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Review: iHere Rechargeable Item Locator

ihere item locator

Do you lose your keys, phone or other items frequently? We know its difficult to find an item when its lost in your own house. Nonda’s iHere is a nifty little device which you can attach to any item that you tend to lose frequently. Then, when you lose it next, simply open up the iHere app on your smartphone and tap the find button. iHere will start making a noise directing you to its (and eventually the item you are looking for)’s location.

iHere works on low power bluetooth and pairs with your phone. It has a rechargeable battery which lasts several weeks on a single charge. The device can be charged using any USB charger. The main features are:

  1. Item locator
  2. Phone locator
  3. Phone camera shutter button

Design

iHere is made of good quality materials and shows the same level of workmanship as other Nonda products. It is extremely lightweight, yet feels very robust. The material is prone to scratches, but honestly, you cannot avoid getting scratches on this thing owing to where all it will end up if its attached to your keys.

i here charger

The device charges using a USB cable. Charger is the only part of the package which feels flimsy and cheaply made. Not sure why Nonda cut corners here.

Usage

iHere pairs with your phone over bluetooth. The pairing process is very simple and straightforward. If you lose your item, just open the app and tap on find. iHere will start to make noise leading you to the item. This also works the other way round if you lose your phone. Just press the button on iHere and your phone will sound the alarm, even if it is on silent – pretty neat.

ihere-locate-device

In addition to finding your phone using the button on iHere, you can also choose to perform any of the following actions:

  • Voice recorder – Record quick voice memos.
  • Car finder – Click the button on iHere when you park your car and it will trigger the app on your phone to store your current GPS location. Later, when you return back to the parking lot, open the app to guide you to your parked car’s location.
  • Take selfies – iHere can also be used to take selfies with the button acting as the camera trigger.

ihere button functions

iHere also beeps when the phone goes out of range in order to tell you that you may have forgot your phone somewhere. Although helpful, this feature may turn annoying in large sized homes where moving from one corder to another may lead to the device beeping.

Packaging

Like its other products, Nonda has put in a lot of attention to iHere’s packaging. The packaging box feels like its built from premium quality materials and keeps the device safe and in an easy to unpack position.

ihere packing box

ihere unpacking

Conclusion

iHere is a great addition to your keyring. Although it is pegged as a key finder, I used it more to find my phone rather than the keys. But either way, its an inexpensive yet very useful device which will help you save a lot of time in situations of distress. Because of the simple design and overall ease of use, we rate iHere at 5 out of 5 stars. We really could not find any issues with this nifty little device.

iHere retails for about $15.99 on amazon and $19.99 on nonda.

Review: Zus Smart USB Car Charger and Car Locator

zus logo

There are many in-car USB charges available to juice up your devices while on the move. While you may not have paid attention to the modest little charger plugged in your car’s 12V accessory socket, there are a plethora of innovations going on in the segment to make you consider upgrading the device.

First came dual USB chargers. Followed by high powered ones (the ones which can charge your device faster – really useful when using GPS). Then came smart ones which would identify the plugged in device and deliver the charging power to best suit the device. Nonda’s ZUS is a few steps ahead of the curve.

Lets go through the specs first:

  • 2 smart USB charging ports
  • Up to 4.8A output, fully charges 2 iPads in 3.75 Hours
  • Smart Car Finder
  • US Military MIL-STD-810G Grade High Temperature Standard. German Bayer PC + Titanium to withstand temperatures up to 100°C/212°F.
  • In built cooling system to keep the charger at a lower temperature.

Design

The ZUS is a great looking charger with a solid and plush feel. The product is made of premium components and you can feel it when you hold it in your hands. The build quality is stellar. There is also a 24k gold limited edition available on amazon.
 
zus-charger-design 

Usage

Apart from being “smart” in a traditional way of detecting the best charging power for the plugged in device, ZUS is also a car finder. Here is how it works:

  1. ZUS has a bluetooth chip built in.
  2. You download the app and pair your phone with ZUS.
    ZUS iOS app
  3. ZUS detects when you have parked your car and tells your phone to record your current location. You don’t need to do anything – the app notifies you that it has recorded the parking location.  You can even set a parking timer if you are parked in a metered zone.
    zus app parking timer
  4. When returning to your car, you open the app and it leads you in the direction of your car. You can switch between compass and map views.
    zus-car-locator zus-car-locator-2 zus-car-locator-3

The whole process works flawlessly. Every time. Why would you need a car charger to record your car’s parking location on your phone you ask? You don’t. But you need a way to tell your phone that you have parked and that its time to record the location. Traditionally, car finder apps have relied on the premise that humans beings are diligent/attentive/careful/patient enough to open the app when they park their car and tell the app to record the location. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen. Recording the car’s location is not the part of the problem to solve, telling the app is. The folks at Nonda made ZUS to solve the right part of the problem. It sits humbly in your car’s accessory socket to serve the regular purpose of charging your phone in the car and as soon as you park it, it tells the app to record the location. No human intervention is required. How does ZUS know you have parked your car? Simple:

  • In most vehicles, when you switch off ignition, the accessory socket is turned off. ZUS uses this event to derive that you are parking the car.
  • In the vehicles where the accessory socket is not turned off when the ignition is switched off, ZUS relies on Bluetooth to determine if your phone is nearby. If you are heading away from your car, it derives that you have parked your car and tells the app to record the location. This feature will also work in the scenarios where you might be making a quick trip to a store and leave the car’s engine turned on because someone is sitting in the car. Pretty neat.
The only improvement I would like to see here is to have the ability to add common locations you frequent to disable ZUS from recording your parking location every time you visit there. you really don’t want to be notified when you are parking your car in front of your home. Having an ability to setup such locations in the app would be great.

Packaging

Nonda has paid a lot of attention to ZUS’s packaging, Its elegantly packed in a white box with the product attached using almost invisible notches. The packaging looks great on the shelves and feels like a premium product.
 
zus-charger-packaging zus-charger-unboxed

Conclusion

If you live in an area with huge parking lots, this thing is going to save you a lot of time and effort finding your car. If you live in a city and park on metered slots, this thing will also help you avoid getting your car towed. The only place where it will not work reliably is underground parking lots because there is no way for your phone to find the current location. But that is a reasonable limitation to have with all that it has to offer.

As of today, ZUS retails for $33.99 on nonda.co. If you have multiple cars, Nonda offers discounts if you buy 2 or 5 units together. ZUS is also available on amazon for $35.99.  According to us, the price is reasonable given the value the products adds to your everyday life. With a beautiful and robust design, coupled with super useful & cool features, we rate the ZUS at 4.5 out of 5 stars. The half star is taken away because of the missing home geofencing option I mentioned earlier.

BTW, the 24k Gold Limited Edition is currently available, if you have $499.99 to spare (and really want to increase the chances of your car being broken into).

Review: Nomad’s Portable Charging Products

nomad-logo-new

We earlier reviewed Nomad’s Chargekey – a key shaped USB lightning charger you can put in your keyring to always have a charger handy. The company – Nomad, has rebranded itself and have come up with an updated version of the Chargekey (now called NomadKey) and 2 new products which they claim are tools meant for the modern nomad. Essentially targeting the segment of customers who are mostly on the go. They sent us a review kit with all 3 of their latest products. I have been using them for the past few weeks and so far, they have proved to be delivering on their promise. Lets look at each one of them.

Nomadkey

nomadkey

The updated version of the ChargeKey (now called NomadKey) now has a metallic USB plug and feels much more robust than its predecessor. It has a super strong and flexible stem which can literally bend in any direction. I tried twisting, turning & bending this thing and it took it all. This image should tell you what this thing is capable of:

nomadkey-flexibility

As you can see, this thing can bend, still charge your device, and retain its shape. That is some serious tensile strength there. The idea behind shaping the charger like a key is that you usually never forget your keyring. So you will always have a charger with you wherever you go. The NomadKey measures 6.6 x 0.5 x 1.9 cm and weighs just 7g. It is also 2.5A ready. So if you have a high speed charger that outputs 2.1A, you can use it with NomadKey to charge your device faster.

The NomadKey is priced at $24.95 (Apple Lightning version) & $19.95 (Micro USB version). You can buy it here.

NomadClip

nomadclip

Carabiners are awesome. They are not just for climbing. They are useful everywhere to hold things. And people use them a lot to hold keys – lots of keys. NomadClip is a carabiner with a hidden USB charging cable. Weighing at 53g, the NomadClip is sized at 8 x 4.2 x 1.3 cm and is 2.5A ready. It is made with some really tough materials and has an amazing build quality. The USB & charging plugs are located on the opposite side of the clip and you have to pull the corners out to reveal them. They are connected via a tough flat cable, so you can move them in case you need to plug them to a recessed port.

Keep in mind that taking out the ports will require some strength. But that’s a good thing considering what this thing is meant for. You do not want to have your USB port pulling out every time your carabiner is dragged against a wall or something. This thing is tough. And thats what makes it awesome.

NomadClip is available in Apple Lightning & Micro USB versions and is priced at $39.95. You can buy one here.

NomadPlus

We have all seen portable chargers. They are battery packs shaped like cigarette lighters or portable USB drives which you have to charge using a USB cable. Most come with a pouch to keep the charger and all the cables together. Nomad has thought out of the box in making their version of the portable charger. Apple’s USB chargers are iconic in shape. You insert your Apple USB charger in the NomadPlus which has an appropriately sized compartment with a male USB port. Once the charger is inserted and flush leveled with NomadPlus, you can plug it in any wall outlet.

nomadplus

The NomadPlus is a 1800mAh portable charger weighing only 60g. Its decently sized with dimensions measuring 5.3 x 5.3 x 3.1cm. Its slightly larger than the Apple Charger that comes with the iPad and outputs 5V/1A. When its plugged into a wall outlet, it charges your device first and then charges itself. When not plugged in, you can use it to charge your device on the go. The Nomad logo next to the USB port doubles up as indicator of the amount of charge remaining in the battery.

Note that NomadPlus is built to house the Apple Charger tightly so that it doesn’t come out accidentally or while pulling out of the wall outlet. This means that its rather difficult to take out once you get it inside. You will need to insert a paper clip in the holes in the pins and then pull it out. In my last few weeks of usage, I have actually never felt the need to take it out. Its overall small size lets you easily carry it around wherever you go.

The NomadPlus is priced at $39.95 and is available here.

Review: Nomad Chargekey for Lightning Devices

nomad logo

All of us have faced a situation where we ran out of battery on our iPhone and looked around for a charger and never found one. At such a time we wonder if there can be a charger that we can always have. There are the two things that we mostly never forget – our wallet and our keys. Nomad has come up with these innovative USB chargers which can fit in your wallet (the chargecard) and in your keychain (the chargekey). Nomad sent us a chargekey to review. Read on to find out how we found it.

Design

nomad chargekey

The chargekey is made of 2 hard plastic parts joined together by a flexible yet robust stem in the middle. One part has a slot which you can use to put it in the keychain. It also houses  the lightning connector which goes in your phone. The other part has a naked USB port which goes into a USB charger or your laptop’s USB port. The flexible stem in the middle makes this product really unique and awesome. The flexible stem is so robust, that no matter what way you bend it, it never snaps!

The design is minimalistic in terms of volume and weight. The chargekey weighs much less that an actual key and will not add any bulk to your keychain. The only issue one might have is with the angled lightning connector which will force you to keep your phone at an angle which is not very ideal for using it simultaneously. Unfortunately, USB port connectors are not reversible. So uou might have to use it on the USB ports to the left of the keyboard on your laptop to keep it at a usable angle.

As far as durability is concerned, this is by far the most durable iPhone charger I have seen till date.

Usage

chargekey in a keyring

I took the chargekey on a trip with me. The trip involved traveling by road and train. During the whole trip, I always had the chargekey on me to be able to charge my phone anywhere. During travel, the phone discharges much faster due to lack of signal strength. I used the chargekey on almost every leg of my journey and at various places that I stayed, and it performed pretty well everywhere.

I even used it with a USB charger on the power sockets provided in the Indian Railways train compartments with my iPhone hanging out. And the bending stem did not give up!

The chargekey is not just a charger. It is a USB 2.0 sync cable as well. Although you will most likely be using it as just a charging device. That is perfectly fine as we seldom sync our iPhones with our computers these days.

Packaging

The packaging of the product impressed me a lot. Nomad has gone really above and beyond to design a super awesome packaging for their products.

nomad packing envelope closed

The product comes in an intelligently designed envelope which is really simple to open.

nomad packing envelope opened

When you open the envelope, you will find the product glued to the envelope using a sticky gel (which does not stick to the product after its removed). You will also find ways to earn free products from them. Nomad also accepts barter as a payment mechanism. So you can actually tell them what you want to barter for any of their products and if they like it, they might make the exchange!

Conclusion

The chargekey is a super useful little tool that will surely give you your money’s worth. Its priced at $29 a piece and if you order two or more of them, you get free international shipping! I found the product to be a very robust item with an intelligent and thought through design.  I will recommend this product to anyone who faces the dire need of a charger and can’t find one in the vicinity. And at $29 a piece, it is very reasonable priced.

Review: Nextra Fiber Broadband (FTTH)

nextra ftth broadband logo

Nextra Teleservices is a Gurgaon based emerging Internet Service Provider (ISP) which is aiming to equip India’s homes with ultra fast broadband connections delivered over Fiber To The Premises (FTTP) infrastructure. In FTTP, the fiber runs from the central office till the customer’s premises. In apartments & group housing complexes, premises might mean each individual building, whereas in independent houses, the fiber might terminate into a common pole or distribution box. Ethernet wires run from these common distribution boxes to the customer’s equipment.

Nextra is leveraging the Fiber infrastructure being laid out by Delhi based Radius Infratel Private Limited. Radius was the first company to launch Fiber network in India in December 2008. Airtel & Tata Teleservices also leverage Radius’ Fiber network to offer their fiber based broadband plans.

Plans

Nextra offers a variety of plans for every type of customer. Here is a brief table of their unlimited plans:

Plan Name Speed Price
FiberBolt 10 10 Mbps INR 999 
FiberBolt 15 15 Mbps INR 1199 
FiberBolt 20 20 Mbps INR 1399 
FiberBolt 50 50 Mbps INR 1999 
FiberBolt 100 100 Mbps INR 2999

Al the plans come with a download and upload quota of 15 GB. Once your quota is consumed, your speed reduces to 512 kbps for the remainder of the billing cycle.

In order to get more quota, customers can buy add on packs priced at INR 300. The first add on worth 300 rupees will give you 15 GB more. The next one (worth 300 rupees again) gives you 20 GB more and subsequent ones give you 30, 40 & 50 GB more allowing a customer to get a maximum monthly download upload quota of 170 GB by paying an additional INR 1200 over the plan charges.

The plan rentals are very competitively priced given that Airtel & Tata Teleservices offer plans with lower quota at higher rentals.

Speed

I have been using the FiberBolt 100 plan for close to 4 months now. The plan offers download and upload speeds of 100 Mbps. In my experience, Nextra has been very consistent in delivering the speed promised. A speed test using Nextra’s servers in Gurgaon yields 100% speed.

In order to see the full potential of such high speeds, one has to either download a heavy file (> 1GB) using a download manager or a torrent client with torrent port forwarded. My download speed touches 10 – 12 MBPS (mega bits per second) easily using both download manager & a torrent client. The upload speed is also great. Heavy files get attached very fast in gmail.

Note that upload speed in your torrent client can also reach 10 – 12 MBPS. Since upload data is also counted towards your quota, it can eat up the quota real quick. Limiting the upload speed in the torrent client is highly recommended.

Also, I had to actually increase the memory buffer in my torrent client from 32 MB to 1 GB as the buffer was filling up with downloaded data faster than my hard disk drive could save it causing the torrent client to throttle the download speed!

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ZAPstore – No Fuss Instant Discounts On Gadgets (Review)

With new online shopping websites spawning up every week, do we need another one?

Yes, we’re in the middle of online shopping/ecommerce evolution in India. More choice promotes competition among the sellers to offer discounted products with a good shopping experience. That makes the consumer a winner (of course these companies make good profits too).

So how’s ZAPstore any different? Is it one of those websites that just sells gadgets or something more? Here’s a review.

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Wonderful Day for iPhone: Stay Motivated, Every Single Day [Review]

WonderfulDay_icon

We’ve all downloaded our share of to-do/productivity apps. We’ve all made New Year resolutions. But most of us use them for sometime and slowly they get phased out of our busy (read lazy) life.

Why?

So why another productivity app, you might say? Well, this one is slightly different. It’s actually based on Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity secret. You can read about it in detail at Lifehacker but I’ll brief the process for you. Pick out a task – walk every day, leave for work on time, learn a new language. Buy a big yearly calendar with boxes for days. Now everyday you walk, mark a red cross on the date. Think of it as a game you’re playing. You have to maintain the streak. Every single day without the red cross is where you failed. Once you do it for a few days, it gets exciting. You just want to continue the longest without failing. The best part – at the end of a long enough chain you’d have accomplished something amazing, an achievement of sorts. So if you spent 30 min a day learning a new language, after a month you’d probably would be already speaking a few sentences!

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Review and Giveaway: UniQXcess remote access app for iPad

uniqxcess ipad

If you have an iPad and are usually on the move with it, you might have faced a situation where you wanted to access a file on your PC back home. The folks at LiniQue have developed an iPad app which can help you in such situations. UniQXcess is a $2.99 iPad app which, coupled with a free PC based server software running on your computer back home can let you access any file you have shared on your iPad anywhere in the world as long as you are connected to the internet.

The app works as follows:

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The Best Video Recording App on iPhone [Capture]

I’ve always been a big fan of one-touch mobile apps done right. They fix one problem, fix it well and fix it without making you fiddle through complex UIs. This is the only reason I like widgets on Android. They provide a great one-click interface for doing basic things. Not many apps on iPhone are like that and the ones that exist, are  not famous enough to be used widely. Today I’ll tell you about one of them – Capture.

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Tuk Tuk Meter Calculates Auto Fare Using GPS [Android App Review]

Tuk Tuk Meter

Tuk Tuk meter has a simple aim. It wants to prevent people from being conned by auto-rickshaws around the country. How? They provide mobile apps for Blackberry, Android, Symbian and Java based phones that allow you to calculate the correct fare. In their words:

Transport within a city is cumbersome and slow, especially after a full days work when the cities erupts into a hub of endless traffic. Resorting to autorickshaw’s is not just a convenience anymore, to the crowds, it is a necessity. While in a rickshaw, the customer is at the mercy of the driver. Well, not anymore. Fair Fare ensures that :
– You can identify a faulty/ tampered meter
– Determine the correct fare that is to be paid to the driver
– Can be at a better bargaining position

I decided to take the Android version of the app along with me on a ride.

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