Spiderpodium Smartphone Holder, Adventure Camera Mount, and Spiderpodium Tablet by Breffo – Review

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Summary

Whether you are looking for a holder for a smartphone, camera or tablet , Spiderpodium  has a solution for you. They are lightweight, flexible and extremely versatile, providing a very flexible mounting solution at home and on-the-go. Highly recommended!

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Spiderpodium Smartphone Holder

Breffo is an award-winning  British company that both designs and manufactures its products in the UK. The Spiderpodium was its first product and launched in 2009, it is an extremely flexible Smartphone holder – it can be used with iPhones, iPod Touch, smartphones, GPS units, and other similar-sized handheld gadgets, and with the addition of the Adventure Camera mount you can use it with your digital camera or video as well.

I first came across the Spiderpodium a couple of years ago when my brother was visiting from the UK and brought his with him. He was using it to hold his portable GPS unit in his rental car, and I was impressed with how well it worked, I only recently discovered that they are now available in the USA too.

The Spiderpodium as the name suggests looks like a big black spider (but if that’s a little too realistic for your tastes it also comes in a variety of other colors including: white, blue green, pink, grey and purple). It is made of steel with a soft-touch rubber covering. the thing that really makes it unique is the eight flexible legs – they have 4 segments in each leg that can bent in any direction at each of their three joints.

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The bendable legs allow it to adapt easily to different sized devices,creating a really flexible holder for an iPhone, iPod touch, smartphone or GPS . You can use it as a stand in either portrait or landscape modes and use it with a huge variety of angles. The legs  can also be used to hook on to anything- the bar or a treadmill, stroller or bicycle; my favorite spot is in the car where I use it attach my iPhone or GPS to the dashboard using the heating vents as a latch point. The stand is really lightweight so very easy to slip in a bag or purse.

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Adventure Camera Kit

The original Spiderpodium is also available as an Adventure Camera Kit – this includes the Spiderpodium and a camera mount which allows you to attach just about any camera with a standard 1/4″ mount thread. The adapter is tiny and slots through the central hole in the Spiderpodium so you can use it with a camera then and just remove the adaptor to use with a smartphone or GPS. This is a really flexible camera mount – much more versatile than a pocket tripod and very lightweight and easy to carry.

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This rider is a bit more adventurous than I am using the camera mount !

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Spiderpodium Tablet

just so the iPad and other tablets wouldn’t feel left out the Spiderpodium  is available in a tablet version too. It is a larger version of the Spiderpodium Smartphone Holder and has the same eight flexible legs that give its smaller sibling such versatility. The sheer weight of the iPad does mean you can’t use the Spiderpodium Tablet in quite as many situations as its smaller sibling, but it is still a very flexible stand. It can be used on a desktop in landscape or portrait modes – it is a bit too flexible to use for typing, but works well for more static activities such as watching movies or using apps. It works great for attaching the iPad to a car headrest for backseat movie viewing.

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Overall, the Spiderpodium family of smartphone. camera and iPad holders are really great stands, they are lightweight, flexible and extremely versatile and provide a very flexible mounting solution at home and on-the-go, highly recommended!

The Spiderpodium stands are available online from Breffo.com or from many retailers, prices start at $19.99

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).

O-Stand iPad/ Tablet/ e-Reader Holder by LapDawg – Review

 

Summary

Overall, a very versatile, flexible stand that can be used in many ways. I really like the fact that it works with a large range of protective cases and a variety of different tablets. Its drawbacks are that it  is a large stand, and does need a tool to add or remove legs.

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The O-Stand is a very versatile iPad/ Tablet stand from LapDawg. It will fit a variety of tablets and e-readers including both the full-sized iPad and iPad Mini. I have tested it with both the iPad and iPad Mini in a variety of protective cases. The stand has 3 main parts – an adjustable tray / clamp that hold the tablet, four very flexible legs and a central round body which holds them together and has connectors that allow adjustment of the screen angle in different directions. OStand-desktop The plastic clamp that hold the tablet has 4 arms with rubber grips on them allowing it to hold the tablet securely, as it is very adjustable in size it works well with tablets with no case or in a range of protective cases. The clamp assembly attaches to the body via a plastic locking mechanism, with 2 plastic plates sliding together with tabs and slots, it is firmly attached once it is in place, but I would expect this to be the weak spot in the stand. However, the stand comes with a lifetime warranty so if it were to break it should be covered.

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The metal legs are very flexible so you can bend then into whatever shape you like. They are each 21.5 inches long with a rubberized ball tip on each foot. You can remove legs used the included Allan key, and choose to use 1,2, 3 or 4 legs. I found that for most uses 2 was my favorite number of legs, and it was easier to create a stable stand than when using all 4. There were other times when having 4 was an advantage though, so it is useful that you can change the number of legs to suit the occasion. You can use the flexible legs to attach to a object such as a chair, car or railing, and then having extra legs was useful.

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I really like how flexible the stand is: you can use it to watch movies lying in bed, or sitting in a chair or set it up on your desktop. Because you can set it up in an infinite variety of positions not all of them are stable, so I think it is a good idea to keep the tablet in a protective case and check each new position carefully for balance before letting go of your tablet. For the same reason I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for typing a lot on the iPad screen as it can often wobble of you are taping a lot on the screen. It works well for movie viewing, apps, and for viewing the screen when you are typing using an external keyboard. The downsides of the stand are that it is big- it takes up quite a bit of room when not in use, and that you do need to make sure you keep the Allan key handy for removing/ adding legs. This stand really shines in situations such as watching movies in bed or when sitting or lying on the sofa  -where you don’t want the iPad balanced on your lap for a long period, and where many other stands wouldn’t be flexible enough to use.

Overall, a very versatile, flexible stand that can be used in many ways. I really like the fact that it works with a large range of protective cases and a variety of different tablets.

Available online from Lapdawg RRP $79.99

 

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.

 

Giveaway

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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).

mTower Laptop Stand by Rain Design Inc. – Review

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Summary

If you are using an external monitor as the sole display with your MacBook the mTower is a great way to reclaim valuable desk space and keep your laptop cool at the same time. It is a really well designed stand – functional yet stylish, solidly made and with a design that echoes Apple’s own understated elegance.

Our Rating

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San Francisco,CA- based Rain Design Inc. is known for its stylish yet practical accessories for Apple products. We have previously reviewed the iLap Laptop tray and the iSlider iPad stand and today we will look at the mTower Laptop Stand.

I typically use a MacBook Pro for most of my writing, emails and web surfing, but after experiencing both tendonitis and eyestrain I have been working on setting up a more ergonomic workspace. I still use my beloved MacBook Pro, but I’m pairing it with an external monitor, keyboard and mouse. I have played with using the MacBook as a 2nd monitor in a dual display but for the most part I prefer to use the external monitor as the sole display, and that is where the mTower comes into play. On my desk Real Estate is in short supply, I usually have notes,an iPad, my phone and lots of other things taking up space, so I really don’t have room for an open laptop when I’m not using its display.

The mTower is the perfect solution – it takes up about a 1/3 of the footprint of my laptop, allowing me to move my MacBook neatly to one side and looks stylish too. It is a simple classic design created from a single piece of anodized aluminum, sturdy and stable, but elegant too. The edges are padded so it doesn’t scratch the laptop, and it comes with a variety of pads designed for different models of MacBook Pro and MacBook air to ensure a perfect fit. You can also use it without the additional pads if you use a variety of laptops in the stand. Turning the MacBook on its side  allows it to dissipate heat more easily and because the mTower is aluminum it also acts as a massive heat sink keeping the MacBook cool.

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Overall, if you are using an external monitor as the sole display with your MacBook the mTower is a great way to reclaim valuable desk space and keep your laptop cool at the same time. It is a really well designed stand – functional yet stylish, solidly made and with a design that echoes Apple’s own understated elegance.

The mTower is available online from Rain Design Inc or from many retailers RRP  $49.90

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).

Relay H-Fi Bluetooth Receiver by Mass Fidelity- Review

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What we love…

Looks beautiful, very easy to set up and use, high quality components, great Bluetooth performance, amazing sound.

Summary

An audiophile-quality product that enables music streaming from any Bluetooth-enabled device to any stereo system. I have been truly impressed by its quality, performance and simplicity. Highly recommended.

Our Rating

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The Relay H-Fi Bluetooth Receiver is the first product to hit the market from Canadian hi-tech start-up Mass Fidelity, and what a way to start! The Relay is an elegant looking, brushed aluminum box that allows you to stream from any Bluetooth enabled device such as your iPhone, iPad, Computer or Android device, to any audio system. There are other products on the market that do this, but what makes the Relay stand out from the crowd is that it is a true high fidelity component, and that it is really simple to set up and use. I have been using the Relay for the last month and have been truly impressed by its quality, performance and simplicity.

 

When the Relay arrives it is packaged with everything you need to set it up, and an impressive claim that you can set it up and be ready to play in a minute! It can be used worldwide, as it is compatible with 100-240v and comes packaged with 3 different power plugs: for use in the USA, Europe, Britain and Ireland. It is also packaged with 2 high quality audio cables – RCA to RCA and RCA to 3.5mm, both of which have gold-plated connectors. The RCA to RCA allows it to connect to traditional stereo system amplifiers, and the RCA to 3.5 mm allows you to connect to high quality compact stereo systems.

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To set it up:

  1. Screw in the antennae.
  2. Connect the Relay to your stereo system with the included cable.
  3. Plug the Relay into the power source
  4. Pushing the button on the front to switch it on and put it in pairing mode.
  5. Turn Bluetooth on your device and select Relay.
  6. Play your music!

That’s it – nothing complicated at all. I decided to put it to the time test it took me exactly 52 seconds to set it up and stream music from my iPhone!

Once it is set up, it is really easy to switch between Bluetooth devices powering it – it has Party Pairing™ technology so if you have friends over you can easily let everyone take turns at being the DJ using their own music. It also means I can control it via my iPhone, iPad or computer and my son can play his choice from his iPod Touch too (in another year or two I might not think that such a good idea!)

I’ve set this up with two different stereo systems and it worked great with both of them. One of my projects this summer has been to finish digitalizing my CD library (about 600 CDs), I’ve been using Apple Lossless to record my CDs and save them in iTunes. By utilizing the Relay I can listen to my entire music library over our current high quality but vintage stereo system, from my iOS device or computer. It can also be used with your favorite music streaming service such as Pandora or Spotify; or Apple Radio when it launches. My current favorite way to use the Relay is with my stereo system linked to my Definitive Technology AW5500 Outdoor speakers. We spend a lot of time playing and relaxing outside in the summer months and with this system I can listen to my entire music library, and control my stereo system, without even having to get up from my chair! I can control the volume, skip tracks, and choose a new album or artist all from my iPhone on the patio with the Relay connected to the stereo in my living room. The Bluetooth on the Relay works incredibly well – it works through an exterior wall with a TV cabinet, bookshelves and other objects in its path, the stated range is 10 meters but I have used it at longer distances.

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So, the Relay is quick to set up and easy to use but what about the sound quality? – It performs beautifully in this respect too – Mass Fidelity have used very high quality components in the manufacture of the Relay, and it shows with impressive sound quality. The Relay uses a professional grade Burr-Brown PCM5102 Digital to Analog Converter (24bit/48kHz), an aptX enabled CSR Bluetooth Radio, gold -plated RCA connectors and a solid, milled, aerospace -grade, aluminum enclosure. The unit has 3 separate ground domains, an internal low noise power supply and system clocking. Mass Fidelity reports about 30% less system noise than their nearest high-end competitor and a range that is 50%+ more than the competition (as a direct result of less system noise). In non-technical terms: it sounds amazing! When listening to a CD played on my stereo system I really can’t hear the difference between the original CD, and the CD recorded with Apple Lossless and played via the Relay.

Overall, I highly recommend the Relay from Mass Fidelity – it looks beautiful, is really quick and easy to set up and use, the Bluetooth works amazingly well even with exterior walls and obstacles in its path, and the sound quality is amazing. A Bluetooth streaming device for the discerning music-lover, I’m truly impressed by its quality, performance, style and simplicity.

The Relay is available from Mass Fidelity.com for US$249 including free shipping to USA and Canada.

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).

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