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Published on December 16th, 2011 | by Greg

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Gadget Gift Guide: iPad and Notebook Gear

We’ve had a busy year at Tru­lyNet. We’ve launched sev­er­al sites, moved our of­fices across the coun­try, at­tend­ing dozens of press con­fer­ences and sev­er­al con­ven­tions. High­lights have in­clud­ed see­ing Ke$ha dis­cuss her Ca­sio watch line, as well as be­ing able to test out some re­al­ly love­ly au­dio gear from Peachtree and Orb Au­dio, Hi­Fi­Man, Gra­ham Slee and Trends. We’ve dropped hard drives, trav­eled to a Hawa­iaan wa­ter­fall to check out a wa­ter­proof cam­era, and checked on our grilled goods from afar with a funky long-range Blue­tooth ther­mome­ter. Some items we still use on a reg­u­lar ba­sis- the fold­able tri­pod turns out to be in­cred­i­bly handy and we still use two of the routers that we re­viewed re­cent­ly. Of course, not ev­ery­thing has been great- some miss­es and mis­fires are in­evitable.

To­day, we’ve got a pair of prod­ucts that are get­ting in just in time for the hol­i­days. These aren’t amaz­ing new tech­nolo­gies or any­thing, just de­cent stock­ing stuffers and gear that should put a smile on a gad­get-lover’s face. From Ge­nius, we’ve got the Lux­ePad ul­tra-thin Blue­tooth key­board, meant es­pe­cial­ly for iPad users but suit­able for use with oth­er tablets as well.

The pack­ag­ing won’t im­press, but the unit it­self might. The leatherette han­drest is a nice touch, and the keys feel good- sol­id, and re­spon­sive. Pair­ing was easy, and though we were a bit skep­ti­cal of the iOS func­tion keys, they worked well. Note: you’ll need iOS 4 or high­er, but most ev­ery­one is past that firmware ver­sion at this point. The key­board lay­out is a bit tight- crammed to­geth­er a bit so that the unit takes up less space, this al­so means that you’ll end up with a few more er­rors than usu­al when typ­ing fast. The bat­tery lasts plen­ty of time, and recharges via USB- no reg­u­lar out­let charg­er is pro­vid­ed, but any lap­top or desk­top should work fine. Over­all, this might not be the best Blue­tooth key­board that we’ve used, but it’s lightweight and looks pro­fes­sion­al. It would have been nice if it could al­so serve as a sleeve, but since many peo­ple are us­ing cov­ers and the Smart­Cov­er any­way, it would prob­a­bly be un­nec­es­sary. Avail­able for around $50, on­line.

One of the worst parts about us­ing a lap­top on your lap is the heat. Guys es­pe­cial­ly need to be a bit care­ful- re­peat­ed use can have some pret­ty dam­ag­ing ef­fects. Cool­Max pro­vid­ed us with a nifty note­book cool­er, the NB-400. Made from alu­minum al­loy, this is lightweight enough to not add much to the bur­den, and of­fers both low and high speeds de­pend­ing on your needs. The fans aren’t ex­act­ly qui­et- on low, they were easy to ig­nore but the high­er speed did an­noy us a bit. Al­so, the edges are a bit sharp- we didn’t get cut, but did scratch up a wall at one point. But be­yond these cons, the unit works great, and is flex­i­ble enough to fit most any lap­top. Many note­books need air pushed up, and you can re­verse the fans on this one if that is the case- our tests with an HP En­vy, Mac­book Pro, and Toshi­ba all showed low­er tem­per­a­tures al­most im­me­di­ate­ly. Just plug the cool­er in via USB, and you’re set. It isn’t sexy, but works well. $35, avail­able on­line and in stores.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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