Tools for your phone

March 6, 2014 

Jawbone's new ERA Bluetooth headset has to be one of the lightest available and works flawlessly right out of the box.

The internal Lithium-ion battery will give you about 4 hours of use for calls, music, podcasts or handsfree smartphone commands. It charges with a microUSB connection or can be purchased with a charging case to double the amount of talk time. Overall, the performance was great on both ends of phone calls I made to test it. Using Siri on my iPhone was no problem using the ERA's multi-function button. Callers heard me loud and clear and that's a credit to the Military-grade NoiseAssassin technology in the headset designed to eliminate background noise.

Included with the headset (1.83 x .83 x .51-inches, .21oz) are four different sized earbuds (1 left, 3 right) to ensure you get the right fit. They don't look like your standard tips; instead they are designed with the natural contour of your ear for the comfort and stability. Once you get the right fit, it stays in place until your remove it and there's no need for an ear loop, which is a good thing since there isn't one in the box. The Jawbone app (App store and Google Play) lets you customize your headset to what works best for you and lets you see the remaining battery level. The ERA can be paired with two devices simultaneously. www.Jawbone.com" www.Jawbone.com ($99.99 for the headset or $129.99 with the charging case),

Using credit cards with the Square Reader on a smartphone is pretty common but misplacing or losing the tiny 1-inch square device is also common. Square has combined the device and a built-in storage from Griffin Technology to co-develop the Griffin Merchant Case plus Square

reader. The silicone protective case is now available for the iPhone 5/5s with a non-slip finish and extra protective corners in the event of accidental drops or bumps. What makes the case unique is a slot in its back to store the reader when it's not in use. All your phone's controls and touchscreen are fully accessible when the case is on. www.griffintechnology.com ($19.99).

Another innovative smartphone case is the IN1 multi-tool utility case. The case gives you a built-in mini-tool kit. Included are screwdrivers (philips and regular), tweezers, scissors, a nail file, toothpick and even a pair of pens (red and blue). They won't work on heavy construction but are described by the company as being "helpful with everyday tasks," such as tightening eye glass screws. As for the case, it protects the phone and gives you full access to all the controls and has a built-in stand for hands-free use.

The case is available in black, clear and white. As for the tools, you choose those colors from a choice of white, black, blue, green, orange and pink. www.in1case.com ($44.95).

The Loop is an anti-tangling device designed to keep earbuds from getting in a tangled ball while stored in a pocket or purse. There's not a lot to it, just wind your headphones on and wind them off. It's done by inserting the 3.5mm headphone jack into the hole in the center of the Loop and winding the cord. The only real requirement is to wind it in the slots direction to ensure the earbuds lock on and you can get it off easily. ipocketloop.com ($5.95 each or 3-pack for $16.99), available in 10 colors.

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