Gadgets: USB charging ports offers convenience for families

February 20, 2014 

If two is good, four has to be better for most families when it comes to accessible USB charging ports.

Leviton's four-port device fits exactly to replace an existing AC wall plug/box, substituting the pair of standard plugs with the four USB ports.

Its design allows you to plug in your own charging cables for 4.2 amps of power, which is controlled by a microprocessor to accommodate up to four high-powered devices simultaneously.

This can include smartphones, tablets, gaming units and digital cameras regardless of the manufacturer. The only requirement that is they charge via USB.

The four USB ports are aligned in the outlet vertically to lessen stress on the charging cables, according to the company's website.

Also mentioned on the site is that all Leviton charging devices are UL listed and meet all National Electrical Code requirements for Tamper-Resistant outlets.

When it comes to electrical work, please take all precautions and make sure you know what you're doing or make use of a certified electrician.

www.leviton.com $39.99 available in gray, ivory, light almond and black

•••

I've reviewed SMS Audio Sync by 50 headphones before so it was no surprise when I tried on the latest over-the-ear wireless set. It has the same amazing sound as the previous.

What makes the headphones named and endorsed by rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson a lot more convenient is the wireless feature (Bluetooth).

Past the great crystal-clear sound, wireless feature and impressive packaging, the most important feature to me and many others with on-ear headphones is the comfort. These are as good as any, if not better.

While the headphones are designed by the famous rapper, the sound is not just geared towards that genre, which I proved to myself with my '70s channel on SirusXM.

Other features include 40mm drivers built into the soft leather memory foam cushioned ear pads and folding hinges to store in the hard shell carry case. There's also full on-board controls along with a mic for handsfree calls.

To my fault, the headphones got buried in one of my endless piles, so they aren't really new but if you haven't heard of them, then they are as new to you, as me.

You have your choice of silver or an eye-catching black (my review sample). You'll get about 10 hours of battery life and then a 4 hour charge to power them back up. A microUSB cable is included for charging.

www.smsby50.com $229.95

•••

The Camranger, in my mind the best third-party digital SLR camera accessory, just got better with a recent free firmware update.

If you're not familiar with the Camranger ($299.99), it's a device that connects to select Canon or Nikon DLSR cameras via USB to create a Wifi network from the camera to a smartphone, tablet or computer (Mac and PC) without needing an Internet connection.

This includes capturing and storing the images on your device away from the camera as well as changing settings including shutter speeds, ISO and f-stops.

Among the new features in the update, photographers now can share images with multiple devices and network bridging.

The photographer can share images or live view from camera with others on their personal smart phone, tablet, or computer using the free CamRanger Share app, regardless of there location.

Photographers now have the option to bridge into a network to extend the WiFi range or post images to the Internet immediately.

http://camranger.com/firmware-upgrade

•••

If you ever thought about turning your iPhone 5/5s into a thermal imaging device, you are in luck with the newly announced FLIR ONE, the first and only device of it's kind.

The FLIR ONE puts thermal imaging technology in your hands to extend the limits of human vision, allowing you to see in complete darkness just as the military would with night vision.

The uses are endless. Two examples: homeowners can use it for security or to optimize energy efficiency in doors and windows.

The FLIR ONE comes as a protective iPhone case that fits like a glove and has a lens on the back to detect and broadcast a live thermal image on the phone's LCD. It's not available yet but expected later this year for $349.

www.FLIR.com.

Gregg Ellman, a gadget nut trying to help make electronics easy, writes this column for the Herald. He can be emailed at greggellman@mac.com or follow him on Twitter @greggellman.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service