Sunday, May 26, 2013

CaptCase for iPhone

The CaptCase leather iPhone cover was the second campaign that I backed on Kickstarter that was successfully funded, but it is the first to be delivered to me. The packaging it came with was very nice and quite suitable for gift giving. Although I do like my Twelve South BookBook leather iPhone cover, after a year of use some of the stitching is coming apart. The CaptCase is a similar design but slimmer with a cutout for the camera and an outside pocket for a card or two. It is available for the iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5 and cost me less than half the price of the BookBook.

Nitecore EA4W LED Flashlight

I recently purchased a Nitecore EA4W flashlight after educating myself with some of the excellent reviews written by Selfbuilt over on CandlePowerForums. I'm very pleased with this high-powered compact LED flashlight that runs on only 4 AA batteries.

Before I knew anything about the real world of flashlights I purchased a MAGLITE® LED 3-Cell D Flashlight from Walmart. You can see it in the top picture. It's brightness is rated at 131 Lumens. By contrast, the Nitecore EA4 is much more compact and rated at 860 Lumens. The picture on the bottom right shows the Maglite on the left and the Nitecore on the right shining on a fence about 30 ft away. The difference is clear. The Nitecore is noticeably brighter in the grass directly in front as well as on the fence. I bought the "W" version of the Nitecore EA4 that has a warmer LED than the cool white that is also available. The Maglite has a cool white LED. The compact size of the Nitecore EA4 will make it much easier to throw in a bag or keep in the car. It also comes with a belt holster if you prefer carrying that way. I can't wait to try it out at the campground the next time we are RVing. Although, we might have an unfair advantage at the Flashlight Lollipop Hunts!

For a comprehensive review of the Nitecore EA4 complete with lots of comparison pictures, check out Selfbuilt's review here: Nitecore EA4 (XM-L U2, 4xAA) Review: RUNTIMES, BEAMSHOTS, VIDEO and more!

TYLT Energi Backpack

This TYLT Energi Backpack with Built-in Battery was my fourth successfully funded Kickstarter campaign, but the second one to ship. The whole project was very professionally run and actually shipped early. The bag is awesome: very high quality with lots of well designed pockets like my SCOTTEVEST products. The built-in battery can charge 3 devices at the same time and has the capacity to charge an iPhone about 6 times.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Comparison: Casio ProTrek, Garmin Fenix, G-Shock Mudman

I recently acquired a Garmin fenix GPS watch (pictured in the center in the above photo). It's a very capable sports watch that has the ability to track and monitor a variety of data as well as help you navigate wherever you want to go in your outdoor adventures. My previous ABC (altimeter, barometer, compass) watch was a titanium solar atomic Casio ProTrek, pictured on the left. The third digital sports watch in my collection, pictured on the right is a Casio G-Shock Mudman. 

The Garmin fenix has a built-in rechargeable battery that charges through a specially designed USB docking station. When you plug the docking station into a computer you can access the fenix as USB mass storage and backup or transfer files. Garmin says with the GPS on you should be able to get about 50 hours of use. With the GPS off and used only as a watch, the battery should last around 6 months. Timekeeping with the GPS on is very accurate because it synchronizes with satellites, but with the GPS off, the watch looses almost a second every day. 

The Casio ProTrek is solar powered so you can use any light source to charge it up.  It is also an atomic clock so every night, if you are within range of the various broadcast stations around the world, the time is automatically synchronized. 

The Casio G-Shock Mudman is the oldest of the three I have, probably acquired almost 20 years ago. It is powered by a single standard button battery. In terms of built-in functions and display, it seems pre-historic. 

The pictures below show the side profile of each watch. The titanium ProTrek is the thinnest. Also, because the bracelet and case are both made of titanium, the watch is very light and comfortable. The fenix and the Mudman are almost the same height, almost twice the size of the ProTrek. However, the Garmin fenix is very comfortable to wear despite its size. The resin strap is soft and flexible. By contrast, the resin strap on the Mudman is stiff and hard and it is the least comfortable of the three to wear. Part of that may be due to its age. All my other watches with resin straps that old have crumbled to pieces. It's pretty impressive that the Mudman's original strap has lasted this long. 

Casio ProTrek vs. Garmin fenix

 Garmin fenix vs. Casio G-Shock Mudman

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