Category Archives: Gadgets

Anker PowerCore Slim 5000

A few year or so back now I got an Anker PowerCore Slim 5000 for customer review. I did a review on amazon but well it never showed up and now trying to add the review on Amazon is broken, thanks! But I still use this battery bank from time to time when I need to charge my phone while on the go. Lets first go over some of the specs and then I will give some of my opinions.

  • Dimensions: 4.9 x 2.5 x 0.4in
  • Weight: 126g/4.27oz
  • Output: 5V, 2A max through a standard USB plug
  • Input: 1A max through a micro USB plug
  • Colors: Black, Blue, Red rubberized case
  • Capacity: 5000mAh
  • Charging Speed: Anker PowerIQ auto detect charging
  • Charges: 1-2 cellphone charges based on what phone you have
  • In the Box: Power Core Slim 5000, micro USB cable, travel pouch, quick start card
  • Price $29.99
  • Buy: Amazon

This battery pack I have used for some time, it seems to do a good job topping of a phone while you are not near a plug, it’s also light and thin so if you have to stick it in your pocket with your phone it is not restrictive. The size is good for at least charging most cell phones mostly or fully. I would like higher amps on the output but it’s ok because you can leave this connected while your moving easy enough. They like to show it pressed up next to an iPhone but it works with any phone, and you would need your own cable for an iPhone because it only comes with a short micro USB used for charging the pack or charging a devices. The travel pouch is a nice touch, I keep the cable and battery in it.

For the price of $30, good capacity, quality brand, and super slim design, I would say you should keep one of these in your bag even if you don’t run out of battery often. When I travel I do carry a larger Anker battery pack and 2-3 different Anker chargers but this one is a good always have option. The new colors are nice if you are into that too. Check out the photos and buy it on Amazon using the links.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, in the coming months of 2013 there will be a large amount of new tech news with CES13 coming up when big tech companies try to sell suppliers there new products they will make available this year. This brings new tablets, tvs, computers, phones, and lots of other gadgets.
Hope you have a good year, and Tek4.Me will be here to bring you tech news that is useful, while getting things back up and going now that the holidays are over. Were working to get more content every day.

Field Trip – iPad Mini, Mac Book Pro Retina, Kindle Fire HD, Nokia Lumia 822

Just took a Field Trip to the Verizon and Best Buy stores after lunch today, I’m going to call these posts Field Trips because I have to go out and play with new tech. Some of the main things I played with at the store were the iPad Mini, MacBook Pro with Retina display, Kindle Fire HD, and Nokia Lumia 822. I also played with some of the ASUS gaming laptops and a dead Samsung Chromebook.

While these aren’t the best settings for playing with them because I could not spend a lot of time playing and they were tethered to the display I did my best just playing with them. I also would like to get some of these in as review units or if some donations come in for a specific product I would review it also.

iPad Mini looks nice and would be a great smaller screen iPad if you don’t already have the newer full size iPad, I wouldn’t think you would need both. Check out the full mini review.

Mac Book Pro with Retina Display is a very powerful laptop computer, and with the higher resolution screen it looked nice but is it going to be worth the extra $500 or so for that nicer screen. I liked how it worked and had the older model side by side and couldn’t see much difference other than the Retina had more contrast, I’m sure more using it from the older model you may see a difference. Read the full mini review for more.

Kindle Fire HD is a good device for consuming Amazon content but it doesn’t seem as powerful as a Nexus 7 that I am use to. More in the mini review.

Nokia Lumia 822 is one of the flagship Windows Phone 8 devices while it has smooth operation and looked good, Windows Phone 8 seemed empty and just lacking in non-core apps even from a display model. See what I saw in the mini review.

Those are the big ones I played with but I did look over some other devices such as the ASUS gaming laptop that had good specs and all the keyboard was kind of clunky and seemed overpriced for what I could get a Mac Book for almost the same specs. I also don’t like Windows 8 all that much on a non-tablet or touch screen.

The Samsung Chromebook was set up kind of off to the side in an under equipped display that only had one left in a box that looked like it was taped closed after being opened at Best Buy I wanted to see it work but the system said click to start but I only got a spinning indicator and even after trying to power cycle it nothing came up so I left not knowing how things will work on that system. Too bad because I wanted to know how the system performed but bad displays will not sell these even with a low price tag.
New Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Google Nexus 7 OTA 4.1.2

Lots of users over at XDA-Developers Forum have started to get an update for their Google Nexus 7 tablets, this updates brings Android 4.1.2 Jellybean to the device. This isn’t a big update from what people have seen, it seems to increase performance and stability of the tablet along with bug fixes. The only real visible change is the ability to rotate the home screen in landscape mode. Below is a post on the Android Building Group.

We’re releasing Android 4.1.2 to AOSP today, which is a minor update on top of 4.1.1.

As a note to maintainers of community builds running on Nexus 7: please update to 4.1.2 at the first opportunity. Future variants of the grouper hardware will have a minor change in one of the components (the power management chip) that will not be compatible with 4.1.1.

The build number is JZO54K, and the tag is android-4.1.2_r1.

Enjoy,
Conley and JBQ


Jean-Baptiste M. “JBQ” Queru
Technical Lead, Android Open Source Project, Google.

I have been setting my Nexus 7 to look for an update but none yet for me, but thanks to user PTzero of XDA you can download the update from Google’s servers and flash the update yourself if you want. If you are like me you may just do this, and is reported to keep ROOT on your tablet if you have done that like I have. Otherwise wait a day or so and it should update your device.

Images from: EE Times

Second-Generation Nest Thermostat

Nest announced today that they have an update to the Nest Thermostat that makes it compatible with 95% of low voltage heating and cooling systems, along with a slimmer unit, and updated software. The Nest is a “learning thermostat” that is connected to the internet, it tracks your settings such as when you come home and want your house warmer or when you are gone and don’t want the heat up. You can also control the thermostat from an iOS device or Android device, the App shows things like current temperature, set the system to heat or cool, setup schedules, or see statistics of your heating or cooling use.

The updated software on the new Nest adds better controls for forced air systems that start in the morning, better energy savings on radiant heat systems, and support for heat pump systems and other extra add-ons to different systems. They also updated the mobile apps for the new features and support for Android tablets.

The new Nest can be pre-ordered for $249 and ship later in October, and will be available on Amazon.com, Apple online store, and in Lowe’s stores. The updated Nest Software 3.0 will be updating existing Nest thermostats tonight.

iPod Nano 7G, Touch 5G, EarPods

Apple updated there iPod line of devices this morning with a new iPod Touch 5th generation, iPod Nano 7th generation, and introduced a new headphone design that is supposed to be better for listing and fitting into your ears. They also put out some numbers like they normally do with these announcements. They have sold over 350 million iPods, 600 million earbuds shipped, and have 150 million players on their Game Center platform. There will also be an update to iTunes in October on both iOS and Desktops.

The 7th generation iPod Nano will have a larger 2.5 inch display that supports multi touch, and is 38% thinner than the Nano 6th generation. The front only has a single home button that is common on most iOS devices. There is also a built in FM tuner that supports a “DVR” functionality. This Nano also has Bluetooth built in for wireless headphones and devise. They claim 30 hours of audio playback on a charge and will come in 7 colors including aluminum, black, purple, green, blue, yellow, and red. It only comes in one size of 16GB, and has the new Lightning connector and EarPods for earphones.

Also the 5th generation iPod Touch was announced with the same 4 inch screen that the iPhone 5 will come out with and weights 88 grams. The A5 dual-core processer is powering the devices with a clammed 7x improvement in graphics performance from the 4th generation iPod Touch. There is a 5 MP 1080p rear camera that supports the new panoramic mode and has an LED Flash, and the front camera is 720p HD and can be used for video chat. One of the other big things they seemed excited about was a wrist strap that they call the iPod Touch Loop, that could be good for if you have a kid or clumsy person using this. For WIFI it has the same WIFI as the iPhone 5 with A/B/G/N on 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz with speeds up to 150 Mbps along with Bluetooth 4.0 with LE. It will ship with iOS 6 in a 16 and 32 GB model in 5 colors, aluminum, black, blue, yellow, and red.

Finally they made a big deal that they have updated there old crummy earbuds with new ones called EarPods. These were developed to fit in your ear better and not be uncomfortable even with lots of different shapes of ears. They also made it so the speaker inside points into your ear better too give a better sound. This was the only product that was announced today and is shipping today.

Now for prices and availability of the new products announced.

iPod Nano 7G iPod Touch 5G EarPods
16GB for $149 16GB $199, 32GB $299 For $29
Pre-Order September 14

Available in October

Available in October Available Now

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon updated there Kindle e-ink book reader today with a backlit LCD at 212ppi display. They say it gives 62% more pixels and 25% more contrast. They also talked about how the battery life on this is going to be up to 8 weeks with the backlight on. The interface has been updated with better touch controls along with what they call X-Ray to look up more information on a word. Wispersync for voice now syncs your books with audiobooks so you can read and listen at the same time or just listen then sync to text to read.

They also updated the previous Kindle e-ink reader with faster page turns and higher contrast displays. Prices are reasonable as usual, and also include a 3G version for the people that don’t have access to WIFI all the time.

Paperwhite 3G Paperwhite WIFI Kindle
$179 with Offers $119 with Offers $69 with Offers
$199 without Offers $139 without Offers $89 without Offers
Ships October 1 2012 Ships October 1 2012 Now Available Worldwide

Nook Color & Nook Tablet Price Cut

Barns & Noble just posted new lower prices for their Nook Color and Nook Tablet. These 7-inch tablets are built using Android OS and have a good amount of power for reading books, watching streaming video and playing music. This lower price is most likely a response to slowing sales of the now lower powered tablet and the introduction of new tablets such as the Google Nexus 7 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. This also follows reports of Amazon Kindle Fire sales dropping off.

If you’re looking for a cheaper reading tablet the prices are now $159 for the Nook Color, $199 for the 16GB and $179 for the 8GB version of the Nook Color. But I would say you may just want to spend the extra or the same amount on a Nexus 7 and get more power and the full and new Android 4.1.

Google Nexus 7 Hands On

Got my Nexus 7 a few hours ago and after spending some time with it I am very impressed with the performance and how nice of a device it is. First thinking after getting it out of the box, and no I didn’t have the hard time that every unboxing video seemed to show about how the box was a hard thing to open, I turned it on and it was saying I had only 6% battery. That is kind of a bummer because you will spend a long time waiting for it to charge up, after about 2 hours charging on my old Nexus One charger I am only at 32%, and it will charge my Galaxy Nexus in about 1 ½ hours. It may be faster now that I’m using the supplied charger.

As for the software you will have to update a lot of the stock apps right away, and there is an Android 4.1.1 update that you will need to do, but will have to wait until you get your device to above 25% battery. If you are an Android user already you will probably have a set of apps to install this takes time because you end up scrolling through a list of every app you have installed on any device using the Play Store to get the ones you want. I got a lot of news and reading apps loaded along with some video apps such as Netflix and Hulu along with my music apps like DI.FM and SKY.FM.

Because I got it from the Play Store I got a $25 credit that showed up in my email after I logged into the Nexus 7. It also came with Transformers: Dark of the Moon as a free movie to show how it works, and it streamed easy and fast over my Cable Internet connection. It also came with some magazines that you can look at. The Popular Science that they give you was nice, you can go to a page and then zoom in on a piece of text and it makes it look good, or you can just read the text in a different layout without the images though.

I did open the Kindle book app and look it over, it was nice on the bigger screen I have used it on a phone but didn’t seem to want to read much because it was a lot of page scrolling and not much reading, and on my big ASUS EP121 Windows Tablet it was nice but too big and heavy, but I did like it on the Nexus 7. As for Google Books I loaded the manual but it was spending a lot of time loading the next page trying to scroll though the book, that problem went away after letting it finish downloading the book.

Using apps like Flipboard and Currents was nice to read news and articles. Also using Chrome as a web browser was nice because it displayed content like a desktop but easily zoomed in when the text was too small to read easy. Google+ is also optimized for a tablet experience but Facebook was just an expanded mobile version.
The sound from the speaker was ok for watching YouTube and having some music playing but wasn’t that good that you wouldn’t want to have some headphones for longer listening sessions. The microphone was able to pick up my speech to text input easy enough using the Google Now cards and search. As for the camera you don’t get a full Camera app, but you can install other camera apps or use one called “Camera Launcher for Nexus 7” that will add an icon to use the Jelly Bean camera. Also some camera apps such as Camera ZOOM FX won’t install. The quality of the camera was ok and only good enough for video chat and things like that any ways.

As an update to the battery charging make sure you use the supplied charger it took me 45 minutes to work through this article and I went from 32% to 51% in the time I started to getting to this point, so the charge time isn’t that bad with the right charger.

Overall I like the Nexus 7 and expect to have lots of fun with it, I think I’ll get a case for it, Amazon.com had a few that have the magnets to make it wakeup and sleep depending on if the cover is open or closed like the iPad “not so” magic cover that only cost $20. So if you were thinking of getting a Nexus 7 go ahead and get it, the price is right at $199 and the hardware is good!

Google Nexus 7

Nexus 7 TabletBack at Google IO12 the Nexus 7 was introduced as the reference tablet for Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The price was set at $199 for 8GB and $249 for 16GB model. It has a 7 inch screen, Android 4.1 and a quad-core processer all top of the line but in an inexpensive package. This was made to show other device makers what type of device Google wants to see made.

After seeing the power of the device and that I have wanted an Android based tablet I ordered one as a gift to myself for getting though school. It arrives tomorrow but I thought to give an overview of the specs and my thoughts on the device. I will add an update when I get mine up and running.

So what are the details?

7″ IPS back lit HD screen, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, 8 or 16 GB of internal storage, 1 GB RAM, Quad-core Tegra 3 processor, ~8 hours battery life, WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPS, and Micro USB.

Ok that was a lot of stuff, but what really matters is that it has a fast processer on a good looking screen with lots of internal goodies. At this point there is no 3G/4G networking option, and the only camera is a 1.2 MP on the front, but from reports there is space in the device for a rear camera and 3G antennas already built in.

So if you’re looking to get a tablet for a nice price with good specifications and the latest software this is a good device to look into. Even iPad fans that love there Apple devices think that this is a good tablet to have.

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