Seth Weintraub

@llsethj

Seth Weintraub

March 8

I love the SolarTab (original review) and I hit up the German company that makes the huge solar panel/battery the size of an iPad for a coupon for you guys. It’s here! Exclusive Coupon Code SOLTAB35 drops the price $35 to an all time low of $94 shipped at Amazon.

Key Details:

  • 5.5W Solar panel w/dual 2.1A USB ports
  • 13,000mAh battery will provide a few full iPads worth of power when the sun goes out
  • Fits perfectly in bags next to books and iPads
  • Looks great and built to last

Why is the Solartab great? Because it actually works.  If you’ve ever tried to charge your iPhones/iPads/etc. directly from a small solar panel you probably know it is pretty difficult. Even with direct sunlight, you aren’t likely to be able to charge the device reliably or quickly. Most USB-charged devices require a minimum of 5W (5Vx1A) of continuous power to even register a charge. Then a cloud comes or the sun moves and you aren’t charging anymore.

Adding a battery to the mix helps, especially if the battery is big and can charge the device quickly on its own without any sun. But most of the solar/battery combos fall into 2 categories: Either messy because they are a bulky 2 step solution or the solar panel is too small to make a meaningful charge and you are mostly using it like a regular USB battery.

SolarTab is a breath of fresh air here. It is a relatively big 5.5W solar panel built on a thin 13,000mAh battery enclosure that fits in an included Moleskine-esque case. Size-wise, think the original iPad with a nice leather case and a huge solar panel instead of a screen.

This is the perfect large battery for a number of reasons. Because it is so thin, it fits like a book (or iPad!) in a backpack, briefcase or large purse. Most importantly, it always has power. I leave mine on my windowsill  for when I need to go into the city (usually 1-2 times per week). My iPhone and iPad usually die with heavy use so it’s a lifesaver for my trips home. What’s great is that I don’t ever have to plug it in. A few days in the window will have me back to full for my next trip… expand full story

February 29

Amazon offers the “Anker Multi-Functional Car Jump Starter and Portable External Battery Charger with Adapters, Clamps, LED Flashlight, 12V Output and 400A Peak Current” model AK-A1521011 for $99.99. $20 off code DTK446XQ drops it to $79.99 shipped. 

What this is is a large flashlight that has a 2.1A USB port that will quickly charge a phone 2-4 times over with its huge 6000mAh battery pack (erroneously listed elsewhere at 12,000mAh). That battery will also jump start your 3L or smaller engine car 10 times with its 12V jumper cable adapter (It can also be used for other 12V applications). It sounds like a great in car device but it also functions as a safety helper with a hammer head for breaking glass and a bright flashing red beacon light that functions as a flare.

The full 2.4 pound package includes “Anker Multi-Functional Car Jump Starter External Battery, 15V adapter, 15V car adapter, car adapter charging base, jumper clamps, welcome guide, 18-month warranty and friendly customer service”.

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February 23

9to5mac 

February 16

February 13

9to5google 

February 12

February 11

electrek 

Best Buy is now discounting the all-new 4th generation Apple TV by $24. That drops the 32GB model down to $124.99 and the 64GB to $174.99 with free shipping. There are also open-box options available for $116.99 and $161.99 shipped. Target has them on sale, but prices are $4 more at $129 and $179. REDcard holders can save an additional 5%, which brings final prices below Best Buy.

Radio Shack is still offering the current-generation 32GB Apple TV bundled with an HDMI cable for $119.98 + $5.95 shipping. The 64GB model is $169.98 + $5.95 shipping. expand full story

February 3

On Monday we featured what I call a “no-brainer” deal on the “GRDE Explorer 10,000mAh Solar Dual-USB Charger bundled with 2 Mini Lamps“. Coupon code RMAM2NIL still (hurry!) drops it $5.55 to just $12.94 Prime shipped. My rationale for picking this up even though I already have a ton of USB batteries…

It is a mouthful but let me go “ShamWow” on you real quick. At $13, a 10,000mAh dual USB 2A battery is a great deal. But this one is waterproof-ish and rugged too. Plus it has a built in LED light and LED battery indicator. And it has a solar panel on it so you can keep it charged with the sun. That would be a great deal for $13. But “if you act now”, they will throw in 2 USB lamps which you can use on your laptop too (nice if you don’t have backlit keys). At $13, this is a no brainer. I’m buying it just for the USB LED lights they are throwing in – which usually cost more than $13 by themselves.

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Update (2/4 9:30am): Amazon Echo now supports Spotify Premium:

Amazon today announced that Spotify Premium subscribers in the U.S. can now listen to their music on Amazon Echo—just ask Alexa to play any playlist, artist, genre and more from Spotify’s catalog. And because Echo also supports Spotify Connect, customers can effortlessly transfer and control their listening experience from the Spotify app to Echo—just select Echo from the list of available devices within the Spotify app.

Amazon is updating its FireTV/Stick and Echo Smart Home Speaker ahead of the biggest US game of the year. The Fire TV Stick, which is currently on sale for $34.99 shipped (Reg. $40), will now stream audio to Bluetooth headphones “for private listening while watching your favorite movies, TV shows or gaming.” Alexa voice support will be delivered to first generation Fire TV and Fire TV Stick devices.

Amazon will also push improvements to Amazon Video add-on subscription service, including an easier way to sign-up, discover and access your Amazon Video add-on subscriptions.

Since the launch of the new Fire TV in September, we’ve added dozens of Alexa skills to Fire TV devices including local search (i.e. the ability to find restaurants in your neighborhood), Amazon Choice and Re-Ordering from Amazon.com (i.e. quickly purchasing items off Amazon.com), home automation (i.e. turning on the living room lights via Alexa), traffic (i.e. find out how your commute to work is looking), Audible, games like Jeopardy!, Bingo, and more

Probably the coolest new feature coming to Amazon’s Echo Speaker is the ability to order pizza – you know, for the Super Bowl – with your voice…from the couch…without pulling out your phone! Even better, Newegg offers $5 off a $25 Domino’s gift card via email delivery, so you aren’t going to be paying full price either.

Head below for the details. expand full story

Update: The price is now $122.99 shipped.

Amazon offers the Seagate Slim 4TB portable hard drive bundled with 200GB of cloud storage for $119.99 with free shipping.  That’s $60 off retail and the lowest price we’ve seen for this very portable hard drive with massive 4TB of space. It is USB 3 fast and is bus powered meaning you don’t need to carry around power cables and it fits in a jacket/purse/bag pocket for convenient transport. Over 5,000 Amazon reviewers love this even at higher prices giving it an impressive 4.5/5 star rating.

In addition, Seagate offers 200GB of cloud storage for 2 years using its OneDrive account.  expand full story

9to5mac 

February 1

Update (2/16 5:20pm): Here are some fresh USB/Jump Starter deals. You must select OXA USA COM (w/ fulfillment by Amazon) as the seller and use coupon code UCSB794Q during checkout. Free shipping is available for Prime members and on orders of $35+.

Every few months, a new category of technology products emerge at unthinkable prices. Whether it is because of a new chipset or fresh manufacturing techniques or other inventions, it takes the market by storm.  A few years ago it was Bluetooth speakers dropping in price and which are now almost ubiquitous for a few bucks each. Recently, I’ve seen LED desk lamps with USB ports from a few different manufacturers (current favs: Omaker and Anker) drop drastically in price and get USB ports alongside a variety of designs.

Probably the biggest “category buster” going on right now are USB batteries that have been retrofitted with heavy-gauge jumper cables to be able to start cars. It is a great secondary use for a USB product that is already ubiquitous. (Solar is another). Batteries that can jumpstart a car were previously heavy and used dangerous lead acid, with costs hitting over $100.

My favorites in this product category is from Bestek, a company that is also one of my top auto-inverter manufacturers – and probably why they are so good at this.

I’ve been using two of their products for a month in each of my cars. Apply the color-specific promo code to lock in a special discounted price.

  • BESTEK 300A Peak Current Car Jump Starter w/ 5600mAh Power Bank: $34.99 (Reg. $40)
    • Black5VXFE6I6  
    • RedD5DZPWUZ (above left)
  • BESTEK 600A Peak Current Portable Car Jump Starter w/ 10,000mAh Power Bank: $54.99 (Reg. $63)

(un)Fortunately, I haven’t had a dead battery situation to test its capability. I did disconnect my car battery and was easily able to start my car (2012 Prius) with each of these batteries – which seems to fit the bill.  If you have larger than a 3L engine, you’ll want to opt for the bigger 600A capable battery. Each of these is rated in the double digits in starts but hopefully just one will be enough.

Both chargers will also keep your USB devices charged in an emergency. If you have the extra money, I’d throw down for the larger, rugged battery. The 600A battery has an extra fast USB charging port, is more rugged, will start a much larger car and the LED light (that also comes in handy in an emergency!) is much brighter. The larger model also comes with a very nice carrying case.

But USB Batteries serve a secondary purpose in a car: I keep a battery permanently connected to my car plug which means it is always charged. When I need my phone charged, I simply plug it into the secondary battery. That means that it keeps charging at a 2.1A rate even when the car is off. If I need to, I can grab the battery and take it with me for an power supply.

Like I said before, Bestek isn’t the only player in this game, and this being 9to5toys there are some really good deals on this category below:

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9to5google 

January 31

Amazon offers the GRDE 10,000mah Solar Phone Charger bundled with with 2 Mini Lamps Portable Outdoor Solar Power Bank Dual USB Battery Charger External Backup Power Pack in Orange for $18.49. Coupon code RMAM2NIL drops it $5.55 to just $12.94 Prime shipped

It is a mouthful but let me go “ShamWow” on you real quick. At $13, a 10,000mAh dual USB 2A battery is a great deal. But this one is waterproof-ish and rugged too. Plus it has a built in LED light and LED battery indicator. And it has a solar panel on it so you can keep it charged with the sun. That would be a great deal for $13. But “if you act now”, they will throw in 2 USB lamps which you can use on your laptop too (nice if you don’t have backlit keys). At $13, this is a no brainer. I’m buying it just for the USB LED lights they are throwing in – which usually cost more than $13 by themselves.

Amazon Reviewers give it 4/5 stars. Features:

  • Dual USB Port: 2A USB port for iPad/Tablets, 1A USB ports for cell phones or other electronic devices
  • 10000mah power bank equipped with a compact solar panel
  • LED flashlight and 4 LED charge indicator shows the charging and discharging process
  • Rain/Splash-proof design ensures the device functions smoothly when it’s raining, also shock-proof

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January 24

electrek 

January 15

Last month, I received the EasyAcc 7.2A 3 USB Ports Charging Desktop Power Strip with 2 Electrical AC Power Sockets Surge Protector Charging Station Power Supply which is at Amazon for $35.99. 9to5Toys Coupon code XM2RCCXO drops it to just $25 shipped (Reg. $35)expand full story

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