reviews

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Spigen cases have long delivered great protection at affordable prices, and the good-looking Neo Hybrid for the Nexus 5 is no different. Priced at just $35, it’s made from a unique combination of polyurethane and polycarbonate plastic and available in a variety of colors.

Neo Hybrid by Spigen
Category: Case
Works With: Nexus 5
Price: $35

I’ve been testing a Neo Hybrid, kindly provided by MobileFun, for almost a month now — and I’ve been impressed by both its design and its build quality. Could this be your ideal case for the Nexus 5?

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Look at all those IR emitters (we think those are IR emitters). Photo: Eli Milchman/Cult of Android

In the race to bestow absolute control over your home entertainment paraphernalia, the Blumoo device is a sort of a jack-of-all-trades standout.

Similar to the now-discontinued Griffin Beacon, Blumoo lets you control all your devices that normally work with a remote control — TV, DVR, Bluetooth player, stereo, etc — from an Android phone or iPhone. But it also does double-duty as a Bluetooth streaming device, giving you the ability to stream music to pretty much any set of speakers it’s physically connected to.

We had a little hands-on time with the Blumoo, and came away impressed with the device — but frustrated by the software. Also, unfortunately the Blumoo Android app is a few weeks away from availability, so we played around with its iOS sibling instead; we’re not expecting any major difference when the Android app eventually arrives. Here’s what we liked, and didn’t.

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vQuiet Over-Ear Noise-Canceling Headphones by Velodyne
Category: active noise-canceling, over-the-ear headphones
Works With: most heads
Price: $299

The renaissance of the over-the-ear headphone is at full tilt, and big, flashy cans are everywhere — a phenomenon you can, at least in part, thank Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine for. Thank, because it’s a good thing. Because interwoven among the vast army of styles and sounds arrayed for perusal are headphones that specialize: sets that may travel well, or perhaps sate an appetite for tech frills, or even quiet the noisy world.

Velodyne’s vQuiets specialize in all three of the roles mentioned above. As the name probably suggests, they’re the company’s active noise-canceling set, a task it accomplishes, if not excels at; they’re small and fold well, making them a great traveller’s companion; and the set sports a few tech frills. They even sound pretty good. Despite all that — or maybe because of it — the set feels more like a compromise between traits than a shining star.

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Need military-grade protection for your new Galaxy S5? That’s exactly what you get with the CandyShell Grip from Speck.

CandyShell Grip by Speck
Category: Cases
Works With: Galaxy S5
Price: $34.95

Its dual-layer design combines a hard, impact-resistant exterior with a shock-absorbent lining that doesn’t just protect your beloved smartphone from scuffs and scratches, but from those occasional screen-shattering falls as well. It also has textured ridges on its back that provide even the sweatiest of palms with plenty of grip.

The CandyShell Grip is available in a range of pretty colors — including “Shocking Pink” and Caribbean green — priced at $34.95, and it’s worth every penny.

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The Flote m2 floor stand for tablets.

 

M2 Floor Stand by Flote
Category: tablet stand
Works With: full-size or small tablet
Price: $300

Tablets are fantastic little things, right? They entertain us, help us work, make life easier. But if distilled down to its purest essence, a tablet is simply a personal computer neatly tucked away behind an exceptionally portable screen. And if that’s true — that what makes the tablet so amazing is an amazingly portable screen (that, unlike a phone’s screen, is big enough to actually use for things like work, and movies) — then the fully-articulated Flote m2 tablet stand must be the most fantastic accessory you can buy for your tablet. Why? Because it delivers on the promise of being able to position a tablet screen anywhere and any damn way you please. With a few caveats, of course. And if you can afford it.

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