Update (7/2 11:55am): Amazon’s Gold Box deal has now expired. The iStick is currently priced at $19.99 + $2.54 shipping.
Update (7/1 3:50pm):
Amazon has discounted the Mpow Selfie Stick even further. It’s now just $10.50 Prime shipped.
Mpow gave me their iStick Selfie stick last month and I’ve used it with a number of phones big and small. On the small side, I’ve tried the Moto E and iPhone 4s without a case. But the stick expands so big that it can take small tablets like the Samsung Mega. It is strong enough to hold an iPhone 6 with a big battery case (see image, top). The fit is tight and it can be swung around pretty violently without losing its grip on your device.
More importantly, it is designed so that when the phone isn’t attached, it can flip around and fit in your pocket when the telescoping arm is closed (so maybe you CAN sneak it into Disney World!). This is the big differentiator.
The Bluetooth connectivity is easy to set up on both iOS and Android and it easily connects to multiple devices. Once connected, a thumb push on the button snaps a picture using the phone’s native camera or 3rd party camera app.
The iStick includes a wrist strap to help prevent droppage and has 3 different color microUSB charging ports if you want to differentiate.
The only downside? It is a selfie stick. Call it a Mono-pod if you can’t bear it.
Today only, Amazon’s Gold Box has the iStick for $13.99 Prime shipped which is such a good deal, you’ll want to buy one for everyone you know that wants to take selfies.
For other styles, check out our roundup of the best selfie sticks for your iPhone.
I’ve been using the Eton Scorpion II Model NSP101WXGR Rugged for over a month now. Eton specializes in making durable emergency weather radios and this is their new “everything portable model”. In the small package, it contains:
- A STRONG.5W LED flashlight. Lots of USB batteries contain LED flashlights now. This one is brighter than all of the others’ put together. It is a real flashlight as opposed to a pen/key light.
- Receives AM/FM/NOAA Weatherband radio. The radio is great with the antenna pulled out pulling in many stations. I don’t like the design of the buttons (would almost be impossible to navigate in the dark) and the speaker isn’t great. Overall a win though because you are trying not to die not hear the “midtones and lows”.
- The digital Tuner also has a clock which turns on any time you hit a button.
- It is super small, portable and rugged with a cool green tone design. I love the design and it is totally droppable and water resistant.
- 5V 1A USB output charges smartphones with a 800 mAh lithium battery. This isn’t huge but will give you a few hours in a crunch. Even more impressive, there are 3 ways to charge the battery: hand crank, Solar and MicroUSB. The solar isn’t going to keep your iPhone charged, but it will keep the device ready for when you need it in a window. The hand crank will charge your phone. Like a fishing reel, about 20 cranks will add a bar of battery to the device. I think you could probably operate the emergency radio on solar alone.
- Bottle opener – because just because the lights are out doesn’t mean you should stop the party.
So I see two use cases for this device. One is an emergency device that you keep at home in a window solar charged for when your power goes out. That’s where I used it.
However, with the carabiner and the ruggedness, I think i this is geared toward campers and cars where it can clip to your backpack and provide you with lights, radio and extra power (bottle opener) when you need it.
Amazon today announced that its Echo smart speaker is available for purchase for $179.99 shipped with delivery times extended out until mid-July (initial shipments to be delivered sooner). The original price was $199.99 but initial Prime testers got one for $99.99.
The Echo is the highly acclaimed “Siri in a speaker” that allows users to get information with only voice. iOS and Android apps allow you to configure Echo from your smartphone as well.
- Information, music, audiobooks, news, weather, traffic, sports, and more–instantly
- Controlled by your voice for hands-free convenience
- Far-field voice recognition hears you from across the room
- Connected to the cloud so it’s always getting smarter
- 360º omni-directional audio to fill the room with immersive sound
- Compatible with Belkin WeMo and Philips Hue connected devices to control lights and switches with your voice
- Plays music from Amazon Music, Prime Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more
- Also functions as a highly capable bluetooth speaker for all of your other gadgets.
Amazon just dropped their price on Seagate Backup Plus Hard drives to $249.99 for 8TB Model (STDT8000100) and $199.99 for 6TB, the lowest prices we’ve ever seen on these very large USB storage. The prices are the lowest we can find by as much as $50. These external hard drives with a unique blue underside for advanced cooling get 4.2/5 star ratings from Amazon reviewers and feature fast USB 3 bus, 1 year warranty and Mac and Windows compatibility.
Note Amazon also drops the price of the just released Seagate Expansion 5TB Desktop External Hard Drive USB 3.0 model STEB5000100 (pictured above)to $133.99 shipped. That’s the lowest we could find and one of the lowest prices we’ve seen on a 5TB external USB hard drive at Amazon.
The Bose Soundlink Mini is the best-sounding Bluetooth speaker of its size to my ears and I’ve tested quite a few. The sound is simply unbelievable and Amazon’s reviewers confirm my experience.
But it had some drawbacks in convenience that others like JBL and Ultimate Ears were able to capitalize on to make more “Well rounded” speakers. Bose had a proprietary AC charger, it couldn’t be used as a speakerphone, its battery life was mediocre and it also could only pair with one device at a time.
We knew something was up last month when Bose dropped the price of the Soundlink Mini to $179 across the board and today we find out that our gripes above have been addressed with the Soundlink Mini II.
What’s new? We got just about everything we wanted and frankly expected when Bose released the smaller feature rich $129 Soundlink Color. Bose now lets you charge with the standard MicroUSB plug. That means you can use USB computer ports and plugs, external batteries and a whole ecosystem of products you already have to keep the Soundlink Mini II charged. Paradoxically, you won’t need to charge it as often because it now has an almost double-sized battery and playing time now rated at a more premium 10 hours. It will continue to have a charger stand which I found very convenient in the previous model.
The Mini II also now has a mic, allowing you to make speakerphone calls. I haven’t tried it (review is on the way) but I imagine Bose has taken great care to eliminate echo and blow out its noise canceling technologies with this product. I really can’t wait.
Bluetooth pairing has also improved with it remembering 8 devices and actually pairing two at the same time. Also voice commands help with the pairing process.
Finally Bose has added some cosmetic touches including an updated beveled accent and a micro-perforated steel grille (though no mention of water resistance/proofing). I didn’t really ask for these but will take them.
This is guaranteed a winner with pre-orders starting today at Bose.com for the same $199 price point and shipping from authorized retailers on June 21st. Prices on the original Mini stood firm during its whole run so there seems to be little reason to wait on this one, unless you want to get our review which we hope to have up by the time they go on sale.
Remaining gripes are few but there is no USB out to charge your phone like the JBL Charge II and the form factor isn’t quite as convenient as the Charge II or UE Boom (cup holder form factor FTW). Also water resistance again like the Boom or JBL Charge would be a cherry on top. The tradeoff is of course sound which we know the Bose Soundlink Mini IIwill blow the others “out of the water” (Son, that’s a water proofing joke).
Bose Press release and additional images follow: expand full story
Amazon offers the Kingtop 5500 DPI Optical Gaming USB Mouse with 7 Button Side Control 5 Respiring LED for $12.99 shipped. Coupon code X5Q42ZJM drops it 30% more to just $9.09 with free Prime shipping. That’s the lowest price gaming mouse we’ve seen and although we’re not extremely familiar in the Kingtop brand, it gets very impressive 4.6/5 star reviews from Amazon reviewers. This Mac/PC gaming mouse features many programmable buttons, braided cord and ergonomic design and comes with a 30 money back guarantee and a 1 year warranty. expand full story
Amazon offers the popular and well-rated Anker Bluetooth Ultra-Slim Keyboard for $12.99 Prime shipped. The very portable keyboard works with any Bluetooth enabled device including iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, Chrome/Android devices and Windows PCs. Available in
Apple Aluminum style and black, it gets 4.4/5 star ratings and lasts for 3 months on 2 AAA batteries, (pick up a few here)
- Cross Compatible: Works with iOS, Android, Mac and Windows, with shortcut keys for all four systems.
- Lightweight & Compact: A third smaller than traditional clunky keyboards and as light as a billiard ball (6.7oz).
- Comfortable Keys: Type quietly and effortlessly on comfortable, low-profile keys.
- Low Power Consumption: Lasts over three months (based on two hours use per day) with power-saving mode and space for two AAA batteries (not included).
- What You Get: Anker Bluetooth Ultra Slim Bluetooth Keyboard, welcome guide, our fan-favorite 18-month warranty and friendly customer service.
The reason the price is so low is that Anker just released a new smaller microUSB rechargeable model which is only $19.99, still a great deal, especially when you consider the price of replacing batteries. expand full story