Published on December 16th, 2011 | by Greg0
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.