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This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best dash cams. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them.Design and features
The Beam is a diminutive, square black box of a camera. It’s as small as the Garmin Dash Cam 66W we reviewed last year (currently $200 on Amazon), but it lacks a display (that’s provided by your phone), and the lens housing protrudes further. The sensor is a 1080p GalaxyCore GC2053, a model and brand I’ve never experienced before. Recognizable or not, it does the job. Note that the G-sensor is in the camera, not in the phone.
Nexar’s Beam is diminutive, simple, and unobtrusive. Ignore the color treatment in the lens above—it’s not that color naturally.
On the left side of the camera are the power button and micro-SD card slot, while the right is given over to perforations for ventilating the unit. On top are the slot where the suction mount marries to the body, and the mini-USB jack. That’s it. Simple, clean, and easy. If the goal is to be unobtrusive (which to avoid theft, it should be), the Nexar achieves that. Everything else is provided by or done on your phone (iOS or Android).App and connectivity
Nexar has done a nice job on the phone app. It’s stupid-easy to connect the camera to the phone, and the interface is clean, well-organized, intuitive and informative. Of course, you’ll need to create an account for the phone so you can upload videos, etc.
When you’re finished and have uploaded some “rides” (videos), you can check them out at the online portal chúng tôi I didn’t link as you won’t have access unless you buy. Sign-in is easy, as an access code is sent to your phone.
This is the drive playback info page. At this point I had parked on top of my local Lowe’s after hitting the freeway here in San Francisco.
The camera records to the micro SD card, then transfers to the phone as time allows (it’s near-real-time), then gives you the opportunity to save them to the cloud. You can limit the Beam’s use of phone storage to 20-, 50-, or 80 percent of what’s available; once it hits that limit, it will overwrite previous videos. There’s also automatic upload triggered by the G-sensor, as with the Owl. It worked perfectly in my exclusive, proprietary bang-the-dash-cam-on-the-desk tests, and it didn’t trigger falsely while on the road.
Nexar has spent a great deal of time honing the options for a smooth experience.Capture quality
Though the colors may not seem very saturated, they are partly diminished by the overcast skies here in a dreary San Francisco summer. If it weren’t August, I’d call it the June Gloom.
This capture suffers some flare in the lighting, but a great deal of it was my schmutz on my windshield. Notice the date and time. This is what happens when you don’t connect to the phone and Beam battery runs down over a few days.
Note that the night captures have the orange-ish tinge featured by many sensors, but they still reveal quite a lot of detail. Headlight flare is minimal. Some of flare in the image above is due my less-than-stellar cleaning of my windshield. My bad.
I was a bit worried about battery life on my phone with the Nexar app running. When connected to the dash cam and in use, the app’s obviously going to use some juice, so keep the phone charging if you’re on a long trip. The auxiliary power connector with dual USB ports that Nexar includes helps with that. That said, the drain wasn’t as significant as I was expecting, and the Nexar app didn’t seem to affect battery life at all when not in operation.Excellent with the phone
If you need cabin coverage, the front/interior Nexar Pro is $130 on AmazonRemove non-product link with the same cloud features.
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Comfortable & IPX4
ANC could be better
No wireless chargingOur Verdict
Huawei’s new generation of affordable wireless earbuds are back with new active noise cancelling modes that very few brands can offer in this price range. In addition, it adds the IPX4 certification for fitness use and Hi-Res Audio support.
The price of wireless earbuds has plummeted in the last year due to the sheer number of options on the market. So much so that it is difficult to find the most interesting price point where, due to the specifications, they are also attractive.
In the case of the new FreeBuds 5i, Huawei seems to have it clear by presenting a cut-down version of the Freebuds Pro 2 (the flagship model) but maintaining key aspects such as active noise cancellation and high-quality codec support.
They come in at just £89.99/€99, fully competing with the Ear (Stick) from Nothing or the Galaxy Buds 2 from Samsung, to name two examples.Design & Build
lighter than before
They admit pressure controls
No wireless charging
At the design level, little has changed compared to the previous generation FreeBuds 4i. They use a very similar egg-shaped case format in which the earphones slide in and out easily. A flat part means it remains stable when on a table.
There is a greater variety of finishes to choose from this time. I received the blue ones, but you can also buy them in black or white. Instead of providing a uniform color, Huawei sprays certain textures in the form of emerald gray to give them a differentiating finish.
It is a great step forward that is very necessary if you want to use them for sport and prevent sweat or splashes of water
The case has powerful magnets, so it is unlikely that as a result of a fall, the earbuds will fall out. In any case, we still have the search function if we use the mobile app.
Regarding the dynamic drivers of the headphones, they are again 10mm with a frequency response between 20 Hz and 40 KHz, which improves the range. They’re also lighter, weighing in at 4.9g versus 5.5g for the FreeBuds 4i.
Alfonso Casas / Foundry
I have personally verified that the earbuds fit perfectly in the ear, with the possibility of interchanging the silicone tips of different sizes and better adapting to each user. In essence, they are comfortable to wear for long periods of use.
A single LED indicator allows you to visually identify how the headphone case is charging. There is the typical button to enable synchronization with devices, and at the bottom, the USB-C charging port is located.
As seems evident in this price range, there is no wireless charging. Where there is an evolution is in resistance to water and dust, since the FreeBuds 5i take a step forward and includes IPX4 certification compared to the previous ones that did not have any rating.
It is a great step forward that is very necessary if you want to use them for sport and prevent sweat or splashes of water that can put them out of play at the first use.Sound Quality & ANC
Different ANC modes
Noise cancellation on calls
Hi-Res Audio support
The sound quality the FreeBuds 5i offer is very well-rounded, whether you’re listening to music from your favorite streaming service or you’re communicating with someone through a voice or video call.
Huawei points out that these headphones have a DNN algorithm that works on the two microphones in order to activate noise cancellation automatically when you answer a call in a noisy place. It’s something I didn’t particularly notice, although it’s the receiver who will get a clearer signal of your voice.
The bass frequencies are well presented, without being boomy when you raise the volume above average. For most styles of music, the mid and high frequencies also sound good without that metallic feel, offering a pleasant experience.
Alfonso Casas / Foundry
Not to forget, the Freebuds 5i feature LDAC Hi-Res Audio capabilities – a rare find on even more expensive earbuds. Within the Android or iOS application, we can access the equalizer settings, where the bass and treble are amplified, or you can leave the settings in default mode.
Depending on your musical style, you may find an improved fit. With the bass turned up, I tried playing Taylor Swift’s ‘Willow’ and it allowed me to appreciate the guitar plucks and vocal twists in all their glory.
As It Was by Harry Styles sounds with good bass, as well as LLYLM by Rosalía, which has the handicap and the complication of making the artist’s flamenco voice sound along with the musical pop rhythm, with good tones in both situations.
ANC Ultra mode is my favorite option for any situation
We can have noise cancellation activated, deactivated, or set the attention mode in which the cancellation is slightly attenuated so as not to miss anything that may happen around you, ideal if you are walking through busy streets with traffic.
Alfonso Casas / Foundry
Huawei defines three different modes: comfortable, general or ultra. The ‘ultra’ mode is designed to be able to isolate yourself in more extreme high-decibel situations, such as traveling by plane, or riding a crowded subway car.
For the most part, it is the one I liked the most, regardless of whether I was on the street or working from home. It’s not extreme cancellation, as even if someone knocks on your door, you’ll still be able to hear the sound.
For example, the Freebuds Pro 2 raise this active noise cancellation up to 47dB, handling the same modes of use as those mentioned here. Technically, they also have a flat diaphragm that provides improvements in this section.App & Features
Touch and swipe operation
Interaction with Android
Regarding the interaction supported by the Freebuds 5i, I have to say that it is possible to use them to a large extent by touching and swiping on the earphones themselves. It’s the typical functions of playback, track skipping or noise cancellation, all at your fingertips.
In general, they respond well to interactions and failures only occurred on a few occasions. What I would have liked is to get an improved response time, since it is difficult to get used to pressing and waiting a few moments for the action to take place.
Compared to the more professional headphone models, I have missed the possibility of using gestures or pinches that seem more intuitive movements, but who knows, it’s maybe an improvement that Huawei saves for the next generation.
By default, it is possible to slide up or down to change the volume. The good news is that all of these movements can be customized through the Huawei AI Life companion app, which you won’t find in the Google Play Store.
Alfonso Casas / Foundry
You will have no problem downloading it, either through the Huawei AppGallery store, or directly from the company’s website. In it, you will find all the devices of the brand if it turns out that you already have an ecosystem.
In order to ensure a fast and easy connection experience between your devices, the Freebuds 5i support Bluetooth 5.3, and they can be simultaneously connected to two devices at the same time. Taking it out of your ear and stopping playback also works well.
During my test period, the connections were quite stable, with the typical connection animation shown on the smartphone screen appearing immediately when you open the cover of the case, in my case the Huawei P40 Pro.Battery Life & Charging
Earbuds last 5.5 hours
Maximum total of 28 hours
2 hour charging time
No wireless charging
For battery life, there is an improvement compared to the previous Freebuds. Now up to five and a half hours of continuous playback with ANC in normal mode.
If you opt for the Ultra mode of noise cancellation, the times are reduced because the headphones have to work harder getting rid of the unwanted sound.
In any case, they are also longer lasting with the support of the Freebuds 5i case, which now allows you to reach 28 hours of use without ANC activated.
Alfonso Casas / Foundry
Playing music occasionally, such as using them on the go for at least an hour, I verified that the charge level remains high, around 82%, which indicates that they are efficient.
There’s no wireless charging support for the case, but it’s an extra you’d normally expect on higher-priced models. In any case, a full charge of the case and earbuds took me almost two hours on a typical 33W charger.
Huawei includes only the USB C charging cable in the box, along with different sized ear tips for your ears.Price
I’ve already mention the affordable price at the top, but nevertheless, the suggested retail price of £89.99/€99 seems very much in line with everything we’ve seen so far, supporting different ANC cancellation modes and integrating equalization.
The Freebuds 5i can be purchased through the Huawei website, where you can find offers associated with other products, such as the possibility of purchasing other Huawei devices at reduced prices.
You can also buy them from Amazon, Currys, Argos, AO and Very.
If what you are looking for is the highest sound quality, do not settle for the new Freebuds 5i and bet on the Freebuds Pro 2, which you can purchase for an extra £80.
Take a look at our guide to he best budget wireless earbuds as well as the best wireless earbuds.Verdict
Offering ANC active noise cancellation as standard with different modes of use, as well as support for different codecs such as LDAC usually results in a high price, but it’s something Huawei’s Freebuds 5i offer at a budget cost.
I like how comfortable they are for daily use, mainly due to the lightweight design. The quality and finishes of the case can be improved if we want to get away from the appearance of the cheapest models, but that will be the next challenge for Huawei.
At this point, there aren’t many rivals that can offer the same set of features. Alternatives include the Nothing Ear (1), Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC and Xiaomi Redmi Buds 4 Pro.
Obviously, there is room for improvement in the type of ANC that is applied, as well as in the sound quality. But the incorporation of IPX4 type water resistance is a great step forward for all those users (and there are many), who use them for fitness and sport.Specs
10mm aluminum alloy dynamic driver
2 x microphones per unit
Supported codecs: Sony LDAC, AAC and SBC
surround sound mode
Simultaneous multi-device connectivity
Headphone weight: 4.9g
Case weight: 34g
Up to 6 hours of battery life
Up to 28 hours with the case
Competitively priced among its peers, the Ring Floodlight Cam is an excellent device for monitoring – and protecting – your home from the comfort of your mobile phone. It detects motion, lights up the area, records activity, sounds a warning alarm if required, and allows two-way audio between you and whoever is on your premises. A subscription is not necessary but recommended, and shouldn’t break the bank at £25 / $36 per year. If you can live without two-way audio and would prefer a camera that requires no ongoing subscription, the Netatmo Presence is a great alternative.
Ring’s range of video doorbells is ideal not only for knowing who’s coming to your front door but also interacting with them, which is handy if you’ve got a delivery and you’re not in. But they cover only your front door, potentially leaving blind spots such as on your drive.
The Floodlight Cam is a new product from the company that integrates with the doorbell and can be controlled via the same mobile app. It can light up your premises when motion is detected, day or night, record anything that’s happening and send an alert direct to your mobile phone.
Should there be anything untoward occurring, you can remotely activate a 110dB siren, utilise two-way audio to warn off the unwanted visitor, and download the video footage as evidence.
Also see: Best home security camerasRing Floodlight Cam Price & Availability
Though it has an RRP of £249.99 from Amazon UK the Ring Floodlight Cam can often be found online much cheaper. Over in the US you’ll pay $249 from Amazon, but again you may well find it discounted.
The Floodlight Cam is available in black or white, so you can buy whichever best suits your property, whether that means blending it in or making it stand out to deter opportunists.
The closest rival is Netatmo’s Presence, reviewed, which costs around £210. The main difference between the two is that the Netatmo records to an internal microSD card and therefore doesn’t require any monthly subscription.
The Ring camera itself is weather-resistant and has a one-year parts warranty, but comes with lifetime purchase protection. This means if someone steals the Floodlight Cam Ring will replace it free of charge. However, for this purchase protection to apply the Floodlight Cam must be purchased from Ring itself.
There is a free 30-day trial for the cloud recording component, and you can still use the Live View mode within the app after this time without subscribing. To access recordings, however, you’ll want to subscribe.
A subscription for one device costs £2.50 per month or £24.99 per year, or £8 per month or £80 per year for unlimited devices. It’s not at all obvious from within the app, but you can also add another camera to the single plan without subscribing to the unlimited plan.Ring Floodlight Cam setup
If you have an existing security light set up to cover the area as we did, it takes a maximum of 15 minutes to set up the Ring Floodlight Cam. Though the marketing suggests it requires a professional installation, it’s quite easy to do yourself if you know what you’re doing and take the necessary precautions.
The only things you really need to consider are distance from your wireless router and the availability of mains power. The Floodlight Cam must be hardwired, unlike the video doorbells that can run off battery power, and it must connect to a 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi network, with a bare minimum 1Mbps upload speed (2Mbps is recommended).
Like most lights there are just two wires, plus an earth, and you connect it as you would any other light fitting.
If you don’t already have the Ring app you can download it free from Google Play or the App Store, and follow the prompts to set up an account.
It’s worth pointing out you can also view the feed from a Windows 10 PC or Mac by logging in via the Ring website.
Turn on the camera by pressing the button on top of the Floodlight Cam, then let the software guide you through the configuration process, which includes asking you to connect it to your Wi-Fi network, name the camera, and confirm its location.
The camera will then update its firmware, which can take a few minutes, but is then ready to go.
Using the mobile app you can independently set up motion zones for the lights and the camera, which can run at all times or just certain times such as overnight.
You can also schedule the lights to automatically turn on between certain times, or not to turn on at all during the day, and if you will be going in and out you can snooze motion detection for a predetermined amount of time.
The 110dB siren gives a warning like a car alarm, and must be manually activated from within the app.
Setting the motion zones for the lights works exactly the same as for the video doorbells, allowing you to adjust sensitivity on a sliding scale. But for the cameras you can draw onscreen exactly where you want it to pick up motion, which makes it possible to prevent you getting a notification every time someone passes by or a neighbour pulls on to their drive.Ring Floodlight Cam in use
In our testing with the Ring Floodlight Cam it worked flawlessly, picking up any motion on our driveway and instantly notifying us via our mobile phone. We didn’t find many rogue motion alerts, but if you do it’s easy to tone down the sensitivity.
The floodlights are incredibly bright, and the audio siren is super-loud at 110dB. Perhaps more importantly, when the Floodlight Cam does pick up motion its recording of the event is crystal clear with a 1080p video feed. If anyone is caught getting up to no good then you’ll get a good look at their face, even at night.
The two-way audio works well, given a strong internet connection. Over a mobile network you might find a small amount of lag, but it’s workable.
You can angle the camera to get the best picture. It has a 270-degree field of view, but the mount is also adjustable with a 140-degree field of view. If necessary you can pinch to zoom in, either within Live View mode or the recorded video itself.
Recorded videos can be downloaded to your device or shared via Facebook, or in an email or text message. You can also directly upload them to Nextdoor.co.uk if you have an account – this is a private social network for your local neighbourhood. If none of these options suit you can also get a link to the video on Ring’s servers that you share via other means.
One potential drawback of these recordings is they are not constant, as they are with other home-security systems. That makes it simpler to find, download and share just the portion of the stream you need, but if action is happening just outside the motion zone it may not pick up all the incriminating footage you’d like.Related articles for further reading Specs Ring Floodlight Cam: Specs
Hardwired floodlight camera (100-240V)
2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connection, minimum upload 1Mbps, 2Mbps recommended
two-way audio with noise cancellation
1080p HD Video
Custom Motion Zones
270-degree field of view
2x 3000° Kelvin floodlights
110dB remote-activated siren
adjustable camera mount with 140° field of view
smart zoom with panning
4.75in diameter mounting base
1 year parts warranty
lifetime purchase protection
-28°C-50°C operating temperature
First unveiled earlier this month, Beam is the latest smart speaker and TV soundbar from wireless speaker maker Sonos. The compact TV soundbar promises hi-fi music playback and voice control through Alexa — all at an affordable price. Sonos Beam hits the market later next month, but we’ve been testing it for a few weeks ahead of its launch.
For the purpose of this review, Apple’s new AirPlay 2 wireless streaming feature wasn’t ready for testing — stay tuned for our full impressions next month when Sonos adds the feature. AirPlay 2 aside, Sonos Beam is a hit for bedrooms, apartments, or budget home theaters.
Priced at $399, Beam isn’t the cheapest TV soundbar on the market — but it is a compelling value given its feature set: built-in voice control through Amazon Alexa, a compact design with black or white options, audio quality that undoubtably sounds better than your TV, and AirPlay 2 support coming shortly after launch.
Plus it has all the same features as other Sonos speakers: wireless music playback without Bluetooth or AirPlay, compatibility with dozens of music services including all the major players, and expansibility with other Sonos speakers.
Like Sonos PLAYBAR and Sonos PLAYBASE, Sonos Beam replaces your TV’s subpar speakers as a fully featured soundbar with Night Sound and Speech Enhancement modes, volume control from iPhone and iPad, and a sleep timer for up to two hours.
When used with Alexa-enabled video streaming products like Fire TV, Sonos Beam can even control video features like turning your TV on and off and playing specific shows on supported video apps — all without picking up the remote. As an Apple TV 4K user, I didn’t get to test these features with the streaming box I already use, but Alexa’s volume control is useful in all situations.
Compared to PLAYBAR and PLAYBASE, Beam is $300 cheaper and features a much more compact design. Sonos Beam still packs impressive sound and features for its $399 price, making it ideal for apartments, bedrooms, or any environment where recreating the full movie theater experience at home isn’t ideal.
Just how compact is Sonos Beam? It’s narrower than 43-inch LED TVs, just a tad taller than an Apple TV 4, and typically shallow. Specifically, Sonos details dimensions at 25.625 x 3.94 x 2.70 inches (or 651 x 100 x 68.5 mm). At just over 6 pounds, Sonos Beam is also rather portable.
Sonos Beam also touts HDMI ARC (audio return channel) support for plug-and-play support on modern TVs, and includes both an HDMI cable and an HDMI to optical adapter for TVs without HDMI ARC.
If you do want to build out your home theater over time, Beam is expandable with other speakers in the Sonos system. Sonos Play:1 or Sonos One speaker pairs can added to create a surround sound system, and Sonos SUB adds deep bass with the wireless subwoofer. (The whole 5.1 surround sound kit sells for under $1400 as a bundle.)
This turns Beam and paired speakers into a single speaker target, and Beam works with multi-room playback with all other Sonos speakers too.
Spec wise, Sonos Beam features a five far-field microphone array for voice control that can be toggled on and off with a tap of an on-board toggle, five Class-D digital amplifiers and four full-range woofers, plus a center tweeter and three passive radiators to create warm bass tones in the small form factor.
Sonos says this hardware is all custom-designed by the company and tuned especially for TV and music. Customers can also adjust equalization settings or use Trueplay to tune Sonos Beam based on placement without the room using the iPhone or iPad controller app.
Sonos Beam will make your TV speakers sound like rubbish in comparison — without making your family and neighbors think there’s construction going on from the sound blast.
Sonos Beam is available for pre-order now in black or white for $399 and ships by July 17. AirPlay 2 support will arrive as a free update later next month.
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5 Best Dash Cams With Super Night Vision To Buy
The dashboard camera offers peace of mind to the drivers. These cams can help you make a case for yourself if something unfortunate happens while you are out driving. However, with all the options around, finding the right dashboard camera can be an overwhelming experience.
While buying a dashboard camera it is important to make sure that the camera offers an excellent day as well as night vision recording. If you are in the market looking for a great dash cam, look no further as we have sifted thought the best deals to find the top 5 dashboard cameras for night driving.
Note: Deals are subject to change. Keep in mind that the price tag often varies. We recommend going on the vendor’s website to check the price. Some of the products may be out of stock by the time you’ve made your purchasing decision. So, hurry up and hit the buy button.
170-degree Wide Angle Capture
Full HD 1080p recording
Day and Night Vision
Software is buggy
TOGUARD Mini Dash Cam is a budget-friendly dashboard camera with all the bells whistles that a budget dashcam should have.
It comes with a 2.45-inch display to watch the recording and it is hidden behind the rearview mirror. The camera is capable of recording in Full HD 1080p resolutions using the 170-degree wide-angle sensor.
TOGUARD Mini Dash Cam automatically starts and stops recording when the ignition is turned on/off. It also comes with a Motion Detection and Parking Monitor feature that can record about 30 seconds clip when the car is in the parking spot.
Dual Day and Night Vision
1080p Full HD recording
Front and rear recorder
If you are looking to cover both your front and rear view, COOAU Mirror Dual Night Vision Dash Cam is a better option.
COOAU Mirror Dual Night Vision Dash Cam comes with a dual camera with a 7″ touch screen display. The Sony IMX 323 sensor is capable of recording 1080p Full HD videos in day and night conditions.
Both the front and rear camera supports 170-degree wide-angle recording. The touchscreen display can be used as a daily rearview mirror as well as a parking camera.
Additional features in the setup include Parking Monitor, Motion Detector, G-Sensor, WDR, and Loop Recording.
3-inch IPS display with 170-degree wide-angle lens
WiFi and GPS support with Super Night Vision
4K Ultra HD 2160p recording
Smaller IPS screen
In case you want the best quality videos from your car’s dashcam, the Campark ACT74 Action Camera is a value for money product you can buy.
The camera offers an exceptional 4K Ultra HD 2160p recording with a 170-degree wide-angle lens. The built-in Wi-Fi connection allows you to connect the camera to any Android smartphone and control the camera with the phone.
Supports up to 128 GB micro SD card
1440p and 1080p dual dashcam
IR Sensor Night Vision
Too basic instructions
APEMAN 1440P&1080P Dual Dash Cam is another dual-camera setup that covers the front and rear view of your vehicle.
Compared to the COOAU setup, the APEMAN dash cam comes with a 2K resolution recorder at the front and a 1080p Full resolution camera sensor for the rear.
The 150-degree wide-angle sensors monitor all directions without leaving any blind spots. Users can lock particular files or the camera can automatically overwrite the previous recording with new files when the memory card is full.
Small-sized dashcam with 1440p recording
GPS and Voice Control
Includes Memory Card
Garmin is one of the most popular dashcam brands that make high-end dash cameras. The Garmin Dash Cam 55 is a high-end dash cam that backs on a marque’s action camera user interface with tons of additional features.
It offers 1440p 2K resolution recording that can be viewed on a 2″ LCD screen. It is a small device and does not take unnecessary space in your car.
Users can control the camera with Voice commands that can turn on/off the camera, save clips, and more. The camera also comes with Loopmrecording, G-Sensor, and Driver Alerts that provide forward collision and lane departure warnings.
All the dash cams listed in this article offer excellent night vision recording. Depending on your requirement, you can either pick premium 4K dash cams or save some bucks by opting for lower 1080p resolution devices.
Here are the best memory cards that you can use to expand your dashcam’s storage.
Do I need a dashcam?
If you’re on the road over long periods of time, it is good to have a dashcam.
Truckers, for example, can make great use of dashcams.
Can dashcams be used at night?
Not all dashcams can be used at night.
You need to look for models that specifically say that they support night vision.
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Steelie Desk and Dash System Review: This magnet is your phone’s new friend
If you’ve got a phone (and who doesn’t, these days?) then you’ve got access to thousands of different accessories for it. Regardless of the manufacturer, you’ll find things to help you do just about anything you want with it. I’m pretty simple, and don’t have too many extra gadgets for mine, besides a case. However, I recently had the chance to test out the Nite Ize Steelie Desk and Dash System for mine, and it’s been interesting.
If you’ve never heard of Nite Ize (pronounced “Night Eyes”), they’re a company that makes various mobile accessories. Their Steelie line has a few different items in it. They all revolve around holding your phone or tablet in some fashion. As you’d guess, the Desk and Dash kit is all about holding your phone in your car, or at your desk.
The kit comes with three pieces. You’ve got the adapter that goes on your phone, a stand that sits on your desk, and another that clips onto the vent in your car. It’s pretty simple, really.
I’ll admit that when I first saw this demoed at CES, I didn’t think I would have much of a use for it. After all, it’s some strange pedestal with a silver ball on top, that’s supposed to help hold your phone, using a magnet that’s stuck to your phone. When you’ve seen as many accessories as I have, you can get a bit cynical about strange-looking ones that you see at a booth, or online.
So to start off with, I put the Magnetic Socket on my phone. Since I don’t like going without a case, I went ahead and stuck it on the olloclip case that I’ve been using. I wasn’t too sure about how well it would stay attached to the case, considering the fact that I’d have to pull the phone away from each of the stands pretty regularly. I’m happy to say that after a month or so, the Magnetic Socket hasn’t budged one bit.
That brings us to the two stands. The tabletop pedestal stand is pretty straightforward. You set it on your desk, and you set the phone on it. It’s not hard to get it to find its home on the stand, thanks to the curved shape of the ball, and the powerful rare earth magnet.
The magnet is strong enough to hold the phone in whatever position that you leave it in. You can easily rotate it to landscape or portrait mode, without any fear that it will fall off. You can almost press the home button without having it come off. I say almost, because sometimes if I’m really careful, I can make it happen. But most of the time I’ll need to put my hand around the back, in order to prevent it from coming off. I wish that it was just a tad more powerful, so that I didn’t have to do this. But the fact that I can’t doesn’t turn me off to the stand at all.
Moving on to the vent mount, it’s super easy to use. There’s a small latch that you pull out, that opens the grips. Slide the grips over one of the fins in your car vent, and then snap the latch back in place. It holds onto the vent pretty well. I’ve only had to re-adjust the grip once in the last month or so. And that involved little more than pushing it back further into the vent.
The ball on the vent mount is a little more exposed, which gives you some new angles to work with on your phone. It’s not much, but depending on the way you have your vent sitting, it’s a nice little touch.
The vent mount is by far my favorite part of the Steelie. When I get into my car, I just quickly tap my phone against it, and let go. It’s just another part of my routine, as I get into the car. I’ll usually leave it in portrait mode, but if I’m turning on the GPS, I can quickly turn it to landscape with just the push of a finger. It’s definitely the easiest car mount that I’ve found for my phone.
If a phone accessory is more hassle than it is useful, I’ll usually stop using it within a couple of weeks. Once the novelty wears off, I’m less inclined to keep messing with it. I’m happy to say that I still use both the desk and the car vent parts of the system after a little over a month. I rightly guessed that I’d enjoy using it in my car more than I do at my desk. However, I do enjoy leaving my phone on the stand while I’m working, as I always know where I set my phone (I have a bad habit of setting it down in random places, otherwise), and I can easily read text messages and notifications with just a glance.
Something else that I found interesting about the Steelie system is that I use it in my kitchen now. I don’t have a stand in there, but if I’m using my phone to watch a video or listen to music, I’ll just slap it up against my fridge, and leave it there. The magnet is plenty strong enough to hold it in place, and it’s really handy when I don’t want to take up precious counter space with my phone.
The Steelie Desk and Dash System retails for $69.99, and I’d say that it’s worth every penny. If you really don’t think that you’ll use it in one place or the other, you can also buy either of them in a kit, or as individual components (if you lose one, or just want a spare). Kudos to Nite Ize for making it possible to just buy a stand, or a replacement socket, without having to jump through any hoops.
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