Favorite Gadgets for Fall: Part 1

The Belkin @TV allows users to watch what's on their home TVs and DVRs on any mobile device.

John Scott Lewinskiby John Scott Lewinski

Interesting and useful gadgets are falling into our laps faster than the golden brown leaves are plummeting from the trees.

Before we move on to our seasonal gift guides, Crave Online wanted to do a wrap-up of fun and effective gadgetry that made it to the market a little early than the Christmas gift season.

Westinghouse UNPLUG: There are multiple Bluetooth speaker systems on the market now. Regardless of their size, power or aesthetics, their value all comes down to one factor: Do they work?

The Westinghouse UNPLUG (below) passes that test. Despite the proliferation of Bluetooth technology, its application to audio streaming devices can still be spotty, with occasional drop outs and stuttering. Though not overly attractive (as its essentially a little gray/black brick), the portable Bluetooth speaker offers sound roughly equivalent to a small Bose sound system in a rechargeable, reliable package. MSRP: $100.

Belkin @TV: Belkin jumps into the remote TV market with @TV – a wifi networked device that lets a user watch live and recorded TV on mobile devices.

The @TV reads whatever is on the user’s live TV at home or any program on a DVR. The program is then tossed up to Cloud technology via a home wifi network where a video-enabled mobile device (smartphone, tablet, etc.) can stream the show. That means @TV allows the user to watch their favorite or recorded shows anywhere the mobile device can snag a good signal.

The @TV device and software suite across different platforms passed its basic tests and worked without frustrations. The interface could be a little more elegant, but the @TV will certainly help users become even less productive as TV starts going with everybody everywhere. MSRP: $179.99.

PowerSkin Protective Case: The rechargeable cases from PowerSkin can be lifesavers – especially in this era in which we rely on our smartphones around the clock and keep them in our faces no matter where we go. The more a user surfs online, watches video or plays games, the faster any smartphone’s battery will die.

PowerSkin products effectively double a smartphone’s power supply, extending effective use time by as much as 50%, depending on app usage. Their previous products were essentially rubber wraps that would spare your screen damage on a drop. But, there were more protective (if uglier) cases from rival manufacturers like Scosche and Ballistic made of stronger, high-impact materials.

With the new PowerSkin Protective Case, the manufacturer thickens its armor, providing more safety along with that essential extended battery life. MSRP: $59.99.

Dynaflo Liquid-Armor: Resembling a black tube of lipstick, an applicator of Liquid-Armor provides a “chemical nano coating” that shines and protects the glass screens of smartphones and tablets. Dynaflo says it will last six months. While we haven’t had enough time to evaluate that claim, it seems to be holding up well enough so far.

It’s hard to tell when a “preventable” product is working because you don’t know if a lack of scratches is the nano coating or careful use. You can’t prove a negative. You could say there are no tigers in your house because of your special anti-tiger rock outside. But, we haven’t had a scratch or stain to the glass screens since applying Liquid-Armor.

Yes, the manufacturer name could use a little work. It sounds like they make plumbing products rather than chemical protection formulas. But, Dynaflo Liquid Armor is easy to use and effectively prevents all but the most severe stains and minor scratches to your smartphone or tablet screen. MSRP $24.99.