Contort Power by Quirky – Review

Contort Power

What we love…

easy to use solution for your charging needs while on the go

What we’d love to see…

a bag or a cover for the prongs on the AC plug in – I worry that it might bend if I leave it loose in my laptop bag

Summary

Perfect accessory for your laptop bag – includes an AC outlet and two USB outlets for charging on the go with integrated nightlight

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

Do you have multiple devices to charge at the same time but are short on outlets?  The Contort Power by Quirky invented by Emad Yahia provides a three prong outlet combined with two USB compatible plugs where you can plug in cords to charge all of your devices with the versatility of using your own cords.  The Contort Power also includes a built in cord holder on the device which is sized for holding smaller USB cords.

Protects with a flex

This device has made traveling so much easier for me.  I don’t have to worry about bringing a charger for each device and instead just keep my most commonly used cords in a zip case along with the Contort Power.  This means I can plug in my laptop (since I don’t lose an outlet) along with my iPhone, iPad or my husband’s Android phone all at the same time with one plug.  I also like that it has a nightlight included when items are plugged in making it the perfect small light if you need to get up in the middle of the night.  The Contort Power pivots which means that it also allows you to use the second outlet (pictured below) when plugging items in and doesn’t block it like other plugs might. I love how portable it is – and I can charge multiple devices quickly and at the same time.

In terms of enhancements, I wish that the Contort Power had some sort of a cover to cover up the plug when not in use.  I often keep the plug in my laptop bag along with the necessary cords for my iPhone, iPad and other electronics and worry that it will “go through” the plastic and somehow get bent in the process. I would also love it if the Contort Power could angle the opposite way for those times when you might needs space on the other side of the outlet.

This is a must have in my travel bag combined with all of the necessary cords.  This way I know that no matter what – I will be able to charge my devices on the go and not worry about the dreaded “low battery warning!”  The included AC outlet and two USB ports mean I can plug in – charge multiple devices at once and carry my cords on the go.  The perfect accessory for your laptop bag. The Contort Power is available via Quirky for RRP of $24.99 US Dollars.

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.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.


Mio Link Heart Rate Monitor by Mio Global – Review




Miolink

Pros…

Comfortable, easy to use, accurate heart rate monitoring without needing chest straps

Cons…

No memory function, need smartphone to see exact heart rate

Summary

Overall, I found the Mio Link very easy to use, it is lightweight, easy to adjust and comfortable. A really useful addition to my workout routine.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

Like many other people at this time of year, I am working on improving my health and fitness. I’m taking part in a program called the Take Down Challenge through my local gym. The challenge works on getting you both eating right and exercising and I’ve been taking part in lots of classes. To really get the most benefit from the exercise it is recommended that you monitor your heart rate so that you can stay “in the zone”. Now I’ve never liked the idea of wearing a chest strap heart rate monitor and stopping regularly to take my pulse manually isn’t really practical, so this is where the Mio Link comes in.

Mio Global is a company that specializes in wrist worn Heart Rate Monitors. All of their Heart Rate Monitors use an electro-optical cell which senses the volume of blood under the skin. The device then uses algorithms to calculate the heart’s true rhythm even during high intensity workouts.

The Mio Link has a soft flexible strap is is worn similarly to a watch but a little higher on the arm (at least 1 inch above the wrist). The strap has a buckle similar to a traditional watch strap buckle but with 2 prongs instead of one, and the strap has many, many rows of holes close together, which allows you to easily customize the fit. You need to wear it snuggly on the arm, and I found about 1″ above the wrist was the sweet spot for me- it was comfortable there and didn’t slip down when I exercised (which it did if I wore it further up.)

The Mio Link uses a series of color coded lights to let you know what “zone” you are in. To customize your zones you download the free Mio Go app and fill in your profile details- including height, weight, gender and date of birth.  The app can automatically calculate your Maximum Heart Rate based on your profile, or you can enter it manually and you can also adjust the limits of your zones manually as well.

To start heart rate monitoring you press and hold the button on top of the Link until the blue LED lights up, it will blink rapidly whilst finding your heart rate then settle into a steady slow blinking with a color that reflects your current heart rate. You can press the button again to see the light in between blinks.

I have been using the Mio Link during my workouts for the last couple of weeks and have found it a really useful addition to my workout. I can easily see what “zone” I am in and it helps me to see what types of exercise work best for my current workout goals- whether that be fat-burning or improved cardio-vascular fitness. It also lets me see when I need to back off and let my body rest a little if I am overdoing the intensity of my workout.

miolink2

You can choose to have the Link use 1 or 5 zones.  For 1 zone you set your target zone and colored lights show if you are in, above or below that zone. The 5 zones set up automatically are:

REST Under 50% of Maximum Heart Rate (Cyan)

ZONE 1: Very Light: 50% – 60% of your maximum heart rate ( Blue.) Optimal for maintaining a healthy heart and recovering after a difficult workout.

ZONE 2: Light 60% – 70% of your maximum heart rate (Green.) This the known as the “fat-burning zone” as it enhances endurance and the efficiency with which you use fat and carbohydrates as fuel, and is the best zone to train in to lose weight.

ZONE 3: Moderate 70% – 80% of your maximum heart rate (Yellow.) Zone 3 training helps to delay fatigue caused by lactic acid and helps to improve aerobic fitness.

ZONE 4: Hard 80% – 90% of your maximum heart rate (Magenta.) High-intensity workouts improve maximum performance capacity but should be done in short bouts

ZONE 5: Maximum 90% – 100% of your maximum heart rate (Red.) Not recommended for inexperienced athletes, and should only be done for short periods of time.

The Link also integrates with many GPS Watches, Bike Computers and popular fitness apps such as Map My Run.

There are times, such as when jogging or power walking, when I want to see my exact heart rate, to see what effects slight increases or decreases of speed cause. For these times I use the Mio Go app, once the Mio Link and your iPhone are connected via Bluetooth you can watch your heart rate in real time in the iPhone app, it is color-coded too to make it easy to know what zone you are in as well as your current rate.

I found with daily workouts (and just monitoring during workouts), that the battery in my Link lasts about a week between charges which is quite reasonable. It has a rechargeable battery, one word of warning though – it does use a special charger not a standard mini-USB, so make sure you keep it in a safe place as if you lose it your Link will not be chargeable.

Overall, I found the Mio Link very easy to use, it is lightweight, easy to adjust and comfortable. It is a really useful addition to my workout routine, the one thing I really wish it had though is a memory function so you can go back and look at workout data afterwards to see overall trends. However, Mio does have a range of other monitors available some of which do have this functionality.

Mio Link is available in 3 Colors, from the Mio Global website, RRP $99

Mio GO – Mio Global

Mio GO Mio GO by Mio Global

Price: $FREE

The Mio GO app is designed for the Mio LINK, VELO, FUSE, and ALPHA 2 heart rate wristbands. Monitor your heart rate with performance accuracy—no chest strap required!

Now updated with Health.

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.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Review of the CRUSTA iPhone 5 / 5s Case from Amzer- a Rugged Protective Case

 

 

Pros..

Rugged, protects against drops, tempered glass front and back lets you see your iPhone, wide variety of color combinations available

Cons…

Bulky, doubles the iPhone thickness

Summary

Overall, the Amzer Crusta iPhone case is a very protective case with a twist – I think some people will love its glass front and back and range of funky color combinations, whereas others will hate how bulky it makes the phone feel.

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

The CRUSTA Smartphone case from Amzer is a protective case with an unusual twist- it has tempered glass covers on both the front and back of the phone. It is available for a variety of smartphones including the iPhone5/5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. I tested the iPhone5/5S version with an iPhone 5.

The case consists of 4 distinct layers, and allows you plenty of room for personalization as you can chose from 42 different color combinations (layers 2 and 3 can be in different colors).

Layer 1 – Tempered Glass Screen Protector

Tempered glass screen protectors are becoming very popular and I think they work much better than traditional plastic films. They give you the look and feel of the original iPhone screen whilst protecting your actual screen from damage. The Amzer tempered glass screen has a cutout over the home button so that the fingerprint detection works on the iPhone 5S (and iPhone6/ 6+). Using this layer is optional but I would recommend it for protecting your screen.

Layer 2 – Embedded Tempered Glass Hard Shell Case

Although many companies make tempered glass screen protectors this is the first case I have seen that also has a tempered glass cover for the back of the iPhone. This layer consists of 3 parts – a 2 piece polycarbonate ring that surrounds your phone edges and a tempered glass back. The tempered glass back comes attached to the back half of the ring, and the 2 halves of the polycarbonate shell snap easily together. The glass back has an anti-fingerprint coating.

Layer 3 – Textured Finish TPR Ring

The third layer provides impact protection. It is a ring of TPR (Thermoplastic Rubber) with Nano Air Cushion Technology  designed to protect your phone if dropped. This fits on easily over the shell and has dust covers over the charging port and headphone jack. The TPR ring has  button covers over all buttons the the buttons work well with them on. The TPR has a slightly textured surface which makes it easy to grip.

Layer 4 – Belt Clip Holster

I don’t tend to use a holster but for those that do one comes included with the CRUSTA case. The belt clip rotates through 360o, and can be used with the iPhone facing in or out.

Amzer advertises that the CRUSTA will protect your phone from a 6 foot drop and I believe it – the case feels very protective. I like all the different color combinations, as it lets you choose a combination that suits your personality. I also like having the tempered glass front and back – it’s nice to actually see my iPhone as it is usually hidden away under a case. My one issue with the case is that it feels really bulky – the shell and TPR ring add a lot of bulk to the edge of the phone. The place this is really noticeable is in the thickness of the iPhone – without a case the iPhone 5 is 7.6 mm (0.3″) thick, in the Crusta twice as thick- approximately 15mm (0.6″), and in the holster it is even thicker – approximately 20mm (0.8″).

Overall, the Amzer Crusta iPhone case is a very protective case with a twist – I think some people will love its glass front and back and range of funky color combinations, whereas others will hate how bulky it makes the phone feel. If you don’t mind the bulk I would definitely recommend it as a protective case, but if you like a sleek, slim profile I would look elsewhere as there are other protective cases available with a slimmer profile.

The Amzer Crusta for iPhone5/5s is available online from the Amzer Website RRP $45

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.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Highlights from #CES2015 Part 2- Products for Children’s Health and Safety

The International Consumer Electronics Show was held in Las Vegas at the beginning of January and over 170,000 people from the Press and Electronics Industry visited the show and I was one of them. This is the second in a series of articles showing some of the new products that caught my eye during this year’s C.E.S. In the first article we highlighted products for the home with an emphasis on the Connected Home.

 

Here we concentrate on products designed for kids. The show has a whole area dedicated to products for children but I wanted to focus on products that I feel could make a big difference in child health and safety. They include a safety alarm designed to prevent the tragedy of caregivers forgetting children and leaving them in hot cars, a GPS tracking watch designed for kids, a tablet that encourages kids to get up and moving whilst playing games, a Smart Toothbrush that not only encourages your child to brush with a fun game and rewards but also monitors and analyzes how they are doing and a wearable Bluetooth thermometer that allows you to accurately monitor your sick child’s temperature without waking them.

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Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

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