Review of the ALLDOCK 2015 Universal Charging Station by Dittrich Design

alldock

What we love…

Elegant design, hides cable clutter, well made,  one handed docking option, fast charging of 4 devices

Summary

I really like the design of the walnut ALLDOCK 2015, it is a much more elegant design than most charging stations and and looks good enough to have on display in my living room or on my office desk. It is powerful enough to charge even 4 iPads at once and versatile enough to use with a variety of different devices. The one-handed docking works very well and like how the one-handed docking adapter and Apple Watch mount via hidden magnets

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

German Design Studio Dittrich Design launched the original ALLDOCK Charging Station via a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014, and have recently launched a new and improved version the ALLDOCK 2015 on Kickstarter. I had the opportunity to test out the medium sized ALLDOCK 2015 in walnut and the optional one-handed docking adapter, ALLDOCK micro-USB cables and Apple Watch Mount.

The number of products that charge via USB in my household seems to multiply almost daily so we are constantly charging devices and accessories. Between iPhones, iPads, Kindles, digital cameras and a huge assortment of accessories we are constantly juggling charging stations and wires and often end up with a tangled mess! The ALLDOCK 2015 from aims to change all that with a sleek, elegant design that hides all the cables.

Design

It is in essence a wooden box with a wooden grid on top, and a 4-port charging station hidden beneath the grid. The walnut has a nice grain to it and it is finished well, smooth to the touch with nicely rounded corners and hidden joints. The wooden grid rests on an interior shelf so the top of the grid is flush with the top of the box. The grid simply lifts off to access the charging station underneath if you need to change the cables in use. There are 4 slots in the grid with three cutouts in each slot. Charging cables can be threaded out through any of the slots, additionally the centre slots are designed to fit the “one-handed docking adapters” and the right side slots can fit their Apple Watch Mount ( and appears to be designed so they can add extra mount options in future.)

I tested out the one-handed docking adapter, ALLDOCK micro-USB cables and Apple Watch Mount with the ALLDOCK. Both the one-handed docking adapter and the Apple Watch Mount attach to the charging station via hidden magnets- which keeps them in place without detracting from the sleek look of the charging station. I really love the one- handed docking- it is much easier than fiddling with inserting a cable in a charging port. Having the capability to add the Apple Watch Mount to the charger is a nice feature. The ALLDOCK micro-USB cables are much shorter than regular charging cables so you don’t have any excess wires curled up inside the box. You can use regular cables too but may need to use some type of tie to keep the excess cable tidy.

The 3 front slots are all the same width- approximately 15mm and worked well with my iPhone and Android phones in cases and without, it also fit my iPad Air 2 and iPad mini in fairly slim cases. The rear slot is wider- approximately 19mm and is wide enough to fit my iPad 2 or 3 in a protective case such as the Trident Kracken, the iPad 3 in a Gumdrop case was a snugger fit but did still work and felt stable in the slot. You can also bring charging cables out to the side for items such as headphones or digital cameras that don’t fit in the slots.

Charging:

The ALLDOCK 2015 has had an upgrade to the charging unit as well compared to the previous model, so that it is more energy efficient. It has 4 charging outlets each capable of delivering up to 5v/2.4A, and the total output is 5v/10A, this means that you can charge 4 high demand devices such as 4 iPads at the same time at full charging speed.

 

Summary

Overall, I really like the design of the walnut ALLDOCK 2015, it is a much more elegant design than most charging stations and and looks good enough to have on display in my living room or on my office desk. It is powerful enough to charge even 4 iPads at once and versatile enough to use with a variety of different devices. The one-handed docking works very well and like how the one-handed docking adapter and Apple Watch mount via hidden magnets. The wood of the case is beautifully finished with a smooth finish, rounded edges and hidden joints. The front slots work well for smartphones or newer tablets such as the iPad Air or mini and will work with the tablet in a case if it isn’t too bulky, the rear slot will fit an iPad 2/3/4 even in a protective case.

  • The ALLDOCK 2015 is available now on Kickstarter and it is a great time to get it at a discount. I would recommend the ALLDOCK 2015 for anyone looking for an elegant, versatile, powerful charging solution for multiple devices, I would also recommend adding on the one-handed docking adapters. The Apple Watch Mount is a nice add on if you have an Apple Watch. You can use your own cables, but getting the short micro USB or lightning cables will make it easier to organize.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.



Review of the NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band WiFi Router – Fast Wi-Fi Connection and Lots of Extra Features



NightHawk

Summary…

The Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Router is the first Tri-band router from NETGEAR, and has one 2.4GHz and two 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands. It is designed to improve your Wi-Fi speed by intelligently connecting each of your devices to the Wi-Fi band where it can connect at the best possible speed

I have been very impressed with the NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band WiFi Router, not only has it improved our home Wi-Fi speeds but it was easy to set up, works well with our Apple devices and has lots of extra features- many of which I am still discovering.

recommended-by-the-imums

NetGear Ambassaodor

Disclaimer: I am a NETGEAR Ambassador and I received this product in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion and review.

The Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Router is the first Tri-band router from NETGEAR, and has one 2.4GHz and two 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands. It is designed to improve your Wi-Fi speed by intelligently connecting each of your devices to the Wi-Fi band where it can connect at the best possible speed. My internet is via DSL and we live quite a long way from the hub so we have relatively poor Wi-Fi speed, which can cause problems in our household with internet connectivity, so I was interested to test out the Nighthawk X6 to see how it performed.

Installation

I have never installed a Wi-Fi router before, my husband installed our previous router – an Apple Airport Express, so this was an ideal opportunity to see how easy the X6 is to install for a novice. The X6 comes with a quick start guide which goes through the installation step-by-step with pictures and was very easy to follow. When unboxing the X6 it did look a little like an Alien spaceship had landed – especially once you extend all 6 antennas, quite a contrast to the simple white box of the AirPort Express.

Disconnecting the Airport express from the Modem, switching off the modem, connecting the X6 and switching back on the modem was very simple. Then I connected the power to the X6 and switched it on. The next steps are all done on your computer- you connect to the network via an included ethernet cable or via Wi-Fi and launch a web browser and the NETGEAR Genie will come up to guide you through the rest of the installation process. I found it very straight forward to set up.

When it comes to setting up your Wi-Fi name and password, NETGEAR has already picked a network name (typically NETGEAR plus a number) and Wi-Fi password, these are written on a label on the base of the X6 making it very easy to find if you forget them, yet it is still hidden from anyone visiting the home (unless they pick up your router and look under it!) You can able choose to change the name and/or password if you like. The X6 has a WPS button so it is very quick and easy to connect any device with a WPS button, for other devices you just enter the Wi-Fi name and password as usual.

nighthawk 2

Why Tri-Band?

You may be wondering what the advantage is to having 3 Wi-Fi bands, I was curious about this myself and did some research to find out more. Basically 2.4GHz is the old Wi-Fi standard, but is slow and prone to interference from things such as microwaves and Bluetooth, but you need to have it if you own any older devices so they can still connect to your network. 5.0 GHz is the newer standard and gives faster performance with less interference, but if you have a lot of devices using it at once, especially ones that use a lot of bandwidth such as gaming or TV streaming it can slow the network. The X6 uses a smart connect technology to spread out the demands across 3 bands- 2.4GHz  for the older devices and two 5.0 GHz bands for the newer devices, so that you can get the best performance on each device.

Performance

I must admit my husband was not very supportive when I suggested changing our Airport Express for the X6, he thought: a) it would be a lot of hassle to set up, b) as we are an Apple household with 3 Macs and multiple iOS devices that the NETGEAR X6 probably wouldn’t be set up as well for Mac as the Airport Express, and c) he wasn’t convinced we would see any improvement in performance. He specifically asked me to mention in the review how wrong he was !! It was easy to set up, talks well with our Apple devices, and we have seen a noticeable improvement in Wi-Fi performance since I installed it.

We cut the cable almost a year ago and only have TV via DVD and streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, unfortunately as our internet connection is weak we frequently have times when the streaming services stop working due to a poor connection. Since we installed the X6 this has noticeably improved- I have only seen it happen once in the last 2 weeks, and that was when my husband was doing a large download at the same time as I was watching Netflix. Our download speeds have also noticeably improved – my husband has commented many times that these are the fastest speeds he has seen at our house, our speeds are now typically around 14-15 Mbps, which is noticeably better than we could get before.

Other Features

As well as acting as a smart router the X6 has a bunch of other features you can access via the Genie app on your computer, smartphone or tablet.

You can set up a guest network so you can allow visiting family and friends to access Wi-Fi whilst keeping your network password secure.

It lets you turn any printer into an Airplay printer so that you can print from your iOS devices- this takes seconds to set up.

You can look in the Network Genie app to see what devices are connected to your network and set up to be notified if any new devices connect. It also allows you to disconnect or block individual devices from connecting to the network. You can also see what the current status of your internet connection is and what the signal strength is for different devices.

For Windows computers owners there is also the Readyshare vault back up app which lets you continuously and automatically backup to a hard drive connected to your X6, I could not test this features as it doesn’t work with the Mac.

The NightHawk X6 also has the option to enable parental controls – if these are switched on you can choose from different levels of protection against things such as phishing scams, pornography, illegal activity, adult-related sites and even video sharing sites and social media. You can customize different setting for different times of the day.

The X6 has an option to allow you to connect a USB to the router and then access the content from all the computers on your network. You can also connect a USB with music on it to the X6  and then play it via iTunes server  on your Mac or PC, iOS devices and Apple TV.

Overall, I have been very impressed with the NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band WiFi Router not only has it improved our home Wi-Fi speeds but it was easy to set up, works well with our Apple devices and has lots of extra features- many of which I am still discovering.

RRP $299.99 available from Amazon and other retailers

NETGEAR Genie HD for iPad – NETGEAR

by

Price: $

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Technical Specifications
  • Model # R8000-100NAS
  • Simultaneous Tri-Band WiFi
    -Tx/Rx 3×3 (2.4GHz) + 3×3 (5GHz) + 3×3 (5GHz)
  • Smart Connect intelligently selects the fastest
    WiFi for every device
  • Six (6) high performance external antennas
  • High power amplifiers
  • Implicit & Explicit Beamforming for 2.4 & 5GHz
  • Powerful Dual-Core 1GHz processor
  • Five (5) 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports
    -1 WAN & 4 LAN
  • Memory: 128 MB Flash and 256 MB RAM
  • Two (2) USB ports : 1 USB 3.0 & 1 USB 2.0 port
  • ReadySHARE USB to share your USB
    hard drive & printer
  • IPv6 Support (Internet Protocol Version 6)
  • On/Off LED light switch
    – VPN Support- secure remote access

 

Magic Juice Battery Pack by MOBEE – Review


juicebag

What we love…

Wireless recharging option, 2.4v output

What we’d love to see…

Faster wireless recharging

Summary

If you have a Magic Feet charging station and also have an iPhone or iPad then the Magic Juice is a great additional accessory

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

Magic Juice Battery Pack

We recently reviewed the Magic Feet Charging Station by MOBEE. The induction charging bar of the Magic Feet Charging Station can also be used to recharge the MOBEE Magic Juice  back up battery for iPhone and iPad.

The Magic Juice puts out 2.4A which is powerful enough to charge an iPad or an iPhone (many other backup batteries have a lower output than this). It has a 5200mAh capacity and one output port. It will recharge an iPhone multiple times or give about a 50% boost to an iPad battery. You can charge it via induction on the Magic Feet charger or the Magic Charger or charge it using a USB cable connected to a wall charger or USB port. It is quite compact and easy to carry, weighing under 5 oz and measuring just over 3 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ x 1.”  It comes with a carry bag and MicroUSB -USB charging cable.

I love using backup batteries but I’m not very good at remembering to plug them in to recharge so this is a great solution, I can just leave it on the Magic Feet and grab it when I’m ready to go. One drawback is that is does recharge slowly on the Magic Feet – it takes approximately 30 hours to fully recharge, if I’m just topping the battery up then charging it overnight on the Magic Feet is fine but if I have fully drained it and want it to be completely charged the next morning I use a wall charger instead.

 

juiceiphone

If you have a Magic Feet charging station and also have an iPhone or iPad then the Magic Juice is a great additional accessory. Available from MOBEE.COM RRP $49.95.

 

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

 

 

Energi+ Power Backpack by TYLT – Review


BPBL-T

What we love…

Very well organized, pockets for everything, includes 10,400mAh battery and cables, cable organizing system, great shoulder padding, TSA friendly

What we’d love to see…

Apple lightning cables included, smartphone pocket on shoulder strap

Summary

The Energi+ is an incredibly well designed bag for carrying a Laptop, Smartphone, Tablet and accessories. I love how it is designed to allow you to charge all your devices on the go and you can recharge the battery and devices without ever taking them out of the backpack. It has great padding and pockets for everything!

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

The Energi+ Power Backpack by TYLT  is the most organized electronics backpack I have come across. At first glance it looks like a regular Laptop backpack, but as soon as you start opening zippers and looking inside it becomes obvious that it is much more. As well as having a myriad of different pockets the Energi+ also comes with a 10,400 mAh rechargeable battery, charging cables and a cable organizing system allowing you to charge up to 3 devices at once.

The Pockets

Laptop Pocket

This is the furthest back pocket, it is well padded and large enough to hold my 15″ MacBook Pro. The outer zipper fully opens so that it can be laid flat for TSA screening and a velcro tab keeps the laptop safely in place in its padded pocket as it goes through the x-ray machine.

Charging Station

Opposite the Laptop Pocket (and within the same zippered area) is the charging station. This has an elasticated pocket to fit the included 10,400 mAh battery. The battery has 3 charging outlets- 2 x 1A and 1x 2A. It is charged via a microUSB cable. It has an ingenious cable management system – there are a series of elastic tabs to guide the wires through so that they remain neat and tidy and don’t get tangled. Pass-throughs for the cables are marked in blue, and set up so that cables from the charging area can easily pass through to both side pockets, the tablet pocket and the Protect Pocket. This means you can easily recharge the battery without removing it from the bag and you can charge your tablet, smartphone and accessories all whilst they are safely in their designated pockets. If you are charging overnight you can connect up the battery to recharge and connect your devices to it, once the battery is at 50% charge it will start charging your devices too.

The Energi+ also includes 3 charging cables- 2 x microUSB to USB cables and one USB cable that can be used as a microUSB charging cable or as an Apple 30 Pin charging cable (it has a removable 30 Pin tip). This is really useful as it means you can leave these cables permanently in place in the backpack. My one disappointment is that there is no Apple Lightning cable included – this has been the current Apple cable for over 2 years now so it would be useful to also include this.

Tablet Pocket

This pocket is well padded and roomy enough to hold a full-sized iPad in a protective case, and it can be charged in the pocket

Protect Pocket

This is a curved pocket accessed from the top of the bag and includes a stiff-sided, removable padded liner pocket. This has 2 compartments- one designed to fit sunglasses or eyeglasses and the other designed to fit a Smartphone or MP3 Player. A cable pass though goes into this pocket so you can charge your smartphone in place.  There is also a headphone port to allow your headphone cable to pass out so you can listen to music on the go. This pocket gives both these items really good protection, and if you are not using this pocket removing the stiff liner allows the pocket to collapse giving more room in the main compartment below.

Main Compartment

This is roomy enough to hold lunch or a few items of clothing for an overnight trip. The back wall of this pocket has 4 mesh pockets with elasticated tops to allow you to organize and easily find accessories, it also has a large flat zippered pocket that could hold papers or a paperback book. The right side has a pen or stylus pocket and the left side another mesh pocket. The front wall of this compartment has 2 more zippered pockets, one has a see through front and would be great for a passport, the other could be used for a wallet. A charging cable pass through goes through this compartment so accessories can be charged here as well.

Zippered Removable Accessory Pouch

The bag comes with a removable zippered accessory bag that is a great place to store any items you will want to take out of the bag frequently.

ENERGI-Bag-FullDiagram-Front-ill-RSTR

2 Zippered Front Pockets

2 more zippered pockets are on the front of the bag- the smaller upper one is padded and sized for a smartphone or MP3 player (no charging in this location), the other is sized for papers or travel documents.

2 Side Pockets

The right pocket will hold the battery charging cable (connected to the battery) and connecting it to a wall charger or computer will allow you to recharge everything whilst still in the bag. The left side pocket is large enough to hold a Smartphone or similar sized object.

Water Bottle Pocket

A fold out mesh water bottle pocket on the right side of the bag zips away into a pocket when not in use.

Shoulder Straps and Lumbar Support

One thing I love about this bag is the great padding on the shoulder straps. Lets face it when you are carrying a Laptop, tablet, battery and accessories your bag is going to be heavy, so the amount of padding can make a huge difference to your comfort when carrying it. The shoulder straps are nicely padded overall and have an extra thick padding on top of the shoulders which really helps to stop the straps digging into your shoulders when carrying heavy loads.  The bottom left part of the shoulder strap has a small zippered pocket- handy for carrying earbuds, keys or coins. The shoulder straps are very easy to adjust. The lumber area is also well padded with mesh ventilation and is designed to allow the handle of a wheeled carryon to fit between  this area and the backpack, making it easy to carry at the airport.

Overall, the Energi+ is an incredibly well designed bag for carrying a Laptop, Smartphone, Tablet and accessories. I love how it is designed to allow you to charge all your devices on the go and you can recharge the battery and devices without ever taking them out of the backpack. It has pockets for everything!  I also appreciate the great padding on the shoulder straps and lumbar area and that is has been designed to make it easy to use when flying. There are just 2 small changes I would make- including Apple Lightning cables and adding a Smartphone pocket on the shoulder strap- this would make access to your phone when carrying the backpack easier.

I highly recommend this backpack for those who regularly travel carrying a Laptop, Smartphone, Tablet and other electronics and accessories.


RRP $199 available from Amazon and other retailers.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.