Gadgets any father (or anyone, really) would love

Gadgets guruMay 15, 2014 

I guarantee that any of the three products you will read about below will make a great present for most any dad on next month's Father's Day. My best advice is to shop early before they sell out.

Smart keyboard saves inputting headaches

Anytime you use a set-top box such as Apple TV or Roku you are forced into the cumbersome process of inputting username and passwords with a remote, scrolling around for one letter at a time.

To the rescue comes Logitech's Harmony Smart Keyboard, a one-touch streaming media control, universal remote and a keyboard for your system.

Look at the smart keyboard as a control center, which works off of a pair of AA batteries. Use it like any other keyboard, although it does take just a few minutes to get used to since you are essentially using it as your remote.

All the keys you would expect are there with letters and numbers across the top. A trackpad replaces numbers on the right side.

Also included is the Harmony Hub, the brain of the system that accepts signals from the keyboard and turns them into wireless commands (Bluetooth, IR or Wi-Fi) your existing devices understand. Logitech states this will support more than 225,000 devices including program services such as Netflix or Hulu on devices such as Apple TV, Xbox, or PS3.

The Harmony app makes your iOS or Android smartphone an entertainment remote control for your personal favorites and up to 50 of your favorite channels.

Since I'm not a gamer, I'm pretty much locked on DIRECTV and Apple TV. So I tested the keyboard system with my Apple TV and it was as simple as advertised.

A great thing about Logitech is the company's tech support, which is right there on the page for the Smart Keyboard. This includes videos on setup, forums and a knowledge base.

Details: $149.99, www.logitech.com

Light bulb-speaker makes music anywhere easy

I got to see a demo of

the AwoX Striimlight B-10 light bulb and Bluetooth speaker at a trade show earlier this year but it's a whole lot cooler trying it out in my own house with my own music.

Just plug the LED bulb into any lamp and you have a speaker lamp. Obviously the speaker gets its power when connected to the lamp.

The multifunctional, eco-friendly LED light bulb measures just short of 3.5 inches in diameter and has an integrated Bluetooth speaker in the center to stream wireless music from the light fixture.

The speaker's (2 inches in diameter) specs are: 10 watts, 8ohm (range: 200Hz to 20000Hz).

An included IR remote controls the light (on/off/dimming) along with the speaker volume. The setup consists of screwing in the light bulb (standard E26 or E27 socket) and then pairing the speaker with any Bluetooth enabled-device.

As for the long-lasting LED lighting, it's 110-240v, a 40W incandescent equivalent.

Details: $99, www.awox.com

Jabra's latest bluetooth earbuds 'Pair and Play'

I've reviewed so many products from Jabra, and every one of them has been great. So I'm confident these earbuds will be no different.

This week I opened the Jabra Rox Wireless (Bluetooth 4.0) earphones.

Just like with the above speaker in the light bulb, pair it and play your tunes. The pair of speakers are at opposite ends of a wire, which has a 3-button remote integrated into the cable. Each speaker has a built-in magnet enabling them to be attached and turn off, or separate them to turn back on.

An omni-directional microphone with a noise filter is also built into the wireless headphones for hands-free calling. There's a USB charging port on the left year and a battery status indicator.

You get a bunch of different sized ear tips to get the right fit along with a carrying case.

Details: $129.99 available in black or white, www.jabra.com

Gregg Ellman, gadgets guru, can be reached at greggellman @greggellman.

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