More Juice for Your IPhone; Streaming Internet TV to Real TVs
The scoop: Juice Pack boost and reserve, by Mophie, about $40 (reserve) and $60 (boost).
What it is: The latest battery packs from Mophie, the Juice Pack boost and reserve models are aimed at giving your iPhone or iPod some extra battery life, and will recharge those devices relatively quickly. The reserve features a 1000 mAh external battery, while the boost has a 1500 mAh external battery for recharging. The devices connect via the iPhone's Universal Connection Port, and also include an LED battery and carabiner clip for connecting to a laptop backpack.
Why it's cool: If you've owned an iPhone for any amount of time, you know that it's very hard to keep the phone charged for a complete day, especially if you end up in a dense 3G area (such as New York City), and are using the phone and data capabilities on a heavy basis. By 3 or 4 p.m., you're usually looking for a power outlet. The juice packs from Mophie allow you to connect quickly and get enough power that let you finish the day, or at least give you enough until you can recharge the iPhone through a power outlet or your computer's USB port.
Some caveats: If your iPhone is really drained, the juice pack will drain pretty quickly, leaving you with a dead battery pack (so if you have to recharge multiple times, you might need more than one). Also, there's no passthrough charging -- the ability to recharge the juice pack with the USB cable and the iPhone through the universal connecting port at the same time. If you're recharging the juice packs, you can't recharge the iPhone.
Grade: 4 stars (out of five)
The scoop: Link Wireless A/V Extender, by Imation, about $145.
What it is: The Link includes a USB wireless transmitter, and a larger receiver that connects to an HDMI- or VGA-enabled TV/monitor. Utilizing DisplayLink's multiple-monitor technology, the Link basically lets you extend the computer's display to the TV. If you do this with a computer monitor it's like other DisplayLink devices -- you get an extra computer monitor. When you do this with a TV, it gives you the ability to "stream" content from the computer to the TV.
Why it's cool: Why would you want to stream PC content to a TV? Hmmm, things like YouTube, Netflix or Hulu content, for example. Instead of viewing the content on a smaller display, you can watch content on a larger HDTV (streamed at 720p resolution). The addition of the wireless transmission component (using Ultra Wideband) makes it a clever trick -- you can add distance between the TV/monitor and your PC for the streaming component. An HDMI connection also can provide better audio streaming from the TV than the speakers on your notebook.
Some caveats: I'm a bit disappointed that it's HDMI or VGA only -- I would have loved to see additional component and composite connections for older TV sets.
Grade: 4.5 stars
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