Time For Gadgets! Episode 1

I’m toying with the idea of doing ten-minute episodic reviews videos where I can showcase several gadgets in one fell swoop and throw in some nonsense for good measure. So here it is, the first episode of Time For Gadgets!

That exclamation point is part of the title since gadgets should be exciting and whimsical.

Here’s a list of the items featured in this episode…

Trip Glasses: $40 at ThinkGeek

Trip Glasses feature two red LED lights and a sound generator that pulsate patterns of rapidly blinking light and binaural-type audio tones with the promise that “they allow you to safely meditate, hallucinate, trip out and generally relax with your eyes gently closed.”

And guess what? They actually work. You probably won’t full-on hallucinate, but you’ll definitely see weird shapes and all in all, it’s a pretty relaxing experience. The sequence runs for 14 minutes and then the glasses automatically shut off.

Big Buck Hunter Pro TV Video Game: $40 at Jakks Pacific

If you like the arcade version of Big Buck Hunter, you will absolutely love this $40 home version. It plugs directly into your TV and appears to be an almost exact replica of the arcade machine. The gun is a little on the disappointing side – it doesn’t feel too sturdy and the pump action doesn’t have nearly as much travel as the full-size game, but everything else is there.

The TV version adds a red on-screen aiming cursor, which I found to be a tad distracting. If you train yourself to ignore the cursor, though, things get a bit easier.

RoadHome: $35 at Speck

A simple mini-USB car charger that also features flip-out prongs for use in a standard wall jack – nice for traveling, though $35 seems a bit expensive.

HardCase Plus: $30 at Mophie

The best all-around iPhone case I’ve found to date, the HardCase Plus completely envelops your iPhone in protection without adding too much extra bulk. I’m petrified of damaging the screen on my iPhone, so the fact that this case actually covers the screen without hindering any of the touch-centric features is amazing.

MoGo Talk for iPhone: $130 at MogoStore

The MoGo Talk is quite a feat of engineering. It’s a slim, hard-backed iPhone case with a built-in Bluetooth headset that folds down to 5mm thin. When you want to use the headset, just pop it out of the case and flip out the earpiece. There’s a tiny microUSB port built into the case, too, so you can recharge the headset easily.

Sound quality is good and you’ll get around four hours of talk time. The flexible earbud blocks out ambient noise pretty well, too.

Seat Buddy: $20 at Seat Pods

Seat Buddy is a hands-free rubber housing for your iPhone that allows you to hang the device from a seat-back tray table on an airplane. It’s a dead-simple solution to the nagging problem of having to hold your iPhone or iPod touch upright for an entire movie.

HMX-R10 Camcorder: $500 at Samsung

A full HD camcorder stuffed in a compact, attractive package. The HMX-R10 does up to 1080i at 60 frames per second, or 1080p at 30 frames per second. Video quality is really sharp for such a small and relatively inexpensive camcorder, although footage has a tendency to pixelate and tear if you whip the camera from side to side too quickly. Standard handheld and tripod footage looks great, though.

The camcorder really needs a built-in hand strap that spans the entire side of the device. Instead, you get a little leather wrist strap that attaches to the back right corner of the camera. The lack of a full hand strap makes the camera really hard to use one-handed.

Quick look at the Archos 5 Internet Tablet: $380 at Archos

Just a quick hands-on showcasing some of the features of the Archos 5 Internet Tablet. I’ll be doing a full review later. For now, you can also read some first impressions of the device.