’s going on.
Tonya: It is.
Leo: So this is the ultimate keyboard case for IPad from Belkin. How much?
Tonya: It is 99 dollars. It’s 160 hours though. It actually really does.
Leo: It has a lot of battery life.
Tonya: It has a lot of battery life.
Leo: That’s better than anything I’ve ever heard of before. That’s good. So all week. Pros and cons.
Tonya: Pros and cons on that one were, basically, it was kind of hard to find some cons. It was the scratch, the case is something that you could easily scratch, that’s a con. The metallic finish, like I said, does scratch. And it’s a little expensive, but I think it’s actually kind of worth it.
Leo: Most of these are around 100 bucks. That’s a pretty normal price for this kind of thing.
Tonya: Pros, 160 hours. The thin case. It’s kind of thin for what you’re getting. And I like the smart tech, I like that it knows when I need to use the keyboard.
Leo: That’s kind of neat. It’s using the magnetic capabilities that the smart case uses. I like that, because on so many of the other Bluetooth keyboard. You have to turn off the keyboard in order to use the onscreen keyboard. If it’s in Bluetooth range it thinks you’re using the keyboard. So the fact that it only works when it’s magnetically connected is really great. I really like that. So I think that you want to buy this? Okay.
Tonya: It’s a buy!
Leo: Okay. 100 bucks. Finally last but not least.
Tonya: Finally! The last of the three.
Leo: Another Belkin, the best name, the thunder store. Man held. Now this is really getting a little grandiose. Handheld home theater? What? How does that work?
Tonya: That’s kind of funny. So this is the case. You can probably take that iPad out and put it in here.
Leo: Okay, let me see if I can figure it out.
Tonya: This is new to you right? What I kind of like about this case. Look at this origami kind of design here. It’s kind of neat. Your can do a couple of different things with it.
Leo: Oh wow, you’re folding it up.
Tonya: You can fold it like this. Do something like that. Play around with it. You’ve got the soft shin here. People can see that.
Leo: I figured it out!
Tonya: Wow! He figured it out.
Leo: This is amazing! I didn’t want to break anything. So this has a charger, I see the lightening charger.
Tonya: It does. Pull this thing.
Leo: Put this in the right way.
Tonya: Connect the lightening charger.
Leo: Now it’s my home theater.
Tonya: I hope it has that sound.
Leo: That was me. So this is a stand, this origami case now becomes a stand. And this is adding, are these speakers?
Tonya: This is the speaker. And you know what? It’s kind of awesome!
Leo: Should we watch Netflix?
Tonya: Oh! What was I last playing? Awkward!
Leo: Orange is the new black.
Tonya: I’ve seen them all.
Leo: They’re great!
Tonya: No spoilers.
Leo: Well that’s not going to work to see that. The WIFI… what do you have? Can you play some music?
Tonya: Yeah! Let’s see here.
Leo: YouTube. That’s a good idea. I’ve heard there’s music on YouTube. Because I want to hear what it sounds like. Here let’s play this here. Here’s some music. Iggy Azalea.
Tonya: You know I do.
Leo: I do too. Who doesn’t love Iggy Azalea. Wow! That’s bass!
Tonya: It’s got three settings Leo!
Leo: That makes that add sound better than I’ve ever heard it before.
Tonya: It’s also got a setting for music, a setting for movies, and a setting for games.
Leo: It’s also loud! Here let’s turn it down!
Tonya: Let’s do that.
Leo: That’s pretty good.
Tonya: It is.
Leo: I’m surprised
Tonya: I think it’s again really cool is when you’re telling it.
Leo: What? What are you saying? Let’s turn it down a little bit.
Tonya: Next up on Before You Buy… Hearing aids! So I really like you can tell I’m listening to music, so it knows how to adjust. Or you can tell it, I’m listening to a movie.
Leo: Oh it knows!
Tonya: Or you tell it I’m listening to gaming. What is that?
Leo: Do you know how YouTube works, because i….
Tonya: Those shoes are on fire?
Leo: These shoes are on fire! There’s no play button anymore. Did I break YouTube?
Tonya: Vivo YouTube, they’re all.
Leo: Let’s play something else. Ariana Grand. It’s got big bass as it advertised, and it sure does! Big bass.
Leo: It does! You know I’m kind of surprised. You wouldn’t want to listen to it on the plane because it’d bother everybody on the plane.
Tonya: It would. But let’s say you were at your hotel room and you want to listen to your iPad.
Leo: You could bother the neighbors.
Tonya: You could totally bother your neighbors!
Leo: I am impressed by this! Here let’s play it in the microphone. That is great! And the whole idea of the origami case is that you can make it stand up any way you want.
Tonya: And as you noticed the magnetic strip does come out. Which is not a bad thing.
Leo: That’s a pro and a con. So what price? And pros and cons?
Tonya: So the price is $199. It lasts for 10 hours.
Leo: It’s a little pricy.
Tonya: It is but it’s actually really nice though.
Leo: And it adds considerable weight to it, because it’s got its own batteries.
Tonya: And think about if you wanted to do this with just a Bluetooth speaker. You’re going to pay extra for a Bluetooth speaker. Plus it’s not attached. This actually serves as a case, as well. Which is not a bad case. So you have a case, you have a speaker. Kind of all in one there.
Leo: Yeah, that’s great. And the button on the side for the sound mode. So you can put it into the right sound mode.
Tonya: Absolutely and I like that it has the ability to know the difference.
Leo: Come on, there’s got to be some cons! What are the cons?
Tonya: Again, this was a hard one!
Leo: You are too nice!
Tonya: I need to get a product and just rip it!
Leo: I hate it! Alright, I’ll give you a con. IT’s a little pricy.
Tonya: It is. That was on everything. All of the products were a little on the high side.
Leo: Everything costs a lot of money now, unfortunately.
Tonya: Another thing, I listed as a con on the last one, but it’s not a major con, but I would like for it to have a little more secure close. Because if I am going to use it as a case, I’m going to be honest, I could drop it.
Leo: Yeah. How do you make it a stand? Like that? Anyway...
Tonya: Leo’s not going to approve it as a buy.
Leo: $199. Before You Buy, should you try? Should you buy? Or should you ignore it?
Tonya: Buy it!
Leo: Buy it! Ladies and gentleman we just spent 400 bucks on some really good stuff from Belkin. Tonya thank you so much from Marketing Mavericks. You had somebody on Friday, I’m so jealous and so excited. Andy Weir the author of the Martian.
Tonya: he’s coming on your show, for a whole hour!
Leo: I’m way excited. Thank you for scoring that!
Tonya: I think its august 11th.
Leo: Alright. So the Martian is, have you read it yet?
Tonya: I’ve read parts of it. I haven’t read the whole thing.
Leo: You know what would get you to read the whole thing? Audible. You know why? Because when you’re listening to it you cannot stop listening to it. Lisa and I listened to it together. We’ve started doing this thing where we pick a book and listen to it together, because we were in Hawaii, we’re in the car driving down the Hani highway or whatever. And it was one of those books. What do you call it, when you’re listening to an audio book that’s a page turner? You cannot stop listening. It’s a driveway burner. It’s around the block three more times so you can get to the end of the chapter book. It’s one of those. What a great book, and I’m going to get it to you free! Absolutely free when you go to Audiblepodcast.com/beforeyoubuy. I know a lot of you have already read this book, if you haven’t please do. It fits right in with the Daniel Suarez books like Freedom, and Demon, and Red Flux, have you read those yet?
Tonya: I have not.
Leo: Oh Tonya, we’ve got to get you reading!
Tonya: I know.
Leo: Zero Day from Mark Wasinovitz. Ready player, one from Earnest Cline. That’s will Wheaten narrates that one. But these are all so good, you’re going to love these. Red Shirts. John Scalzi’s redshirts, what a great book that is. Audible’s got 150000 titles. The only hard part about audible is picking one for your first free book. What you’re going to do when you go to audiblepodcast.com/beforeyoubuy, sign up for the gold account, that’s a book a month subscription. Your first month is free, your first book is free. You also get the daily digest of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal every single day. Well Monday through Friday. And here’s the good part, if you decide Hey it’s not for me, you cancel in the first thirty days, you pay nothing, but that book is going to be yours to key. They showed the book I’m reading right now. It’s called the Gold finch, boy I love it so much. A prize winning novel by one of my favorite novelists, Donna Tart, it’s such a great book. For me audible changed my life because I was too busy to read. I’d fall asleep, I couldn’t turn the pages, but now with audible I can read those times when I can’t hold the book. On the treadmill at the gym, in the car driving the Hawaii to Hani. Seriously we listened to the Martian the Highway to Hani, we finished the book on the plane home, it was so exciting! It’s a very exciting ending in the Martian. Was he nice? He seems like a great guy?
Tonya: Yeah! It was a really interesting story, just how he got published and everything. So that was what we talked about was the whole amazon and free books.
Leo: Watch that on this week’s Marketing Mavericks with Tonya Hall! Thank you Tonya!
Tonya: Thank you.
Leo: Okay! This is a bit of Sci Fi. My product worthy of Daniel Suarez in Demon, or maybe Freedmen T M, or maybe, what was the book he wrote about drones? Because this is a drone. You’ve reviewed those robotic vacuums. I reviewed the iRobot. Roomba. They seem like a great idea. Autonomic devices that do your vacuuming or floor washing. Well what about mowing the lawn? This is the Robomow. What is it, about 1500 dollars? $1599. It’s a big old thing. It looks a lot like a Roomba. In fact, what we did is I didn’t want to do it myself, because I wanted Burke to do it. So we set it up, I gave burke my lawn. We sent him out to my house. Now let me explain a little bit about this. It’s not fully autonomic in the same fact that the Roomba is. The Roomba wonders around, knows where the edges are, bounces off things. You actually don’t want to do that with a lawnmower. It’s got powerful blades, its cutting grass. So what you’ll do is you’ll put a wire around…using stakes and a wire. It’s a little more work, took about an hour and a half to lay the wire out on this small plot on this grass. And then you have a docking station, just like you do for the Roomba. The Robomow goes into the docking station, plugs in, charges up, they say you can leave it outside, but it’d probably be better to leave it under an eave so it’s not getting fully rained on. It does have controls so you can control it. You can say hey, go mow the lawn every Sunday, or every day if you want. And it will actually mow the lawn. The first thing it does though, when you first use it, is it wonders the perimeter. It follows that wire to get a sense of what is the area? They say we don’t go up hills, it really needs to be, a couple of things, if you’re going to use this it should be a flat plot of land. They say it could do 1200 square meters. Notice the meters. This is a European company, because a lot of instructions felt like they were written by Europeans. But that’s fine, you can understand them. You just might want to make sure you’re getting it from somebody who can repair them, or replace it locally because you don’t want to have to ship this back to Stupengin, or wherever. There’s the blades. They’re not, you know, my John Deere had bigger blades. My Regular mower had regular blades. But they’re sufficient. You wouldn’t want to cut weeds with these. This is really designed for one thing, a simple plot of lawn that you want to keep manicured, but you don’t want to mow it yourself. So I see the natural user for this is perhaps an older person who just wants the lawn to stay mowed without having those annoying kids come and giving them 5 bucks each time. It can’t be complicated, we have a hillside and we didn’t want the robomower to have to go up the hill. It can’t really. It’s for a very specific area. If there’s a fountain, a tree, if there’s stuff in there, it gets too complicated the robomow isn’t going to do a good job for that. So this is for a very specific group of people. You’ve got to have money to spend because it’s 1600 bucks. And you’re going to want somebody to set it up, because it takes a considerable amount of time. That’s what I had Burke do. You also might want to be careful if you’ve got pets. Because the Robomow with pets or children, there’s always that risk. This thing is a high powered lawnmower and its autonomic. So you know. Well just use your imagination. It’s probably a good idea not to use this… use this in a fenced yard where you don’t have people or children or anybody wondering it. I’d hate to see a kid go up and say, oh what’s that? That’d be a little bit nerve wracking. So pros, it does what it says it’ll do. It’s an automated lawnmower. It’s kind of cool, just like the iRobot. I thought the cool factor is very high. Especially when your neighbors see it. Oh but watch out, here comes my landscaper! He’s not real happy about the fact that I might be using the robomow instead of him! Don’t worry Owen! Your job is safe, this doesn’t weed, it doesn’t prune trees. It doesn’t whack weeds, it doesn’t even work on a hill side, it’s just for a very specific small plot of simple lawn. It does do that. The cons, it’s very expensive, it’s very limited in its capability, and while we didn’t use it for every long, I can imagine that just like the Roomba, there’s going to be a considerable amount of fussing with it, or playing attention to it, and the biggest problem here is if it doesn’t make it back to its charging station, which it did for us. It’s supposed to automatically go back to charging when it’s done, it’s very heavy! It’s about 50 lbs. So you’re not going to want to lift it and move it on your own. You’re going to need to get a gardener in to move it. So given all of that, I have to say it’s probably not a … probably a do not buy. But there are some very limited people who probably could get something out of this. And I think for an older person with a simple lawn, and they just really don’t want to pay any attention to this it might do a pretty good job. By the way, it preserved our lawn sprinkler heads, it didn’t bonk into them or anything like that. You can adjust how tightly it will crop the grass to your needs. Get some exercise, get a real mower and just go out there and mow your own lawn. That’s my advice to you.
Hey, thank you Tonya Hall, Thank you Cranky Hippo. Bryan Burnett. Hey congratulations, Bryan got married since I was here last! To the lovely Shara Lease.
Bryan: Aw, thanks Leo.
Leo: Congratulations. That’s wonderful, did you have a nice wedding?
Bryan: I did! It went by really fast!
Leo: Good. Did you get the card we sent?
Bryan: I did! Thank you, that was very nice.
Leo: Just a little Hallmark card. Hey I like to really spend big when it comes to our staff.
Bryan: Hey we got some bed, bath and beyond gift cards, I’m going to use it!
Leo: Congratulations. Also thanks to Aaron Newcomb, to Chad Johnson, to all of you. We do all of Before You Buy every Tuesday afternoon, right after security now, about 3 PM pacific, 6 PM eastern time, 2200 UTC on Twit. Stop by and watch live if you can, but don’t worry. We not only make the whole show available at our website twit.t/byb. We also make it available on our YouTube channel youtbue.com/beforeyoubuy. And we even give you individual reviews, so if there’s somebody interested in one of the products we reviewed, you cans end them a link just to that review. That’s on youtube.com/beforeyoubuy. Got some suggestions? We’re always looking for stuff to review, email us firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m Leo Laprote, thanks for joining us! Remember, you’ve got to watch Before You Buy! See you next time!