The Pokket Mixer lets you do three things that seem pretty valuable during a lockdown. A. It lets you hone a new skill, B. it keeps you entertained, and C. it lets you create some banging DJ sets to help entertain your friends and family. Designed to be as small and as portable as your smartphone, the $99 Pokket Mixer is quite literally a 2-way mixer that lets you connect to two playback devices and mix audio between them. You could plug in practically anything, from record players to smartphones, iPods, iPads, laptops, or even your smart speakers if you’re up for the challenge! The mixer features basic equalizer controls for 2 decks, a crossfader to switch between decks, a master volume knob, 2 aux inputs for your music devices and 2 aux outputs… one for a pair of headphones (so you have more control over your mix), and another for routing to an amplifier so your entire apartment can rave it out, or a laptop/phone so you can stream your mix to a live audience! It’s a simple, bare-basics device that’s great for beginners or even for professionals who want to carry their mixing capabilities in their pocket, and at $99, it’s arguably as cheap as a pro-deejaying app on the App Store!
Rumor has it that the AirPower mat, which Apple suddenly and surreptitiously axed behind closed doors, isn’t quite dead yet. The company is reportedly working on a smaller wireless charging mat, but until Tim steps up on stage (or in front of a video camera) and makes the announcement, let’s just re-evaluate our alternatives… like this 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Mat which works as an angled dock for your devices too.
The 3-in-1 mat is named for its ability to charge 3 devices at once. The foldable mat also flips open into an angled stand, becoming an easel for your devices. A three-pronged LED indicator on top points at three separate charging zones where you can place your devices. You can either charge your phone in portrait or in landscape, although the former frees up space at the bottom for a pair of AirPods. The mat even comes with a dedicated charging zone on the top right for your Apple Watch, allowing you to even secure it in place using a cutout at the base to slide your band through. All in all, the charger is as flat as an AirPower mat and can handle as many devices, but it’s much more versatile, allowing you to not just charge your devices but dock them too in a way that makes them easier to view while kept on a desk or bedside table. ‘Classy’, as Jim Halpert would say.
The 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Mat is a winner of the iF Design Award for the year 2020.
I’m pretty sure you don’t want to read about how a smartphone screen is often a cesspool of germs and how it has more bacteria than a toilet seat. That sort of information is useless if there isn’t a solution to remedy the problem, in my opinion. So let’s just get to the solution, which sits pretty neatly on your bedside table in the form of Lexon’s Oblio wireless charger. Rather than being modeled after a mat you can put your phone on, the Oblio is a vessel you put your phone into. Put your phone right into the Oblio’s slot and it immediately begins sanitizing as well as wirelessly charging your device. A 10W wireless charger at the back juices your phone in just 20 minutes, giving the Oblio enough time to use a front-facing UV-C lamp to sterilize your phone’s screen.
The Oblio’s unique form factor not only makes it look like a chic little planter around your house, but also cleverly hides your phone from view, so you’re less likely to constantly fiddle with it during the charging/sanitation cycle. It’s a clever bit of design, tech, and a behavioral-change solution all wrapped in one!
Think of your heart as an image, and your heart rate as a cluster of pixels that come together to make that image. The lesser pixels you use, the more low-res the image looks, increase the number of pixels and the image looks clearer. Measuring your heart’s performance works the same way. The Apple Watch, for instance, only performs a single-lead ECG reading, generating one wave-form captured from a single angle of the heart, whereas medical-grade ECG readers use 12 points of data to generate a 12-lead reading, with 12 separate wave-forms that give you a much clearer, holistic image of the heart. In short, the more data-points, the better the accuracy.
The AliveCor KardiaMobile 6L compresses medical-grade ECG equipment into something that fits right into your palm. Designed to be the world’s smallest 6-Lead ECG reader, the 6L works with your phone to generate 6 separate wave-forms of your heart, providing a much more accurate image of your heart’s performance for medical assessment. With two sensors on the top and a third at the bottom, the 6L analyzes your heart-rate from different point-sources in a mere 30 seconds, assimilating and breaking down the data into visuals that get sent to your phone for better analysis.
The KardiaMobile 6L aims at democratizing good health, and being as accessible as a thermometer to read your body temperature, or a blood-sugar monitor to check your blood sugar levels. No larger than the size of an iPod Nano (remember those things) or a pack of gum, the AliveCor KardiaMobile 6L can easily fit in your pocket, or snap to the back of your phone. It runs on a CR2016 coin cell battery too, that gives it a year’s worth of usage before needing a battery replacement!
The AliveCor KardiaMobile 6L is a winner of the iF Design Award for the year 2020.
When we hear of cleaning our smartphones, the first thing that comes to mind is to remove junk, some photos, and unnecessary files. Well, sometimes by cleaning your smartphones, it simply means cleaning the outlook from the screen to the back. Many may wonder why you should clean your phone properly when you can just take a piece of cloth and rub your screen to remove prints. Yes, that can be satisfying but it is not enough. Read on to find the best ways to clean your smartphone. Use A Microfiber Cloth A microfiber cloth is a good way to…
Here’s the caveat with taking care of your hygiene. You could wear a mask to protect your nose and mouth, you could sing Happy Birthday 20 times a day while washing your hands, and you could make real, conscious efforts to avoid touching your face, but what happens when you get a phone call? You lift the phone off your table, swipe up to accept the call, and then hold the phone against your ear for anywhere between 2 and 20 minutes. They tell you to wash your hands, but they forget to tell you to sanitize your phone, which roughly holds 25,000 bacteria per square inch (it’s statistically one of the dirtiest things you could touch).
Now before you take a wet-wipe to your phone or spray it with Kleenex, it’s worth noting that your smartphone is layered with oleophobic coatings to prevent oils and solvents from damaging it, rendering most disinfectants ineffective. The PhoneSoap, as its name rightfully suggests, was designed for this exact purpose. Rather than using cleaning solvents, PhoneSoap uses UV rays to kill 99.9% of the bacteria and viruses on your phone in merely 10 minutes.
PhoneSoap 3 is the smallest and most powerful product in the PhoneSoap family. Designed to be like a tanning-bed for your smartphone, the PhoneSoap 3 uses high-wavelength UV-C rays on both sides to sterilize your smartphone. Its large chamber fits phones of all sizes and even allows you to charge your phone using its internal 6500mAh battery pack! Just lock your phone and pop it into the chamber and PhoneSoap 3 runs a 10-minute cycle to deep-clean your device, entering even the tough-to-reach spots like the speaker-grilles. An LED indicator on the top tells you when the cycle is over, so you can take your phone out knowing that it’s completely clean after hours of touching hands, faces, and resting on unknown surfaces.
While we’re still figuring out how to have flexible screen protectors on folding phones, Samsung’s solved the case of how to build a protective cover for its flexible Galaxy Z Flip. A vast majority of smartphone owners use a cover with their smartphone (I’m one of them), and the catch with the flexible smartphone has mostly been whether it’s possible to build a good case that flexes with the phone too.
It’s a good thing that the Galaxy Z Flip has an inward screen, giving you enough real estate on the outside for a protective cover. The Galaxy Z Flip smartphone case comes in a two-part design that respectively snaps onto the upper and lower halves. This leaves an empty band around the hinge, which is both good because you don’t want anything interfering with the hinge mechanism, and bad because the hinge is sort of the thing worth protecting!
In any case, the two-piece case (can we officially call it the Bikini Case) comes with a hard plastic sub-surface for strength and a svelte faux-leather upper for class. The case should work reasonably well fending off scratches or dents, but don’t really expect it to protect your folding phone from anything rather extreme. Might I suggest a regular smartphone with a thick bumper case…
I’m here to make the case for weird, capsule-shaped smartphones because I’m frankly tired of how exhaustingly similar smartphones of today look like… especially the mid-range ones who’s only USP seems to be a moderate price tag. Here’s a phone that Carota Design created just on a whim based on a very whacky Motorola Aura phone that debuted nearly 12 years ago. The Aura sported a circular screen, a revolving front, and a strange camera cutout at the back. The conceptual Motorola Revolve follows pretty much the same format, but ditches the circular screen and keyboard for two rather oddly shaped (but definitely feasible) flexible OLED touchscreen displays.
Its iconic whacky shape is perhaps what I feel the mid-range smartphone market needs. The Revolve is clearly not a flagship. You couldn’t possibly browse the internet effectively on it or watch a Netflix movie on a screen with such massively rounded corners. You could, however, craft a budget UI that uses and respects the capsule-shaped screen well, just like how smartwatches with circular screens have a bespoke UI. You could use this UI to provide basic features like video calling, Facebook browsing, messaging, and a pretty capable voice assistant, while essentially offering it as one of the most radically different budget-phones on the market. It wouldn’t require any over-engineering either, like those expensive folding smartphones. Besides, a leather finish on the back and a dual rear-camera setup makes the Motorola Revolve concept hella interesting, from all angles!
The terms ‘environmentally conscious’ and ‘consumer electronics’ rarely go hand in hand, but smartphones like the Teracube are trying to bridge that gap.
There are quite a few things that make the Teracube an impressive phone. It’s perhaps the only modern, sleek smartphone to have a $249 price tag, a headphone jack, dual-SIM capabilities, and a whopping 4-year warranty. Teracube was designed not as a flagship item of desire, but a consciously made phone that delivers on features and is absolutely built to last. Even beyond 4 years, the phone is designed to be completely repairable unlike smartphones of today, ensuring a cradle-to-cradle approach that doesn’t result in the generation of mass e-waste. The Teracube, with its contemporary, notched design looks a lot like a flagship… but is, in fact, a great phone that defies what most flagships do by abandoning planned obsolescence and championing sustainability.
The model behind the Teracube is a pretty novel one. Warranties cover defects, but if you happen to drop your iPhone 11 on the floor and shatter the screen or even the rear panel, or into the toilet, you’re faced with the prospect of paying up to $500 to repair your phone. With the Teracube, things are much simpler. You can get the phone fixed for any sort of damage for a flat fee of $39. Send your broken phone in and pay the repair fee and Teracube sends you a close-to-new phone in exchange. Meanwhile, the company fixes and refurbishes YOUR broken phone and gives it to someone else who shattered their phone or dropped it in the swimming pool. This model revolves around the Teracube’s ability to easily be repaired and aims at constantly recycling phones rather than turning them into e-waste.
That being said, with its $300 price tag, the Teracube is a pretty great phone for its price. It comes with a 6.2-inch Full HD display and a great screen-to-body ratio resulting in pretty thin bezels. In an effort to make it easy to un-assemble and fix the phones, the Teracube is marginally thicker than most smartphones, but that slight thickness also allows it to have a 3.5mm jack, allowing you to use good-old wired headphones with your mobile. The phone comes with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB Storage, along with Dual SIM and Micro SD Support. It features dual-rear cameras, and has a fingerprint sensor on the back, and ships with Android 9. Not too bad, considering how it’s easy on your wallet and on the environment.
While its lack of symmetric design does bother me a slight bit, the Oppo Gamepad C1 Unicorn Gundam Edition (the name’s quite a mouthful) does give you a great handheld gaming experience. It features a telescopic expandable design that lets you fit a smartphone in, although it’s tailored specifically to visually complement Oppo’s Reno Ace Gundam Edition.
The C1 Gamepad’s most defining feature is its ergonomic, asymmetric design. It’s ergonomic to allow you to grip it better (especially with that curved back) while gaming… and that asymmetric design allows you to use the gamepad not just in landscape mode (with the right-hand controls being on-screen) but also as a makeshift GameBoy in portrait mode! The Gamepad also comes with two light-up notification/menu buttons to the right of the joystick and XYAB buttons, and for some strange reason, 3 shoulder buttons (as opposed to the standard 4 buttons).
The gaming controller sports its own USB-C port that allows you to charge it, giving you 40 hours of play-time on a full battery, and even features a nifty cutout along the grip on the right to let you plug your phone into a charger while gaming. Here’s the strange bit though… The controller comes with Bluetooth 5.0 for a lag-free gaming experience, but is compatible only with Oppo’s Reno series and with iPhones. I guess there’s some love lost between Oppo and the Android brand!